Nahomi Kawasumi set a new NWSL record with four assists in the Reign’s win over the Washington Spirit
Back home at Memorial Stadium after a two-game road stint that yielded a loss to the Boston Breakers and an infuriating tie against Portland thanks to a late goal by the Thorns, the Seattle Reign (2-1-2) were eager to show that they could dominate for an entire game.
That dominance was on full display in a masterful 6-2 win against the Washington Spirit on Saturday afternoon.
Forward Nahomi Kawasumi led the Reign’s relentless attack, setting a new NWSL single match record with four assists. She also managed a well-timed goal in the 69th minute that turned the game permanently in Seattle’s favor after a spirited rally by Washington early in the second half.
Trailing Seattle 2-0 at halftime, the Spirit (1-3-1) were momentarily energized by a 60th minute penalty kick goal from Havana Solaun.
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Solaun’s goal could have been a turning point for the Spirit, who hoped to capitalize on a listless 20 minutes by Seattle early in the second half. Trying to enhance their offensive potency, the Spirit switched formation and went from a four-defender backline to three.
Washington’s ability to play with either three or four backs this season has kept opposing teams on its toes.
“Washington has been the most difficult team to prepare for simply because we weren’t sure how they were going to go,” Reign head coach Laura Harvey said.
But against Seattle, that switch to three backs proved to be the Spirit’s undoing.
With one less defender around to stymie them, Kawasumi and Megan Rapinoe put on a passing and shooting clinic. Rapinoe assisted on Kawasumi’s 69th minute goal, and the Japanese striker returned the favor in the 71st and 76th minutes, when…