Seattle Reign forward Megan Rapinoe helped her club build an early lead during a 2-1 victory over the visiting Washington Spirit late Saturday night.
Rapinoe scored off a free kick beyond the 18-yard box in the seventh minute, sailing the ball perfectly over the wall of players in front of her and just over the head of diving Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. The play is a strong candidate for NWSL goal of the week honors.
“I actually thought it was a little far out, but it was kind of in that in-between space that can’t really serve it in there, so I just shot it,” Rapinoe told the Seattle Times after the win.
Rapinoe continued to spark the Reign’s attack, setting up Jodie Taylor for a goal in the 35th minute to give Seattle a 2-0 advantage.
Washington rallied in the second half, with Mallory Pugh feeding Estefania Banini near the top of the box. Banini slotted the ball to Joanna Lohman, who quickly turned and scored in the 68th minute. The goal cut Seattle’s advantage in half.
But the young Spirit lineup couldn’t pick up the equalizer despite winning 55 percent of possession in the second half.
Bledsoe, who was acquired from the Orlando Pride during the offseason, got her first start for Washington and finished with 10 saves.
Seattle goalkeeper Michelle Betos recorded eight saves and limited the damage in the second half despite facing more pressure from the Spirit.