Megan Rapinoe #15 of United States dribbles the ball in the second half against Mexico at Everbank Field on April 5, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe continues to be among the strongest performers in the National Women’s Soccer League so far this season, leading the Seattle Reign to a 1-0 win at Sky Blue FC Sunday.
Amid wet, windy and cold conditions, the Reign took an early lead and held on for the win at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J.
The Reign (2-0-0, 6 points) spoiled the home debut for Sky Blue FC (0-2-0, 0 points) for newcomers Carli Loyd and coach Denise Reddy, who are both Rutgers alums and New Jersey natives.
In the fifth minute, Sky Blue defender Erica Skroski was called for a handball in the box. Rapinoe converted the ensuing penalty kick in the sixth minute.
“For both teams, the conditions from the wind and the rain made it very difficult for the style of soccer we like to play. We both like to possess, and it was not easy to do that tonight,” Reddy told reporters after the loss. “Seattle is a very good team that is extremely well-coached, so to limit their chances the way we did in this weather is definitely a positive takeaway from the match. What we have to do is be a little more efficient as a team in the final third to create better opportunities. That is the small detail we are missing right now.”
Rapinoe kept the pressure on the Sky Blue defense and finished with four shots on goal.
Sky Blue forward Shea Groom generated her side’s best shot at an equalizer, with a shot in the second half hitting the post and getting knocked away by Seattle goalkeeper Michelle Betos.
In the 86th minute, the Reign earned another penalty kick opportunity off a Skroski foul, but Jodie Taylor’s attempt was blocked by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. The Reign’s Kiersten Dallstream collected the rebound and took another shot, but Sheridan came through with another save.
Sheridan finished with three saves, while Betos contributed one.
Seattle returns home and will host North Carolina at 7 p.m. Wednesday, while Sky Blue will chase its first win of the season when it hosts Chicago at 8 p.m. Saturday.