An announced crowd of 2,618 turned out Saturday to watch Seattle Reign FC’s inaugural home game at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
For most of the way, it seemed as if the crowd also might see the first scoreless match in the National Women’s Soccer League’s 14-game history. But in the 69th minute, FC Kansas City got on the scoreboard and then made that lead stand up for a 1-0 victory.
“I’m not saying we deserved to win it, but I don’t think we deserved to lose it,” Reign coach Laura Harvey said. “I thought the crowd was great, and I thought it was a really good atmosphere. But for the players, that’s the one I think that hurt the most for them, because I think they thought they deserved a little bit more. Football is a horrible game.”
The lone scoring sequence started around Kansas City’s penalty box. From there, KC strung together a series of passes down the right side before the attack culminated with a Becky Sauerbrunn pass to Renae Cuellar, who strongly finished in front of Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos.
“I thought that goal was a really good goal,” Harvey said. “And that’s the first time I can say that with any team that’s played us, where I’ve gone, ‘That’s a really good goal.’ ”
The result dropped Seattle to 0-3-1, while Kansas City climbed to 2-0-1.
The announced attendance was about 1,100 short of capacity in the configuration chosen for Reign games, and it ranked sixth among the eight NWSL teams’ home openers.
“I was super-happy,” Reign owner Bill Predmore said. “We had a great turnout. It felt full. I think people had a good time. That’s what we wanted, and from luck or design, I think it worked out.”
The home crowd didn’t make a winner of the Reign, but Harvey thinks her club improved over the previous week’s 2-0 loss at Kansas City.
“I think Kansas is a really good side,” she said. “I think in possession they’re really good. I thought we stopped their threat. They had a lot of the ball. They’re a bit of a possession-based team. Last week, we tried to stop that in the wrong areas, and we got punished because they had loads of chances, whereas tonight they had (fewer).”
The Reign goes back on the road next Saturday, visiting Sky Blue FC of New Jersey.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt