The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Tukwila, WA- In front of a standing room only crowd over 4,500 fans, the Sounders defeated the University of Washington 3-1. The atmosphere felt like a Northwest alumni celebration, rather than a competitive match… until the opening whistle blew.
Sounders Women Press Release
The match featured four Huskies, who have graduated and now represent the Sounders Women. There were also four University of Portland alums, including the Sounders Head Coach, Michelle French. When it all added up, there were plenty of Northwest ties represented on the field at the Starfire Stadium.
See a over 60 match photos from Wilson Tsoi at Facebook.com/goalWA
Megan Rapinoe, one of those Portland Pilots, made her debut for the Sounders, which now boast six full international players and a seventh in the U.S. National pool. Rapinoe added her unmistakable flair and an assist in her first match a rave green jersey.
“It felt a little bit like home, with the trees in the background and all from my college experience at the University of Portland,” Rapinoe said after the game. “The crowd was great. They were loud all night. Playing UW was always big, and they did well. They played like it was the biggest game of their lives, and it probably was.”
The collegiate side created a heated competition between the two teams. Both team’s efforts in the first half neutralized and hard tackles were the show, rather than goals. The two teams ended the first 45 minutes scoreless.
The deadlock looked like it would break in the 40th minute when Rapinoe and Veronica Perez combined just inside the corner of the penalty area. Perez, a Washington alum, poked the ball past a U.W. defender with her first touch before the outstretched defender’s leg tripped her up. It could have been called for a penalty kick, but wasn’t.
The Sounders also had a blast of the boot of Sydney Leroux saved from the upper corner in the dying seconds of the half.
Despite the scoreless first half, the sold out crowd was not sent home disappointed. The 2nd half yielded four goals.
In the 53rd minute, the Sounders got on the board via a Megan Rapinoe corner kick. The right footed, in swinger, was into a crowd of defenders, attackers, and goalkeeper. The punch from U.W. keeper, Kari Davidson, didn’t clear the danger and Alex Morgan was there to volley home the goal.
After their first two wins, each by a score of 5-0, it seemed like the Sounders might run away with the result. Instead, the Huskies responded well with a goal of their own. Lindsay Elson, a current Husky, who will join the Sounders Women after the college spring season is over, played a decisive through ball toward Hillary Zevenbergen. The pass set up the 6’1” forward who shot with her left foot to the back post, off the finger tips of Hope Solo, and into the far corner.
Elston described her feelings on the match, afterwards, “It’s something to be proud of, just being on the field with them is an accomplishment. It was kind of a weird feeling being that I’m playing with both teams, but it was so much fun.”
With the score now tied 1-1, it was another Husky’s turn to get into the goal scoring action. In the 70th minute, Veronica Perez finished off a nice passing interchange at the edge of the 18 yard box to regain the Sounders lead. The Washington graduate’s left footed shot into the upper corner gave her a goal in each of the three matches.
With tired legs all over the pitch, the boisterous crowd was treated to one more goal in the final minutes. Rapinoe was led into space by Alex Morgan along the left channel. The U.S. National Team star, Rapinoe, drove the ball across the face of goal to Lyndsey Patterson. Patterson beat goal keeper and defender to the cross and touched it into the net for the 3-1 win.
Kate Deines, who played 90 minutes for the Sounders defense said about playing against the school she graduated from last year, “We knew coming in that they had nothing to lose and we had a target on our backs, but I think we handled it well; especially in the 2nd half.”
Deines had mixed emotions following the game, “I gave them all hugs after the game. It’s bitter-sweet to be out here playing against them, because it sets in that [my college days] are done, but I couldn’t be happier than where I am right now with the sounders women.”
The Sounders Women finish the exhibition season with three wins and zero losses. Their combined scoring margin is 13-1. Next up is the W-League regular season with starts on May 27 in Vancouver, BC. The first Sounders Regular Season home match is on May 31st at 7 pm against the Colorado Rush. Tickets can be purchased on the club’s website; www.SoundersWomen.com.