Thorns reshuffle for Reign
The Thorns had to cope, not only with key players missing for international duty, but with a serious knee injury to holding midfielder Becky Edwards. Edwards has been fantastic for the thorns this season, often providing the steel at the back of the midfield that protects the center backs. Her tackling ability will be missed for the rest of the season as she recovers from a torn ACL suffered Thursday at practice.
To this end, coach Cone asked Allie Long to drop back along side Courtney Wetzel, and the team played with 2 defensive midfielders.
Nikki Washington returned to the lineup on the right side of midfield and Angie Kerr got at start on the left. Both played rather wide for the first 30 minutes, only late in the half did Kerr start working her way central to link up with Guess, who was struggling to create anything up top by herself.
Halftime introduced Danielle Foxhoven up top for Guess, but the formation didn’t change much. Mana Shim continued to press upu alongside the Forward at times, providing space for either Long, or occasionally Wetzel to charge forward.
The introduction of Foxhoven provided a return nearly immediately. After only 3 minutes on the pitch, Foxhoven received the ball on the left side of the Seattle box. She started to go line then carved out a bit of space for her right foot. She then curled the ball nicely inside the far post to give the thorns a 1-0 lead.
later in the 66th, Meleana Shim scored her first professional goal. A great team goal on a counter attack that started with Allie Long hitting a long diagonal to Kerr who had found space out wide. Angie ran hard to carry the ball forward. Foxhoven made her run from central to the right side of the box, pulling the center back with her and opening space. Kerr neatly slid the ball in front of Shim who calmly slotted the keeper.
Things would get tense in the 84th minute when Seattle received a PK for a hand ball. Karina LeBlanc however, was up to the task and the scoreline finished 2-0. An important 3 points for the team as they finish the first half of the season in 2nd place; well on course for the playoffs.