The Gilbertsville native and Boyertown graduate will be between the posts Thursday night when defending champion FC Kansas City meets Seattle Reign FC for the second-straight year in the National Women’s Soccer League championship game at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. The result was the same.
US World Cup veteran Amy Rodriguez struck the decisive goal in the 78th minute, heading in a cross from Heather O’Reilly that Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo had no chance on.
Somebody tweaked the script just slightly for this remake, though.
FCKC is looking to capture consecutive titles, while for Seattle a victory would mean redemption after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss a year ago.
Even though Holiday knew she would be playing in her final professional game Thursday, she tried not to let the emotions get to her in the days leading up to the match. “I didn’t feel that this year”. Holiday took the free kick and it was deflected over the top of the crossbar by Seattle defenders.
Seattle has won the NWSL Shield – for the league’s best regular season record – two years in a row now. And soon enough they were champions for a second year running, despite Reign’s overall superiority in the second half. Kansas’s goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart saved goals perfectly. The Blues were third at 9-6-5 (32 points), coached by Vlatko Andonovski.
That moment came when Seattle had to take right back Kendall Fletcher out of the game with an injury. She latched onto substitute Katrine Veje’s cutback from the left wing but could only smash it into Barnhart’s cradling arms.
Both sides struggled to find opportunities as the defenders stood strong on both ends of the field.
The two teams met twice in the regular season, splitting the series with each team winning at home.
“The longer the game goes on, and you’re just not getting those breaks really, you just sense that it might not be your night”, Harvey said. “I think she’s such a fantastic player, one of the best players I’ve ever played against and played with”.
And they could have hardly asked for a more serendipitous playoff bracket.
The Reign attempted again and again to penetrate FC Kansas City’s back line, but were unable to get beyond the defense and Barnhart, who were at the top of their game throughout the match.
The Reign, too, have been almost unstoppable since Little joined them.
“We felt previous year that we had a hole on that side”, Williams said. She made the ideal finish by getting the flawless service by O’Reilly. A lot of times, we can.
“I think we could have been a little bit more aggressive with our finishing”, Seattle midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. Then Kansas City upset Chicago on the road, and the serendipity of a rematch was on. “‘We can hold on a couple more minutes.’ And to win for club and country is absolutely the best feeling in the world”. “The winning is absolutely wonderful, but the friendships are what I’m going to cherish the most [about her career]”.
But though Harvey has had unarguable success at the helm of Seattle Reign FC, she has also courted controversy, making a highly unpopular trade last March, dealing U.S. National Team star Sydney Leroux to the Western New York Flash. She won the inaugural Under-19 Women’s Championship in 2002, Olympic women’s soccer gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012 and the 2015 Women’s World Cup title. It’s more so that there’s other things I want to do, ” Holiday said, adding that “soccer consumes me.