SEATTLE — Four minutes into the Seattle Reign FC’s match Saturday, many at Memorial Stadium looked confused.
Reign defender Lauren Barnes raced downfield entangled with Kansas City forward Shea Groom, who was in pursuit of a breakaway goal attempt.
Barnes didn’t let go and the two toppled over each other, Barnes getting called for a red card.
Seattle had to play the remainder of the game down a player, managing to end in a 1-1 draw before a crowd of 3,919.
Why such an aggressive play so early?
“It was a foul, but the foul was earlier and higher up the pitch and if the referee had made that call, she (Lauren) wouldn’t (have been ejected),” midfielder Jessica Fishlock said. “But the ref carried on playing, and then called the foul down by the goal and then yes, of course, Lauren has to be sent off.”
Despite the disadvantage, the Reign (3-2-5) is unbeaten in its last 11 home games — the longest active streak in the league.
“What you saw from us was nothing but heart,” Fishlock said. “Tactically we were superb. When you have the thought process of playing a game 90 minutes with 10 women. ... I’m so proud of who we are and what we showed today.”
Kansas City forward Brittany Ratcliffe scored the opening goal in the 16th minute. Her strike to left corner of the net was just out of Reign goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer’s reach.
Reign forward Nahomi Kawasumi provided the equalizer in the 58th minute on the rebound of an attempt Kansas City goalie Nicole Barnhart thought she had saved. Seattle had eight shots on goal compared to 22 by Kansas City.
There was five minutes of stoppage time added to the first half due to medical attention to Groom, who remained in the game, and a mandatory water break for the teams.
After a record rainy winter and spring, Seattle was under a heat-advisory period Saturday as temperatures neared 90 degrees.
Seattle had a draw against Kansas City (3-3-4) on the road last week.
“We’re better when we have adversity against us,” Reign manager Laura Harvey said.
Saturday’s match marked the end of a four-day stretch of Pride celebrations by four of Seattle’s pro teams, including the Sounders, Mariners and Storm. The collaboration with Athlete Ally to recognize the LGBTQ community among the city’s sports teams is believed to be a first of its kind. Events were tagged with “Equality is a team sport.”
The Reign adorned the Memorial Stadium flagpoles and the field’s four corners with rainbow flags to mark the event. Its free giveaway were miniature rainbow flags and the team provided time pregame for Washington Won’t Discriminate to speak against Initiative 1552, which would reverse a 2015 rule granting access to restrooms and locker rooms based on identity instead of birth assignment.
There was also a moment of silence for former Olympic soccer coach Tony DiCicco, who died Monday.