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Reign advance to NWSL semifinal with 1-0 win over Angel City

Veronica Latsko scored in the 87th minute to give OL Reign a 1-0 victory over Angel City FC on Friday night in the opening round of the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs.

Phoebe McClernon whipped a cross into the box and Latsko beat her defender to score from close range at Seattle’s Lumen Field, giving the Reign its first playoff victory since 2015.

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The Reign will head to San Diego to take on the Wave in a semifinal match on Nov. 5.

The first half was a defensive battle, as the two teams combined for just five shots – the fewest in any half of a postseason match in NWSL history.

The Reign took control in the second half. Latsko had a shot ping off the post, and Megan Rapinoe – playing in her final home game after 11 seasons with the Reign – had a hard shot saved in the 53rd minute.

Angel City was held to just one shot in the second half.

“It was difficult. I mean, obviously two really well organized teams, two teams in form, couldn’t really break each other down. A few chances on either side,” Rapinoe said. “But I felt like once the second half started, we started to gain that momentum. It was just a matter of time – took a little bit longer than we would have liked, but eventually got it in the end.”

The game also marked the return of Rose Lavelle in the 64th minute, who had been out with a knee injury since Sept. 3. Just minutes before Latsko’s goal, Lavelle forced Angel City goalkeeper Angelina Anderson to push her shot from distance out for a corner kick.

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