Lost in all the Granit Xhaka excitement this week was the fact that the FA Cup winning Arsenal Ladies side came to the US, to play the NWSL's Seattle Reign in a friendly. This may seem like a long way to go to play a meaningless game (the FAWSL is on their midseason break right now), and it probably is, but the Reign's coach is Laura Harvey, who started her coaching career with Birmingham City before spending 2008-2012 coaching Arsenal, so there's a connection there.
Anyhoo, last night, Arsenal Ladies got off the monorail at Seattle Center, walked past the Chihuly Glass Museum (RIP Fun Forest), and headed in to Memorial Stadium for the first of those games, against the Reign and a home crowd of just over 4,000. The Reign, who finished first in the league last year but lost in the playoff finals 1-0 to FC Kansas City, are off to a slower start this year; they currently sit in eighth place in a 10 team league (last place: FC Kansas City), with 7 points from 6 games.
The Reign had said before the match that they were going to use it as a way to get minutes for players who haven't had many, and indeed three Reign players made their debuts. Arsenal made six changes to their May 14th FA Cup winning side, but they were still fielding a fairly strong side.
Seattle had the best of the first half - they could have scored two or three, but settled for a Beverly Yanez goal just before half time. Arsenal came out on the front foot after the break, though, as Jordan Nobbs very nearly scored right after the restart. It wasn't until 15 minutes later, though, that Arsenal equalized, through a penalty - Seattle's Kendall Fletcher brought down Vicky Losada in the box, and Natalia Sanchon converted the penalty kick to level the proceedings, which is where things ended.
So, all in all, a nice trip to the States ended with a decent result - the only downside was that Leah Williamson was stretchered off with an ankle injury, which hopefully isn't too severe although no information is known at this time.
The match is available to watch on YouTube, should you be interested.