Having already learned that two of their best players will be in Europe until June, the Reign announce that they'll be without another for the full season.
What's the right terminology there? She's out for the season with pregnancy? On extended starting-a-family leave? Anyway, the team has announced that US national team forward Amy Rodriguez is with child and will be missing the entirety of the inaugural season.
From a human perspective and as a father of children myself, this is tremendous news and I wish the Shilling/Rodriguez family a healthy, happy pregnancy to be followed by a seemingly endless period of picking food out of their hair and answering ridiculous questions about dragons.
But from a soccer perspective, it's a little awkward for the Reign. The Seattle club was clearly intended to be a premier club in the league, with them and designated rivals Portland Thorns the only teams allowed in from the West Coast thanks to soccer-mad Cascadia, and Reign owner Bill Predmore reportedly one of the major drivers to get the league off of the ground. But with Rodriguez out for the season and both Megan Rapinoe and Teresa Noyola in Europe until June, the Reign will be without the entirety of their US allocation in the outfield and easily their best Mexican allocation player for at least half of the season.
Obviously a team can compete with lesser regarded players, as has been proven over and over again — very recently by Cal FC in the US Open Cup. But the US allocation players were supposed to be the crown jewels of the league, both on and off the field. But at least through June the Reign will have only Hope Solo to turn to, and as dominant as she is at her position, a goalkeeper can only have so much influence on the field.
It's shaping up to be a particularly challenging first season for new head coach Laura Harvey.
In more unequivocally positive news, the team has also announced that both Premium Grandstand and VIP Table seats at Starfire are nearly sold out for the season. And they've agreed to terms with three free agents, who will be announced (along with the results of the rest of NWSL free agency) early next week.