The new era of Seattle Reign soccer beings today, replacing the rather brief and unsuccessful first era of 2013.
The roster is completely overhauled into one that preseason pundits (yeah, yeah. I know) are unanimously picking to make the playoffs, after the Reign finished second to bottom last season and didn't get a win in their first 9 games. All White Kit predicts the team to finish 3rd. Three of four writers from The Equalizer are predicting a second-place finish as well, with the other predicting fourth.
As with last season, every match should be streamed on Youtube in high def, so there's no reason to miss a game even if you can't make it down to Memorial Stadium — their new home. But if you can do that, I highly recommend it. The walkability of Lower Queen Anne can turn a weekend Reign match into a nice day in town, especially during the summer. And the pre-func food and drink options compared to Starfire are. . substantially better.
Today they open the season against the Boston Breakers, whose biggest offseason story was probably losing Sydney Leroux to the Reign, reportedly due to her desire to move back to the west coast. They acquired Krisie Mewis in that deal, but Mewis isn't on the gameday roster, so at least for today that trade is all Seattle. The Breakers are starting potential star striker Lisa DeVanna on the bench, so at least the starting lineups seem heavily weighted to the Reign. This will also be the return of Kaylyn Kyle, who's starting for Boston after being a stalwart for Seattle last season.
Another question is whether Seattle can finally get a shutout after failing to earn one all last season. On paper, this is an opponent that could struggle for offense, so that could be in the cards. Regardless, the long offseason ends today under the non-ironic brand of Seattle sunshine. Should be fun.