Reign vs Spirit: Stream and Gamethread

The Reign come back home still in search of their first win of the season, and in search of a consistent goal scorer.

It hasn't been a strong start to the Reign's inaugural season. After preseason turmoil that saw the entire US national team allocation away from the squad for various reasons (wrist, pregnancy, France) and the GM leave the team for undisclosed reasons just before the season kicked off, the hope was that everything would settle into shape when the games started and coach Laura Harvey would guide a strong midfield to NWSL success.

But the lesson so far is that you can have as strong a midfield as you want, but if nobody does the scoring, you can't win games. Through 5 games the Reign has scored two goals: a nice-looking header from midfielder Christine Nairn in the opener to earn a draw and a consolation goal from midfielder Jess Fishlock in a loss at Portland. Without a single goal from a forward so far the season, the team is clearly in dire need of offensive firepower. But frankly the defense hasn't been all that great either. Their 8 goals allowed is worsted only by Chicago's 10. That's despite playing effectively two holding midfielders in front of a young backline and some generally very good play from keeper Michelle Betos covering for the injured Hope Solo. With those goal numbers it's no surprise that Seattle is currently in last place in the 8 team league.

But if you want to cling to some hope, there are reasons. First, the schedule has been absolutely brutal. Through the first 5 games, the team has only had one match at home, and that was against FC Kansas City, who's likely to be in the top 3 teams at the end of the season. They've also played at Kansas City, at Portland (the consensus #1 team in the league), and at Sky Blue (the current #2 in the league). The schedule should get substantially lighter from here as they play more games at home and more games against the weaker teams.

Still, the team needs to find a way to win even with Megan Rapinoe still in France — a situation that's going to last until mid-June at least after Lyon made the final of the French Cup, to be followed by US national team friendlies against Korea.

Hopefully those wins start tonight in their second match at home against a relatively weak Washington Spirit side.

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