Oh, that cool spring day in mid-April when we tuned into the first ever Seattle Reign match. Never mind that we had to switch to the Spanish stream because the English feed was down. Never mind that there were American football lines on the field. Never mind that Seattle had none of its US allocated players. Growing pains. Christine Nairn scored the first Reign goal on a header in the 10 minute. Lori Chalupny eventually equalized, but nobody felt particularly bad about a road point to start the season. We had no idea that that would be the only point Seattle would pick up in their first 10 matches.
Now we're back in Chicago, a little harder and a little wiser than before. And certainly in better form. With only one loss in their last 8, the Reign are on a tear. Unfortunately, it's too late for that to mean playoffs, but it does mean that the team is playing with confidence and flair that makes them fun to watch. And after climbing off the bottom of the table they have a chance over the next weeks to climb over this Chicago team and maybe Boston to finish in a somewhat respectable 5th before taking another crack at it next season.
The Red Stars have also struggled this season. They haven't been as bipolar as Seattle, but they're on a bit of a good run themselves, with their only two losses in their last 9 coming to the Reign. That's right, Seattle actually owns another team! The Red Stars are the only team that hasn't beat the Reign this season. And those previous losses came with their star midfielder and leading scorer Lori Chalupny. But last week Chalupny was scythed down by a terrible tackle from the Thorns' Tobin Heath and is out indefinitely, which will dampen the Red Stars attack.
For Seattle, this will be an opportunity to get Stephanie Cox and Australian Emily van Egmond further integrated into the team before the offseason. And this is also another opportunity to get their first shutout of the season, which has become something like the team's white whale over the past few weeks. Last week against Chicago Hope Solo denied a penalty to give us. . er. . hope. . but just a minute later Jen Hoy scored on a Chalpuny assist to once again deny the shutout. Now the Reign will try again on the road.