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Sounders Women Denied Playoffs in Battle of Kezar

The Sounders couldn't recover from conceding an early penalty and their season ends earlier than we expected.

In their first season back as a real amateur team after hosting a good chunk of the US national team, the Sounders Women began brightly. Under new head coach Hubert Busby, Jr they were undefeated in their first 8 matches of the season, which included four wins in a single five game road trip and a hard-fought scoreless draw at Western Conference juggernauts Pali Blues. But in a conference with Pali and the tough LA Strikes, even a small slip can be fatal. That slip came in the form of two consecutive home losses to Pali and the Rapids Women. Most of the season was dominated by talk of hosting the Western Conference playoff. Now talk was about the likely need to travel to Pali in the blues. Then with a strong surge by LA, suddenly the talk was about making the playoffs at all.

So on Sunday, with Pali up by 2 goals over Santa Clarita and never looking in danger of dropping points, the task was clear. Seattle was a point behind LA and needed at least a draw, where they'd advance on a head-to-head tiebreaker. Against a Bay Area Breeze team with only 3 wins on the season, that was a reasonable goal. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. In the 16th minute, The Breeze were awarded and converted a penalty kick (oh. . Seattle soccer teams and penalties..) and took the 1-0 lead. They stayed organized defensively and turned away many Sounders chances until the 72nd minute, when they countered on a pressing Seattle and scored to go up 2. The Sounders couldn't recover and their promising season ended at Kezar Stadium one point out of the playoffs.

Some of the team will now turn their attention to the upcoming college season, where players like Isabel Farrell (Washington), Janine Beckie (Texas Tech), and Jaelene Hinkle (Texas Tech) will look to make their mark. 15-year-old Maddie Shultz will return to high school and local club play. Others, like Melissa Busque and Sara Campbell, will likely be on the lookout for pro opportunities in Europe. And others, like Tafara Pulse and M'ily Reiter, will probably stay in the Seattle area and go back to real life until the Sounders come calling again next season.

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