Reign preseason began today at Memorial Stadium, though not with the full contingent of players. A number are away on national team duty in the Cypress and Algarve Cups, or (in the case of Wales) friendlies.
The US National team players (Stephanie Cox, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Sydney Leroux) are part of a very disappointing Algarve Cup campaign. In group play the US went winless, starting with a 1-1 draw with Japan in which the team had a number of good chances but looked very rusty in the attack. Then in the second game, ex-US manager Pia Sundhage made a bit of a statement with her current Sweden team, using full-field pressure to deny the US possession and grinding out a 1-0 win. And finally, this morning the US just got run over by Denmark 5-3, giving up early goals on counters and then giving up late goals as they tried to press to equalize. Now they're in danger of playing for last place in the tournament they've historically dominated. That should be a huge wake-up call to Tom Sermanni and US Soccer just a few weeks after clobbering Russia in a two-friendly series. Maybe the lesson is they need to knock off the cupcake moneygrabs and be more willing to travel to keep the level of competition high.
Meanwhile, Nahomi Kawasumi and Japan are having a fine Algarve Cup campaign. After the intial draw with the US, they beat both Sweden and Denmark to win the group and will now face Germany in the final. Naho didn't score, but she was very dangerous on the wing in all the games I watched.
At the Cyprus Cup, Scotland and captain Kim Little are also having a very nice run. After an opening draw with world powers France they beat the Netherlands and Australia and finish second in the group to the French by a single goal of goal difference. Now they face Carmelina Moscato and Canada in the third place match after the Canadians finished second to England in their group.
Lastly, Wales and captain Fishlock weren't involved in the Spring tournaments, but they played two home friendlies against Romania on Friday and Sunday and drew both.
Back in Seattle
Meanwhile, even with all the internationals away, it was time to start Reign preseason training, including the dreaded Beep Test (with Keelin Winters finishing on top) Training is at Memorial Stadium, which as much as anything makes it official that this is the new home of the team.
Also, there's ticketing news. Half-season (6 game) ticket packs are on sale on the site, allowing you to pick any 6 games you want. And single game tickets will go on sale next Monday.
The internationals should stagger in later in the week as the tournaments finish and the roster will be complete, minus the one remaining open spot. Preseason play starts March 29 in a friendly against the Portland Pilots.