Entering the game, Kim Little and Amy Rodriguez were tied for the golden boot lead with 6 each. And at the end of the game they were still tied, with 7.
With Megan Rapinoe and Stephanie Cox still out injured and Nahomi Kawasumi still with Japan, a game on the road at the very strong FC Kansas City was going to be the toughest match so far of the season. Especially since KC head coach Vlatko Andonovski came in with a good gameplan against Seattle. With all of their wing attack out of the game, the Reign's best chance to do damage was Kim Little picking up the ball in the hole between the midfield and defense. So KC simply made the hole disappear by collapsing the field. They played with a high line and pulled off the Reign defenders to pack the entire team into a narrow band at midfield, which compressed the space for Little and hindered any Seattle buildup.Still, even with so many missing players and facing a good gameplan, Seattle had the run of play through the first half. There was a 20 minute period in which the Reign may have had 85% possession. They weren't able to build it up into many good chances, but it starved the usually possession-dominant KC of any chances of their own. Hope Solo had two saves in the first half and neither of them was difficult. But the same was true of Nicole Barnhart at the other end.
That dynamic held until just before halftime, when a loose ball rolled right under the feet of Rodriguez and against any kind of run of play she cut it onto her left foot and blasted a shot that Solo could only get a finger on before it landed in the net. That restarted the clock on how long the Reign had trailed this season, which was sitting at 2 minutes.
And apparently uninterested about letting that run too long, Elli Reed went beast mode just a couple minutes later taking on the entire KC defense by herself in the opposing box until she was cut down to draw a penalty. Little stepped up and finished it confidently to tie the score just before half.
In the second half, KC doubled down on packing the midfield and few chances were created by either side. The best might have came when Jess Fishlock picked up the ball in space and lofted an arcing cross into the box that Bev Goebel ran onto at a full sprint, but her bullet header was well wide of the goal. Then near the end of the match, Fishlock sent a perfect through-ball that Little ran onto at the elbow, but her angle was tight and she could only shoot straight into Barnhart. In the end Solo and Barnhart each only had to make one save in the second half as the ball could rarely escape from the packed midfield.
The draw ends Seattle's remarkable run of consecutive wins. But once you get over that disappointment, a road draw against a tough KC side is a perfectly acceptable result. Especially one in which the Reign had the run of play for extended periods of the match without two of their best playmakers on the field. The point keeps them undefeated on the year — with a third of the season complete — and puts them 9 ahead of Chicago in second place. Now they come home to face Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash on Sunday at Memorial, one game closer to the returns of Rapinoe and Kawasumi.