Seattle Reign FC's injury woes continue, as the team announced on Friday that Manon Melis will be out 4-6 weeks due to a tibia fracture. Melis suffered the injury in the 3rd minute of Seattle's match against the Portland Thorns, when she landed awkwardly on the turf going after a loose ball. It is the exact same injury that Jess Fishlock picked up on April 24 against the Boston Breakers.
The absence of Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe, and now Melis will put the Reign's depth to the test over the next few weeks.
Melis, who came to Seattle this year after making a name for herself as a goal-scorer in the Swedish Damallsvenskan, was just beginning to find a good rhythm with her Reign FC teammates. She brought an incredible amount of speed, directness toward goal, and tenacity, something that is going to be hard to replace as Seattle faces teams like the Chicago Red Stars, Portland Thorns, Houston Dash, and Sky Blue FC over the next month.
Soccer data guru Chad Murphy has been doing some incredible work this year to analyze the shot quality of NWSL teams and players. Murphy found that, to date, Melis has led the Reign in shot quality over the first quarter of the season. She already has one goal and one assist in four games.
Carson Pickett replaced Melis against the Thorns last week, and proved to be a versatile and threatening attacker on the left side of the field. Kiersten Dallstream, who started on the left but moved to the right after Melis came off, had one of her best Reign FC performances to date.
Seattle also has options like Lindsay Elston and Havana Solaun, who have looked threatening as subs during the first quarter of the year. Putting Elston into the match could push Bevery Yanez up top again, and give Kim Little some additional freedom to push higher up the field.
Meanwhile, Rapinoe remains on a strong path to recovery from the ACL tear she suffered in December, with a late summer return looking hopleful, and Jess Fishlock could be back by June 12, when Seattle faces Houston at home.
Until then, Seattle is without three of their starters, and will be looking to grind out results against teams that currently all sit above the Reign in the standings. And we can just send the best of wishes to Melis, Rapinoe, and Fishlock as they work their way back from injuries.