Seattle Reign FC will host Arsenal Ladies FC in an international friendly match this evening. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT at Memorial Stadium, and will be streamed on YouTube. This is the third international friendly the Reign have hosted in the past four years.
The two sides have some strong connections. Laura Harvey served as Arsenal's manager from 2010 to 2012 before joining Seattle. In 2011, Arsenal won the FA Cup, Continental Cup and FA Women's Super League (WSL) title. Midfielder Kim Little also has a deep history with Arsenal, having played there for the five years prior to joining Seattle. Little scored 47 goals in all competitions for the club in 2010, and 25 goals in 23 matches in 2012.
Beyond the intriguing connections, tonight's friendly should prove to be a strong test for the Reign. Arsenal Ladies are considered the most successful club in English women's soccer. They have won 43 major trophies since their founding in 1987, and just two weeks ago won the FA Women's Cup, defeating Chelsea 1-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium thanks to this Danielle Carter goal, scored in front of a crowd of 33,000.
"Arsenal is a great club, has great tradition, and set me on a journey which led me to be here with the Reign — which is a place that I love," said Harvey. "There are great players with Arsenal, so I think the game will be great. It's good timing for us because we need something a little different."
Arsenal currently sits in 5th out of nine teams in the FA WSL, with a 2-2-1 record. They've scored just five goals so far this season, with midfielder Dominique Janssen leading the squad with two goals. But don't let that number fool you. Arsenal has quality attacking talent, including Nigerian national team forward Asisat Oshoala, who signed with Arsenal this year after winning the inaugural BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award in 2015 for her impressive World Cup showing and debut in the FA WSL with Liverpool Ladies.
Arsenal's squad also includes five England internationals who contributed to the team's third-place finish at the World Cup: defenders Alex Scott and Casey Stoney, midfielders Fara Williams and Jordan Nobbs, and forward Jodie Taylor, who most recently played for the Portland Thorns. Fara Williams is England's all-time leader in caps, with 150.
Arsenal's roster also features defender Emma Mitchell, who plays alongside Little and Rachel Corsie on the Scotland national team. Midfielders Dominique Janssen and Daniëlle van de Donk, as well as goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, have played on the Netherlands national team alongside Reign FC forward Manon Melis.
The English club team is led by head coach Pedro Martinez Losa, who spent two seasons as assistant coach with the Western New York Flash before joining Arsenal in 2014.
With another match on Sunday against Portland, Laura Harvey is expected to use tonight's match to feature players who have, to this point, seen limited minutes in NWSL play. If you can't make it to Memorial Stadium for the international friendly, we will have a gamethread and livestream available this evening.