On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Seattle Reign FC traveled down I-5 to face a depleted Portland Thorns lineup. It was the second time the two sides were set to meet, and after an extremely physical draw in Seattle, the Reign were expected to dominate a Portland side that was missing six starters.
While Seattle dominated possession in front of 18,114 fans, they were once again unable to find the back of the net, and the match ended in a scoreless draw. Portland remains the only unbeaten team in the NWSL, with a 3-0-4 record, while Seattle falls to 2-3-2 and sits in 7th place.
Portland came into the match with a very clear defensive game plan. When Seattle's backline had the ball, Portland's forwards dropped deep to cut off balls into the midfield, while their defenders pushed extremely high up the field, compressing the play and forcing the Reign to attempt balls over the top. Lacking the speed of someone like Manon Melis, Seattle struggled to get balls over the top, unlock space, and put players onto goal.
The most dangerous chance for Seattle didn't come until the 74th minute, when a Reign corner kick was misjudged by Portland goalkeeper Michelle Betos, and the ball flew over her hands. Bev Yanez tried to get her foot onto the ball in front of goal, but Thorns defender Katherine Reynolds somehow managed to clear the ball off the line.
While the result was disappointing, there was some good news for Reign fans. Jess Fishlock made her return into the starting lineup, and went a full 90 minutes. While her passing was a little off at times, it was great to see her controlling the midfield and allowing Kim Little to push higher. Keelin Winters also put in a fantastic shift defensively, keeping Christine Sinclair quiet throughout the first half.
Seattle did pick up a point on the road, and will have a week off to rest and recover. The Reign next face the Houston Dash, currently sitting in 8th place, on June 12 at home.