We know we’ve said it a couple of times for the past few weeks, but it is the truth: the Seattle Reign FC must win tonight against the Washington Spirit if they want any chance at the playoffs. Win the final two matches and do some scoreboard watching is the situation for the Reign FC if they want to get into the NWSL Playoffs for the third straight year.
Reign FC and Spirit met up for the first time this season this past Wednesday. And we know what happened there. When the 2016 schedule was released, no one could have imagined there’d be so much sub-plot going into Sunday’s game, yet here we are. I exchanged three questions with Caitlin Buckley at Black & Red United to preview Sunday’s match.
Sounder at Heart: First and foremost how are your fingers since the madness from Wednesday night? Have you been able to catch up on sleep?
Black & Red United: Ha, Wednesday night was certainly pretty chaotic. I've lost track of how many Rapinoe articles and it's been a busy week for Black and Red United. I would say today is the first day I've been somewhat well-rested. It's a nice feeling.
SaH: We know what Sunday's game means for Seattle. Yet for Washington there is still plenty to play for. Strengthen their grip on the NWSL Shield and their finale against Chicago could determine if Seattle gets in. And then there was Wednesday's controversy. Put yourself in Jim Gabarra's shoes (and suave polo shirts): How do you keep the players focused with all that is still on the table?
B&RU: The Spirit are at their best when the team moves the ball well and the midfield trio has a good game. Diana Matheson returning to the starting lineup should be a huge boost for the Spirit as well. If I were Gabarra, I would stress that Seattle is certainly a team the Spirit can beat and Wednesday's result should inspire some confidence. Off the field, this team seems to click really well so if I were Gabarra, I would hope that unity helps the team stay focused. Both teams are in the same boat here and this will also be Keelin Winters last home game for the Reign which will be interesting to watch.
SaH: Fill in the blanks: Seattle Reign FC win this game if _____ happens. Washington Spirit win this game if _____ happens.
B&RU: Seattle Reign FC win this game if the pressure helps the Reign perform better and the Reign limit the amount and quality of the Spirit's shots. Washington Spirit win this game if its midfield excels and the defense stays tight in the second half.
You can find our answers to Three Questions over at Black & Red United.
Seattle Reign FC host Washington Spirit at Memorial Stadium on Sunday with a 7 PM kickoff. The match will stream live on YouTube.