For the first time ever, the Seattle Sounders and OL Reign will play a doubleheader at Lumen Field. It promises to be a historic event for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it could set a new NWSL attendance record.
To mark the occasion, we put together a special edition of “five things” that looks at both games.
Be wary of revenge
The Sounders demolished the Timbers a few weeks ago down in Portland. Maybe you remember, but if you don’t, I’ll remind you that Seattle scored 6 goals. In Portland. Frankly, that’s a lot of soccer goals. The Sounders have won two road games since, so maybe you forgot. But the Timbers definitely didn’t. They’ll be out to try to do the same this time around. This is 90 minutes to be managed well and take the chances when they open up. - Mark
I worry about this a little as well from the Reign perspective. It’s been a while, but Thorns players will certainly have their 2-1 home loss from May on their mind as they head up I-5. Angry Thorns are not fun. - Susie
When it comes to Thorns/Reign matches, tactics often go out the door. It comes down to which team wins the duels — especially in the 18-yard box. This will be the first rivalry match for OL Reign’s newcomers from Lyon. I’m sure their teammates are preparing them for the battle, where every duel matters. In the words of OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey, “Let’s f**king go. Let’s just go and smash everybody.” - Susie
Home sweet home
The Sounders’ home form has been a bit wonky compared to their away record this season. 5-2-4 at home isn’t necessarily bad, given that they’re the best team in the West and 7 points off the New England Revolution with a game in hand for the Supporters’ Shield. But that’s largely on teh strength of their league-best away record, an astonishing 7-1-2. If Seattle has hopes of lifting the Shield and having the inside track on hosting MLS Cup, they need to improve their home form. Including the match against Portland, they have six home matches left. There’s not much room for error.
Seattle’s aim is high and will undoubtedly be aided by Portland’s woeful away record. Only the Chicago Fire (1 point) have taken fewer points away from home than Portland (5 – 1-7-2) this season. - Mark
Bust through the pressure
The Thorns like to lure teams into traps in their attacking half — especially on the wings — then pounce and push numbers forward in transition. It worked well in their mid-week match, creating 11 shots from Gotham giveaways. OL Reign struggled with composure playing out of the back earlier in the season, but they are a lot more organized in recent months. They’ll want to make sure they avoid these traps and look for opportunities to pass around the pressure. It’s nice to have a player like Rose Lavelle who can break through lines with a simple (for her) dribble. - Susie
There’s never been an event like this in Seattle soccer history. I’m really looking forward to Sunday and all the festivities. I obviously want both teams to win or else the mood dampens a little bit. I hope that Lumen Field has sorted out some of the concession issues that it’s faced over the past few months! This has the ability to go down in history as one of the coolest events in Washington soccer history. I hope it lives up to the hype. - Mark
The only thing that’s been missing in Reign games of the past is the echo of tens of thousands of people cheering them on. They have world-class players with world-class talent. This team features players from Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and Wales — along with U.S. national team stars. They play entertaining soccer. Now they get to play it on the biggest stage. Let’s make it loud. - Susie