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Match Preview: Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars

The Reign are back at home for the first time in over a month.

Last Updated
4 min read
© Melissa Tamez-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, April 21, Seattle Reign FC returns to Lumen Field for the first time in over a month, hosting the Chicago Red Stars. The match kicks off at 3 PM PT and will air on KONG-TV and stream on the KING 5+ (Seattle) and NWSL+ apps.

While head coach Laura Harvey confirmed that the Reign had no new injuries, the team will be without goalkeeper Claudia Dickey and forward Jordyn Huitema. Harvey made it sound like Dickey's injury wouldn't be a long one, but the club still signed goalkeeper Kaylie Collins to a short-term contract while Dickey recovers.

Chicago was without their star forward Mallory Swanson last week. Like Huitema, Swanson was injured in the SheBelieves Cup final. Swanson traveled with the club, but it's unclear how much time she might see on Sunday.

Recent Results

The Reign fell 3-2 to Bay FC on the road, while Chicago lost 1-0 to Angel City at home. Both teams gave up goals on set pieces. Both teams also put more pressure on their opponents in the second half but still came up short.

Head to Head

The Reign are 11-11-8 all-time against the Red Stars.

  • In their March 23 road match, the Reign fell 2-1 to Chicago.
  • When hosting the Red Stars, Seattle is 8-2-6.

Quick Stats

  • Chicago has scored 5 goals and conceded 3.
  • The Reign have scored 4 times and conceded 6 goals.
  • Jess Fishlock has scored seven goals against the Red Stars, tied for the most in the series.

What to Watch

Putting it all together

The Reign obviously haven't found the results on the road to start the season, but they've had positive moments in these games. They did well limiting the Red Stars and Wave, but still gave up uncharacteristic goals. They found more offensive chances against Bay FC but struggled to contain them on the defensive end.

The team, which has several new starters and a new formation this year, is focused on putting in a full 90-minute performance on both sides of the ball, building on what's worked and fixing the errors.

"We're just trying to find that balance right now. How do you find the balance between creating or scoring and not conceding? I think that's our big takeaway going into tomorrow," Harvey said. "You get your performance levels right on both sides of the ball and in all aspects of the game, you have a better chance of getting results."

Getting the wide play right

According to Opta, the Reign only completed 2 of their 30 crosses against Chicago in their road loss. That's a frustrating stat considering there were multiple times where the cross was the best option, but the team just couldn't connect. If the Reign can play with more precision and use their wide channels strategically, they should be able to create some strong chances.

Angel City demonstrated last week that Chicago can be vulnerable defensively when you stretch them wide. Angel City created several shots through crosses or cutbacks from wide channels.

What stands out about these chances is how quickly Angel City progressed and got crosses off – not giving the Red Stars enough time to set up defensively.

Chicago often puts a lot of bodies in the box, which can leave space at the top of the box – which Angel City found in this play. Is this a spot Jess Fishlock or Ji So-yun can exploit?

Chicago concedes possession

The Red Stars are a team that likes to put a lot of numbers behind the ball defensively and pounce on teams in possession. In their last match against Chicago, the Reign had 62% possession.

"They're quite happy to defend because they feel that they can get you in transitional moments," Harvey said ahead of that match.

As noted in our previous Red Stars preview, Chicago's forwards will work together to prevent passes into the Reign's holding midfielder, and their wide midfielders will close down quickly when the ball goes outside.

The Red Stars also attempt the fewest passes and shots in the league, but they are patient and know how to make the most of their chances – especially when they have Swanson on the pitch.

The Reign will need to be patient themselves while also putting some early pressure on Chicago in front of what should be a solid home crowd.

"We're excited to get back in front of our fans. I think we'll put on a show tomorrow, and hopefully we can get a positive result," Harvey said.

Injury / Availability Report

Seattle Reign

OUT: Jordyn Huitema (back), Claudia Dickey (knee)

Chicago Red Stars

OUT: Ava Cook (SEI - knee), Sami Feller (SEI - hip), Maximiliane Rall (leg)

How to Watch

Seattle Reign kicks off against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at 3 PM PT. The match at Lumen Field will air on KONG-TV locally. Fans in Seattle can also stream the match for free on the KING 5+ app, while all other fans can watch on NWSL+.