After three weeks off from league play, the Seattle Reign return fresh and rested to host their nemeses: the Chicago Red Stars. It was the Red Stars who delivered Seattle their first loss last season and their first loss of this season, thanks to an injury time Christen Press goal. Press is now away on US duty, but unfortunately for the Reign rookie Sofia Huerta instantly picked up the slack and is now tied for the league goal lead with 5.
Seattle's only losses among it starters are Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo to the USWNT and Jess Fishlock, who was red carded late in their last league match. Otherwise they should be in perfect shape for league action. According to Laura Harvey, the team looked as good as they had all season in their friendly tie with the Chinese national team last weekend. Hopefully that form carries forward to this weekend.
We're now in the heart of the World Cup phase of the season — the stretch that the Reign seemed so very well prepared for, with fewer losses to their key players than any team in the league. But Seattle's running out of time to make that advantage pay off. They're currently 6th in the standings with only one or two games in hand on the competition. After tonight and a home game next weekend against Sky Blue, the league goes on a long break for the Cup. And if today's moribund scoreless draw against South Korea was any indication, the US players may be returning home much sooner than we were hoping.