While the biggest tournament in the women's game kicks off in Canada, a few hours south league play carries on, at least for one more weekend. This week, the Reign host New Jersey's Sky Blue FC before taking off two weeks for the Cup. Seattle hopes to get back on the winning track after consecutive draws — the last a scoreless draw last weekend against Chicago. Six games in the Reign sit in 7th place in the standings, and even with at least one game in hand on most teams, that's nowhere near where they wanted and expected to be at this point in the season. Fortunately, three points tonight vaults them all the way up to third and back in playoff position.
Seattle remains one of the teams least impacted by World Cup absences. With Haley Kopmeyer a capable backup for Hope Solo, the major loss is Megan Rapinoe. They should have enough offense without her, but they've been unable to free Kim Little to be the offensive force she was last season. At the end of the last match she found some late danger from the wing, so it'll be interesting to see if Laura Harvey tries to move her there again.
Otherwise, the only new injury is rotational player Kiersten Dallstream, so Harvey will have her pick of options to try to build an attack that can get back to regularly scoring goals.
Sky Blue has yet to score more than one goal in a game all season. Their leading scorer is Katy Freels with 4, but their offensive talisman is Nadia Nadim. Shutting her down would go a long way toward getting a shutout, and then Seattle just needs to find a way to put together one goal for a win. And then when we keep looking at the frozen standings over the next couple of weeks they'll at least be in playoff position.