This afternoon the Reign roll into upstate New York riding the momentum of a three game winning streak, and a six game undefeated streak. This first of two consecutive games against New York is the first match with the Flash since the season opener — a 5-1 home thumping from Seattle that had us thinking they'd be carrying last year's Shield-winning form right into 2015. That was before a run of only one win in five had us dropping our expectations down to pitch-level. But now the Reign seem to have figured themselves out again, and another big win over New York would nicely bookend the first half of the season.
This will also be the last match the team plays without their US national team players Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo, and the last match before newcomer Katrine Veje joins the squad. That means it's the last chance for some rotational players to prove themselves before starting spots become even harder to earn.
The Flash will be without Sydney Leroux, who's also with the US preparing for Sunday's World Cup final. But these days their strength comes from their rookies. The Flash had (absurdly) four of the top seven picks in this year's draft, and every one of those picks has played in every match this season. Defenders Abby Dahlkemper and (ex-Sounders Woman) Jaelene Hinkle lead the defense, and attackers Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams combine for five of the team's 12 goals.
The only significant roster change for Seattle this week is the loss of Merritt Mathias to injury. She's been a big part of the the Reign's offense both up top and on the wings with Rapinoe away. This week expect Danielle Foxhoven or Kiersten Dallstream to step into the lineup.
A win or a draw puts Seattle on top of the standings for at least a week, as Chicago has the week off. And that would put them in perfect position to kick off the second half of the season next week with the roster fully restored.