Tonight the Reign return to their home digs, fresh off of a thumping of the Houston Dash thanks to a sublime Kim Little hat trick. That win and Chicago's general malaise over the past few matches means Seattle's 7 points clear in the standings and 8 points ahead of the only team with enough games left to catch up — the Washington Spirit. Any Spirit dropped points and/or any Reign win over the remainder of the season would add another NWSL Shield to the Reign's trophy case.
Tonight's first-versus-last matchup is a likely setting for the clinching result. The visiting Boston Breakers have all but locked down last place in the standings. They haven't won a road match since July of 2014 and twice this season have lost to the Reign at home. And their defense has leaked 39 goals this season — more than twice as many as Seattle.
The only lineup change of note is the absence of Bev Yanez, who hurt her hip in the first half on the mud that Houston's field had become after a heavy rain. A strained hip is better news that we feared, given that she was down a long time with what looked like a non-contact leg injury, and hopefully she can be back in time for the playoffs. It's also a sign of the attacking depth of the team that they can be without their leading scorer and still look, on paper, like one of the top attacking units in the league.
That group should be able to put goals past the Breakers defense, and barring a major upset Seattle could have their hands on major hardware for the second season in a row.