The result on the field was in little doubt from the first minutes. Boston's only hope in this match was to somehow contain the league-leading Reign attack with their league-worst defense, keep it to a goal at most, and get fortunate on a Kristie Mewis counter or set piece. But from the opening whistle Seattle battered the Breakers' defensive line, creating chance after chance. And in the end their 3-1 win earned them a second consecutive NWSL Shield, their second piece of major league hardware in only three years of existence.
Detailing the minutiae of the goals seems almost cruel and unnecessary. Some of their endless chances in the first 60 minutes went in, some went just wide or were saved. Katrine Veje was a terror on the left flank, turning a very good defender in right back Julie King into a cardboard cutout. She made the endline countless times for dangerous cutbacks and seemed destined to score a goal herself, but her handful of close chances were just off. Still, by the end of the half Megan Rapinoe and Kendall Fletcher had goals (with a bonus #FletcherFlip).
In the second, Kim Little scored to bring her total to a team-leading 10 — good for second in the league behind Crystal Dunn's 13 — and it seemed the only question left was what the scoreline would be. Boston answered that with a late Maddy Evans goal after a period of sustained Breakers pressure to bring the score to 3-1, but it was too late to mount a comeback.
With the final whistle the Reign officially put their stamp on league history for a second time. Counting the Sounders' 2014 trophy, Seattle has now won the last three league Shields across MLS and NWSL.
The immediate focus now is on this weekend's home match against Sky Blue — the last regular season home match and a chance to push the team's average season attendance over 4,000 for the season. There's nothing left to play for in the standings, but head coach Laura Harvey has made it clear she wants to keep momentum moving into the playoffs, and there's the team's undefeated record at home and a now- six game winning streak to defend.