Today the Seattle Reign open their 2016 preseason with a match against new-but-fierce regional rivals Portland Thorns. Seattle is participating in a preseason mini-tournament hosted at Providence Park, which also includes the Houston Dash and Oregon State University.
This is also likely to be the only streamed match for Seattle at the tournament — as of now the plan is for only games featuring the Thorns to be streamed — so enjoy it while you can.
For the Reign and their fans it will be the first chance to see the new additions to the team, including Dutch forward Manon Melis and first round draft pick Carson Pickett, who is expected to compete for the left back spot that was vacated by the retired Stephanie Cox. We should also get re-introduced to Havana Solaun, who missed the entire year last season with an ankle injury suffered in preseason. She's featured heavily for the U23 national team this spring, so clearly has a bright future and may be one of the biggest "new additions" to the squad this year.
For the Thorns, it's a first chance to see new head coach Mark Parsons in action. He had previously guided the Washington Spirit to two consecutive playoff appearances only to be defeated by the Reign in the semifinals at Memorial Stadium both times. Now he tries to get the best out of a Thorns franchise that has never seemed to be able to take advantage of the abundance of talent available.
And it's the first game of the post-Morgan era, after the star US striker was sent to Orlando in exchange for a ridiculous haul of concessions, including Meghan Klingenberg (who was stashed on the Seattle roster for about a week as part of the convoluted deal), Lindsey Horan, a draft pick that became Emily Sonnett, and a draft pick that was traded for Nadia Nadim. Oh, and they added French superstar midfielder Amandine Henry.
So this looks like a Thorns roster worthy of the best rivalry in the league and one that can contend with a Seattle team that's won consecutive NWSL Shields. Today is the first day of that new era.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, March 27, 5:00 p.m. PT
Location: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon