Today at 4pm at Memorial Stadium the Seattle Reign face the Chicago Red Stars for the first time this season.
Last week a come-from-behind draw against the Portland Thorns saved Seattle from their second ever loss at Memorial, but they continue to struggle to find an attacking rhythm with Jess Fishlock out injured. Laura Harvey has opted to replace the Welsh wonder by pulling Kim Little back into a more holding role, but that's left the offense underpowered. And now speedy winger Manon Melis is out for over a month with the same injury Fishlock suffered — a fractured left tibia — leaving the attack even thinner.
To keep above water until those players (and Megan Rapinoe) return and/or reinforcements are added midseason, the Reign will need to get some contributions from their depth attackers, particularly Havana Solaun and Kiersten Dallstream.
Not helping Seattle's offense will be Chicago's stout defense. The Red Stars are riding a streak of four consecutive shutouts, which has them in playoff position despite scoring only 4 goals so far this season. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in particular has been on a strong run, having just won Player of the Week for a five-save performance in Kansas City. One silver lining for Seattle is that USWNT defender Julie Johnston may be out of this match with an injury of her own.
The key for Seattle's defense will be stopping Christen Press, who's nearly the entirety of Chicago's current offense. She has 3 of the team's 4 goals and her 18 shots on goal are followed by Sofia Huerta with only 3.
The Reign's mounting injuries may make it increasingly unlikely they'll repeat as Shield champions, but their goal this year is the championship, and to do that they only need to make the playoffs. A win today would put them just back into a playoff spot and in good position to hold on until their reinforcements arrive.