The Reign go into their last match of the season with little to play for. Their early season struggles meant they had to put their playoff hopes in the hands of the Boston Breakers, who they needed to beat the Western New York Flash last night. But the league’s worst team didn’t come through, and so we know there will be no postseason this season after two consecutive appearances in the final.
Instead, this match will be about Keelin Winters. The team’s captain — from their inaugural season struggles through the two consecutive NWSL Shields — is retiring from the sport after tonight’s match, to become a firefighter. The holding midfielder was the foundation of a team defense that was one of the best in the league for three years and leaves still at the top of her game.
Her swan song will be played against the Houston Dash, a team the Reign have historically succeeded against. But there’s little to play for in the standings. The Dash are guaranteed to finish 8th. Thanks to tonight’s impending Sky Blue loss, the Reign will finish 5th. This will just be a celebration of Winters’ career and of the team, which will likely see major changes before next season kicks off. But we’ll save discussion of that for the offseason...
The match tonight is on FoxSports One, so no Youtube stream. Kickoff is at 6:30 Pacific. Watch and mourn with us.