It’s the time of year Seattle Reign FC fans dread: the end of the 2017 NWSL regular season. While the squad just missed out on a playoff spot, they’ll hope to close out the season with an authoritative win on the road. Seattle concludes its season against the Washington Spirit on Saturday, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. PT.
The match is the second meeting between the two teams this season, with Naho Kawasumi putting together a record-setting performance to lead Reign FC to a 6-2 win in May. Kawasumi walked away with one goal, four assists and Player of the Week honors. She also set an NWSL record for most assists in a single match.
The forward now has nine assists and is just one assist away from tying another NWSL record — this time for most assists in a single season. If she strings together a performance that rivals her earlier match against the Spirit, Kawasumi will destroy that record.
Despite the six goals for Reign FC in May, the game was much tighter for a long period of time than the scoreline might indicate.
“It was a pretty open game, and they tend to be open games away in Washington too as their field is pretty big,” Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey said. “We’ve got to be patient on the ball. We can’t go out there and just think about goals. We’ve got to play the way we believe is the right way to play. When we do that we always have a good chance of winning the game.”
While the Washington Spirit have struggled this season, and currently sit in last place, the team is capable of putting together a solid performance. The squad has been much stronger offensively since Mallory Pugh joined mid-season, but they have also been plagued by prolonged and season-ending injuries. For today’s match, eight Washington players are out, one is doubtful, and another is probable.
With only pride on the line for Reign FC, we’d love to see Laura Harvey give more time to her rising stars. Coming off the bench against the Spirit in May, Katie Johnson was involved in three of Seattle’s six goals — and open games often play to her strengths. With Megan Rapinoe out due to yellow card accumulation, this could be a great match for Johnson to earn a start.
Maddie Bauer has also been impressive lately coming into the midfield late in the game. Could we see her earn more substantive minutes on Saturday? Her energy in the midfield could be useful against a thin Spirit squad, which is expected to have just four players on the bench.
“We’ve got to try to end the season on a high,” said Harvey. “The aim is to go out there, put in a good solid performance, and show what we believe this team is really about.”
Seattle: OUT: Haley Kopmeyer (illness), Diana Matheson (SEI – left knee ACL tear), Megan Rapinoe (yellow card accumulation)
Washington: OUT: Yanara Aedo (right knee meniscus tear), Estelle Johnson (left IT band tear), Alyssa Kleiner (excused absence), Stephanie Labbé (medical leave), Joanna Lohman (left ACL recovery), Francisca Ordega (left hamstring strain), Arielle Ship (right ACL tear), Line Sigvardsen Jensen (right ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: Estefania Banini (right hamstring strain); PROBABLE: Cheyna Williams (left hamstring strain)
How to Watch
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