While the full schedule for the 2018 NWSL season won’t be unveiled until next week, the league provided a preview by announcing home openers for all nine teams. Seattle Reign FC will be at home for the opening weekend of NWSL play, hosting the Washington Spirit on Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m. PT.
Reign FC has enjoyed a series of strong performances against the Spirit over the last five seasons. The squad is 8–4–1 against the “other Washington,” and last season put on a 6–2 show thanks to a goal and four assists from Naho Kawasumi.
Seattle has also eliminated the Spirit twice in the NWSL Playoffs. In 2014, Hope Solo made this epic save on a penalty kick to keep the game even in the 78th minute. Megan Rapinoe went on to score the game winner. The team won easily in 2015, downing the Spirit 3-0.
Never forget pic.twitter.com/DLBoj7xpd5— Victor Joshriguez (@sea_soc) August 27, 2014
However, while Seattle’s record against the Spirit is strong on paper, both sides will enter 2018 with vastly different teams. In addition to the attacking prowess of Mallory Pugh, the Spirit have added 2017 NWSL Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch and playmaker Rose Lavelle to their attack, and drafted Andi Sullivan with the first pick in the 2018 draft. Sullivan is a versatile midfielder who led Stanford to an NCAA Championship as a senior and has already earned time on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Canadian international Rebecca Quinn and right back Taylor Smith will provide additional defensive cover, which looks to be the most significant weakness for the Spirit heading into this season. Fans now have slightly more than a month to wait to see both squads in action.
Reign FC will be part of another team’s home opener on Sunday, April 15. At 2 p.m. PT, Seattle will kick off against Sky Blue FC, a team that is now home to former Reign FC players Katie Johnson and Rebekah Stott.
The complete regular season schedule, along with the schedule for the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime, will be announced on Tuesday, February 20.
Next week, players will report to the first day of preseason training at Memorial Stadium. They will have about two weeks together before playing three preseason matches: a closed-door scrimmage against Washington State University on March 3, a March 8 game against the University of Washington (Husky Soccer Stadium), and a match in California on March 13 against UCLA (SilverLakes Complex in Norco, CA).
Full Schedule: NWSL Home Openers
Saturday, March 24
3:30 p.m. ET – North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC (Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park)
7:30 p.m. ET – Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC (Orlando City Stadium)
10:00 p.m. ET – Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit (Memorial Stadium)
Sunday, March 25
5:00 p.m. ET – Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Saturday, March 31
3:30 p.m. ET – Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride (Maryland SoccerPlex)
8:15 p.m. ET – Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC (Toyota Park)
Saturday, April 14
3:30 p.m. ET – Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars (Rio Tinto Stadium)
Sunday, April 15
5:00 p.m. ET – Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC (Yurcak Field)
6:00 p.m. ET – Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride (Providence Park)