What You’ll Watch
Seattle Reign FC returns home after a two-game road trip to face the Orlando Pride on Sunday evening. Both teams will be playing with depleted squads due to both injury and international callups.
Seattle remains second in the league with a record of 5-2-2 (17 points in nine games played; 1.89 ppg) while Orlando sits in third place with a record of 4-3-3 (15 points in 10 games played; 1.5 ppg). Last weekend, Reign FC defeated Sky Blue 1-0, while the Orlando Pride dismantled the Chicago Red Stars 5-2 — both matches were on the road.
This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the two clubs. Seattle is 1-1-3 against Orlando, with 8 goals scored and 7 conceded. The last time they met, Seattle played well on the road and walked away with a 1-1 draw.
Orlando features a number of former Reign FC players, including Carson Pickett, Christine Nairn, Sydney Leroux, Emily van Egmond, and Haley Kopmeyer — who will earn a start this weekend due to Ashlyn Harris’ international call-up.
A Look at the Enemy
Last Five: W-L-W-T-W
Leading Scorer: Chioma Ubogagu, four
Assist Leader: Marta and Christine Nairn, three
OUT: Camila (right knee surgery – D45), Ali Krieger (right knee sprain), Marta (left calf strain), Rachel Hill (left groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: Monica (right knee soreness), Toni Pressley (left quad strain); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Ashlyn Harris (USA), Alex Morgan (USA)
OUT: Yael Averbuch (illness), Jaycie Johnson (right knee sprain – D45), Megan Oyster (left knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: Steph Catley (left groin strain); INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Allie Long (USA), Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Rain showers are expected Sunday afternoon in Seattle, but things are supposed to clear closer to the match. At kickoff, it is expected to be cloudy and 58 degrees — a cool but hopefully dry evening for soccer.
Referee: Danielle Chesky
AR1: Jennifer Garner
AR2: Dan Stupca
4th Official: Jeff Arthurholtz
What to Watch
Orlando is always a fun matchup for Seattle, as both teams like to play in a similar fashion, relying on possession and build-up rather than direct soccer and balls sent over the top. What makes Orlando tough is that they’re also a physical team — matching their possession with an aggressive approach to winning the ball back. Seattle has proven they can withstand physical opponents, however.
Orlando averages 419 passes per game, while Seattle is slightly higher with a 435 average. While Seattle likes to build play from slightly deeper on the field, Orlando’s attack is developed higher up the field — primarily through Marta. This Sunday, however, the Pride will be without the linchpin of its attack, as Marta is out with a calf strain. Seattle, meanwhile, will be without Allie Long, who has been arguably the team’s most consistent player and a significant link between the Reign defense and attack.
Both teams line up in a similar formation, utilizing a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation, depending on the opponent. Orlando has deployed two midfielders to work off each other and shield the back line, and Australian international Alanna Kennedy has been one of Orlando’s best players this season in that role.
Kennedy’s international teammate, Emily van Egmond (a Reign FC player briefly in 2013), will be charged with driving the attack. She often leads the team in touches and helps shuttle the ball through the midfield. Seattle would be smart to ensure she doesn’t spend too much time on the ball.
Orlando can be dangerous on the wings as well, with their outside backs pushing up, or players like Christine Nairn pulling wide to send through balls to speedy forwards. Another former Reign player, Sydney Leroux, is coming off a brace — her first goals scored for Orlando this season. Both chances came from crosses sent into the box from the right side of the field.
While Orlando has been scoring a lot of goals lately, they’ve also conceded six in their last two matches. If Reign FC continues to create chances and stays organized on defense, they should be able to contain a Pride team without a number of starters.
- Test their outside backs: Orlando is vulnerable on the wings. While Seattle will be without Megan Rapinoe, the team should look to utilize the outside backs and wide forwards to pressure the Pride defense. Jodie Taylor’s smart runs also should be helpful in pulling defenders out of position.
- Pressure the midfield: Don’t let Emily van Egmond get time and space with the ball.
- Stay organized: Orlando is good at sneaking behind the defense. The two Reign FC centerbacks who earn a start will need to be organized and keep Orlando in front of them.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Sunday, June 3, 6:00 PM PT
Location: UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium, Seattle
Streaming: U.S. go90 (app/website), International: NWSL (app/website)