The long road to a pro women's franchise in Seattle (or in the Northwest at all) is a saga that won't squeeze into a game thread and one that I'm not even particularly qualified to tell. But suffice to say that even if you're not a fan of the women's game, or if you've reserved your women's soccer fandom for the amateur Sounders Women, it's still worth acknowledging the role that the Sounders community had in the creation of the Reign.
We have pro women's soccer because of the tremendous support we have in MLS and the support we gave to the Sounders Women last season when they briefly became a world class amateur team in the wake of the collapse of WPS. Past leagues only had eyes for California when they considered teams out west. Now they come to Cascadia first.
Their first ever offseason has not been particularly kind to the Reign, but the part of the season where they'll actually kick the ball will go much better. The team has a metric ton of talented midfielders and they'll do well as long as the backline can hold up. Laura Harvey relied on her midfielders when she won championships with Arsenal and she'll be doing the same here.
We'll be even more midfield-reliant in the first match, since both projected forward starters are out. Canadian international Tiffany Cameron is still finishing her studies and Lindsay Taylor is out with an eye injury suffered in training. That means the offense will be run through attacking midfielders like Teresa Noyola and Jess Fishlock.
In defense we'll be reliant on US international Keelin Winters to guide a young and inexperienced backline centered by UW legend and recent Sounder Kate Deines and Canadian international Emily Zurrer. Hope Solo is still out injured, so we're likely to see backup Haley Kopmeyer behind them in net.
The Red Stars are in similar shape with a dubious allocation from the league and injury issues. #1 overall pick Zakiya Bywaters will run their attack, but they're heavy on defensive mids and will probably sit deep with possession. Even so, given the Reign's roster issues a draw would have to feel pretty good in the road opener.