Few things were more commonplace during the 2014 NWSL season than Scottish international Kim Little putting a scoring attempt in the back of the net.
What may have flown under the radar was just how important her goals were for the team’s record. Each time the 24-year old scored, Seattle was kept out of the loss column.
Little notched 16 goals across 12 regular season games in 2014, with Seattle posting a 9–0–3 record in those matches. That included a stretch of six matches between May 10 and June 7 where she recorded goals in each game.
In four of the nine wins, Little’s goal — or goals — made the difference between three points and one. Add in the point in the standings from each of the three ties, and that’s a potential 11-point swing in the standings if those goals go unscored.
The reigning Golden Boot winner, Little had three more goals than the next highest tally in the league in 2014, accounting for almost five percent of all goals in the NWSL. That included just over 30 percent of Seattle’s offensive output during the regular season. Only one other player in the league accounted for that much of their team’s scoring.
Little also didn’t discriminate in her scoring prowess, notching goals against each of the other eight NWSL teams.
However, her biggest goal of the year may have come with less than 20 minutes to play in the NWSL Semifinals against the Washington Spirit.
With Seattle trailing 1–0 in the 72nd minute, Little was called upon to take a penalty kick after a handball in the box.
Little fired a shot past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to knot the score at 1. After midfielder Jess Fishlock was called for encroachment, Little was tasked with doing it again.
Without issue, the second attempt also found the net.
Little has yet to put her name on the score sheet in 2015, and teams across the league may be paying closer attention to what a brace from her means for their chances at a win.
But one thing is for certain: they haven’t figured out how to defeat Reign FC when she does tally a goal.
To see Little and Reign FC take on the Washington Spirit on Saturday, come on down to Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 6 p.m. PT and kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. PT.