It’s the matchup we’ve all been waiting for.
When the NWSL schedule is released before the start of each season, it’s the rivalry tilts that fans always circle first.
For the Reign FC faithful, that means marking down the games against Portland Thorns FC, and Wednesday signals the first of a five-day stretch where the two sides will play each other twice.
Time to start another streak
Seattle’s 3–0 loss to the Washington Spirit last Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex meant the end of an eight-game unbeaten streak, dating back to May 2.
Over that span, Seattle had gone 5–0–3, picking up 18 points in the NWSL standings. Reign FC now sits in second-place, just one point back of the Chicago Red Stars, and can reclaim sole possession of first with a win over Portland, coupled with a Red Stars draw/loss against the Boston Breakers.
A game so nice, they’ll play it twice
Wednesday night’s game at Providence Park in Portland is the first matchup of the season between Reign FC and Thorns FC.
It won’t take long for the rematch.
The two sides will meet again this Sunday at 4 p.m. PT, this time on the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium for the second-half of the home-and-home series.
Last season, Seattle went 2–1–0 against Portland. A goal in the 90th minute from Scottish international Kim Little propelled Reign FC past Thorns FC in Portland on May 10, while Seattle rolled to a 5–0 victory in the rematch at Memorial Stadium on July 27, with a goal each from Little and forward Megan Rapinoe.
Portland won the final game between the two sides 1–0 on August 17.
Reign FC will continue to compete this weekend without the services of U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) World Cup star goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Solo sustained an injury to her knee during the Women’s World Cup and is being evaluated on a game-by-game basis to assess her fitness. In place of Solo, Reign FC has signed Caroline Stanley. Stanley has been on Seattle’s full roster as an amateur call-up for the past nine NWSL matches while Solo was with the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World.
Reign FC forward and World Champion Megan Rapinoe returned to full training with the team on Monday, July 20 and will be available for selection during Wednesday’s match in Portland.
Portland was hit harder than most NWSL sides by World Cup attrition, as a league-high eight players donned the uniform of their respective national teams to compete for the title.
As many as seven of those players could see action on Wednesday. That includes USWNT midfielder Tobin Heath, and the Canadian trio of defender Rhian Wilkinson, midfielder Kaylyn Kyle, and forward Christine Sinclair.
English forward Jodie Taylor, German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, and Australian defender Steph Catley also return to the Rose City.
One notable absence for Portland, however, will be USWNT forward Alex Morgan, who will not suit up on Wednesday after undergoing minor knee surgery earlier in the week.
Bright lights, big audience
A national broadcast deal between the NWSL and FOX Sports commences with Wednesday night’s matchup.
Fans across the country will be able to stream the match on their tablet or phone live via the Fox Sports GO app, or can watch online at www.FOXSportsGO.com. The stream will be available without a Fox Sports Go account. As such, this match will not be on YouTube.
Tickets to Sunday’s match against Portland in Seattle are almost gone so fans looking to attend should grab their seat now. Visit ReignFC.com or call (855) REIGN-FC.