Seattle Reign FC at Western New York Flash
4:05pm E.T./1:05pm P.T.
The Seattle Reign (0-9-1, 1 point) suffered their ninth straight loss in a 2-0 setback last weekend against Portland. The Reign have not scored since May 16 against Washington. Seattle had few chances but weren’t able to capitalize on any of them which has been a growing trend, especially in the past three games.
A pair of 1-0 defeats with an unlucky bounce saw the Reign drop matches against Portland (late PK) and Kansas City (deflection off Hope Solo).
The Reign do have the most complete team we’ve seen all season as Hope Solo, Kaylyn Kyle, Emily Zurrer and Jessica Fishlock all return from national team duty. Megan Rapinoe joined the team on Friday following national team duty but was slated to make her debut on June 29 (EDIT: Rapinoe WILL get the starting nod for the Reign).
Seattle also signed Tobagan international Kennya Cordner and Stephanie Cox this week. Cox is not on the active roster yet but Cordner will see her first action of 2013 this afternoon.
Christine Nairn may finally have a target up top where Rapinoe seems to be listed (although that may change since we primarily see her in the midfield for the United States)
None. Both Elli Reed and Kate Deines have come back over the past few matches after suffering ankle sprains in May. After struggling early with injuries, the Reign may be one of the healthiest teams in the league.
The Western New York Flash (5-2-3, 18 points) currently sit in third place after going on a tear and are unbeaten since April 27. They will go for their eighth straight match with a point this afternoon. They are coming off a late game tie with Chicago. Adriana tied the match for the Flash in the 13th minute and Brittany Taylor salvaged a tie late for the Flash, scoring in the 89th minute.
Fatigue may start to play a factor for the Flash who are playing their 5th match in 18 days and several players are coming off travel with their respective national teams. Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach are both coming off of two games with the US and Jodi-Ann Robinson.
The Flash will be without Samantha Kerr and Adriana this afternoon due to national team commitments with Australia and Spain. Adriana will miss extended time as she rejoins Spain in preparation for the European Championships.
All eyes will be on Wambach, who sits atop the league leaders in scoring with six on the season. She is coming off a four goal game on Thursday that saw her break Mia Hamm’s goal scoring record to become the all-time leader in goals scored in international soccer. It is also the first time since the 2010 WPS season that Wambach and Solo will match up against each other which should prove interesting for both sides.
Midfielder Sarah Huffman (L. Hamstring Strain) and defender Alex Sahlen (R. wrist fracture) are listed as probable.
This is the first matchup between these two clubs and it comes at a time where the Reign absolutely need three points if they actually want to contend for a playoff spot. We’re nearing a point where the Reign could mathematically be eliminated if they don’t start winning matches.
The good news for them is that they are finally a complete squad having Rapinoe back and all of their internationals back from national team duty. This team has a lot of potential to win games and the best goalkeeper in the world to help them hold onto a lead – they’ve just got to get it first.
For the Flash, it’s not quite a must-win game as they sit solidly in playoff contention. A win by FC KC and a Flash loss would drop WNY to fourth by a point. A win would bring them closer to league leaders Sky Blue FC and Portland (26 points each).
This is also the Flash’s first meeting with a team from the West Coast as they have seen all five Easy Coast/Midwest teams already.