Five games into the season and Seattle (0-4-1) have not produced a win. Their lone point was a result of a tie from their opener against Chicago. Seattle is an unbalanced club lacking support from their back line and with an attack that, excluding Liz Bogus, might be charitably described as naive. Seattle, like other clubs in the league (except Boston and Kansas City), has played five games thus far which means that they still have 17 games left. They're down, but not yet out.
If they do come back and make the playoffs, their midfield will have a lot to do with it. Jessica Fishlock stuns the crowd every week with her sheer persistence in winning the ball. She is a never-ending streak of energy on the field and it is inspiring to watch. Fishlock’s partnership with Kaylyn Kyle is impressive because they work well together and move the ball around the field to connect with Christine Nairn and Tiffany Cameron. Last week against Sky Blue, Seattle suffered their fourth loss of the season on the back of two goals from Danesha Adams and Lisa De Vanna in the first half. Fishlock, Dallstream and Kyle were furious throughout the match because they could not find connections with their teammates, let alone having to deal with SBFC that was shutting them down at every turn.
The Reign have not had much time to regroup since Saturday’s game but they would have hopefully discussed as a team what they need to do and how they can better communicate their intentions on the field. This week will be a challenge because Washington has recalibrated their team to fight harder battles in the midfield and produced a more fluid game against Boston last week. Washington have recently added physical play to their already-dangerous repertoire, and they can suck Seattle into a game that doesn't help them much. Washington. Diana Matheson is the catalyst to start an offensive attack and her dashes into the box are difficult for defenders to block off without conceding a foul.
Matheson will be the Spirit's playmaker alongside goal scorer Lori Lindsey. Stephanie Ochs improves on a weekly basis, advancing her accuracy on the ball and unnerving goalkeepers. Ochs will likely complete the Matheson – Lindsey trio as they set the field to compose offensive attacks against a weak Seattle back line. Last week Emily Zurrer and Kate Deines worked separately causing miscommunications which is how the Lisa De Vanna goal in the 35th minute was conceded.
This will be an interesting match for fans of either club because Washington is exhausted with coming close to a win but falling victim to a draw three out of five times this season. On the other end of the field, Seattle is fed up with the media attention of being in last place for not winning a game yet; they'll want to win this match just to prove that they can.
Seattle Reign FC Injuries
Out: Hope Solo (wrist), Megan Rapinoe (overseas), Amy Rodriguez (pregnant)
Washington Spirit Injuries
Match Date/Time: Thursday May 16, 7:00 pm
Venue: Starfire Stadium, Seattle, WA
Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel