NWSL week 2 preview: How’s it going to be when Seattle’s not around?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle impressed everyone in week 1, landing at the top of the table for the first time ever. But thanks to the cruelty of the scheduling gods, the Reign have off until Wednesday. This week, Chicago makes its season debut, complete with Christen Press. Are the Red Stars week 2's Reign or will some other team step up to impress?

After week 1, it's hard to pick a dominant team in NWSL. Aside from maybe the Seattle Reign, who looked really good but also played a Breakers side that looked almost comically bad. Seattle doesn't play this weekend, which leaves the door wide open for some other team -- any other team -- to take over the top spot in a still very young season. A week after openers full of mostly disorganized, shaking-off-the-cobwebs performances, has anyone else found their rhythm?

Washington Spirit vs. FC Kansas City

Maryland SoccerPlex, Saturday 6:30 PM ET

At least Washington scored a goal last weekend, right? Right? It's still too early to tell if the "new look" Spirit are really just the same old Spirit with different names on the backs of the shirts or if last weekend's game was just the Getting to Know You portion of Washington's road to world domination.

The Spirit had a hard time containing Western NY's offense in the opener, and things aren't going to get any easier against an FC Kansas City side that features Lauren Holiday and Erika Tymrak. The good news? FC Kansas City had a tough time actually finding the back of the net in their opener, and still seemed to have a few of those fall-asleep-on-the-job type ghosts kicking around, allowing Sky Blue FC to salvage a draw from a game the Blues largely dominated.

If Holiday and Cheney have found their rhythm and if Ashlyn Harris isn't at the top of her game, this could be another long night in Maryland. Then again, with FCKC's penchant for getting a little lackadaisical still very much a thing, the Spirit could make this interesting. Unlike a season ago, Washington has the personnel to take advantage of such situations now. The question is, can the Spirit figure out how to actually do it?

Chicago Red Stars vs. Western NY Flash

Toyota Park, Saturday 6:45 PM ET

This one's the second half of a double header with the Fire, which means there should be a nice crowd on hand for the Red Stars' opener.

Chicago's debut will include a new-look offense thanks to the acquisition of Christen Press, but will that be enough to take on a Flash side that proved to be plenty dangerous even without Abby Wambach? How well Karina LeBlanc can keep her defense organized against an offense that will be still be sans Abby but still includes Sam Kerr, Carli Lloyd and week 1's Player of the Week Vicky Losada may make all the difference.

Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

Yurcak Field, Saturday 7:00 PM ET

Everyone wants to care about this, because, Portland!, but really, the Thorns didn't look all that great against Houston last weekend. And Sky Blue? They mostly just Sky Blue'd around for 90 minutes against FC Kansas City and somehow managed a draw because that's what Sky Blue does despite mostly looking like they've never met for large portions of the game. Speaking of, Portland didn't exactly look like they had any idea Christine Sinclair was even there last weekend. The Thorns are still without Alex Morgan, but maybe they've figured out they still have a very good striker. Sky Blue might get the injured Christie Rampone back, but the Jersey team still doesn't really have any strikers. What's that saying about a tree falling in the forest again?

Boston Breakers vs. Houston Dash

Harvard Stadium, Sunday 6:30 PM ET

The Breakers looked bad last weekend. Like, really bad. Like, yes-Megan-Rapinoe-why-don't-you-just-walk-the-ball-into-the-goal-because-it's-the-first-game-of-the-season-and-we've-already-given-up bad.

Houston, on the other hand, looked plenty threatening against Portland, but just couldn't convert. If Ella Masar runs at the Breakers' defense the way she did against the Thorns, it's not going to take long for the Dash's first-ever goal. Or for Boston's imitation of the 2013 Washington Spirit to reach an epic level.

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