NWSL, Week 4 preview: Rematch!

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 brings our first rematches of the season, including one of last year’s championship.

The unbeaten Reign take on the Spirit for the second time this season, looking to avenge ... the only goal they've given up in 2014? Western NY takes on Portland for the first time since the 2013 title game, looking to avenge the blown opportunity to constantly remind us about four championships in four leagues in four years. Houston and FC Kansas City take on each other, looking to avenge the fact that there's nothing to avenge because they've yet to play each other. And Sky Blue FC takes on Boston, but really mostly themselves, as they look to avenge their own hilariously bad performance against Seattle on Wednesday.

Washington Spirit vs. Seattle Reign FC
Maryland SoccerPlex, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET

The NWSL's second season is weird. The two teams who have scored the most goals? Last year's bottom dwellers. Top-of-the-table Seattle leads the league in scoring with 10 goals, while the third place Spirit have netted six. Compare that to a year ago; Washington scored just 16 goals in all of 2013, Seattle had 22.

One of the Spirit's six goals came against the Reign when the two sides met little more than a week ago in Seattle, a 3-1 win for the home side. The Spirit's goal, the only one Seattle has allowed through four games, came on a penalty kick, because the 4-0-0 Reign have yet to allow a single run-of-play goal. Combine that with the fact that Seattle's 10 goals have come from seven different players (Jess Fishlock, Kendall Fletcher, Bev Goebel, Megan Rapinoe, Keelin Winters and Naho Kawasumi with one each, Kim Little with the other four) and the Reign might just be too much to handle, even for the new-look Spirit.

Western NY Flash vs. Portland Thorns FC
Sahlen's Stadium, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

It seems like it's been forever since we last saw Western NY. With a bye in Week 3, the Flash have played at least one fewer game than everyone else and they're just getting around to their home opener now. Of course, that home opener happens to be a rematch of last year's championship, which Portland won 2-0 for the inaugural title. Of course, Abby Wambach is set to make her season debut for the Flash after sitting out the first two games with a facial injury. Convenient.

Western NY will be without Carli Lloyd, who will be busy serving the first part of a two game suspension for punching Chicago's Vanessa DiBernardo on April 19th -- the last time the Flash played a game. That might be a good thing, considering the last time Western NY and Portland met, things got a little punchy.

Sky Blue FC vs. Boston Breakers
Yurcak Field, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

Really? We have to do this again, so ... soon? A week after the Breakers got their first win of the season thanks to the fact that Sky Blue FC is even worse at doing soccer things than Boston is, we're going to do the whole thing again, but this time in New Jersey, because, parity!

Sky Blue FC is still winless and coming off a game against Seattle on Wednesday wherein it gave up two goals in the following two ways: Jill Loyden passing directly to Naho Kawasumi two feet in front of the Sky Blue FC goal, and the entire Sky Blue FC defense stopping because that's how sure they were that someone was offside and whatever goal they were just going to let Bev Goebel score wasn't going to count anyway. Sophie Schmidt also missed a penalty kick by shooting directly at Hope Solo, coming two games after Kelley O'Hara missed a penalty kick by shooting approximately 20 feet wide of the goal.

At least this one won't be played in monsoon-like conditions though, right? Small victories. (Something something, the only kind of victory Sky Blue might get this season.)

Houston Dash vs. FC Kansas City
BBVA Compass Stadium, Saturday 8 p.m ET

FC Kansas City finally found a little rhythm in its first win of the season against Chicago on Wednesday, but the Blues are still looking for some consistency. Houston is, too. The Dash and FCKC have almost identical records -- Kansas City has played one more game than Houston -- and almost identical problems. Both teams have shaky defenses and offenses that haven't quite clicked yet, leaving this one very much up for grabs.

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