For the first time this season, Chicago will head to Seattle to take on the second-place Reign in their first duel of 2018. The Reign are currently on a three-game undefeated streak, recently handing Sky Blue FC a 4-1 home loss.
Here are two things to watch out for this weekend in Seattle:
New Team, New Scorers
Seattle came into the season with a new look to the team, and has proven the differences work. Starting with management, two-time NWSL Coach of the Year Laura Harvey stepped down from the head coach position, finding a place at the Utah Royals. In return, Utah Royals FC (formerly FC Kansas City) head coach, Vlatko Andonovski, made moves to manage the Seattle Reign.
Along with U.S. WNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe’s spark of energy with four goals to lead the team, there’s two new Reign players that have showed their ability to put the ball into the net. In a trade with Portland, Allie Long made her way to Seattle after winning two NWSL Championships with the Thorns. Long has added two goals for the Reign in six games, a feat that took her 15 games to reach at Portland. Seattle also gained former Portland forward Jodie Taylor from England. Taylor has tallied three goals during the season, already tying her Portland best.
Despite only having one clean sheet, goalkeeper Michelle Betos has been a threat to score against, saving 83% of shots. Betos and her defensive line has helped Seattle jump up to second place in the league standings after Week 6 play, only conceding six goals. All six goals against Seattle have been scored between the 61-75 minute mark, showing the consistent drop in defense during that time. But for the rest of the match, the Reign are able to stop all opportunities for majority of time.