Seattle Reign is in Portland for its NWSL championship rematch with FC Kansas City at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Providence Park.
Here’s a bit of what coach Laura Harvey had to say on the eve of the match:
Harvey overview on the title: I think last year was a very unknown for us: first time we were in the playoffs, first time in a semifinal, first time we’d been to a final. You don’t really know what the feeling is going to be like if either of those isn’t successful. I think prior to the final – we really wanted to win the final, but I think a little part of us was very satisfied with the fact that we turned such a nightmare of Year One into such a successful Year Two. But until that final whistle in the final, I don’t think any of us appreciated how disappointed we would be by not winning the final. And I think that’s meant the mindset is different this year: more focused, more driven, wanting to make sure that when it comes to the game that we put everything out there to make sure that we win. If that gives us that extra little bit of edge tomorrow, then I think we’ll look back on it and say that that bit of experience from last season has done us well going into this season.
On if she expected lots of fans down from Seattle: Probably not. Yes, hopefully the fans from Seattle have been able to get that bit of time off work that they might have needed to make the game tomorrow. I think being midweek could be tough for some of the fans. But I’m hearing a lot of our fans are trying to make the game, which is great. But I think for the majority of the fans, which will be Portland fans, I can’t imagine that they would necessarily want a Seattle win – which we’re OK with, that’s fine. But I just think it will be a great occasion. Just before I walked in, I saw a figure of 10-12,000 fans already, which is phenomenal, it’s great, it’s what we want the league to be. We want to try and make the final an event, and I think it is that. I think the people who maybe were around last year for the final, it was just like another game because we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for that – six days or whatever it was. So from a media standpoint, if people needed to come across the country; or from a fans’ standpoint coming across the country or anything like that it would have been really difficult. Whereas this time there has been time between the final and the semi for everyone to prepare for what would be a fantastic occasion tomorrow. Yeah, we’d love as many fans pushing for the Reign tomorrow as possible, but we’re OK.
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A few basics below:
SEATTLE REIGN (13-3-4; 43 POINTS) VS. FC KANSAS CITY (9-6-5; 32 POINTS)
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Providence Park, Portland.
TV: Fox Sports 1.
HEAD TO HEAD: Kansas City leads 5-2-2. The teams split two meetings this season, each winning at home. FCKC beat Seattle in the 2014 final, 2-1, at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
NOTES: This is the first season that the NWSL final is being played at a neutral site. … Seattle finished with the best record in the league for the second consecutive season. Kansas City finished third in the regular season. … Both teams placed three players on the NWSL Best XI team: Seattle midfielders Jessica Fishlock and Kim Little, forward Beverly Yanez, and defender Lauren Barnes; and Kansas City defenders Amy LePeilbet and Becky Sauerbrunn. … The referee is Ekaterina Koroleva.