Sounders Insider

Reign looks for first win in first home match

ReignFCIf tight games put bums in seats – as Seattle Reign coach Laura Harvey would say – then the National Women’s Soccer League is off to a promising start.

Nine of the league’s 11 games have ended in draws or one-goal margins, and none have been decided by more than two goals.

Over the Reign’s first three games, it has played to a draw, lost by one goal and two goals. However, the club hopes to benefit from its first home-field advantage today when it meets FC Kansas City at 8 p.m. at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. (The game will be streamed online at NWSLsoccer.com.)

“I think the girls are just happy not to go on an airplane, to be honest,” Harvey said. “I think that, more than anything else, has been a biggie this week: that we can just get ourselves right. … To be able to get a good crowd here and feel what it’s like to have a home game is going to be just huge for us.”

Reign owner Bill Predmore said it is club policy not to discuss ticket sales – except when the 3,800 available tickets are sold out, which is not expected tonight.

“I think we’ll do OK, honestly,” he said. “The weather could help. … It should be a beautiful night: nice and warm.”Ticket sales and other off-field measures have particular meaning as the NWSL strives to succeed where two other leagues have failed in efforts to create an ongoing top-level women’s league in the United States.

Attendance figures are not available in the box scores or among the statistics on the league website. However, impressions are being formed as the Reign already has visited nearly half the eight-team league on trips to Chicago, Portland and Kansas City.

“I think there are still a lot of things collectively as a league that we want to be better at,” said Harvey, who came to Seattle after coaching the Arsenal Ladies in England’s top league. “Obviously sustainability is crucial for this league to be successful. And how you get sustainability, I’m not sure we’ve decided exactly how you get that to happen. Bums on seats – as we say back home – is definitely important. People being interest is obviously massively important. We feel like we’re gradually gaining more interest. But ultimately, if those fans don’t come through the gate, then it doesn’t really matter.”

On the pitch, Harvey said she has been struck by the offensive-orientation of American women, and the evenness of the rosters, which were formed primarily through allocation by the league.

“The difference between the teams that win games compared to the teams that maybe have only drawn or lost games is very minute,” she said. “I don’t think you’re going to see 6-, 7-, 8-nil victories to either team unless someone has a very, very off day. That’s probably credit to the league in how they structured the initial process.”

That balance could be on display again tonight, as the Reign is at the bottom of the league at 0-2-1, while Kansas City is unbeaten at 1-0-1.Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock, who followed Harvey, who had been a women’s player of the year finalist in England, was named NWSL player of the week in Week 2 when she scored Seattle’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss at Portland. Seattle’s only other goal this season was scored by midfielder Christine Nairn(((cq))) – the club’s historic first goal in its debut draw at Chicago.

The Reign was shut out in its two-goal loss at Kansas City last week. However, the club hopes to receive an offensive boost as forwards Kristina Larsen and Tiffany Cameron round into form.

“Having some forwards, I think, is going to contribute to a goal or two,” Predmore said. “I think things are headed in the right direction.”

Another boost is expected next month when U.S. national team members Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe are scheduled to become available.

Here's the preview from the club:

Seattle Reign FC will play its inaugural home match tonight, Saturday, May 4 at 8:00p PT at Starfire Stadium. Tonight’s match against FC Kansas City comes after Reign FC opened the season with three games on the road, including a match last Friday night at FC Kansas City.

Over the three-game stretch on the road Seattle collected a single point, managing a 1-1 draw in its opening game in Chicago. Last week, Seattle Reign FC fell 0-2 to FC Kansas City in a cold, rainy match in Kansas City. Lauren Cheney collected two assists in the match, one from a corner kick in the 21st minute and the second from a clearance in the back that resulted in a 60-yard run and goal from Renae Cuellar.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo is still recovering from wrist surgery and will miss tonight’s match. Forward Amy Rodriguez will miss the entire season as the result of her pregnancy. A-Rod will be attending the match in Seattle this evening and will be accessible to fans for autographs at times before and after the match.

“We felt good about our performance last week, but didn’t see the result we were expecting,” said Laura Harvey, GM and Head Coach of Seattle Reign FC. “The entire squad is excited to be home and to finally play our first match at Starfire. We know the support we’ll get from fans will be brilliant and can play a huge role in helping us get the result we seek.”

The match against FCKC will be streamed live at www.ReignFC.com and will be available on-demand within 48 hours of the match by visiting the NWSL channel at www.YouTube.com/NWSL.

Tonight’s streaming broadcast will be produced by SRFC. Reign FC has selected Tom Glasgow as the primary play-by-play announcer for the club. Tom will be joined in the broadcast booth by UW women’s soccer head coach Lesle Gallimore, who will work as the primary color analyst for Seattle Reign FC.

Tacoma native Tom Glasgow is in his ninth year as Sports Director on KOMO Newsradio. He's also the lead play-by-play announcer on Pac-12 football and basketball for ROOT SPORTS (formerly Fox Sports Network Northwest). Lesle Gallimore is in her 20th season as the UW women’s soccer head coach- the longest tenure of any coach in the Pac-12.

Reign FC will be back on the road in New Jersey next Saturday, May 11 against Sky Blue FC. The next SRFC home match—against the Washington Spirit—will take place on Thursday, May 16 at 7pm at Starfire Stadium. Prices for single match tickets are $26 for Grandstand Premium seating, $22 for Grandstand seating and $19 for Bleacher seating. Tickets can be purchased online at www.reignfc.com.

  Comments