Sounders Insider

Reign could clinch shield today in Houston

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Seattle Reign FC (14-1-4, 46 pts) will try to further solidify its playoff positioning and potentially clinch the NWSL shield on Wednesday, July 30, as they take on the Houston Dash (5-10-3, 18 pts) at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. (PT) with a live, high-definition webstream available at ESPN3.com.

Seattle can claim the NWSL shield outright with a win over the Dash and an FC Kansas City draw/loss, or with a draw and Kansas City loss.

Reign FC is coming off a 5-0 shutout against Portland Thorns FC on Sunday, as the team posted its largest margin of victory in team history — including two goals and an assist by forward Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi, who was named NWSL Player of the Week for her efforts — leading Seattle to the win. U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux kicked off the scoring early for Seattle, notching her fourth goal of the season in the fourth minute, while Kawasumi nabbed her first goal of the afternoon just before halftime, putting a header just past goalkeeper Nadine Angerer in the box off a cross from Scottish international Kim Little.

Little and Kawasumi would help Seattle cushion its lead just four minutes into the second half, with a Little cross to the box again finding Kawasumi for the score.

Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe got in on the scoring barrage with a goal of her own, just minutes after entering the game as a substitute, notching her second goal of the year in the 57th minute, heading in a Kawasumi cross to the back post.

In stoppage time, Little scored her league-leading 12th goal for the final score of the day.

With Sunday’s win, Reign FC remains atop the league standings with 46 points, nine points ahead of second-place Kansas City, and 16 points clear of third-place Portland.

Seattle holds NWSL record for points in a season, eight ahead of the previous high of 38, with five regular season matches left to play.

Houston is coming off a scoreless draw with the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod is second in the NWSL in saves with 67, while midfielder Kaylyn Kyle and forward Ella Masar are both in the top 10 for fouls committed. Forward Tiffany McCarty leads the team with four goals, while midfielder Becky Edwards is the lone Houston player to start all 18 of the team’s games.

Wednesday’s match is the second of three regular season matches between Seattle and Houston. Reign FC knocked off the Dash 2-0 at Memorial Stadium on April 27, with a pair of first-half goals from Little leading Seattle in the victory.

The two sides will meet again on August 6 at Memorial Stadium. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time.

Visit ReignFC.com or call (855) REIGN-FC for details on single-match tickets. Seats start at $19.

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