The National Women's Soccer League ends its regular season tomorrow at the Washington Spirit will play their last home game of 2017 against Seattle Reign FC. For two teams that were looking to end up in the playoffs, this season has ended in disappointment. The Spirit are currently at the bottom of the table while the Reign are on the outside looking, in fifth, for the second consecutive season. This matchup will be the best opportunity to end their seasons on a good note and give their fans something to cling on during the post and offseason.
Washington have been abysmal even with the addition of Pugh
The big story for the Spirit this season was the acquisition of Mallory Pugh who decided to leave the University of California Los Angeles before finishing off her first year of college to play professionally. Unfortunately for Washington, Pugh's presence could not overcome their defensive issues and their inability to score goals.
Their poor defensive record has seen them 45 goals in 23 games this season, and only managing to score 28 goals total. They have lost a key member of their squad, Stephanie Labbé, during the season but Labbé was only papering over the obvious cracks that the Spirit have. They will have a tough night out against Seattle's attacking front, who on their day, can cause anyone problems.
Seattle will look to course correct after previous defeat
The Reign suffered a home defeat against FC Kansas City last time out and it was a great showcase for what exactly has gone wrong for Seattle this season. Their away record has been less than spectacular and their home form has taken a dip this season too. When they have been on, Seattle has been magnificent to watch but their inconsistency has also led them to lose games they should have easily won if they had not lost focus in the latter stages of games.
Against Washington this weekend, Seattle will look to Megan Rapinoe and Nahomi Kawasumi to be the difference-makers with the consistent Jess Fishlock behind them in midfield. Rapinoe has twelve goals this season and could have had more had she not picked up an injury in a critical point of the season for the Reign. Kawasumi has also had a good season for the Reign, picking up a league-leading nine assists, and she will want to help her team end their season a solid win.
The last time these two teams met, Seattle finished as 6-2 victors over Washington. The Reign have not been great on the road so expect the scoreline to be different from their previous meeting but Seattle should have enough quality to pick up the win.
Washington Spirit 1, Seattle Reign FC 2.