The first meeting between Seattle Reign FC (2-1-0, 6 points) and Orlando Pride (1-2-1, 4 points) for the 2018 NWSL season kicks off tonight at 7:30 PM ET. Live stream for U.S. fans will be available via go90 (NWSLsoccer.com, NWSL app for international streams).
Seattle Reign FC look to bounce back after their 1-0 loss to North Carolina Courage in a midweek meeting on April 18. Orlando Pride hope to add another win after their 1-0 victory against the Houston Dash last Sunday.
The Return of International Stars
Both teams will see a boost to their rosters after the return of their Australian, Japanese, and Brazilian players from international duty. Whereas the Japanese and Brazilian international have spent time with their NWSL clubs this season before international duty, the Australians reported this previous week for the first time this season.
Seattle welcomed back Rumi Utsugi and Nahomi Kawasumi, who were a part of the championship-winning Japanese team at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Amman, Jordan. Steph Catley and Lydia Williams also returned from the Asian Cup competition where they represented Australia and faced Japan in the final.
Orlando saw the return of Brazilians Marta, Monica, Poliana and Australian internationals Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond. The Brazilians return after winning the Copa América Femenina and qualifying for the 2019 Women's World Cup.
What to Watch: Orlando vs Seattle
Last season, both teams could not get the best of each other and ended the season series with 1-1 draws in both meetings. In their last meeting on September 7, 2017, Orlando nearly had the 1-0 victory, but Seattle capitalized with a 94th-minute goal from Jess Fishlock.
Both teams split games in 2017. Seattle's last victory over Orlando was a 5-2 win at Memorial Stadium on July 23, 2016. Orlando's last defeated Seattle on May 8, 2016, with a 2-0 victory at Camping World Stadium.
Coming into this game, Seattle boasts a solid defense. Through three matches, Seattle has conceded just two goals, allowing the fewest goals of any NWSL team.
Orlando will again have Marta and Alex Morgan leading the attack.
The last time the duo appeared on the pitch together was on March 24. Last season, Morgan and Marta paired up for five total goals.
This season, Orlando has added another dynamic to their attack with Sydney Leroux, whom they acquired from Utah Royals FC in February. Through four matches, Leroux leads the team in shots taken with 10, five of them on goal.
It'll be a game where several players face their former squad. Seattle and Orlando entered a trade deal on January 29 that sent Haley Kopmeyer, Christine Nairn and Carson Pickett to Orlando for Steph Catley and Jasmyne Spencer to Seattle.
OUT: Camila (right knee surgery – D45)
Seattle Reign FC
OUT: Jaycie Johnson (right knee sprain), Megan Rapinoe (left hamstring strain)