It’s THEM again: Reign host KC Sunday at Memorial

reignfc-croppedSEATTLE,WA— (club release) Returning home from its 3-0 win over the Boston Breakers last Sunday, Seattle Reign FC (1-1-0, 3 pts) will face off against FC Kansas City (0-1-1, 1 pt) this Sunday, May 1 at Memorial Stadium at 4 p.m. PT.

Goals came early and often against the Breakers, starting in the 9th minute when forward Manon Melis scored her first NWSL goal off an assist from midfielder Kim Little. In the 40th minute, Little connected with her Scottish national team teammate Rachel Corsie on a corner which the defender headed into the net to put Reign FC up 2-0 before the half. Little’s impressive performance reached its crescendo in the 79th minute when she dribbled off a pass from forward Beverly Yanez down to the left corner of the box, fired a strike across the goal, and into the right corner of the frame, raising Seattle’s lead to 3-0.

“We’ve come away wanting to be better and to work hard,” said Reign FC Head Coach Laura Harvey of the victory. “We are really happy with the win and the clean sheet, but still in the mindset that things need to be better and we have a lot of work to do.”

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Last week’s victory came at a cost: midfielder Jess Fishlock broke her left tibia in the 29th minute of the match. Fishlock will miss this Sunday’s match against FC Kansas City and is expected to be on the sidelines for 4-6 weeks.

FC Kansas City, Seattle’s opponent in the 2014 and 2015 NWSL championship finals, grabbed its first point of the season last Saturday in a 1-1 draw against Portland Thorns FC at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo. A diving header from midfielder Shea Groom off a cross from midfielder Heather O’Reilly in the 30th minute put FCKC up 1-0. In the 47th minute, Groom’s second caution of the match saw her ejected from play. Down to 10 players for the remainder of the game, FCKC gave up the equalizer in the 78th minute when Portland midfielder Lindsay Horan headed in a corner from midfielder Tobin Heath.

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As per NWSL misconduct rules, Groom’s one-game suspension will keep her out of the lineup in Seattle this Sunday.

“So far their record hasn’t shown their potential. You always have to go into the game expecting their best and I think they’re going to be a great team,” said rookie Reign FC defender Carson Pickett. “I know we’re expecting them to be at their top level, to come here wanting to win.”

FC Kansas City endured significant personnel changes in the offseason, including the retirement of defenders Leigh Ann Brown and Amy LePeilbet, as well as midfielder Lauren Holiday.

FCKC added to their squad by acquiring defenders Brittany Taylor and Amanda Frisbie in a trade with the Western New York Flash. The Blues also acquired USWNT forward Sydney Leroux in a three-team deal that also brought forward Tiffany McCarty to Kansas City. Despite the additions, KC’s roster took a major hit when Leroux and fellow USWNT forward Amy Rodriguez both announced they were pregnant, and as a result, both are expected to miss the entire 2016 NWSL season.

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“We know a lot about each other, we’ve played a lot over the years. They’ve come off a tough result with Portland – losing a player so early. But I think everyone’s been unfairly writing Kansas off,” said Harvey. “They showed last weekend that Vlatko and the staff at Kansas never really get it wrong. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with again this season, I have no doubt. They have a squad that will compete in this league.”

Reign FC holds a 2-7-2 all-time record against FCKC, including post-season play. The clubs last met on October 1, 2015 for their second NWSL championship match-up, with Reign FC falling 0-1 to the Blues.

“We like playing them because they’re so much like us,” said forward Kiersten Dallstream. “It’s always a good game and it’s a way to test what level we’re at. We’re always trying to redeem ourselves a little bit against them.”

The two-time championship foes have ignited a league rivalry that inevitably brings up memories from the past two finals, but Harvey prefers to focus on what lies ahead.

“It’s a good rivalry. There’s good respect between both of the teams. There’s a desire to make sure that both teams turn up and perform. But we need to make sure that it’s not about the final – it’s about this season and what we can do now,” said Harvey. “It’s really important that we give the fans a reaction from the Sky Blue game – even though we went on the road and played well – I think it’s important that we come home and give a reaction to that.”

Tickets to Sunday’s match start at $18 and are available at reignfc.com/fckc or by calling (855) REIGN-FC.

Next week, Reign FC will travel to Orlando, Fla. to face the Orlando Pride on May 8 at Camping World Stadium, formally known as the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The match will be live-streamed at youtube.com/nwsl at 2 p.m. PT.

About Seattle Reign FC:

Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and around the world. Seattle Reign FC train and host home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information on the club visit reignfc.com.

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