Seattle Reign FC vs. FC Kansas City
Sunday, 9 p.m. ET | Memorial Stadium | Seattle
Jess Fishlock and the Seattle Reign host Shea Groom and FC Kansas City on Sunday — and the Cascadia club’s playoff hopes may be hanging in the balance.
The Reign come into Week 21 trailing both the Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride by five points in the standings as the three clubs compete for the final two playoff spots.
Seattle could take the field Sunday having already been eliminated from the postseason if both the Red Stars and Pride win their games on Saturday.
They kept themselves alive with a 1-1 road draw against Orlando as Fishlock scored in the 94th minute to earn her side a share of the points. It was the ninth point the Reign have secured from games in which they trailed – tied for second most in the league this year.
If coach Laura Harvey and her players are still in contention on Sunday, they will still need to win both their remaining regular-season games – against FC Kansas City and the Washington Spirit – to give themselves a shot at returning to the playoffs after missing out on the postseason in 2016.
The Reign are 5-2-4 against non-playoff teams this season – including a pair of draws against Kansas City back in June during a home-and-home series between the clubs.
Nahomi Kawasumi had two goals and added one of her league-leading nine assists during the two games against the Blues earlier in the season. The 2014 NWSL Best XI selection provided the assist on the game-tying goal by Fishlock in Week 20 to become one of just three players in league history with nine assists in a season – putting her one shy of tying Portland Thorns midfielder Tobin Heath for the single-season assist record.
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams made four saves in the Week 20 match against Orlando and the Reign have a win and draw in the two matches the Australia international has played since she was acquired in a trade with the Houston Dash just before the roster freeze.
The match Sunday is the final home game of the season for Seattle. The Reign have scored in their last 28 games at Memorial Stadium – five more than the second-longest streak in league history.
FC Kansas City will come into the contest as one of the hotter teams in the league – with 13 points from the previous six games. The Blues picked up one of those points in a scoreless draw with Chicago in Week 20 as goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made two saves to earn her fifth shutout of the season.
Despite their recent run, the result against the Red Stars eliminated Kansas City from postseason contention. Coach Vlatko Andonovski and his players will now look to finish 2017 on a positive note in spite of missing out on the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
One encouraging sign from KC this year has been their offense. While the Blues will enter the game with the No. 8-ranked attack in the league, they have improved by 0.33 goals per game compared with last season when they had a 0.90 GPG.
|All-time||13||3||5||5||11||15||+ 4 FCKC|
|At SRFC||6||3||2||1||7||6||+ 1 SRFC|