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OCT 27
3:30 PM ET
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2018 Preview: Seattle Reign FC
The Reign finished in fifth place last season
Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe scored 12 goals in 2017. (Photo credit: Jane Gershovich/isiphotos.com)
Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe scored 12 goals in 2017. (Photo credit: Jane Gershovich/isiphotos.com)

 

Seattle Reign FC have brought in a number of new faces this offseason — midfielder Allie Long and head coach Vlatko Andonovski, just to name a few. But while the changes may take some getting used to, it’s not an entirely new squad — the core of Megan Rapinoe, Jess Fishlock, Nahomi Kawasumi, Rumi Utsugi and Lauren Barnes remains in tact.

 

After finishing in fifth place for the second straight season, the Reign are hoping the changes will help them get back to the playoffs for the first time since their back-to-back NWSL Shield wins in 2014 and 2015.

 

In the 2018 Media Survey, the Reign were picked by 15% to win the NWSL Championship — second only to the North Carolina Courage. Andonovski was also named best coach by the media. Fishlock was named best midfielder in the GM Survey.

 

They open their season on Saturday, March 24, at home vs. the Washington Spirit.

 


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Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski

Home stadium: UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium

 


 

Key Additions

 

Morgan Andrews, midfielder

Michelle Betos, goalkeeper

Yael Averbuch, defender

Steph Catley, defender

Allie Long, midfielder

Theresa Nielsen, defender

Megan Oyster, defender

Jasmyne Spencer, forward

Jodie Taylor, forward

 

Key Departures

 

Rachel Corsie, defender

Katie Johnson, forward

Haley Kopmeyer, goalkeeper

Diana Matheson, midfielder

Christine Nairn, midfielder

Rebekah Stott, defender

 

A series of offseason trades brought Steph Catley, Allie Long and Jasmyne Spencer to Seattle and saw Katie Johnson, Haley Kopmeyer, Christine Nairn and Rebekah Stott head to the East Coast. Yael Averbuch was acquired in a trade for Diana Matheson on draft day. Matheson joined the Reign last offseason, but tore her ACL in January of 2017 and did not appear in a game for Seattle. Andrews and Oyster were selected in the dispersal draft after the Boston Breakers ceased operations.

 

Jodie Taylor returns to the NWSL after previously playing for the Washington Spirit (2014) and Portland Thorns FC (2015). Last summer, Taylor won the Golden Boot at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament with five goals as England made it to the semifinals.

 

Michelle Betos is back in the NWSL after playing in Norway in 2017. With Lydia Williams away at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup for Australia for at least the first four games of the season, Betos will be the likely starter.


 

By the Numbers

 

2017: 9-8-7, 5th place (Home: 5-3-4, Away: 4-5-3)

 

43 goals for (2nd in the NWSL), 37 goals against (6th)

 

Despite missing six games, Megan Rapinoe finished third in the NWSL with 12 goals and added an assist. The Reign went 5-0-2 in games in which she was on the scoresheet and her 36 chances created were second on the team. Rapinoe was one of five finalists for the NWSL MVP award and was named to the NWSL Second XI.

 

Nahomi Kawasumi set an NWSL record with four assists in one game on May 13, a 6-2 win over the Washington Spirit. In the same match, she also added a goal and became the first player to be directly involved in five goals in one game. Her nine assists fell one short of tying an NWSL single-season record, but led the league in 2017. Her 47 chances created were third in the NWSL and she was one of just three players to score at least six goals and six assists.

 

The Reign had some rare struggles at home last season, losing three times in Seattle for the first time since 2013. Their first loss, 2-1 to the Courage, snapped a 15-game home unbeaten streak. They were also shutout at home for the first time in 28 games.

 

New Reign midfielder Allie Long was the most efficient passer in the NWSL last season with an 87.7% passing accuracy (min. 600 passes). Long joins Jess Fishlock and Rumi Utsugi, who who held down the Reign midfield last year. Fishlock’s seven goals were second on the team behind Rapinoe. Utsugi’s passing accuracy of 79.9% was second only to defender Rachel Corsie’s 80.4% on the Reign.

 

In 23 games for the Pride last season, Steph Catley led the team in total touches with 1,667 and was second with 27 chances created. She chipped in two assists from the left back position and will be a key part of the Reign’s new look offense in 2018.

 


 

Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski:

 

 


 

Games to Watch

 

Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sunday, April 15 | go90 | 5 p.m. ET

 

Two of the wildest games in NWSL history took place last year between Sky Blue FC and Seattle Reign FC. First, a 5-4 win for the Reign in Seattle in July and then a loss by the same scoreline in New Jersey in August.

 

Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Saturday, May 5 | Lifetime | 3:30 p.m. ET

 

Allie Long’s return to Portland will spice up this edition of the league’s best rivalry. It’s also the first time the Cascadia rivalry will be featured as the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.

 

Seattle Reign FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Wednesday, July 11 | go90 | 7:30 p.m. ET

 

The “ultimate trade” is what former Reign head coach Laura Harvey called the offseason shake-up that saw Vlatko Andonovski head to Seattle and her to Utah. They’ll both be coaching against many of their former players in this game.

 


In Focus


 

Roster (as of 3/19)

Rostered Players  (21 of 20 spots filled)

Goalkeepers (2): Lydia WilliamsMichelle Betos

Defenders (8):  Lauren BarnesYael AverbuchKristen McNabbTheresa Nielsen (INTL-DEN), Megan Oyster (DD), Maddie BauerChristen Westphal (DD), Steph Catley (INTL)

Midfielders (5): Jessica FishlockMorgan Andrews (DD), Rumi Utsugi (INTL-JPN), Allie Long (FED-USA), Elizabeth Addo (INTL-GHA/DD)

Forwards (6): Beverly YanezJasmyne SpencerKiersten DallstreamMegan Rapinoe (FED-USA), Nahomi Kawasumi (INTL-JPN), Jodie Taylor

Federation Players (FED): 2

International Roster Spots Filled (INTL): 5

 

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