For their very first game of the 2017 NWSL season, the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC faced off in Seattle. Despite the constant efforts of both teams, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Goals from Megan Rapinoe (Reign) and Sarah Killion (Sky Blue) were the difference.
Since then, the teams have not met but have had their own success apart from each other. Going into this Week 14 match-up, Sky Blue has found themselves towards the top of the table, ranked third in the league. The Reign have been in and out of the top four throughout the season but will prove to be a test for the New Jersey team in the fact that so far they’re unbeaten at home.
Seattle currently holds the title of the top goal scoring team in the league this season, having scored 25 goals thus far. Sky Blue has scored the second-most amount of goals by one (24). Sam Kerr for Sky Blue is currently the top goal-scorer in the league (10) and Megan Rapinoe of the Reign trails from this title by one goal (9). Nahomi Kawasumi (Reign) leads the league in assists, having tallied six, and has scored four goals as well. Sky Blue also leads the league in shots on goal, and Killion leads the league in goals off of PK’s. New Jersey’s goalkeeper, rookie Kailen Sheridan, is the leader in the league for most saves (60). Hailey Kopmeyer of Seattle is right behind Sheridan with 58 saves.
It is clear to tell, when looking at these statistics, that both teams are bringing in a lot of goal scoring (and stopping) power. Despite rankings, both teams (and their players) are leading the league in several categories.
Who Will Have More Momentum
Though both teams are going into this game with a recent draw on their record, it seems that Sky Blue has heavy momentum approaching the match. Their last three games have been decided within the last 12 minutes, each goal scored by Kerr. They’ve proved that they shouldn’t be counted out even late in the game.
In order for Seattle to secure the desired win and continue their unbeaten home streak, they will have to keep up with the pace and pressure that Sky Blue has been known to apply, especially towards the end of the match. The Reign will also have to move past their 1-1 draw against Boston in Week 13, as well as their 2-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage in Cary in Week 12.
Because the stakes are getting higher, this game will be an important match to win for either team. The Reign win need the three points to get closer to being eligible for the postseason. With each match that Sky Blue wins, they will be closer to securing a playoff spot for the first time since 2013.
Both clubs seem evenly matched looking at the numbers, so for this game, it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top. Will Sky Blue dethrone the Reign at Memorial Stadium, or will Seattle be able to halt New Jersey’s momentum? Or will this game end up like their first meeting; split rewards in a draw?