The Washington Spirit face fifth-place Seattle Reign FC tonight in the first of a pair of matches this week between the two teams. With a win, the Spirit would clinch a home-field semifinal and would secure the NWSL Shield if the Portland Thorns fall to the Houston Dash late tonight. A draw against Seattle could also secure home-field advantage depending on other league results.
None of the Spirit's Canadian trio started on Saturday night but Diana Matheson and Shelina Zadorsky each entered the game in the second half. Matheson and Zadorsky each started prior to the Olympics and will likely start tonight. Stephanie Labbe started in goal for the Spirit before leaving for Brazil but after Saturday's game, Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra indicated Kelsey Wys would likely be the starting goalkeeper for the Spirit moving forward.
Seattle enters tonight's game needing a win to effectively keep its playoff chances alive and will likely need wins in all of their final three games of the season in order to secure a playoff spot. The Reign's hopes of a playoff spot could even end tonight if they lose and the Western New York Flash defeat the Boston Breakers in a game that also starts at 7:00pm.
On Sunday, the Reign squandered a two-goal lead and tied the Chicago Red Stars in Illinois. The bigger news out of the match was Megan Rapinoe taking a knee during the national anthem in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Rapinoe's long-time USWNT teammate Hope Solo has also been in the news recently after U.S. Soccer suspended her and terminated her contract. Solo will not be at the Maryland Soccerplex this evening since she elected to sit out the remainder of the 2016 NWSL season.
"Coming to terms with the fact I was fired from the U.S. Women’s National Team after 17 years of service has been devastating. After careful consideration, I have decided to end my season with the Seattle Reign, an organization I love playing for. Mentally, I am not there yet," said Solo in a club press release. "After watching the team’s win against Portland this weekend and seeing Haley Kopmeyer playing so well in goal, I truly believe this decision is what’s best for me and for the Reign organization."
Location: Maryland Soccerplex (Boyds, MD)
Kick-off time: 7:00pm Eastern
Available TV: None
Available streaming: NWSL Soccer, free and non geo-blocked
Treat this as the gamethread for tonight’s match.