FC Kansas City travels to Seattle to face the Reign for the first time since beating them for the NWSL Championship (for the second straight year).
Seattle has been one of the best teams the last two years but so has FC Kansas City. The Blues faced the Reign in the last two NWSL Championships and have been well matched opponents.
"This time is no different than any other time," FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski observed. "Seattle is one of the most organized teams in the league and definitely one of the teams that have good players at every position. Everything they do is top notch so to be successful against Seattle, especially in Seattle; every single player on the team has to bring their best game."
The Blues are a very different team from the one that took the championship. A number of retirements and a pair of pregnancies have shook up the Blues squad. Lauren Holiday, Leigh Ann Robinson, Amy LePeilbet have retired. Amy Rodriguez is having her second baby and her replacement Sydney Leroux is also sitting out pregnant.
The Blues second year striker, the aggressive and explosive Shea Groom will miss this match due to receiving a red card in the last game. "Unfortunately referees make mistakes," Andonovski stated. "There is nothing we can do about that but just accept and hope those mistakes are not going to happen. Not having Shea is a big hit for us, especially after the first three games the way she played, the goals she scored and the opportunities she created. That is why we have other players on the roster who are anxious and ready to step in and fill that role."
One obvious replacement would be Tiffany McCarty except she is out with a hamstring strain. Andonovski would not say who would step in as striker except to say, "We are still debating but we have a couple combinations we may do."
Kansas natives Frances Silva and Caroline Kastor are the only natural forwards left on the roster but some combination of those two and possibly Erika Tymrak, Mandy Laddish, Alexa Newfield and Heather O'Reilly could all see time going forward.
The Reign are strong across the board but have a couple of significant injuries as well. Megan Rapinoe has been sidelines with an ACL from the U.S. Women's Victory tour and Jessica Fishlock fractured a tibia and will miss several weeks.