by Shaley Howard, PQ Monthly
Tonight the Seattle Reign FC (SRFC) will play the defending champions FC Kansas City (FCKC) in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship match right here in Portland Oregon! Portland, known for our crazy, borderline obsessive, love of football. A city also known as a city that routinely averages crowds of over 13,000 for Portland Thorns FC games. Currently, Portland with more fan attendees than any other US women’s soccer team and was chosen to host the championship match.
“I just love that this city appreciates and understands not only the game but women’s football. I think that’s something that is special. To have the league host the championship game in this atmosphere should be really good.” – commented SRFC midfielder Megan Rapinoe.
The NWSL gained huge momentum after the US Women’s Team beat Japan in the Women’s World Cup (WWC) (read PQ Monthly’s coverage of the game HERE) last July in Canada. This victory took place in front of 50,000 fans and millions of viewers across the world. Now in its third year, the league is hoping to harness that energy and excitement generated from the WWC victory in hopes of continuing to expand its fan base support.
If you’re already a big soccer fan, tonight’s game might seem like a déjà vu with FCKC and SRFC mainly because those same teams were in the 2014 final championship match where Kansas City won. This year, Seattle has the best record for the NWSL and won the shield for the second year in a row with 13 league wins and 43 points. FCKC has 9 league wins and 33 points. This year’s end of season standings between the two teams is also incredibly similar to last year’s so even more – déjà vu.
When asked about today’s championship match and what things need to be different to secure a victory over Kansas City, Seattle’s Rapinoe said:
It’s also obvious that good coaching gets results. FCKC’s coach Vlatko Andonovski won NWSL Coach of the year the first season in 2013, and Seattle’s coach Laura Harvey has won it the last two seasons. Both Seattle and KC play excellent defense games and are loaded with talent. But all good coaching aside, in championship final matches like this, the victory is often determined by who shows up to play and sometimes a little luck.
Both FCKC and SRFC have played each other multiple times throughout the season and are well aware of each other’s offensive and defensive capabilities and determination.
“FCKC has a great defense. They’re one of the hardest to break down in the league. For me, I have to be a bit more particular in my movements. I’m looking forward to it; it’ll be a great battle and one worth the watch.” – remarked Kim Little SRFC midfielder.
As far as players tonight, keep an eye on SRFC midfielder Kim Little. Arguably one of the best players in the game and who also received the MVP of the league in 2014 and KCFC midfielder Lauren Holiday, the 2013 league MVP. Holiday is also retiring this year so she might come out with a little extra force knowing this is her last professional match. We’ll also see five other national team players including Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo (swoon) from Seattle, and Heather O’Reilly, Amy Rodriguez and Becky Sauerbrunn from Kansas City.
But whether you’re a Seattle fan hoping for a little payback, or a Kansas City fan hoping to defend your title. Tonight’s championship match is bound to be exciting and hopefully a bit of a nail-biter to watch. Tickets are still available HERE.
The match begins at 6:30 pm at Providence Park.