OL Reign heads to NWSL semifinals and a shot at history
Seattle's OL Reign have made the playoffs every year since 2019, but they've yet to clinch the National Women's Soccer League championship — something they hope to change if they can make it through the semifinals this weekend.
Driving the news: The Reign head down to San Diego to take on the Wave FC at Snapdragon Stadium on Sunday in pursuit of their first NWSL Championship trophy.
Why it matters: This could be the final NWSL game for World Cup and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe, who is retiring.
- Her final regular season home game against the Washington Spirit on Oct. 6 not only broke the NWSL attendance record — set by the San Diego Wave last year — but also set a new streaming record.
- More than 34,000 people attended the Lumen Field game in person and 683,000 viewers tuned in, according to CBS Sports, making it the second most watched game in NWSL history, trailing only the 2022 NWSL championship.
Who to watch: The Reign sent more players to compete in the 2023 Women's World Cup than any other franchise: Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Alana Cook, Emily Sonnett and Sofia Huerta.
- Their coach, Laura Harvey, is being floated as the next U.S. Women's National Team coach.
- San Diego also has world-class players, including Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Abby Dahlkemper, Jaedyn Shaw and Kailen Sheridan, the reigning NWSL goalkeeper of the year and a top contender for the award this year.
Catch up quick: The NWSL Championship is down to four of the league's top teams.
- The Wave automatically qualified for the semifinal round as the No. 1 seed after winning the NWSL Shield this year.
- The Portland Thorns also received a bye into the semifinals round following their 2–0 quarterfinals win over the North Carolina Courage and will face NJ/NY Gotham FC Sunday.
- The Wave lost the semifinals game last year to the Portland Thorns, who then went on to beat the Kansas City Current to win the 2022 NWSL championship.
State of play: OL Reign has beaten the Wave in all four matchups so far this season.
What they're saying: "Oh, it's gonna be a good one," said Rapinoe about facing the Wave. "We are not going to give away our game plan but, you know, we don't like each other so much."
What's next: Regardless of who wins the semifinals, San Diego will host the NWSL Championship on Nov. 11.
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