Seattle Sounders, Reign FC in playoff action this weekend
Both of the region's professional soccer teams have playoff games this weekend. The Seattle Sounders host FC Dallas on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The Reign FC play the North Carolina Courage on the road Sunday at 10:30 a.m. It's the topic of this week's conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.
SOUNDERS: PLAYOFF CONSISTENCY
The Sounders have made it to the playoffs for the 11th straight year. That means they've played in the postseason every year of their existence in Major League Soccer — a league record.
"Incredible streak," Thiel said. "I don't know that there's anything quite like it in major league sports."
The Sounders are the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference this year and they play the No. 7 seed, FC Dallas. Thiel said the Sounders have a big home field advantage for this match.
"Dallas has not played well in Seattle," Thiel said. "They've lost nine of the 10 games historically here."
GAINS AND LOSSES
"The Sounders overcame a number of obstacles this season," Thiel said. "They lost their best defender, Chad Marshall, who just had a combination of age and injuries and retired in midseason. They also lost Will Bruin, a very competent goal scorer, who tore his ACL.
"They also lost Román Torres, another good defender who had a 10-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. But he did get back in time for the regular season finale and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win that elevated the Sounders into second place.
"The other person they got back was Jordan Morris, who's likely to be Comeback Player of the Year in the MLS. He scored 10 goals and looks to be his old self after coming back from a serious knee injury a year ago."
Thiel also noted there is a format change in the MLS playoffs this year. There are no more home-home matchups — only single-elimination games.
REIGN FC: TOUGH OPPONENT
There also is playoff action in the National Women's Soccer League this weekend. The Reign FC play the North Carolina Courage on the road.
Theil said the Courage are the best team in the league, and the Reign have yet to beat them in North Carolina — in five tries. But he said the Reign had an impressive season.
"They finished with 10 wins, six losses and eight ties," Thiel said. "And they did it without much help from Megan Rapinoe."
Rapinoe led the U.S. to victory at the World Cup in France and earned the FIFA Player of the Year award. She also was honored as a Sportswoman of the Year, by the Women's Sports Foundation.
"Now she's got a big game this Sunday and we'll see if they advance to the championship game," Thiel said.
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