5 things you might not know about the NWSL title game

FC Kansas City celebrates its second consecutive NWSL title after defeating the Seattle Reign 1-0, Oct. 1, 2015. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

FC Kansas City celebrates its second consecutive NWSL title after defeating the Seattle Reign 1-0, Oct. 1, 2015. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

 

On Thursday (Oct. 1), the Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City played for the 2015 championship of the National Women’s Soccer League. The matchup was a repeat of last year’s title game, and so was the outcome. FC Kansas City won, this time 1-0 on a goal by Amy Rodriguez in the 78th minute.

Kansas City’s Amy Rodriguez scores the game-winner in the 78th minute. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Amy Rodriguez’s game-winning header. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

It was a duel between what may be the NWSL’s two best teams. Both, in the words of KC defender Becky Sauerbrunn, “really like to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Seattle had the league’s best regular-season record, its most potent offense, and some of the game’s most creative athletes: Megan Rapinoe,  Hope Solo, Kim Little, and Beverly Yanez, among others.

Kansas City had the league’s best defense and, thanks to its savvy, fundamentally rock-solid core of veterans — Rodriguez, Sauerbrunn, Nicole Barnhart, Jen Buczkowski, Heather O’Reilly, and Lauren Holiday, among others — a knack for kicking it up a notch in the postseason.

Lauren Holiday of FC Kansas City and Jess Fishlock of the Seattle Reign, NWSL championship, Oct. 1, 2015. (Craig Mitchelldyer/AP)

Lauren Holiday of FC Kansas City and Jess Fishlock of the Seattle Reign.  (Craig Mitchelldyer/AP)

In the end, it came down to one sequence, one play, one shot — which is what  everyone expected.

Here are five oddities, curiosities or (possibly) interesting facts about the game and its participants:

 

1.

Seattle placed four players on the NWSL’s Best XI, more than any other team: Defender Lauren Barnes, midfielders Jess Fishlock and Kim Little, and forward Beverly Yanez.

best XI

2.

Kansas City is the only team to make the playoffs in each of the three NWSL seasons.

 

3.

Nicole Barnhart, the FC KC keeper, has led the league in shutouts every year.

 

4.

The game’s two coaches are the only ones to have won the NWSL’s Coach of the Year Award. Kansas City’s Vlatko Andonovski won in 2013; Seattle’s Laura Harvey won this year and in 2014.

vladlaura

 

5.

Six Seattle players went to the University of Portland: Stephanie Cox, Michelle Cruz, Danielle Foxhoven, Megan Rapinoe, Elli Reed, and Keelin Winters.

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By contrast, only two Portland Thorns — Kendall Johnson and Christine Sinclair — went to the University of Portland.

 

 

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