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.
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.
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:
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.
Kansas City is the only team to make the playoffs in each of the three NWSL seasons.
Nicole Barnhart, the FC KC keeper, has led the league in shutouts every year.
Six Seattle players went to the University of Portland: Stephanie Cox, Michelle Cruz, Danielle Foxhoven, Megan Rapinoe, Elli Reed, and Keelin Winters.
By contrast, only two Portland Thorns — Kendall Johnson and Christine Sinclair — went to the University of Portland.