Go ahead and keep asking about the differences from last season, but at this point the Reign will all tell you the same thing: there is no comparison.
That’s what three straight wins to open the season will do, as Seattle kept a hold of first place in the National Women’s Soccer League with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dash on Sunday evening in front of 2,290 fans at Memorial Stadium.
“We can’t even talk about last year anymore,” coach Laura Harvey said. “It’s gone. We can’t even compare ourselves anymore. We’re just a completely different side, both internally what we think of ourselves and the players that we’ve brought in to sort of push on and achieve the goals that we want to achieve.”
The Reign struggled in its initial campaign, sputtering to a 5-14-3 finish in 2013, but the front office made a bevy of offseason moves that left the team with a star-studded roster. It’s not the talent accrued that has left an impression on the players, though, but the way the team was assembled.
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“Laura, she did a lot of work in the offseason,” goalkeeper Hope Solo said. “She brought in a lot of different players, great personnel. She tried to determine who would play well together. You have to be a hard worker, you can’t just have talent. She enforces everybody to play team defense.”
The Seattle defense was the key against Houston as the Reign came away with a shutout for the second time in the first three games. The Reign has yet to allow a goal in the run of play, as the lone score against them came off a penalty kick.
Kim Little provided all the offensive fireworks for the Reign on Sunday, scoring both goals. The Scottish international finished a penalty kick in the 19th minute to give Seattle the lead and then found the back of the net again in the 38th minute for the final advantage.
Little leads the NWSL with four goals after scoring a pair in the opener against Boston.
The Reign embarks on its first road trip of the season, as it will travel to face Sky Blue FC in Piscataway, N.J., on Wednesday before playing at Washington and Portland.
“It was great to have three home games to start off … “ Little said. “To be here for just two or three weeks and have three home games was great. Obviously to get the nine points was what we came out to do and to not concede in open play … was a big thing for us as well. So I think we’re ready to go on the road.”