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Three takeaways from Seattle Reign’s 0-0 draw with Chicago Red Stars

The Seattle Reign battled to a 0-0 draw with the Chicago Red Stars at Memorial Stadium Wednesday evening. The draw left Seattle poised to make the NWSL playoffs after the club gutted through tough conditions for the point at home.

Here are three takeaways from the match.

Reign missing seven players

The Seattle Reign were shorthanded in Wednesday’s contest. Seven players were unavailable due to absence or injury: Beverly Yanez, Yael Averbuch, Elizabeth Addo, Rumi Utsugi, Kiersten Dallstream, Steph Catley and Megan Rapinoe all missed the match. Combined, those players account for 73 appearances for the Reign in 2018.

“We are missing 5-6 players that started for us throughout the whole season,” Reign head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “That’s not easy, but I’m just very happy with the effort of everyone from the roster. They got a chance to play whether it was one minute or 98 minutes. It just shows that the mentality of our team. It shows that everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

Air quality, water breaks affect match

Thanks to wildfires in eastern Washington, smoke and haze enveloped Seattle Wednesday, bringing the Air Quality Index to 156, a rating that is regarded as hazardous to human health and was worse on the day than Mumbai and Beijing.

While Reign players said the smog was not as bad as what they had dealt with in a recent road match against Utah, the league elected to have the match played with two water breaks every half and have oxygen available on the sidelines.

“I enjoyed the water breaks,” Andonovski said, smiling. “I coached indoor soccer for a few years, it felt like indoor. I could get a timeout. One of the breaks, it was right before a (free kick), so I had the opportunity to draw something up. I love it. Maybe that’s something we can implement. We’ll see.”

No shots on goal in the draw

Despite a couple of close calls, the Reign were unable to notch a shot on goal against Chicago. Jess Fishlock had one shot smash into the side netting and another ricochet off the post, while Adriana Leon put a close-range chance wide of the net in the late stages of the match, but Chicago keeper Alyssa Naeher was not forced to make a save in the draw.

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