7/19-21 NWSL Weekend Recap


It was a big weekend for the National Women’s Soccer League, as many of the stars from the United States Women’s National Team returned to their respective clubs. Names like Julie Ertz, Lindsay Horan, Abby Dahlkemper, and more all made returns to their clubs lineup for this weekend’s fixtures.

Utah Royals FC 2-2 Portland Thorns

Friday’s match between Utah Royals FC and Portland Thorns was full of entertainment, with a world class finish by Portland’s Christine Sinclair kicking off the match in the first 10 minutes. The Utah defense poorly cleared a ball to the edge of the box where Sinclair brought the ball down off her chest and connected perfectly with the half-volley to place it in the top left corner.

Both teams traded chances and tackles for the rest of the half until Christen Press picked up the ball on the left side of the field, skillfully netmugging her way past a defender and slotting it past Adrianna French’s near post to equalize. The USWNT star came back into the lineup with a wonderful solo effort.


Utah would have another chance in the 58th minute, as Katie Stengel collected the ball in the area, turning past her defender to put a shot on goal but French would make an incredible save to keep the game level.

The game heated up in the final minutes of the game, and in the 86th minute luck found it’s way to help the Thorns get the lead. Portland lined up for a free kick from far out, and after Utah poorly dealt with the ball in the box, Horan struck the ball that would deflect off Becky Sauerbrunn and find the back of the net. The goal initially went to Horan but was later credited as an own goal to Sauerbrunn.


But the game was not over as Utah pushed everyone forward in the late moments of the game, and a goal in the 90th minute would give Royals FC the point they deserved at home. Kelley O’Hara collected the ball in loads of space on the left side of the field, and hit an early floated cross to the back post that would the sliding effort of Rachel Corsie to equalize at 2-2.

The game would end level at 2-2, and Press would go home with Woman of the Match. The draw see Portland atop the table with 23 points after 13 games played, and Utah sit at sixth place with 18 points after 12 games played.

Orlando Pride 1-0 Sky Blue FC

It was a less eventful game from the teams that sit bottom at eighth and ninth place in the league. The Pride saw the return of goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, but star forward Alex Morgan did not appear for her club this weekend. Sky Blue did not see the return of Carli Lloyd, and it showed in the 1-0 loss.

The Pride grabbed the only goal of the match in the 23rd minute, from rookie Marisa Viggiano. She collected the ball on the left side of the field, pushing forward into the edge of the area and rifling an effort that found the top right corner of the goal. The 22-year-old’s magnificent solo effort was the only goal needed for Pride to top the bottom of the league Sky Blue FC.


The final score saw Sky Blue in ninth place with eight points from 12 games, and Pride in eighth place with 11 points from 14 games played.

Houston Dash 2-1 Washington Spirit

Saturday’s second game saw two teams in the middle of the pack face off in Houston Dash and the Washington Spirit. The Spirit saw the return of Mallory Pugh to the lineup, but the hero of the World Cup final Rose Lavelle did not feature for her club side.

The first chance of the game fell to Washington, as defender Paige Nielsen played a floating ball into the area after a corner that found it’s way through everyone, and Andi Sullivan’s one-time volley struck the crossbar and out for the goal kick.

The first goal of the game didn’t come until the second half, which was delayed due to lightning in the area. Washington’s Sam Staab would launch a long throw in into the box that would find it’s way to the head of a Dash player that played the ball across her own area to Jordan DiBiasi’s head for a Spirit goal in the 52nd minute.

Only four minutes would pass until Houston equalized, as Rachel Daly drove towards the box, cutting in and playing a skillful back heel pass to Sofia Huerta making the run in behind her. Huerta would settle the ball and drive it across the box to the striking foot of Kristie Mewis for the leveling goal.

Houston would come all the back from behind to grab the lead in the 72nd minute, as a free kick drove into the box would find the head of Amber Brooks and the lead at the near post.

A penalty in the 90th minute gave Washington a chance to equalize, as Pugh stepped up to take it. She took a slow run up and hit it to the bottom left corner, but Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell made the save to hold onto the win. Campbell made that her fourth penalty saved this season, not letting a single attempt find the back of the net.

The win sees Houston in seventh with 16 points after 13 games played, and Washington sit at fifth place with 18 points from 12 games played.

Chicago Red Stars 2-1 North Carolina Courage

Sunday’s lone game saw a return of eight USWNT players. With Chicago adding midfielders Julie Ertz and Morgan Brian, as well as goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Tierna Davidson. Forward Jessica McDonald, midfielder Samantha Mewis, and defender Abby Dahlkemper all returned to North Carolina’s starting eleven, with defender Crystal Dunn returning as a substitute in the 62nd minute.

North Carolina would get the first goal of the match through Lynn Williams in the 30th minute, as Debinha played a perfectly one-timed ball to Williams with loads of space to curl the ball past Naeher for the 1-0 lead.

But Chicago would draw level seven minutes later, as Arin Wright played a weighted ball into the area to the perfect run of Vanessa DiBernardo who slotted it home in the 37th minute.

The league leader in goals Sam Kerr would be the one to give Chicago the lead in the 58th minute, as she was played through by Katlyn Johnson and nutmegged her defender, taking a touch to collect and place perfectly to the bottom left corner for the 2-1 lead.

Kerr’s goal would be the winner and the reason the 17,000+ fans at SeatGeek Stadium would go home happy as Chicago climbed up to third place with the win over North Carolina who fall to second with the loss.



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