It was a crystalizing weekend in NWSL as the league leaders continued to separate themselves from the pack while Boston and Washington were officially eliminated from playoff contention. At the top of the table, the second, third and fourth place teams all won, while first place North Carolina had their bid to secure a playoff spot put on hold with their match against Houston being postponed due to the hurricane that hit Texas.
FC Kansas City vs. Orlando Pride (1-2: Labonta; Ubogago, Morgan)
In another terrific performance, the Orlando Pride earned its fourth consecutive win – this one on the road -- to remain in the fourth position in the standings with 32 points and inch closer to securing a postseason berth. The Pride remain tied on points with the third-place Red Stars (32 points), but are in fourth because Chicago holds the first tie-breaker – the head-to-head record between the two teams. Alex Morgan scored the game-winner in the 87th minute on a nifty back heel flick from a set play to secure Orlando’s win. Morgan has now scored in five straight games and has eight goals in her last seven NWSL games.
Seattle Reign vs. Portland Thorns (1-2; Fishlock; Raso (2))
In the third and final regular season meeting of this Pacific Northwest Rivalry in 2017, the Portland Thorns came out on top in a dominating fashion, evening the season series at 1-1-1. With the win, the Thorns became the first team in NWSL history to win 50 games. It was Portland’s first-ever win at Memorial Stadium and first road win against Seattle since 2013. The Thorns (37 points) keep them in second place, five points ahead of the Pride and Red Stars, who both won on Saturday as well.
Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars (1-2: Williams; K. Mewis, Press)
Courtesy of a game-winning goal from Christen Press, off an assist from Julie Ertz, the Chicago Red Stars snapped a three-game losing streak to remain solidly in playoff contention heading into the final four matches of the season. It was the 10th goal of 2017 for Press, who became just the third player in NWSL history to score 10 or more goals in a season twice, joining Kim Little (2014 and 2015) and Jessica McDonald (2014 and 2016). Press scored 10 goals in 11 games in 2015. She now has 34 career NWSL goals, moving her into sole possession of second place all-time. The loss eliminated the Spirit from playoff contention.
Sky Blue FC vs. Boston Breakers (1-0: Kerr)
It just five minutes for Sky Blue FC to find the game-winning goal in a match that eliminated Boston from playoff contention. Sam Kerr scored her 16th goal of the season, tying the NWSL record for goals in a single season set by former Reign FC midfielder Kim Little in 2014, when she ran onto a long through ball that skipped under onrushing goalkeeper Abby Smith giving Kerr an open net in which to finish. The win moves Sky Blue FC (29 points) into fifth place, three points behind the Red Stars and Pride for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage – POSTPONED (Date: TBA)
The Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage match that was supposed to be played on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Dynamo, Dash and BBVA Compass Stadium management, Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League made the decision to reschedule the games in the interest of fan, public, staff and player safety.
WNT Players in NWSL Action
Midfielder Julie Ertz – 90 minutes, ASSIST (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielder Lindsey Horan – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Defender Ali Krieger – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Forward Christen Press (capt.) – 90 minutes, GOAL (Chicago Red Stars)
Defender Casey Short – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Defender Meghan Klingenberg – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Forward Alex Morgan – 90 minutes, GOAL (Orlando Pride)
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (capt.) – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Forward Mallory Pugh – 90 minutes, ASSIST (Washington Spirit)
Forward Sydney Leroux – 90 minutes (FC Kansas City)
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) – 90 minutes (FC Kansas City)
Midfielder Allie Long – 32 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Defender Kelley O’Hara – 31 minutes (Sky Blue FC)
Did Not Play
Midfielder Rose Lavelle – Unused substitute (Boston Breakers)
Midfielder Tobin Heath – Back injury (Portland Thorns)
Forward Amy Rodriguez – Torn ACL; Out for the season (FC Kansas City)
Midfielder Morgan Brian – Groin injury / Game postponed (Houston Dash)
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe – Left knee surgery (Seattle Reign FC)
Midfielder Carli Lloyd – Ankle injury / Game postponed (Houston Dash)
Midfielder Samantha Mewis – Game postponed (NC Courage)
Forward Lynn Williams – Game postponed (NC Courage)
Defender Abby Dahlkemper – Game postponed (NC Courage)
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell – Game postponed (Houston Dash)