Washington Spirit vs. Boston Breakers (2-2: Johnson, Williams; Leon (2))
The two teams sitting at the bottom of the standings played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon in the Lifetime Game of the Week. The final few minutes of the game saw both sides pushing for the game-winner – including a header off a free kick deep into stoppage time by Estelle Johnson that hit the crossbar, followed immediately by a Boston counterattack that had a saw Rosie White open in front of the goal before she shot wide – but neither could convert.
Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC (5-0; Morgan (2), Marta (2), Weatherholt)
The match marked a return to action for Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, and it was quite a welcome back, as the Pride scored five goals against Sky Blue FC, which had been red-hot in the last few weeks. Alex Morgan contributed to the scoring early, tallying the first for Orlando in the fourth minute and scoring her second in the second half. The brace was her first of this NWSL season. It was Harris’ first game since May 21 and she earned the shutout. The win moves Orlando into fourth place in the standings, a position it will want to solidify with only seven more games left in the 2017 regular season.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns (2-3: Huerta, Press; Raso, Sonnett, Sinclair)
The match featured an intense first half that saw four goals scored but in the end, it was Portland Thorns who handed Chicago its first home loss this season and jumped to second place in the league standings. Portland scored twice in the first 10 minutes before Christen Press bagged her ninth goal of the season to cut the home side’s deficit to one. Sofia Huerta made it 2-2 in the 37th minute, but in the 55th it was Emily Sonnett who found the game-winner for the visitors, scoring with a nicely redirected header off a free kick. With the loss, Chicago dropped to third place, still solidly in playoff position, and now sits seven points behind league-leader North Carolina.
Houston Dash vs. FC Kansas City (0-1; Groom)
Carli Lloyd left the game early with an ankle injury while Shea Groom scored off a header in the 83rd minute to snap a nine-game winless streak for FC Kansas City on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium. Becky Sauerbrunn, in a rare foray up the flank, provided the assist to Groom off a cross from the left wing. It’s the first win for FC Kansas City since a 3-2 win over the Washington Spirit on May 27. For the Dash, it was the second straight loss after going on a six-game unbeaten streak.
Seattle Reign vs. North Carolina Courage (1-2: Utsugi; S. Mewis (2))
On Sunday evening, the NWSL-leading North Carolina Courage added another win to league-best record and handed Seattle its first home loss of the season, snapping a 15-game unbeaten streak at Memorial Stadium. Samantha Mewis had both of the Courage’s goals in the match, a tremendous half-volley strike in the 24th minute and then the game-winner in the 74th minute to help her team stay comfortably atop the standings with seven games to play.
WNT Players in NWSL Action
Midfielder Julie Ertz – 90 minutes (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)
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell – 90 minutes (Houston Dash)
Midfielder Carli Lloyd – 35 minutes (Houston Dash)
Forward Alex Morgan – 90 minutes, 2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST (Orlando Pride)
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (capt.) – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Forward Mallory Pugh – 90 minutes (Washington Spirit)
Forward Sydney Leroux – 90 minutes (FC Kansas City)
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) – 90 minutes, ASSIST (FC Kansas City)
Midfielder Samantha Mewis – 90 minutes, 2 GOALS (NC Courage)
Forward Lynn Williams – 90 minutes (NC Courage)
Defender Abby Dahlkemper – 90 minutes (NC Courage)
Did Not Play
Midfielder Rose Lavelle – Hamstring injury (Boston Breakers)
Midfielder Tobin Heath – Back injury (Portland Thorns)
Forward Amy Rodriguez – Torn ACL; Out for the season (FC Kansas City)
Defender Kelley O’Hara – Minor hip strain (Sky Blue FC)
Midfielder Morgan Brian – Right groin injury (Houston Dash)
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe – Left knee surgery (Seattle Reign FC)
Midfielder Allie Long – Excused absence (Portland Thorns FC)
Excellent opponents and exciting games, that was the 2017 Tournament of Nations as U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis continued her evaluation of players as she goes through the process of building the team towards 2019.
Some notables from the inaugural tournament:
- Defender Taylor Smith earned her first three caps and two starts.
- She picked up her first two assists against Japan in the finale.
- Megan Rapinoe earned her first 90-minute game since 2015, and her first start since Aug. 9, 2016.
- She also scored her first WNT goals since the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
- Ellis gave minutes to 18 of the 20 field players on the roster.
- Alyssa Naeher played every minute of all three games in goal for the USA.
- Allie Long started at defensive midfielder against Australia, followed by Becky Sauerbrunn playing in that slot against Brazil, and then Julie Ertz against Japan.
- Ellis used all six of her substitutions in all three matches.
- The USA had six different scorers during the tournament: Samantha Mewis, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Julie Ertz.
- The USA scored three goals in nine minutes during a comeback to defeat Brazil 4-3.
- Kelley O’Hara played in her 99th game for the USA and could become the 36th American fe
male player to reach 100 caps.
Megan Rapinoe scored two goals and had two assists during the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
The USA finished the tournament in second place following a loss to Australia, a thrilling 4-3 comeback win against Brazil, and a 3-0 shutout victory against Japan. While Australia played excellent attacking soccer in all three games and lifted the trophy with three victories, including its first against the USA, what the U.S. did achieve was the continuing evolution of the team and the deepening of the player pool. Now, Ellis is ready to take the next steps.
“Now it’s about building connections,” Ellis said after the Japan match. “I know what I’ve put the players through in terms of making it a challenge and playing them in different positions, playing them with different people. I get that. It’s a long run up to 2019 but I want to do that now. Look at Australia, they are a seasoned team because they’ve been together so long that they know each other so well. That’s the next step in our process; establishing our starting lineup and working on our chemistry and connections and our team play.”
The U.S. WNT is set to play six more games this year in the fall against three opponents to wrap up 2017. It will face New Zealand twice in September, another pair of soon-to-be-announced friendlies in October, and will end its 2017 campaign with two matches against Canada, on Nov. 9 in Vancouver, and on Nov. 12 in a U.S. venue which will also be announced soon.Read more