The opening weekend of the 2017 NWSL season kicked off on Saturday, April 15 with four tightly-contested matches, including the first live TV broadcast with the league’s new partner, Lifetime.
Additionally, Division 1 Fémenine and FA Cup action continued abroad on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Below, we highlight some of the performances of the U.S. Women’s National Team players for their respective clubs.
Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars (2-0 Dash; Goals: Ohai, Daly)
Kealia Ohai notched the first goal of the new season in 15th minute as the Houston Dash squared off against the Chicago Red Stars. The goal gave the Dash a lead they would not relinquish. Rachel Daly added a second for Houston on a spectacular curving strike late in the game to secure the 2-0 win. Despite allowing the two goals in the game, Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played an excellent match, recording six saves.
Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride (2-0 Thorns; Goals: Nadim, Sinclair)
In the first Game of the Week on Lifetime, the Portland Thorns shutout the Orlando Pride 2-0 in front of 16,145 fans at Providence Park, the highest attendance for a home opener in Thorns FC history. Portland beat Orlando to open the season for the second consecutive year, and remains unbeaten in all five of its home openers. The Thorns’ goals were scored by Denmark and Canada internationals Nadia Nadim and Christine Sinclair, respectively. Sinclair’s goal was assisted by Allie Long, who slid a beautiful pass to her teammate for her to finishing inside the penalty box. While Orlando could not produce a goal on the attacking end, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was quite busy on the other end and pulled off a tremendous clear with her head when she was forced to venture outside the penalty area. WATCH HERE
Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage (1-0 Courage; Goal: Zerboni)
The North Carolina Courage played its first game and scored its first goal in franchise history on Saturday to claim three points on the road with a 1-0 victory against the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex. McCall Zerboni scored the lone goal in the 18th minute to give the visitors the lead. North Carolina was all over Washington on the field, taking 21 shots, including nine on goal.
Seattle Reign FC vs. Sky Blue FC (1-1; Goals: Rapinoe, Killion)
The Reign and Sky Blue played to a 1-1 draw to complete the Saturday slate at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Megan Rapinoe tallied Seattle’s lone goal in the 56th minute off a penalty kick while Sarah Killion equalized SBFC in the 62nd, also from the penalty spot. Kelley O’Hara, who played all 90 minutes in the game, was fouled in the box which led to Killion’s PK.
FC Kansas City vs. Boston Breakers (2-0 FCKC; Leroux, Rodriguez)
After a disappointing 2016 season for the two-time NWSL Champion, FC Kansas City opened the new campaign with a big 2-0 win at home with goals from Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez. Leroux’s goal was a WNT to WNT connection as FCKC and WNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn sent a long ball over the defense Leroux ran onto before powering into the lower left corner on the half-volley. The game marked the first for Leroux in a FCKC uniform, and first competitive appearance since 2015 due to the birth of her son Cassius. The game also marked Rodriguez’ return to the KC lineup for the first time since 2015, when she last scored in the team’s championship game victory. Rodriguez, who gave birth to her second child on July of 2016, most recently played against Russia on April 6 in her return game for the WNT. Shortly after scoring her goal in the second half, Rodriguez was carried off the field with what appeared to be a serious left knee injury. More information on the extent of the injury should be announced soon.
Action continued for a trio of WNT players abroad on Sunday and Monday morning. Alex Morgan scored four times as Olympique Lyonnais trounced Hénin-Beaumont 10-0 in the French Cup semifinal. With the win, OL has qualified for the Coupe de France, where the team will have a chance to defend its title against rival Paris Saint-Germain.
Over in England, both Crystal Dunn and Carli Lloyd played in FA Cup semifinal games on Monday morning. Dunn’s Chelsea Ladies fell 4-2 on penalty kicks to Birmingham City after tying 1-1 through regulation and overtime, while Lloyd’s Manchester City secured its spot in the FA Cup Final on May 13 with a 1-0 win against Liverpool today.
Up next for Lloyd and Morgan is the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal series on April 22 as the two European super clubs square off in Manchester.
WNT Players in NWSL Action – Week 1
Defender Julie Ertz – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (capt.) – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Midfielder Lindsey Horan – 69 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Defender Meghan Klingenberg – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Defender Ali Krieger – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Midfielder Rose Lavelle – 90 minutes (Boston Breakers)
Forward Sydney Leroux – 81 minutes, GOAL (FC Kansas City)
Midfielder Allie Long – 90 minutes, ASSIST (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielder Samantha Mewis – 90 minutes (NC Courage)
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Forward Kealia Ohai (capt.)– 89 minutes, GOAL (Houston Dash)
Defender Kelley O’Hara – 90 minutes (Sky Blue FC)
Forward Christen Press (capt.) – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe – 86 minutes, GOAL (Seattle Reign FC)
Forward Amy Rodriguez – 57 minutes, GOAL (FC Kansas City)
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) – 90 minutes, ASSIST (FC Kansas City)
Defender Casey Short – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Defender Emily Sonnett – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Forward Lynn Williams – 90 minutes (NC Courage)
WNT Players Abroad
Forward Crystal Dunn – 90 minutes (Chelsea Ladies FC, ENG)
Midfielder Carli Lloyd – 90 minutes (Manchester City, ENG / Houston Dash)
Forward Alex Morgan – 90 minutes, 4 GOALS, 2 ASSISTS (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA / Orlando Pride)
Did Not Play
Midfielder Morgan Brian – knee injury (Houston Dash)
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell – Unused substitute (Houston Dash)
Midfielder Tobin Heath – back injury (Portland Thorns)