WNT Weekend Rewind: Dunn, Long, Heath and Rodriguez Find Back of the Net

WNT - Amy Rodriguez, Tobin Heath
WNT - Amy Rodriguez, Tobin Heath

There were eight goals scored in NWSL play over the weekend and half of them came from U.S. WNT players with two – Tobin Heath and Amy Rodriguez – back on the field after long layoffs. The North Carolina Courage continues to distance itself from the pack with another win this past weekend and sits atop the NWSL standings with 16 points, seven clear of second-place Chicago after just six matches.

North Carolina Courage vs. Houston Dash (2-0: Dunn, Hamilton)
The North Carolina Courage remain as the only unbeaten team in the league, improving to 5-0-1 with a 2-0 win against Houston on Saturday’s Lifetime Game of the Week. Crystal Dunnscored early in the game off a long throw-in that bounced inside the penalty area before she volleyed home to open the scoring. It was Dunn’s third goal of the season, second-best in the league behind only Christine Sinclair’s four scores for the Portland Thorns.

Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars (1-1: Ordega; Mautz)
In her final game as a teenager, Mallory Pugh once again showed her talent for running at goal as sheprovided the assist for teammate Francisca Ordega’s goal in the Spirit’s 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday. The game marked the return of 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year Julie Ertz, who played the final 16 minutes in what was her 2018 NWSL debut. Ertz last played with the U.S. WNT on March 1 at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup.

Orlando Pride vs. Seattle Reign (1-1: Marta; Long)
In front of a crowd of 5,058, the Orlando Pride tied Seattle Reign FC, 1-1, via goals from Brazil international Marta and WNT midfielder Allie Long. Long opened the scoring with a goal that originated from a set play. The ball was punched out by Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, but Seattle defender Megan Oyster won a header duel with Marta at the top of the penalty area, sending the ball into the left side of the box for Long, who pivoted to volley into the lower right corner. Marta’s game-tying goal came on a beautiful long-distance free kick.

Utah Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns FC (1-1: Rodriguez; Heath)
The final scored showed a 1-1 draw between the Utah Royals FC and the Portland Thorns, but the game was special day for both clubs due to the goal scorers. In an entertaining end-to-end match, Utah got the first goal in the 53rd minute from Amy Rodriguez, who is back on the field after basically missing the last two seasons, due to pregnancy (2016) and injury (2017).Rodriguez stripped the ball from Thorns’ defender Kelli Hubly, dribbled into the penalty box and showed composure under pressure to evade Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom , before calmly slotting her shot into the left side of the goal past Meghan Klingenberg, who was back covering with her goalkeeper out of net. It was Rodriguez’ first start and goal of the season. Rodriguez made her 2018 NWSL debut last weekend.

For Portland, it was Tobin Heath who scored the equalizer as Portland took advantage of a forced turnover in midfield and Christine Sinclair played Heath into the penalty area on the left side. In classic Heath fashion, she drew out Utah goalkeeper Abby Smith before lifting a cheeky shot that looped into the middle of the net.

It was Heath’s second appearance of the year, subbing on in the 57th minute and she scored 10 minutes later. Heath made her 2018 debut on April 20 against the Washington Spirit, playing the final 30 minutes. Before these two games, Heath last had seen the field in a competitive match on Sept. 19, 2017 with the U.S. WNT in Cincinnati.

WNT Players in NWSL Action
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell – 90 minutes (Houston Dash)
Defender Abby Dahlkemper – 90 minutes (NC Courage)
Forward Crystal Dunn – 90 minutes, GOAL (NC Courage)
Midfielder Julie Ertz – 16 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Forward Ashley Hatch – 90 minutes (Washington Spirit)
Midfielder Tobin Heath – 33 minutes, GOAL (Portland Thorns)
Midfielder Lindsey Horan – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Defender Sofia Huerta – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Defender Meghan Klingenberg – 65 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielder Allie Long – 90 minutes, GOAL (Seattle Reign)
Midfielder Samantha Mewis – 29 minutes (NC Courage)
Forward Alex Morgan – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Forward Mallory Pugh – 75 minutes, ASSIST (Washington Spirit)
Forward Amy Rodriguez – 56 minutes, GOAL (Utah Royals FC)
Defender Kelley O’Hara – 80 minutes (Utah Royals FC)
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn – 90 minutes (Utah Royals FC)
Defender Emily Sonnett – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielder Andi Sullivan – 90 minutes (Washington Spirit)
Defender Taylor Smith – 90 minutes (Washington Spirit)
Forward Lynn Williams – 90 minutes, GOAL (NC Courage)

Did Not Play
Midfielder Rose Lavelle – Injury [hamstring] (Washington Spirit)
Forward Megan Rapinoe – Injury [hamstring] (Seattle Reign FC)
Defender Casey Short – Injury [ankle] (Chicago Red Stars)
Forward Savannah McCaskill – Bye Week (Sky Blue FC)
Midfielder Carli Lloyd – Bye Week (Sky Blue FC)

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