It was a longer week in NWSL than usual with two midweek games. Portland and Orlando both played twice; Portland has been looking very sharp recently, especially with the addition of French international Amandine Henry, but Orlando is starting to struggle after a decent run of games. Meanwhile, WNY continues to pad its stats thanks to gaudy scorelines against hapless Boston while other teams manage more respectable scorelines in the middle of the table.
Who stood out over the course of six games?
Portland Thorns 2 - 0 Chicago Red Stars
Christen Press: Even though she did her best to try and provide for her teammates, she was either marked too close or cut off from the ball and wasn’t able to get anyone in on goal.
Alyssa Naeher: She had a good stop on Tobin Heath in the second half and helped keep the back line together after the goals.
Julie Johnston: She had some bad defensive breakdowns, including the mistake on the first goal by Christine Sinclair, but she was also able to move forward in the attack a few times.
Tobin Heath: She did a lot of hard defensive work in this game but took many touches around the box to get off a decent shot.
Allie Long: With the introduction of Amandine Henry, Long now drops much deeper in the midfield to shield the back four, while at the same time creating service from that same deep position.
Meghan Klingenberg: She returns from injury when she was scratched just before the last Thorns game and didn’t seem to miss a step in her workrate.
Emily Sonnett: She stayed calm on the ball and had a lot of good steps to either make clearances or cut off space.
Lindsey Horan: She’s allowed to push much higher now with Henry behind her although it seemed like she needed this game to adjust. She made a good target in the box but also got dispossessed off some heavy touches.
Orlando Pride 1 - 0 Houston Dash
Ashlyn Harris: She didn’t have much to do early, but had a great parry early in the second half and smothered some quick balls into the box. She also came up big on an attempted bike and kept her clean sheet.
Alex Morgan: She was fairly mobile and tried to create pressure high on the pitch while also coming back deep to help the Pride recover.
Morgan Brian: She was a little more advanced in attack for the Dash, but eventually went a bit quiet in the middle. She also got subbed in the 68’ for Amber Brooks; perhaps her hamstring injury still needs to be watched.
WNY Flash 7 - 1 Boston Breakers
Samantha Mewis: She had two assists on a night when they were dropping like ripe fruit for the Flash.
Jaelene Hinkle: She also picked up an assist for the Flash while Boston’s attack didn’t offer much for her deal with on the other end of the field.
Whitney Engen: What can you really say about a defender when the scoreline is 7-1? Not great, Bob.
Washington Spirit 1 - 2 Sky Blue FC
Crystal Dunn: Even though she was on target all night, going three shots on goal out of three shots total and accounting for almost half of the Spirit’s total shots, she didn’t manage to find an equalizer. Still, she remains a good creator and a dynamic force whether playing high or behind other forwards.
Ali Krieger: She had a fun time trying to contain Leah Galton, while also staying quite high and making overlapping runs.
Kelley O’Hara: She gave the Spirit fits with her speed along the flank to get deep and make crosses into the box and also had some craftier moments seeking the clever through ball.
FC Kansas City 0 - 0 Seattle Reign
Becky Sauerbrunn: After helping to keep the scoreline down to 0-0, she got caught in a late foul on Jess Fishlock that earned her a yellow card and could have put Kansas City in a bad position, but fortunately for them it was for naught.
Heather O’Reilly: A couple of scuffed opportunities from O’Reilly should have been the difference makers for FCKC, but she wasn’t able to finish them, including a great one on one chance with Solo in the 36’.
Hope Solo: She did a great on job on O’Reilly’s run at goal, coming sharply off her line to push O’Reilly wide. She did just enough on a late run by Shea Groom to keep her away from the goal by coming out of the net.
Orlando Pride 1 - 2 Portland Thorns
Alex Morgan: She did her best to create for her teammates despite tight marking and it paid off as she grabbed an assist on Jasmyne Spencer’s goal.
Ashlyn Harris: She was too far off her line on the first goal to handle Brynjarsdottir’s chip but there wasn’t too much more she could do on the second goal from Lindsey Horan.
Emily Sonnett: She had a lot of good steps that broke up Orlando’s play mixed with a couple of decent long balls to contribute to the attack.
Meghan Klingenberg: She gave as good as she got during her game-long battle with Josee Belanger, but had a little trouble containing Jasmyne Spencer.
Allie Long: Despite some quiet periods, she also had some good stops in the midfield and helped out defenders to double team attackers into turning the ball over or pushing them out.
Lindsey Horan: She scored the game-winning goal in the 90’ off a setup by Hayley Raso, placing it
Tobin Heath: She worked hard all over the midfield and had a couple of superb looks at goal but a bad trampling in the 63’ led to a hand injury that had her subbed off for Hayley Raso.