In a weekend of close scorelines, Seattle and Houston stood out from the pack. Seattle, of course, for managing five goals from five different scorers, and Houston for giving up five goals to Seattle. Across the rest of the league, those 1-0 and 1-1 scorelines were interesting for how much they revealed about the fluctuation of early season form for teams. FCKC and Sky Blue, who looked fairly put together in week one, were behind their games in week two. Meanwhile the Courage continue to look like the 2016 championship team and even with the caveat that it’s early days yet, should be on everyone’s list for playoff contention.
Chicago Red Stars 1 - 0 FC Kansas City
Alyssa Naeher: Better from Naeher this week, though she was only called on for three saves as FCKC faltered a bit on the day. Her stoppage time push off the line to grab a ball chipped into the box was an improvement over last week’s more timid keeping.
Julie Ertz: She got shifted forward off the back line and promptly became one of Chicago’s most potent threats in the box. This shouldn’t be too surprising for longtime fans; Ertz (formerly Johnston) has experience as a great holding mid and, pushed higher up the pitch, brought her strength and positioning to the attack for Chicago’s lone goal.
Christen Press: She missed a PK and a chance to solidly put Chicago up by two, then put a ball off the post despite an open goal. It wasn’t Press’ best day.
Casey Short: That Short-Ertz connection almost yielded an early goal as she found Ertz’s head in the box off a lovely cross from the left. Short continues to be a good fullback option for Chicago on that left wing.
Becky Sauerbrunn: Though KC couldn’t put together too much to trouble Naeher on the day, Sauerbrunn held it down on her end of the field. She controlled a lot of Chicago’s balls over the top and later in the game attempted to push up herself in search of the equalizer.
Sydney Leroux: She got 72 minutes for KC as she returns to full match fitness. Leroux took some time to get into the rhythm of the game, as to be expected when returning to club play after a full season away.
Ashlyn Harris: Another great performance from Harris to keep the scoreline respectable, especially considering how badly her defense let her down throughout the game. Yes, she got caught out of position in the second half, like her 61’ venture off her line, but without her bailing out her defenders Orlando would’ve gone down pretty early.
Ali Krieger: Not a great game from her. A bad giveaway in the 23’ resulted in a counter that Harris had to cover, and that wasn’t the end of Krieger’s bad day. She improved when she moved over to right back in the second half.
Samantha Mewis: Great game for Mewis, who continues to be part of NC’s strong backbone. Between her and McCall Zerboni, NC is extremely disruptive to midfield buildup play and they kept Portland off balance for much of the night. Perhaps Mewis should have done better on her PK chance, especially with Adriana Franch’s less-than-sticky hands, but for the rest she did her job.
Lynn Williams: Williams was a frequent target for NC, as she should be with her pace on runs and ability to get in the box for the shot or cutback, but she couldn’t quite manage to clean up in front of goal. A lot of her shots were just over or wide, something she should have tweaked as the team progresses through the season.
Lindsey Horan: 76 minutes for Horan on the night. She struggled in midfield under the watchful eyes of Mewis and McCall Zerboni, just as Portland kind of struggled all over against NC.
Emily Sonnett: An arm held out on the run cost her team a penalty kick and she wasn’t really able to hang with Lynn Williams.
Meghan Klingenberg: Kling’s usual role is to push as high as much as possible, which wasn’t happening against NC. If she got high, NC would run into the space behind her and send a cross. She got subbed at the half for Meghan Cox.
Allie Long: Long was once again at her best whenever she was higher on the pitch and had a few opportunities on goal.
Seattle Reign 5 - 1 Houston Dash
Megan Rapinoe: Watch this one-timer from Pinoe. You won’t regret it.
Jane Campbell: Yikes yikes yikes; it was a rough go for Campbell in her rookie debut for the Dash. To be entirely fair to her, in a 5-1 scoreline, that’s a good indicator there are problems all over the field, which there were. But she still had some problems with positioning and bad hands, bobbling balls that needed to be safely held.
Kealia Ohai: Seattle was clearly aware that Ohai can take off like a rocket with half a chance and limited Houston’s ability to attack the final third through her.
Boston Breakers 1 - 0 Sky Blue FC
Kelley O’Hara: She was deep in the action for Sky Blue, but it wasn’t quite effective enough to break through. With Boston stifling usual target Sam Kerr and O’Hara battling with Rose Lavelle and Angela Salem, she wasn’t able to find that decisive final ball or shot.
Rose Lavelle: She moved in centrally for Boston this game after playing on the right against KC, and the results were better this time around. She also picked up her first club assist, feeding in Natasha Dowie for the game winner.
Megan Oyster: She and CB partner Christen Westphal clearly tightened it up after Amy Rodriguez poked all sorts of holes in the Boston back line last weekend.