Week 3 and there are still very few certainties in NWSL. North Carolina continues to look like the team to beat, but other than that, so much of the league remains wide open. Even “bad” teams like the Spirit look like they just need a few bounces to go their way, either on or off the field, in order to get into competitive mode. Meanwhile, Boston continues to turn the ship after seasons of abject misery and Orlando is struggling while they integrate marquee player Marta.
Here’s how USWNT players did across the league this weekend.
Portland Thorns 1 - 0 Chicago Red Stars
Emily Sonnett: Not terrible from Sonnett, but she and her CB partner Emily Menges did get split by through balls a little too often for Portland’s comfort.
Allie Long: Another box-to-box performance from Long, who had some good moments in the box, but wasn’t quite able to get on the end of a good ball.
Lindsey Horan: She had some good counters and shots on goal while also working back on the defense, but the final pass just wasn’t there.
Meghan Klingenberg: did not play, left hamstring strain
Alyssa Naeher: If there’s a common complaint about Naeher, it’s that she can be too conservative with coming off her line. Not a problem here, as she had a great rush in the 68’ to deny Portland a goal, as well as some good punches and supporting play when her defenders were under pressure.
Casey Short: Wasn’t as effective as Chicago needed her to be and had some passes go awry, but helped dig back in in the second half.
Julie Ertz: The Ertz as CAM experiment continues. She pushed high with Press as well as moved deeper into the formation and several times was good at really moving the rest of the formation up with her.
Christen Press: Press was all over the offense trying to get her team to score and several times should’ve scored herself, but either went wide or over or had the shot saved by Franch, who admittedly had a pretty good day in net.
North Carolina Courage 3 - 1 Orlando Pride
Samantha Mewis: Fairly solid from Mewis as usual as she continues to be the team’s most active midfield piece; she also gave NC the go-ahead goal with a sharp penalty kick in the 33’.
Lynn Williams: Combined with Jess McDonald or on her own, one of NC’s most threatening players on the day. She was dangerous centrally and when drifting wide and picked up a goal in the 70’, hitting a really nice half-volley to make it 3-1 for NC.
Ali Krieger: A fairly active game from Krieger as Orlando struggled to come back from behind, but the lack of finishing in the front killed their chances.
Ashlyn Harris: Harris made some great saves despite frequently being let down by her own defense, but she also made a pretty critical error to gift the ball to North Carolina, an error which resulted in NC’s third goal. Harris also had some stuff to say after the game, most of which wasn’t technically untrue.
Boston Breakers 3 - 0 Seattle Reign
Megan Oyster: Once again, better from her in the middle of the back line, especially as she develops a partnership with Christen Westphal.
Rose Lavelle: It seems like she’s more or less moved back into the 10 position for Boston instead of being pushed right and it’s paying off; she notched her first pro goal against Seattle.
Megan Rapinoe: She didn’t have nearly as much impact as she needed to in order to put Seattle in scoring position.
Washington Spirit 0 - 1 Houston Dash
Kealia Ohai: Ohai got the game winner for Houston with a very well-placed goal in the 27’.
Sky Blue FC 1 - 0 FC Kansas City
Kelley O’Hara: She was all over the field for SBFC and almost got through on goal herself through some clever work with Daphne Corboz.
Becky Sauerbrunn: A typically reliable performance, except for a bad clearance late in the game. But she tried her best to help her team score from the back, even making a few runs forward to try and bolster KC up the middle.
Sydney Leroux: She almost put KC up in the first half but had her goal called back. Still, she had 90 minute for KC, which is a good sign for Leroux as she returns to full match fitness.