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USWNT players in NWSL: week 9

A big week for non-US international players and several WNT stars out or struggling with injury.

Soccer: Women's National Team Friendly-Russia vs USA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest result this week wasn’t the Orlando Pride rolling the Houston Dash 4-2. That honor goes to the Washington Spirit getting a result against the Chicago Red Stars, who had to scrape up an equalizer through a penalty kick. You might also argue for Sky Blue FC taking command against the Portland Thorns, but Sky Blue hasn’t been all that shaky this season. They stuck to their plan (aka Sam Kerr) and with Portland also shaky in the attacking half, pulled off a great win away. It was overall a slightly lackluster week for USWNT players in the league; some of them were in key positions to step up and change games but couldn’t quite manage it. But others were at least dependable, helping their teams slip into the middle of the season in comfortable fashion.

Chicago Red Stars 1 - 1 Washington Spirit

Christen Press: Though she once again tried to act as playmaker for her teammates, especially in the second half, her goal for Chicago came from a penalty kick late in the game.

Julie Ertz: Even though she helped cut down on Washington’s attacks, like Press she wasn’t able to push the team out of the mid and into something useful in the attacking third.

Alyssa Naeher: She had some solid grabs, but the lone goal from Washington was probably one where she should have been faster off her line. She’d already gone hands-first into goalscorer Ordega’s feet earlier in the game and had plenty of warning what Ordega was about to do before she scored.

Casey Short: A very solid game from Short, who worked the defensive end with clears and possession that moved the ball out of the back third. She was still going strong late in the game, cutting of players trying to run into gaps.

Mallory Pugh: out with injury

North Carolina Courage 3 - 1 Boston Breakers

Rose Lavelle: out with injury

Lynn Williams: out with injury

Samantha Mewis: It was a very deft assist on the night for Mewis as her Courage took the Breakers apart. Mewis kept Boston’s midfield looking for the ball for a lot of the game.

FC Kansas City 2 - 2 Seattle Reign

Becky Sauerbrunn: Sauerbrunn showed her usual awareness in the game and had some critical clearances, including cutting out a big cross and covering for Nicole Barnhart while she was off her line.

Sydney Leroux: Leroux had some chances but couldn’t put the ball on frame. She also picked up a last-minute yellow card for a foul on Nahomi Kawasumi.

Megan Rapinoe: A goal for Rapinoe, who went nearly the full 90 and seemed to be feeling herself in this game with plenty of attempts and a couple of offside calls.

Houston Dash 2 - 4 Orlando Pride

Carli Lloyd: It was a pretty decent return to NWSL for Lloyd despite her inability to get on the scoresheet. She was pretty heavily involved in the first half, trying to feed teammates Rachel Daly and Kealia Ohai, and put the ball into dangerous position in the six-yard box a few times. But as the second half she clearly lost steam and subbed out in the 73’.

Morgan Brian: 83 minutes on the day for Brian, who was a little quieter than she needed to be for Houston to find a result. A lot of frustration for Houston as she didn’t necessarily find a lot of passing channels, negating her usefulness in starting attacking play.

Ali Krieger: She did fine once again moved over to center back, shifting as necessary to help Orlando cover when their fullbacks went forward. She also did a decent job carrying the ball out of deep and picking out some piercing passes forward to bypass Houston’s mid.

Portland Thorns 1 - 3 Sky Blue FC

Lindsey Horan: She was very involved for Portland throughout most of the game and went close a couple of times on goal, but the final product just wasn’t there. It seemed systemic for Portland; Horan certainly wasn’t the weakest link in midfield that day.

Allie Long: A quieter night from Long; she had to help the Thorns press higher, but then got bypassed as Sky Blue hit the space behind the Thorns defense for Sam Kerr.

Meghan Klingenberg: Pushed high, giving Portland more of a 3-5-2 going forward, but then had to work so hard on defense that sometimes Sky Blue would almost burn her, which is how she conceded several corner kicks.

Kelley O’Hara: Quite a tough game from O’Hara, who ended up with a yellow card in the 74’. She had a couple looks but if not for Sam Kerr, the match might have been noted more for her aggression than the scoreline.