We’re now a third of the way through the season and things are starting to take shape, although as ever with NWSL, any game could be the one that goes haywire and leaves fans asking “What? Really?” Still, some teams are now coalescing, while others are trying to manage their early season form to keep up with them. Here’s how USWNT players did in NWSL this past weekend.
North Carolina Courage 2 - 0 FC Kansas City
Jaelene Hinkle: Hinkle gradually built up the pressure in her channel of attack as NC didn’t have to do too much to hold off FCKC. She had some good attacks into FCKC’s defensive third and her quick nutmeg on Shea Groom in the first half let her take the ball all the way into the middle at the top of the 18.
Samantha Mewis: Once again her pressure and possession in the midfield was part of the backstop allowing NC to push forward out of their middle third. It doesn’t help that she had space to operate beyond what McCall Zerboni opened up.
Lynn Williams: She picked up the assist on NC’s second goal, a very nice ball behind to Ashley Hatch, although she herself didn’t really have the quality looks on goal she would have needed to score.
Becky Sauerbrunn: Sauerbrunn did her best and generally was in good position to cut out balls in the box, but couldn’t do much to stop either goal.
Sydney Leroux: NC kept Leroux out of a lot of the game.She tried to play the ball off for her teammates several times but the final decisive pass or shot was not there for KC on the day.
Mallory Pugh: Check out her first pro goal below; smooth action from Pugh and the Spirit offense.
Morgan Brian: It’s a little surprising Brian went 90 for Houston considering she was ruled out for upcoming WNT duty but perhaps the strain of travel would have been a bridge too far. Regardless, despite her heavy involvement for Houston, with plenty of shots, crosses, and corners, they weren’t able to finish.
Sky Blue FC 0 - 2 Portland Thorns
Kelley O’Hara: It was a hard game from O’Hara, who had several attempts putting her teammates in on goal, but not enough to hold off Portland, who are currently in the midst of a huge surge thanks in no small part to their midfield.
Meghan Klingenberg: It was an assist on the night for Kling, who had a great sneaky little run up along the left to putt Lindsey Horan in for Portland’s second goal. On the other end of the field she had a little trouble keeping Sky Blue from getting into dangerous position, conceding several corners.
Allie Long: Long had 62 minutes for Portland and wasn’t quite as involved as she could have been; this sub might reflect a need to keep her rested before the WNT plays Sweden and Norway, and with the Thorns already up two, a good time to give replacement Meghan Cox some minutes.
Lindsey Horan: Horan bagged the brace for Portland, one with her head and one with her foot. The second goal was an especially nice one-time touch past the keeper.
Orlando Pride 2 - 0 Boston Breakers
Ali Krieger: There wasn’t much Boston could do about Krieger’s part of the field; though she was shifted to CB for this game, she still managed to help contain Boston’s Natasha Dowie every time she so much as breathed near the ball.
Rose Lavelle: Another game that desperately needed more involvement from Lavelle. What she did see of the ball was pretty good, but there were too many dead spots in the midfield for her to be able to effectively build for Boston.
Chicago Red Stars 1 - 0 Seattle Reign
Alyssa Naeher: Some great stops from Naeher kept the Reign out of the goal and the sheet clean for Chicago. Naeher was quick off her line a few times and had an early leaping save that kept momentum from swinging for Seattle.
Julie Ertz: Mediocre game for Ertz, who got picked in midfield a few times, but also started the attack that led to the goal in the 49’ with her nice ball over the top.
Casey Short: Even with Megan Rapinoe switched to her side of the field, Short not only kept the left contained, but found plenty of opportunities to add to Chicago’s attack, including the 13’ when she nodded down a perfect ball far post. It was unlucky no one was there to finish.
Christen Press: Press continues to show she’s dangerous when allowed to drift between acting as the 9 and dropping behind the line of forwards to feed them. She also bagged the game-winning goal for Chicago in the 49’ with a great one-time touch past Kopmeyer, who was otherwise outstanding for Seattle.
Megan Rapinoe: She got switched right for Seattle pretty early in the game but it didn’t pay off for Seattle. Rapinoe was helping to create a lot of ball movement but the final ball just wasn’t there.