The top of the NWSL table is now set, with the final four teams for playoffs firmly in place. Chicago and Orlando may trade place at #3 and #4 respectively, but choosing whether you want to play semifinal hosts North Carolina or Portland isn’t too much of a choice, except that Orlando may slightly prefer hopping up to Cary over a cross-country flight to Portland. It may be the other way around - would North Carolina and Portland rather avoid Orlando until the final? Orlando looks like a team with momentum, tie result against Portland notwithstanding. Tom Sermanni has managed to get them on the upswing at the right time. Meanwhile in the rest of the league, there were still some interesting results, including a tie to keep the shield race open, and multiple goals from beleaguered Boston. Here’s how USWNT players did in NWSL this past weekend.
Orlando Pride 0 - 0 Portland Thorns
Ashlyn Harris: Harris stayed alert to keep the outer edges of her box clear as Portland kept trying to release the forwards quickly. She was quick off her line especially to keep denying Hayley Raso room to operate.
Alex Morgan: Lots of opportunities for Morgan, but nothing lined up quite right for her on the day.
Tobin Heath: She subbed in for Portland in the 61’, coming on for Nadia Nadim. She looked fairly active, but still a bit rusty and out of sync with her teammates after a prolonged rehab.
Lindsey Horan: She was forced to play very defensively for long stretches as Portland initially struggled to break out from under Orlando pressure.
Allie Long: Long got 60 minutes before subbing for Amandine Henry. Not her strongest game, especially as she became a red card risk with some very physical play, and she struggled to help Portland set the tempo.
Mallory Pugh: She managed to exploit some of the bigger gaps in Boston’s defense, but both her goals were called back for offside and she wasn’t able to spring a teammate onto goal.
Rose Lavelle: Held out as a precaution
Jane Campbell: Campbell’s acrobatics in net couldn’t make up for being hung out to dry a couple of times by her defense. She also had a bit of a butterfingers in the 20’ leading to Chicago’s second goal.
Alyssa Naeher: Naeher hung tough despite not being able to do anything about Houston’s PK, although she could have been better positioned for their second goal. But her big stoppage save ensured a playoff spot.
Casey Short: It’s a good thing she grabbed a goal for Chicago since she also lost track of Rachel Daly charging into the box for Houston’s second goal.
Julie Ertz: She conceded a penalty to Houston but also did her usual work covering a lot of ground to support Press and recover to shield the defense.
Sofia Huerta: Huerta subbed in in the 70’, coming on for Jen Hoy. She never really got the chance to settle in given the back-and-forth and increased Houston pressure at that point.
Christen Press: Press scored Chicago’s third and winning goal with a calm penalty in the second half.
Morgan Brian: did not play
Sky Blue FC 1 - 1 North Carolina Courage
Kelley O’Hara: Despite a plethora of great overlapping runs trying to push Sky Blue higher, O’Hara wasn’t able to give Sky Blue a decisive look at goal, and her own great chance in the 50’ went way over the bar.
Lynn Williams: She kept a lot of pressure on Sky Blue but her shots from distance weren’t on the mark and a late one-v-one with the GK got pressured into a fine save.
Sam Mewis: Not the most distinguished game from Mewis, who was nevertheless pretty solid, but her attempts at shooting from range were also not enough for three points.
Abby Dahlkemper: She pushed pretty high for NC in an attempt to keep them pressing into SBFC’s half. A GK fumble left her in bad position to try and cover an open net on the equalizer.
Taylor Smith: Plenty of crosses from Smith, including some full steam runs late in second half stoppage trying to get NC the three points.
Seattle Reign 0 - 1 FC Kansas City
Megan Rapinoe: She contributed to an early flurry of Seattle pressure on KC’s goal but it was not enough to earn a lead and then KC dug their heels in to further stonewall the Reign, who lost out on a playoff spot.
Becky Sauerbrunn: Despite Seattle’s pressure, she helped limit their actual shots on goal to just one out of 13 total shots.
Sydney Leroux: Her beautiful slotted through ball for Shea Groom was the difference maker for KC in one of her better games of the season.