The second week of NWSL seemed to build gradually, starting with a boring 0-0 tie between the Houston Dash and Utah Royals and culminating in roughly chopped 3-2 game as the Portland Thorns defeated the Chicago Red Stars. Here’s how USWNT players did in the league this weekend:
Houston Dash 0 - 0 Utah Royals
Sauerbrunn didn’t have to do much but stay focused as Houston registered zero shots on goal for the night and managed only 34% of the possession.
A good night for Campbell, who came up with five saves to scrap together a point for Houston, who are definitely still struggling to assemble a definitive style of play.
North Carolina Courage 1 - 0 Sky Blue FC
A competent game from Dahlkemper, who didn’t have to be much more than that to limit Sky Blue’s chances at goal. She stayed alert, hustled to cover when Merritt Mathias was caught high, and created a couple of chances off her long ball.
Dunn once again was working all over the field in an effort to spark the NC attack, switching sides or dropping into a playmaker position, but they found themselves stymied until the last minute.
She was a big threat on the day who somehow didn’t manage to get on the scoreboard despite multiple good looks. This could just be Williams shaking off the last of preseason.
She had an overall decent game looking for her options, making runs for passes slotted through the back line, and moving off the ball into space to try and open up play in front of the box. She and Lloyd could end up a really good pairing for SBFC as they work out their partnership.
She ebbed and flowed as the game came and went from the midfield, but when she was involved, Lloyd made good moves trying to set up her forwards on the run as she shuttled the ball through the center. Her play did devolve a little into roughness as the game wore on and Sky Blue looked hungrier and hungrier for a goal.
A great game for Pugh, who seems to be coming into her stride as a key player and focal point for the Spirit. She picked up the opening goal late in the game.
Hatch looked great for Washington and picked up a late goal to put the game beyond Orlando. She and Pugh don’t quite have all the kinks worked out yet, but once they do, you can expect more goals.
Improvement from Smith in this game over her last. She had some nice moments cutting in from outside, trying to pull defenders out of their shape, and handled Orlando shuffling their front line as they attempted to poke through the Spirit’s defense.
Good and bad from Sullivan who needed some time to settle into the game. She did good work tracking back hard to disrupt Orlando momentum and later in the game calmed the tempo to see out a professional win.
Probably a game Harris would like to forget, as she got full on nutmegged on the first goal as she lunged out at Pugh.
Chicago Red Stars 2 - 3 Portland Thorns
Good game from Sonnett. She was calm under pressure, in good positions to clear out Chicago’s attempts to center the ball, and even pushed high from time to time to increase pressure on the Red Stars defense.
Horan got the scoring started early with a great scoop into the goal. But if she set some of the tempo and put the ball into space, she also should have done better to defend Sofia Huerta on her assist for Chicago’s first goal.
She picked up two assist on the night, speaking to her deep involvement with Chicago’s offense. Huerta went everywhere she was needed, although she didn’t manage to get on the score sheet herself.
What a weird night for Naeher. Some bad distribution and a badly botched challenge made for a poor first half from her. She picked up her performance a bit in the second half, but that howler against Christine Sinclair won’t be fading from memory anytime soon.