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USWNT players in NWSL week 5: players finding their feet

North Carolina is already pulling away from the pack this early on.

Canada v United States Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

There were four NWSL games in one day this past weekend. While North Carolina continues to dominate with their unbeaten streak, the six other teams that faced each other weren’t able to find that difference-making percentage, resulting in three fairly frustrating 1-1 ties. Here’s how USWNT players did in the league this week.

Houston Dash 0 - 2 North Carolina Courage

Abby Dahlkemper

It took some time for her to get called to action as Houston needed time to offer any kind of resistance. Dahlkemper closed down the angle on attempts to cross and positioned herself to cut out balls into the box.

Crystal Dunn

She picked up an early goal for NC and continued her self-described “chaos” role. Houston gave her a little too much space, allowing her to transition the ball into the attack, feed Lynn Williams, and take a few shots herself.

Lynn Williams

A lot of chances came and went for Williams, who isn’t quite getting them on target so far. She did a good job partnering up with Dunn, but she’ll want some of those chances back, including a late one on one with Jane Campbell.

Sam Mewis

Mewis continues to act as a sub, coming on in the 61’ for Jess McDonald. She provided some late pressure on Houston before they could even get to NC’s back line and linked up with Dunn as she pushed higher.

Jane Campbell

Mixed bag from Campbell; her hands didn’t look good early on, but she had a great save tipping the ball over the bar in the 15’. She also needed more help from her defense properly clearing out the box.

Washington Spirit 1 - 1 Chicago Red Stars

Alyssa Naeher

She had some good saves, getting out to block a hard cross in the 39’ and a save on Mal Pugh. Distribution went awry sometimes, like in the first half when she saw a ball immediately returned by the Spirit.

Sofia Huerta

An interesting game for Huerta who now has Sam Kerr opening some space for others. Hureta worked the ball well in pairs, trying to get herself into space or find Kerr or Yuki Nagasato.

Julie Ertz

Julie Ertz returned to action, subbing on in the 74’ for Nikki Stanton. It’s clear she’ll need some time to adjust - and that the Red Stars will need to re-adjust to having Ertz pair with Colaprico centrally.

Ashley Hatch

Hatch did a lot of work, often going box to box as she came back to her own 18 to help dig the ball out for Washington. She continues to work out her partnership with Pugh, like her 32’ header over for Pugh on the break.

Mallory Pugh

She picked up the assist on Washington’s only goal, playing a very nice ball across the face of goal to Franny Ordega. She also kept up good pressure on Chicago deep in their end and tried to cycle the ball out of midfield pressure.

Andi Sullivan

You can see what Sullivan wants to do, but she still has problems executing it too slowly or indecisively. She tried not to allow Chicago space in front of the defense and there was potential in the way she set up passing the midfield.

Taylor Smith

Good runs from Smith trying to get deep, but was sometimes caught with too much space behind her, allowing players like Huerta to get in and look for the cross.

Orlando Pride 1 -1 Seattle Reign

Allie Long

She helped keep a close eye on Alex Morgan while playing her usual box-to-box game. She also got the only goal for Seattle, a very nice quick finish right in front of goal.

Alex Morgan

Orlando needed to see of more of Morgan on the night but weren’t able to get to her. She tried hanging between center backs while Marta searched for her, then drifted to the right, but got defended tightly in the box.

Ashlyn Harris

Good and bad from Harris. Several good saves, including a nice quick snap save in the 67’, but she made a bad punch in the 33’ that gave Seattle the opening to score their goal.

Utah Royals 1 - 1 Portland Thorns

Kelley O’Hara

With several key Utah players returning from injury, O’Hara was given the chance to push up as a forward. After so much time as a fullback, she needed some time to adjust, although she still switched left and right as needed.

Becky Sauerbrunn

Pretty good game from Sauerbrunn, especially the first half. She was often there to break up plays and position herself to choke off lanes or looks at goal.

Lindsey Horan

Utah put a lot of pressure on Horan trying to keep her from looking for forwards out of the midfield. She tried to hang in spaces and act as a facilitator around the goal.

Emily Sonnett

She had some trouble with Amy Rodriguez’s speed, but even while keeping pressure on A-Rod also was able to apply pressure higher up the field to earn some turnovers.

Tobin Heath

She subbed on in the 57’ for Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic and got a goal in the 66’ with a very smooth finish off an assist from Christine Sinclair. Then she nearly returned the favor for Sinclair in the 75’. Heath’s road to full health looks like it’s continuing right on schedule.