It’s been a rougher week for some teams than others. Thanks to scheduling quirks like bye weeks, Chicago has already played eight games this season, while Sky Blue FC is only on their fourth. That exhaustion showed in the Red Stars’ efforts, but they got a result against arguably their toughest opponent in this recent run of games. Meanwhile, Washington looks vulnerable with their talented but young roster, Utah might finally be coming up to full strength, and the Thorns can’t quite pull it together in the final third. Here’s how USWNT players did in NWSL this week.
She got let down by her defenders on the first goal but got juked pretty hard when she came off her line on the second - although she was racing off her line because the defense was once again lagging Orlando’s attack.
Not a notable game for Huerta. True, she did have to adjust to Sam Kerr slotting into the lineup but she got lost in the game a bit.
There really wasn’t a lot for Harris to do in this game as Chicago managed one shot on goal and didn’t manage to effectively threaten that much. She kept it professional and got the clean sheet.
Did not play
Portland Thorns 2 - 3 Seattle Reign
She worked her usual box-to-box route and helped Seattle take over the midfield in patches here and there despite sharp attention from Portland, but receded in the latter stages of the game.
Sonnett’s ups helped eclipse a couple of downs. She mostly did her job clearing the ball out to restart Thorns attacks and even got an equalizing goal in the 61’ with a foot flick from a corner, but sometimes allowed players into space behind and had a big oops whens he slipped on nothing in the second half.
She picked up Portland’ second goal in the 70’ with a header but seemed a little discombobulated in the second half as Andressinha subbed in and changed up the pace of the midfield.
Heath came on in the second half but was frustrated at nearly every turn, whether it was getting defended out or not finding her targets with crosses or balls through.
Sky Blue FC 2 - 3 Houston
The effort was there from Lloyd, who tried to improve Sky Blue’s pace with her one-two passing and running on both sides of the midfield, but a lot of her work dead-ended or mid-range passes got turned over.
McCaskill was all over the field in multiple positions either looking for the right final ball or trying to break the back line with runs, but the connectivity wasn’t there for her on the night.
Campbell possibly could have done better to come out and smother the first Sky Blue goal, although her own defender completely lost the runner, but the second goal was pretty much out of reach.
Utah Royals 2 - 0 Washington Spirit
She made some questionable decisions off her line but also did a good job to preserve the win for Utah at the last minute and stayed strong in the air when Washington tried to put the ball in the box.
She helped keep Utah’s box clogged up, denying Washington clear shots on goal and limiting the effectiveness of their crosses.
Once again returned to her forward role, O’Hara opened the scoring with a slashing run to get a great goal off a beauty of a feed from Amy Rodriguez. She gave Taylor Smith plenty of trouble before subbing out in the 85’ for Katie Bowen.
She didn’t get into attacking spaces as much as she needed to in order to help the Spirit and had some trouble keeping O’Hara from slipping in behind her.
Sullivan probably needed to be more assertive on the night. When pushed higher with Rebecca Quinn behind her she did manage to create a chance or two and break up the Royals midfield.
She’s starting to look more and more dialed in with Mal Pugh and was probably the Spirit’s most threatening player with several snap turn-and-shoots.
Relatively quiet night from Pugh, who wasn’t able to pull her usual strings and open up gaps or spot weaknesses in Utah’s defense.
North Carolina Courage 1 - 1 Chicago Red Stars
What a game from Naeher, who made save after save after save to keep the Red Stars in it. She was better in leaving her line as well and was unfortunate to have to face a badly marked McCall Zerboni on NC’s equalizer.
She was a little bit invisible early on in the game and got shifted around the field as subs came on. As a fullback she got pinned back by NC’s speedier players but in midfield put the ball into nice spaces for forward.
Mewis got her first start of the season and managed 62 minutes. She made good runs from deep, forced some turnovers with pressure, and ate up any space Chicago conceded in the midfield.
A lot of hustle from Williams, who often threatened with speed, but she couldn’t win her 1-v-1’s and found no finish on the day.
Did a good job acting as provider and had the vision to switch the point of attack around the box, but though she helped pour on the pressure, that incisive final ball wasn’t there.
She formed a good duo with Abby Erceg, the two them pinching off runs and closing down space together. She fought Sam Kerr hard on Chicago’s only goal but she and Sabrina D’Angelo weren’t able to seal off the shooting angle.