United States national team players are back from camp and their pair of friendlies against China. Most of them came back intact, but Abby Dahlkemper and Tobin Heath were both out with right knee pain and a right ankle sprain respectively. Otherwise, some interesting results as teams try to keep up some kind of midseason rhythm. Bottom table teams Washington and Sky Blue gave top table teams Seattle and Orlando real tests, and the Utah Royals finally ended the Courage’s undefeated streak. Here’s how WNT players did in NWSL this past weekend.
Washington Spirit 0 - 0 Seattle Reign
Sullivan repeatedly got in the box from a higher position in midfield but wasn’t able to put away a decisive finish. She put a nice ball across goal in the 66’ but was alone at the goal line.
Uneventful game from Hatch, who wasn’t able to get on the end of passes. She almost had an assist but teammate Francisca Ordega shot high.
Lavelle got her first start of the season, playing 45 minutes before subbing. She looked more comfortable on the ball and often beat Seattle players with speed.
She seemed somewhat subdued on the night. The first half in particular she had to be careful not to expose midfield space with Lavelle ready to take any space. But Long also almost had a late game winner from a nodded down header.
Once again she formed a nice partnership with Rumi Utsugi and Seattle sought her ought often but her set piece service was turned away and her penalty in the 52’ was saved by Aubrey Bledsoe.
North Carolina Courage 0 - 1 Utah Royals
Despite Mathias’ service into the box, NC wasn’t able to capitalize and set the tone for the game.
Though Zerboni was her usual workhorse self and often pulled plenty of attention to open up space for the likes of Crystal Dunn, she wasn’t enough of a presence in the attacking third to open NC’s scoring.
She was fine teaming up with Zerboni and Dunn, made some nice runs to try and pull Utah, and set up several scoring chances, but again not enough from NC.
She helped win the ball centrally and advance and was also a big problem for Katie Bowen wide, but it was another characteristic high-shot low-conversion game for NC that they couldn’t salvage.
She subbed on in the 72’ for Jess McDonald and was an encouraging presence but wasn’t enough on a night when Utah’s defense was particularly tough.
Some good grabs from Smith and an early decision to come out and make herself big in front of Jess McDonald might have helped prevent NC from taking the air out of Utah.
Hard work from Sauerbrunn to deny NC any look at the goal, frequently positioning herself to cut out searching balls headed for the middle of the box.
84 minutes for Rodriguez on the night. As much as she was a target to run onto the ball, she couldn’t quite beat the NC defensive line, and her shots were either too soft or too speculative.
Orlando Pride 3 - 2 Sky Blue FC
She picked up a lot of balls in midfield to set up a look into the box and had a great header attempt on goal saved.
A goal for McCaskill on the rebound, and some nice work between her, Lloyd, and Imani Dorsey looking to set up the cross or the through ball.
Morgan was kind of searching for the breakthrough for most of the game and she got in the 83’ with an assist to Rachel Hill for the game winning goal.
Not a good night for Harris. Both Sky Blue goals were given up on the rebound from her.
Chicago Red Stars 1 - 1 Portland Thorns
A couple of good saves, including an early kick save on Christine Sinclair, but some wobbles at the end as she had to scramble to awkwardly double-palm away a dangerous cross.
Ertz returned to center back for this game and didn’t really miss a beat after her time at DM. Whenever she pushed a little higher she also helped find Chicago’s flanks.
Short returned to the pitch in the 65’, subbing on for Sarah Gorden. She looked strong bodily defending players out but needed to stay on her feet more.
Horan tied the game up in the 48’ with a nice looping ball towards the side netting, but also picked up her fifth yellow of the season. She’ll have to sit out Portland’s next game due to YC accumulation.