We’re solidly in the midseason and the middle of the table is still chaos. Not even really the middle; everything after the #1 spot (how’s the air up there, North Carolina?) is up for grabs, with Orlando at 22 points, then Seattle, Portland, and Chicago all at 19. But Utah has 17 at #6 and even Houston has 14 points at #7, making it easy to completely shift around all those spots with just two wins. If Washington somehow manages to get itself together, it could make a late season run for midtable, or at the very least gobble up points from teams trying to sneak in at 4th. With that in mind, let’s look at how USWNT players did in NWLS for week 13.
Houston Dash 1 - 3 Portland Thorns
She got the start for Houston after the big trade that moved her from Chicago. She got an early goal in the 12’ but scuffed an easy chance later on that would have helped keep momentum in a game absolutely killed by heat and humidity.
A mix of snafus from Campbell and defensive lapses in front of net let in three goals for Portland. Campbell needed to be much stronger off her line to deny some of Portland’s chances.
Heath opened the scoring for the Thorns with a nice bit of teamwork in the 9’, but the rest of her time on the pitch was a mixed bag of good movement into the box and shoddy turnovers. She subbed out in the 56’ for Hayley Raso.
Out for yellow card accumulation
Seattle Reign 1 - 4 North Carolina Courage
Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis
Out with injury
Mathias tallied NC’s third goal of the night in the 48’, juking Megan Rapinoe and picking out a lovely curving shot from outside the 18. Mathias was often a problem for Rapinoe instead of vice-versa as NC dominated.
Two goals for Dunn, playing her usual part-time 10 role for NC. Whether she was maneuvering into space or feeding her teammates, Seattle had very few answers for her.
Williams got a goal and two assists against Seattle, making this one of her more productive games in a season marked by some struggles from her to be clinical in front of goal.
She had some early trouble bossing the midfield without usual partner in crime Sam Mewis, but NC adjusted pretty quickly and Zerboni helped keep Seattle relatively locked out.
Rapinoe wasn’t effective in her set pieces this game, but she did work her way into the flow after the first 30 minutes or so, both in trying to pick out Jodie Taylor and in finding space in front of the net.
Despite some good work with Nahomi Kawasumi, Long and Rumi Utsugi were unable to deal with NC’s powerful midfield.
Not a ton for Harris to do throughout this game...until late when she had to come up big on a shot from Caprice Dydasco to preserve the win.
She tried to keep up pressure on Washington’s back line to make space for Chioma Ubogagu and Sydney Leroux, but didn’t get much more than some long range testing shots.
Hatch blew several chances to score with one-time touches right in front of goal, nor was she able to play the right ball for her teammates.
Sullivan looked better playing higher on the pitch, trying to pick out teammates on the diagonal and stepping up to win the midfield higher, although she was sometimes still a bit slow on the ball.
Did not play
Chicago Red Stars 2 - 0 Utah Royals
late scratch due to injury
Naeher had a wacky moment early on with a bobbled save she had to clean up, followed by a second half big air leap to punch away a corner kick that didn’t quite clear the area.
She continues to hold the Chicago back line together as they adjust to their big trade, with varying levels of success. Ertz and Katie Naughton needed a little more coordination to really close down Amy Rodriguez in the box.
Short got a full half in this game at left back and continued to look like she was getting stronger, willingly going at the Royals midfield.
She was quick off her line several times, though questionably so. She had a scary moment too when leaping for a looping overhead ball and she collided with the post but she managed to get up and finish the game.
It was the usual trouble trying to deal with Sam Kerr and to a certain extent Yuki Nagasato, as the Utah back line had to live with the constant fear of a breakaway. Sauerbrunn herself made some big blocks but also couldn’t really hang with Kerr in open space.
Rodriguez several times was able to get some separation from her defender in the box with craftily timed movement, but she wasn’t able to put away Utah’s scant chances before her sub in the 82’.