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USWNT players in NWSL week 19: the safest hands are Franch’s

Sauerbrunn is back in the groove, Rapinoe needs a rest, Franch grabs three important points for Portland.

2018 Tournament Of Nations: Australia v United States Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Look, every point matters all season long. But when you’re burning through regular season games and you can literally see your playoff hopes slipping through your fingers, every point matters. There were some critical results in this past week of NWSL play in terms of stnadings, and honestly just in terms of pride for some teams. Here’s how USWNT players did in NWSL in week 19.

Utah Royals 1 - 0 Washington Spirit

Mallory Pugh

Pugh only got about 30 minutes, subbing off in the first half for Cali Farquahrson. It seemed planned as Pugh returns to full strength.

Rose Lavelle

Lavelle got a full half with the Spirit after an encouraging Tournament of Nations, but Utah was pretty much in charge while she was on the pitch.

Becky Sauerbrunn

Sauerbrunn was available as a sub and came on in the 79’ for Christen Press, higher up the pitch in a DM role. She put some nicely weighted balls into distribution.

Christen Press

Not a ton going for Press in this game, despite Utah controlling it. Utah needs more from a Press - Matheson connection if they want more shots and SOG.

Amy Rodriguez

Washington defended her pretty hard, although she still managed to turn and shoot in the box several times.

Chicago Red Stars 1 - 1 North Carolina Courage

Alyssa Naeher

Her distribution wasn’t the sharpest, but she comfortably smothered most of NC’s attempts and couldn’t do much about their goal against, a bullet of a header.

Casey Short

She had a little trouble tracking Lynn Williams, but wasn’t so pinned back that she wasn’t able to make a couple of deep runs.

Julie Ertz

Ertz started at LCB for this game and kept close to Jess McDonald throughout. She also pushed up for set pieces but recovered nicely to prevent gaps in the defense.

Morgan Brian

Brian seemed to warm up as the game went on; her control in tight spaces was good and she made good runs out of the midfield, with a great turn and shoot dinking off the post.

Abby Dahlkemper

She was mostly able to stay with Sam Kerr, positioning herself well to try and cut Kerr out of the game.

Merrit Mathias

Her service into the box was fairly prolific but wasn’t accurate enough for NC to be able to find another goal.

Sam Mewis

As usual she played a solid ballwinning game and picked out some nice switches, although it was a battle with Chicago’s midfield.

Crystal Dunn

A quieter game than usual from Dunn, who was often double- or triple-teamed and limited to long-range shots.

Lynn Williams

A quiet game for Williams as well, although she got the better of Short several times by beating her at speed and aiming in crosses.

McCall Zerboni

Out with injury

Utah Royals 0 - 1 Seattle Reign

Allie Long

While she did the defensive work, Long’s offensive contribution to Seattle wasn’t quite as accurate as it could have been.

Megan Rapinoe

Rapinoe was a menace for most of the game, getting gassed late but then finding a last burst of energy in stoppage.

Becky Sauerbrunn

She kept pushing up to try and spur the midfield in the attack while also working hard to cover Rapinoe any time she got close to goal.

Christen Press

Press had some great individual moments, but needed to be more decisive about picking out open teammates instead of trying to carry the ball herself.

Amy Rodriguez

She subbed on in the 62’ for Taylor Lytle and threatened a bit from wide, but her crosses didn’t find targets.

Sky Blue FC 1 - 2 Houston Dash

Jane Campbell

She had a bit of a bobble early on but made some good parries, and her defense didn’t really help her on the goal by Sky Blue.

Sofia Huerta

She was okay to good on her set piece delivery and took some bold long-range chances while also trying to act as the feeder for Daly.

Savannah McCaskill

Some very nice set ups for the other Sky Blue Forwards, but she could have done better with her own attempts to finish.

Carli Lloyd

Out on red card suspension

Orlando Pride 0 - 2 Portland Thorns

Ashlyn Harris

She was fairly strong in the air on the night, but not much else she could do on Portland’s goals, both of them muscled into the net.

Alex Morgan

She was often pitted against the whole Thorns back line by herself as Orlando got pinned back, but worked hard on the defensive side of the ball.

Emily Sonnett

She stayed tight on Alex Morgan and was the calm anchor for Portland with Menges to stay in control in the back.

Lindsey Horan

A lot of defensive work from Horan, who also opened up the scoring for Portland with a 47’ goal.

Tobin Heath

A rough game from Heath, who should have gotten a card for an early foul, but eventually cleaned up her game and looked better drifting inside from left or right.

Adrianna Franch

Great game from Franch, who earned a big clean sheet with big deflections and a diving reaction save in the second half.