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USWNT players in NWSL: week 21

A dagger from A-Rod, strong showings from Huerta and Williams.

China v United States Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Are you tired of a tight NWSL playoff race? Do you wish someone would separate themselves from the pack already? You’re not alone! Several teams are probably wishing they’d gotten more points out of this weekend to help solidify their playoff position. And yet, we got some one-point results that have kept it nervewracking for teams in third through seventh position. Here’s how USWNT players did in the league this past week.

Seattle Reign 0 - 0 Chicago Red Stars

Alyssa Naeher

Naeher was pretty good off her line all night and in her judgment on when to intercept any traffic into her box.

Julie Ertz

She was a boost to the attack all night, stepping up out of the defensive line to win the ball and getting in the box herself on offensive pushes.

Casey Short

After she adjusted to dealing with Jasmyne Spencer, she formed an improved connection to Sam Kerr from wide before subbing off in the 66’.

Morgan Brian

She had several chances to score or create a chance on goal but was either offside or not on frame enough to find the difference maker.

Allie Long

She had to adjust to a new-ish midfield partnership with Morgan Andrews and was better on defense than she was moving the ball out.

Megan Rapinoe

Unavailable due to hip injury

Houston Dash 4 - 0 Washington Spirit

Rose Lavelle

Lavelle got 62 minutes for the Spirit and continues to look better on the field, but she was pushed too high out of the Spirit’s midfield to really be able to orchestrate play.

Andi Sullivan

Not Sullivan’s best game; she was a little overwhelmed in midfield and was either not covering defensively enough or not pushing the attack enough.

Mallory Pugh

Pugh got one half for the spirit and was a sometime target for the Spirit putting the ball over the back line, but was closed down by multiple defenders.

Sofia Huerta

Huerta got two goals on the night, hanging out in the right spaces around the box and helped by the Spirit’s lack of coverage.

Jane Campbell

Other than a late hard shot from the Spirit, Campbell really didn’t have much to do as the Dash took the game to Washington.

Sky Blue FC 2 - 2 Utah Royals

Becky Sauerbrunn

Pushing higher for Utah left the back line with some gaps that they didn’t do a good job covering, allowing Sky Blue in several times.

Christen Press

She tried several different positions on the field to adjust, including dropping deeper or pushing as wide as possible, but she was trying to do too much herself.

Amy Rodriguez

She had several opportunities pushing at Sky Blue’s goal and often forced their back line to drop with her runs, but her biggest moment was obviously the last-minute stoppage time equalizer.

Carli Lloyd

She waxed and waned throughout the game, with a ball put wide in the first half, but really tried to push Sky Blue to close out the game strong.

Savannah McCaskill

She had several really nice balls into the path of her teammates to set up chances, particularly for Carli Lloyd.

Portland Thorns 2 - 2 Chicago Red Stars

Alyssa Naeher

There were a couple of critical mistakes from Naeher against Portland, including some big punches when she might have done better to try and hold the ball.

Julie Ertz

Some good defensive work from Ertz both holding the line and stepping up to dispossess higher, although sometimes she left a gap for her line to cover.

Casey Short

She got switched to right fullback for this game and was often helping Chicago to recover in time.

Morgan Brian

She got a half for Chicago and spent it trying to win in the midfield and keep her head up to set the pieces for an attack.

Tobin Heath

After a slightly rough start not quite on the same page as her teammates, she found a goal and an assist for Portland to scrap back a point.

Lindsey Horan

A typical hardworking game from Horan. She tried to make herself a target in the box too but wasn’t quite able to get there.

Emily Sonnett

She had a lot of trouble dealing with Sam Kerr all night and lost out on some key battles with her to prevent goals for Chicago.

Adrianna Franch

While her defense had trouble controlling Kerr, she made a huge leaping save in the 90’ to keep it level and salvage a point for Portland.

North Carolina Courage 3 - 0 Orlando Pride*

Abby Dahlkemper

Solid game from Dahlkemper at the base of the central spine, working with Mewis and Zerboni to play out of the back.

McCall Zerboni

She was a calm presence who worked the double team with Mewis to create turnovers and helped switch the point of attack.

Merritt Mathias

More defensive presence from Mathias in this game instead of pushing high but enough to really limit any attempts by Orlando to pull wide.

Sam Mewis

She set up plenty of runs from midfield, often feeding Lynn Williams and creating constant pressure on Orlando.

Crystal Dunn

Looked calm and in control as a ballwinner who also constantly fed Lynn Williams from multiple points on the field.

Lynn Williams

Assist and a goal from Lynn Williams later in the game to seal three points for NC. She also created the first own goal from Orlando with her drive endline and shot.

Ashlyn Harris

Despite a big reaction save on a header dropping to her feet, Harris couldn’t do much about three goals from NC as her defense didn’t control Lynn Williams.

Alex Morgan

She was working hard in spurts to pressure NC into a mistake, but balls over from Orlando were mostly not reaching her.

*Slightly unusual circumstances for this game, which was postponed due to lightning and resumed play the next day in the 22’.