Now that’s more like it! We’ve got three of four playoff spots clinched, with fans of Chicago frantically doing some quick math to see if they’ll make it into the fourth slot. Chicago has a game in hand over both Utah and Houston and would have to drop all six points in order to be vulnerable to being overtaken. Seeing as one of their opponents is poor Sky Blue FC, that’s a slim possibility, but you never know! This league and this sport are great because hope springs eternal for wacky results. Here’s how USWNT players did in NWSL this past week.
Seattle Reign 2 - 0 Houston Dash
She got 70 minutes for the Reign and managed an assist after dropping a lot of nice balls into the box to get Seattle an insurance goal.
Out with injury
Washington Spirit 0 - 1 Utah Royals
A good game from Sauerbrunn who did a good job all game long of limiting Spirit chances and shutting them out of clear looks in the box.
She had some nice movement across the field and a couple of shots that went into the side netting, but ultimately couldn’t find the net herself.
62 minutes for Lavelle in this one and a bit of a quiet game as she struggled to make Washington’s setup work.
Pugh got 64 minutes and looked okay, turning and beating Utah’s defensive line from time to time with Ashley Hatch as her target.
She returned from injury, subbing on in the 76’ for Amy Rodriguez and going in at right mid. She looked pretty active for her first game back but her feeds to Press didn’t create a goal.
Portland Thorns 2 - 1 Sky Blue FC
She tried to find space with her movement and was an occasional ball winner but wasn’t able to spur Sky Blue to a result.
She had some staunch saves with good positioning, including a sharp ball right at her in the second half.
She pushed high to keep pressure high while recovering, although she sometimes didn’t quite cover the players around her in the box on service in.
She was patient on the set up with Caitlin Foord while also acting as a target for set pieces and making some crafty runs around the box.
She sometimes drifted inside like a playmaker and did a lot of defensive work on the ball, eventually surging and scoring the game winner in the 54’.
Seattle Reign 1 - 1 North Carolina Courage
It took her some time to adjust to handling Jasmyne Spencer but she ultimately kept her pretty occupied. She also escaped a late handball call in the box that could’ve given Seattle the winner.
She started at left back for NC and did okay defending Elizabeth Addo, then pushed into right mid in the second half, while also switching left as needed.
Very active game for Mewis, holding off Jess Fishlock, adding to numbers in the box, and trying to feed the ball in quickly and accurately.
She kept a pretty good lock on Morgan Andrews, pushing her out of central midfield, and had a close attempt blocked.
out with injury
Some good stops from Naeher despite an awkward moment with Ertz later in the game, but a mixed bag on distribution particularly when she tried to go direct.
She was under a bit of pressure from Alex Morgan but stayed sharp to make several clearances from the box.
She had some success setting up out of the back looking to go direct and helped Short cover in the box.
Brian continues to look better with each game, getting a full 90 here and keeping Chicago settled all through the midfield with her short passing.
Morgan dragged one back for Orlando in the 65’ but didn’t have a lot of success putting the ball into dangerous areas in the box.
A big game for Harris despite the scoreline as Orlando’s defense continues to struggle; Harris put together some good saves even if she couldn’t keep Chicago entirely out.
Washington Spirit 0 - 1 Portland Thorns
She wasn’t called on too much, but when she was, she made a nice big save on a long range shot from Lavelle.
She did a good job holding off the Spirit’s primary point of attack in Hatch, which pretty severely limited their chances.
A mediocre game by Horan’s standards, with several denied opportunities and passing that could have been more accurate.
She got the game-winning goal for Portland with some nice smooth moves to dazzle her defender and then roof the ball.
Lavelle was limited in her usefuless to Washington in the 77 minutes she got, although she did have a couple of lovely balls and looked better when she was able to get closer to Pugh.
81’ minutes for Pugh, who saw limited action despite switching sides of the field and didn’t look super crisp for a lot of it.
Houston Dash 6 - 1 Sky Blue FC
What else can you really say on a day your team gets scored on six times? She gave up turnovers and only had a couple of long range attempts on target.