NJ/NY Gotham FC played the Washington Spirit to a draw to remain atop the standings, but the table is crowded with three five-win teams. International stars like Caroline, Quinn, Diana Ordóñez and Yuki Nagasato shone brightly this week, helping to deliver victories for their clubs.
Washington, Gotham play to 1-1 draw
Gotham played to a disappointing 1-1 draw against the Spirit on Sunday afternoon in DC. After controlling the match from the opening whistle, Bruninha got the visitors on the board early with a golazo into the upper 90.
In the 55th minute, Yazmeen Ryan thought she found a second for Gotham, but after a VAR review, the goal was called back due to a handball by Nealy Martin in the build-up play. Was the handball clear and obvious enough for this to be the right decision? I’m not so sure, but nevertheless, play resumed with Gotham’s slim, one-goal margin.
Despite having the lion’s share of possession and shots, Gotham couldn’t manage to find a second. Instead, it was Spirit midfielder Paige Metayer who excited the home side with an equalizer in the 70th minute, all against the run of play.
OL Reign dominates ACFC for 4-1 victory
Angel City started off on the front foot on Saturday against OL Reign when Claire Emslie buried the rare front-post Olimpico to put her squad ahead.
But despite conceding early, the Reign were determined to bounce back from losing two straight.
Elyse Bennett managed to equalize just before half, while a second-half brace from Veronica Latsko, and a fourth goal from Quinn earned the Reign the dominant win and a coveted three points.
With a whopping, season-high 25 shots (11 on target), it was a statement game for the Reign, with positives all over the pitch. Megan Rapinoe continued a fine run of form heading into the World Cup with three assists, while Bennett picked up her first goal in a Reign shirt. Canadian supporters were happy to see Quinn back on the field too – and scoring no less – as they build back fitness after dealing with an injury early in the season. With Latsko’s brace, OL Reign now have four players with three goals on the season, which is a testament to the quality and depth of their roster.
As for Angel City, doubt still hangs over Julie Ertz’s fitness ahead of the World Cup, as she was unavailable again on Saturday due to a left thigh injury.
Chicago shuts out Orlando
Chicago got back in the win column on Saturday, as they managed to sneak a 1-nil win at home over a dominant Orlando Pride.
After a shaky run of games, Red Stars keeper Alyssa Naeher no doubt had her best match of the season. She was forced into making six critical saves, which leapfrogged her over Ashlyn Harris and into the record books as the keeper with the most all-time NWSL regular season saves.
Remarkably, the Red Stars only registered two shots on goal throughout the entire match (including none in the second half), and one found the back of the net. Yuki Nagasato’s 22nd-minute header – assisted by a lovely cross from Casey Short – was the difference on the day.
North Carolina extends unbeaten streak to five games
Caroline was outstanding in North Carolina’s 2-1 road victory against Louisville on Saturday. Her goal, which ended up being the decider, was a thing of beauty.
Jordan Baggett managed to pull one back for Louisville just minutes before the final whistle, but the Courage were able to hang on. That’s five games in a row unbeaten now for North Carolina (three wins and two draws).
San Diego, Portland score late in exciting 1-1 draw
San Diego Wave and Portland Thorns continued their pattern of closely contested matches with a 1-1 draw on Friday. Late goals were in store for both sides, as Sofia Jakobsson opened the scoring for the Wave in the 86th minute, but the Wave disappointedly conceded a 90th-minute equalizer to Thorns’ defender Reyna Reyes.
The Equalizer’s Taylor Vincent went long on the draw:
Houston hands Kansas City its fourth straight loss
Kansas City’s struggle continues.
The Houston Dash came to town and blanked the home side 2-nil on Friday, extending the Current’s losing streak to four. Worryingly, the Current have conceded multiple goals in these four losses, and are themselves scoreless in three.
As for the Dash, Saturday’s win serves as a nice bounce back to form after last week’s tough loss at home to Portland. They poured on the pressure around the halftime mark – both before and after the break – to earn the win.
Their first goal, in particular, was quite the sight, as Michelle Alozie sent a beautiful, curling pass into María Sánchez, who then found Diana Ordóñez in the box with a little chip pass. Ordóñez spun around her defender, and – while falling – managed to beat Cassie Miller with a ball in the back of the net. The loss, and Red Stars victory, dropped the Current to last place in the standings with a -9 goal differential.