This week we have plenty of upsets to catch up on as well as some shocking news from a former a USWNT member concerning her health.
Kealia Ohai can’t be stopped:
Houston are finally playing like we thought they could way back in April at the start of the 2016 NWSL season; more specifically Ohai is simply playing out of her mind. On Saturday night she added two more goals to help her Dash beat the Orlando Pride in a thrilling 4-2 outing. Ohai has scored nine goals in the last seven games to keep her team alive at seventh place and still searching for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Orlando lost its fifth consecutive game, and is officially eliminated from the playoffs. With Ohai in the lead for the Golden Boot, her play has certainly caught the attention of many fans, but has USWNT coach Jill Ellis been paying attention? I hope so because with her play, she has shown she is ready for another USWNT call-up. The home crowd for Houston was an impressive 6,819 strong and I would think that helped to give the Dash the extra motivation needed.
Washington first to clinch playoff spot:
The Spirit has officially made the playoffs for the third consecutive year after a 1-1 draw with WNY on Saturday night. In front of a nice crowd of 4,527 at the Plex, the Spirit has performed well at home, grabbing their sixth win to tie WNY for league best. Washington has very consistent this season, and winning the Shield could be next for them, sitting on 36 points while Portland is in second with 29 points. Everything seems to be clicking for Jim Gabarra’s team, so could this finally be the year for a championship title? It certainly is possible the way they are performing.
Lauren Holiday to have brain surgery:
Earlier this week Lauren Holiday’s family announced that a benign tumor was found and will require surgery. The Holidays have known about it since late June. The former USWNT and NWSL (FCKC) star is a month away from giving birth to her first child, but the operation regarding the tumor will have to wait until 6 weeks after the baby is born. Holiday retired last year after the World Cup at the age of 27. A two-time Olympic champion and World Cup champion, Holiday is adored by fans all over the world. I’m sending positive energy and thoughts to the Holiday family as they go through this tough time.
FSU upset by South Alabama:
The number one ranked team Florida State has fallen to unranked South Alabama on Monday night. In their first loss of the year, FSU had a fair amount of chances. None more than Sophomore Megan Connolly who had several chances in the first half alone, but couldn’t find a breakthrough. Although the Seminoles had better possession, South Alabama managed to counter and in the 25th minute forward Charde Hannah found the winning goal. The goal was the first goal allowed by FSU this season, after shutting out its previous three opponents by a combined score of seven to nothing. The Jaguars did a solid job defensively in the second half, putting all 11 players behind the ball to secure the victory. FSU looks to rebound at home against UConn on Thursday. South Alabama should be confident as they face Austin Peay on Friday.
UCLA beat defending champs Penn State:
The Bruins are ranked 11th while the Lions are ranked 13th, but since Penn State are the defending champions, I would still consider this an upset. UCLA are quickly becoming one of my favorite teams to watch. Led by a couple of exciting in freshman Jessie Fleming and Teagan Micah, the Bruins have three wins and one loss to start the year. Fleming has now scored three goals in two games for the Bruins since arriving on campus from Rio, where she helped Canada win the Bronze medal. In goal, UCLA have Micah, who made six saves en route to her third shutout of the year. In a back-and-forth match that needed two overtimes, UCLA finally found the right combination. In the 99th minute, Fleming got on the end of a MacKenzie Cerda cross and headed home the game winner. For me, this was a statement win for the Bruins. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as they host seventh ranked North Carolina on Friday. Penn State faces San Diego State on Friday also.
Clemson fall to South Carolina:
Heading into this match, the Clemson Tigers were ranked sixth while South Carolina was sitting at 22nd. Savannah McCaskill scored two goals late in the first half to lead her Gamecocks to their fourth win on the season. South Carolina played a fast and energetic first half, so by halftime Clemson looked a little tired and a bit shocked. A slow start didn’t derail the Tigers for long, pulling one back in the 79th minute thanks to a 30 yard rocket by Sophomore Sam Staab. It was too little too late and Clemson fell to 3-2 on the season and slip in the rankings as well, dropping to 14th. Clemson play High Point on Friday and South Carolina take the field against Georgia on Friday as well.