Off the Bench with Backline Soccer: 2017, Week 1

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Welcome to our first installment of “Off the Bench,” the latest Backline Soccer weekly series.

Backline Soccer Recap:

This last week on Backline Soccer, we posted all ten of our 2017 NWSL team previews. If you haven’t yet read them, please visit our site to check them out and let us know what you think!


NWSL Week One Game Recaps:

What a great first weekend back for the NWSL we had! Let’s dive straight into a recap of the five matches we had this past weekend.

 

Game 1: Houston Dash 2 vs Chicago Red Stars 0

Houston Dash record: 1-0-0
Chicago Red Stars record: 0-1-0
Attendance : 4,484

First up, to kick off the 2017 NWSL season, the Houston Dash took on the Chicago Red Stars at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Kealia Ohai opened up the scoring giving the 2017 season its first goal in the 15th minute. Alyssa Naeher stuck to her line a little too long and Ohai made her pay. Then, in the 80′ minute, Rachel Daly sent a rocket past Naeher, for goal number two, and was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter for it!

 

Game 2: Portland Thorns 2 vs Orlando Pride 0

Portland Thorns record: 1-0-0
Orlando Pride record: 0-1-0
Attendance : 16,145

The first Lifetime Game of the Week started shortly after the Houston game, with the Portland Thorns taking on the Orlando Pride. It was a pretty even game for most of the match. The 24th minute saw a killer diving header from Ashlyn Harris to keep the Thorns from scoring but an unfortunate handball on Alanna Kennedy in the 32nd minute led to a converted PK by Nadia Nadim. Christine Sinclair netted home the final goal to seal the Thorns’ win in the 67th minute.

 

Game 3: Washington Spirit 0 vs North Carolina Courage 1

Washington Spirit record: 0-1-0
North Carolina Courage record: 1-0-0
Attendance : 2,400

Next up were the Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage, in their inaugural match. McCall Zerboni scored the game’s lone goal–and the first in NC Courage history–in the 19th minute but it was Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé who put on a spectacular performance that kept the Courage from scoring any more after that. With one spectacular save after another, Labbé demonstrated to everyone just what an asset she will be for the Spirit this season. Unfortunately for the Spirit, Joanna Lohman went down in the first half with what was confirmed on Monday as a torn ACL in her left knee.

 

Game 4: Seattle Reign 1 vs Sky Blue FC 1

Seattle Reign record: 0-0-1
Sky Blue FC record: 0-0-1
Attendance : 3,521

The final match of the day was between the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC, which ended up being the game of PKs. A foul committed by a Sky Blue player saw Megan Rapinoe convert a PK in the 56nd minute. Then in the 62nd minute, a foul by a Reign player saw Sarah Killion bury a PK to level the game. Seattle Reign goalkeeper, Haley Kopmeyer, who had a player of the week worthy game as well on Saturday, almost stopped the PK taken by Killion.

 

Game 5: FC Kansas City 2 v. Boston Breakers 0

FC Kansas City record: 1-0-0
Boston Breakers record: 0-1-0
Attendance : 3,340

The final game of the first weekend back for the NWSL between FC Kansas City and the Boston Breakers saw the return of Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux to the pitch after maternity leave. Leroux kicked off the party early with her first goal in over a year in the 7th minute. Amy Rodriguez decided she wanted to be part of the goal scoring party too and netted herself one in the 48th minute. Then in the 58th minute, we all held our breath as Rodriguez went down with a non-contact injury and was stretchered off shortly after. Official confirmation has not been given but it was reported to be the left leg which was then immobilized with a brace.

The weekend ended with the Dash, Thorns, Courage, and FCKC all taking home 3 points, while Sky Blue and the Reign each left with a point. Held winless and pointless in the first weekend were the Red Stars, Pride, Spirit, and Breakers.


The Scouting Report:

The Scouting Report went live last night with the first official NWSL weekly TSR recap of all NWSL games from the weekend. Make sure to tune in every Monday at 8pm EST to catch our weekly series!

You can find last night’s TSR here:

Come back next week for the next edition of Off the Bench!