Welcome to your week two NWSL QuickCap.
Week Two saw another week without Australians and so many misses from inside the six that every forward in the league was probably at an extra practice while you were at your Seder and/or Easter dinner.
Houston Dash 0-0 Utah Royals
Neither Amy Rodriguez or Kealia Ohai have shown they can take over a game and create offense from nothing, but after this one it’s a risk I’m willing to take. A 0-0 game can be exciting as well as defensive, or it can be a mess where neither team has a coherent offense. Or even a visible game plan. Not that I had anything better to watch on my Friday night. Utah’s best offensive play was a late run down the left by Sauerbrunn and Utah’s most offensive play was a Desiree Scott challenge that could have been a credible straight red. Houston’s English national teamer Rachel Daly looked to be working in a vacuum trying to generate some offense and Kristie Mewis earned Twitter raves for a competent performance starting as an outside back, but Jane Campbell looked like the USWNT heir-in-waiting she’s already been declared.
Sky Blue FC 0-1 North Carolina Courage
The new Sky Blue spent most of the game hanging even with a pressing North Carolina Courage, even showing some offensive spark after being dominated early. North Carolina still looks to be missing Samantha Mewis for the central leadership, but Abby Dahlkemper and Abby Erceg remain a solid duo. Behind them, Sabrina D’Angelo was either struggling with an injury or stalling for time in the first half. Carli Lloyd had some fancy footwork, but wasn’t a catalyst for the young offense or the star that took over the game on her lonesome. Lynn Williams has speed to spare and a first touch rarely seen outside a U6 early season practice, but the underappreciated Jess McDonald saved their Easter ham with a last minute goal past the NWSL’s other superb Canadian GK, Kailen Sheridan, who came out too far and left her goal exposed.
Washington Spirit 2-0 Orlando Pride
Orlando was without Marta and Morgan, but on a team with this roster, such losses…really, really hurt. Sydney Leroux was all over, but as with Morgan, is the sort of pure scorer who relies on others moving the ball. Unfortunately for her, no Easter eggs were being put into the right baskets here. Washington’s offense of the future started early and kept Orlando on the back foot. Sullivan playing on the right side wasn’t as involved as she might have been as central player all the internet pundits want to see, but Pugh and Hatch both scored in the last ten minutes, and that was enough to seal the deal. GK Ashlyn Harris might want Pugh’s nutmeg goal back, but there’s nothing anyone could have done about Hatch’s shot from outside.
Chicago Red Stars 2-3 Portland Thorns FC
Chicago’s black uniforms look like something a referee would wear and I spent the first few minutes very confused. Unlike the rest of the league this weekend, these teams raced right past the “no more than two goals” limit, tallying more goals than the other six teams combined. It started with Horan opening the scoring for Portland. Then, Chicago’s Alyssa Mautz knuckleballed over Adrianna Franch only to be met by Portland’s Christine Sinclair who drove past a sliding Alyssa Naeher and kept control of a bouncing ball to put Portland up 2-1 at the half. Sinclair added a penalty kick and Mautz added a second. And there’s no way I can stay under my word limit if people keep scoring like this in these games.