NWSL QuickCap 4: It’s Been a Long Week

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North Carolina 1-0 Seattle
4-0-0/2-1-0

North Carolina has a 4-0-0 record and seven goals and I’m still inclined to discuss underperformance. Four goals came when needed against a scoring Spirit team, but the other three have been one-goal games, with two of those being late and very late by undervalued Jessica McDonald. Now they’ve handed Seattle their first loss (2-1-0) to stand atop the table. In the first of their games this week, Sam Mewis returned to action, and Abby Dahlkemper’s consecutive minutes streak, stretching back to Ye Olde Women’s League of 1865 came to an end.

Seattle were a blasé pinot gris without Megan Rapinoe. They had chances by Yanez and Dallstream, but couldn’t solve the backline of Erceg and rookie Kaleigh “Colonel” Kurtz, much less goalkeeper Sabrina DeAngelo. Kristen Hamilton had an assist and a yellow, which is a goal short of the McCall Zerboni Hat Trick. Michele Betos had four saves for Seattle.


Chicago 3-0 Houston
2-1-1/0-1-2

I was prepared to write that Chicago has been anemic, but Stephanie McCaffrey’s return might be a needed boost. Once again she was a late-game sub, plus the Red Stars scored two and benefited from an early own goal, and my predictive powers are, as that more popular pundit show says, suboptimal. In the seventh minute, Kristie Mewis beat her own keeper. Four disorganized minutes later, Lauren Kaskie put the Red Stars up two, and last remaining flagship star Sofia Huerta made it 3-0 in the 74th minute on a Colaprico assist. Each team has two yellows, so at least Houston is keeping pace in one category, but no shots on goal is a scary stat for them. The odd part is this was their first loss, 0-1-2, while Chicago rises to 2-1-1.


Portland 1-1 Washington
2-1-1/1-1-2

The stan review: Tobin’s back. Squuuuuueeeeeeeee.

The official review: Britt Eckerstrom started in net with Franch on the injury list. The first Washington goal, credited to Francisca Ordega (37′), involved roughly 45 Thorns players standing in the box staring at an errant deflection until it ended in the net. The Thorns tied it in first-half stoppage time on a Christine Sinclair PK following a Caprice Dydasco foul on Ifeoma Onumonu, who was a pressuring presence most of the game. Midge (I’m so old I can remember when she was “Margaret”) Purce was a constant threat on the outside for the Thorns, but their plans never played out. Washington keeper Aubrey Bledsoe saved a PK by Lindsay Horan later in the game to cement her credentials as “former backup.” Emily Sonnett is probably still yelling.


North Carolina 2-2 Utah
4-0-1/0-1-3

The goalkeeper howlers in this game defy my limited ability to report. Wait for your coach to play this game as a tutorial in how not to defend if you’d like. In the sixth minute, Merritt Mathias scored on a legit strike from somewhere near downtown Chapel Hill. That ended the reputable goals portion of this game. Utah tied it in the 52nd (Katie Stengel), pulled ahead in the 66th (Brittany Ratcliffe, who also had a yellow card on her McCall Zerboni Hat Trick attempt), and Crystal Alyssia Dunn tied it in the 80th. Seriously, though…if I’m relying on the NWSL website to report players how they would like to be reported, there needs to be some attention to the site using the right names. Apparently, Crystal Dunn has decided to use her middle name and the Brazilians have all added to their names. In less ranty news, Samantha Mewis returned for North Carolina after a long injury layoff, Abby Dahlkemper had a pregame profile that made me scared of toe injuries and both keepers will remain unnamed for their protection.


Chicago 1-1 Sky Blue Football Club of New Jersey
2-1-2/0-2-1

It’s major news that Sky Blue got their first point of the season and it’s utterly confusing how Chicago, coming off a 3-0 win and with Sofia Huerta scoring in the first minute ,ended up tying. Savannah McCaskill scored for SBFCNJ in the 78th minute, assisted by Katlyn Johnson who may or may not be the Mexican national mainstay Katie Johnson, given the similarity of the NWSL website rosters to Witness Protection portfolios. Chicago’s Alyssa Mautz continued her playmaking streak, assisting on Huerta’s goal. CSI:SBFCNJ:SUV midfielder Carli Lloyd gets unofficial credit for drawing attention away from McCaskill, freeing her for the shot. Alyssa Naeher had three saves for Chicago and Kailen Sheridan saved five for Sky Blue.


Orlando 1-0 Houston
1-2-1/0-2-2

Orlando gets their first win of the season on a 65th-minute Chioma Ubogagu header off a Christine Nairn free kick. Orlando pressured hard all game, pushing the ball forward to the waiting Alex Morgan or a hard-running two way Sydney Leroux. Orlando repeatedly pressed Kristie Mewis’s side without success, which was okay by me as that’s where I sat in the first half. Houston keeper Jane Campbell had a strong save on Ali Krieger late in the second off a corner kick. In returning player news, Kealia Ohai made her season debut for the last thirty, shaking free from a tight checking defense a couple of times, but not connecting on any chances.

Image courtesy of Leanne Keator