Chicago Red Stars 0-2 Orlando Pride
Chicago had the lead in possession, yellow cards, and shots not-on-frame. Orlando had goals from Chioma Ubogagu (28’, Leroux assist) and Rachel Hill (81’, Van Egmond assist.) The NWSL site, famous for full names, also tells me that this was Van Egmond’s first assist since returning from international duty with Brazil, but I get in trouble for making things up. Neither Sam Kerr or Marta directly figured into the scoring, but they had an impact on defensive shape and tactics. Sarah Gorden was a flash of speed for Chicago but couldn’t connect to get anything past GK Ashlyn Harris, or perhaps was afraid of the flying tackle.
Portland Thorns 2-3 Seattle Reign
I feel like Seattle are stealth contenders for no good reason other than they don’t have the attention focused on Portland or North Carolina or the fan-loved roster of Orlando. Or the power-packed roster of the Thorns, who was fun to watch as they poured endless chances in on former Reign-turned-Thorn-turned-Reign Michele Betos. Starting a thread to be seen in the other 3-2 game this week, there was a first-half goal and then single tallies traded until the first-to-score won, but with so much action I’d recommend looking at the replay. Beverly Yanez (from Nahomi Kawasumi) was the first half tally at 36’. W-League scoring monster Emily Sonnett equalized at 61’ on a sloppy bouncer and Nearly Headless Jodie Taylor tallied the PK at 64’. Jess Fishlock drew the penalty on a defending Ana-Maria Crnogorevic by cutting into her path in a tangle of legs that will remain disputed depending on your loyalties (Cymru am byth!). The Great Horan equalized at 70’ on the ten-thousandth marginally-defended cross from Megan Klingenberg. The 2-2 deadlock lasted about as long as it takes me to type a sentence, as Rumi Utsugi scored from Steph Catley at 75’ and the last fifteen featured chances but no goals.
Sky Blue FC 2-3 Houston Dash
Houston tried a new lineup Saturday night, moving Kimberly Keever back and Kristie Mewis to mid, with Rachel Daly up top with Kealia Ohai and Nichelle Prince. Whether a new shape or the skill of the opponent played a role, some of the scoring potential teased in the first five games broke through. Nichelle Prince opened at 24’ and then the teams traded goals in the second half, with Katie Johnson at 57’ followed quickly by Rachel Daly on a shross aided by a lack of hops by GK Kailen Sheridan at 59’. Katie Johnson equalized at 73’, putting herself into the lead in NJ’s scoring race by a likely insurmountable lead, and Veronica Latsko finished it up at 79’. All the goals had assists, too, but I didn’t want to step on the “NJ can’t score” jab, so: Lindsay Elizabeth Agnew to Prince, Shea Groom and Sarah Killion to Johnson, Ohai (and gravity) to Daly, and Kgatlana to Latsko.
Utah Royals 2-0 Washington Spirit
I’m so glad I didn’t predict Washington’s youth movement of high powered talent would be printing goals like money every game. Nope, not me. Don’t bother checking the previews, trust me on this. Pretty sure I said the 30-something Amy Rodriguez would take over a game with a killer assist to 2009 Hermann Trophy winner Kelley O’Hara, marking her first of the season at 7’. Well, I didn’t predict the minutes. I’m not that stellar with my clearly truthful predictions. Also, incredibly youthful Canadian sensation Diana Matheson had the second Utah goal at 66’ on pure hustle. Washington did have more shots, but not on frame, and a slight lead in both crosses and corners, but didn’t convert. Utah’s totally youthful defense played all 90, too, but so did the Hatch-Pugh-Sullivan trifecta that apparently needs more ink for the goal printer.
North Carolina Courage 1-1 Chicago Red Stars
“Sure, North Carolina had 42 shots, but…”
Chicago stole a point in this one, largely via GK Alyssa Naeher. Yes, North Carolina was sloppy at times and didn’t look to be the statistical anomaly the box score presents. Samantha Kerr scored at 37’ but wasn’t largely a factor due to North Carolina’s defense. McCall Zerboni equalized at 82’ with a great shot off an Abby Erceg chip. She also had a yellow card at 71’ but no assist to complete the McCall Zerboni hat trick. Largely, NCC charged in and missed for the better part of the afternoon.