Utah Royals FC 1-0 Houston Dash
The most dangerous collection of 4’11” athletes outside US Gymnastics could benefit from signing a lamp post to prop up around the 6 yard line for all the crosses they are putting in. Meanwhile, the disembodied rage floating off Houston’s Rachel Daly as this one progressed almost took physical form. Utah’s Erika Tymrak got the start and the goal, from Gunny Jonsdottir, at 51’ and Utah’s solid defensive form held off Houston for the last forty minutes. This was a very helpful win for Utah in the draw-heavy 2018 season, helping them look toward the playoffs.
Washington Spirit 0-1 Portland Thorns
Washington. Washington. I… am at a loss. Even without Rose Lavelle, this lineup should produce something. Looking at their lineup, in my questionably educated opinion, they should be scoring but giving up goals. Instead… I’m left using a lot of ellipses and staring at the screen trying to figure this one out. Portland looked reliably solid, relying on a monster roster of top-level talent to have a mediocre record. Ellie Carpenter scored at 68’, from Ana-Maria Crnogevic (can we get ‘the Crn Supercollider’ going as a thing? No? Okay). Ashley Hatch took 5 shots in 58 minutes of play, so I feel like they are trying, but…. ellipses.
Sky Blue Football Club of Rutgers University of New Jersey 1-2 North Carolina Courage
Sky Blue and Washington have the same number of losses, which is only one more than Houston, yet we seem to think about these teams differently. Other than when they play NCC, Crystal Alyssia Dunn from Jessica McDonald at 16’, Samantha Mewis at 27’, and the only goal anyone talks about, an absolutely beautiful and entirely meaningless Carli Lloyd strike at 90+4’. Which is sort of a summary of Lloyd’s work for NJ this season and the idea of building a team around a fading veteran with known limitations, but hey, Jill Ellis won a World Cup with that strategy.
Seattle Reign FC 0-0 Chicago Red Stars
Seattle is quietly stalking NCC, sheltered in their Pacific time zone but consistently getting points. Chicago will underperform their way into a top 4 spot before a messy coaching change in the off season. (I have no inside info, just a feeling.) USWNT recent starter Alyssa Naeher once again saved Chicago’s bacon and Matildas’ top keeper Lydia Williams said “hold my vegemite” and went toe-to-toe with her. Chi’s Julie Ertz played 75’, so hopefully her injury days are done.