The first quarter of the National Women’s Soccer League has given us some memorable moments, great goals, outstanding individual performances, and results that no one could predict. And to wrap it up, here are the Power Rankings for Week 6.
1 (+1): Boston Breakers (2-2-2; drew Portland 2-2)
For the second straight week, Boston faced off against a playoff team and dominated the opening hour. Goals by Natasha Dowie and Rosie White had the Breakers on top and ready to send Portland home empty-handed. But history repeated itself, and Boston conceded late to earn only a draw once again.
Next match: 5/27 @ Portland at 10 PM EST.
2 (+3): Sky Blue FC (3-2-1; def. Houston 2-1)
Sky Blue returned home for a rematch with Houston, and for the second time in a week claimed the three points against the Dash. But the victory was anything but a walk in the park for the Jersey side, and it took late-game heroics from Rocky Rodriguez to ensure the win.
Next matches: 5/24 @ North Carolina at 7:30 PM EST, 5/27 vs Orlando at 7 PM EST
3 (+3): Chicago Red Stars (3-2-1; def. North Carolina 1-3)
Chicago arrived in North Carolina hoping to end a long record of futility against the Courage (and their predecessor, the WNY Flash) on the road, and did so in spectacular fashion. Christen Press ran circles around the NC backline for 90 minutes, and added another goal to her impressive career tally to help the Red Stars to an insurmountable lead at halftime.
Next match: 5/27 vs North Carolina at 4 PM EST
4 (-): Portland Thorns FC (2-1-3; drew Boston 2-2)
The head-scratchingly mediocre start to the 2017 season continued for Portland, as two major defensive mistakes landed the Thorns in a big hole against the upstart Breakers. But Portland was handed a lifeline when Nadia Nadim converted yet another penalty and then struck a late equalizer to earn her side a road point.
Next match: 5/27 vs Boston at 10 PM EST
5 (-4): North Carolina Courage (4-2-0; lost to Chicago 1-3)
After suffering a surprising defeat at the hands of Orlando, North Carolina returned home looking for a rebound. But a win was not on the cards for the Courage, as Chicago stomped a mud-hole in the short-handed NC defense to put the hosts down 3-0 at halftime. Lynn Williams pulled one back for the Courage in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
Next matches: 5/24 vs Sky Blue @ 7:30 PM EST, 5/27 @ Chicago at 4 PM EST
6 (-3): Seattle Reign FC (2-1-3; drew Orlando 1-1)
In a match marred by horrendous officiating and overly physical play, Seattle jumped on a mid-game keeper switch by Orlando to take a lead against the Pride, and were in position to score a third straight win at home. But when Haley Kopmeyer made a rare blunder in goal, Marta pounced and punished the home team, and the Reign were left to rue missed opportunities as they had to settle for a single point.
Next match: 5/27 @ Houston at 4 PM EST
7 (-): FC Kansas City (2-2-2; def. Washington 0-1)
Kansas City entered the weekend needing a win if they don’t want to have too big a hill to climb in order to see the playoffs later this season, and got it when Alexa Newfield blasted a strike home in the opening half for her first career goal. Despite Washington pouring on the pressure in the second half, Becky Sauerbrunn and the Blues’ backline repelled every single Spirit attack to hold on for the victory.
Next match: 5/27 vs Washington at 8 PM EST
8 (-): Orlando Pride (1-2-3; drew Seattle 1-1)
After earning their first win of the season, Orlando traveled to Seattle hoping to add a second. Misfortune struck when Ashlyn Harris was forced to leave the match early due to a non-contact injury, and the Pride quickly fell behind, but an equalizer from Marta and a stout defensive effort rescued a point for Orlando in the second half.
Next match: 5/27 @ Sky Blue at 7 PM EST
9 (-): Houston Dash (2-4-0; lost to Sky Blue 2-1)
May has not been kind to Houston, as the Dash dropped their third straight game of the month, and second straight to Sky Blue. Even though Andressinha pounced to grab an equalizer for her first goal of the year, Houston fell victim to yet another late defensive lapse and allowed Rocky Rodriguez to slot home the game winner in the 85th minute.
Next match: 5/27 vs Seattle at 4 PM EST
10 (-): Washington Spirit (1-4-1; lost to Kansas City 0-1)
While the debut of Mallory Pugh was the main headline for Washington, it was the visiting Kansas City who stole the show and came away with the three points. Despite conceding the only goal of the game in the first half, the Spirit refused to give up and hammered the Blues’ backline for most of the second half, but could not find the breakthrough.
Next match: 5/27 @ Kansas City at 8 PM EST