NWSL Week 6: A Look Back

Lori Chalupny, Vanessa DiBernardo, Jen Hoy

Photo by Tim Bouwer/ISIPhotos.com

By SARAH HALLETT

Several teams had opportunities to make a big move in the National Women’s Soccer League standings this week, but only the Chicago Red Stars were able to take full advantage.

The Red Stars won both their games this week and grabbed six points to move up to second in the league. Chicago now sits two points ahead of the Portland Thorns and FC Kansas City.

Seattle, however, stayed perfect and moved to 7-0 on the season, fending off Kansas City for their toughest challenge of the season. The Washington Spirit won a close game of their own against a strong Western New York Flash team at home.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s action in the NWSL:

MCDONALD LIFTS THORNS TO 1-0 ROAD WIN IN HOUSTON

Although a little over a month separated the two games, the result proved the same in the rematch on Wednesday night between the Houston Dash and the Portland Thorns. The Thorns did just enough to pick up a crucial three points in 1-0 win on the road in Houston.

Jessica McDonald scored the lone goal of the match and her fourth of the season in the 57th minute off of an assist by Angie Kerr. McDonald nearly tacked on a second goal in the waning minutes of the match, if not for a spectacular save by Dash keeper Erin McLeod.

The Dash had their best opportunity early in the second half when the team earned a penalty kick off of a Nikki Marshall handball. Kaylyn Kyle however failed to convert the shot as Nadine Angerer made a diving save to prevent what would have been the first home goal for the Dash.

Check out the match highlights:

REIGN EDGE KANSAS CITY IN TIGHT 3-2 CHALLENGE TO STAY PERFECT

With a perfect record on the line on Wednesday night, Seattle withheld a late comeback from FC Kansas City to hold on for a 3-2 win.

Seattle jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over FCKC with a Kendall Fletcher goal in the 16th minute followed by a successful penalty kick taken by Kim Little only three minutes later. Little earned the penalty opportunity after forward Sydney Leroux’s shot on goal drew a Kansas City handball. It was the sixth goal of the season for Little.

Lauren Holiday however gave Kansas City a goal off of their own penalty kick just before the end of the first half. Erika Tymrak then tied the game for FCKC in the 61st minute with a shot from long range, only minutes after checking into the game. It was the second goal of the season for the 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year.

Seattle however reclaimed the lead for good off of a Keelin Winters header in the 76th minute, bringing the Reign to a league leading 7-0 record.

Check out the match highlights:

RED STARS ROLL OVER FLOUNDERING BREAKERS FOR 3-1 VICTORY

The Chicago Red Stars won their third game of the season and more importantly managed to find some new sources of goals Thursday night against a Boston team that continues to struggle. The Red Stars won the first of two games hosted by Boston this weekend with goals from Lori Chalupny, Michelle Wenino and Jennifer Hoy.

The lone Boston goal came from Courtney Jones in the 19th minute and though they made an offensive push in the final minutes of the game, they were unable to convert against a strong Chicago defense that has yet to allow more than one goal per game.

The only bright spot for the Breakers is that they did see the return of U.S. Women’s National Team player Kristie Mewis. The midfielder was able to contribute 72 minutes in her first game of the season since suffering an ankle injury earlier this spring.

Check out the match highlights:

TAYLOR BRACE CARRIES SPIRIT 3-2 PAST TOUGH FLASH SIDE

In a game that the Washington Spirit desperately needed to win, they were able to hold off the Western New York Flash with a 3-2 victory.

Jodie Taylor started the scoring early for the Spirit in the 11th minute when she chipped a shot over Flash goalie Kelsie Wys. Taylor caught the Flash defense off guard when Lori Lindsey delivered a ball from midfield that sailed over the scrambling backline of the Flash to the feet of Taylor, who was able to convert the goal.

Veteran forward Abby Wambach answered for the Flash just a few minutes later in the 17th minute when Vicki Losada placed the ball perfectly for Wambach outside the six-yard box. Wambach was then able to head it past Spirit keeper Ashlyn Harris for her third goal of the season.

Carli Lloyd added a goal of her own in the 30th minute after she drove past the Spirit defense and drilled a shot to the left side of the net to give the Flash a 2-1 lead.

The Spirit however answered with two more goals in the second half. During the 70th minute a goal created by Jodie Taylor was eventually tallied as an own goal by Flash player Kat Williamson. Taylor however did officially get her second goal of the game, which also proved to be the game winner in the 78th minute off of an assist from Yael Averbuch.

Check out the match highlights:

DASH DRAW IN BACK-AND-FORTH 2-2 MATCH WITH FC KANSAS CITY

With Kansas City looking to redeem their Wednesday night loss to Seattle, they scored only two minutes into their home match against the Houston Dash Sunday night. But the Dash came fighting back to finish the match in a 2-2 deadlock.

Lauren Holiday opened the game with a quick strike past Houston goalie Erin McLeod off of a give-and-go from Erika Tymrak.

Houston responded with a goal in the 19th minute by midfielder Jordan Jackson who buried a shot in the upper left portion of the net. Dash forward Nina Burger delivered a perfect service to Jackson who picked up her first goal of the season.

Tymrak gave FCKC the lead again in the 36th minute, but the Dash leveled the game in the second half with a goal from Tiffany McCarty in the 78th minute.

FCKC was certainly looking for more than one point in the last two games as they sit a full ten points behind first place Seattle.

Highlights are not available for this match.

RED STARS BURY BOTTOM-DWELLING BREAKERS WITH 4-1 WIN

It was the Boston Breakers’ chance to redeem themselves after losing to the Chicago Red Stars just says earlier, but instead the Red Stars posted an even more decisive result, winning 4-1.

Michelle Wenino added her second goal in as many games when she scored off of a Jennifer Hoy corner kick. It was a failed clearance from the Boston defense that led to the goal and Wenino took full advantage.

A penalty kick awarded to the Breakers off of a handball allowed Heather O’Reilly to even the game in the 35th minute. It was the second goal of the season for O’Reilly.

Hoy gave Chicago the 2-1 lead early in the second half when she drove past the defense and looped one past Boston keeper Alyssa Naeher. Lori Chalupny then added another goal for the Red Stars in the 57th minute and Zakiya Bywaters added to Boston’s misery with her first goal of the season in the 85th minute.

The loss leaves Boston in the bottom of the standings, though they will have the advantage of hosting their next three games at home.

Check out the match highlights:

SBI WEEK 6 AWARDS:

Player of the Week: Jodie Taylor is credited with two goals for the Washington Spirit, but had a hand in the third as well, and served as the driving force behind a big win for the Spirit this weekend.

Team of the Week:  The Chicago Red Stars took advantage of a hapless Boston team and earned six points in four days to help push them into undisputed second place behind the Seattle Reign.

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2 Responses to NWSL Week 6: A Look Back

  1. Alex says:

    Seriously though.. can Boston get any worse? Teams are only going to get tougher once their Euro players come in

    Chicago was gifted six points in 1 week. Not ready to declare CRS are the 2nd best team in the league right now

  2. Hobo says:

    thanks SBI for the coverage, keep it up