NWSL Week 18: A Look Back

SeattleReignFCvSpirit (Jane G. Photography)Photo by Jane G. Photography/Seattle Reign FC

By SARAH HALLETT

The past week of the National Women’s Soccer League could have decided the final two playoff positions. Instead, new hope has been infused into a few teams as both the Washington Spirit and the Portland Thorns FC failed to clinch the last two spots.

The Spirit needed a win in their lone match of the week against the Seattle Reign FC. They were minutes away from securing one, but a late goal by Kim Little has now pushed Washington’s playoff dreams into next week.

The Chicago Red Stars won a crucial match on Saturday against FC Kansas City to keep their playoff hopes alive. The team currently sits in fifth place, just two points behind the fourth placed Portland Thorns FC.

The Thorns FC lost a pivotal game of their own on Sunday night against the Boston Breakers. The loss has kept the Western New York Flash and Sky Blue FC in the playoff hunt for one of the final postseason spots.

Here is a closer look at the week’s results:

FCKC EARN QUICK WIN OVER BREAKERS AS STORM ENDS GAME EARLY

FC Kansas City defeated the Boston Breakers 2-1 on Wednesday night. The two teams were only able to complete the first half before the match was suspended due to bad weather. The win is considered official and with that victory the Blues secured home field advantage in the semifinals.

Amy Rodriguez added her thirteenth goal of the season in the 8th minute of the game. Rodriguez capitalized on a breakaway that caught the Breakers defense off guard and allowed Rodriguez a one-on-one challenge with Boston keeper Alyssa Naeher. Rodriguez also assisted the winning goal of the match when fellow forward Sarah Hagen scored in the 26th minute.

Heather O’Reilly converted a penalty kick for Boston in the 16th minute, her eighth goal on the year.

Check out the match highlights:

NAHO GUIDES REIGN TO EASY WIN OVER DASH

Naho Kawasumi has been one of the top international additions to the NWSL this year and one of the reasons that the Seattle Reign FC have the best record in the league. Kawasumi had a brace and an assist as she led Seattle to a 4-1 win over the Houston Dash. Kawasumi scored twice in the first half with goals only two minutes apart and then assisted Beverly Goebel on her fifth goal of the season.

Kim Little scored unassisted in the 63rd minute for Seattle for her fifteenth goal of the season. Nina Burger prevented the shutout for Houston with her goal in the 83rd minute. It was also a night of backup goalkeepers for both teams with Haley Kopmeyer earning the win for Seattle and Bianca Henninger in the losing effort for Houston.

Check out the match highlights:

RED STARS STAY IN PLAYOFF HUNT WITH WIN OVER FCKC

The Chicago Red Stars needed a win on Saturday to stay alive in the playoff picture. Chicago did just that thanks to a 2-1 win over FC Kansas City. Melissa Tancredi started the scoring early for the Red Stars with a goal in the 9th minute and Christen Press added the winning goal late in the first half.

The Blues rested several key players with their playoff spot already locked up. Forward Morgan Marlborough earned some extra minutes in the game and scored only her second goal of the year in the 43rd minute.

No match highlights available.

NADIM HAT TRICK KEEPS SBFC PLAYOFF DREAMS ALIVE

Sky Blue FC entered Saturday’s game with a slim chance at making the playoffs. However, thanks to a Nadia Nadim hat trick, Sky Blue FC has kept those hopes alive. The 3-1 win mathematically has kept the New Jersey club in the postseason picture, though the odds are still stacked against them.

Nadim netted goals in the 39th and 74th minutes before adding her third score of the night in stoppage time. For the second game this week Nina Burger had a late goal for Houston, her third of the season. The loss drops the expansion team to 5-14-3 and hovering above the last place Boston Breakers by only a point.

No match highlights available.

SPIRIT FAIL TO CLINCH PLAYOFFS AFTER DRAW WITH REIGN

The Washington Spirit gave up a late goal to Kim Little and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Reign FC on Saturday night. A win would have sealed a playoff spot for the Spirit, who now have one game left on their schedule to claim one of the final two playoff spots.

It was the sixteenth goal for Little this season, who leads the league in goals and will most likely be the leagues most valuable player. Diana Matheson scored the lone goal for the Spirit in the 29th minute.

Check out the match highlights:

THORNS BESTED BY BREAKERS, OPEN PLAYOFF DOOR

The Portland Thorns FC had an opportunity against the worst team in the league to obtain one of the final two playoffs spots. Boston Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had one of her best games on the year with twelve saves and earned her second shutout of the season with the 2-0 win.

Goals by Rachel Wood and Heather O’Reilly gave the Breakers their fifth win of the season. It was the first goal of the season for Wood and the ninth for O’Reilly.

The Thorns FC had a club record of fifteen shots on goal, with eleven of them going to Christine Sinclair.

No match highlights available.

SBI WEEK 18 AWARDS

SBI Player of the Week: Alyssa Naeher. The goalkeeper for the Boston Breakers has been one of the few bright spots for a team that has struggled mightily this year. Naeher single handedly shutout the Portland Thorns FC in a game with huge playoff implications.

SBI Team of the Week: Chicago Red Stars. Although they faced a FC Kansas City team at only half strength, a win is a win and the Red Stars needed one to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

 

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2 Responses to NWSL Week 18: A Look Back

  1. Ivan says:

    What happended w/ the NASL and USL reviews?

  2. Christian Coleman says:

    hello