The second week of the NWSL 2015 season brought with it more quality goals, drama, and lopsided scorelines.
The two teams that played in the NWSL Championship last season both lost and we saw our first tie of the season.
Boston Breakers, who lost their opening game on the road to Portland last week, sat out this week on a bye.
Defending NWSL Champions Lose Second In A Row
The Washington Spirit came from behind to secure their first win of 2015, defeating FC Kansas City in their home opener.
Heather O’Reilly put Kansas City on the board early, as she played a one-two with Lauren Holiday and lifted the ball over Spirit netminder Ashlynn Harris.
The goal was O’Reilly’s first for the defending champions since her move from Boston in the offseason, but it was short-lived.
Three minutes later, Christine Nairn took a touch 35 yards from goal and unleashed a rocket past Nicole Barnhart, who clearly wasn’t expecting an attempt from that far out.
The teams entered the break dead-locked, but 2014 #1 overall draft pick Crystal Dunn scored 43 seconds into the second half to give Washington a lead they would not relinquish.
After dispossessing a Kansas City midfielder, Dunn drove towards goal before laying it off for new forward Laura Del Rio. The former Spain international then put a shot across goal, but Dunn was on hand to bury it over the line.
Nairn put her name on the score sheet for the second time after she whipped a free kick on the edge of the box in the top corner of the goal, giving Barnhart no chance to claw it away.
The loss leaves FC Kansas City without a point from their first two games of the season. Not really what is expected from a team that won last season’s Championship game and, if anything, improved their squad in the offseason.
Portland Shutout The Flash In Front Of 13,148 Fans
The Portland Thorns made it two wins out of two as they beat the Western New York Flash 1-0 in front of a, yet another, boisterous home crowd.
The win comes after beating Boston in last week’s home opener by four goals to one.
Allie Long scored her third goal of the season in the 22nd minute to put the Thorns on the board.
Sabrina D’Angelo, making her second appearance in goal for the Flash, rushed off her line to claim a long ball from Sinead Farrelly, but Long was one step ahead as she headed the ball into the side netting with her back to goal.
The win extends Portland’s home-unbeaten streak to seven, dating back to last season.
Sky Blue FC And Houston Play To First Draw of 2015
The Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC were coming off wins in week one and had to settle for a point a-piece in a clash in New Jersey.
Katy Freels put the home side in front after a great run down the left side by U.S. international Kelley O’Hara.
The defender sprinted to the bye-line before cutting the ball back to Freels, who finished with authority, rifling the ball past Canadian international goalkeeper Erin McLeod at her near post.
Jessica McDonald, who was top scorer in Portland last season, scored her first goal for the Dash after Sky blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron was caught in two minds.
A through ball from Ashley Nick found Morgan Brian on the right, who lofted a cross over Cameron and onto the thigh of McDonald on the goal line.
Whether or not Cameron was expecting a shot from Brian, she will look back at the goal with anger, knowing she should have claimed the cross and helped Sky Blue achieve their seventh win in succession.
Instead, Sky Blue settled for the point with a Houston side that seems determined to make the playoffs after finishing in last place a year ago.
Press Scores In Stoppage Time To Lift Chicago Past Seattle
The Chicago Red Stars, who served their first bye week last week, beat Seattle 3-2 at home to win their home opener.
The sides exchanged four goals in the space of seven first-half minutes, which would last until the first minute of stoppage time.
Beverly Yanez scored her second goal of the season when she headed in a corner from Megan Rapinoe at the back post to put Seattle up 1-0 in the 32nd minute.
Less than a minute later, Christen Press equalized with a daisy cutter, leaving Hope Solo with no chance of getting to the shot.
Press then turned provider as she played in a low cross that was turned in by Jen Hoy at the near post to give Chicago their first lead of the game.
The lead would only last four minutes as Seattle defender Kendall Fletcher headed in a bouncing ball after a defensive mix-up between goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and Julie Johnston.
Seattle, who finished the regular season with the best record last year, tried to keep Chicago at bay in the second half, with the Red Stars getting half of their 8 second half shots on goal.
It seemed the job was done as the fourth official held up the board for two minutes of stoppage-time, but a clearance from Lori Chalupny found its way into the path of Press, who bolted past Seattle defender Lauren Barnes and put a ball past Hope for the second time in the game.
The loss will be a tough one to swallow for Seattle coach Laura Harvey, especially after last week’s 5-1 demolition job of the Flash.
Top Three Goals of Week Two
Every week, GotSoccer will give you the top three goals of the week. We will factor in skill, difficulty, and importance to determine the top three finishes of the week.
#3: Christen Press (Chicago) vs. Seattle Reign 4/18/2015
When others would’ve watched the clearance and waited for a final whistle, Christen Press, who was included in the U.S. World Cup roster, sprinted after the ball, past a helpless, tired defender, and finished wonderfully past the best goalkeeper in the world.
#2: Christine Nairn (Washington) vs. FC Kansas City 4/18/2015
They always say you’re at your most vulnerable after scoring a goal. This proved true as Nairn scored a goal three minutes after Kansas City opened the scoring. But to take a shot from 35 yards, it has to be absolutely perfect to find the back of the net. It was.
#1: Christine Nairn (Washington) vs. FC Kansas City 4/18/2015
You know it’s a great game when your team wins and both of your goals are worthy candidates for goal of the week. Nairn’s second goal of the game gave Washington a two-goal lead and was unstoppable. Sit back and enjoy.