NWSL Week 20- Recap and Goals of the Week
NWSL Week 20- Recap and Goals of the Week avatar

Four matches were played across the country Wednesday night as we near the end of the regular season.

With Wednesday’s results taken into account, Seattle becomes the first team to clinch a playoff spot while the Boston Breakers become the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention.

Teams have 3-4 games left in the 2015 regular season and with 3 out of 4 playoff spots yet to be locked up, every game is vital.

Chicago And Sky Blue Draw In Windy City

Sky Blue FC continued their late push for a playoff spot with a 1-1 draw with second-place Chicago Red Stars.

Chicago came storming out of the gates, hitting the crossbar and narrowly missing a few chances to take the lead. But they deservedly went ahead after 15 minutes through Adriana Leon.

Gilliland opened the scoring for The Red Stars. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Gilliland opened the scoring for The Red Stars. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The Canadian international arrived at the back post to finish off a low cross from Arin Gilliland. Gilliland wasn’t pressured when she received the ball in the box from Julie Johnston and was free to put a ball across the face of goal to the unmarked Leon at the back post.

But Sky Blue equalized through a brilliant solo goal from Samantha Kerr. The forward stripped Johnston of the ball 45 yards from goal and fought off another defender on her way to goal before unleashing a shot between two Chicago defenders that found the bottom corner, giving Michelle Dalton no chance to make the save.

The 1-1 scoreline was carried into the break and Sky Blue nearly took the lead in the 49th minute as Haley Haagsma flicked a header to the back post, but it was cleared off the line by Leon.

The visitors continued to press in the latter stages, Dalton making some huge saves to keep them at bay. Sky blue had the ball in the back of the net but it was called back since Jonelle Filigno used her hand to redirect Kelley O’Hara’s cross past Dalton.

But the scoreline held to the final whistle and Sky blue held on for the first point against Chicago after losing the two previous matchups this season

Sky Blue remains second-bottom, 7 points behind 4th place, while Chicago sit comfortably in second place.

Last-minute Flash Strike Earns Draw In Washington

Lynn Williams struck in stoppage-time to cancel out Diana Matheson’s opener in a 1-1 draw between the Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash.

Crystal Dunn has been outstanding for Washington. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Crystal Dunn has been outstanding for Washington. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Crystal Dunn was, once again, the catalyst for the Washington Spirit. She was involved in all the early chances for the hosts and it was her shot that was spilled by Flash goalkeeper Chantel Jones that allowed Matheson to tap in the rebound.

Jones was nearly caught out shortly after the opening goal, but Christine Nairn’s shot from 35 yards bounced off the crossbar and out.

The Flash came close to equalizing just prior to halftime, but Nairn intervened and cleared a header from Michelle Heyman off the line.

Jones came up big after the break, making five saves to keep the visitors in the game. Her best of the night was against Dunn, the midfielder creating space for herself 12 yards out and shooting towards the top corner, but Jones threw herself at the ball and managed to turn it over the bar.

Francisca Ordega did well to separate herself from her marker on a corner kick and headed the ball, but Jones did well to tip the ball wide.

The Flash finally came back into the game, Jaelene Hinkle hitting a rocket from the edge of the box that had Ashlyn Harris beat, but it clattered against the crossbar.

The Flash were not to be denied though as Williams stepped up to put away the rebound after her initial effort was saved by Ashlynn Harris

The point gained is valuable to the Flash, but not as much as taking two points away from Washington as we near the end of the season.

The Spirit occupy the fourth and last playoff spot on 25 points, while Western New York are in 7th place on 19 points. The point gained for Washington officially eliminates the Boston Breakers from the playoff race.

Portland Outclassed In Kansas City

After scoring nine goals in their last three games, Portland were held scoreless as FC Kansas City won 3-0 behind goals from Mandy Laddish, Amy Rodriguez, and Erika Tymrak.

All the action was in the second half, with Kansas City notching two goals in in quick succession. The first came from Mandy Laddish, who finished off after a pass from Leigh Ann Robinson.

The second goal came three minutes later through American international Amy Rodriguez, who tapped in at the back post from Heather O’Reilly’s cross.

 Erika Tymrak in action against Boston. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Erika Tymrak (R ) in action against Boston. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

The third goal was sweet passing move from right-to-left, O’Reilly swinging a cross in that was flicked off the head of Laddish. The ball fell to Erika Tymrak, who fired low across gal for her third goal of the year.

Portland were outclassed for the bulk of the game, only taking five shots, none of them on target

FC Kansas City leapfrog Washington into third place, while the Portland Thorns are in fifth place, three points behind Washington.

Seattle Come From Behind To Defeat Houston

The Houston Dash continued to fall down the table following their latest loss in Seattle versus the Reign.

Seattle had some wonderful opportunities to go ahead, most notably from Kim Little, but Canadian international goalkeeper Erin McLeod kept them off the board.

Houston's Kealia Ohai got the game opener. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Houston’s Kealia Ohai got the game opener. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Houston managed to take the lead in the 15th minute through Kealia Ohai’s finish past Hope Solo.

Andressa Machry played a cross in that was headed clear by Lauren Barnes, but the clearance fell to Ohai. The forward took a touch and fired a low shot across goal that somehow evaded Solo, who was making her first NWSL appearance since April.

Their lead only lasted seven minutes though as McLeod’s error in judgment opened the door for Merritt Mathias to equalize. A great through ball from Megan Rapinoe put Matthias free on the left, but McLeod came sprinting off her line to thwart the chance. Instead, Matthias managed to get past McLeod and finished her angled shot, despite a desperate attempt to block the shot by a Houston defender.

Seattle defender Rachel Corsie gave the Reign the lead in the 59th minute with a great back post header from Stephanie Cox.

Houston struggled to create any noteworthy chances to level the game, but they only managed one shot on goal in the second half to make it an easy afternoon for Hope Solo.

The win means Seattle become the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs and with a five point lead over second-placed Chicago, the Reign look odds-on t win the Supporter’s Shield for the second-straight year.

Team

Games Played

Wins

Losses

Draws

GD

Points

Seattle

16

10

3

3

14

33

Chicago

16

7

2

7

8

28

Kansas City

17

7

6

4

8

25

Washington

16

7

5

4

3

25

Portland

17

6

7

4

0

22

Houston

17

5

7

5

-3

20

Western New York

17

5

8

4

-9

19

Sky Blue

17

4

7

6

-6

18

Boston

17

4

10

3

-15

15

 

Goals of the Week: Week 20

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: Rachel Corsie (Seattle Reign) vs. Houston Dash 8/12/2015

With a half hour left to play, Seattle were tied with Houston knowing a win would clinch a spot in the playoffs with four games to spare. Rachel Corsie scored her second goal of the season to give the Reign the lead with a great lofted head at the back post.

#2: Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City) vs. Portland Thorns 8/12/2015

With Kansas City already up by two goals, Tymrak kept her composure to tack another goal onto their lead. Mandy Laddish, who already had a goal for herself, did well to flick on O’Reilly’s cross, but Tymrak’s first touch and finish across goal were top-class.

#1: Samantha Kerr (Sky Blue FC) vs. Chicago Red Stars 8/12/2015

There was never any doubt who’d top our list this week. After stripping Julie Johnston of the ball in midfield, Kerr powered her way towards goal. She ignored Danielle Colaprico’s attempt to retrieve the ball and opened up a shooting lane between two Chicago defenders. Her low, hard finish to the bottom corner of the goal gave Michelle Dalton no chance. It’ll be hard to top this goal come the end of the season.

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