NWSL Week 22- Recap and Goals of the Week
NWSL Week 22- Recap and Goals of the Week avatar

Only one round of games remain after a full round of fixtures were played over the weekend.

With all four of the playoff teams already determined, the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars played their game knowing that wins would put give them an advantage over FC Kansas City, who were serving a bye week.

Chicago End Winless Run With Victory Over Flash

Christen Press and Jen Hoy scored a goal each to lift the Red Stars over the Western New York Flash to end a winless run of six games.

After these teams played to a 0-0 draw last Sunday, they traveled to Rochester to face each other in front of 3,525 fans.

Christen Press was once again on fire for Chicago.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Christen Press was once again on fire for Chicago.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Press was on fire from the start with her attempted chip of the goalkeeper sailed just over the crossbar in the sixth minute.

The visitors were evenly matched though with Kristen Edmonds firing a beautiful long-range shot on goal only for Red Star goalkeeper Michele Dalton to tip the ball around the post.

Press managed to find the back of the net five minutes before the break after a fantastic solo effort went in off the post. The U.S. international stormed down the middle of the field, beating two players in the process before cutting back on another defender on the edge of the area. After looking up, Press curled a beautiful shot in off the far post, giving Chantel Jones no chance in goal.

And Press set up Jen Hoy just after the hour mark to add insurance to Chicago’s lead. The forward cut inside with the ball from 25 yards out, taking a few markers with her. This freed up space for Hoy to make a run behind the defensive line and she was found by a brilliant through ball from Press. Despite the tricky angle and Jones rushing off her line, Hoy managed to squeeze the ball past the goalkeeper to the near post.

Edmonds had another great long-distance shot on goal before the game was over, but Dalton managed to tip the effort over the bar to keep her fifth shutout of the season.

The win lifts Chicago to second place, knowing that if they can hold on to that position against Houston next week, they will host the fourth-placed team in the semifinals on September 13th.

Last-Minute Goal Earns Seattle Draw With Sky Blue

After clinching first place with a victory over Boston midweek, Jessica Fishlock scored a stoppage time equalizer to cancel out Nadia Nadim’s opener versus Sky Blue FC.

Fishlock got the equaliser for Seattle and kept their record alive. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Fishlock got the equaliser for Seattle and kept their record alive. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Seattle came seconds away from facing their first home defeat since the 2013 season but Fishlock’s header from Kim Little’s cross denied Sky Blue victory.

Sky Blue took an early lead through Nadia Nadim’s well-placed free kick six minutes in. Katy Freels went down easily under a challenge from Fishlock 25 yards from goal. Despite the free kick being a tight angle, Nadim hit a powerful shot across goal that Hope Solo couldn’t keep out.

The visitors went carried the 1-0 lead into the break, but it was Seattle who went on to dominate the second half, attempting 12 shots.

Their first quality opportunity of the game came in the 58th minute through a dangerous free kick from Kim Little. The 2014 MVP bent in a set-piece from the left towards the near post and a combination of Fishlock and a Sky Blue defender diverted the ball on goal, but Brittany Cameron fell to her right to push the ball wide.

Fishlock and Little combined again in the 70th minute with the former racing onto a through ball from Little, but Cameron was quick to cut the angle and smother the chance.

The Reign’s dominance finally paid off in stoppage time as Fishlock lost her marker to power a header from Little’s free kick past Cameron to get Seattle a deserved point.

Seattle reached the 40-point plateau with the result while Sky Blue move to 7th place, thanks to a late season surge that has seen them lose only once in their last eight games.

Houston Defeat Boston For Sixth Victory

In their last game of the season, the Boston Breakers travelled to Houston only to lose to the Dash 1-0 in front of 6,842 fans.

Both teams attempted plenty of shot throughout the game but only a few managed to trouble either keeper.

Ella Masar and Cat Whitehill wrestle for the ball. (ISI Photos)

Ella Masar (L) got the lone goal for Houston.  (ISI Photos)

Houston’s goal in the 34th minute when Ella Masar beat her marker to clip Jessica McDonald’s cross over Alyssa Naeher into the back of the net. The fullback was played in the forward position on the night in the hope that her speed would help put the Dash ahead.

McDonald came inches away from doubling their lead in first half stoppage time, but her powerful header from Andressa’s corner kick cannoned off the post to the relief of the Breakers.

Houston continued to dominate the second half, much to the thanks of Carli Lloyd. The midfielder had nine shots in the game, more than double any other player in the game.

In the 59th minute she curled a shot from outside the box that seemed destined for the top corner, but it bent just wide of the upper-90. Lloyd managed to find the back of the net ten minutes from time, but he was adjudged to have been offside when Camila took a shot that came off the post. The U.S. international tapped in the rebound only to see the linesman’s flag was raised.

Lloyd’s last effort of the game, which ended up being her only shot on target, came when she robbed a defender of the ball and tried to dribble around Naeher and shoot, but the Boston goalkeeper managed to block the effort to keep it a one-goal game.

Boston struggled to create any threatening chances offensively and had to settle for their 13th loss in a disappointing campaign. The three points lifts Houston to 5th place, but without a chance to make the playoffs, their season is already wrapped up.

Portland and Washington Battle To 3-3 Draw

Providence Park, host of the 2015 NWSL Championship Game, was sold out to see the Thorns play their last home game versus the Spirit on Sunday night.

The 21,144 fans were treated a thrilling 3-3 draw, which saw the Spirit squander a two-goal lead, only for Crystal Dunn to score an 81st minute goal to level the scores.

The Washington Spirit went ahead in the 6th minute thanks to combination play of Dunn and Francisca Ordega. Dunn used her speed to glide through the midfield and play Ordega through on goal. After some hesitancy to take the angled shot, she put the ball right between Nadine Angerer’s legs to put the visitors ahead.

It looked like the scoreline would be carried into the break, but Dunn popped up to score her 14th goal of the season in stoppage time to make it 2-0. Christine Nairn put in an inswinging corner that Dunn managed to get a head on, giving Angerer no chance.

Morgan scored her first goal of the 2015 campaign. (ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

Morgan scored her first goal of the 2015 campaign. (ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

Despite the two-goal deficit, Portland came out the break on the front foot. They halved the deficit in the 53rd minute thanks to Alex Morgan’s lobbed finish over Ashlyn Harris. The goal is Morgan’s first goal of the 2015 season, with the World Cup and injury making it a stuttering campaign for the American international.

Fellow international Tobin Heath earned and dispatched a penalty kick in the 70th minute to level the game at 2-2 after begin taken down by Estelle Johnson as Heath raced towards the end line. She sent Harris the wrong way to send the crowd into a frenzy.

They went delirious ten minutes later when a cross to the back post was headed across goal by Morgan to Jodie Taylor, who tapped into the empty net to give Portland their first lead of the night.

But Dunn silenced the crowd from the ensuing kickoff as the ball found Nairn inside the box. Her blocked shot fell to the feet of Dunn, who cut inside and finished with composure past Angerer to make it 3-3. The scoreline would hold until the final whistle, bringing one of the most entertaining games of the season to a close.

The point gives Washington a one point advantage over fourth-placed Kansas City heading into the final round of fixtures, while Portland sit in sixth place.

Team

Games Played

Wins

Losses

Draws

GD

Points

Seattle

19

12

3

4

19

40

Chicago

19

8

3

8

9

32

Washington

19

8

5

6

4

30

Kansas City

19

8

6

5

11

29

Houston

19

6

8

5

-5

23

Portland

19

6

8

5

-1

23

Sky Blue

19

5

7

7

-5

22

Western New York

19

5

9

5

-11

20

Boston

20

4

13

3

-21

15

 

Goals of the Week: Week 21

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: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit) vs. Portland Thorns 8/30/2015

It was vital that the Spirit get at least a point to gain the upper hand on Kansas City and avoid Seattle in the semifinals. It was going well at halftime with Dunn getting a goal and an assist in a 2-0 game. But after falling behind 3-2 in the second half, Dunn managed to score her 15th goal of the season in great fashion, gathering the ball inside the box, quickly cutting to her right and shooting low past the goalkeeper.

#2: Nadia Nadim (Sky Blue FC) vs. Seattle Reign 8/29/2015

Sky Blue has been one of the best teams in the second half of the season, but it was still surprising to see them lead in Seattle. It was all thanks to Nadia Nadim’s free kick which was rocketed from 25 yards out across goal beyond Hope Solo in goal. It was fantastic early effort that could’ve been the winning goal if not for Seattle’s late equalizer.

#1: Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars) vs. Western New York Flash 8/29/2015

Another great solo effort in the NWSL earns GotSoccer’s vote as goal of the week as Christen Press put the Red Stars ahead with this beautiful run and finish from outside the box. She ran fairly unopposed for the most part, sprinting past a couple of stagnant defenders before cutting back on the edge of the area. She curled the ball in off the far post, giving the goalkeeper no chance at all.

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