It was a day to celebrate Women’s soccer as an NWSL record 22,403 fans came out to support the Orlando Pride (1W-1L-0D) in the club’s first-ever home game. The Pride responded to the celebratory mood with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dash (1-1-0) with goals coming from Lianne Sanderson, and Alex Morgan following an opening own goal to the home team as the Pride built a 3-1 lead.
A late goal from Houston’s Andressa never threatened to spoil the party, no the only bad note on an otherwise splendid day for the women’s game in the U.S. was the sight of Carli Lloyd walking slowly off of the Citrus Bowl pitch after only 12 minutes of action.
With the Olympic Games on the horizon all of the U.S. soccer world held its collective breath, only breathing normally again with Tuesday’s relatively good news that the FIFA Player of the Year had suffered a knee sprain and would be back terrorizing defense in 3-6 weeks, in plenty of time to chase a third consecutive Gold Medal with the U.S. WNT.
With Sunday’s 2-1 away win over Sky Blue FC (1-1-0) the Washington Spirit (2-0-0) remain the lone perfect team in NWSL after just two weeks of play. Goals from a pair of internationals, Ali Krieger (USA) and Diana Matheson (Canada) set the visiting Spirit on the road to victory, spoiling Sky Blues home opener in the process.
Sky Blue fought back with a 66th-minute goal from Maya Hayes but the New Jersey-based side could not find the goal it needed to knock Washington off of its perch. The competitive nature of this game saw Kelly O’Hara enter the referee’s book with a yellow card for a hard tackle on fellow U.S. WNT star Crystal Dunn.
Dunn, the 2015 NWSL MVP and leading goal scorer, has gone two games now without scoring but Washington coach Jim Gabarra is hardly panicking, the multi-talented Dunn has chipped in with two assists so far and can be expected to find the range shortly.
On the strength of a first ever, NWSL goal from local girl made good, Casey Short, the Chicago Red Stars (1-1-0) defeated the Western New York Flash (1-1-0) 1-0 at home Saturday afternoon.
The Red Stars got the game’s only goal on a fine team play with Christen Press, Sofia Huerta, and Vanessa DiBernardo all involved in the build-up to the Naperville, Illinois products tally.
U.S. international attacker Press was lively throughout and looked set to enter her name in the scoresheet on an audacious 35-yard chip only to see WNY keeper Sabrina D’Angelo scramble back and tip her shot away.
The Seattle Reign (1-1-0) were rude guests visiting Massachusetts Sunday and coming away with a 3-0 victory, leaving the Boston Breakers (0-2-0) as the only club to emerge from the first two week’s of NWSL play without a point to its name.
This game was never really in doubt once Manon Melis staked the visitors to a ninth-minute lead, which Seattle doubled via Rachel Corsie in the 39th minute. Both first half Reign goals were orchestrated by Kim Little who earned assists on the brace before capping her day with a nicely taken second half goal.
That second stanza strike from the Scottish international short-circuited a Boston revival that was sparked when influential Seattle midfielder Jessica Fishlock limped off with an ankle injury late in the first half. The Reign will be without the Welsh woman for four to six weeks.
Two-time NWSL defending champions FC Kansas City (0-1-1) hung on against the visiting Portland Thorns (1-0-1) to gain its first point of the season despite playing with 10 players for most of the second half.
The Blues took a 30th minute lead on a diving header by Shea Groom but it would be the same player that put KC at a disadvantage when she was sent to the lockers following a second yellow card early in the final 45.
FCKC faced a challenge in holding off the Thorns with just that one goal lead and sure enough, Lindsey Horan broke the deadlock in the 78th minute. It was the second goal in as many NWSL games for the U.S. WNT star who turned professional right out of high school with French side PSG where she notched 46 goals in 58 games for the Parisians.