NWSL Roundup
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There was another full slate of games this weekend in the National Women’s Soccer League with the action kicking off with a Friday night twin bill, so that’s where we start this edition of the NWSL Roundup.

As always, home teams listed first.

FC Kansas City 0-0 vs. Chicago Red Stars

When the 2016 season began FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski knew that he would have to find a way to make do without a trio of World Cup winners, Lauren Holliday, retired, and Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux, both pregnant. No surprise, the two defending champions have struggled.

Now, after Friday night’s 0-0 home draw with the Chicago Red Stars, Andonovski, and his club face another challenge, replacing midfielder Jen Buczkowski, who has decided to hang up her boots in the midst of the season.

Jen Buczkowski's retirement was a shock. (ISI Photos/John Rieger)

Jen Buczkowski’s retirement was a shock. (ISI Photos/John Rieger)

And just because the veteran defender is not the household name that the WC3 are, don’t think that Buczkowski won’t be missed. An ever present in the KC lineup since the team came to be along with the league, the Notre Dame alum has started all 76 league games since 2013 and has played in six championship games as a pro, winning five of them. And how is this for reliable, out of the 6,840 minutes she could have possibly played in the NWSL, Buczkowski played 6,745.

So, good luck filling those shoes, coach.

As for the game on Friday the team’s played to a 0-0 draw, prolonging the champions run of games without a win, keeping FCKC mired in ninth place with a 0-3-2 record.

KC did manage to keep Christen Press off of the scoresheet, although the point Chicago earned was enough to keep the Red Stars alone in second place, just a single point ahead Portland and expansion side Orlando.

Sky Blue FC 1-0 vs. Boston Breakers

Boston Breakers players, fans, and management alike must be forgiven if they feel that life is just being a little bit unfair these days. The old blues song says, “If it wasn’t for bad luck- I wouldn’t have no luck at all,” a song that could have served as the soundtrack Friday night in New Jersey, as a Sky Blue FC cross/shot from U.S. international Kelley O’Hara deflected off Boston’s Kasey Kallman, behind goalkeeper Libby Stoudt and into the Breakers net for the game’s lone goal Friday evening in Piscataway.

Kelley O'Hara's deflected shot saw the only goal of the game. (ISI Photos/Robyn McNeil)

Kelley O’Hara’s deflected shot saw the only goal of the game. (ISI Photos/Robyn McNeil)

That one unlucky goal was all stood between Boston and a first point of the 2016 campaign but it was not to be as the Breakers’ “Lost Season” continues. Set pieces can sometimes be a way out of the forest for a struggling team and that looked like being the case for Boston in the 70th minute of Friday’s match, only for Sky Blue defender Erin Simon, who got just enough of a piece of a Kyah Simon shot from a corner kick to allow Sky Blue keeper Caroline Stanley to snuff out the Boston chance.

The Breakers kept the pressure on as the final 20 minutes ticked down, but luck was not on Boston’s side and at 0-5-0 the New Englanders could surely use even a little bit of good fortune.

If Friday’s low scores set the tone, Saturday’s trio of NWSL games did nothing to break the pattern; but in search of goals we go, so let’s begin the Saturday Roundup with the highest scoring contest of the weekend.

Seattle Reign 1-1 vs. Portland Thorns

Unbelievably this goal fest tops the charts!

Portland wrapped up a three-week, four-match road trip with a 1-1 draw at the home of its Cascadia rivals, keeping intact a five-game start without a loss to start the 2016 season.

Not bad return from an extended spell away from the Rose City and one that finds Portland third in NWSL table after five games. The Timbers were first on the board in Seattle on Saturday as Nadia Nadeem looped a header over the advancing Reign keeper Hope Solo for the 46th-minute opener.

Yanez (L) scored the equalizer for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Stephen Brashear)

Yanez (L) scored the equalizer for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Stephen Brashear)

The goal was Nadeem’s first of the year but it stood as the potential game winner for just four minutes, thanks to Seattle midfielder Beverly Yanez. Yanez finished from a well-placed corner kick delivered by Lauren Barnes and the Pacific Northwest rivals were knotted at one apiece with 40 minutes still to play.

Neither side could find a go-ahead goal although Portland’s Allie Long came closest with her header off the upright with Solo out of the play.

Orlando Pride 1-0 vs. Western New York Flash

After playing the role of provider in recent weeks Orlando star Alex Morgan reverted to her more familiar role Saturday scoring the game’s only goal to spark the Pride to victory over the Flash. The shutout was the second on the trot for Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris had her defense and the U.S WNT backup custodian had to be sharp to earn the clean sheet.

Sanderson celebrates Morgan's goal. (ISI Photos/Roy K. Miller)

Sanderson celebrates Morgan’s goal. (ISI Photos/Roy K. Miller)

In a back and forth match Harris denied Jessica McDonald and Taylor Smith in a match that the Flash completed with just 10 players on the field after Abby Erceg was handed a second yellow card in the games 89th minute.

Washington Spirit 1-0 vs. Houston Dash

The Spirit maintained its almost perfect record moving to 4-0-1 on the strength of Saturday’s 1-0 win over the visiting Houston Dash. Despite an array of attacking talent on hand at the Maryland Soccerplex, these two high powered sides managed just a goal between them with Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman doing the honors in the 39th minute when the veteran midfielder got on the end of a pass from Christine Nairn.

Lohman scored the only goal of the game. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Lohman scored the only goal of the game. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

The Dash are still working their way back to full health with All-World superstar Carli Lloyd still out of the lineup. Morgan Brian and Cari Roccaro each earned their first starts of the season, for rookie Roccaro it was the first of her career. U.S. WNT midfielder Brian went 75 minutes while Rocarro clocked the full 90 in the Houston defense.

2015 NWSL MVP and leading goal scorer Crystal Dunn still has not registered her first goal of the season, maybe she’s saving them for Brazil!

Washington Spirit  13 5 4 0 1 7 1 6
Chicago Red Stars  10 5 3 1 1 4 3 1
Portland Thorns FC  9 5 2 0 3 5 3 2
Orlando Pride  9 5 3 2 0 7 4 3
Seattle Reign FC  7 5 2 2 1 6 5 1
Houston Dash  7 5 2 2 1 6 6 0
Sky Blue FC  7 5 2 2 1 5 5 0
Western New York Flash  6 5 2 3 0 3 6 -3
FC Kansas City  2 5 0 3 2 2 5 -3
Boston Breakers  0 5 0 5 0 0 7 -7

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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