The National Women’s Soccer League celebrated the July 4th weekend with a four-game schedule that got underway Friday night in Rochester with a comprehensive 2-0 victory for the home Western New York Flash over the Chicago Red Stars.
So, let’s get to the NWSL Roundup. (Home teams listed first)
Western New York Flash 2-0 vs. Chicago Red Stars
It didn’t take long for new Flash signing Lianne Sanderson to make herself at home with the high scoring Flash, no the former Orlando Pride star scored just 38 minutes into her Western New York debut, and it proved to be the game-winner for the second place Flash.
The Flash acquired the 28-year-old English woman for an international player spot (the Pride has through 2018 to use the slot) and the 2015 World Cup veteran looks a good fit.
An adept playmaker who scored two goals in eight games for Orlando, Sanderson joins the league’s highest scoring team and showed immediate signs of gelling with the league’s top two goalscorers, Lynn Williams, 6 goals, (who scored WNY’s second goal on Friday), and Jessica McDonald, who has notched five goals.
Portland Thorns 2-1 vs. Sky Blue FC
In front of 14,287 fans at Providence Park, the Portland Thorns extended its unbeaten run to all 12 games so far in the 2016 NWSL season, defeating Sky Blue FC Saturday night.
The Thorns spotted the visitors the lead on a 30th minute Tasha Kai tally before answering back with a brace to take its record to seven wins, five ties, and zero losses, good for first place in the fourth year professional league.
Sky Blue could hold its lead for just eight minutes before Dagny Brynjarsdottir headed home from a perfectly placed Nadia Nadim corner kick.
Portland maintained that slim advantage into the break but managed to double just past the hour mark when Nadim converted from the spot after Hayley Raso secured the penalty kick.
With 12 of their 18 regular season matches already in the books and nothing in the L column is it officially time to begin the Unbeatables watch in Portland?
Washington Spirit 2-0 vs Kansas City FC
The good times continued at the Maryland Soccerplex for the Washington Spirit who defeated Kansas City FC 2-0 on Saturday while running its home record to 5-1-1.
KC has suffered all season since losing a number of key players in the offseason, led by U.S. international Lauren Holiday, and the club has been further hampered by the loss of U.S. WNT-ers Becky Sauerbrunn and Heather O’Reilly.
All the league’s clubs are affected of course by the upcoming Olympics but FCKC’s poor start only heightens the situation.
The Spirit needed two late goals to claim the points and Joanna Lohman was involved in both. The Spirit scores came off deflections from shots by the Spirit midfielder.
Substitute Francisca Ortega drilled a low blast through the KC defense in the 79th minute before Tori Huster beat Nicole Barnhart with a beautifully struck volley to seal the deal.
Seattle Reign 2-0 vs. Boston Breakers
With two goals on Saturday Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi was the star on her return to Seattle, leading the Reign past the Boston Breakers in her first match for the club since 2014.
Naho chipped in with a goal in each half and Seattle’s defense held firm to post a remarkable fifth consecutive clean sheet and the Reign will get a further boost next week with the addition of Japanese international Rumi Utsugi.
With a record of 1 win, 9 losses and, 1 draw the Breakers lost season continues. Boston hopes to get a boost from the signing of 21-year French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni.
Karchouni played most recently for Paris St. Germain in France’s top-flight Feminine Division 1. The Lyon, France native made 14 appearances this season at PSG.