Before we get to all of the on-field action from week four of this NWSL season let’s take a look at the new international women’s tournament coming to the U.S. this summer.
The Tournament of Nations featuring the United States, Japan, Australia, and Brazil is coming to the west coast this summer. Like the SheBelieves Cup, the tournament will be played out in three doubleheaders across three cities. The event will be run on the same system as the SheBelieves with each team playing the other three and the champion decided by total points.
Unlike the SheBelieves Tournament which was held in early March, before the NWSL season, this event comes smack dab in the middle of the 2017 season, even if the schedules don’t exactly overlap.
The league has a full schedule on July 22, five days before the tourney kicks off and resumes on August 4th, the day after the conclusion of the Tournament.
It seems very likely then that clubs will be without their international stars for the games on the August 4 and 5, and possibly for the July 27th matches, depending on the national team’s training schedules.
Another international story with bearing on the league involves Allie Long and tampering and twitter.
U.S. Soccer has filed tampering charges after Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas sent this message to the Portland Thorns midfield star:
This was not the first time the French club has used this gambit, recall that Lyon successfully wooed Alex Morgan away (temporarily) from Orlando and apparently U.S. Soccer felt it was time to nip this practice in the bud, hence the tampering charges.
But let’s turn back to the action on the field. Home teams listed first.
Chicago Red Stars (2-2) 2-0 vs. Houston Dash (2-2)
Sweet revenge for the Red Stars as they reversed the result from the team’s opening day encounter in Houston. Julie Ertz, formerly Johnston, followed an own goal with her second tally of the season to secure the win as the U.S. WNT defender continues to impress in a midfield role.
Houston won’t be happy with the result but will be glad that Ertz’ fellow national teamer Morgan Brian clocked 18 minutes off of the bench after missing time with a right MCL sprain.
Washington Spirit (1-2-1) 4-3 vs. Sky Blue FC (1-2-1)
After a difficult offseason begat a difficult start to the 2017 campaign the Washington Spirit finally picked up its first win of the season in a 4-3 thriller that went right down to the wire.
Washington’s Nigerian forward Francisca Ordega was the woman of the hour, well the 90 minutes, scoring two goals, assisting on another, and forcing the remaining goal when her shot resulted in an own goal.
It was quite a game for the Spirit who had scored just one goal coming into the match and Ordega wasn’t the only Spirit star to shine.
Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe came up with a huge stop in the fourth minute of added time to stop Kelley O’Hara’s free kick, denying the U.S. international a chance to add to her goal and assist and more importantly saving Washington’s first win of 2017.
Portland Thorns ( 2-1-1)2-2 vs. Seattle Reign (1-1-2)
Seattle star Jessica Fishlock got this Cascadia derby off to a thrilling start when she beat Adrianna Franch from 25 yards to spring the Reign out to a first-minute lead.
Fishlock seemed to catch Franch off guard with that early strike but unfortunately for Seattle Franch would not be the last keeper fooled by the midfielder on this day. 36 minutes after her opener Fishlock put one past Reign netminder Haley Kopmeyer when she slid in to attempt a defensive clearance only to see her shot beat her own keeper for a game-tying own goal.
Seattle would regain the lead just two minutes later through Merritt Mathias but Lyon target Allie Long scored an 82nd-minute equalizer to send the local rivals home with a point apiece.
Boston Breakers (2-2) 0-1 vs. North Carolina Courage (4-0)
Seeking to match its 2016 win total in just the fourth week of the 2017 season Boston welcomed undefeated North Carolina to town only to fall to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a league record 33rd goal scored by Jessica McDonald.
McDonald’s 32nd minute strike put the Courage striker on top of the all-time goals list for the fifth year league and Sabrina D’Angelo and her league-best defense did the rest, racking up its third shutout.
FC Kansas City (1-2-1) 1-1 vs Orlando Pride (0-2-2)
In a battle of struggling teams, neither side could separate itself as KC and Orlando finished level on Sunday at Children’s Mercy Field in Kansas City, Missouri.
Orlando looked to be headed for its first win of the season when the immortal Marta scored the first goal of her NWSL career in the 73rd minute. Orlando’s goal came from some nicely worked combination play involving Kristen Edmonds and Jasmyne Spencer.
But the home team had other ideas, equalizing 11 minutes later from a wild goalmouth scramble following a Yael Averbuch free kick. The goal might have been scored by half a dozen players who were hacking at it but the credit went to Erika Tymrak, the first goal FCKC has scored since week one.