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Houston Dash (2-5-0) 0-2 Seattle Reign (3-1-3)

The big story of the week was in Houston, where thankfully we seem to be headed toward a happy ending after Dash striker/fullback Rachel Daly collapsed just as the final whistle blew to end the Seattle Reign’s 2-0 road win over Houston.

NWSL should never have scheduled a game at the time and Daly’s scare should never have happened. (ISI Photos/ Will Thorne)

Daly was taken to the hospital and thankfully released that same night, later tweeting that she was on the mend. Good news to be sure but the league knows that scheduling afternoon games in Houston sun might not be the brightest idea and released this statement.

“The safety of our players is always our top priority and due to the high temperature today in Houston, we implemented water breaks to provide additional opportunities to help the players stay hydrated.” the statement said.

“Prior to the season, we also worked with the Dash on scheduling any nationally televised afternoon games earlier in the year in an attempt to avoid the summer heat that unfortunately we experienced today.

We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future.”

The England international’s collapse and subsequent recovery rightly put all other news surrounding the game in the, em, shade and there were some interesting ones.

Saturday’s victory brought Seattle’s all-time record versus Houston to 9-0-0. The win was the first this year on the road for the Reign. And then there was this…

Waldbrum Hopes Dashed

On the Monday morning following that 2-0 loss to Seattle, Houston announced that coach Randy Waldbrum would be leaving the club. The phrase mutual agreement was used but with the Dash having compiled a three plus year record of 19-39-13 under their now ex-coach while never having qualified for the playoffs, it is worth wondering just how “mutual this decision really was.

Waldrum will leave imminently. (ISI Photos/Trask Smith)

Waldbrum is the only coach the Dash have known and with a pair of NCAA titles on his resume with Notre Dame, Waldbrum seemed well qualified for NWSL success. Still, as if to compound all the losing, Waldbrum picked a fight with superstar Carli Lloyd last year when Lloyd didn’t report back to the Dash quickly enough for the coach’s liking following the Olympics.

Why make this move now? Perhaps the imminent end of Lloyd’s Manchester City adventure and her coming return to Houston had something to do with the timing?

FC Kansas City (3-2-2) 3-2 vs Washington Spirit (1-5-1)

With Mallory Pugh receiving the first start of her NWSL career it was almost as if Sydney Leroux felt the need to remind everyone that she was once the bright young U.S. National Team star on the rise. If that was message was on the KC striker’s mind then consider Saturday’s win over Pugh and the Spirit can be considered message delivered.

Leroux celebrates scoring with her teammates. (ISI Photos/Amy Contras)

Leroux missed all of last season while taking care of some personal business, namely starting a family with Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer. Leroux had already slipped down the U.S. WNT pecking order with Pugh, Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, and perhaps Christen Press pushing past her and leaving the 27-year-old down the list in a fierce battle for national team minutes.

U.S. WNT coach Jill Ellis hasn’t forgotten, however, naming Leroux to the national team squad for the team’s upcoming European matches and Saturday’s NWSL Player of the Week performance won’t have done Leroux’ chances any harm.

Chicago Red Stars (4-2-1) 3-2 vs North Carolina Courage (5-3)

A 4-0 start had some fitting the North Carolina Courage for a championship crown in this, the club’s first season since moving south from Western New York where still known as the Flash they went out as NWSL titlists. Then the Courage hit a bit of snag, dropping a 3-1 decision to Orlando but it is the Chicago Red Stars that really seem to have North Carolina’s number, with Saturday’s win its second in two weeks over the still first place club.

Chicago jumped to a 1-0 lead on Danielle Collaprico’s 27th-minute tally before the Courage grabbed an equalizer deep into added time when Abby Erceg headed home a Samantha Mewis corner kick.

Vanessa DiBernardo in action against North Carolina.  (ISI Photos/Daniel Bartel)

The home team stretched that lead to 3-1 via Alyssa Mautz and Vanessa DiBernardo but NCC wasn’t prepared to go quietly, causing some nervous moments for the home fans after Debinha’s 82nd-minute free kick goal.

The result gives Chicago 13 points, just two behind table-toppers North Carolina. Sky Blue FC are level on points with 13 but like the Courage, Sky Blue has played eight games, one more than Chicago.

Sky Blue FC (4-3-1) 2-1 vs Orlando Pride (1-3-3)

Sky Blue kept their record perfect at home, moving to 3-0-0 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey with Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Orlando Pride in front of 3,451 fans. The win allowed Christy Holly’s side to keep pace with Chicago while closing ground on first place North Carolina.

Maya Hayes (L) scored the game winner. (ISI Photos/Robyn Walsh McNeil)

Sky Blue spotted the Pride an early one-goal lead when Jasmyne Spencer fired home from Camila who spotted Spencer after taking a pass from Matra in the 18th minute.

But the home team never panicked, pulling level just before the break on a Sam Kerr goal. The second half was a tight affair with a 1-1 draw looking like a good bet until Maya Hayes converted from Kerr’s set up.

Portland Thorns (3-1-3) 2-0 vs Boston Breakers (2-3-2)

In front of a massive crowd of 18,637 the Portland Thorns raced out to a 2-0 lead inside of five minutes and that was all the scoring in the game, and all the scoring the home team would need to top the Boston Breakers by that 2-0 scoreline.

Portland’s Henry scored fro the long range. (ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

It was actually a bit of bad luck on the Breakers part when a Nadia Nadeem corner kick skimmed off of defender Julie King for an own goal in the first minute of play. When French international Amandine Henry found the target with her long range effort in the game’s fifth minute it would be all the scoring that the Thorns would need.

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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