Unfortunately, injuries to Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd top this week’s NWSL Roundup. Seattle Reign winger Rapinoe has already undergone arthroscopic surgery on her knee and the league’s leading goal scorer will miss five weeks, while Lloyd injured her ankle in Houston’s 1-0 loss to FC Kansas City.
To the Roundup, home teams listed first.
Orlando Pride (26 pts, 4th place) 3-0 vs Washington Spirit (16 pts, 10th/last place)
Let’s go back to last Tuesday and this week’s big winners, Orlando, who started the week with an impressive 3-0 win over the struggling Spirit. The Pride got a goal each from Marta and Alex Morgan sandwiched around one from Camila, all in a 12-minute stretch started with Marta’s 52nd-minute goal on a Morgan assist.
Orlando Pride (26 pts, 4th place) 5-0 vs Sky Blue FC (24 pts, 6th place) Saturday, Aug. 12.
Tuesday’s victory was a nice appetizer for the Pride’s main course, Saturday’s 5-0 demolition of Sky Blue, a victory that moved Tom Sermanni’s side into the fourth and final NWSL playoff position.
The back to back victories also saw the rise of the M&M Women, Marta and Morgan. The duo each contributed a brace versus Sky Blue with Marta setting up Morgan’s fourth-minute opener while Morgan returned the favor by adding a helper on Marta second goal of the match.
With that pair leading from the front Orlando will be hard to beat and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has returned from injury to strengthen the Pride defense.
Saturday’s game was the last for Maddy Evans, a 26-year-old midfielder, who announced her retirement from the sport earlier in the week.
Evans announced that she was leaving to take a job in her home state of Pennsylvania, saying that she simply couldn’t get by on her $16,000 a season salary.
FC Kansas City (17 pts, 8th place) 0-1 vs North Carolina Courage (36 pts, 1st place) Thursday, August 10.
Kansas City will be frustrated that they couldn’t hold out for just four more minutes, finally conceding to Lynn Williams, who had a bit of good fortune when a late cross deflected to her as FCKC tried to hang on.
Williams took her chance well and the Courage striker needed to, KC keeper Nicole Barnhart got a piece, but her fine night was ruined when he the shot crossed her goal line.
The Courage applied most of the pressure in this makeup game, the original was postponed for storms back on July 22. With an 11-5 record, the defending champs extended their lead at the top of the table to five points with Sunday’s 2-1 win in Seattle.
Chicago Red Stars (29 pts, 3rd place) 2-3 vs Portland (31 pts, 2nd place) Saturday, August 12.
With second place on the line, the Portland Thorns traveled to Bridgeview, Illinois and emerged with a 3-2 victory to climb over the Red Stars in the league standings.
The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead inside of 10 minutes on goals from Hayley Raso and Christine Sinclair only to allow the home team to equalize in the 38th minute on goals from Christen Press and Sofia Huerta.
The visitors claimed the spoils when Emily Sonnet headed home a fantastic free kick from Meghan Klingenberg for her second goal in as many matches.
Washington Spirit (16pts, 10th place) 2-2 vs Boston Breakers 16 pts, 9th place) Saturday, Aug. 12.
With last place in the offing, neither team could put the other away despite a plethora of chances for each side to score a winner.
Estelle Johnson followed her own rebound to give the home side a sixth minute lead after some inattentive defending by the Breakers. Adriana Leon scored the first of her two goals just before the intermission, with Cheyna Williams ( Washington) and Leon trading second half goals to set up an exciting, if unproductive finish.
Spirit star Mal Pugh nearly broke the crossbar with her 83rd-minute blast, the first of a series of late chances that neither side could convert. Johnson headed a Pugh pass off the crossbar leading to a Boston counter attack that saw Rosie White miss wide under pressure from Spirit keeper Didi Haracic just before the final whistle.
Seattle Reign (24 pts, 5th place) 1-2 vs North Carolina Courage (36 pts, 1st place) Sunday, August 13.
First place North Carolina capped a two win week with a 2-1 win over the Reign on a visit to the Emerald City. A pair of goals from Sam Mewis was enough to earn the points for the Courage over Seattle, who answered with just one tally from Rumi Utsugi.
Houston Dash (20 pts, 7th place) 0-1 vs FC Kansas City (17 pts, 8th place) Sunday, August 13.
The Dash lost for the second match in a row following a six game unbeaten run which had inspired playoff talk in Houston. Those post-season hopes took a further hit when Carli Lloyd limped off the field in the 35th minute with an ankle problem.
Reports are that X-Rays came back negative, a positive for Houston, although the extent of the damage is not yet known.
Kansas City scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute. Shea Groom’s game winner gave KC its first victory since May 27, and the shutout is the 36th of Nicole Barnhart’s career, a league record.
Barnhart also put in a strong effort in FCKC’s 1-0 loss on Thursday versus first place North Carolina. Maybe U.S. coach Jill Ellis should try and convince the former national teamer to reconsider her international retirement.