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NWSL: Dash, Spirit upset opponents in Week 10

Orlando Pride 0-2 Houston Dash: The Houston Dash have finally gotten the spark from the return of Carli Lloyd.

The Dash took a trip to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday to face the Orlando Pride, who looked to continue their positive momentum at home. However, the Houston Dash took advantage of newcomer goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who has been filling in for Ashlyn Harris.

The Dash managed to put two goals past Bledsoe, with Lloyd opening up the scoring in the 45’+2′ minute. Lloyd was assisted by Brazilian Poliana, who has been dominating the Dash’s defense. Poliana earned her second assist of the match in the 62′ minute, finding teammate Rachel Daly. Daly – who recently suffered a heat stroke collapse during the NWSL season – put a bow on her return to the pitch.

“I thought we were, up until the first water break, I thought we were quite comfortable. I thought we were playing okay and generally in control of the game. I felt that if we would have scored at the stage we would have probably gone on and won the game,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said. “But frankly, after that, I thought we were very poor. I thought the energy was poor, I thought the effort was poor, and I thought the execution was poor. We really never got any stage of the game after that, to put Houston in any kind of pressure. So, I think given how we having been paying of late, I think it was a disappointing performance.”

Meanwhile for the Pride, no player collected a yellow or red card. The lone yellow card of the match went to Houston’s Janine van Wyk in the 43′ minute.

The win for the Dash is their first under interim head coach Omar Morales.

Boston Breakers 0-1 North Carolina Courage: The first-place team in the NWSL took on the last-place team in the league on Sunday, when the Boston Breakers hosted the North Carolina Courage, Saturday afternoon.

The Breakers continue to roll along in last place, and lost three points at home. For the Courage, rookie Ashley Hatch is on fire, scoring her third goal in three straight appearances. Also, the match was Hatch’s third-straight start. Her goal came in the 44′ minute, and was assisted by Samantha Mewis. The assist was Mewis’ third assist of the season.

Boston had the only two yellow cards of the match, finding Megan Oyster (16′) and Tiffany Wiemer (84′).

“I thought we defended well (except) for one moment where we stepped out, and they exploited that,” said Breakers head coach Matt Beard. “I felt in the second half we were OK. We cracked some good chances, but we just didn’t capitalize on them. We didn’t really allow them many opportunities.”

The loss for the Breakers came in the debut for rookie goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme, who started over Abby Smith. In her debut, Prudhomme made two saves. Meanwhile, for the North Carolina Courage, goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland made three saves.

The Breakers are still without Rose Lavelle, their powerhouse, rookie midfielder, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.

Washington Spirit 1-0 Portland Thorns: In the biggest upset of the NWSL weekend, the Washington Spirit delivered in front of their home fans against the Portland Thorns.

Currently, the Spirit are ranked in the No. 8 slot, while the Thorns sit pretty at No. 4.

However, Francisca Ordega decided to upset the Thorns, putting the lone goal of the match past Adrianna Franch in the 19′ minute. The goal was unassisted, and also Ordega’s fourth goal of the season. She currently leads the Spirit on goals.

However, despite Ordega’s efforts, Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra was particularly impressed with his defense.

“I was pleased with how we defended and how we managed the game at the end,” said Gabarra. “It was an important win on our home field against one of the best teams in the league.”

There were no yellow or red cards shown to either side in the match. For the Thorns, they are still competing without midfielder Tobin Heath, who has yet to make an appearances in the 2017 season due to injury. Also for the Thorns, the loss to the Spirit was their first loss on the road this season.

In goal, both goalkeepers had busy nights. Franch recorded five saves, while the Spirit’s Stephanie Labbé recorded three saves.

Seattle Reign 1-1 FC Kansas City: Another week, same match up. However, different location.

Last weekend, the Seattle Reign took a trip to the Midwest to face FC Kansas City at Swope Park Field, but this week, it was FC Kansas City that did the traveling. Up north at Memorial Stadium, another draw was split between the two sides. Last weekend, the score was 2-2, but this weekend, each side only scored one goal.

The Reign will take the draw, though; it means they are still undefeated at home.

The home side didn’t net the first goal, instead it was FC Kansas City’s Brittany Ratcliffe found the first goal in the 16′ minute. However, Seattle found the equalizer in the 58′ minute off the boot of Nahomi Kawasumi.

“I’m really proud of the players, because it’s tough to play for 87 minutes with ten players,” said Reign head coach Laura Harvey. “Every single player that touched the field tonight gave everything. I told the girls at the end of the game that games like that can be a turning point for the season. I don’t think we need a turning point but we needed something to live by. We’re better when we have adversity against us, and tonight we had that, and we stepped up.”

Seattle was forced to play the match with only 10 women on the pitch. Lauren Barnes was shown a red card early in the 4′ minute for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. Meanwhile, FC Kansas City’s Alexa Newfield (30′) and Shea Groom (34′) picked up yellow cards.

Chicago Red Stars 2-1 Sky Blue FC: There was a glimmer of hope for Sky Blue FC in their trip to Toyota Park to face the Chicago Red Stars.

The visitors took their place on the scoreboard early, in the 3′ minute, thanks to a goal on a set piece from Madison Tiernan. Assisting the goal was Taylor Lytle. However, it wasn’t enough to break Chicago’s unbeaten streak.

The Red Stars bounced back, with two goals in the second half that were only four minutes apart from each other. Vanessa DiBernardo scored first, in the 63′ minute, on an unassisted goal. Meanwhile, Casey Short found teammate Sofia Huerta in the 67′ minute to put the home team ahead.

“We are very disappointed in the outcome of this game,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We played fairly well in the first half and created multiple opportunities, but we made too many poor decisions on the ball in the second half. This was not a performance that matches our ability. Now we just have to put it behind us and make sure we give our fans in New Jersey something to cheer about on Wednesday night.”

No yellow or red cards were shown in the match.

 

Photo of the Seattle Reign courtesy of  Jeff Halstead/ISI Images.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger on Twitter for all NWSL coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.


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