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NWSL: North Carolina Courage undefeated no more

A busy weekend in the NWSL has left no undefeated teams in the running.

Instead, there were blowout wins and major upsets. Two matches also resulted in draws, with one being a scoreless draw.

Houston Dash 1-3 Sky Blue FC: The Dash are slipping down the standings, and now sit at No. 7 after losing to Sky Blue FC on Saturday.

At BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, the Dash only had one goal scored by Poliana in the 76′ minute. However, it was too little, too late, as Sky Blue already had two goals scored by Sarah Killion (33′) and Leah Galton (53′). Finishing the match for Sky Blue was Sam Kerr, who scored the winning goal in the 87′ minute.

“We are delighted to rebound this week by picking up three points against a very talented Houston team,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We know that we must continue improving our overall performance, but scoring three goals in back-to-back games away from home is a direct indication of what this team is capable of achieving. There are a lot of positives for us to take away from this game, and we will apply them into our preparation for next week.”

In the yellow card count, one player from each side received a yellow card. Raquel Rodriguez received the first yellow card of the match in the 65′ minute while Houston’s Amber Brooks received her card in the 87′ minute.

Seattle Reign 6-2 Washington Spirit: Give it to Nahomi Kawasumi of the Seattle Reign for a dominant performance against the Washington Spirit. Out of the six goals scored for the Reign, Kawasumi scored one and assisted four more.

That feat set a NWSL record for most assists in a single match. She was also named the Player of the Match for the Reign.

The Reign had their goals scored by Christine Narin (20′), Beverly Yanez (35′), Kawasumi (68′), Megan Rapinoe (71′, 76′) and Lindsay Elston (79′). For the Spirit, their two goals were scored by Havana Solaun (60′) and Kristie Mewis (88′).

“I thought that in the first half it was a very dominant performance from us,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey. “The things we worked on in the week leading up to the game, we executed really well. In the second half we dropped our standard a little bit, which let them into the game. Once they scored, Washington changed shape a bit, and tried to do different things, and it took us a little bit of time to try and solve that. Once we did I thought we then dominated from the 60th minute on.”

“[Naho’s] one of the best passers of the ball, in my opinion, in the world really,” said Rapinoe. “We always know to make good runs and the service will be there. We got her in really great spaces today, and we were lucky to get on the end of the ball.”

The match had no yellow or red cards shown to either side.

FC Kansas City 0-0 Portland Thorns: It’s the first scoreless draw of the season for the Portland Thorns and FC Kansas City.

Rebecca Moros didn’t score a goal, but she earned the lone yellow card of the match for FC Kansas City in the 74′ minute. In front of a crowd of 1,796 people at Swope Soccer Village, FC Kansas City took 12 shots compared to the Thorns’ nine shots.

FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made two saves while Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made two saves as well. The match was the first clean sheet for Thorns while it was the second for FC Kansas City.

Orlando Pride 3-1 North Carolina Courage: The North Carolina are still on top of the NWSL standings, but they are undefeated no more.

The Orlando Pride, on the other hand, earned their first win of the season, taking the perfect record away from the Courage. In their home stadium, the Pride didn’t find the back of North Carolina’s net until the second half when Chioma Ubogagu scored in the 49′ minute. The goal was assisted by defender Ali Krieger. Less than a minute later, Brazilian Camila added on the second goal, in the 50′ minute.

North Carolina then got on the board a minute later, in the 51′ minute, with a goal from Debinha, a fellow Brazilian. However, Jasmyne Spencer put the game away in the 82′ minute, off an assist from Marta.

“[It’s] great to get the first win against, at the moment, the best team in the league and the most difficult team in the league to play against. [I’m] really delighted with the effort of the players and the focus today and the way they defended because playing North Carolina, you need to do a lot of defending from corner kicks, throw-ins and other things coming into the box,” head coach Tom Sermanni said. “We still need to do some things a little bit better, as we always do. But I think the difference today was we got in front and that eases the pressure and allows us to play a little bit. I think getting this first result will give us the confidence to then kick on and hopefully eliminate the stuff that was costing us games previously.”

Spencer’s goal certainly had some assistance with the Courage only having 10 players on the pitch. Abby Erceg received her first yellow card in the 43′ minute, but received a second in the 57′ minute, resulting in a red card. McCall Zerboni received the Courage’s first yellow card in the 10′ minute. For the Pride, Krieger received an 88′ minute yellow card, and Toni Pressley followed with one of her own in the 90′ minute.

Chicago Red Stars 1-1 Boston Breakers: Less than 24 hours after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Rose Lavelle bagged another goal for the Boston Breakers.

The goal came in the 69′ minute, and was unassisted. However, Boston weren’t able to come away with three points on the road, as Chicago scored the equalizer in the 89′ minute by Christen Press, which was assisted by Sofia Huerta.

“We were out coached,” said Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. “I need to do a better job of getting our players ready for the upcoming match. Credit to the players for bailing me out at the end.”

Only one yellow card was pulled out in the entire match, going to Boston’s Julie King in the 73′ minute.


Photo of Camila of the Orlando Pride courtesy of Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos.

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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