There’s a quiet storm rolling through the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). With the void blanketing the league by the absence of the national team players, the NWSL has battened down the hatches and is holding on for dear life. The fans and the franchises are already feeling the effects with anemic attendance records and low YouTube views.
But even during these uncertain times in the NWSL, wins still count, losses still hurt and away-draws still give some relief. And through it all, there are still a few glimmers of sunlight poking through the clouds. Enough with the storm metaphors! Here are last weekend’s pre-Women’s World Cup results:
FC Kansas City 0, Western New York Flash 0
Despite the final score, this match had plenty of action on and off the ball. Only 12 minutes in, Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo and Blues midfielder Liz Bogus collided in the box. Both players sustained injuries – Bogus played the rest of the game with a severe nose injury, while D’Angelo was immediately subbed out and sat the second half with her arm in asling. Back-up goalkeeper Chantel Jones came off the bench to take her spot.
The best chances for both teams came from set pieces. In the 36th minute, FCKC midfielder Yael Averbuch sent in a kick from 20 yards out that just skimmed over the crossbar. On the opposite side of the half, Flash forward Lynn Williams got past the Blues defense to challenge first-time starter Katelyn Rowland. The former UCLA goalkeeper made a diving save to preserve the team’s shutout.
It was a physical match throughout the 90 minutes. Seven yellow cards were handed out to players – five for Western New York and two for FC Kansas City. The rising tensions culminated in an altercation in the 82nd minute between Flash goalkeeper Jones and FCKC forward Shea Groom. Jones has since been suspended one game by the NWSL Disciplinary Committee for unsporting conduct.
Coach Vlatko Andonovski remained positive despite the lack of scoring, praising goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland’s first performance and the team’s continuous shutout streak.
“She [Rowland] did a great job,” Andonovski said. “She had big saves, which kept us in the match and we are all really proud of her. I believe she has a bright future in this league.”
FCKC: Rowland; Robinson, LePeilbet, Averbuch, Moros; Buczkowsi, Tymrak, Laddish, Bogus (Silva); Groom (Kastor), Hagen
WNYF: D’Angelo (Jones); Edmonds, Taylor, Dahlkemper, Hinkle; Stewart (Hamilton), Edwards, Mewis; Fields, Williams, Spencer (Nick)
Washington Spirit 1, Sky Blue FC 0
Sky Blue FC suffered a heartbreaking loss at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, May 16.
“That was the best we have played all year and the most chances that we have created all year,” said SBFJ head coach Jim Gabarra. “We had Maya Hayes, who had never played right back before in her life, probably put in the best job at that position of any player in the league so far this season. I am just disappointed for the players that they did not get what they truly deserved, and that is three points.”
Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys continued with her amazing play making nine saves on the night, including constant scrambles in the box. In the opposite goal, SBFC keeper Brittany Cameron also made a few dazzlers including a diving save on a Whitney Church header.
As mentioned, Hayes was moved from her natural forward position to the defensive back line specifically to mark Spirit forward Crystal Dunn. The New Jersey native did a great job in taking Dunn out of the run of play throughout the majority of the match.
However, Dunn was able to outlast the competition in the 92nd minute feeding the ball to Francisca Ordega who tapped it in for the late-game winner.
Wash: Kelsey Wys; Katherine Reynolds, Megan Oyster, Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Tori Huster, Joanna Lohman (Laura Del Rio, 46′), Angela Salem (Amanda Da Costa, 82′), Christine Nairn, Crystal Dunn, Francisca Ordega
Subs not used: Emily Lillard, Tiffany Weimer, Caprice Dydasco, Caroline Miller, Alex Singer
SBFC: Brittany Cameron, Shawna Gordon, Maya Hayes, Taylor Lytle (Maruschka Waldus, 83′), Nadia Nadim, Katy Freels, Kim DeCesare (Theresa Diederich, 75′) Kristin Grubka (Lo’eau LaBonta, 71′) Hayley Haagsma, Lindi Cutshall, Cami Levin,
Subs not used: Nikki Stanton, Sarah Killion, Gibby Wagner, Aubrey Bledose
Boston Breakers 1, Portland Thorns FC 0
Fear the Wave indeed! The Boston Breakers got at goal in the final seconds of the match from midfielder Kristie Mewis to get the victory over previously unbeaten Portland Thorns FC in front of 2,669 fans (that’s not so bad!) at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium Saturday in Allston, Mass.
In the 93rd minute, Portland keeper Michelle Betos raced off her line to try and beat Maddy Evans to the ball at the top of the 18, but the collision sent both players to the ground and the ball popped up to Mewis. After chesting it down, Mewis chipped the ball over Betos, who tried to race back, but to no avail. For Mewis, it was her first goal of the season. For the Breakers, it snapped a two-game losing streak.
“I thought (we) did a really good job. These games are important to us because it’s really a chance for our team to grow and play together while other teams aren’t at full strength, which is going to give us confidence,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. “They caught us by surprise the first game (4-1 loss April 9 in Portland). We were highly motivated to play at home.”
BOS: Jami Kranich, Lauren Lazo, Julie King (C), Kassey Kallman (C), Mollie Pathman, Amy Barczuk, Katie Schoepfer (C), Kristie Mewis, Rafinha (Suzane Pires, 83), Stephanie McCaffrey (Maddy Evans, 77), Nkem Ezurike (Morgan Marlborough, 62)
Subs not used: Che Brown, Stephanie Verdoia, Rachel Wood
PTFC: Michelle Betos, Kendall Johnson, Kat Williamson, Courtney Niemiec, Emily Menges (Hanna Terry, 92), Kate Bennett (Taylor Comeau, 46), McCall Zerboni, Sinead Farrelly, Allie Long, Meleana Shim, Genoveva Anonma (Sarah Jackson, 68)
Subs not used: Kelsey Haycook, Emily Kruger
Houston Dash 2, Chicago Red Stars 2
On any other night, drawing with the NWSL league leading Red Stars would feel like a victory. On this night however, it was a heartbreaker. That’s because the home team Dash had a 2-0 lead heading into the 60th minute.
Dash midfielder Rachael Axon scored her first-ever NWSL goal stepping in to take a penalty shot. Kealia Ohai drew the foul in the penalty box when Red Stars defender Arin Gilliland slid into Ohai.
the 59th minute, Dash midfielder Melissa Henderson found Ohai alone streaking down the middle of the field. The speedy forward finished one-on-one against Michele Dalton making it 2-0 in the home side’s favor.
But the Red Stars would not be denied and answered immediately in the 60th minute. Vanessa DiBernardo found Jen Hoy at the top of the box, who then flicked a pass to Sofia Huerta and out came the sun! The rookie cut the lead in half with a tight angle goal.
It was Huerta again in the 81st minute to bring Chicago even with Houston. Huerta showed some craftiness by tucking a left-footed strike from about 10 yards out. That was the second consecutive two-goal game for Huerta, who claimed her second consecutive NWSL Player of the Week honors.
HOU: Bianca Henninger; Jen LaPonte, Niki Cross, Toni Pressley, Ella Masar ©; Melissa Henderson (Allie Bailey 71), Brittany Bock (Jordan Jackson 46), Rachael Axon, Tiffany McCarty (Cami Privett 66); Kealia Ohai, Jessica McDonald
Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Day, Carleigh Williams, Lauren Silver, Stephanie Roche
CHI: Michele Dalton; Arin Gilliland, Samantha Johnson, Abby Erceg, Tayrn Hemmings; Alyssa Mautz (Michelle Lomnicki 81), Rachel Quon (Rachel Tejada 85), Vanessa DiBernardo, Danielle Colaprico; Jen Hoy (Cara Walls 69), Sofia Huerta
Substitutes Not Used: Monica Gonyo, Leigh Jakes, Kelley McCloskey, Jackie Esterkamp
Seattle Reign FC vs. China (International friendly) – Friday, May 22 at Moda Pitch, 10 p.m. (ET)
Sky Blue vs. Boston Breakers – Friday, May 22 at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium, 7 p.m. (ET)
Washington Spirit vs. Western New York Flash – Saturday, May 23 at Sahlen Stadium, 7 p.m. (ET)
Chicago Red Stars vs. FC Kansas City – Saturday, May 23 at Swope Soccer Village, 8 p.m. (ET)
Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns FC – Saturday, May 23 at Providence Park, 10pm (ET)
All NWSL matches can be seen live and in high-definition webstream available at YouTube.com/NWSL.
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