NWSL Week 7 Roundup
Titans Fall and Underdogs Rise
If not for the offside flag, the Reign could’ve suffered a much tougher loss this weekend than the 1-0 defeat they got against the North Carolina Courage. The Courage were on the front foot from the beginning while the Reign looked a little lost away from home. They couldn’t connect passes together effectively, which allowed the Courage to run rampant through the midfield and find the back of the net three times. However, only one of those goals counted off the foot of Tyler Lussi. For this match, one goal was all it took to secure the win for the Courage as the Reign go back to the drawing board.
The Houston Dash came out on top against the previously undefeated Portland Thorns. The Dash won their match 2-1, which is especially impressive considering the Thorns struck first, with Rocky Rodríguez scoring in the 34th minute and sending the Thorns to the locker room at halftime leading the match. But Houston didn’t settle, finding two goals in the second half after testing the Thorn’s defense all night long. Their goals were scored courtesy of Joelle Anderson as well as Ebony Salmon, who hasn’t been as successful for the Dash this season as she was last season. Maybe this game will spark a golazo streak into action.
Shutouts and Shutdowns
Chicago were treated to another loss this past weekend, conceding three more goals and unable to find a response as they fell 3-0 to Racing on the road. Racing couldn’t stop scoring, and were all over the place all the time — but in the best way possible. They were clinical in tight spaces and were always in the right places when it mattered most, overloading Chicago’s defense before switching the field of play and finishing dangerously. It would be Racing’s first time in the playoffs if they were able to make the cut, but there’s still a lot of season to play and they’re currently on the outside looking in sitting at ninth place. What’s more concerning is Chicago’s crumbling performance, which doesn’t bode well for them as they travel to Providence Park to take on the Thorns next week.
A scoreless match might not sound very exciting, but if you were paying attention to the keepers in the Gotham F.C. versus Orlando Pride match, you got to witness quite the game. Although no one managed to score for the full 90 minutes, there were several good opportunities, mostly from the Pride as Gotham appeared to have an off week. But thankfully, the bats had Abby Smith in the net, who almost single-handedly denied the Pride a win. The Pride owe plenty of kudos to their goalkeeper as well, with Anna Moorhouse showing up big time in a few moments. Both teams split the points in the end, with plenty to work on for both sides but in the end, the 0-0 scoreline was a slate mate of two powerful defenses.
Saltwater Beats Fresh This Time Around
The San Diego Wave traveled to face off against Kansas City and looked more like themselves than they have in weeks. Alex Morgan got her Mother’s Day goal, sparking the Wave into action and getting another goal from Bella Briede before the first half was done. The Current couldn’t find a response this time around, even though they had a couple of really good looks and more possession and shots. Ultimately, the Wave’s solid defense won out and delivered the team a win they desperately needed to keep their place in the standings. Questions still remain about the Current’s effectiveness on the ball, considering they couldn’t get on the board. It’s possible they’ll restructure when their injury list shrinks, but for now, their performances have been anything but solid which could start worrying fans as the first third of the season wraps up.
And of Course, Fit as Hell
By the skin of their teeth, the Washington Spirit found victory against Angel City F.C. and retained their undefeated streak. They locked down their victory in second-half stoppage time with an Ashely Hatch penalty kick after a VAR review awarded them the kick due to a controversial Angel City handball. The entire backline of Angel City, save for Sarah Gorden, managed to get yellow cards, with the Angels earning a total of five including one for Savannah McCaskill. It does appear that the fouls are having a significant amount of sway when it comes to Angel City’s success, but that alludes to there being other issues at play if the calls are strongly influencing wins and losses. The Washington Spirit remain, in the words of Andi Sullivan “Fit as hell” and find themselves at the top of the league after the Reign’s loss to the Courage. If they keep up the pace, it’ll be one of the greatest comeback stories ever.