National Women’s Soccer League, USA

Just when you thought all the national team players were back in the National Women’s Soccer League, U.S. Soccer has taken their squad of FIFA Women’s World Cup champions out of their club teams for the USA Victory Tour. This gave the Aussies an opportunity to carry their respective teams for Round 16 in the NWSL. 

Houston Dash v Reign FC

Reign FC and New Zealand midfielder Rosie White scored the only goal in a road-win over the Houston Dash. 

White’s goal, along with a sturdy Reign FC defensive anchored by Steph Catley, helped the club take all three points against the Dash. White took four shots on goal with three on target.

 

Houston responded quickly to White’s goal. Forward Kyah Simon shot from outside the box two minutes after the Reign took the lead, sending the ball just wide of the net.  

Houston came close to leveling the game in the 29th minute when midfielder Christine Nairn slid a ball through the Reign backline to Rachel Daly’s feet. The England striker’s shot forced a save from Reign goalkeeper Casey Murphy at the right post.

The Dash put Reign FC’s back-line under pressure and outshot Reign FC 19-8, but could only put four shots on target in the span of 90 minutes. Murphy saved all four to keep her fourth clean sheet of the season.

Highlights:

North Carolina Courage v Washington Spirit

The North Carolina Courage won their second match in a row and third straight at home with a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit at Sahlen’s Stadium.

Despite strong defensive play by Washington, North Carolina dominated from start to finish with constant offensive pressure. In the end, it was North Carolina and Brazil midfielder Debinha who provided the match-winning goal in the 64th minute.

Throughout the first half, North Carolina consistently found themselves in the final third. They got a boost in the 24th minute when Washington’s Paige Nielsen was shown a red card for her challenge on Debinha at the edge of the box.

Highlights:

Washington defender Elise Kellond-Knight played the entire match and Chloe Logarzo was subbed out at the 35th minute. Amy Harrison was listed but did not enter the game.

North Carolina remain unbeaten at home and the win moves the them (8W-3L-4D, 28 points) into first place in the NWSL standings. 

Chicago Red Stars v Utah Royals 

Chicago Red Stars’ forward Sam Kerr sustained her goal-scoring brilliance with her league-leading 12th goal of the season and Brooke Elby scored for the second time in her career in Chicago’s 2-0 win over Utah Royals FC.

Kerr didn’t waste any time with tallying her goal. In the 5th minute, the Aussie star took a ball that bounced off of the cross bar and headed a hard shot on goal. Utah goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart got a hand on the ball to keep it out of the net, but Kerr quickly pounced on the rebound to put Chicago on the scoreboard. 

Chicago’s goalkeeper Emily Boyd made a string of fantastic stops to keep her fourth career clean sheet. Earlier in the week, Mackenzie Arnold joined Chicago’s goalkeeping squad.

Chicago supporters had to wait another 80 minutes before the next goal. Substitute Savannah McCaskill made a run down the left side of the field and took a shot on goal that was batted away by Utah goalkeeper Barnhart. However, Elby – another late sub – was in the right place to knock in the goal on the rebound in the 85th minute.

Highlights:

Since the start of 2016, Kerr has scored 49 goals. She averages 2.5 shots per game, and maintains the best shot conversion rate of any player who has at least 10 goals.

Portland Thorns FC v Sky Blue FC

Portland Thorns FC earned a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC in front of 19,070 fans at Providence Park in Portland. Canada’s Christine Sinclair scored her seventh goal of the season for Portland while Sky Blue defender Imani Dorsey scored in the 69th minute to give her team a stunning point. 

Forward Hayley Raso earned a penalty kick for Portland in the 38th minute when she was fouled by Sky Blue’s Estelle Johnson. Sinclair converted the PK to give the Thorns a 1-0 lead.

Portland had their chances to score again in the second half. One good chance came in the 58th minute as Raso picked up the ball in the center circle, dribbled down the field and fired a shot that went just wide of the left post.

Another chance came quickly on the ensuing goal kick as Portland intercepted the ball just outside Sky Blue’s box. Caitlin Foord sent a curling attempt from the edge of the box just past the right post.

Highlights:

Hayley Raso appeared in her 60th career game for Portland. She is the 10th player in club history to appear in at least 60 matches.

Ellie Carpenter was ruled out of the game due to an ankle injury.

Toppserien, Norway

The Norwegian Toppserien returned to action following a break with both of its Australian players recording wins. Tameka Yallop scored the lone goal in Klepp’s win over Lillestrøm. This takes the 28-year-old’s tally for the season to five goals from 11 games.

Aivi Luik was straight into the action for Avaldsnes after signing for the club earlier in the week. She copped a nasty boot to the face but was able to stay on the park in her side’s 2-1 win over Arna-Bjørnar.

Yallop and Luik will face off in the Norwegian women’s cup on Thursday morning Australian time, with Klepp and Avaldsnes meeting in a third round tie.