Image credit: nwslsoccer.com. Graphic: Michael Alesich.

With a number of Aussies playing abroad in the National Women’s Soccer League this year, Beyond 90 will be keeping up with all the results and major talking points across each round.

As our Matildas prepare to head off to their pre-World Cup camp, this will be the last NWSL round that features Australian players until mid-July. This will therefore be our last NWSL Wrap until they return!

Reign FC v Sky Blue FC

Matilda and Melbourne City defender Steph Catley got her first start of the NWSL season in Reign FC’s 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC at Cheney Stadium on Sunday morning AEDT.

Both teams came into the match looking for their first wins of the season.

It was Sky Blue FC who would open the scoring in the 10th minute through Rocky Rodriguez after some great play from Sydney FC forward Savannah McCaskill.

Reign FC would get a goal back three minutes later after an own goal from a Sky Blue player.

But it was Melbourne City striker and England international Jodie Taylor who would claim all three points for Reign FC, toe-poking the ball home in the 78th minute.

Sky Blue remain winless while Reign FC climb to 7th on the ladder.

Lydia Williams was an unused substitute for Reign FC.

Highlights:

Washington Spirit v Portland Thorns

With the pre-World Cup camps starting to take players out of their club sides, an under-strength Portland Thorns travelled to take on Washington Spirit in Maryland on Sunday morning AEDT.

Of the two sides, Portland suffered the most from absent players, with four of their usual starting XI away on international duty, while Washington only had two missing.

Washington were able to use this to their advantage and claimed a 3-1 win over the traditional NWSL heavyweights.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 16th minute thanks to a slicing through-ball from Matilda and Sydney FC defender Amy Harrison, which found former Melbourne City striker Ashley Hatch.

Washington extended their lead to 2 in the 47th minute thanks to a Portland own goal.

They could have made it three in the 58th minute were it not for a brilliant save from Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom.

Portland would claw a goal back in the 67th minute thanks to Matilda and Sydney FC striker Caitlin Foord.

But Washington put the game to bed in spectacular style in the 71st minute through a Jordan DiBiassi Olimpico.

Washington held on to their lead to see the game out 3-1 winners.

Matilda and Sydney FC midfielder Chloe Logarzo played the full 90 minutes for Washington, while Foord and Canberra United defender Ellie Carpenter did the same for Portland. Hayley Raso was an unused substitute on the Thorns’ bench.

The win puts Washington in fourth spot on the ladder while Portland sink to sixth.

Highlights:

North Carolina Courage v Utah Royals

North Carolina have also been hit hard by international duty, losing a number of key starting players. They looked to bounce back from last week’s loss as they hosted Utah Royals at Sahlen’s Stadium on Monday morning AEDT.

After a tight contest, the game would end 1-1.

Amy Rodriguez opened the scoring for Utah in the 7th minute after a clever outside-of-the-foot pass from Newcastle Jets forward Katie Stengel in the lead-up.

Despite creating several chances throughout the match, North Carolina would only find their equaliser in the 78th minute through a rocket from a tight angle by NWSL rookie Elizabeth Eddy.

While neither team features an Aussie, Canberra United guest player Denise O’Sullivan played the full 90 for North Carolina. Meanwhile, Canberra United captain Rachel Corsie saw out the game for Utah, and was joined by Melbourne Victory’s Sam Johnson, Western Sydney Wanderer’s Lo’eau LaBonta, and Adelaide United’s Gunny Jonsdottir. Former Adelaide United striker Mackenzy Doniak also got her first minutes back on the pitch for Utah after recovering from an ACL injury.

Highlights:

Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars

The final match of the round saw Chicago Red Stars travel to BBVA Compass Stadium in Texas to take on the Houston Dash on Monday morning AEDT.

A brace for Matilda and Perth Glory striker Sam Kerr saw Chicago claim a 2-1 win over the ladder-leaders.

Kerr opened the scoring in the 8th minute after some good work from Glory team-mate Nikki Stanton, rounding Houston’s goalkeeper and firing past Matildas team-mate Clare Polkinghorne.

Kerr’s second for Chicago came just five minutes later after some neat one-touch passing saw her get in behind Polkinghorne once again.

But Houston would respond in the 26th minute through Sydney FC defender Sofia Huerta.

The game would end with Chicago claiming their third win of the season and moving to the top of the ladder, while Houston drop to third on goal difference.

Kerr saw out the full 90 minutes for Chicago, as did Polkinghorne. Matilda and Melbourne City forward Kyah Simon also got some good minutes off the bench for Houston.

Highlights:

 

SAMANTHA LEWIS
Samantha is a writer and social media manager for Beyond 90. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Optus Sport, matildas.com.au, Inside Sport, and The Women's Game. She's spent years covering the Matildas, W-League, NWSL, and NPLW, as well as a variety of other topics including the World Cup, Iran's stadium ban, and the history of Australian women's football.