Orlando takes win; Chicago, NCC, Portland all tie
SANTA MONICA — After Chicago and the NCC topped Houston and Seattle respectively Wednesday night, Chicago, North Carolina and Houston returned this weekend for a second game last week while Seattle took a day off.
ORLANDO 1, HOUSTON 0
The Pride was the only one to walk away with a win this weekend as they topped Houston 1-0 Sunday afternoon. Neither team found a good stride in Sunday’s matchup as Houston put two of its 10 shots on goal while Orlando put three of its 14 shots on frame. However, Orlando took the one extra shot that mattered.
After a slow first half, both teams picked up their play going into the second half. It didn’t take long, however, for Orlando to find an opening and draw first blood. An untimely foul by the Dash handed the Orlando Pride a free kick 25 feet out from goal. A powerful, curved cross to the far post from Christine Nairn put the ball perfectly in front of the goal for Chioma Ubogagu to score off a header.
Orlando improves to 1-2-1 while Houston falls to 0-2-2 on the season.
CHICAGO RED STARS 1, SKY BLUE FC 1
Chicago returned to the pitch Saturday after defeating Houston 3-0 on Wednesday, but the Red Stars didn’t let the extra game slow them down on against the Sky Blue on Saturday.
By the first minute of play, Chicago claimed the lead as Alyssa Mautz flicks the ball to Sofia Huerta standing at the top of the 18. Huerta makes it look easy from there as she floats the long ball into the far side of the net. Sky Blue came back in the 78th minute to tie the game 1-1 with a shot by Savannah McCaskill.
Chicago dominated the game as it took 20 shots with six landing on goal and acquiring nine fouls, four offsides and four corners. Sky Blue presented a more calm and controlled approach, recording four of its 11 shots on goal, accumulating three fouls, four offsides and four corners.
Chicago and Sky Blue move to 2-1-2 and 0-1-2 respectively.
NCC 2, UTAH ROYALS 2
Utah remains to be a throne in its competition’s side, hanging on to every chance to stay close to the pack in the standings. While Utah sits at 7th in the NWSL, it isn’t on account of being a terrible team that keeps losing but rather simply never having enough umph to get over the hill to break its tying streak. The Utah Royals drew a 2-2 tie with the North Carolina Courage Saturday afternoon, moving to a 0-3-1 record.
The Courage found a quick goal from above the 18 in the sixth minute as Merritt Mathias blasted in the long ball for the 1-0 lead. However, two vital mistakes on NCC’s part would give the Royals the upper hand in the second half.
Several misplayed defensive plays cost the Courage their lead and almost the game. In the 52 minute, Abby Dahlkemper heads a long ball back to North Carolina’s keeper Katelyn Rowland, unaware Rowland had come up to collect the ball. The header opened the ball up to an open net which Utah’s Katie Stengel tapped in to tie the game. Rowland would later clear the ball from the box straight to the Royal’s Brittany Ratcliffe leaving the goal open to Ratcliffe’s counter.
Crystal Dunn would manage to tie the game back up in the 80th minute.
PORTLAND THORNS 1, WASHINGTON SPIRIT 1
Probably the most evenly match of the weekend, Portland and Washington attempted to get the upper hand during Friday night’s game. Unfortunately, neither team could break through the other’s stellar defense to take home the win. The Thorns and Spirit tied 1-1 and respectively moved to 2-1-1 and 1-1-2.
A chaotic corner led to Washington taking the lead in the 27th minute after missing an opportunity just moments prior. After several Thorn players crashed toward the cross, a clump of players obstructed the view as each team sought to accomplish their goal. However, it was Francisca Ordega who finally got the upper hand, appearing to push the ball over the line between several defenders legs.
However, the 2017 NWSL Champs were anything but done. Portland continued its attack laden play as the clock ticket down. The Thorns finally found a shift in play as the stoppage time was wrapping up in the first half as Ifeoma Onumonu was tripped by Spirit’s Caprice Dydasco in the box. Christine Sinclair converted the pk to tie the game 1-1.