NWSL Kicks Off 2019 Season
The NWSL kicked off an exciting year for women’s professional soccer over the weekend. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup approaching, the 2019 NWSL Season serves as vital tournament preparation for U.S. Women’s National Team players as well as other international athletes.
NWSL Soccer News: The opening weekend of the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Season has come to a close with four match results in the books.
The opening match of the weekend featured the North Carolina Courage and the Chicago Red Stars. The Courage and the Red Stars played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in North Carolina.
In the 26th minute, Samantha Kerr put the Red Stars on the scoreboard with a stellar run and finish. From inside Chicago’s half, Yuki Nagasato served a driven pass into the stride of Kerr. The Australian forward took one touch into the penalty box and another around the goalkeeper for a perfectly timed finish.
In the 66th minute, Crystal Dunn equalized for the Courage. An unmarked Dunn collected a throw-in from Jessica McDonald on the right flank. Dunn dribbled into the penalty area and hit a left-footed strike past two defenders and inside the far, bottom post.
The two clubs were unable to break the deadlock, finishing the match 1-1.
In the second Saturday matchup, the Washington Spirit defeated Sky Blue FC, 2-0, at Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex. Washington was led by Samantha Staab and Megan Crosson who each tallied a goal in the Spirit’s home opener.
Staab found the back of the net one minute before the hour mark to give Washington the 1-0 lead. Following an uncleared corner kick, Cheyna Matthews laid a ball off to Staab near the penalty spot for a close-range finish. Washington converted in the second minute of stoppage time to close out the match. Mallory Pugh served a cross from the ride sideline to Crosson for the headed finish.
The Spirit maintained 60.2% possession in the victory and tallied five shots on target to Sky Blue’s three on frame.
In the 45th minute, Heath received a low, driven ball near the penalty mark, took a touch forward and laid the ball off behind her to Caitlin Foord for the touch and finish.
Four minutes later, Foord turned provider with a low, driven ball between two defenders across the penalty area. Heath displayed her athleticism with a highlight reel finish for the 2-0 advantage.
Despite maintaining 53.5% possession, Orlando was only able to record two shots on target. Portland recorded eight shots on goal in the road victory.
In the 10th minute, Houston midfielder Nichelle Prince dispossessed defender Theresa Nielsen in Seattle’s own penalty area. Prince took a touch and scored a placed finish to the far post.
In the 58th minute, Darian Jenkins equalized for Seattle with a deflected finish from outside the 18-yard box.
Houston maintained 53.7% possession in the draw and recorded eight shots on target to Seattle’s two on frame.
Week 2 of the 2019 NWSL Season will kick off on Wednesday, April 17th. The North Carolina Courage will host the Orlando Pride at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Supporters can watch the match by downloading the Yahoo! Sports or NWSL apps.
Header Photo Credit: Andy Mead/ISI Photos