2018 NWSL Season Kicks Off
The sixth NWSL season kicked off over the weekend with fans across the United States ready to enjoy another year of professional women’s soccer. Utah Royals FC played out a draw in the club’s inaugural season opener, while 2017 NWSL Champions Portland Thorns FC fell to North Carolina Courage in a rematch of last year’s final.
North Carolina Courage defeated Portland Thorns FC, 1-0, in a rematch of the 2017 NWSL final at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Débora de Oliveira tallied the game-winner in the 70th minute following a pass from Denise O’Sullivan at the top of the 18-yard box. Oliveira collected and struck a ball to the far-right corner of the goal.
Orlando Pride and Utah Royals FC played out a 1-1 draw in front of 9,017 fansat Orlando City Stadium. Utah recorded its first goal in club history during the third minute of the match with Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir of Iceland on the scoring end. Diana Matheson sent in a left-footed cross from the right flank as Jónsdóttir stretched out to give the Royals the early lead. Orlando responded in the 21st minute following a handball called in the box on Becky Sauerbrunn. Marta of Brazil calmly struck the ball to the bottom-right corner to bring the match level.
Seattle Reign FC edged the Washington Spirit, 2-1, in the final Saturday match with Megan Rapinoe recording a goal and assist. Rapinoe wasted no time getting her club on the scoreboard with a free kick in the seventh minute of the match from nearly 30 yards out. Seattle extended its lead in the 35th minute with Jodie Taylor on the scoring end. Washington’s Joanna Lohman responded in the 68th minute after collecting a loose ball in the 18-yard box and striking home a shot past Seattle goalkeeper Michelle Betos. The Spirit was unable to bring the match level in the remaining time.
The Seattle Reign will have a bye during Week 2.
The Chicago Red Stars and the Houston Dash played out a 1-1 draw to conclude Week 1 of the 2018 campaign. Houston’s Kimberly Keever opened the scoring in the 38th minute with the assist credited to Savannah Jordan. Houston almost claimed three points, but Taylor Comeau brought the match level with a header during the first minute of stoppage time of the second half.
Sky Blue FC will join the action during Week 2 after having a bye during opening weekend.
Photo Credit: NWSL