North Carolina Continues Dominant Run in 2018
The seventeenth week of the 2018 season concludes with North Carolina Courage sitting sixteen points clear of second place. Portland Thorns FC recorded a victory over Sky Blue FC, while the Houston Dash edged the Washington Spirit.
Utah Royals FC and the North Carolina Courage kicked off the weekend on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. The two clubs were unable to find the back of the net during 90 minutes of play, finishing the match a scoreless draw. Despite maintaining 59.4% possession during the match, Royals FC was unable to convert in the final third of the pitch with just one shot on target. The league leaders also struggled in the attacking third of the field, recording 21 shots with just four on target. An impressive defensive effort from the Royals was the highlight performance of the match. Utah goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart recorded four saves, while the club collectively tallied 18 tackles and won 59 duels. North Carolina notched 11 tackles and won 48 duels.
North Carolina Courage sits in first place (14/W-1/L-4/T), while Utah Royals FC is in seventh (5-6-7).
In the first Saturday matchup, Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign FC tied 1-1 at Orlando City Stadium. Toni Pressley scored the opener for the hosts in the 21st minute after collecting an attempted clearance inside the penalty area and converting with a placed finish. The equalizer came in the 70th minute when a long ball to the top of the penalty area was mistouched by Jodi Taylor, finding an unmarked Nahomi Kawasumi. A one-time pass over the backline from Kawasumi found Taylor in the six-yard box for the easy finish. Seattle maintained 52.6% possession on the afternoon while recording eight shots on target. Orlando tallied four shots on target, with goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer notching six saves in the draw.
Orlando Pride is tied for third place (8-6-5), while Seattle is in second place (8-4-6).
Portland Thorns FC defeated Sky Blue FC, 2-1, at Yurcak Field led by a pair of goals in the opening ten minutes of the match during a rainy afternoon in New Jersey. In the fourth minute, Christine Sinclair played a through ball down the pitch to Hayley Raso who dribbled into the penalty area, cut a Sky Blue defender and struck a powerful shot that kissed the crossbar and found the back of the net. Portland extended its lead three minutes later following a failed clearance from Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Caroline Casey. Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic collected the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and finished a low strike. Sky Blue FC scored in the 27th minute when Savannah McCaskill played a through ball between a pair of Portland defenders, finding Imani Dorsey for the one-time finish that took a deflection off the goalkeeper.
Portland is currently tied for third place (8-5-5), while Sky Blue FC has yet to record a win (0-13-3).
The Houston Dash defeated the Washington Spirit, 1-0, in the lone Sunday matchup at Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex. Rachel Daly was the goalscorer for Houston with Sofia Huerta recording the assist. The tally came just three minutes into the match when Daly pounced on a cross from Huerta for the finish. The highlight performance of the match came from Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell who recorded nine saves. Washington maintained 58.7 % possession during the matchup but could not find the back of the net with Campbell saving the nine attempts the Spirit had on target.
The Houston Dash is currently in sixth place (6-7-5), while Washington is in eighth (2-12-4).
Photo Credit: ISI Photos