North Carolina Remains Atop NWSL Leaderboard
Week 18 of the 2017 NWSL season comes to a close as the race heats up for the four playoff spots. The Portland Thorns defeated Seattle in a dramatic matchup in Washington, while the Chicago Red Stars snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Washington.
NWSL Soccer News: The eighteenth week of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season comes to a close as the North Carolina Courage remains atop the table despite the club’s match being postponed due to Hurrican Harvey.
Chioma Ubogagu put Orlando on the board in the 16th minute when a deflected shot landed at her feet near the six-yard box for the easy one-time finish.
Lo’eau Labonta brought the score level in the 42nd minute off a one-time shot from inside the 18-yard box. Shea Groom’s cross from the right flank dropped to an unguarded Labonta who struck the ball into the back of the net.
In the 86th minute, Marta sent in a free kick from the right sideline. Alex Morgan crashed the near post and flicked the cross in the air with her left foot. FCKC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart got a hand on Morgan’s attempt but was unable to keep it out of the net.
Orlando (9/W-6/L-5/T) is in fourth place, while FCKC (6-9-5) sits in seventh.
Portland Thorns FC topped Seattle Reign FC, 2-1, in a West Coast matchup at Memorial Stadium in Washington. Thorns forward Hayley Raso recorded a brace on the night as Portland sits two points behind first place.
Th Australian international recorded her first tally in the 49th minute following a sloppy return pass from the Seattle defense to goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Raso crashed in on the pass and finished her attempt on the ground. In the 85th minute, Christine Sinclair collected the ball at midfield and punted a pass down the right flank to Raso who beat a Seattle defender to the bouncing ball and entered the penalty area. Her first attempt was blocked by Franch, but Raso regained composure to extend the visiting club’s lead.
Seattle earned a penalty kick in the 90th minute when Rachel Corsie was side-swiped by Portland defender Meghan Klingenberg. Jessica Fishlock stepped up and sent her strike into the back of the net to give the Reign a burst of faith heading into stoppage time. Portland eventually held on to record the win as they keep the heat on league leaders NC Courage.
Portland (11-5-4) remains in second place, while Seattle (7-7-6) sits in sixth.
In the 23rd minute, Kristie Mewis — Chicago’s new signing — scored her first goal in a Red Stars kit off a bit of skill inside the penalty area. Danielle Colaprico dribbled towards the endline on the left side of the pitch and played a ball on the ground to Mewis who entered the box unmarked. As the Washington defense approached her, she took a quick touch to the left and hit a low strike to the far post. Washington leveled the scoreline in the 81st minute when Mallory Pugh sent in a free kick that met Cheyna Williams for the header.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz played a stellar ball over the Washington defense to find a streaking Press who collected with her chest and dribbled around the goalkeeper for the easy finish.
The Red Stars (9-6-5) remain in third place, while Washinton (4-11-4) is at the bottom of the table.
In the 5th minute, Ske Blue midfielder Nikki Stanton sent a long ball down the field to Sam Kerr as Boston goalkeeper Abby Smith came out of goal to contest the opportunity. The Australian international beat Smith to the ball and finished with ease to record her 16th goal of the 2017 campaign, which is tied for the most during a single NWSL season. Sky Blue recorded a total of eight shots on goal to Boston’s two in the home victory.
Sky Blue (9-9-2) sits in fifth place, while Boston (3-10-7) is in ninth.
The lone Sunday match between the Houston Dash (7-10-2) and North Carolina Courage (13-5-0) was postponed due to Hurrican Harvey. A makeup date has not been finalized at this time.
Header Photo Credit: Jose Argueta/ISI Photos