New Houston Dash midfielder Clare Polkinghorne joined Kyah Simon on the starting lineup against Portland Thorns.

Despite being new to the team, Polkinghorne looked right at home in the Texas heat, immediately taking charge of the center midfield, getting involved early in the match, and disrupting play at every turn.

In a surprising move, Houston Head Coach Vera Pauw started Simon on the front line.

Not surprising, however, was Simon’s aggressive play throughout the match starting with a nervy one-touch shot on goal that grazed the crossbar.

Late in the game, Simon was shown a yellow card for bringing down a Portland player. Listed as questionable to play due to left ankle sprain, Simon played 88 minutes in a tough 1-3 home loss.

On the other side of the pitch, Portland Thorns once again started Ellie Carpenter in a striker position to the right of Christine Sinclair. Carpenter has quickly found her footing in the NWSL, developing chemistry with her teammates and dictating rhythm in the attacking position.

Portland striker Hayley Raso was subbed in at the 56th minute. Raso is cautiously returning to the fold after coming back from an injury that has kept her out of the lineup for the majority of the season.

Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns highlights:

In a game of redemption, Orlando Pride midfielder Alanna Kennedy opened an away matchup against Washington Spirit with one of the best goals of the NWSL season. After taking the brunt of Orlando’s poor form in the previous week, Alanna showed why she is considered one of the best players in the league.

In the 11th minute, Kennedy alertly intercepted a pass from a Washington player at the midfield mark. With one long stride, the Aussie launched a 50-yard shot over the head of the Washington goalkeeper and into the back of the net. This was Kennedy’s second goal of the season.

Just before halftime, Orlando’s Emily van Egmond fired a blistering ball that just missed wide of the far post. At the end of the match, it was Kennedy’s goal that stood as the game-winner – Orlando Pride over Washington Spirit 0-1.

Watch Kennedy’s goal:

Utah Royals FC suffered an away defeat against the Chicago Red Stars, 3-0. Utah’s Katrina Gorry played her usual aggressive style, starting with a hard-hit header right at the goalkeeper.

In the 70th minute, Chicago striker Sam Kerr dribbled into the box, bringing three defenders with her (as usual) and passed the ball to an unmarked Vanessa DiBernardo, who scored the second goal of the match. Kerr had a few great breakaways but just couldn’t find that finishing touch.

Watch Kerr’s assist:

The Aussies giveth and taketh away! In the 8th minute of the Seattle Reign FC vs. North Carolina Courage matchup, Seattle defender Steph Catley committed a foul with an unfortunate handball.

However, her fellow Aussie and Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams kept NC off the scoreboard with a stunning PK save. Despite strong goalkeeping and defense, Seattle could not stop the wrecking crew of North Carolina who came away with a 4-1 victory.

Watch Williams’ PK save: