Raso Nets First Goal; Carpenter Saves Three Points; Kerr Awarded ESPY!
With many of the top USA players called into national camp for the upcoming Tournament of Nations (July 26 – August 2), the Matildas played a critical role for their NWSL clubs in Week 17. Here’s how they did.
Utah Royals midfielder Katrina Gorry started on the left side of the midfield and contributed to the team’s high possession, quick passing style to keep North Carolina off the ball as much as possible.
In the 32nd minute and surrounded by defenders, Gorry displayed a dazzling no-look pass to teammate Diana Matheson contributing to a Utah offensive buildup. In fact, Mini had more than a few “highlight reel” moments – another one coming in the 33rd minute when she outright stole a ball under the feet of a NC player.
Seattle Reign earned a point on the road in a 1-1 draw with Orlando Pride. In the 45th minute, after a mad scramble in front of the goal, Orlando defender Toni Pressley fired the ball past Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who stood frozen on her line.
Williams made her first save in halftime stoppage time when an Orlando attacker charged deep into Seattle territory firing a left-footed shot from a tight angle. Williams stood at the near post and deflected the shot away. This save was critical as it kept the score at 1-0 before halftime.
Watch Lydia Williams' critical save:
Deep into the second half, Seattle defender Steph Catley got things going by delivering a perfectly-placed cross into the box finding Nahomi Kawasumi, who chipped one in for the Jodie Taylor equalizer. Catley is tied with Kawasumi for most Seattle assists on the season.
For the second week in a row, Orlando Head Coach Tom Sermanni went with a three-back formation with Alanna Kennedy in the attacking midfield position. Kennedy made an attempt for her third Goal of the Week, when she chipped a ball from mid-field over the head of the goalkeeper. However, the shot landed wide and to the left of goal.
Orlando defender Emily van Egmond subbed in at the 67th minute and saw immediate action, with Seattle’s equalizing goal coming minutes after checking in.
Portland Thorns traveled to New Jersey to take a win from Sky Blue FC, 2-1. Portland forward Hayley Raso wasted no time in netting her first goal of the season. In the 4th minute, Raso speeding down the left flank, carried the ball into the penalty area, stepped around a defender, and fired the ball in the right upper 90.
In the 7th minute, Raso caused disruption in the penalty area resulting in a Sky Blue misplay and another Portland goal.
In stoppage time, Portland defender Ellie Carpenter made a terrific foot-save in goal, preventing Sky Blue from equalizing before the final whistle blew.
Watch the Portland highlights:
The visiting Houston Dash defeated Washington Spirit 1-0 in a game that was postponed due to inclement weather. The match played the following day despite steady rain and low visibility. Houston midfielder Clare Polkinghorne played the entire match and won two free kicks in the attacking half.
Houston forward Kyah Simon was ruled out of the match due to left Achilles tendinitis.
The Chicago Red Stars had a bye this week, but that didn’t stop forward Sam Kerr from making headlines.
Kerr took home the ESPY Award for Best International Women’s Soccer Player. The Aussie became the first player in the NWSL to notch 50 career goals, the first to score three hat tricks, and the first NWSL hat trick by a Red Stars player.
Kerr is currently tied for first in goals with nine (despite missing the first six games of the season due to international duty).