Week 16 in the NWSL picked back up this past weekend with a few surprising results, and as usual the Aussies were right in the thick of it. Here’s how they did…
As if Sam Kerr’s week couldn’t get any better, the NWSL all-time leading goal scorer delivered the winning goal in the 88th minute, giving the Red Stars a 1-0 win over visiting Seattle Reign.
After a short clearance from the Seattle goalkeeper, Chicago midfielder Yuki Nagasato punched a quick header to a racing and unmarked Kerr, who slid the ball just under the reach of the goalkeeper.
Kerr is tied for the league lead in goals on the season with nine; scored a hat trick against her former team three days prior to this match; and was named Player of the Week for Week 15.
Steph Catley led the Seattle attack from the back creating plenty of chances for her frontline. In the 17th minute, Catley on the run, crossed the ball into the box but was a bit overshot and soared over the heads of her attackers.
Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams did not play.
Alanna Kennedy played a pivotal role in the Orlando Pride’s 2-1 road win over Utah Royals. In first-half stoppage time, Kennedy drew a foul in the box resulting in a successful penalty kick by Orlando, bringing the score even seconds before the half-time whistle.
After a disappointing loss in Houston just three days prior, Orlando Head Coach Tom Sermanni did some tinkering to his formation, playing a three-back with Kennedy in the attacking midfield position.
This allowed the imposing Aussie to use her height and aerial expertise to help pull defenders toward her and away from the likes of Alex Morgan and Rachel Hill.
Over the past few matches, Orlando Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond has seen limited playing time and did not see any action in this match.
Another Aussie seeing her minutes cut down is Utah defender Katrina Gorry, who came in at the 79th minute, about the same time she came in the previous match.
Gorry did have a shot on goal towards the end of the game, firing a rocket from distance but bending just wide of the post.
There were plenty of Aussies in the mix as Portland Thorns won 3-1 against the visiting Houston Dash.
In the 16th minute Thorns defender Ellie Carpenter took a throw in that found Emily Sonnett, who launched an assist from distance to Lindsay Horan for the first goal.
In the 48th minute, Portland forward Hayley Raso delivered a dazzling assist when she muscled through a couple Houston defenders and slipped a precision-perfect pass to her teammate for the goal.
Raso looked to have her first goal of the season in the 71st minute, however it was called offside. As usual, it was a physical match for Raso who ended the match with three shots on goal before being subbed out in the 83rd minute.
It was an uncharacteristically slow night for Houston forward Kyah Simon who was quietly subbed out early in the second half at the 46th minute. Despite a valiant effort, Houston defender Clare Polkinghorne had her hands full with marking Horan who ended up with the brace.
Portland v Houston game highlights: