Last week was a busy one in NWSL – and if you missed any of the action, here’s a recap of all seven league matches that fell between June 1 and June 9.
June 1: Chicago Red Stars at Portland Thorns FC (FINAL: 2-0 Chicago)
The Chicago Red Stars traveled to Portland for the third meeting between the two teams and the first match in which Chicago would not have to contend with the likes of Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan. After falling to the Thorns on both previous occasions by a final score of 2-0, the Red Stars were still looking for their first win of the season.
Cris Lewis got her first NWSL action for Portland in place of Karina LeBlanc who was also away on national team duty. Chicago struck first on a corner kick from Lydia Vandenbergh that Michelle Wenino headed back across the box where Zakiya Bywaters headed it past Lewis. It was Bywaters’ first goal and just the second time all season where the Red Stars have led in a match.
Portland’s best chance came in the 56th minute when an Angie Kerr free kick led to a scramble in the Red Stars box after Taylor Vancil collided with a group of players going for the ball. The ball fell to Marian Dougherty but her shot was blocked before it could be dangerous.
The Red Stars doubled their lead when Vandenbergh earned her second assist of the night when she found Jackie Santacaterina at the far post in the 61st minute.
German internationals Sonja Fuss and Inka Grings made their Chicago Red Stars debuts. Jazmyne Avant, Danielle Foxhoven and Courtney Wetzel all made their first starts of the season for Portland.
The Red Stars improved to 1-4-2 (5 points) while the Thorns fell to 6-2-1 (19 points).
June 1: Boston Breakers at Sky Blue FC (FINAL: 5-1 Sky Blue FC)
Sky Blue FC hosted the Breakers looking to continue their four game winning streak and returned home for the first time since May 11 when they defeated the Seattle Reign.
Danesha Adams got the home side on the board in the seventh minute when she finished a pass from Lisa De Vanna to the near post past Breakers goalkeeper Ashley Phillips. De Vanna took a pass from Australian national team teammate Caitlin Foord and split two Breakers defenders en route to finding Adams for the goal.
De Vanna got herself on the board in the 14th minute on a goal of the year candidate. De Vanna played a give and go with Katy Freels. Freels got some space on the left side of the Boston area and chipped a pass back for De Vanna. The Aussie international finished with a spectacular bicycle kick to double the lead.
The goals kept coming for Sky Blue FC as Freels earned her second assist of the evening when she took a pass from Monica Ocampo on the left side and fed it back to Taylor Lytle who put a one touch shot past Phililps.
De Vanna would get her second goal of the match 11 minutes into the second half when a Brittany Cameron punt found Adams. Adams was able to flick the ball on to De Vanna who dribbled around the Breakers ‘keeper to slot the ball into the open net.
The Breakers got one back in the 75th minute when Lianne Sanderson ripped a shot off the crossbar but Kyah Simon was quick to finish the rebound past Cameron. The goal ended a 435-minute shutout streak going back to stoppage time against the Chicago Red Stars on May 4.
Sky Blue added their final tally of the night on an 86th minute penalty kick after Mexican international Nayeli Rangel was taken down in the box. Adams stepped up to bury the kick.
Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra subbed off starting keeper Cameron in the 90th minute, giving way for Ashley Baker to play the final minutes of the match. Simon was taken down for a penalty kick that Sanderson took. The substitute keeper came up big, diving to her right to make the save on Sanderson’s shot.
Sky Blue FC took sole possession of first place, moving to 7-1-1 (22 points) while the Breakers fell to 3-2-2 (11 points).
June 5: Western New York Flash at Boston Breakers (FINAL 2-2)
The Western New York Flash managed to grab a last second equalizer to salvage a point from a midweek matchup with a Breakers side that welcomed back both of its US national team stars.
Late in stoppage time, Flash forward Veronica Perez earned a corner kick and the ensuing kick from the head of Katherine Reynolds. With the Flash looking for the equalizer, Reynolds flicked a pass to Canadian forward Jodi-Ann Robinson to head it past Phillips for the tying goal with seconds left.
Flash captain McCall Zerboni helped open up the scoring in the 28th minute when she won a 50-50 challenge just outside of the box and played Samantha Kerr on the outside. The 19-year-old found Abby Wambach for her fifth goal of the season.
Just a minute before the halftime whistle blew, Lianne Sanderson got on the end of a Heather O’Reilly cross for her first goal of the season.
The Breakers got the go ahead goal in the 64th minute when Sydney Leroux buried a shot from the far side from 20 yards out. It was Leroux’s fifth goal of the season, putting her in the league lead with Wambach and Sky Blue FC’s Sophie Schmidt. It was Sanderson’s league leading seventh assist on the season.
The Flash 3-2-2 (11 points) are just one point behind the Breakers and move into fourth place. The Breakers stay in third place with a record of 3-2-3 (12 points).
June 6: FC Kansas City at Portland Thorns FC (FINAL: 4-3 Portland)
The midweek insanity continued on the West coast Thursday night when FC Kansas City travelled to Portland for a rematch of the opening match of the season. The high scoring affair was marked by braces for both Alex Morgan for Portland and Lauren Cheney for Kansas City.
Morgan opened up the goal scoring in the 13th minute when she collected a loose ball after a giveaway from Becky Sauerbrunn at the top of the box and fired a left footed shot past Barnhart.
Courtney Wetzel, who made her second straight start, doubled the lead for the Thorns just seven minutes later. Thorns defender Marian Dougherty played a ball to Wetzel on the right side of the penalty spot and she finished from 12 yards out.
The Blues were able to pull one goal back in the 34th minute but it came at the expense of leading goal scorer Renae Cuellar. Cuellar was taken down in the box by Rachel Buehler and left the match with a left ankle injury that was later diagnosed as a sprain. Cheney stepped up and buried the ensuing penalty kick as the Thorns went into halftime with a one goal advantage.
Three minutes after the break, the Thorns were back to a two goal lead when Morgan found Danielle Foxhoven on a darting run through the box. It was Foxhoven’s second goal of the campaign.
But FC Kansas City would answer in the 56th minute when Cheney notched her second goal of the match. The United States midfielder beat her defender and Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc to a cross from Leigh Ann Robinson at the near post. The tally put Cheney in a tie with Cuellar for the Blues leading goal scorer.
Morgan would get her second of the match ten minutes later. Christine Sinclair cut a pass back towards the penalty spot that Morgan collected and fired a left footed shot through the crowd and past Barnhart. With the goal, Morgan jumped up into the league lead in goal scoring with six.
Midfielder Erika Tymrak brought FC Kansas City within a goal in the 81st minute when her right footed shot in traffic found the back of the net.
It was the highest scoring match thus far with seven goals scored between the two teams which was quite the contrast to the 1-1 draw on opening day.
With the win, Portland moved into a tie for first place with Sky Blue FC at 7-2-1 (22 points) and FC Kansas City fell into fifth place just behind Western New York at 3-3-1 (10 points).
June 8: Western New York Flash at Sky Blue FC (FINAL: 3-0 Western New York)
The Western New York Flash fell to Sky Blue FC in the season opener for both teams at Yurcak field back in April. At the start of May, the Flash snapped Sky Blue FC’s two game winning streak and they looked to interrupt the league leaders’ six game unbeaten streak when they travelled to Yurcak field for the second time this season.
The Flash got on the score sheet early on, when Angela Salem collected the ball in her defensive third before feeding Abby Wambach on a through ball that drew out May Player of the Month Brittany Cameron. Wambach found Australian international Samantha Kerr at the far post and Kerr beat Aussie national team teammate Caitlin Foord to give the Flash the 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC looked to be heading into the locker room down just a goal when Rutgers alum Carli Lloyd gathered a loose ball on the right side of the box and launched a right footed shot into the upper 90. It was Lloyd’s first goal of the season after she missed the first four matches of the season with a shoulder injury.
Sky Blue FC had an opportunity to cut the Flash’s lead to one in the 76th minute when a Danesha Adams corner kick found Kelley O’Hara. O’Hara’s header was cleared off the line by a diving Wambach. Coco Goodson put a header in on goal that landed right in Flash ‘keeper Adrianna Franch’s arms.
Wambach added a third goal for the Flash in the 82nd minute off of a Samantha Kerr cross to tie Alex Morgan for the league lead (6).
Sky Blue FC remains atop the leader board tied with the Portland Thorns at 7-2-1 (22 points) but ahead on head-to-head matchups and goal differential. The Flash jumped to fourth place at 4-2-2 (14 points).
June 9: Boston Breakers at Chicago Red Stars (FINAL: 1-0 Chicago)
The Red Stars got their first win of the season on June 1 in Portland and looked to continue their winning ways while Boston was hoping to get back on the winning side in their third match in eight days in which they had gone 0-1-1.
Chicago defender Taryn Hemmings looked to get into the attack down the left flank before it was knocked away by a Breakers defender. Julianne Sitch jumped on the loose ball and dished a pass to Lori Chalupny. Chalupny’s diagonal run got her in behind her defender and she got off a left footed shot as she was falling over that rolled inside the far post for a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
The Breakers were caught in controversy yet again during midway through the second half when Sydney Leroux appeared to have tied the match. Leroux’s 66th minute shot was parried off of the crossbar by Chicago goalkeeper Erin McCleod then bounced on the line.
It appeared to have bounced over the line and back out as Leroux waited for the assistant referee to signal a goal. The referee waved it off and play continued but not without much protesting by the visiting side.
The Red Stars defense would stifle the Breakers attack and held on for their second straight victory after six winless games, improving to 2-4-2 (8 points). The Breakers fell to 3-3-3 (12 points) and sit in fifth place.
June 9: FC Kansas City at Seattle Reign FC (FINAL: 1-0 Kansas City)
Seattle is still looking for that elusive first victory, despite a good showing against Portland two weeks ago when the Reign were seemingly robbed of at least a draw on a questionable late penalty kick. FC Kansas City looks to rebound after a wild 4-3 loss on Thursday night to Portland.
Hope Solo played in her second match following wrist surgery in March and has made an impact thus far for Seattle. The match also marked the return of defender Kate Deines, who played her first minutes since suffering an ankle sprain against the Washington Spirit on May 16.
The match was fairly even, with Seattle’s best chance coming in the 56th minute when Welsh forward Jessica Fishlock nailed a shot off the right post. Keelin Winters grabbed the rebound and had her shot cleared off the line by Lauren Sesselmann to keep the score even. Sesselmann missed the Portland match while serving a 1 game suspension for a red card that she received on May 25 against Sky Blue FC.
The lone goal of the match came just six minutes later as Lauren Cheney found Erika Tymrak on the right side of the box. Tymrak’s near post shot skipped off Solo’s shoulder and into the back of the net. The goal was initially credited as an own goal on Solo but was given to Tymrak, giving her her second goal in as many games.
The Blues were without Renae Cuellar after she suffered an ankle injury on June 6 against Portland.
The win boosted FC Kansas City into fourth place as they jumped over the Breakers and now sit at 4-3-1 (13 points). Seattle still sits at the bottom of the table at 0-8-1 (1 point).