NWSL: Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit keep pace
NWSL Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit keep pace with Portland Thorns. Both sides pick up 2-0 home wins.
The National Women’s Soccer League’s Western New York Flash defeated Chicago Red Stars 2-0, moving the Flash into second place in the league. It was the Flash’s second consecutive win and the team has scored nine goals in its last two fixtures.
Despite the Flash coming out on top, it was the Red Stars that looked the brightest early on as the team had several early chances. However, the Flash’s Lianne Sanderson – traded for just last week – got the team off to a flying start. Lynn Williams’ 37th minute cross was headed toward goal by Jessica McDonald. Her header struck the post, rebounding to the reactive Sanderson, who tapped the ball into the back of Chicago’s net.
Things were rather back-and-forth until the 74th minute when McDonald, who was given acres of space down the right, crossed the ball into the 18-yard box. There, the cross was met by Williams, who hit it first time into the back of Chicago’s goal. The Flash saw out the final 15 minutes, and strengthened its case for a playoff spot.
Washington Spirit kept pace with both Western New York and Portland Thorns with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over FC Kansas City. The Kansas City club has had difficulty with consistency in 2016, and the weekend’s result showed a team that has had trouble seeing out matches.
Both Spirit goals came late in the match with Francisca Ordega scoring the opener in the 79th minute after a mad scrabble in the 18-yard box. In truth, referee Karen Abt could have blown for a penalty during the melee, but chose to keep her whistle in her hand. Ordega ended up with the ball at her feet after a dreadful Kansas City clearance was kicked right at the Spirit player’s feet. Ordega’s shot just stayed inside the post and away from the diving Nicole Barnhart.
Six minutes later Tori Huster added Washington’s second of the game, putting the fixture to bed. Once again Kansas City’s defense couldn’t clear a ball in the box, and Huster tapped home the defensive error. The win takes Washington above Chicago into third place.
Portland Thorns continued its unbeaten run in 2016 with 2-1 win of Sky Blue FC. The win keeps the team in first place, five points ahead of second place Western New York Flash. Tasha Kai got Sky Blue off to a successful start with a goal in the 30th minute. However, Thorns’ Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored her fourth goal of the season just eight minutes later. Nadia Nadim’s corner was turned in by Brynjarsdottir, putting the game on level terms and giving the Thorns a shot in the arm.
Just after the hour-mark the Thorns got the go ahead goal from the penalty spot. Hayley Raso was tripped in the box, although replays showed minimal contact between her and defender Erin Simon. Referee Reyna Fonseca wasted no time in pointing to the spot, however. Nadim stepped up and added her fourth goal of the season as the Danish international continues her fine form.
Boston Breakers atrocious season continued with a 2-0 loss to Seattle Reign. Japanese international Nahomi Kawasumi scored a brace to down the Breakers in Seattle, putting Boston out of its misery just after the hour-mark. Boston’s defense failed to clear a Seattle cross which Kawasumi ran onto and struck first time. The ball trickled into Boston’s goal as goalkeeper Jami Kranich hopelessly dove to make the save.
Kawasumi would get her second of the game, and what should be goal of the week, on 62 minutes as she settled Keelin Winters long pass. Kawasumi then made her defender go the wrong way, getting the ball on her left foot and coolly floating a shot past the leaping Kranich. The win puts Seattle just two points off the fourth and final playoff spot.
As with all NWSL games, fans can watch all the matches in full on YouTube.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @DrewMFarmer. Check out his latest book, Soccer Travels, in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com.