The second season of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is officially underway! There's always a lot of buzz and excitement that surrounds the start of any new season, but in the case of the NWSL it is especially dramatic.
Watching the start of this new league is like reading a suspense novel. Will it live or die? Will it be saved from a fiery crash and if so, who will save it? Or will it ride off into the sunset with its friends WPS and WUSA? Only time will tell. But for now, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Here's a look at how Week 1 of the NWSL 2014 season kicked off…
FC Kansas City 1, Sky Blue FC 1
FC Kansas City’s Amy Rodriguez scored the first goal of the 2014 NWSL season in front of 3,107 fans at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium. Katy Freels scored the equalizer for Sky Blue FC early in the second half.
"It was a good team performance," Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. "There were some team adjustments that were made, like taking Lindsi Cutshall out and moving Kelley O'Hara to center back, but overall we had a good start and were able to come away with a point."
Western New York Flash 3, Washington Spirit 1
The Spirit took on the Flash for their home opener on Saturday, April 13 in front of 2,306 fans. Although midfielder, Christine Nairn scored a goal for the Spirit, the lone goal was not enough to top the 2013 regular season champions.
It didn’t take long for midfielder Vicky Losada to make her mark. Just 15 minutes into the game, the FC Barcelona transplant powered a shot from 30-yards out past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Center back Brittany Taylor put the Flash ahead with a sliding goal off a Losada set piece.
Losada finished off her exciting debut in the 67th minute, netting her second goal of the match. The Spaniard's efforts earned her the title of NWSL Player of the Week for the first week of the season.
Portland Thorns FC 1, Houston Dash 0
Injuries to both Brittany Bock (right knee sprain) and Kealia Ohai (right ankle injury) left the Dash shorthanded for upwards of nine minutes to start the match, yet Houston largely controlled play with a player off receiving treatment.
The defending champions, Thorns FC jumped into the lead after a goal from midfielder Allie Long in the 24th minute. A consistent offensive threat for Portland throughout the night, Long charged in on a long throw into the box by Jessica McDonald and flicked it to the far side, past the lunging Erin McLeod but inside the back post.
Seattle Reign FC 3, Boston Breakers 0
Laura Harvey's gang began its second NWSL campaign by scoring three goals, as well as keeping a clean sheet against the Breakers on their new pitch at Memorial Stadium. Midfielder Kim Little recorded a brace (49', 54') in her first game with Reign FC. Seattle forward Megan Rapinoe added to the scoring in the 88th minute when she slipped between two Breakers defenders just outside the box before beating Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher to the ball and rolling it into the goal, securing the 3-0 victory. Jess Fishlock recorded two assists.
“I think the thing that we showed tonight was that we have talent in this group that can win games,” said head coach Harvey. “The tough thing about this league is that you don’t play for seven months and I think you saw that in the first half because it was really hectic and back and forth. During the second half, we calmed down a little bit and played the football we want to play and when we do that, I think we will be hard to beat and tonight we were.”
Boston's 20-player roster features some of the best players in the world, including USWNT midfielder Heather O'Reilly, Boston's own Kristie Mewis, Aussie striker Lisa De Vanna, Canadian midfielder Kaylyn Kyle, and recent England call-up, Lianne Sanderson.
Next Up (all times are EST):
FC Kansas City at Washington Spirit on April 19 at Maryland SoccerPlex, 6:30 pm
Portland Thorns FC at Sky Blue FC on April 19 at Yurcak Field, 7 pm
Western New York Flash at Chicago Red Stars on April 19 at Toyota Park, 6:45 pm (MLS doubleheader with Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution).
Houston Dash at Boston Breakers on April 20 at Harvard Field, 6:30 pm
Washington Spirit at Seattle Reign on April 23 at Moda Health Pitch Memorial Stadium, 7pm (PT)
All NWSL matches are available via live, high-definition webstream at YouTube.com/NWSL.
For updates on all NWSL news follow @NWSL_Examiner on Twitter!