The NWSL season is taking shape with Seattle Reign FC sitting at the top of the table with a perfect record of 5-0-0 with 15 points. Last Year's NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC are holding steady in second place with a 2-0-2 with 8 points.
Two teams are tied at the bottom of the NWSL table with expansion team Houston Dash and surprisingly the Boston Breakers, both with a 1-3-0 record and a measly 3 points.
There are a few match-ups coming up in week 5 that could shuffle things around a bit. But for now, here's how the NWSL sized up in week 4:
FC Kansas City 1, Chicago 0
FC Kansas City earned their first NWSL victory of the season on Wednesday, April 30, defeating the visiting Chicago Red Stars. Amy Rodriguez scored her team-leading third goal of the season to lead the Blues to the win.
After suffering a disappointing loss last weekend against the Portland Thorns, it was very important for Vlatko Andonovski’s squad to get off to a fast start. It only took 9 minutes for A-Rod to add to her team-leading scoring total.
The second half saw more action for Chicago as they pressed for the score. The Red Stars inserted Alyssa Mautz in the second half lineup, hoping to try and generate more offense, but the FC Kansas City defense tightened up and kept the clean sheet in tact.
Seattle Reign 2, Sky Blue FC 0
Seattle Reign FC came away with a road victory over Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, April 30 at Yurack Field in Piscataway, N.J.
As heavy rain played a huge factor in limiting both team's attack, Japanese international Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi led the way for Reign FC registering her first goal of the season and added an assist.
In the second half, Reign’s Bev Goebel linked up with her INAC Kobe Leonessa teammate Naho for her first goal of the season. Naho’s pass beat goalkeeper, Jill Loyden and Goebel finished with a simple tap in from six yards out.
Canadian international Sophie Schmidt battled with Hope Solo all night, hitting three shots from range on goal but all were easily handled by the U.S. international goalkeeper. After Reign FC was called for a handball inside the box, Schmidt had her chance to put one past Solo as she stepped up to take the PK. However, a combination of a torrid rainfall, slick field and a Solo-save denied Schmidt the goal.
"This was a big test for us to show how far we've come as a team,” said Reign head coach and general manager, Laura Harvey. "We proved we have the ability to win any kind of game.”
Sky Blue FC 1, Boston Breakers 0
Sky Blue FC welcomed the Boston Breakers into Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 3, 2014, defeating the visitors by a with a lone goal from Mexican international striker Monica Ocampo, who finished a feed from defender Kelley O'Hara in the 14th minute.
"I was just trying to help give my team a chance to win," remarked Ocampo. "They have good speed up top, so I figured if I stayed a step higher, I could relieve some of the pressure for the defense and help the team win. That's the ultimate goal."
Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron also showed nice athleticism in keeping the slate clean for her team making a few highlight-reel type saves.
Frustrated all night by a stubborn Sky Blue defensive line, Breakers’ striker Lisa De Vanna was shown a straight red card in the 89th minute after an aggressive takedown and a brief conference with the official.
Seattle Reign FC 2, Washington Spirit 1
Seattle Reign FC remain unbeaten following their comeback victory over the Washington Spirit in front of 4,667 supporters at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD on Saturday, May 3.
In what was a game of firsts, just after halftime, Spirit defender Ali Krieger (53’) opened the game’s scoring with her first goal of the NWSL season. Krieger’s goal marked the first goal allowed by Reign FC during open play and the first time Seattle would play from behind this season.
Reign midfielder Kim Little floated in a cross towards the far post, which was headed past Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris by Reign striker Sydney Leroux and riffled into the goal off the foot of Jess Fishlock (55’) for the equalizer.
Following a one-on-one battle with defender Tori Huster, Leroux (76’) registered her first goal of the season with the game winner and consequently was named NWSL Player of the Week.
FC Kansas City 4, Houston Dash 0
FC Kansas City picked up their second victory of the season in Houston on Saturday, May 3 as the Dash were shut out for the third time in four games and played the final 32 minutes with 10 players.
FCKC midfielder Lauren Holiday slotted a pass between two Houston defenders where Liz Bogus (12’) was able to run onto it and tuck away a shot under a sliding Erin Mcleod.
Immediately after the start of the second half, FCKC leading striker, Amy Rodriguez (47’) was able to run onto a pass from rookie Jenna Richmond and outmuscle two Dash defenders for her fourth goal in five matches.
In the 58th minute, Rodriguez again broke free for another one-on-one run to goal. Houston defender and Nigerian international, Osinachi Ohale caught up to Rodriguez and tackled her from behind, just outside of the penalty box. The move earned Ohale a straight red card and forced the Dash to play short-handed for the remainder of the match.
Erika Tymrak and Frances Silva entered the match shortly after the Ohale incident, helping FCKC to control the midfield as they passed the ball all over the field throughout the rest of the match. Tymrak (80’) received a pass from Richmond to bring her up to the top of the penalty box. As she looked for the inside pass, she saw a small window between Dash defenders and took a quick shot that beat McLeod near-post.
Late in the match, the rookie Silva carried the ball through the midfield, then sent a long pass into the penalty box to Holiday. The 2013 NWSL MVP immediately returned the pass to Silva who placed her shot in the top corner of the far post where McLeod had no shot of touching it.
Western New York Flash 1, Portland Thorns FC 1
After a 43-minute weather delay just seven minutes into the contest, the Western New York Flash and Portland Thorns FC played to a 1-1 draw in front of 3,674 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Spaniard Sonia Bermudez (39’) started her NWSL career with a bang when she put the Flash ahead 1-0 sending a perfectly placed 25-yard free kick into the upper 90, beating the outstretched arms of Portland goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.
It didn’t take long for the Thorns to equalize, however, when Jessica McDonald found herself on the fortunate end of a Lydia Williams bobbled save. Former Flash midfielder Sarah Huffman sent a cross into the penalty area and, though Williams got her hands on the ball, it fell to the feet of McDonald who was waiting inches away.
NWSL Player of the Month:
Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little was named the Army National Guard Player of the Month by the media for the month of April of the 2014 NWSL season.
Little has played an instrumental part in Reign FC’s league leading 5-0-0 record, starting all five matches and playing in all but five minutes of the season. Her four goals of the season are a league-best, including two converted penalties. As one of Reign FC’s three midfielders, Kim’s defensive effort has been a big reason why Seattle has posted three clean sheets in four games.
The Scotland international came to Seattle after spending six years with Arsenal LFC where she won numerous Player of the Year awards.
Upcoming Matches (all times are EST):
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Western New York Flash vs. FC Kansas City at Sahlen's Stadium, 7pm
Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars at Yurcak Field, 7pm
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC at Providence Park, 4pm
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Western New York Flash vs. Sky Blue FC at Sahlen's Stadium, 3pm
Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash at BSC Stadium, 6pm
FC Kansas City vs. Washington Spirit, Durwood Stadium, 7pm
All NWSL matches are available live and in high definition on YouTube.
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