North Carolina Continues Unbeaten Steak
The fifth week of the 2018 season concludes as North Carolina Courage remains the lone unbeaten NWSL club. Three matches finished a draw, while the Courage edged the Houston Dash to extend its lead atop the table.
The North Carolina Courage defeated the Houston Dash, 2-0, in the opening match of the weekend at BBVA Compass Stadium in Texas. Crystal Dunn scored the opener for the Courage in the third minute following a Jessica McDonald throw-in from the right sideline. The Dash was unable to clear the long throw that Dunn pounced on with a right-footed strike. Kristen Hamilton’s stellar shot from outside the 18-yard box extended the lead for the visitors in the 48th minute. The Courage controlled the match with 64.1% possession and seven shots on target to Houston’s three.
The North Carolina claim the top spot (5/W-0/L-1/T), while the Dash has yet to record a win (0-3-2).
The Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirit played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex. Washington Spirit’s Francisca Ordega scored the opening goal in the fourth minute with Mallory Pugh recording the assist. Pugh dribbled into the penalty area from the right flank and served a low cross across goal to Ordega who crashed the back post. Alyssa Mautz brought the match level in the 20th minute off a rebound in the penalty area. The Red Stars were unable to record three points despite the return of 2017 NWSL MVP Samantha Kerr from international duty (Australia) and Julie Ertz from injury.
The Red Stars are in second place (2-1-3), while Washington is tied for fifth (1-2-2).
In the third Saturday fixture, Seattle Reign FC and the Orlando Pride concluded the match deadlocked with a final scoreline of 1-1 at Orlando City Stadium. Allie Long put Seattle on the board first following an unsuccessful clearance from the Orlando Pride. Long calmly finished a bouncing ball in the penalty area that was headed in her direction by teammate Megan Oyster. Brazilian international Marta leveled the score off a left-footed free kick in the 62nd minute. The game was an even matchup with Orlando maintaining 50.9% possession to Seattle’s 49.1%, while both clubs recorded five shots on target.
Seattle sits in fourth place (2-1-1), and the Orlando Pride in sixth (1-2-2).
In the final match of the week, Portland Thorns FC and Utah Royals FC also played out a 1-1 draw. A hustling effort by Amy Rodriguez put Utah on the board in the 53rd minute for the club’s first home goal in franchise history. A long ball up the field that Rodriguez was able to regain possession of after an attempted Portland clearance put the forward in on goal with just the keeper to beat. A quick sidestep to the right as the goalkeeper closed in sent a Portland defender crashing into her teammate, which set Rodriguez up for the easy finish.
Tobin Heath leveled the scoreline in the 67th minute for Portland after Utah was dispossessed in its own half. Christine Sinclair connected a pass to Heath who entered the penalty area and skillfully lifted the ball over the Utah goalkeeper.
Portland sits in third place (2-1-2), while Utah Royals FC has yet to record a win (0-1-4).
Sky Blue FC (0-2-1) had a bye during Week 5.
Photo Credit: ISI Photos