North Carolina Remains Atop NWSL Leaderboard
Week 20 of the 2017 NWSL season concludes as the race heats up for the four playoff spots. The Portland Thorns topped the Boston Breakers, 1-0, in Massachusetts, while the Washington Spirit defeated Sky Blue FC on the road.
Alex Morgan scored in the second minute of stoppage time as she caught Seattle goalkeeper Lydia Williams sleeping. Morgan entered the 18-yard box from the left side of the pitch and struck a low ball to the far post that Williams thought was going wide.
Jessica Fishlock equalized for Seattle a minute later when she headed home a cross from Nahomi Kawasumi.
Orlando (10/W-6/L-6/T) is tied for third place, while Seattle (8-7-7) sits in fifth.
FC Kansas City and the Chicago Red Stars played out a scoreless draw at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Missouri in the first Saturday matchup. FCKC held the advantage in possession with 52.6% to Chicago’s 47.4%, but the hosts could not break the scoreline. The Red Stars tallied three goals on target to FCKC’s two.
Chicago (10-6-6) is tied for third place, while FCKC (7-9-6) sits in seventh.
Kristen Hamilton scored the lone goal of the match in the 26th minute off a throw-in from the right sideline. Abby Erceg’s attempt to head the ball resulted in her flicking it to the feet of Hamilton, who collected and calmly finished for the opening goal. NC Courage recorded six shots on goal to Houston’s two as the 2016 NWSL Champions remain atop the table with a game in hand.
North Carolina (15-6-0) sits in first place, while Houston (7-12-2) is in eighth.
Portland Thorns FC edged the Boston Breakers, 1-0, at Jordan Field in Massachusetts during the first of two Sunday matchups.
The lone goal came after an impressive individual play by Hayley Raso who collected the ball off a flick from a goal kick. Raso nutmegged one defender as she approached the 18-yard box, but a 50-50 tackle saw the ball land in the path of Christine Sinclair who finished low to the back post. Despite leading the match in shots on goal and possession, Boston was unable to find the back of the net at home.
Portland (13-5-4) remains in second place, while Boston (3-12-7) is at the bottom of the table.
Maya Hayes put the hosts on the board in the 43rd minute after collecting a rebound following two stops and blasting in the opener. In the 75th minute, Shelina Zadorsky sent in a corner that met Whitney Church for the header and equalizer. Mallory Pugh scored the game-winner with five minutes remaining in regulation off a strike from outside the 18-yard box. The 19-year-old has recorded four goals and one assist in her first NWSL season.
Sky Blue FC (9-11-2) sits in sixth place, while Washington (5-13-4) is in ninth.
Header Photo Credit: Mike Gridley/ISI Photos