Heath removed from injury report; Lavelle out

NewsSeptember 22

Reign defender Elli Reed announces retirement

NewsSeptember 22

Playoff Picture: Win and in for Red Stars, Pride

PlayoffsSeptember 22

Courage, Thorns in contention for NWSL Shield

PlayoffsSeptember 22

Carli Lloyd named finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017

NewsSeptember 22

Outside the Box Scores: Talking about playoffs, Courage edition

PlayoffsSeptember 20

How They Got Here: North Carolina Courage

PlayoffsSeptember 20

Heath, Lavelle return; Morgan brace leads U.S. to 5-0 win vs. New Zealand

USWNTSeptember 19

Highlights & Results: NWSL players on international duty

NewsSeptember 19

USA and New Zealand square off again on Tuesday night, plus how to watch

USWNTSeptember 18

Sam Kerr named PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year

NewsSeptember 18

Ertz scores twice, Huerta debuts as USWNT tops New Zealand 3-1

USWNTSeptember 16

Sofia Huerta’s change of national association approved by FIFA

USWNTSeptember 14

NWSL announces dates and times for the 2017 Playoffs

NewsSeptember 13

Washington Spirit defender Whitney Church voted Player of the Week

Week 20September 12

Dash vs. Courage game rescheduled for Sept. 27 in Edinburg, Texas

NewsSeptember 11

Power Rankings: Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns ride eighth win in last nine to top spot

Week 20September 11

Ellis names 22 players to USWNT roster for September games; Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle return

USWNTSeptember 08

Playoff Picture: Win and in for Red Stars in Week 20

PlayoffsSeptember 08

August Team of the Month

NewsSeptember 06

Stephanie Labbé to take medical leave for the remainder of the season

NewsSeptember 06

Orlando Pride match vs. Seattle Reign FC rescheduled for Thursday

NewsSeptember 06

Shea Groom voted Player of the Week

Week 19September 05

Power Rankings: Pride strike at home to stay in top spot

Week 19September 05

Thorns clinch playoff spot, updated playoff picture

PlayoffsSeptember 04

Alex Morgan announces she will return to the Pride in 2018, will not play for Lyon next season

NewsSeptember 03

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan voted August Player of the Month

NWSL AwardsSeptember 01

Week 19 injury report

NewsSeptember 01

Playoff Picture: Thorns have a chance to clinch in Week 19

PlayoffsSeptember 01

Outside the Box Scores: Rewriting history in 2017

StatsAugust 31

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams heads to Seattle after trades with Houston, Boston

NewsAugust 31

Rose Lavelle working her way back to the Breakers

Player FeatureAugust 30

Dash trade Morgan Brian to Red Stars in exchange for Kristie Mewis

NewsAugust 30

NWSL Game of the Week kickoff time changes to 3:32 p.m. ET on Lifetime

NewsAugust 30

Meghan Cox claimed off waivers by the Dash; NWSL roster moves

NewsAugust 30

Thorns FC forward Hayley Raso voted Player of the Week

Week 18August 29

Houston Dash match vs. Reign FC moved to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

NewsAugust 29

Arielle Ship out for the rest of the season with torn ACL

NewsAugust 29

Playoff Picture: Courage can clinch with win Wednesday over Spirit

PlayoffsAugust 29

Tobin Heath back on the active roster for Portland Thorns FC

NewsAugust 28

Mana Shim and Portland Thorns FC part ways

NewsAugust 28

Hurricane Harvey: How you can help Houston

How You Can HelpAugust 28

Power Rankings: Alex Morgan, Pride overtake top spot

Week 18August 28

Watch: Sam Kerr scores No. 16, ties single-season record

NWSL RecordAugust 26

Q&A: Maegan Kelly

Player FeatureAugust 25

Dash vs. Courage postponed due to Hurricane Harvey

NewsAugust 25

Rose Lavelle upgraded to questionable; Week 18 injury report

NewsAugust 25

NWSL all-time leaders

StatsAugust 25

Sam Kerr earns unanimous Player of the Week honors

Week 17August 23

Washington Spirit claim Morgan Proffitt off waivers

NewsAugust 23

Heath removed from injury report; Lavelle out

The Week 21 injury report

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath in action in 2016. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released its weekly injury report ahead of Week 21. View the full injury report.

Notable updates:

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath has been removed from the injury report. She has not played for the Thorns this year due to a back sprain. She made her return to the U.S. women’s national team on Tuesday.

Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle is out with a left hamstring strain and defender Julie King is out with a left ankle sprain.

Spirit defender Whitney Church, the reigning NWSL Player of the Week, is probable with a left adductor strain.

Reign defender Elli Reed announces retirement

Reed has been with the Reign since 2013

Seattle Reign FC defender Elli Reed has been with the Reign since 2013. (Photo credit: Stephen Brashear/isiphotos.com)

Seattle Reign FC defender Elli Reed will retire at the end of the season, she and the Reign announced on Friday.

Reed has been with the Reign since their inaugural season in 2013. In her five NWSL seasons, she has appeared in 78 games and started 60. She has four assists.

“My five years with the Reign have been incredible and I will never forget them,” Reed said in a statement. “But it feels like to right time to move on and start the next chapter of my life. I am ready to settle down and focus on challenging myself and growing in new ways.”

“Elli’s been here since day one, and I can’t talk highly enough of what she’s meant to this club,” Reign head coach and general manager Laura Harvey said. “She’s a fantastic teammate, and proven that all the way through. Whether she’s played every minute, come off the bench, or not seen time she’s never changed. That’s a testament to who she is.”

Reed previously played in WPS and WPSL Elite for the Boston Breakers in 2011 and 2012.

“Elli loves everything about this club and she’s given everything to it,” said Harvey. “It’s hard to put into words what someone like that means. She’ll be remembered for all the positive things that she has done since day one, and going through all the ups and downs that this club has been through. I wish her all the best in the future.”

Playoff Picture: Win and in for Red Stars, Pride

All four playoff teams could be set this weekend

The Red Stars and Pride can clinch playoff spots this weekend. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Two teams in the playoffs. Two teams left to go. Only eleven NWSL regular season games remain. And by the end of this weekend’s games, we could know all four playoff teams. The Red Stars and Pride are win and in on Saturday — and they’d join the Courage and Thorns in the NWSL Playoffs.

If Chicago and Orlando don’t win, they have another chance to make the playoffs. The Reign will be eliminated without a win on Sunday, and the Red Stars and Pride would clinch their spots.

The Courage can also clinch the NWSL Shield this weekend, which would lock down the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the playoffs. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds would still need another weekend to sort out.

Though both teams are tied on points, Chicago holds the third spot over Orlando because the first tiebreak in the NWSL is head-to-head and the Red Stars are 2-0-1 vs. the Pride this season.

This weekend’s playoff scenarios:

Red Stars will clinch a spot in 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-win vs. Dash

OR

-Reign loss or draw vs. FC Kansas City


Pride will clinch a spot in 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-win vs. Thorns

OR

-Reign loss or draw vs. FC Kansas City


Week 21 elimination scenarios:

Reign will be eliminated from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-loss or draw vs. FC Kansas City

OR

-Red Stars win vs. Dash AND Pride win vs. Thorns


Week 21 NWSL Shield scenarios:

Courage will clinch the 2017 NWSL Shield with:

– win vs. Sky Blue AND Thorns loss or draw vs. Pride


As we head into Week 21’s weekend games, here’s a look at where each team sits in the NWSL standings, their remaining schedule and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

1. NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

15-6-0, 45 pts

Goal Differential: +13
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 54
Clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 24: at Sky Blue FC
  • Wed., Sept. 27: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Pride

2. PORTLAND THORNS FC

13-5-4, 43 pts

Goal Differential: +15
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 49
Clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Pride
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Red Stars

3. CHICAGO RED STARS

10-6-6, 36 pts

Goal Differential: +4
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 42
Magic Number: 2
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Thorns FC

4. ORLANDO PRIDE

10-6-6, 36 pts

Goal Differential: +13
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 42
Magic Number: 2
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Courage

5. SEATTLE REIGN FC

8-7-7, 31 pts

Goal Differential: +6
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 37
Elimination Number: 2

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 30: at Spirit

6. SKY BLUE FC

9-11-2, 29 pts

Goal Differential: -10
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 35
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Breakers

7. FC KANSAS CITY

7-9-6, 27 pts

Goal Differential: -3
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 33
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 24: at Reign FC
  • Sun., Oct. 1: vs. Dash

8. HOUSTON DASH

7-12-2, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -11
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 32
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Red Stars
  • Wed., Sept. 27: vs. Courage
  • Sun., Oct. 1: at FC Kansas City

9. WASHINGTON SPIRIT

5-13-4, 19 pts

Goal Differential: -14
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 25
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Reign FC

10. BOSTON BREAKERS

3-12-7, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -13
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 22
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Spirit
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Sky Blue FC

Magic Number formula*
The Magic Number for a team to clinch a playoff spot is determined by subtracting that team’s current points total from the maximum number of points possible for the fifth-place team, then adding one.

Elimination Number Formula*
The Elimination Number for a team to confirm their exclusion from the playoffs is determined by subtracting that team’s maximum number of possible points from the current number of points of the fourth-place team, then adding one.

* = The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team’s Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Tiebreaker Procedures

To Break a Tie in the Standings

If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season, the tie will be broken through the following steps:

Two teams

1.Head-to-head record
2.Overall goal difference
3.Overall goals scored
4.Head-to-head road record
5.Goal difference in all road games
6.Goals scored in all road games
7.Head-to-head home record
8.Goal difference in all home games
9.Goals scored in all home games
10.Coin toss

Three teams

1.Points per game against other two teams

2.Overall goal difference

3. See tiebreaker procedure for two-team scenarios
NOTE: If two teams are still tied after the third team has advanced via the tiebreaker, the tie will be broken using the two-team tiebreaker rules.

Courage, Thorns in contention for NWSL Shield

North Carolina could clinch the NWSL Shield this weekend, but Portland is still in the hunt

The North Carolina Courage are 15-6-0 through the first 21 games of the 2017 season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

After being in first place for most of the season, the North Carolina Courage (15-6-0, 45 points) have a chance to lock up the NWSL Shield this week. If the Courage win and the Thorns lose or draw vs. the Pride, North Carolina will claim its first ever NWSL Shield.

The Portland Thorns still have a chance to become the second team to win the NWSL Shield in back-to-back seasons, but they’ll need a win on Saturday to stay in the hunt.

In 2014, the Reign won the NWSL Shield with only two losses and a record 16 wins and 54 points. Heading into Week 21 of this season, the Courage have 15 wins and 45 points. With three games remaining, they can break the record for wins in a season and would need all nine points to tie Seattle’s 54-point mark.

Previous NWSL Shield winners:

2013: Western New York Flash (10-4-8, 38 pts)

2014: Seattle Reign FC (16-2-6, 54 pts)

2015: Seattle Reign FC (13-3-4, 43 pts)

2016: Portland Thorns FC (12-3-5, 41 pts)

The Reign repeated as Shield winners in 2015 with just three losses that season. Over a span of two years, the Reign lost just five total games. Fittingly, in 2015, the Reign lifted their trophy in the rain.

The Thorns claimed their 2016 Shield in this season’s opener on April 15.

No NWSL Shield winner has ever gone on to win the NWSL Championship. The first three winners all fell in the final and the Flash ousted the Thorns in a thrilling semifinal last season.

Carli Lloyd named finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017

Lloyd won the award in 2015 and 2016

Houston Dash forward Carli Lloyd is one of three finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

Houston Dash forward Carli Lloyd is one of three finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017, FIFA announced Friday.

She is joined by Lieke Martens, who won the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament with the Netherlands, and Venezuela’s Deyna Castellanos.

Lloyd is the two-time reigning Best Women’s Player, previously known as the FIFA World Player of the Year, when she won for the first time in 2015.

In 2017, Lloyd returned to the Dash after spending the first half of the year with Manchester City, where she made it to the Champions League semifinals. She also won the FA Cup, scoring a goal in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Houston went on a six game unbeaten streak shortly after her return. Currently out with an ankle injury, she’s scored twice for the Dash this season, including a Goal of the Week nominee in a 2-0 win in Orlando.

The three finalists were selected from a shortlist of 10 players, compiled by a panel of six women’s soccer experts: Mia Hamm, Maia Jackman, Nadine Kessler, Jacqueline Shipanga, Sissi and Sun Wen.

Shortlist:

Lucy Bronze | England, Manchester City

Deyna Castellanos  | Venezuela, Santa Clarita Blue Heat

Pernille Harder  | Denmark,  Linkopings / VfL Wolfsburg

Sam Kerr  | Australia, Perth Glory / Sky Blue FC

Carli Lloyd | USA, Houston Dash / Manchester City

Dzsenifer Marozsan | Germany, Olympique Lyonnais

Lieke Martens  | Netherlands, FC Barcelona

Vivianne Miedema  | Netherlands, Arsenal

Wendie Renard | France, Olympique Lyonnais

Jodie Taylor  | England, Arsenal

Outside the Box Scores: Talking about playoffs, Courage edition

The stats that shaped the season for the North Carolina Courage

The North Carolina Courage have held onto the top spot on the NWSL table for most of the 2017 season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead for isiphotos.com)

Two of the the ten clubs have officially clinched not just an appearance in the National Women’s Soccer League postseason, but a home semifinal. The North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC are booked for the weekend of October 7 and 8, and looking to extend their season one more week. The two teams are also in the running for the NWSL Shield, awarded to the team with the best record during the regular season.

While we already took you inside the Courage’s regular season and how it earned them a playoff spot, we also wanted to dive into some of the stats that highlight the strengths (and challenges) of their season.

The record

As we noted this morning, the Courage have only dropped out of first place once this season, and that was due to a weather delay. They were the first to clinch a playoff spot, but their lead over the second place Thorns has narrowed considerably thanks to Portland’s four-game win streak.

While Portland might have the strongest fortress at home in the NWSL, the Courage are still on top of the table thanks to their performance on the road. They’re the best in the league while away, going 6-4-0 with a +1 goal differential. They’re the only team with a positive goal differential on the road in the league, even if it is a small one. (The next two teams are Chicago at a 0 GD, and Orlando at -1.)

The Courage have only played 21 games so far this season, and they won’t catch up with the rest of the playoff contenders until the final week of the season. They’ll play their rescheduled match against Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Texas, then finish their season off at home against the Orlando Pride.

And of those 21 games played, the Courage have yet to settle for a draw. This just keeps on extending the record set by the Orlando Pride during the 2016 season, in which they played 18 games without a tie.

And you get a goal! And you get a goal! Everybody gets a goal!

Last year, it was the Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald show. They were two of the three top scorers in the league, with 11 and 10 goals, respectively. They also linked up with plenty of assists – McDonald finished tied for second in the league with seven assists, while Williams finished tied for fourth in the league with five.

This year, the North Carolina Courage have options. So while that means that Williams won’t repeat as a back-to-back Golden Boot winner, it means the team has upgraded from squeaking into the playoffs to staying on top all summer long.

In 2016 there was a huge gap in goals contributed from the rest of the squad, with Abby Dahlkemper next in line after McDonald at three goals. In 2017, Williams is still the leading scorer for the Courage at six goals. But the scoring is spread out far more evenly: McDonald has four, Sam Mewis has five, McCall Zerboni and Debinha have three.

Mostly important, rookie forward Ashley Hatch and Kristen Hamilton have stepped up while Williams and McDonald have missed time due to injuries. Hatch has scored five times, Hamilton’s added another four.

So even on September 9, when head coach Paul Riley had to switch up his starting XI thanks to Zerboni’s suspension due to yellow card accumulation, he didn’t need to worry too much. The Courage are a system team this year, and Riley’s been able to swap in and out of multiple formations instead of relying on the 4-4-2 with Williams and McDonald in front.

Oh, and they’re still leading the league on corner kicks, with a 58.2% accuracy rate for 122 taken. They’re almost a full 20 percentage points over the team in second, Portland Thorns FC at 38.4%.

Stifling defense

We’ve talked plenty about North Carolina’s defense, even in Outside the Box Scores before. As much as the Courage have benefitted from that spread-out offense, they’re also getting clutch two-way performances from their midfield and forwards. That’s a big piece of why the Courage are so successful in defense.

It starts at the very back with starting goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, who has the highest save percentage in the league at 82%. In her 14 games so far this season, she’s only conceded eight goals while earning eight clean sheets.

Rowland has only made 37 saves in those 14 games (compare to, say, the Houston Dash’s Jane Campbell who has made 52 in 13 games), but that comes back around to the simple fact that the Courage are the best in the league at stifling shots on goal.

North Carolina has still allowed the fewest shots and shots on goal in the league. They’ve conceded the fewest goals in the league as well, with one less (18) than the second place Thorns FC (19). And the Courage have the most clean sheets in the league, with 11 of their 15 wins resulting in a clean sheet.

Compare those shots/SOG faced numbers to their closest competition and you can see why North Carolina is still in first place. Chicago has the stingiest defense next on the list, and they are still far off pace: the Courage have allowed 180 shots and 70 shots on target all season, the Red Stars 241 shots and 89 shots on target.

Back in July, Lynn Williams told us that these stats are a result of the entire team, not just the back four and Rowland. “If you watch our team, we high press. We defend from front-to-back, we don’t just rely on our defenders to defend. It starts with the front line and then with the midfielders, and I think that’s how that stat comes about. Obviously, our defenders are amazing and they throw their bodies in front of balls. I truly believe we just don’t allow people to get in that situation because we win the ball in the middle of the field a lot of the time and go from there.”

And the two players most responsible for winning balls in the midfield? McCall Zerboni and Sam Mewis, two of three key players in Cary.

The spine of the Courage

Sam Mewis, McCall Zerboni and Abby Dahlkemper are the three players most key to this North Carolina Courage season. Mewis and Dahlkemper are the only two players to have played every minute for North Carolina; Zerboni would also have played a full 1890 minutes had she not been forced to miss the game against Houston due to yellow card accumulation.

Here’s a quick look at some of their stats that show the extent of their influence down the middle of the pitch:

Sam Mewis
5 goals, 3 assists
1369 touches (1st for Courage)
1047 attempted passes (1st for Courage)
246 duels (2nd for Courage) with 65.0% win rate (1st for Courage)
29 clearances
78.1% tackle win rate

McCall Zerboni
3 goals, 1 assist
1274 touches (2nd for Courage)
827 attempted passes (3rd for Courage)
297 duels (1st for Courage) with 64.0% win rate (2nd for Courage)
22 clearances
75.4% tackle win rate

Abby Dahlkemper
1 assist
1165 touches (3rd for Courage)
845 attempted passes (2nd for Courage)
75 clearances
83.3% win rate
Only 9 fouls conceded through 21 games

The question marks

So, with all of that evidence stacked up there’s plenty to appreciate about the season the Courage are having in Cary. There are questions though, and here are the big ones: passing accuracy and their losses to the other top teams in the league.

The passing accuracy numbers probably don’t keep anyone up at night in North Carolina. That high press system typically means they just eventually force a turnover to regain possession. But there’s no getting around that the Courage are in last place in the NWSL when it comes to passing accuracy.

The Courage also have made the fewest passes in the league so far this year, with a 68.0% accuracy rating for 7558 passes. Compare that to the Orlando Pride in first place, who have completed 78.3% of their 9484 passes.

While North Carolina’s passing accuracy drops to 59.1% in the opponent’s half, here’s where these numbers take a back seat: the Courage are the best team in the league at crosses. They’ve attempted the most in the NWSL, and they have the highest success rate at 28.5%. (Compare, once again, to the Pride: in 9th place with 431 attempts and a 18.8% success rate.)

While the Courage might have answers to the questions about their passing game, the one real unknown is how they will perform against the top teams at this point in the season. They haven’t won against one of the other three teams sitting in a playoff spot since April, and five of their six losses this season come from the other top teams in the league.

Back on April 23, the Courage defeated the Thorns 1-0, then followed that up with a 3-1 win over the Pride. Since then, they lost all three matches against the Red Stars, plus an additional game against Orlando in May and Portland in July.

Ultimately, comparing those two Thorns matches from April and July shows that the Opta stats weren’t all that different – the Courage allowed more shots in July, but still held the Thorns to two shots on target. The passing accuracy numbers dropped for both teams; possession stayed largely the same in North Carolina’s favor.

The Courage did allow more the Thorns to create more chances in July, even if they didn’t result in shots on target. Back in April, they held Portland to four, in July they allowed 10. Part of that might be Portland coming into form at the right time. But if the current standings hold and North Carolina needs to face off against Orlando, the Pride’s attack is arguably the most dangerous in the league as October approaches.

The Courage’s only test against a playoff contender is their final game of the season against the Orlando Pride – a home finale that might end up a preview of their home semifinal.

North Carolina will have their chance to clinch the NWSL Shield on Sunday against Sky Blue FC this Sunday, but they need some help from Portland. It takes a Courage win in New Jersey, plus Orlando earning at least one point over the Thorns for the Courage to take home what they hope will be the first of two trophies to close out the 2017 season.

How They Got Here: North Carolina Courage

The moments that shaped the season for the Courage

The Courage have won 15 games so far this season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The North Carolina Courage are 15-6-0 and in first place with 45 points heading into Week 21 when they visit Sky Blue FC on Sunday (6 p.m. ET). They’ve already booked a spot in the playoffs and will host a semifinal match on Sunday, October 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET (Lifetime).

After the first week of the season, they’ve only been out of first place once, after weather postponed their game vs. FC Kansas City in Week 14 and they fell briefly into second place behind the Red Stars. They regained first place in Week 15 and went on to become the first team to clinch a spot in the NWSL Playoffs on August 30.

While the Courage try to clinch the NWSL Shield and wait to find out their playoff opponent, let’s take a look back at the games that led North Carolina to their first-place spot.

April 15: First game, first goal, first shutout, first win

Courage 1 – Spirit 0

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

It didn’t take long for the North Carolina Courage to get on the board in their first ever game. Midfielder McCall Zerboni scored in the 18th minute in the 1-0 win. It was also the first look at North Carolina’s stifling shutdown defense — the Courage did not allow a shot on goal in the match.

Though Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé put on a show to keep them from adding to their lead, the Courage came away with a win because of their strong defensive performance — a hallmark of their season.


April 22: First win in North Carolina

Courage 1 – Thorns 0

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

The Courage won their first ever home game in Week 2 when they beat the Thorns 1-0, allowing just two shots on goal in the win. NWSL newcomer Debinha scored the game-winner in the 81st minute off an assist from Jess McDonald.

The Courage took hold of first place with the win and would stay in first for the next 12 weeks before a brief slip to second in July.


June 3: Hatch scores her first goal

Courage 2 – FC Kansas City 0

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

After going 4-0-0 to start the season, the Courage hit a few bumps in the road in May, going 2-3-0. They suffered their first loss of the season on the road in Orlando before falling twice to the Red Stars over the course of the month.

June brought their national TV debut vs. FC Kansas City in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime and a chance to get back on the winning track.

Zerboni scored off an always dangerous Courage corner kick. Rookie Ashley Hatch scored the first goal of her NWSL career in the first start of her career. McDonald missed the game with a strained left hamstring.

Both McDonald and reigning NWSL MVP Lynn Williams missed time with injury over the next few weeks and it was Hatch, along with Kristen Hamilton, who provided the offense for the Courage in their absence.


June 17: Hamilton and Hatch to the rescue

Courage 3 – Breakers 1

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

The very next game was the first without both McDonald and Williams. No problem for the Courage.

Hamilton scored a brace in the first 13 minutes of the game and Hatch scored her second goal of the season. Midfield stalwarts Sam Mewis and Zerboni each assisted on one of Hamilton’s goals.


August 13: Mewis scores twice at Memorial Stadium

Courage 2 Reign 1

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

After going 1-2-0 in July (shutout losses to Sky Blue and Portland), the Courage roared back in August, winning all five matches. Their biggest win came on the road in Seattle when Mewis scored twice to snap the Reign’s 15-game unbeaten streak at Memorial Stadium. Mewis won Player of the Week for her efforts, the first Courage player ever to win the award.

Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland came up big vs. the Reign, making fives saves in the win. She shut down a Nahomi Kawasumi shot in the 65th before stopping a Beverly Yanez effort in the 68th.


August 30: Courage come from behind to clinch a playoff spot

Courage 3 – Spirit 2

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

One thing the Courage had not done until the end of August — come from behind to win a game.

North Carolina conceded the first goal of the game in the eighth minute before coming back to tie the match at the end of the first half thanks to a Mewis goal. Then it was the Jess McDonald show as the forward scored twice in a five-minute span.

The Courage became the first team to clinch a spot in the NWSL Playoffs with the win.


September 9: Hamilton’s goal clinches the Courage a home playoff game

Courage 1 – Dash 0

Full Game | Highlights | Box Score

After losing their third game of the season to the Red Stars, 2-1 on September 3, the Courage had to wait another week to clinch a home playoff game.

They were without Zerboni for the game as she was suspended due to yellow card accumulation, but grinded out another 1-0 win thanks to a Hamilton goal in the 26th minute. The play started with a long throw-in by McDonald and flicked on to Hamilton by captain Abby Erceg.


The win was North Carolina’s 11th shutout of the season, tying the league record. It was also their seventh 1-0 win of the year.


The Courage visit Sky Blue FC on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, and will host their semifinal match on Sunday, October 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET (Lifetime).

Heath, Lavelle return; Morgan brace leads U.S. to 5-0 win vs. New Zealand

Horan and Pugh each recorded a goal and an assist

Tobin Heath saw minutes with the U.S. women's national team for the first time since April. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle returned. Alex Morgan scored twice. The United States women’s national team topped New Zealand 5-0 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday night.

Lavelle started in front of her home crowd, making her first appearance for the USWNT since injuring her hamstring in June. The Breakers rookie midfielder returned to NWSL action on September 2. She played the first 33 minutes before being subbed out and replaced by Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan.

Heath entered the match in the 72nd minute — her first game action since the SheBelieves Cup in March. Heath has not played for the Thorns this season, but could make her return on Saturday in Orlando vs. the Pride. The Thorns have clinched a home playoff game and still have a chance to win the NWSL Shield for the second straight year.

Morgan, the August Player of the Month with the Pride, has not slowed down in September with the USWNT. After a goal on Friday night, she came in as a second half sub on Tuesday vs. New Zealand, and scored on her first touch of the game.

She added her second in the 69th off an assist from Spirit rookie forward Mallory Pugh.

Horan got things started for the U.S. in the 35 minute, scoring on a diving header after an assist from Courage midfielder Sam Mewis.

Horan then added an assist on Pugh’s goal in the 44th minute.

Courage forward Lynn Williams added her third career international goal in the 55th minute.

Rosie White (Boston Breakers), Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City) and Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC) all started for New Zealand.

FC Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn was subbed out at halftime. Red Stars defender Casey Short played center back alongside Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper for the remainder of the game.

Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher started in goal, but was not called upon to make any saves in the match.

Highlights & Results: NWSL players on international duty

Kerr, Debinha, Fishlock, Marta, Morgan, Ertz tally goals

Sky Blue FC and Australia forward Sam Kerr scored three times in two games vs. Brazil. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

As the NWSL takes a break for international games, here’s a quick at look at the highlights and results so far, with a few games left to play. Spoiler alert: Sam Kerr scored a few times (yes, there was another backflip!) and Jess Fishlock  tallied a memorable goal.

NWSL games — and the playoff push — resume on September 23.

Thursday, September 14:

Scotland 3 Hungary 0

Seattle Reign FC’s Rachel Corsie played her first game since being named Scotland’s new captain as her side won 3-0 over Hungary.


Friday, September 15:

France 1 Chile 0

NWSL players on France roster: Amandine Henry

United States 3 New Zealand 1

Julie Ertz scored twice and Sofia Huerta made her USWNT debut in what was a strong night for the Chicago Red Stars in Colorado. Huerta also earned her first USWNT assist, setting up Pride forward Alex Morgan‘s 75th international goal. Sky Blue’s Kelley O’Hara earned her 100th cap. Read: Full Recap

NWSL players on USWNT roster:

Alyssa NaeherJane CampbellAshlyn HarrisAbby Dahlkemper, Julie ErtzKelley O’HaraBecky SauerbrunnCasey ShortTaylor Smith, Morgan BrianTobin HeathLindsey HoranRose LavelleAllie LongSamantha MewisMegan RapinoeAlex MorganChristen PressMallory PughLynn Williams, Sofia Huerta

NWSL players on New Zealand roster:

Rebekah Stott, Katie BowenRosie White


September 16

Australia 2 Brazil 1

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr scored of an assist from Pride midfielder Alanna Kennedy for Australia and Courage midfielder Debinha added one of her own for Brazil in front of a sold-out crowd at Penrith Stadium.

NWSL players on Australia roster:

Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso, Lydia Williams

NWSL players on Brazil roster:

Bruna Benites, Monica, Andressinha, Debinha, Marta (Camila was originally named to the roster, but was replaced this week)


September 17

Wales 1 Kazakhstan 0 (Women’s World Cup qualifier)

Seattle Reign FC midfielder Jess Fishlock scored the game’s only goal in the 54th minute as Wales defeated Kazakhstan in their first World Cup qualifier on the road to France 2019.

NWSL players on Wales roster: Jess Fishlock


September 18

France 3 Spain 1

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Amandine Henry assisted on the first goal of the game as France went on to win 3-1 in a friendly vs. Spain.

NWSL players on France roster: Amandine Henry

Iceland 8 Faroe Islands 0 (Women’s World Cup qualifier)

Portland Thorns FC forward Dagný Brynjarsdóttir was in the starting XI for Iceland’s opening Women’s World Cup qualifier, which they won 8-0 over Faroe Islands.

NWSL players on Iceland roster: Dagný Brynjarsdóttir


September 19

Denmark 6 Hungary 1 (Women’s World Cup qualifier)

Nadia Nadim converted a penalty kick as Denmark won their opening Women’s World Cup qualifier 6-1 over Hungary.

NWSL players on Denmark roster: Nadia Nadim

Republic of Ireland 2 Northern Ireland 0 (Women’s World Cup qualifier)

Denise O’Sullivan and Ireland won their opening Women’s World Cup qualifier, 2-0 over Northern Ireland.

NWSL players on Ireland roster: Denise O’Sullivan

Australia 3 Brazil 2

Sky Blue FC’s Sam Kerr scored twice and the Pride’s Marta tallied a goal and an assist as Australia topped Brazil 3-2 in Australia.

NWSL players on Australia roster:

Steph CatleyAlanna KennedySam KerrHayley RasoLydia Williams

NWSL players on Brazil roster:

Bruna BenitesMonicaAndressinhaDebinhaMarta (Camila was originally named to the roster, but was replaced this week)

United States 5 New Zealand 0

Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle returned. Alex Morgan scored twice. Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh each added a goal and an assist. The USWNT won big in Cincinnati, 5-0 over New Zealand. Read: Game Recap

NWSL players on USWNT roster:

Alyssa NaeherJane CampbellAshlyn HarrisAbby DahlkemperJulie ErtzKelley O’HaraBecky SauerbrunnCasey ShortTaylor Smith, Morgan BrianTobin HeathLindsey HoranRose LavelleAllie LongSamantha MewisMegan RapinoeAlex MorganChristen PressMallory PughLynn WilliamsSofia Huerta

NWSL players on New Zealand roster:

Rebekah StottKatie BowenRosie White

USA and New Zealand square off again on Tuesday night, plus how to watch

The USWNT is 13-1-1 all time against the Football Ferns

Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O'Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn have one more match against New Zealand on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for isiphotos.com)

Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn return on Tuesday night to lead the United States women’s national team into the second friendly against New Zealand. The USWNT already picked up a 3-1 win over the Football Ferns last Friday night, in which Julie Ertz bagged a brace in eight minutes and Alex Morgan scored the insurance goal. Chicago Red Stars midfielder Sofia Huerta also made her debut for the USA.

The second match is in Cincinnati on September 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and this time it’s time for Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle‘s homecoming – providing plenty of time for Wilma Jean Wrinkles to feature on the national team’s social channels.

All ten NWSL clubs are represented on U.S. women’s national team roster selected by head coach Jill Ellis, with the Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage leading the way.

As for the Football Ferns of New Zealand, three NWSL players feature on the roster for head coach Tony Readings: defender Rebekah Stott of Seattle Reign FC and midfielders Katie Bowen of FC Kansas City and Rosie White of the Boston Breakers. New Zealand will hope to follow in the footsteps of Australia in the Tournament of Nations, with a major upset over the United States in at least one of these two friendlies. The first and only time the Ferns have beaten the United States was in 1987, their first ever meeting in the history between the two teams.

How to watch

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado

Date: Friday, September 15

Time: 10 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN 2

Venue: Nippert Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio

Date: Tuesday, September 19

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Storylines

The big focus for the U.S. national team is squaring off against the top competition in the world despite the timing in the overall cycle. And while New Zealand isn’t quite the level of competition the team saw in the SheBelieves Cup or the Tournament of the Nation, the Ferns are ranked 19th in the world and first overall in Oceania. The USWNT is 13-1-1 all time against New Zealand, and have outscored them 52-6 in those matches.

Look for some more squad rotation from head coach Jill Ellis, especially with co-captain Carli Lloyd out due to her ankle sprain. While 22 players were named to the roster (23, if you include Huerta), only 18 can suit up for each of the two friendlies.

Forward Hannah Wilkinson has had the best success of late against the United States — she’s scored New Zealand’s last three goals against the USWNT. But one player to never look past is the captain of the Football Ferns, Ali Riley. Longtime fans of American women’s soccer will remember Riley from a her time with FC Gold Pride and the Western New York Flash. She won pro championships with both of those teams. Right now, she’s in Sweden lacing up for FC Rosengård, but as long as she’s scoring goals like this, she should be on the radar for Ellis and co.:

What they’re saying

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride): It’s really fun coming into camp and just seeing some of the players that you’re used to playing against now this year. Obviously, we’ve gotten in a rhythm in Orlando, and some teams are in playoffs, some are out of playoffs, so a lot of players are in different places. It’s good to just get the group together, get two games in, and get back to our clubs to finish off the season. I think we’re making a big push now, just gearing towards that end of season. Everyone’s fitness level is high, but obviously we have been fatiguing quite a bit throughout the season. It’s really just managing all the players, and the time, and the coaches had a meeting about that so I’m sure they’ll be managing us pretty well.

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride): New Zealand’s a quality team, I mean they have performed well in big tournaments. Last time I saw them was obviously in the Olympics, and I’m excited to play them again. There’s a couple players in the NWSL as well that will be here. It’s a team that we find ourselves facing, maybe once a year, something like that, and they always give us a good competition and a good game.

Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit): The season’s been going pretty good, I think. It’s a huge transition going from college to pro, so I think just having teammates on the national team and teammates on the Spirit have really helped me with that. I think the style of play, the level of play, it’s probably the best in the world, so it’s nice to step into that environment and be tested every single weekend.

Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC): All these teams are getting better and better, and that’s cool for us. We’re such an incredible team and have so many great players. You see around the world, everyone else is getting better. Physically and technically; it’s cool. And now we have new goals and we know that we have to improve. Moving forward, if we’re going to win that World Cup in a few years, we have to improve as well and know that all these other teams are working hard to do the same thing. Going into these games, we have to take every opportunity. It’s so important, having these few trainings and games to improve and get better and learn and then move forward.

Tony Readings, Head Coach Football Ferns: We know that it is not going to be easy. We have given them a run for their money before and they have beaten us comfortably as well. So this is an opportunity for us to see where we are at both on and off the pitch. We have things we need to establish to be a truly high performing team.

Rosters

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (caps/goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars;18/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan(Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis(NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)

New Zealand Women’s National Team Roster (caps/goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3):  Victoria Esson (0/0), Anna Leat (2/0), Erin Nayler (48/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Elizabeth Anton (0/0), CJ Bott (5/0), Anna Green (64/7), Meikayla Moore (20/0), Ria Percival (124/11), Ali Riley (C) (109/1), Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC, 57/4)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Annalie Longo (99/9), Betsy Hassett (99/8), Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City, 45/1), Olivia Chance (4/0), Daisy Cleverley (5/2), Malia Steinmetz (0/0), Kirsty Yallop (102/12)

FORWARDS (6): Jane Barnett (0/0), Aimee Phillips (4/1), Martine Puketapu (0/0), Katie Rood (0/0), Rosie White (Boston Breakers, 88/17), Hannah Wilkinson (81/24)

Sam Kerr named PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year

Kerr previously won the award in 2013

Sam Kerr in action for the Matildas. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for isiphotos.com)

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been recognized for her contributions to the Australian women’s national team, and was named the Professional Footballers Australia Women’s Footballer of the Year on Sunday.

Kerr’s form for club – both her W-League side Perth Glory and Sky Blue FC – and country made the decision an easy one for her peers. Australia is now ranked sixth in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings, and the Matildas are fresh off a 2-1 win over Brazil in front of a sold-out crowd on home soil.

Kerr said, “To be voted by your fellow players as the PFA footballer of the year is a huge honor. I have been fortunate to enjoy so many great experiences with the Matildas and with my clubs over the past 12 months and this just tops it off.”

This past week Kerr also gave an inside look into her professional and personal life with the Players’ Voice, including a look back at the Tournament of Nations:

My highlight from the Tournament of Nations was the US game. To beat them for the first time and get the monkey off our back was a huge relief. It was something I felt we’d deserved over the last few years. Things just hadn’t quite gone our way.

There are a lot of Australians playing in the National Women’s Soccer League in the States and everyone over there has a lot of respect for us. But the fact that we’ve beaten them now gives us a little edge. I think they’ll go in with a different mindset when we play them next time.

Kerr is also on the 10-player list for The Best FIFA Women’s Player award, along with the Houston Dash’s Carli Lloyd. The three finalists for that award from FIFA will be announced on September 22, with the ceremony held on October 23.

Ertz scores twice, Huerta debuts as USWNT tops New Zealand 3-1

Huerta earned her first USWNT assist in the game

Sofia Huerta and Alex Morgan connected on the third goal of the game for the United States women's national team on Friday night. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

It was a pretty good night in Colorado for the Chicago Red Stars as the U.S. women’s national team beat New Zealand 3-1. Julie Ertz bagged a brace in the first half. Sofia Huerta made her first appearance as a member of the USWNT and earned her first assist in the second half.

Huerta entered as a sub in the 51st minute, just a day after her change of national association request was granted by FIFA. She previously played for Mexico at the  U-20 National Team level.

Huerta’s assist came on Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan’s 75th international goal and the final goal of the game. Huerta, playing at right back for the USWNT, sent a cross from the right wing to Morgan in the box on the left. The reigning NWSL Player of the Month cut around her defender and hit a left-footed shot to the near post to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead.

Ertz scored twice in a span of eight minutes in the first half. Her first goal in the 16th minute put the U.S. up 1-0 and came off a corner kick that was eventually headed in Ertz’s direction by Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan. Ertz flicked it into the back of the net for her tenth career goal and Horan’s tenth career assist.

Ertz’s second goal came in the 24th minute after a 15 pass sequence by the United States culminated with a Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) header that went off the post. Ertz was in the right spot for the rebound, and hammered it home to put the U.S. up 2-0.

Three NWSL players were in the starting XI for New Zealand: Rosie White (Boston Breakers), Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City) and Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC).

New Zealand forward Hannah Wilkinson, who had scored the last three goals for New Zealand vs. the U.S. coming into the game, scored in the second half to pull New Zealand within a goal before Morgan reclaimed the two goal lead.

Sky Blue FC defender Kelley O’Hara wore the captain’s armband in her 100th international appearance. She captained the game alongside her Stanford teammate Ali Riley, who is New Zealand’s captain.

Colorado natives Horan and Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) both started in front of their home fans on Friday night.

The United States and New Zealand will meet again in Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle’s hometown of Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

Sofia Huerta’s change of national association approved by FIFA

U.S. Soccer announced the approval on Thursday

Sofia Huerta in camp with the U.S. women's national soccer team ahead of a pair of friendlies against New Zealand. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for isiphotos.com)

On Thursday, U.S. Soccer confirmed that Chicago Red Stars midfielder Sofia Huerta has been approved by FIFA to play with the U.S. women’s national team. Her change of national association from Mexico to the U.S. is now complete.

Huerta represented Mexico at the U-20 National Team level, but with FIFA’s approval, will now be able to represent the United States at the senior team level. She has been with the team in camp ahead of a pair of friendlies against New Zealand on September 15 and 19. With FIFA’s approval, she may actually see game minutes thanks to officially being able for selection.

She previously trained with the USWNT during the Tournament of Nations.

Huerta was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and in her time with the Red Stars, has scored 18 goals and added nine assists.

“I want to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity and I sincerely appreciate the work that went into getting this change done,” Huerta said in the U.S. Soccer release. “Now it’s about working to continue to improve and trying to earn my chance to get on the field.”

NWSL announces dates and times for the 2017 Playoffs

All three games to be broadcast live on Lifetime

The Thorns and Courage will each host home semifinals in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL issued the following press release on Wednesday:

CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2017) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today the 2017 NWSL Championship will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

The semifinals will be hosted by Portland Thorns FC on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. and by the North Carolina Courage on Sunday, Oct. 8 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, N.C. Both matches will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The Chicago Red Stars, Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign FC are the three teams remaining in contention for the final two playoff spots.

Lifetime will broadcast live all three games of the 2017 NWSL Playoffs and the matches will also be available for both live and on-demand streaming via the Lifetime iOS and Android apps and MyLifetime.com. International fans can watch on the NWSL app and NWSLsoccer.com. 

Tickets are on sale now for the 2017 NWSL Championship starting as low as $20. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase seats throughout the 25,500 capacity venue, including in the North end of Orlando City Stadium – North America’s first safe-standing supporter’s section. Tickets are available online at www.NWSLchampionship.com and by phone at 1-855-ORL-CITY.


2017 NWSL Playoffs Schedule

Saturday, October 7

Portland Thorns FC vs. TBD

Providence Park

3:30 p.m. ET

Lifetime


Sunday, October 8

North Carolina Courage vs. TBD

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

3:30 p.m. ET

Lifetime


Saturday, October 14

NWSL Championship

Orlando City Stadium

4:30 p.m. ET

Lifetime

Washington Spirit defender Whitney Church voted Player of the Week

Goal and a game-saving block for Church in 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC

Whitney Church got her foot to this ball to block the close range effort from Sam Kerr. Church was named Player of the Week for Week 20. (Photo credit: Meg Linehan for NWSL Media)

On Tuesday, Washington Spirit defender Whitney Church was voted the NWSL Player of the Week for Week 20, thanks to her goal and game-saving block in stoppage time in the 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC on Sunday.

Church’s equalizing goal in the 75th minute was the first of her NWSL career, and helped snap the Spirit’s six-game winless streak on the road in New Jersey.

The defender also turned in a strong performance on the other side of the ball. According to Opta, she finished the match with seven interceptions, four clearances, three blocks, two tackles and gained possession 12 times.

Church came up with a key blocked shot in the closing moments of stoppage time against Sky Blue’s Kelley O’Hara, which gave Spirit goalkeeper DiDi Haracic enough time to scramble back and make a second save. Their combined work won them the NWSL Save of the Week for Week 20, as voted by the fans of the league.

The win dashed Sky Blue FC’s postseason hopes, but it was also just the second win on road this season for the Spirit. Their only other win away from the Plex this season also came at Sky Blue FC’s expense back in the start of August. Thanks to the efforts of Church and her side, the Spirit went 3-0-0 against Sky Blue this season.

The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Dash vs. Courage game rescheduled for Sept. 27 in Edinburg, Texas

The game was originally scheduled for Aug. 27 in Houston, but postponed due to Hurricane Harvey

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release on Monday:

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that the Houston Dash will host the North Carolina Courage at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at HEB Park in Edinburg, Texas. The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 27 in Houston, but the match was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.

Additionally, Houston will play its final regular season game against FC Kansas City at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 1 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in Kansas City. The match was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 29.

Both matches will be available live on the go90 and NWSL apps and websites or, for our international fans, on NWSLsoccer.com.

Power Rankings: Christine Sinclair, Portland Thorns ride eighth win in last nine to top spot

NWSL Power Rankings presented by Cutter

Christine Sinclair and Portland Thorns FC clinched home-field advantage with the win over the Boston Breakers. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley for isiphotos.com)

Christine Sinclair and the Portland Thorns are clicking at just the right time as they gear up for their fourth trip to the playoffs in five years.

For the second year in a row Thorns fans will get to watch their team in the postseason as Sinclair scored her eighth goal of the season to hand Portland a 1-0 road victory against the Boston Breakers to see to it that the Thorns clinched home-field advantage in the semifinals.

The Thorns became the first team to win eight games from nine matches in league history with the away win against the Breakers. With another victory in Week 21, Portland will set a new all-time mark for the most points taken from any 10-game stretch in the NWSL.

See below where each club has landed in the rankings this week.

1

PORTLAND THORNS FC
13-5-4, 43 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 2

Christine Sinclair scored her third goal in the last two games to lead the Thorns to a pivotal 1-0 road win over Boston that clinched a home playoff game for Portland. Adrianna Franch made four saves in the win as she became the second goalkeeper in NWSL history with 10 shutouts in a single season.


Up: 1
Last week: 3

Kristen Hamilton tallied her third goal of the year to push the Courage to a 1-0 win over Houston as North Carolina secured a home playoff game for their fans. Next up on the agenda for Carolina is the NWSL Shield – which can happen in Week 21.


3

ORLANDO PRIDE
10-6-6, 36 pts

Down: 2
Last week: 1

At this point, Alex Morgan is going to go around on Halloween to all the houses of NWSL defenders and trick-or-treat dressed as herself. She’s been that scary. The U.S. international scored her ninth goal of the year to help the Pride to a 1-1 draw against Seattle as she notched a point for the seventh consecutive match.


4

CHICAGO RED STARS
10-6-6, 36 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 5

Alyssa Naeher picked up her sixth shutout of the season to help the Red Stars inch closer to a third consecutive trip to the playoffs with a scoreless draw against FC Kansas City. Chicago can clinch a postseason berth in Week 21 through a number of scenarios – the simplest of which is a win against Houston.


5

SEATTLE REIGN FC
8-7-7, 31 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 6

Jess Fishlock doesn’t get nervous. She gets even. The Wales international scored a 94th-minute equalizer to give the Reign a vital 1-1 road draw against Orlando. Seattle still has to win both of their remaining games and get help in order to make the playoffs.


6

FC KANSAS CITY
7-9-6, 27 pts

Down: 2
Last week: 4

Nicole Barnhart earned the 37th shutout of her NWSL career in a scoreless draw against Chicago, but the result eliminated the Blues from the playoffs as KC missed out on the postseason for the second consecutive year.


7

WASHINGTON SPIRIT
5-13-4, 19 pts

Up: 3
Last week: 10

It’s been a tough year for the Spirit, but Washington fans got a fun glimpse of what the future could hold for them as Mallory Pugh scored the first game-winning goal of her NWSL career as the capital club rallied for a 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC.


8

SKY BLUE FC
9-11-2, 29 pts

Down: 1
Last week: 7

Maya Hayes really has had a fantastic year and the forward scored her fifth goal of the season in Week 20, but Sky Blue FC were eliminated from playoff contention with 2-1 loss to Washington. It was the fourth loss for the Jersey club when leading in a match – the most in the league.


9

HOUSTON DASH
7-12-2, 23 pts

Down: 1
Last week: 9

The Dash were eliminated from postseason contention as they were shutout for the fourth time in the last five games and lost for the fifth time in the previous six matches with a 1-0 setback against North Carolina. Rookie Jane Campbell made five saves in the defeat as she continues to make her case for Rookie of the Year.


10

BOSTON BREAKERS
3-12-7, 16 pts

Down: 1
Last week: 9

The Breakers lost their fifth straight and extended their winless run to 10 matches with a 1-0 home loss to Portland. The New England club has a cumulative record of 3-21-6 during the second half of the season over the past three years.


Ellis names 22 players to USWNT roster for September games; Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle return

22 players named for two matches against New Zealand on Sept. 15 and 19

Tobin Heath of Portland Thorns FC and Rose Lavelle of the Boston Breakers both made the roster for a pair of friendlies against New Zealand, and both are back in action for the USWNT after recovering from injuries. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for isiphotos.com)

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath and Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle both make their U.S. women’s national team returns this month, as USWNT head coach Jill Ellis named her 22 player roster for the pair of upcoming friendlies against New Zealand on Thursday. The two matches are scheduled for the FIFA international break, with the first on Sept. 15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (9 p.m. ET) and the second on Sept. 19 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio (7:30 p.m. ET).

All 10 National Women’s Soccer League clubs are once again represented on Ellis’ roster, with the Chicago Red Stars leading the way with five players on the roster.

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris also makes her first roster after recovering from her quad injury, and new Red Stars midfielder Morgan Brian is also back after missing the last three national team events due to her injuries. And while forward Megan Rapinoe didn’t miss any international obligations, after returning to the field for the Seattle Reign FC recently following minor knee surgery, she also made this roster for the New Zealand friendlies.

Sky Blue FC’s Kelley O’Hara could reach her 100th appearance for the national team in September. She’s earned 99 caps since her USWNT debut in 2010, and could be the 36th player to reach the century mark.

In the national team official release, Ellis said, “We are looking forward to getting to Denver and having a couple of days together prepping for our first New Zealand match. With only six matches left in 2017, we want to take advantage of the time we have together and finish the year with solid performances. New Zealand, South Korea and Canada all present different challenges, and these games will round out one of the most competitive schedules the WNT program has played in a calendar year.”

So far in 2017, the USWNT is 7-3-0.

The two games in Colorado and Ohio also mean a few NWSL players will get to play in front of hometown crowds. Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan will receive a warm welcome back in the Denver area at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Lavelle’s return to the Boston Breakers during Week 19 also ensured she’d make it back in time for the Sept. 19 game in Cincinnati.

Sofia Huerta of the Chicago Red Stars will once again train with the USWNT as she waits for the approval from FIFA to change her association from Mexico to the United States. Upon FIFA’s approval, she will immediately become eligible to play for the senior national team.

Notably, the Houston Dash’s Carli Lloyd will miss these two friendlies due to her left ankle sprain.

Both games will be televised, with the first match on ESPN2 and the second on FS1.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars;18/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)

Playoff Picture: Win and in for Red Stars in Week 20

There's a lot on the line in Week 20

The Red Stars can clinch in Week 20. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

It’s win and in for Chicago vs. FC Kansas City on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime). The Red Stars can become the third team to punch their ticket to the playoffs with a victory in Week 20.

Chicago needed a win or draw from the Pride vs. the Reign on Thursday night, and Orlando tied Seattle 1-1. The Pride could’ve locked up a playoff spot with a win, but will have to wait until September 23 for another chance to clinch.

Meanwhile, both the Courage and Thorns have an opportunity to clinch a home playoff game, awarded to the top two teams in the NWSL standings. In the semifinals, the No. 1 team hosts the No. 4 team while No. 2 hosts No. 3.

Elimination scenarios are listed below for the Dash, FC Kansas City and Sky Blue FC. Of note: a win or draw by the Red Stars would eliminate the Dash and FC Kansas City, who can not finish with more than 35 points. If the Red Stars win or tie and Sky Blue loses or ties this weekend, Sky Blue would then be eliminated because they would be unable to finish with more than 36 points and do not hold the tiebreak over Chicago or Orlando, if two or all three teams finish the season with 36 points. (It’s mathematically impossible for the Reign to finish with 36 points, so they would not be part of that tiebreak scenario.)

This weekend’s playoff scenarios:

The Red Stars can clinch a spot in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-a win vs. FC Kansas City


The Courage can clinch a home semifinal game with:

-win vs. Dash

OR

-draw vs. Dash AND Red Stars loss or draw vs. FC Kansas City


The Thorns can clinch a home semifinal game with:

-win vs. Breakers AND Red Stars loss or draw vs. FC Kansas City


Week 20 elimination scenarios:

The Dash will be eliminated from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-loss or draw vs. Courage

OR

-Red Stars win or draw vs. FC Kansas City


FC Kansas City will be eliminated from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-loss or draw vs. Red Stars


Sky Blue FC will be eliminated from the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-loss vs. Spirit AND Courage win or draw vs. Dash

OR

-loss vs. Spirit AND Red Stars win or draw vs. FC Kansas City

OR

-draw vs. Spirit AND Red Stars win or draw vs. FC Kansas City


As we head into Week 20’s weekend games, here’s a look at where each team sits in the NWSL standings, their remaining schedule and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

1. NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

14-6-0, 42 pts

Goal Differential: +12
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 54
Clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sep. 9: vs. Dash
  • Sun., Sep. 24: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sep. 30: vs. Pride
  • TBD: Postponed game at Dash

2. PORTLAND THORNS FC

12-5-4, 40 pts

Goal Differential: +14
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 49
Clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Pride
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Red Stars

3. ORLANDO PRIDE

10-6-6, 36 pts

Goal Differential: +13
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 42
Magic Number: 2
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Courage

4. CHICAGO RED STARS

10-6-5, 35 pts

Goal Differential: +4
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 44
Magic Number: 3
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 9: at FC Kansas City
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Thorns FC

5. SEATTLE REIGN FC

8-7-7, 31 pts

Goal Differential: +6
Games Remaining: 2
Max Points Possible: 37
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 3

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 30: at Spirit

6. SKY BLUE FC

9-10-2, 29 pts

Goal Differential: -9
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 38
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 4

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Spirit
  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Breakers

7. FC KANSAS CITY

7-9-5, 26 pts

Goal Differential: -3
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 35
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 1

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 9: vs. Red Stars
  • Sun., Sept. 24: at Reign FC
  • Fri., Sept. 29: vs. Dash

8. HOUSTON DASH

7-11-2, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -10
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 35
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 1

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 9: at Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Red Stars
  • Fri., Sept. 29: at FC Kansas City
  • TBD: Postponed game vs. Courage

9. BOSTON BREAKERS

3-11-7, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -12
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 25
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Spirit
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Sky Blue FC

10. WASHINGTON SPIRIT

4-13-4, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -15
Games Remaining: 3
Max Points Possible: 25
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Reign FC

Magic Number formula*
The Magic Number for a team to clinch a playoff spot is determined by subtracting that team’s current points total from the maximum number of points possible for the fifth-place team, then adding one.

Elimination Number Formula*
The Elimination Number for a team to confirm their exclusion from the playoffs is determined by subtracting that team’s maximum number of possible points from the current number of points of the fourth-place team, then adding one.

* = The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team’s Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Tiebreaker Procedures

To Break a Tie in the Standings

If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season, the tie will be broken through the following steps:

Two teams

1.Head-to-head record
2.Overall goal difference
3.Overall goals scored
4.Head-to-head road record
5.Goal difference in all road games
6.Goals scored in all road games
7.Head-to-head home record
8.Goal difference in all home games
9.Goals scored in all home games
10.Coin toss

Three teams

1.Points per game against other two teams

2.Overall goal difference

3. See tiebreaker procedure for two-team scenarios
NOTE: If two teams are still tied after the third team has advanced via the tiebreaker, the tie will be broken using the two-team tiebreaker rules.

August Team of the Month

The August NWSL Best XI

Four members of the Orlando Pride have been named to the NWSL August Team of the Month — including August Player of the Month Alex Morgan. She’s joined by teammates Marta, Steph Catley and Ali Krieger. The first-place North Carolina Courage and second-place Portland Thorns each have three players on the team.

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr, the league’s leading goal scorer, is on the team for the fourth straight month. Marta makes her third consecutive appearance.

The August Team of the Month was selected by the NWSL Media Association.

Take a look at the full best XI, which lines up in a 4-3-3 formation.

GK: Katelyn Rowland, North Carolina Courage

Rowland won all five games in August, recording a cleansheet in three. She allowed just three goals and made 14 saves as the Courage clinched a playoff spot. On August 13, in a 2-1 road win over the Reign, Rowland made five saves and earned a Save of the Week nomination for a second-half stop vs. Reign forward Nahomi Kawasumi.


D: Steph Catley, Orlando Pride

Catley started and played every minute in four straight Pride August wins, earning an assist on Alex Morgan’s goal in a 3-0 win over the Spirit on August 8. She finished the month with 13 clearances, four interceptions, three blocks and a passing accuracy over 80% in every match she played in.


D: Ali Krieger, Orlando Pride

Krieger played every minute in all five Pride games in August, leading a backline that only conceded three goals and went 4-0-1. She contributed 26 clearances and six interceptions, as well as a game-winning assist in Boston on Augut 19.


D: Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns FC

Sonnett recorded goals in back-to-back games as the Thorns went 4-1 in August. On the defensive side of the ball, she contributed 21 clearances and 12 interceptions.


D: Taylor Smith, North Carolina Courage

Smith helped the Courage backline earn three shutouts and five wins in August, playing every minute along the way and contributing 18 tackles.


M: Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC

Horan tallied a goal and assist for the Thorns in August and created six chances as Portland went 4-1-0. She contributed 19 tackles and 14 interceptions.


M: Marta, Orlando Pride

Marta scored three goals and added two assists, plus 13 chances created, in August as the Pride went undefeated. She also finished the month with an 89.8 passing accuracy, including a 58 for 61 performance vs. Sky Blue FC — when she also registered two goals and an assist in a 5-0 win.


M: Sam Mewis, North Carolina Courage

Mewis won Player of the Week after recording two goals in Seattle on August 13 as the Courage won 2-1 at Memorial Stadium. She finished the month with three goals as North Carolina went 5-0-0.


F: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC

Kerr set a new league record on August 19, becoming the first player to score four goals in one game. Her fourth and final goal was a 94th minute game-winning goal for Sky Blue over the Reign. The next week, she tied the single-season record, scoring her 16th goal of the season.


F: Alex Morgan, Orlando Pride

Morgan was named the August Player of the Month after scoring seven goals and two assists in five games for the Pride. She recorded a goal in every game and became the first player to score three straight game-winning goals, completing her month with an 87th minute game-winning goal that won the Week 18 Goal of the Week.


F: Hayley Raso, Portland Thorns FC

Raso was named the Week 18 Player of the Week after scoring twice in Seattle as the Thorns became the first NWSL team to reach 50 wins. She finished the month with three goals as the Thorns won four times in August.


The NWSL Team of the Month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Stephanie Labbé to take medical leave for the remainder of the season

Labbé started 17 games for the Spirit this season

Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé makes a save for Washington. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé will take a medical leave for the rest of the 2017 season, the Spirit announced Wednesday.

“It is with great difficulty that the Spirit and I have decided that I will take a medical leave of absence for the remainder of the season,” Labbé wrote in a statement shared on social media on Wednesday. “This decision was not an easy one, but after much deliberation we have concluded that this is what’s best for me at this time.”

Labbé started 17 games this season and earned two shutouts. She was named to the Team of the Month in May and June and earned the Week 11 Save of the Week.

“Steph has been an important part of our team the past two seasons and has grown and developed as a player and person,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in the Spirit’s official release. “We have had discussions over the last couple of weeks and believe she needs some additional time away. We support and will continue to support Steph throughout this process.”

Orlando Pride match vs. Seattle Reign FC rescheduled for Thursday

#ORLvSEA will be played Thursday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium

The match between the Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign FC has been rescheduled ahead of Hurricane Irma. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper for isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issue the following news release:

Due to Hurricane Irma, the Orlando Pride match against Seattle Reign FC, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. ET, at Orlando City Stadium. The match will follow Orlando City B’s match against the Richmond Kickers, which has been moved to 4:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.

The NWSL, in consultation with the Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign FC, will continue to closely monitor the weather forecasts until the match and will make any necessary changes to ensure the safety of the players, staff and fans.

Tickets to the Pride’s match for Saturday will be honored at Orlando City Stadium gates on Thursday. Fans are invited to stay for both matches. Seating for OCB’s match is general admission, while Pride ticket holders will have access to their purchased seats. Fans interested in purchasing tickets for either match can visit orlandocitysc.com or call (855) ORL-CITY.

The Pride vs. Reign FC match will be available live on the go90 and NWSL apps and websites or, for our international fans, on NWSLsoccer.com.

Shea Groom voted Player of the Week

Groom scored a brace and tallied an assist in FC Kansas City's 4-1 win over Sky Blue FC

Shea Groom led FC Kansas City to a massive victory over Sky Blue FC during Week 19 action. (Photo credit: Amy Kontras for isiphotos.com)

As FC Kansas City has made a late push for a playoff position, arguably no one has come up bigger for the Blues than forward Shea Groom. In Week 19, she was voted NWSL Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association, thanks to her two goals and an assist in the 4-1 win over Sky Blue FC. She’s been clutch this summer: Groom has either scored or assisted on the game-winner in three of the last four wins for FC Kansas City.

Groom has now scored four goals and added six assists during the 2017 season, putting her in some elite company. She’s one of only nine players with at least 10 points this season.

Groom kicked off her match on Sunday against Sky Blue FC by creating midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta‘s goal in the 39th minute with a ball right across the face of goal. The two traded roles five minutes later, when Groom scored her first in the 44th minute. LaBonta proved a no-look pass over her own head to Groom, who bent her strike past Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan into the left side of goal.

Groom finished up her brace in the second half with her goal in the 64th minute, off an assist from midfielder Desiree Scott. Sheridan made the initial save on Groom’s shot, but her rebound went directly back to Groom who got a knee to it for the finish.

In addition to her two goals and assist, Groom finished up the match with all four of her shots as shots on target, plus two key passes.

This is the second time in Groom’s career she’s won Player of the Week honors, with her first back in Week 13 of the 2015 season.

FC Kansas City needs to keep up their winning ways to keep their playoff hopes alive. They host the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Power Rankings: Pride strike at home to stay in top spot

NWSL Power Rankings presented by Cutter

Alex Morgan and Marta celebrate one of the Orlando Pride's four goals scored against the Boston Breakers during Week 19. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper for isiphotos.com)

Alex Morgan saw her scoring streak come to an end at five games, but the U.S. international still managed an assist to help the Orlando Pride to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Breakers for a club-record fifth consecutive win. The 2016 expansion club continues to make strides toward a playoff appearance in just their second season.

Morgan still has a goal or an assist in each of her last six matches – while Marta has four goals and two assists during the same stretch – as the Pride have taken their play to another level down the stretch.

Elsewhere, Christine Sinclair and the Portland Thorns continued to roll along with a 4-0 triumph over the Washington Spirit as the Cascadia club clinched a playoff spot.

1

ORLANDO PRIDE
10-6-5, 35 pts

Last week: 1

Chioma Ubogagu had a goal and assist and was instrumental all four goals to lead the Pride to a 4-2 victory over Boston as Orlando won their fifth straight to put themselves on the brink of the first playoff appearance in club history.


2

PORTLAND THORNS FC
11-5-4, 37 pts

Last week: 2

Christine Sinclair scored twice to help the Thorns clinch their fourth playoff appearance in five years with a 4-0 victory over Washington. Portland has won seven of their last eight and if that wasn’t scary enough – they just added Tobin Heath to their active roster.


Last week: 3

The runaway league leaders have officially found themselves a bogey team as the Courage lost to Chicago for the third time this season in a 2-1 road defeat. It was also the first time North Carolina has lost when leading in a match.


4

FC KANSAS CITY
7-9-5, 26 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 5

FC Kansas City are still alive following a huge 4-1 victory over Sky Blue FC as Shea Groom scored twice and added an assist for the Blues. Groom and her teammates can buy themselves another week with a win against Chicago in Week 20.


5

CHICAGO RED STARS
10-6-5, 35 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 6

Yuki Nagasato and Julie Ertz both scored to rally the Red Stars to a 2-1 victory against North Carolina as Chicago completed a three-game sweep of the season series against the league leaders.


6

SEATTLE REIGN FC
8-7-6, 30 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 7

Coach Laura Harvey became the first coach in NWSL history with 50 wins as the Reign got a much needed 1-0 victory against Houston to keep themselves in the playoff hunt.


7

SKY BLUE FC
9-10-2, 29 pts

Down: 3
Last week: 4

Sky Blue FC’s margin for error has almost vanished following a deflating 4-1 loss to FC Kansas City. The Jersey club play for their playoff lives from here on out and will need every goal they can get from Samantha Kerr as she tries to break the NWSL single-season scoring record.


8

HOUSTON DASH
7-11-2, 23 pts

Last week: 8

A 1-0 loss to Seattle leaves the Dash on the precipice of postseason elimination. Houston has won just once in their last five matches – and failed to score in three of those.


9

BOSTON BREAKERS
3-11-7, 16 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 10

The Breakers fell to a 4-2 defeat against Orlando. Boston is winless in the previous nine games and has won just once in the last 18 matches. That’s the bad news. The good? Rose Lavelle made her first NWSL appearance since June.


10

WASHINGTON SPIRIT
4-13-4, 16 pts

Down: 1
Last week: 9

A 4-0 loss to Portland saw the Spirit extend their winless run to six games – the most for the club since an NWSL record 13-game streak without a victory back in 2013.


Thorns clinch playoff spot, updated playoff picture

The Thorns are the second team to clinch a playoff spot

The Thorns are 12-5-4 through the first 21 games of the season. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

After a busy Sunday in the NWSL, here’s a quick look at the playoff picture:

Portland Thorns FC became the second team to secure a spot in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs. After a 4-0 win over the Washington Spirit on Saturday, they needed FC Kansas City to beat Sky Blue FC. The Blues delivered with a 4-1 win.

The North Carolina Courage could have secured a home playoff game with a win in Chicago, but they lost 2-1, meaning they will have to wait at least another game to wrap up one of the top two spots.

The Thorns are just two points behind the Courage, though North Carolina has one extra game left to play this season.

The Red Stars kept their third place spot thanks to a late game-winning goal from Julie Ertz.

Though both teams are tied on points, Chicago holds the third spot over Orlando because the first tiebreak in the NWSL is head-to-head and the Red Stars are 2-0-1 vs. the Pride this season.

The Reign jumped over Sky Blue and into fifth place with their win over the Dash.

FC Kansas City avoid elimination with the win over Sky Blue.

Alex Morgan announces she will return to the Pride in 2018, will not play for Lyon next season

Morgan has 8 goals, 3 assists with the Pride this season

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan has eight goals since returning to the Pride this summer. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan will return to the Pride next season and will not play for Olympique Lyon in France in 2018, she and the Pride announced Sunday. Morgan had spent the first half of 2017 with Lyon, where she won a Champions League title.

“I agreed with Lyon to terminate our contract and continue with Orlando Pride moving forward,” Morgan said in a video shared by the Pride on social media. “I feel like the present of this club and the future of this club is just going above and beyond and it’s going to do incredible things. I’m really happy here. This is my home. As happy as I was this year playing with two clubs, I will be with Orlando Pride moving forward. “

Morgan said that when she signed with Lyon, she signed for six months in 2017, with a mutual option for her to return to Lyon in 2018. But that ultimately she decided to stay in Orlando next season.

“It was an amazing season,” she said of her time with Lyon. “I felt like I did what I went there to do. I felt fulfilled with that season that I went there for. Coming back here, I knew the amazing club that supported me through that process. Both of the clubs were very understanding throughout the whole process.”

At the moment, the Pride (10-6-5, 35 points) are in third place in the NWSL and riding a five game-winning streak. Morgan is the reigning NWSL Player of the Month after scoring seven goals and two assists in August. She scored in all five August matches and recorded three straight game-winning goals.

“I feel really good right now. I would say I am in pretty good form. This team is in good form. It’s clicking together,” she said.

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan voted August Player of the Month

Morgan's seven goals and two assists led Pride to a 4-0-1 record in August

Alex Morgan celebrates her goal against the Boston Breakers with her Orlando Pride teammates. (Photo credit: Tim Bouwer/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan has earned her first ever Player of the Month honors of her NWSL career, after scoring seven goals and tallying two assists during August. Morgan was involved in nine of the Pride’s 13 goals, as the club went undefeated in August with a 4-0-1 record. According to Opta, Morgan finished the month with 13 shots on goal, nine key passes, and created 11 chances.

She scored a goal on 54% of her shots on goal in August, and at a rate of 61.4 minutes per goal.

Morgan has scored the game-winning goal for Orlando in each of the last three games — a new record for the NWSL. She also scored in all five games in August, and can match the record of six consecutive goals scores, currently owned by former Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little and set in 2014. (Abby Wambach also scored in six consecutive matches played in 2013, but missed two games during her streak to play with the U.S. national team.)

Morgan’s month kicked off on August 5, when she scored the only goal for the Pride in a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars. That match, she also led the team in winning duels with a 87.5% success rate, and winning every aerial duel with a 6-for-6 record. Three days later, she scored a goal and provided an assist to Marta in the 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit.

On August 12, Morgan had her best game of the month in the 5-0 win over Sky Blue FC, scoring a brace and adding another assist on a Marta goal. In that game, she finished with four shots on target, three key passes and four chances created.

A week later, Morgan tallied another brace as she helped the Pride to a 2-1 win in Boston against the Breakers. Finally, she scored her last game-winning goal against FC Kansas City on August 26. That goal, scored in the 87th minute, was a nifty flick past Blues goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart off a Marta free kick.

The Pride reaped the benefits from Morgan’s August — it’s the first time the club has ever gone undefeated in a calendar month. Back on August 1, the Pride were five points out of the playoffs in seventh, and they enter the final month of the regular season now with a three-point cushion in fourth on the table.

This is the first time an Orlando Pride player has won Player of the Month. Previously, Morgan won Player of the Week honors in 2014 while with Portland Thorns FC.

The NWSL Player of the Month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Week 19 injury report

Lavelle removed from Breakers injury report

Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle has two goals and an assist this season. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released its weekly injury report ahead of Week 19’s weekend games. View the full injury report.

Notable updates:

Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle has been removed from the injury report. She has not played since June 3 as she recovered from a hamstring strain.

Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe (left knee meniscus tear) has been upgraded to questionable.

New Red Stars midfielder Morgan Brian, who had been dealing with right groin tendinitis, is not listed on the injury report.

Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, is listed as questionable (concussion).

Spirit defender Estelle Johnson is out with a left IT band tear and forward Francisca Ordega is out with a left hamstring strain. They were both injured on Wednesday night in the Spirit’s loss to the Courage.

Pride midfielder Kristen Edmonds (right calf strain) and Jasmyne Spencer (right hamstring strain) are out.

Courage forward Lynn Williams is questionable with a right groin strain.

Playoff Picture: Thorns have a chance to clinch in Week 19

With a win and some help from FC Kansas City, the Thorns will be in the playoffs for the second straight year

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch celebrates at Providence Park. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

Heading into Week 19’s weekend games, the four teams in playoff position are the Courage (already clinched a spot), Thorns, Red Stars and Pride. Though both teams are tied on points, Chicago holds the third spot over Orlando because the first tiebreak in the NWSL is head-to-head and the Red Stars are 2-0-1 vs. the Pride this season.

This weekend, the Thorns have a chance to become the second team to clinch a spot in 2017 NWSL Playoffs and the Courage could clinch a home semifinal game.

This weekend’s playoff scenarios:

The Thorns can clinch a spot in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs with:

-a win vs. the Spirit (Sat, 3:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime)
AND
-a Sky Blue FC loss or tie vs. FC Kansas City


The Courage can clinch a home semifinal game with:

-win vs. Red Stars
OR
-tie vs. Red Stars
AND
-Pride tie vs. Breakers


FC Kansas City will be eliminated from playoff contention with:

-loss vs. Sky Blue FC
AND
-Red Stars win or tie vs. Courage

OR

-draw vs. Sky Blue FC
AND
-Red Stars win vs. Courage
AND
Pride win or tie vs. Breakers


Here’s a look at where each team sits in the NWSL standings, their remaining schedule and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

1. NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

14-5-0, 42 pts

Goal Differential: +13
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 57
Clinched a spot in the NWSL Playoffs

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sep. 3: at Red Stars
  • Sat., Sep. 9: vs. Dash
  • Sun., Sep. 24: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sep. 30: vs. Pride
  • TBD: Postponed game at Dash

2. PORTLAND THORNS FC

11-5-4, 37 pts

Goal Differential: +10
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 49
Magic Number: 5
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: vs. Spirit
  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Pride
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Red Stars

3. CHICAGO RED STARS

9-6-5, 32 pts

Goal Differential: +3
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 44
Magic Number: 10
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at FC Kansas City
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Thorns FC

4. ORLANDO PRIDE

9-6-5, 32 pts

Goal Differential: +11
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 44
Magic Number: 10
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 9: vs. Reign FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Courage

5. SKY BLUE FC

9-9-2, 29 pts

Goal Differential: -6
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 41
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 10

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: at FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Spirit
  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Breakers

6. SEATTLE REIGN FC

7-7-6, 27 pts

Goal Differential: +5
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 39
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 8

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at Pride
  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 30: at Spirit

7. FC KANSAS CITY

6-9-5, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -6
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 35
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 4

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sept. 9: vs. Red Stars
  • Sun., Sept. 24: at Reign FC
  • Fri., Sept. 29: vs. Dash

8. HOUSTON DASH

7-10-2, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -9
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 38
Magic Number:
 Elimination Number: 7

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Reign FC
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Red Stars
  • Fri., Sept. 29: at FC Kansas City
  • TBD: Postponed game vs. Courage

9. BOSTON BREAKERS

3-10-7, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -10
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 28
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: at Pride
  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Spirit
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Sky Blue FC

10. WASHINGTON SPIRIT

4-12-4, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -11
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 31
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: at Thorns FC
  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Reign FC

Magic Number formula*
The Magic Number for a team to clinch a playoff spot is determined by subtracting that team’s current points total from the maximum number of points possible for the fifth-place team, then adding one.

Elimination Number Formula*
The Elimination Number for a team to confirm their exclusion from the playoffs is determined by subtracting that team’s maximum number of possible points from the current number of points of the fourth-place team, then adding one.

* = The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team’s Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Tiebreaker Procedures

To Break a Tie in the Standings

If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season, the tie will be broken through the following steps:

Two teams

1.Head-to-head record
2.Overall goal difference
3.Overall goals scored
4.Head-to-head road record
5.Goal difference in all road games
6.Goals scored in all road games
7.Head-to-head home record
8.Goal difference in all home games
9.Goals scored in all home games
10.Coin toss

Three teams

1.Points per game against other two teams

2.Overall goal difference

3. See tiebreaker procedure for two-team scenarios
NOTE: If two teams are still tied after the third team has advanced via the tiebreaker, the tie will be broken using the two-team tiebreaker rules.

Outside the Box Scores: Rewriting history in 2017

2017 has seen a number of records come under threat

Seattle Reign FC forward Nahomi Kawasumi scored in the 90th minute on August 16 in a win over the Red Stars. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Last week, we took a look at the all-time NWSL leaderboard. This week, let’s take a closer look at single season records and some of the statistical highlights of 2017.

Courage clinch

The Courage became the first in the NWSL to clinch a playoff spot, defeating the Spirit 3-2 on Wednesday night. It was also their 14th win of the season, making North Carolina just the second team in NWSL history to win 14 games in one season. The first — Seattle Reign FC in 2014 on their way to a record 16 wins in one season.

The Courage have five games to try to break or tie the record. Seattle’s 2014 record was set in a 24-game season, like 2017.

The win on Wednesday night was a rare non-shutout win for the Courage — 10 of their 14 wins have come without allowing a goal. It was also the first time the Courage won while allowing more than one goal, and when conceding the first goal of the game.

The record for team shutouts in a season is 11, set by FC Kansas City in 2013.

Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland has seven shutouts this season, three shy of the record of 10 set by Nicole Barnhart in 2013. Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch is one ahead of Rowland on the shutout lead this season with eight.

In fact, every major single season record is in threat this season.

Team wins: 16

Set in 2014 by Seattle Reign FC

2017: North Carolina Courage have 14

Team shutouts: 11

Set in 2013 by FC Kansas City

2017: North Carolina Courage have 10

Goalkeeper shutouts: 10

Set in 2013 by Nicole Barnhart

2017:

Adrianna Franch has 8

Katelyn Rowland has 7

Goals: 16

2014: Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC

2017: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC

Assists: 10

Set in 2016 by Tobin Heath

2017: Nahomi Kawasumi has 8

Overall scorer points: 23

Set in 2014 by Kim Little

2017:

Sam Kerr has 19

Marta has 17


Historic 2017

Before this season, a team had only come back from being behind a goal in the 75th minute or later to win a game six times. This season, it’s happened four times, all in the last two months:

June 28: Orlando 3 Sky Blue FC 2 — Yurcak Field

Orlando scored in the 77th (Marta) and 86th (Rachel Hill) to win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

July 8: Sky Blue FC 3 FC Kansas City 2 — Yurcak Field

Sky Blue scored in the 78th, 81st, 90th (Sam Kerr hat trick) to win after being down 2-0.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

August 16: Seattle Reign FC 2 Chicago Red Stars 1 — Toyota Park

Seattle scored in the 90th (Nahomi Kawasumi) and 92nd (Katie Johnson) to win.

Second time in NWSL history a team scored twice in the 90th minute or later in a comeback win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

August 19: Sky Blue FC 5 Seattle Reign FC 4 — Yurcak Field

Seattle up 3-0 at halftime minute.

Sky Blue tied it 3-3 in the 71st minute.

Seattle made it 4-3 in the 85th minute.

Sky Blue scored in the 91st (Maya Hayes) and 94th minutes (Sam Kerr).

First time in NWSL history a team scored twice after the 90th minute in a comeback win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

Sky Blue’s 5-4 win over Seattle was also the first time in NWSL history that a player — Sam Kerr — scored four goals in one game, which leads us to:


Before this season, only five times in NWSL history had a player directly contributed to four or more goals in one game. This season, it’s already happened three times, in three different ways.

May 13: Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit

Nahomi Kawasumi, Reign FC

1 goal, 4 assists in 6-2 win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

June 17: Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride

Marta, Pride

2 goals, 2 assists in 4-2 win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights

August 19: Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sam Kerr, Sky Blue

4 goals in 5-4 comeback win.

Watch: Full game | Highlights


Ties are (not) cool

Last year, it took the Pride until the 18th game of the season to earn their first draw. This season, the Courage have played 19 without a tie.


Recent milestones

Jess McDonald scored her 34th and 35th career regular season goals on Wednesday night in the Courage’s 3-2 win over the Spirit, moving her past Red Stars forward Christen Press and into second place all-time. She trails only Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr (42 goals) for most in league history.

Press was briefly second all-time in goals after scoring No. 34 on Saturday. The goal was also her 10thof the season. She joins Kim Little (2014 and 2015) and McDonald (2014 and 2016) as the only players to score 10 or more goals in a season twice. Press scored 10 goals in 11 games in 2015.

In Week 18, the Thorns became the first team in NWSL history to win 50 games — and to the delight of Portland fans it came on the road in Seattle, 2-1 over their arch rivals. It was the first win in Seattle since 2013. Both wins featured Thorns braces — Hayley Raso (2017) and Christine Sinclair (2013).

Goalkeeper Lydia Williams heads to Seattle after trades with Houston, Boston

Dash pick up second round draft pick in 2018 NWSL College Draft

Lydia Williams is heading to Seattle after the Reign made a pair of trades with the Boston Breakers and Houston Dash. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith for isiphotos.com)

Seattle Reign FC have added goalkeeper Lydia Williams to their roster after a pair of trades with the Houston Dash and the Boston Breakers.

In the first transaction, the Reign traded a conditional draft pick and the rights to midfielder Lindsay Elston to Boston for a second round pick in the 2018 College Draft. Elston has elected to not finish the rest of the 2017 regular season.

Reign head coach and general manager Laura Harvey then used that second round draft pick in the trade with the Dash. That pick is now Houston’s, as they sent goalkeeper Lydia Williams to Seattle.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring in another goalkeeper,” Harvey said in the team’s official release. “Lydia has international experience and suits the way we like to play. I feel she can have an impact within the group both short term and long term.”

This seasons, Williams started eight matches for the Dash, and earned two clean sheets. She also earned a clean sheet for the Australian national team during the Tournament of Nations in the Matildas’ first ever win over the U.S. women’s national team.

Rose Lavelle working her way back to the Breakers

Lavelle could return to the field this weekend for the first time since June 3

Rose Lavelle has two goals and an assist so far this season for the Breakers. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley/isiphotos.com)

“There should be a Dogs of NWSL Instagram account.”

If anyone would know, it’s Rose Lavelle, midfielder for the Boston Breakers. While there are plenty of players, coaches and staff with very good dogs, Lavelle might just be the leading candidate in the NWSL for person most obsessed with their canine companion. Wilma Jean Wrinkles has her own account on Instagram, and Lavelle keeps track of just how much of a good luck charm she is when she watches from the sidelines. “She came to our [Boston] home opener. She had an incredible record when I was at Wisconsin.” While it’s not likely Wilma Jean makes it to another Breakers game this season, she’s undefeated in Boston blue.

“As a Breaker, she’s 1-0,” Lavelle said.

Road tripping can be exhausting..See you soon @bostonbreakers! #roadtrip #bulldogsofinstagram #yawn #hashtag #boston

A post shared by Wilma Jean Wrinkles (@wilmajeanwrinkles) on

Her latest project to celebrate her bulldog was a video to commemorate Wilma Jean’s birthday. When asked how Wilma is, Lavelle instantaneously shifted from serious soccer mode to gushing dog-mom. “So, so cute,” she said, and repeating again that Wilma had just turned five. “I had that video saved up for a month. I was bored and I was at home.”

The reason why Lavelle was at home, meticulously editing videos of Wilma Jean to the Golden Girls theme song: a left hamstring strain. In June, the No. 1 overall draft pick’s rookie season came to a sudden stop. In the waning minutes of a U.S. women’s national team friendly against Norway, Lavelle pulled up with no warning, no contact, no tackle. Just an unexpected betrayal from her own body that put her on the injury list for the NWSL through August, and ensured she also missed out on a call-up to the roster for Tournament of Nations.

This past weekend, Lavelle had been upgraded to questionable for the Breakers, and during pregame warm-ups was on the field in cleats kicking a ball around with head coach Matt Beard. The rest of the team practiced around them, and the chances that Lavelle would see minutes seemed slim, but at least possible.

By the end of the night, the Breakers had lost the match 1-0 to Sky Blue FC, Lavelle had remained on the bench for all 90 minutes, and Boston was officially eliminated from the NWSL Playoffs race. So there’s no real need to rush her back, beyond getting her some minutes and back with a ball at her feet. While she didn’t outright say it, Lavelle understandably has the U.S. women’s national team friendly against New Zealand on Sept. 19 in her sights. That one’s in Cincinnati, Lavelle’s  hometown, and tickets are going fast.

There’s still a couple of weeks before that match to make her NWSL return first. For Lavelle, the last month of the regular season is simply a chance for her and the Breakers to end on a positive note as they look forward to 2018. “I hope we can just finish strong,” she said. “Obviously this season has been a little inconsistent, but I think we’ve definitely had some games that we let get away from us. We’re in the games, but now we just have to work on finishing the games and getting the results. That’s just the plan these last few games: finish strong and finish on a good note, maybe take some of this momentum a couple of months later to next season.”

Her journey into the league wasn’t exactly a standard one for most college draft picks, though normal enough for the top picks — she came into the league with both youth and senior national team experience under her belt. Shortly after arriving in Boston, she signed a deal with New Balance for a multi-year endorsement deal. She’s the brand’s first women’s soccer player. After her performance at the SheBelieves Cup, and earning the first Player of the Month honors for the 2017 season, the hype was looking pretty justified. But at the center, there’s still just Rose Lavelle, a 22-year-old at the beginning of her pro career.

“Definitely playing with the national team ahead of coming into Boston helped,” she said about heading to the NWSL this spring. “I felt like the transition flowed a little more, so really grateful to have had that opportunity to help me prepare for the league. I’ve taken a lot away. A lot of off-field stuff too, just learning from the veterans who have been in this league for a while. Taking care of yourself, taking care of your body.

“Then on the field, speed of play is obviously way faster than college. I can’t get away with as much as I can get away with in college,” she said, laughing. “That’s definitely been an adjustment.”

There’s still some time for Lavelle to show off just what she can get away with in the NWSL — her stats have been stuck at two goals and one assist in eight games since June. And Lavelle is clearly itching to get back onto the field, with watching games from back home or on the bench not doing it for her.

“I loved watching the games, but obviously it was frustrating not being there and being able to help, and try and do my part,” she said on Saturday night. “I’ve had ups and now some downs this year. I’ve learned from both. I obviously don’t wish that this injury happened, but I think I still took a lot away from these part two months and have learned a lot that I don’t think I would have picked up on had I not had this injury. Not that I’m grateful for the injury, but there’s some stuff that came out of it. I learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to take care of myself, and the more mental side of the game too.”

The last time she played for the Breakers was June 3, in a 2-0 loss to the Orlando Pride at Orlando City Stadium. There would be a fitting symmetry for her to take the field again there, in this weekend’s match once again against the Pride at Orlando City Stadium on September 2. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET, and it could finally promise the return of Rose Lavelle.

Dash trade Morgan Brian to Red Stars in exchange for Kristie Mewis

Mewis appeared in one game for the Red Stars after being traded by the Spirit

Kristie Mewis was traded by the Red Stars to the Houston Dash in exchange for Morgan Brian. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

The Houston Dash have traded Morgan Brian and future considerations to the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for Kristie Mewis and future considerations, the teams announced today.

Brian was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft by the expansion Houston Dash in their first season. She has played her entire career with the Dash and appeared in 10 games this season while dealing with a right knee MCL sprain and right groin tendinitis. She last appeared in a match on July 23.

Mewis will join the Dash in advance of Sunday’s game vs. Seattle Reign FC in Frisco, TX, the Dash said. She was traded by the Spirit to the Red Stars on August 21. She played in one game for Chicago, starting and scoring in her only shot on goal with the Red Stars, against her former team in Chicago’s 2-1 win over Washington on August 26.

Mewis played for FC Kansas City in 2013 before spending the next three seasons with the Boston Breakers. She was traded to the Spirit last offseason and tallied two goals and an assist with Washington before being traded to the Red Stars.

NWSL Game of the Week kickoff time changes to 3:32 p.m. ET on Lifetime

High temperatures forecast for the Portland area on Saturday

Portland Thorns FC players before a game at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. (Photo credit: Sam Ortega/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issue the following news release:

The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime featuring the Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Providence Park at 3:30 p.m. ET will no longer feature a pregame show and will now kick-off at 3:32 p.m. ET due to unusually high temperatures forecast for the Portland area.

The match, originally scheduled to kick-off at 3:50 p.m. ET, will still be available live on Lifetime as well as on MyLifetime.com.

Meghan Cox claimed off waivers by the Dash; NWSL roster moves

Cox had appeared in nine games for the Thorns this season

Meghan Cox was waived by the Thorns on August 25 before being claimed by the Dash on August 29. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The Dash claimed former Thorns defender Meghan Cox off waivers on Tuesday, the team announced.

She had appeared in nine games for the Thorns this season after being signed in April as an undrafted rookie from the University of Virginia.

Elsewhere around the league, a number of roster moves were made this week:

The Courage signed Caroline Stanley as a goalkeeper replacement as Sabrina D’Angelo is out with illness.

The Breakers signed forward Hayley Dowd, the No. 38 overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft out of Boston College.

Sky Blue FC signed defender Cassidy Benintente, a graduate of Rutgers, where she played with current Sky Blue defender Erica Skroski and midfielder Madison Tiernan.

The Pride signed midfielders Jo Blankenship and Jordan O’Brien (pending receipt of her International Transfer Certificate). Blankenship and O’Brien had been with the team as training players since the middle of last season.

Thorns FC forward Hayley Raso voted Player of the Week

Raso scored her first career brace on Saturday in Seattle

Hayley Raso scored a brace in Seattle on Saturday and was voted Week 18 Player of the Week. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel for isiphotos.com)

Forward Hayley Raso of Portland Thorns FC was named the NWSL Player of the Week for Week 18, as voted by the NWSL Media Association. Her brace led Portland to a 2-1 win on the road against Cascadia rivals Seattle Reign FC.

Raso’s stats show just how crucial she was to Portland in the win: 2 goals, 6 total shots, 4 shots on target, 1 blocked shot, two key passes and two chances created.

With her two goals on Saturday, Raso scored her first brace of her NWSL career and the eighth player in Thorns history to tally a brace. With her five goals this season, she now leads the team scoring along with Christine Sinclair.

Raso shares something else with Sinclair — the last time the Portland Thorns traveled to Seattle and got a win on the road was August 17, 2013. In that match, Christine Sinclair also scored a brace for the win.

Raso’s award is the second time this month a player has gone into Seattle, scored a brace and won Player of the Week. Samantha Mewis of North Carolina Courage did the same in Week 16.

“It’s really exciting,” Raso said after scoring her brace during the postgame interviews at Memorial Stadium. “We come here and play against our biggest rival, so we want to win that game. It was very exciting, it was a great effort from our girls, we’re pumped about it.”

Raso scored both her goals in the second half. Her first, in the 49th minute, came after Reign goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer made a pass from outside the six-yard box to her defender Kristen McNabb. McNabb’s touch was heavy as Raso pressured high, and Raso swooped in and finished past Kopmeyer for the goal.

For Raso’s second in the 85th minute, Sinclair sent a long ball up from the midfield. While Reign defender Lauren Barnes went in for a diving clearance, Raso successfully trapped it and went in for a one-on-one against Kopmeyer. Despite an initial save, Raso calmly put away the rebound for the 2-0 lead and the eventual game-winning goal.

As for Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons, Raso’s high pressure and finishing reflected on his team as a whole. “I don’t think she can do what she did tonight, which is score a couple of goals, without every single person committing and flying in, giving everything that their body and mind had,” he said on Saturday. “I think the team really pressed hard, and really pressed high. Whether we were high, medium or low, we wanted to get pressure on them, we wanted to move the ball really well, we wanted to play attacking, aggressive soccer, and I thought we did that as a group, and as a result, there were many great individual performances.”

If there was one thing that Parsons was ready to make a promise on, it was Raso’s future: “We’re going to see a lot of Hayley Raso and hopefully for a very long time, we’re going to see her in Portland.”

The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Houston Dash match vs. Reign FC moved to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

General admission tickets are $20 and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

The Houston Dash will head to Dallas for this weekend's match against Seattle Reign FC. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne for isiphotos.com)

The Houston Dash will play this weekend, though not at their home field of BBVA Compass Stadium. Instead, the team will travel to Frisco, Texas and host Seattle Reign FC at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game’s relocation is due to widespread flooding and damage in Houston and the surrounding area after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall.

The match, scheduled for this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, will be presented by the FC Dallas Foundation. General admission tickets for the game are $20, and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Tickets may be purchased via the FC Dallas website or by calling 888-FCD-GOAL.

The Dash will travel on Wednesday for training in Frisco ahead of Sunday’s match.

“On behalf of the Dash, I want to sincerely thank the Hunt family and our partners at FC Dallas for stepping up to assist our club in this time of need,” Dash president Chris Canetti said in the team’s official release. “We are thankful for the opportunity to play this match in Frisco and that the FC Dallas Foundation will be using the event as a benefit to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. This is a great example of the soccer community uniting to help one another in difficult times.”

“We are sincerely appreciative of FC Dallas and Toyota Stadium for their willingness to assist the Houston Dash and NWSL in staging this game in Frisco,” NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy said. “Given the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the current circumstances in the greater Houston area, it was necessary to find a solution for this game that prioritized the safety of the players, staff and fans during this challenging time. We are grateful to the FC Dallas foundation for providing their support for this game and helping to benefit the American Red Cross.”

The NWSL also has a list of resources on how its fans and supporters can help the community of Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

Arielle Ship out for the rest of the season with torn ACL

Ship was injured on Saturday vs. the Red Stars

Spirit forward Arielle Ship tallied a goal and two assists in her rookie NWSL season. (Photo credit: Jose Argueta/isiphotos.com)

Washington Spirit rookie forward Arielle Ship has torn the ACL in her right knee and is out for the remainder of the season, the team announced Tuesday. She was injured after a collision in the second half of Saturday’s game vs. the Chicago Red Stars.

Ship had appeared in 14 games this season. She won the Week 15 Player of the Week after recording a goal and two assists in a win over Sky Blue FC on August 4.

“Injuries are always awful, especially ones that are generated by contact,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra in the team’s official release. “I felt like that was Ari’s best game of the season so far, so it’s really disappointing and sad that she’ll miss the rest of the season. We’ll provide her with the support and quality medical resources to get her back as strong as ever.”

Playoff Picture: Courage can clinch with win Wednesday over Spirit

As the end of the season approaches, the NWSL playoff picture is coming into focus

Midfielder McCall Zerboni in action for the North Carolina Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The Courage can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win over the Spirit on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET). Though the Spirit have been eliminated from playoff contention, they can delay North Carolina’s entry into the playoffs with a win or draw over the No. 1 team in the league.

Following Week 18’s games, there was no change in the top four teams as the Courage, Thorns, Red Stars and Pride remain in playoff position. Though both teams are tied on points, Chicago holds the third spot over Orlando because the first tiebreak in the NWSL is head-to-head and the Red Stars are 2-0-1 vs. the Pride this season.

Here’s a look at where each team sits in the NWSL standings, their remaining schedule and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

1. NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

13-5-0, 39 pts

Goal Differential: +12
Games Remaining: 6
Max Points Possible: 57
Magic Number: 3
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Wed., Aug. 30: at Washington Spirit
  • Sun., Sep. 3: at Red Stars
  • Sat., Sep. 9: vs. Dash
  • Sun., Sep. 24: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sep. 30: vs. Pride
  • TBD: Postponed game at Dash

2. PORTLAND THORNS FC

11-5-4, 37 pts

Goal Differential: +10
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 49
Magic Number: 5
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: vs. Spirit
  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Pride
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Red Stars

3. CHICAGO RED STARS

9-6-5, 32 pts

Goal Differential: +3
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 44
Magic Number: 10
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at FC Kansas City
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Thorns FC

4. ORLANDO PRIDE

9-6-5, 32 pts

Goal Differential: +11
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 44
Magic Number: 10
Elimination Number:

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 9: vs. Reign FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Courage

5. SKY BLUE FC

9-9-2, 29 pts

Goal Differential: -6
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 41
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 10

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: at FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Spirit
  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 30: at Breakers

6. SEATTLE REIGN FC

7-7-6, 27 pts

Goal Differential: +5
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 39
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 8

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: at Dash
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at Pride
  • Sun., Sept. 24: vs. FC Kansas City
  • Sun., Sept. 30: at Spirit

7. FC KANSAS CITY

6-9-5, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -6
Games Remaining: 4
Max Points Possible: 35
Magic Number:
Elimination Number: 4

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sept. 9: vs. Red Stars
  • Sun., Sept. 24: at Reign FC
  • Fri., Sept. 29: vs. Dash

8. HOUSTON DASH

7-10-2, 23 pts

Goal Differential: -9
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 38
Magic Number:
 Elimination Number: 7

Remaining schedule:

  • Sun., Sept. 3: vs. Reign FC
  • Sat., Sept. 9: at Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Red Stars
  • Fri., Sept. 29: at FC Kansas City
  • TBD: Postponed game vs. Courage

9. BOSTON BREAKERS

3-10-7, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -10
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 28
Magic Number:
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Sat., Sept. 2: at Pride
  • Sun., Sept. 10: vs. Thorns FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: at Spirit
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Sky Blue FC

10. WASHINGTON SPIRIT

4-11-4, 16 pts

Goal Differential: -10
Games Remaining: 5
Max Points Possible: 31
Magic Number:
Eliminated from playoff contention

Remaining schedule:

  • Wed., Aug. 30: vs. Courage
  • Sat., Sept. 2: at Thorns FC
  • Sun., Sept. 10: at Sky Blue FC
  • Sat., Sept. 23: vs. Breakers
  • Sat., Sept. 30: vs. Reign FC

Magic Number formula*
The Magic Number for a team to clinch a playoff spot is determined by subtracting that team’s current points total from the maximum number of points possible for the fifth-place team, then adding one.

Elimination Number Formula*
The Elimination Number for a team to confirm their exclusion from the playoffs is determined by subtracting that team’s maximum number of possible points from the current number of points of the fourth-place team, then adding one.

* = The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team’s Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Tiebreaker Procedures

To Break a Tie in the Standings

If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season, the tie will be broken through the following steps:

Two teams

1.Head-to-head record
2.Overall goal difference
3.Overall goals scored
4.Head-to-head road record
5.Goal difference in all road games
6.Goals scored in all road games
7.Head-to-head home record
8.Goal difference in all home games
9.Goals scored in all home games
10.Coin toss

Three teams

1.Points per game against other two teams

2.Overall goal difference

3. See tiebreaker procedure for two-team scenarios
NOTE: If two teams are still tied after the third team has advanced via the tiebreaker, the tie will be broken using the two-team tiebreaker rules.

Tobin Heath back on the active roster for Portland Thorns FC

Heath activated off the 45-day disabled list

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath is back on the active roster. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley for isiphotos.com)

On Monday, Portland Thorns FC announced the club has added midfielder Tobin Heath to the active roster.

Heath has yet to appear for the Thorns so far this season due to a back sprain that eventually landed her on the on the 45-day disabled list.

Since 2013, Heath has earned 38 appearances and 37 starts, with her most ever coming last season. In her 14 games played in 2016, she scored one goal and tallied 10 assists, a league best which helped put her on the 2016 NWSL Best XI.

With the postseason and a home semifinal firmly in Portland’s sights for the 2017 season, Mark Parsons just welcomed back one of his team’s most important players on their quest to add a second star above the crest.

Earlier in the day, the Thorns announced that Mana Shim had been waived.

Mana Shim and Portland Thorns FC part ways

Shim has the fourth-most number of appearances in Thorns FC history

Mana Shim and the Portland Thorns have mutually parted ways, as announced on Monday. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer for isiphotos.com)

On Monday, Portland Thorns FC announced that the club and midfielder Mana Shim mutually agreed to part ways.

This season, Shim only played in six games, starting three for a total of 209 minutes after struggling with injuries. Over her five-year career with the Thorns, she earned 74 career appearances and scored nine goals, adding nine assists. Shim was on the club’s roster for both the 2013 NWSL Championship and the 2016 NWSL Shield wins. She signed with the team as a discovery player ahead of the league’s inaugural season.

“While I am excited to move forward with my career overseas, it is very difficult for me to say goodbye,” Shim said, in a Thorns press release. “My time with the Thorns has been beyond anything I could have imagined. I would like to thank Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson, Mark Parsons, the staff, my unbelievable teammates, and the best fans in the world for allowing me the opportunity to play in this beautiful city. We have created so many memories that I will never forget. My heart is full of gratitude, and I will miss this place.”

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Mana and we are extremely appreciative of her contributions to this club over the past five seasons and we wish her all the best,” Gavin Wilkinson, the general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC, said in the team’s official release. “Mana has been presented with an opportunity to play abroad and at this stage in the season, with every player competing for minutes on a deep roster, we want to allow her to pursue that option.”

Hurricane Harvey: How you can help Houston

A list of resources for relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey

The home of the Houston Dash, BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne for isiphotos.com)

Hurricane Harvey has impacted Houston and the surrounding areas after record rainfalls from the Category 4 storm. There are a number of options for fans of the NWSL to donate to for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. As always, it is important to independently vet charities before making donations.

For supporters of the Houston Dash, more information on the postponed match between the Dash and North Carolina Courage originally scheduled for Aug. 27 is available here.

For more information on donating to the Red Cross, click here. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10. Apple users can also donate via both the App and iTunes store.

Amazon is matching donations to the American Red Cross up to $1 million when made through the Amazon website, and also has a list of supplies needed by the Red Cross.

The Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner set up a dedicated donation site, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

The Houston Food Bank can provide 3 meals with every dollar donated. Here is more information on food banks from Feeding Texas.

The Coalition for the Homeless in Houston has provided some new updates and is also accepting donations.

Portline Strategies helps provide an inclusive response to Hurricane Harvey for the disabled, and donations can be made via PayPal at their website.

Food banks and other relief agencies don’t usually provide diapers, but the Texas Diaper Bank will meet this need. When donating to Texas Diaper Bank, select “Disaster Relief” in the dropdown to earmark it for hurricane relief efforts.

There are a few organizations working on assisting pets during hurricane relief efforts as well. Both the Houston Humane Society and SPCA of Texas are working to rescue and assist pets during the storm’s aftermath.

For more options, there are also lists of resources available at many news outlets, such as this one from National Public Radio or this one from Vox.

Power Rankings: Alex Morgan, Pride overtake top spot

NWSL Power Rankings presented by Cutter

The Orlando Pride defeated FC Kansas City 2-1 on Saturday. (Photo credit: Amy Kontras for isiphotos.com)

Alex Morgan became the first player in NWSL history to score the game-winning goal in three consecutive matches to lead the Orlando Pride to a club-record fourth straight victory in a 2-1 win over FC Kansas City.

The U.S. international has eight goals and two assists in the last seven games – and has scored in each of the previous five matches – as she and Marta have powered the Pride to 13 points in the last five contests, the most in the league during that stretch.

Marta assisted on the game-winner by Morgan against the Blues and the pair have combined for the game-winning goal in three of the four games during Orlando’s win streak.

Elsewhere, Sam Kerr tied the NWSL single-season scoring record with her 16th goal of the year to keep Sky Blue FC in the hunt for the playoffs and Hayley Raso turned in a two-goal performance as the Portland Thorns became the first club in the NWSL with 50 regular-season victories with a 2-1 win over Cascadia rivals Seattle.

1

ORLANDO PRIDE
9-6-5, 32 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 2

Marta and Alex Morgan looked scary on paper. Now that they’re on the field together, it’s downright terrifying for opposing defenses as the pair have combined for 13 goals and five assists over the last eight games as the Pride have put together a four-game win streak.


2

PORTLAND THORNS FC
11-5-4, 37 pts

Up: 2
Last week: 3

Hayley Raso netted a brace to deliver a huge 2-1 victory over Cascadia rivals Seattle. The forward now has five goals on the season and Portland has won six of their last seven.


3

NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
13-5-0, 39 pts

Down: 2
Last week: 1

It seems cruel to drop the Courage two spots after the Week 18 match against Houston was postponed, but that’s how good Orlando and Portland have been of late. North Carolina gears up for two matches in Week 19 as they look to secure a playoff spot and possibly home-field advantage.


4

SKY BLUE FC
9-9-2, 29 pts

Up: 2
Last week: 6

Sam Kerr has made NWSL history nearly every time she’s stepped on the field this year. Kerr did it again as she tied the NWSL single-season scoring record with her 16th goal of 2017 to lead Sky Blue to a big 1-0 win over Boston.


5

FC KANSAS CITY
6-9-5, 23 pts

Down: 1
Last week: 4

FC Kansas City saw their three-game win streak come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Orlando in Week 18. There’s no time to dwell, as the Blues will have to stare down playoff elimination when they go against Sky Blue FC in Week 19.


6

CHICAGO RED STARS
9-6-5, 32 pts

Up: 1
Last week: 7

Nothing like making an instant impact for your new club. New arrival Kristie Mewis scored her first goal as a Red Stars’ player and Christen Press added her 10th of the year to make sure Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Washington.


7

SEATTLE REIGN FC
7-7-6, 27 pts

Down: 2
Last week: 5

The Reign have lost four of the last five games – with a 2-1 setback against bitter rivals Portland the latest in the slide. Jess Fishlock scored the only goal of the match for Seattle, who sit five points out of a playoff spot with four games to play.


8

HOUSTON DASH
7-10-2, 23 pts

Last week: 8

No change for the Dash after having their Week 18 match against North Carolina postponed due to Hurricane Harvey. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the NWSL go out to those affected by the natural disaster.


9

WASHINGTON SPIRIT
4-11-4, 16 pts

Last week: 9

The Spirit had their fate officially confirmed in Week 18 as a 2-1 loss to Chicago meant that Washington will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2013. There’s still a lot to look forward to for Spirit fans as Mallory Pugh continues to showcase her foundational talent.


10

BOSTON BREAKERS
3-10-7, 16 pts

Last week: 10

The Breakers were eliminated from playoff contention with a 1-0 road loss against Sky Blue FC. It’s the fifth consecutive season Boston will miss out on the postseason. Matt Beard and his players now look to play spoiler as they travel to face Orlando in Week 19.

Watch: Sam Kerr scores No. 16, ties single-season record

Kerr tied former Reign FC midfielder Kim Little with 16 goals in one season

A "Sam Kerr is Magic" sign hanging behind one of the goals at Yurcak Field, home of Sky Blue FC. (Photo credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil/isiphotos.com)

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr tied former Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little for the most goals in a single season, scoring her 16th goal in the 5th minute vs. the Boston Breakers on Saturday night.

Little set the record in 2014, her first NWSL season.

Earlier this season, Kerr broke Little’s all-time record of 32 goals. After scoring four last week and one on Saturday night, Kerr now has 42 career NWSL goals.

Q&A: Maegan Kelly

The FC Kansas City forward shares her NWSL journey

FC Kansas City forward Maegan Kelly has scored four goals this season. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Last weekend in FC Kansas City’s 3-1 win over the Red Stars, Maegan Kelly’s fourth goal of the season was the final goal of the game, a lob over the goalkeeper that was a Goal of the Week nominee

Kelly, whose sister Katie played for FC Kansas City in 2013, was drafted by the Blues out of Marquette with the second-to-last pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft, but didn’t play her first minutes with the team until 2017.

NWSL Media caught up with her to talk about her journey to the NWSL and the season so far for FC Kansas City. 

Q: You were drafted in the 2014 draft by FC Kansas City with the 35th pick. How did you go from being drafted in 2014 to playing for them for the first time in 2017?

Being drafted in the final round was the coolest thing, I thought at the time. Being able to be drafted to my home team, being able to play for people that knew me. That I had family that could come watch me play was awesome. Got to midway through the season, and I wasn’t really getting those minutes. I had talked to my sister, and she had played overseas before, and we talked about how important it was to be getting minutes as a professional. I talked to [FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski] as well during that time, and I said, “Would this be a good idea for me? Would it not?”

He said it could go both ways. You could come here, you’re practicing with the best players but you’re not getting the minutes. But if you go overseas, you’re not technically with the best players all the time, but you’ll be getting tons of minutes.

It was just a hard decision to make at the time, and I made the decision because I wanted to play in Champions League. The Icelandic team that I was going to play with was going to be in the Champions League. I thought it was one of the coolest things you could do, after watching the EPL. So I went that route.

So I went and played in Iceland, then in Finland with my sister, and then I played in Cyprus after that. And I went and played in Champions League in Cyprus as well. Cyprus was actually the first time I got to experience it, because when I was in Iceland I ended up tearing my meniscus right at the beginning and I wouldn’t have been able to recover in time to be fit enough to play. Last year was the first time I played legit Champions League.

I ended up playing with some of the girls that had been in the NWSL before, that came over and played with the Apollon team. That made me want to go back and play with the best players, and I knew that I had gotten enough experience and 90 minute games to be able to come back. So that brought me back to Kansas City in February, end of January or February.

Vlatko’s roster was already full. I had my agent talk to almost every other team and they had all their rosters full for preseason. I called Vlatko personally and just asked him if it was even possible if I could get into camp. He said there would be a spot, but he couldn’t promise me anything. “I know you, you work hard. Show me what you have,” basically.

So that’s what I did. I went into camp, two weeks into preseason for them, and had to just work my way. I felt like a rookie again, coming back in. So I just worked hard until he could give out the last contracts. There were like two, three contracts left. He told me I got one and at that moment, I didn’t even know if I was going to get it or not. I just told myself I was going to stick around Kansas City and prove to Vlatko that I could work my way onto this team and become a starter or a player that he could count on. And that’s what I did, and we’re here now.

The season in Kansas City can’t be what anyone was envisioning back in April, but the last few results have been a huge shift in momentum. How has it been mentally this season and then over the past few weeks?

We just have been working so hard throughout the whole season, and losing by one goal in the 90th minute or things like that. Like anybody, it’s hard to go through those situations, day in and day out, every week. I think that it shows that we have a ton of heart, and the work that we’re putting in doesn’t go unnoticed now because we have been able to win.

When you lose, nobody really looks at the hard work that you’ve done. You lost, you know what I mean? I think it shows a lot of our character, to just be able to go through so many weeks of a tie or a loss, a tie or a loss, to be able to come back and have that first win. Especially with these past three wins being back-to-back-to-back, it’s just been crazy to think we’re going to play so we can show people we’re not this bottom team. And to now be able to see that the numbers are changing and we do have a good chance, with the numbers on the table, we do have a chance of making the playoffs.

It’s nice to know that you can’t always overlook the last team on the table, because that team could come back up.

The result against Chicago seemed like it was the biggest one yet. Was there something special to it?

We have a lot of different players who can score goals for us. We don’t have to count on just one player to score goals for us. That’s very comforting to know that we can score with anyone. Being able to win by two, it just gives us that confidence. Knowing that Chicago is a top team, they were heading to the playoffs, that means we can beat them so that means we can beat the other teams as well.

It’s a very good feeling and it gives you a positivity to see what the next game is like. It gives you that energy you need, like, “we got this for the next game too.”

One last question. Is there a moment, on or off the field this season, that sums up your experience in Kansas City so far?

Actually, just yesterday, we had a team surprise party for Brittany Taylor. She’s engaged and she’s having her wedding in like eighteen days. So last night, we all got together and we were just able to celebrate with her. After winning the last three games as well, it’s just nice for everybody to get together. We went to Vlatko’s house, we were able to celebrate with her and celebrate with each other.

I think that’s a moment right now. Just being able to get together and enjoying each other’s presence and not have to think about, we lost again or we tied. It was all about being together and celebrating as a family.

Dash vs. Courage postponed due to Hurricane Harvey

The game was scheduled for August 27

Members of the Houston Dash huddle before a game. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release:

CHICAGO (Aug. 25, 2017) – The Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage game on Sunday, Aug. 27 has been postponed due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Harvey, which is projected to affect the Greater Houston area over the weekend. 

After closely monitoring the weather forecasts over the last 48 hours, the NWSL, in consultation with Houston Dash, NC Courage and BBVA Compass Stadium management, made the decision in the interest of fan, public, staff and player safety.  

A makeup date for the Dash game against the Courage, originally scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday evening, has not been finalized at this time.

Rose Lavelle upgraded to questionable; Week 18 injury report

Lavelle could play for the first time since June 3

Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle has two goals and one assist so far this season. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released its weekly injury report ahead of Week 18’s games. View the full injury report.

Boston Breakers rookie midfielder Rose Lavelle has been upgraded to questionable and could see her first minutes since June 3 when the Breakers visit Sky Blue FC on Saturday.

Lavelle injured her hamstring on June 11 in the 85th minute of the U.S. women’s national team’s 1-0 win over Norway. The injury occurred in Lavelle’s sixth international appearance and a game after she scored her second international goal, in the USWNT’s 1-0 win over Sweden on June 8.

She has two goals and one assist so far this NWSL season and was named April Player of the Month.

Other notable updates:

Spirit forward Francisca Ordega (right knee chondral defect) has been upgraded to probable. Ordega has four goals this season, but has not played since July 8.

Spirit center backs Kassey Kallman (concussion) and Shelina Zadorsky (right knee bone bruise).

Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, a late scratch on Sunday, is listed as probable (concussion).

Pride forward Jasmyne Spencer is out (right hamstring strain).

Three Sky Blue players are listed as questionable: Tasha Kai (right calf strain), Kelley O’Hara (right adductor strain) and Raquel Rodriguez (left hamstring strain).

Also, on Thursday that the Thorns announced that forward Savannah Jordan, the 18th overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, had been activated from the 45-day disabled list and added to the active roster. Defender Meghan Cox was waived by the Thorns.

NWSL all-time leaders

A closer look at the all-time NWSL stat leaders

Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes and midfielder Christine Nairn recently celebrated their 100th regular season NWSL game. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

By Ben Meyer-Abbott

Seattle Reign defender Lauren Barnes and midfielder Christine Nairn became the first players in NWSL history to make 100 appearances in the league earlier this month.

Barnes, 28, and Nairn, 26, have featured in the NWSL since its inaugural season in 2013 – with the defender taken by the Reign with the No. 10 overall selection in 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft and the midfielder chosen by Seattle with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft.

Barnes has spent her entire NWSL career with the Reign, scoring two goals and notching five assists. Nairn played for Seattle in 2013 before being traded to the Washington Spirit, where she spent three seasons before the Reign reacquired prior to the 2017 campaign. She has 18 goals and 16 assists.

The pair have enjoyed standout careers in the league – with Barnes named to the NWSL Best XI in 2015 and 2016 and was also named the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year, while Nairn has etched her name on the leader boards of numerous all-time categories and also scored the first goal in club history for Seattle.

FC Kansas City defender Brittany Taylor was the third player to reach the century mark, and she was followed by Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni (100 appearances). FC Kansas City’s Nicole Barnhart (98 appearances) leads all goalkeepers and ranks fifth all-time in the category.

  1. Christine Nairn (103 games)
  2. Lauren Barnes (103 games)
  3. Brittany Taylor (102 games)
  4. Mc Call Zerboni (100 games)
  5. Nicole Barnhart  (98 games)
  6. Angela Salem (97 games)
  7. Jasmyne Spencer  (96 games)
  8. Allie Long (95 games)
  9. Merrit Matthias  (95 games)
  10. Jessica McDonald (94 games)

Minutes

Taylor tops the table for most minutes in league history with 9,180, followed by Barnes (8,874), Barnhart (8,775), Zerboni (8,502) and Nairn (8,354). Barnes and Barnhart have all played every minute of their NWSL career for one club – while Zerboni has logged her time with four different clubs – the Western New York Flash, Thorns, Boston Breakers and Courage.

  1. Brittany Taylor (9,180 minutes)
  2. Lauren Barnes (8,874 minutes)
  3. Nicole Barnhart (8,775minutes)
  4. McCall Zerboni (8,502 minutes)
  5. Christine Nairn (8,354 minutes)
  6. Jess Fishlock (8,229 minutes)
  7. Allie Long (8,190 minutes)
  8. Julie King (8,115 minutes)
  9. Angela Salem (7,988 minutes)
  10. Tori Huster (7,962 minutes)

Goals

Sky Blue forward Samantha Kerr tops all-time scoring chart with 41 goals over five seasons in the league – including 11 this season. She is unique in the fact that the Australia international is the only player to score at least 15 goals for two separate clubs (Western New York and Sky Blue).

Five players have reached the 30-goal milestone – with North Carolina forward Jessica McDonald (33 goals), Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press (33 goals), former Reign midfielder Kim Little (32 goals) and Long (30 goals) joining Kerr in that elite club. Sixteen players have scored at least 20 goals during their NWSL careers – with Seattle forwards Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez as well as Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai, Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan and FC Kansas City forwards Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux all reaching the plateau in 2017.

Rapinoe (27 goals) and Portland teammates Christine Sinclair (28 goals) and Nadia Nadim (26 goals) as well as Houston midfielder Carli Lloyd (27 goals) and Pride forward Alex Morgan (26 goals) are the next players poised to take the step up to the 30-goal mark.

  1. Samantha Kerr (41 goals)
  2. Jessica McDonald (33 goals)
  3. Christen Press (33 goals)
  4. Kim Little (32 goals)
  5. Allie Long (30 goals)
  6. Christine Sinclair (28 goals)
  7. Megan Rapinoe (27 goals)
  8. Carli Lloyd (27 goals)
  9. Nadia Nadim (26 goals)
  10. Alex Morgan (26 goals)

Assists

Former FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Holiday retired following the 2015 season, but in a testament to her what she was able to accomplish during her career she remains the all-time NWSL leader in assists with 18.

That is expected to change in the coming weeks with Sky Blue defender Kelley O’Hara (17 assists) and Chicago midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo (17 assists) and Nairn (16 assists) ready to make the record their own. Heather O’Reilly, who spent time with the Breakers and FC Kansas City, as well as Little both tallied 16 helpers during their career – while Seattle midfielder Jess Fishlock (15 assists) sits right behind them on the all-time list.

  1. Lauren Holiday (18 assists)
  2. Kelley O’Hara (17 assists)
  3. Vanessa DiBernardo (17 assists)
  4. Heather O’Reilly (16 assists)
  5. Kim Little (16 assists)
  6. Christine Nairn (16 assists)
  7. Jess Fishlock (15 assists)
  8. Alex Morgan (14 assists)
  9. Nahomi Kawasumi (14 assists)
  10. Sam Kerr (14 assists)
  11. Tobin Heath (14 assists)

Points

Kerr’s spectacular 2017 season has seen her claim several records – including the most points in NWSL history as she moved past Little (48 points) for first on the all-time list. The Sky Blue striker’s 55 career points are six more than any other active player in the league – with McDonald (45) and Long (43) the closest to challenging her hold on the category.

Goals + Assists

  1. Sam Kerr (55 points)
  2. Kim Little (48 points)
  3. Jessica McDonald (45 points)
  4. Allie Long (43  points)
  5. Lauren Holiday (40 points)
  6. Alex Morgan (40 points)
  7. Christen Press (38 points)
  8. Megan Rapinoe (36 points)
  9. Carli Lloyd (35 points)
  10. Christine Nairn (35 points)
  11. Diana Matheson (35 points)

Minutes per goal/assist/point

Former Western New York Flash forward and U.S. international Abby Wambach left an indelible mark on the NWSL. Not only was she a key figure during the first years of the league’s existence, but to this day she tops all other players (who have played at least 1,500 minutes) is pair of categories.

Her 211 minutes per assist ranks first all-time ahead of Holiday (230 minutes per assist), Portland midfielder Tobin Heath (232 minutes per assist) and Reign forward Nahomi Kawasumi (275 minutes per assist).

Wambach is also the only person in league history (with at least 1,500 minutes) to average a point per 90 minutes with her astonishing 87 minutes per point out of reach of all but the league’s most elite players.

Someone like, say, five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta – who is averaging a point per 93.5 minutes, but has not logged the required 1,500 minutes to appear on the all-time list. (She sits at 1,496 after being subbed out in the 83rd minute of the Pride’s 2-1 win over the Breakers last week.)

On the scoring side, no one in NWSL history can match Rodriguez – who has averaged a goal every 141 minutes. Although, Kerr (145 minutes per goal), Rapinoe (146 minutes per goal) have been spectacular in 2017 and could make a run at taking the crown away from the two-time NWSL champion. As could Marta, once she reaches 1,500 minutes. Through 1,496 minutes, she averages a goal every 136 minutes.

Minutes Per Goal

  1. Amy Rodriguez (141)
  2. Sam Kerr (145)
  3. Megan Rapinoe (146)
  4. Christen Press (148)
  5. Abby Wambach (149)
  6. Jodie Taylor (151)
  7. Nadia Nadim (172)
  8. Monica Ocampa (172)
  9. Kim Little (173)
  10. Lauren Holiday (188)

Minutes Per Assist

  1. Abby Wambach (211)
  2. Lauren Holiday (230)
  3. Tobin Heath (232)
  4. Vicky Losada (271)
  5. Nahomi Kawasumi (275)
  6. Makenzy Doniak (317)
  7. Kim Little (347)
  8. Lynn Williams (348)
  9. Alex Morgan (350)
  10. Kelley O’Hara (355)

Minutes Per Point

  1. Abby Wambach (87)
  2. Lauren Holiday (104)
  3. Amy Rodriguez (104)
  4. Sam Kerr (108)
  5. Megan Rapinoe (110)
  6. Kim Little (116)
  7. Nahomi Kawasumi (120)
  8. Alex Morgan (123)
  9. Nadia Nadim (128)
  10. Christen Press (129)

Goalkeepers

FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart has put together one of the most distinguished careers in NWSL history – which includes topping the leader boards of numerous categories, including shutouts, saves and wins.

Barnhart is one of two players in league history with more than 300 saves – with 356for her career. The next closest goalkeepers in saves compared with Barnhart are Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (302) and Orlando net minder Ashlyn Harris (286). The next highest-ranked active player is Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch with 185 saves, who is currently seventh all-time.

  1. Nicole Barnhart (356 saves)
  2. Alyssa Naeher (302 saves)
  3. Ashlyn Harris (286 saves)
  4. Erin McLeod (207 saves)
  5. Karina LeBlanc (196 saves)
  6. Hope Solo (186 saves)
  7. Adrianna Franch (185 saves)
  8. Haley Kopmeyer (183 saves)
  9. Brittany Cameron (180 saves)
  10. Kelsey Wys (143 saves)

Shutouts

Barnhart is also far and away the all-time leader in shutouts with 36 clean sheets so far during her NWSL career – twice the number of Franch (18 shutouts), the next closest goalkeeper in the category.

  1. Nicole Barnhart (36 shutouts)
  2. Adrianna Franch (18 shutouts)
  3. Alyssa Naeher (16 shutouts)
  4. Karina LeBlanc (14 shutouts)
  5. Brittany Cameron (14 shutouts)
  6. Ashlyn Harris (11 shutouts)
  7. Haley Kopmeyer (11 shutouts)
  8. Hope Solo (11 shutouts)
  9. Katelyn Rowland (9 shutouts)
  10. Erin McLeod (8 shutouts)

Goals against average

North Carolina goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland tops the all-time list for goals against average with her 0.80 GAA edging out Franch (0.87 GAA) and Red Stars goalkeeper Michele Dalton (0.95 GAA).

  1. Katelyn Rowland (.080 GAA)
  2. Adrianna Franch (0.87 GAA)
  3. Michele Dalton (0.95 GAA)
  4. Hope Solo (1.02 GAA)
  5. Karina LeBlanc (1.10 GAA)
  6. Nicole Barnhart (1.13 GAA)
  7. Brittany Cameron (1.24 GAA)
  8. Haley Kopmeyer (1.30 GAA)
  9. Caroline Stanley (1.31 GAA)
  10. Biana Henninger (1.36 GAA)

Wins

Barnhart is one win away from becoming the first NWSL goalkeeper to reach the 40-win milestone. Naeher will almost certainly join the FC Kansas City legend as the only net minders with at least 30 wins as she currently has 26 victories – tied with former Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo for second all-time.

  1. Nicole Barnhart (42 wins)
  2. Alyssa Naeher (26 wins)
  3. Hope Solo (26 wins)
  4. Ashlyn Harris (23 wins)
  5. Karina LeBlanc (22 wins)
  6. Haley Kopmeyer (22 wins)
  7. Adrianna Franch (22 wins)
  8. Michelle Betos (16 wins)
  9. Brittany Cameron (14 wins)
  10. Kelsey Wys (14 wins)

Losses

Naeher and Barnhart are the only two players in league history with more than 30 losses.

  1. Alyssa Naeher (35 losses)
  2. Nicole Barnhart (33 losses)
  3. Ashlyn Harris (29 losses)
  4. Erin McLeod (22 losses)
  5. Lydia Williams (19 losses)
  6. Michelle Betos (16 losses)
  7. Brittany Cameron (15 losses)
  8. Karina LeBlanc (13 losses)
  9. Hope Solo (13 losses)
  10. Sabrina D’Angelo (12 losses)

Draws

Barnhart has also massed the most draws in league history – with Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris second all-time ahead of both former Portland net minder Karina LeBlanc and Franch.

  1. Nicole Barnhart (23 draws)
  2. Ashlyn Harris (16 draws)
  3. Karina LeBlanc (15 draws)
  4. Adrianna Franch (15 draws)
  5. Brittany Cameron (14 draws)
  6. Alyssa Naeher (14 draws)
  7. Haley Kopmeyer (12 draws)
  8. Erin McLeod (11 draws)
  9. Hope Solo (11 draws)
  10. Nadine Angerer (9 draws)

Sam Kerr earns unanimous Player of the Week honors

Week 17 award is her third of the season and fifth of her career

Sam Kerr and Sarah Killion celebrate one of Kerr's four goals against Seattle Reign FC this week, as Kerr picked up Week 17 Player of the Week honors for her performance. (Photo credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil for isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League Media Associated unanimously voted Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr the Player of the Week for Week 17. Kerr’s four-goal performance on Saturday night against Seattle Reign FC led her club to a 5-4 win. She was the first player to score four goals in one game and the first player to ever record two hat tricks in the same season. All four of her goals came in the second half, in the 48th, 68th, 71st and 94th minutes.

With the win, Sky Blue FC became the first club in NWSL history to ever come back from a three-goal deficit to win, and the first time to ever force a comeback win after trailing at the end of 90 minutes.

Kerr is in control of the 2017 Golden Boot race, with 15 goals this season. She’s also the first player to ever break 40 career goals in the league, with her fourth and final one her 41st career goal. With five games remaining in the season for Sky Blue FC, she’s one goal behind former Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little’s single-season record of 16 goals set in 2014.

Kerr has been named Player of the Week twice already this season, in Week 9 and Week 12, as well as picking up back-to-back Player of the Month awards in May and June. This week’s award is the fifth of her NWSL career, after winning it once in 2014 and once in 2016 as well.

Kerr will get a chance to break some more records this weekend against the Boston Breakers, when Sky Blue FC plays at home on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Washington Spirit claim Morgan Proffitt off waivers

Midfielder has played 111 minutes with the Chicago Red Stars

Morgan Proffitt will head to Washington after being claimed off waivers by the Spirit. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel for isiphotos.com)

On Wednesday, the Washington Spirit announced they claimed midfielder Morgan Proffitt off waivers. Proffitt was waived by the Chicago Red Stars earlier this week following the trade between Chicago and Washington for midfielder Kristie Mewis.

Proffitt has played with the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, as was drafted in the 2017 NWSL College Draft with the No. 12 overall pick by the Chicago Red Stars.

Proffitt had seven appearances with the Red Stars, including one start, for 111 minutes played so far in her rookie season.

After this week’s trade and roster moves, the two teams will face off this weekend. The Spirit host the Red Stars on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.