Brazil qualifies for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019April 20

McCall Zerboni voted Week 3 Player of the Week

Week 3April 17

Sky Blue’s spirits high despite loss in home opener

FeatureApril 17

Portland Thorns return home to raucous crowd

FeatureApril 16

Week 3 Power Rankings: Courage hold on to top spot after Week 3

Power RankingsApril 16

Week 3 Rewind

HighlightsApril 16

Schedule & Results: NWSL on international duty

NewsApril 16

Utah Royals FC still building after inaugural home opener

FeatureApril 14

Utah Royals FC set for inaugural home opener

FeatureApril 13

Australia, Japan qualify for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019April 13

Rodriguez removed from injury report; Week 3 injury updates

NewsApril 13

NWSL announces process for 2018 Boston Breakers season ticket holders and campers to receive refunds

NewsApril 13

Courage add Cari Roccaro to roster and sign Sarah Teegarden as National Team Replacement Player

NewsApril 12

Q&A: Kimberly Keever, Houston Dash

FeatureApril 11

Q&A: Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit

FeatureApril 10

France tops Canada 1-0

CANWNTApril 09

Rapinoe’s goal, four assists lead U.S. to 6-2 win over Mexico

USWNTApril 08

March Team of the Month

NWSL AwardsApril 06

NWSL rescinds Mark Parsons suspension

NewsApril 06

U.S. tops Mexico 4-1 in first of two April friendlies

USWNTApril 06

Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe voted March Player of the Month

NWSL AwardsApril 04

Player of the Week: Mallory Pugh

NWSL AwardsApril 03

Canada names roster for friendly vs. France

NewsApril 02

Power Rankings: Courage steal the show

Week 2April 02

O’Hara ruled out with injury, Hanson called up for WNT friendlies vs. Mexico

NewsApril 02

Week 2 Rewind: Late game-winners

Week 2April 02

NWSL suspends and fines Portland head coach Mark Parsons

NewsMarch 30

Brazil qualifies for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Brazil has qualified for every FIFA Women's World Cup

Brazil in action at the 2017 Tournament of Nations. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Following Thursday’s results in the final stage of the Copa América Femenina in Chile, Brazil has qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In the second game of the final stage of the tournament, Brazil got a 3-0 win over Argentina and then earned the spot in France after a 0-0 draw between Colombia and Chile.

Six NWSL players represented Brazil at the tournament. Three members of the Orlando Pride: Marta, Poliana and Monica, as well as Portland Thorns FC midfielder Andressinha, Sky Blue FC midfielder Thaisa and North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha.

In the 3-0 win over Argentina, Debinha scored the game’s final goal and Marta assisted on the first one, to Cristiane.

Argentina, Colombia and Chile are still in contention for the second automatic qualification spot for next year’s Women’s World Cup. Also, the third place finisher will head to a play-off with Concacaf. The final games of the tournament will take place on Sunday.

Brazil joins Japan as one of two teams to have qualified for every Women’s World Cup since the tournament began in 1991. Germany, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden and the United States can join them later this year. Brazil’s highest finish came in 2007, when they lost in the final to Germany. Marta won the Golden Ball that same year, awarded to the tournament’s best player. Marta is also the all-time leading scorer in Women’s World Cup history with 15 goals.

Seven teams have qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup so far: Australia, Brazil, China PR, France (host nation), Japan, Korea Republic and Thailand.

 

McCall Zerboni voted Week 3 Player of the Week

Zerboni scored a brace in North Carolina's Week 3 win over Washington

North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni has been named the Week 3 Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association. She earns the honor following her brace in North Carolina’s 4-2 road win over the Washington Spirit on Saturday night.

It’s the first time that Zerboni has been named Player of the Week in her NWSL career, which is now in its sixth season and has spanned more than 100 games.

Zerboni scored her first two goals of 2018 in her only two shots on goal in the game, needing just one touch on each shot to find the back of the net. Her first came in the 24th minute to give the Courage a 2-1 lead. After a foul gave North Carolina a free kick straight on and about 19 yards from goal, Lynn Williams took a quick touch on the dead ball and Zerboni stepped up, sending a right-footed swerving shot through the wall and past a diving Aubrey Bledsoe.

 

Her second came in the 48th minute on another set piece. After Abby Dahlkemper took a short corner kick, Kristen Hamilton turned and sent a cross in Zerboni’s direction inside the six-yard box. Without letting the ball hit the grass, Zerboni tapped it in with her right foot.

Defensively, Zerboni held down the midfield with team-highs in tackles (eight), interceptions (six) and total touches (81). Zerboni also won more than half of her aerial duels in the game, according to Opta.

The goals were the 10th and 11th of Zerboni’s career. Last year, she was named to the Best XI for the first time in her career.

 

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.

Sky Blue’s spirits high despite loss in home opener

Sky Blue FC fell 1-0 to Seattle Reign FC in their home opener on Sunday

Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan and midfielder Carli Lloyd share a laugh before the game on April 15, 2018. (Photo credit: Matthew Levine for NWSL Media)

By Matthew Levine

Piscataway, New Jersey — It may have rained on Sky Blue FC’s parade – literally and figuratively – during the club’s 2018 NWSL home opener on Sunday, but the side’s spirits weren’t dampened despite the 1-0 loss to Seattle Reign FC.

 

Kickoff at Yurcak Field marked a homecoming for a pair of New Jersey natives that will play a huge role in the club’s success this season. Coach Denise Reddy was at the helm for the first time in front of the home support, while captain Carli Lloyd is back playing on the same field she did as a collegiate athlete at Rutgers University.

 

“It was good, also good to get it under the belt,” Reddy said postgame. “There’s a little anxiety, you want everything to go great.

 

“At the end of the day, we have this,” she added, referencing the tough playing conditions.

 

Lloyd agreed: “It was great. Unfortunately it’s mid-April and it still feels like mid-January. Despite the weather, it was good to play back at home.”

 

Before the game was underway, Lloyd had a chance to be honored by the fans that braved the wet and cold atmosphere after recently scoring her 100th United States women’s national team goal. It’s an achievement Lloyd says she has already put behind her.

 

“I think it sunk in for two minutes and then it quickly left,” she said. “It’s done. It’s over with. There’s a lot more I have left to accomplish. … While loads of other people think it’s a historic moment, for me it’s just another one in the bag, and I just have to keep going forward and get better.”

 

Not only is Lloyd hoping to improve her game with Sky Blue FC, but she is hoping to use her playing experience to raise the level of her younger teammates.

 

“Anything I can do to help the team and make players better, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

 

Her influence will be key as the season progresses and will also be a helping hand for Reddy in her first season with the club.

 

“It’s huge, for sure, “ Reddy said of having Lloyd in the squad. “She wants to be here. She’s invested in the style of play, and she’s able to show by example both in training on the field and through her experience. It’s definitely a huge benefit for us.”

 

Lloyd’s teammates have already taken notice of her approach to the game.

 

“She’s a big person in the soccer world, obviously,” Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, in her second year with the team, said. “At the same time, she’s a pretty down-to-earth human. It’s really good having a teammate we can rely on and who brings us together.

 

“It’s a really refreshing thing to have. Having people with so much experience and talent – having people on your back pushing you and telling you how good you are, but also coming to practice and putting the work in – is just a really good feeling. I don’t think anyone walks in and says, ‘Oh my god, it’s Carli Lloyd who just passed me the ball.’”

 

On the field, though, Sky Blue has had two tough losses to open the season. The club fell in its season opener to the North Carolina Courage and then to Seattle, both by the score of 1-0.

 

“It’s a work in progress,” Reddy said. “It’s coming. We gave up a goal in the [92nd] minute against North Carolina and a penalty today against Seattle, and that’s the difference for us.”

 

Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe provided that difference on Sunday when she converted from the penalty spot in the sixth minute after Sky Blue defender Erica Skroski was called for a handball in the box.

 

One of the positives that Sky Blue should take from the game, though, was their willingness to battle through adversity and their overall character. One of those character-building moments came when Sheridan blocked a second penalty kick – and made another save on the follow-up shot — shortly before the final whistle.

 

“We want to build a product we are proud of as players and staff, as well as fans who love the game, to watch, learn, and for their enjoyment,” Reddy said.

 

The new Sky Blue roster, however, is already making plenty of strides with Reddy at the helm. In addition to Lloyd, a number of players joined the team this offseason: forwards Shea Groom, Jen Hoy and defender Rebekah Stott, as well as several younger players like rookie Savannah McCaskill, second-year defender Christina Gibbons and second-year forward Katie Johnson. Gone are defender Kelley O’Hara, traded to Utah, and reigning NWSL MVP Sam Kerr, traded to Chicago.

 

“From a team standpoint, Denise is doing a really, really good job of implementing philosophy,” Lloyd said. “As long as we kind of build together and buy into it – it’s going to take a little time – but we can play an exciting game of football.”

 

For Lloyd and the team, it’s not just the beginning of a new season, but the chance for something special in her home state. Lloyd played briefly for Sky Blue FC in 2010, during the Women’s Professional Soccer era, but this is her first NWSL season with the club.

 

“I played here at Rutgers. I grew up in New Jersey and I’ve been a part of New Jersey youth soccer,” Lloyd said. “It’s kind of a win-win for everybody. It’s an awesome start to what can be a fantastic journey. I’m thrilled to be back home.”

 

The club will just hope for sunnier days on the pitch and in the sky at the next game at Yurcak Field.

Portland Thorns return home to raucous crowd

The Thorns beat the Orlando Pride 2-1 in front of a home crowd of 16,466

A tifo is unveiled at the home opener for Portland Thorns FC on Sunday, April 15. (Photo credit: Al Sermeno/isiphotos.com)

By Katelyn Best

Portland, Oregon — On a drizzly Sunday afternoon in Portland, 16,466 fans turned out at Providence Park for the first home game since the Thorns won the 2017 NWSL Championship in Orlando. With stadium construction taking place during the offseason, the team’s homecoming was delayed by a few weeks; the four-story crane on the east side of the stadium was bedecked with a “Thorns FC” banner as the stands filled in.

“You get home at night,” said Thorns coach Mark Parsons the week before the game, “and it hits you again that you’re going to be playing in what I truly believe in the bottom of my heart is the best place for the women’s game in the world. … I enjoyed this atmosphere as an opposition coach, but once you’re on this side, every single person in the stadium makes you feel that they’re behind every player.”

Before the game against the Orlando Pride kicked off, Thorns captain Christine Sinclair spoke to the home crowd, saying, “2017 was absolutely a special year here in Portland. We couldn’t have done it without you. You were here in the rain and the sun supporting us. Let’s do it again.” After Sinclair spoke, the club unveiled the 2017 championship banner in the north-end rafters of the stadium.

In addition to the banner, Portland owner Merritt Paulson tweeted before the game that the Thorns will receive championship rings — designed with Sinclair’s help — at an upcoming team dinner, “similar to how [the club] did Timbers” when the MLS side won their championship in 2015.

As Kyra Smith sang the last words of the national anthem — with the Rose City Riveters giving a thunderous “Thorns!” over “and the home of the brave”— the supporters group unveiled a massive tifo over the north end. The design featured a Thorns player, two NWSL trophies, and a polar bear (or “ice bear” as Nadine Angerer once said) as constellations, with a scroll at the top reading, “Faciamus Constellacionem.” Loosely translated from Latin, the phrase is a reference to Thorns defender Emily Menges’ comment at Portland’s post-championship celebration last fall, “Let’s make a constellation!”

“It was sick,” said Thorns player Midge Purce, who was playing in her first home game in Portland. “It was just really cool to be a part of the whole atmosphere in the stadium. I feel like a real Portland Thorn now that I’ve gotten to play at Providence.”

The game itself was often a nervy affair for the Thorns, as some disorganized defending in the first half led to a 20th-minute goal by the Pride and a number of other close chances. This was the third year in a row the Thorns had faced the Pride in their home opener, and ultimately, the home team didn’t disappoint their fans, with big performances by Sinclair and Lindsey Horan proving important for Portland. The Thorns’ equalizer came in the 28th minute, with Horan banging a shot from distance in off the goalpost after a pass from Sinclair. Sinclair got one of her own in the 40th, assisted by Horan.

“It was important to get the result,” said Parsons after the match. “This place is a fortress, and fans come in together with the players, with the staff. We managed to get the job done and get a result.”

 

For opposing teams coming into Providence Park, the crowd size and noise can often be a double-edged sword. “I think it can go either way,” said Orlando defender Toni Pressley after the game. “For me personally, it just fires me up. I think it fires the girls up as well. They have a great crowd here and great support, and it is noisy out there. It can be hard to come here, but I think this is a great environment to play in and you just take it for what it is.”

The match marked the second NWSL game this weekend where attendance topped 15,000, after Utah Royals FC played their inaugural home game before a crowd of 19,203 in Sandy, Utah.

After the final whistle, the Riveters awarded roses to Horan and Sinclair, a tradition for goal-scorers at Providence Park. The supporters section then sang “O Canada” to Sinclair. “She won the Order of Canada,” explained Thorns fan Kelly Trione after the game. “She conducted us with her roses. … We’re all glad the Thorns are home.”

“I think we’ve been waiting so long for this game,” said Horan. “To be back at home with these fans is such an incredible feeling, and nothing takes away from that. I almost forgot that feeling a little bit. … It’s very special for us, and I hope the fans know that. We just adore them. It’s amazing.”

Week 3 Power Rankings: Courage hold on to top spot after Week 3

NWSL Power Rankings presented by Cutter

Crystal Dunn and Lynn Williams both scored in the Courage's 4-2 win. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

By NWSL Media Staff

Week 3 Power Rankings

The NWSL returned this weekend with eight of the league’s nine teams in Week 3 action. The NWSL will be back for more in just two days for a pair of midweek games on Wednesday, April 18. See where each team falls in the third edition of the power rankings.


1

NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
3-0-0, 9 pts

Change:
Last week: 1

The Courage hold onto the top spot after earning a 4-2 road win over the Washington Spirit on Saturday. McCall Zerboni led the way with a brace, while Crystal Dunn and Lynn Williams each scored. The Courage improve to 3-0-0 on the season and lead the league in goals (6.) The Courage will only have a couple days off before hosting Seattle Reign FC on Wednesday.


2

SEATTLE REIGN FC
2-0-0, 6 pts

Change:
Last week: 2

Megan Rapinoe once again was the difference maker for the Reign. NWSL’s March Player of the Month scored her second goal of the season off a penalty kick chance in just the sixth minute of play in the Reign’s 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC on Sunday. Rapinoe and the Reign will face another high-powered offensive team — the North Carolina Courage for a midweek match-up.


3

PORTLAND THORNS FC
2-1-0, 6 pts

Change: —
Last week: 3

The Thorns have turned their season around after suffering a loss to the Courage in opening weekend. On Sunday, the Thorns earned a 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride to improve to 2-1-0 on the year. Christine Sinclair scored her third goal of the season in the win, while Lindsey Horan also scored, her second of 2018. The Thorns will meet the Washington Spirit on Friday, and from the looks of what the Thorns have off the bench too (in Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic and Ifeoma Onumonu) they are well equipped to keep the goals coming.


4

CHICAGO RED STARS
1-1-1, 4 pts

Change: ▲ 3
Last week: 7

The Red Stars spoiled Utah Royals FC home opener on Saturday thanks to a volley finish from midfielder Danielle Colaprico. Colaprico’s goal gave the Red Stars their first lead of 2018 and eventually their first three points. Before Saturday’s victory, the Red Stars had scored late in Week 1 to secure a draw against the Houston Dash and in Week 2 scored twice but fell 3-2 to Portland Thorns FC.


5

WASHINGTON SPIRIT
1-2-0, 3 pts

Change: ▼ 1
Last week: 4

The Spirit weren’t able to get the result over the Courage on Saturday, but the young team didn’t go down without a fight. Mallory Pugh put her team on the board first with a goal in just the third minute. While the Courage were able to convert three unanswered goals after that, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe came up big for her side earning six saves on the day, with the Courage getting off 10 shots on goal. Francisca Ordega scored the Spirit’s second goal in the second half. The Spirit will travel to Providence Park on Friday to face the Thorns and will look to secure their first road win of 2018.


6

UTAH ROYALS FC
0-1-2, 2 pts

Change: ▼ 1
Last week: 5

Utah Royals FC made a splash with their home opener, but they are still putting the pieces together on offense. Since scoring in the third minute of Week 1, they have gone 267 minutes without a goal. They did get an offensive spark in Week 3 from the return of forward Amy Rodriguez. Rodriguez came into the match in the 77th minute, her first game since tearing her ACL last April. Utah Royals FC have a big task at hand next when they face the North Carolina Courage on the road on Saturday for the Lifetime Game of the Week.


7

HOUSTON DASH
0-0-2, 2 pts

Change: ▼ 1
Last week: 6

The Houston Dash had a bye in Week 3 action and will look for their first win of the 2018 season when they travel to Toyota Park to face the Red Stars on Wednesday. The Dash are 0-2-2 and looked organized defensively through goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who earned her first shutout this season against the Utah Royals FC in Week 2. 


8

ORLANDO PRIDE
0-2-1, 1 pt

Change: ▲ 1
Last week: 9

The Orlando Pride sit at 0-2-1 after falling to the Thorns 2-1 on Saturday. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris came up big for the Pride earning six saves on the day against a pressing Portland side. The Pride’s only goal on Sunday came from Chioma Ubogagu. The Pride struggled to break through in the final third, even with the return of Alex Morgan to the pitch — Morgan missed Week 2 after suffering a concussion in the Pride’s opening match against Utah Royals FC. The Pride will have to go another week without their key piece on offense — Marta, who is on international duty for Brazil.


9

SKY BLUE FC
0-2-0, 0 pts

Change: ▼ 1
Last week: 8

Sky Blue FC dropped their second match of the year on Sunday, falling to Seattle Reign FC. Sky Blue has faced the the league’s top two teams in their first two games and will have to buckle up again for a tough road test against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday.

Week 3 Rewind

Red Stars, Courage, Reign and Thorns all won in Week 3

Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on April 14, 2018. (Photo credit: Rob Gray/isiphotos.com)

A look back at the weekend that was as the NWSL hit Week 3:

 

Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico‘s goal spoiled the inaugural home game for Utah Royals FC. Colaprico’s strike was the game’s only scorein Chicago’s 1-0 win over Utah, which came in front of 19,203 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez earned her first minutes since tearing her ACL a year ago. Recap


 

Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage

The Courage improved to 3-0-0 on the season with a 4-2 win over the Washington Spirit in Crystal Dunn‘s return to the Maryland SoccerPlex. McCall Zerboni scored a brace in the game, including a well-placed free kick goal. Dunn and Lynn Williams also scored for the Courage. Recap

 


 

Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Megan Rapinoe‘s early penalty kick goal was the difference as Seattle topped Sky Blue FC 1-0. The game marked Carli Lloyd‘s first NWSL home game in a Sky Blue FC jersey. The Reign are now 2-0-0 to start the season. Recap

 


 

 

Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

The Thorns won their sixth straight home opener, 2-1 over the Pride. Christine Sinclair and Lindsey Horan scored for the Thorns, who improved to 2-1-0 with the win. Recap

 

 

 

 

 

Schedule & Results: NWSL on international duty

NWSL players on international duty in April

An overview of how and where to follow the players of the NWSL during the month of April .

The majority of countries are participating in qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Canada, Mexico, Nigeria and the United States are playing key friendlies.

This page will be updated with results and highlights as they become available. Live scores are available on FIFA.com.

Countries are listed in alphabetical order.

 


 

Argentina

 

Argentina is in Group B for the Copa América Femenina, which serves as CONMEBOL’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The final stage of the tournament will run from April 16-22. (Full schedule) The top two teams automatically qualify the Women’s World Cup and the third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

 

Update — Argentina advanced to the final stage along with Brazil, Chile and Colombia. The four teams will play three games against their opponents. The top two teams in the final stage group will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

Final Stage Results and schedule:

  • April 16 | Colombia 1 Argentina 3
  • April 19 | Brazil vs. Argentina at 3:45 p.m. ET
  • April 22 | Chile vs. Argentina at 3:45 p.m. ET

The tournament is being livestreamed on Facebook and CONMEBOL’s website

 

Group Stage Results:

  • April 5 | Brazil 3 Argentina 1 | Estefanía Banini scored on a free kick in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as Argentina fell 3-1 to Brazil. Watch: Highlights
  • April 7 | Argentina 3 Bolivia 0 
  • April 9 | Ecuador 3 Argentina 6 | Estefanía Banini scored again for Argentina in their 6-3 win over Ecuador

 

  • April 13 | Argentina 2 Venezuela 0

 

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Estefanía Banini (Washington Spirit)

 


 

Australia

 

Australia is in Group B of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The knockout rounds run from April 17-20. The top two teams from Group A and Group B will qualify for the Women’s World Cup. The two third-place teams in each group will play each other for the fifth spot in the World Cup.

 

  • April 7 | Australia 0 Korea Republic 0
  • April 10 | Australia 8 Vietnam 0  | Highlights
  • April 13 | Japan 1 Australia 1Sam Kerr scored in the 86th minute to send Australia through to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Recap

  • April 17 | Semifinal: Australia 2 Thailand 2 (Australia wins on penalties 3-1)
  • April 20 | Final: Japan vs. Australia at 1 p.m. ET

NWSL players on the roster:

Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Steph Catley (Seattle Reign FC), Katrina Gory (Utah Royals FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Kyah Simon (Houston Dash), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC)

 


 

Brazil

 

Brazil is in Group B for the Copa América Femenina, which serves as CONMEBOL’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

The final stage of the tournament will run from April 16-22. (Full schedule) The top two teams automatically qualify the Women’s World Cup and the third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

 

Update — Brazil advanced to the final stage along with Argentina, Chile and Colombia. The four teams will play three games against their opponents. The top two teams in the final stage group will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

Final Stage Results and schedule:

  • April 16 | Brazil 3 Chile 1
  • April 19 | Brazil vs. Argentina at 3:45 p.m. ET
  • April 22 | Colombia vs. Brazil at 6 p.m. ET

The tournament is being livestreamed on Facebook and CONMEBOL’s website

Results:

  • April 5 | Brazil 3 Argentina 1Debinha scored Brazil’s final goal in a 3-1 win over Argentina to open their tournament.

  • April 7 | Brazil 8 Ecuador 0 | Debinha and Andressinha scored and Marta assisted on a few as Brazil won 8-0 in their second game of the tournament.

  • April 11 | Brazil 4 Venezuela 0 | Brazil got goals from Marta and Monica as they beat Venezuela 4-0 in their third group stage game. Bia Zaneratto also added a brace for Brazil. Brazil is first in Group B and has advanced to the next round of the tournament. Recap
  • April 13 | Bolivia 0 Brazil 7

 

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Andressinha (Portland Thorns FC), Debinha (North Carolina Courage), Marta (Orlando Pride), Monica (Orlando Pride), Poliana (Orlando Pride) and Thaisa (Sky Blue FC)

 


 

Canada

 

Friendly:

 

  • April 9 | France 1 Canada 0 | Canada fell 1-0 on Monday evening in France. Recap

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash), Janine Beckie (Sky Blue FC), Allysha Chapman (North Carolina Courage), Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC) and Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride).

 


 

Chile

 

Chile is in Group A for the Copa América Femenina, which serves as CONMEBOL’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

The final stage of the tournament will run from April 16-22. (Full schedule) The top two teams automatically qualify the Women’s World Cup and the third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

 

Update — Chile advanced to the final stage along with Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. The four teams will play three games against their opponents. The top two teams in the final stage group will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The third place team will take part in a play-off with Concacaf.

Final Stage Results and schedule:

  • April 16 | Brazil 3 Chile 1
  • April 19 | Colombia vs. Chile at 6 p.m. ET
  • April 22 | Chile vs. Argentina at 3:45 p.m. ET

The tournament is being livestreamed on Facebook and CONMEBOL’s website

Results:

  • April 4 | Chile 1 Paraguay 1 | Yanara Aedo scored the game-tying goal in Chile’s opening game draw vs. Paraguay.
  • April 6 | Chile 1 Colombia 1 | Recap
  • April 10 | Chile 1 Uruguay 0
  • April 12 | Chile 5 Peru 0Yanara Aedo scored twice as Chile beat Peru 5-0 and advanced to the knockout stages of the tournament.

 

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Yanara Aedo (Washington Spirit)


 

Denmark

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifier. Qualifying round standings

 

  • April 9 | Denmark 1 Ukraine 0

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Theresa Nielsen (Seattle Reign FC)


 

England

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Qualifying round standings

 

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) and Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign FC)


 

Iceland

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Qualifying round standings

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir (Utah Royals FC)

 


 

Ireland

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Qualifying round standings

 

  • April 6 | Republic of Ireland 2 Slovakia 1 | Recap

  • April 10 | Republic of Ireland 0 Netherlands 2

 

NWSL players on the roster: Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage)


 

Japan

 

Japan is in Group B of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The knockout rounds run from April 17-20. The top two teams from Group A and Group B will qualify for the Women’s World Cup. The two third-place teams in each group will play each other for the fifth spot in the World Cup.

 

  • April 7 | Japan 4 Vietnam 0Nahomi Kawasumi entered as a late substitute in Japan’s 4-0 opening game win.
  • April 10 | Korea Republic 0 Japan 0
  • April 13 | Japan 1 Australia 1 | Japan qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup following a 1-1 draw with Australia. They are the first to qualify for all eight tournaments in FIFA Women’s World Cup history. Recap

 

  • April 17 | Semifinal: China PR 1 Japan 3
  • April 20 | Final: Japan vs. Australia at 1 p.m. ET

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Nahomi Kawasumi and Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign FC)


 

Mexico

 

Friendlies:

 

  • April 5 | United States 4 Mexico 1Katie Johnson scored Mexico’s only goal in their loss to the United States. Recap

  • April 8 | United States 6 Mexico 2 | Sky Blue FC draft pick Kiana Palacios scored for Mexico in their 6-2 loss to the United States. Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Bianca Henninger (Houston Dash), Katie Johnson (Sky Blue FC) and Kiana Palacios (Sky Blue FC 2018 NWSL College Draft pick)


 

Nigeria

 

Friendly:

 

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit)


 

Norway

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifier. Qualifying round standings

 

  • April 10 | Northern Ireland 0 Norway 3

 

NWSL players on the roster: Elise Thorsnes (Utah Royals FC)

 


Scotland

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Qualifying round standings

 

  • April 5 | Switzerland 1 Scotland 0 | Lara Dickenmann scored the game’s only goal as Switzerland beat Scotland 1-0. Recap
  • April 10 | Scotland 3 Poland 0

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals FC)


Sweden

Orlando Pride defender Lotta Ökvist will be with Sweden’s U-23 team at the U-23 La Manga Tournament in Spain:

  • April 5 at 10 a.m. ET: vs. U-20 U.S. women’s national team
  • April 7 at 8 a.m. ET: vs. France
  • April 9 at 6 a.m. ET: vs. U-20 China

 


 

Switzerland

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Qualifying round standings

  • April 5 | Switzerland 1 Scotland 0 | Lara Dickenmann scored the game’s only goal as Switzerland beat Scotland 1-0. Recap

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Ana-Maria Crnogorčević (Portland Thorns FC)

 


 

United States

 

Friendlies:

 

  • April 5 | United States 4 Mexico 1Alex Morgan scored twice and the United States added goals from Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd. Lloyd’s goal is her 99th career international goal. Recap

  • April 8 | United States 6 Mexico 2Megan Rapinoe scored a goal and four assists in the USWNT’s 6-2 win over Mexico. Carli Lloyd scored her 100th international goal. Recap

 

NWSL players on the roster:

 

Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC), Haley Hanson (Houston Dash), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)

 


 

Wales

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifier. Qualifying round standings

 

  • April 6 | England 0 Wales 0

 

NWSL players on the roster:

Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign FC)

 

Utah Royals FC still building after inaugural home opener

19,203 fans came out for the NWSL's first game in Utah

Rio Tinto Stadium for Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars on April 14, 2018. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Additional reporting by Meg Linehan

 

Sandy, Utah — It wasn’t the result they hoped for, but Utah joined the NWSL in style, with a large and loud home crowd for Utah Royals FC on Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.

 

“I think it’s 100 million thousand people here,” a young girl in the crowd said during the first half.

 

It wasn’t quite that many people, but the crowd of 19,203 was good enough to be one of the largest in NWSL history, behind only the Orlando Pride’s 2016 home opener and several Portland Thorns FC games. After a few days of snow and cold, the sun came out with temperatures in the 50s for the game. Rachel Platten sang the national anthem — complete with a helicopter flyover — and held a postgame concert.

 

“The crowd was amazing. Unbelievable. For us to come out to this size of a crowd is great,” Utah coach Laura Harvey said after the game. “Everything around the game has been phenomenal in terms of build up.”

Utah Royals FC and Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen flew in family members for every player on the team — with family members coming in from across the country and across the globe. Katie Bowen’s family was traveling in from New Zealand and Rachel Corsie family traveled from Scotland, to name a few.

 

Sydney Miramontez’s mother Jane, her father, sisters Sinclaire and Sierra, Sydney’s boyfriend and Sierra’s boyfriend, all came in from Kansas City to see her play on Saturday. Miramontez subbed in for Kelley O’Hara to start the second half and played the final 45 minutes. 

 

“I don’t even have words yet. This is the most amazing thing we’ve ever been a part of. Women’s soccer has gone to a whole new level. Coming from Kansas City, this is top of the line. Amazing. Everything has just been wonderful and we’ve been treated so nicely. We just want it to grow and NWSL [to] just continue,” Jane Miramontez said before the game.

 

“This is the right way to do it. We just want Utah to be the model for everybody else to step up and say hey, this is what the women’s soccer program needs to be.”

 

 

Before the game, every Utah player received a scarf from their supporters group, The Court, and after the game the players saluted the fans who made their voices heard all game. 

 

“It was incredible. Can’t thank the people of Utah enough, the front office, for all the work they did to get people in the stands and just people showing up,” O’Hara said.

 

“Obviously not the result we wanted. We want to give the fans wins every time we come here, especially the number we got today. That’s my whole focus going forward. I think it’s the team’s as well. The atmosphere was incredible and I’m hoping it stays that way this whole season and that we can start to produce for the fans.”

 

Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico scored the first NWSL goal at Rio Tinto Stadium, a stunning volley that silenced that near-capacity crowd.

 

“The atmosphere is unreal. It’s awesome. I think the only other place we really experience that is Portland. So it’s great to see that the league is growing. It was amazing being out there. It’s very surreal,” she said.

 

While the crowd and the atmosphere were strong, there are still things to work on for Utah Royals FC on the field. Saturday’s goal was only the first goal conceded in the run of play by Utah in three games this season — but they also have not scored since the third minute of the first game. They’ve been shutout for 267 straight minutes since their first goal.

 

“I think it was OK. I think we’ve got … a few more levels that we can get to,” Utah defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. “I think we need to add a little bit more sophistication. I think we had a little bit more time on the ball than we thought we did. I do think we had chances. I think if we put one of those on goal, maybe one goes in against [Red Stars goalkeeper] Alyssa [Naeher]. I think it was pretty good, but I know that we have better.”

 

They got a boost on offense on Saturday when Amy Rodriguez returned to the field, looking dangerous at times in her 13 minutes of action. She received the loudest ovation of the afternoon when she subbed in for just her second game in the last two years. Including the playoffs, Rodriguez has scored 26 goals in 39 NWSL appearances.

 

“Hurry up and get fit, that’s what I thought. Hurry up and get to 90 minutes as quickly as possible,” Harvey said when asked what she thought of Rodriguez’s performance on Saturday.

 

Utah will play their next home game in two weeks, vs. defending champions Portland Thorns FC. The club reports 5,000 season ticket holders and Portland fans will likely travel, so it should be another fun game. Until then, it’s a road trip to the first place North Carolina Courage to try to get their first win.

 

But Saturday afternoon’s game was the start of something.

 

The environment was unbelievable,” Sauerbrunn said. “Kudos to Utah for showing up and supporting us. It was something special today. I feel like I was part of something special. It’s disappointing that we didn’t get the win to kind of add to the wonderful day. But to play in front of a crowd like that. … This is why we play soccer. It was wonderful.”

Utah Royals FC set for inaugural home opener

Utah Royals FC will host the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday

A look at Rio Tinto Stadium ahead of Utah Royal FC's inaugural home match – likely to be in front of one of the NWSL's largest crowds. (Photo credit: Meg Linehan/NWSL Media)

Sandy, Utah — When Utah Royals FC take the field on Saturday afternoon vs. the Chicago Red Stars (3:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime) for their inaugural home game, they will likely do so in front of one of the largest crowds in NWSL history.

 

A crowd of over 18,000 is likely, with Rio Tinto Stadium only offering standing room only tickets as of Friday. Rachel Platten will sing the national anthem and will also hold a postgame concert after Saturday’s game.

I’m pretty excited. People around the city already seem to know a lot about the team,” midfielder Diana Matheson said after practice this week. “We’ve got pretty high expectations I think, so hopefully it’s rocking in there.”

 

“That’s a huge crowd,” defender Rachel Corsie said. “It’s huge for the game, for the league. For this team, I think it’s something that, as players we have a lot of experience across the board who probably have played in that environment before and know how great it can be and how it can be a huge advantage for us to have so many people supporting us. We want to show our appreciation for that and we want to play well.”

Utah comes into the match undefeated after earning draws in their first two games, on the road at Orlando, a 1-1 scoreline, and a scoreless draw at Houston. They scored their first goal in just the third minute of their first game in Orlando on March 24.

 

Saturday’s home opener is the culmination of a whirlwind NWSL start that began in November when Utah was announced as the newest NWSL team. The announcement came just days after owner Dell Loy Hansen, who owns the Real Salt Lake MLS team, was approached with the possibility of joining the league in the 2018 season.

 

They’ve just poured so much into this. We see signs everywhere for Utah Royals FC. We’re on the radio. We were watching the RSL game [Wednesday] night, and they kept mentioning our home opener. I feel like they’re really putting the resources in to get the word out there and I think that really helps. I think the community knows that we’re here. I think Dell Loy has really announced us, that we’re here,” Utah Royals FC defender and captain Becky Sauerbrunn said. “That’s new, I guess, a little bit. But it’s also very welcome.”

 

The roster is largely the core of FC Kansas City players that moved to Utah after FCKC ceased operations — players like Becky Sauerbrunn and Nicole Barnhart. They’ve been joined by Kelley O’Hara, acquired in a trade with Sky Blue FC, internationals like Elise Thorsnes from Norway and Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir of Iceland, as well as players acquired in the Boston dispersal draft — Abby Smith, Katie Stengel and Brooke Elby. They’re coached by Laura Harvey, who left Seattle Reign FC before Utah even joined the league, and was Utah’s first choice as their inaugural head coach.

 

Utah Royals FC also could get a huge boost on offense in the game with the possible return of forward Amy Rodriguez, who was removed from the injury report on Friday. It could be Rodriguez’s first minutes since tearing her ACL in last year’s season opener for FC Kansas City, which came after missing all of 2016 due to the birth of her son.

 

Hansen is flying in family members for all the players to watch Saturday’s home opener, with guests expected from as far away as New Zealand, home of midfielder Katie Bowen.

 

Matheson said her parents, sister and brother-in-law are headed in from Toronto for the game.

 

They’re gonna have the yellow shirts. They’re going to be rocking the yellow in the stands with everyone else. I think it’s going to be incredible with all the families in the stands. It’s probably a totally unique situation — in this league, I think for sure,” she said.

 

Because of the fast timetable, international duty, and the road games to start the season, some players said they hadn’t had too much time to see much of Utah, but had staked out the most important places.

 

The mountains and the nature,” Matheson said when asked her favorite part of Utah. “Everyone is very friendly in this whole state, bar none, so far as I can tell. And we’ve found some good coffee shops, too. So far, so good.”

 

Goalkeeper Abby Smith was one of the players to arrive first in Utah, in early February following the Breakers dispersal draft in late January.

 

“I’ve loved it,” Smith said of her time in Utah so far. “It’s amazing. On the field and off the field, everybody’s been really nice and supportive. The fans have been incredible and it’s hard to have any kind of complaint. This [practice] facility is unbelievable. The facility at the stadium is unbelievable. They’ve really taken care of us. We don’t have to worry about anything besides being a soccer player. That’s what we’re here for, but it’s not that way in other places.”

 

Players said they’ve felt the excitement around town in Utah ahead of Saturday’s game.

 

It’s kind of like we’re the new kid on the block. Everybody wants to see, ‘Who’s that?’ or ‘This is the Utah Royals FC. They’re new in town.’ We’re starting to get a little bit more recognition, now that RSL, they’ve started and been going a little bit. Now that it’s our turn to have a home game, they’re really pushing for us,” Smith said.

Australia, Japan qualify for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

France will host the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

Left: Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr in action for Australia. Right: Seattle Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi in action for Japan. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Australia and Japan have both qualified for the 2019 FIFA women’s World Cup, following a 1-1 draw in their final Group B game at the AFC Women’s Cup in Jordan on Friday.

 

Japan went up 1-0 in the 63rd minute, and Australia looked headed to a third place group finish and a playoff for the final spot — but it was Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr to the rescue once again. Her goal in the 86th minute tied the match. The 1-1 draw sends both teams through to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Korea Republic finished third in the group and will play the Philippines for the AFC’s final spot in the World Cup.

 

Japan and Australia join fellow Asian Football Confederation countries China PR and Thailand, who also qualified for next year’s Women’s World Cup this week. Host nation France is the only other country to have qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Japan is now the first team to qualify for all eight FIFA Women’s World Cups. Six other teams have qualified for every tournament so far, and will have the opportunity to qualify for 2019 later this year. Japan won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup — one of just four teams to ever win the title — and reached the final in 2015.

 

This will be Australia’s seventh time appearing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having only missed the first tournament in 1991. They have made it to the quarterfinals of the last three World Cups, their highest finish.

 

Both teams feature a number of NWSL players on their roster. Nahomi Kawasumi and Rumi Utsugi of Seattle Reign FC both appeared for Japan in the qualifying tournament. For Australia, Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Steph Catley (Seattle Reign FC), Katrina Gory (Utah Royals FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Kyah Simon (Houston Dash), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC) were all on the roster.

 

The next federation to have countries qualify for the World Cup will be CONMEBOL, with those games taking place next week. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have all advanced to the final stage of the Copa América Femenina, which will directly qualify two teams for France 2019 and send a third to a playoff with Concacaf later this year.

Rodriguez removed from injury report; Week 3 injury updates

Yuki Nagasato has also been removed from the injury report

Amy Rodriguez will be back in the NWSL in 2018, at forward for Utah Royals FC. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Sandy, Utah — When the NWSL released the Week 3 injury report on Friday morning, one notable name was no longer listed on it — Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez.

 

Rodriguez had been on the 45-day disabled list and was out for the fist two weeks of this season, after tearing her ACL in last year’s opening game for FC Kansas City. Rodriguez practiced with the team on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s inaugural home opener, before being officially removed from the injury report on Friday.

 

But while there’s now a chance Rodriguez could play on Saturday, there’s also a chance she might not. Much like the situation with Kealia Ohai and the Houston Dash, being removed from the injury report doesn’t necessarily mean that player will play immediately — but it’s a step closer to seeing time.

Other notable updates in the Week 3 injury report:

 

  • Chicago Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato, who missed the first two weeks with a left hamstring strain, has been removed from the injury report.
  • Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath (ankle surgery) has been upgraded to questionable.
  • Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara (left hamstring strain) has been upgraded to questionable.
  • North Carolina Courage midfielder Sam Mewis (right knee strain) has also been upgraded to questionable.
  • Washington Spirit defender Rebecca Quinn (right TFL muscle strain) is out.

NWSL announces process for 2018 Boston Breakers season ticket holders and campers to receive refunds

The NWSL announced the process on Thursday

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following press release on Friday:

CHICAGO (April 13, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that the League will be administering refunds to 2018 Boston Breakers season ticket holders and registered camp participants. The NWSL has retained the services of Garden City Group, LLC (GCG) to oversee the administration of the refund process.

 

The NWSL will be emailing all season ticket holders and registered camp participants to provide instructions on how to request their refunds. Once the required information is submitted, GCG will confirm it against the records provided by Boston Elite Soccer, LLC d/b/a Boston Breakers and issue a refund. In addition, fans can go directly to the NWSL website for more information: www.nwslsoccer.com/bostonbreakers.

 

GCG is the nation’s premier legal administration services company and has provided comprehensive legal administrative services for more than three decades. GCG has administered over 3,400 settlements and GCG’s legal notices have appeared in more than 40 languages in approximately 140 countries. In the course of its history, GCG has mailed over 400 million notices, disseminated over 800 million emails, handled over 37 million phone calls, designed and launched over one thousand settlement websites and distributed over 39 million payments for over $72 billion in recoveries. GCG has handled those matters with the most rigorous quality control, fraud prevention, and regulatory compliance programs in the industry. Additional information about GCG can be found on their website at www.choosegcg.com.        

Courage add Cari Roccaro to roster and sign Sarah Teegarden as National Team Replacement Player

North Carolina Courage gear up for their first road test of the season

Cari Roccaro played 18 games for the Houston Dash in 2017. (Photo credit: Amy Kontras/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf

The North Carolina Courage announced the signing of defender Cari Roccaro on Thursday and midfielder Sarah Teegarden as a National Team Replacement player. The Courage welcome the two new additions ahead of Week 3 NWSL action against the Washington Spirit on Saturday, April 14.

Roccaro joins the Courage after playing the 2017 NWSL season with the Houston Dash. With the Dash, she recorded 1,500 minutes in 18 games played. The defender was drafted fifth overall by Houston in the 2016 NWSL College Draft out of the University of Notre Dame.

“I know her strengths very well having coached her at the youth level,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said in the team’s press release. “She is simple, constructive, good range of passing and a workaholic.”

Additionally the Courage welcome midfielder Teegarden as a National Team Replacement player for Debinha, who is on international duty with Brazil. Teegarden has been training with the Courage since preseason and spent the last year playing in Sweden for Kopparbergs Goteborg FC.

“Sarah survived a tough preseason and has really thrived over the past month,” Riley said. “She has the soccer IQ to help our team navigate through this difficult schedule of games. You can’t replace Debinha, but Sarah is capable of adding physicality, simplicity and toughness to a midfield devoid of Sam Mewis and Debinha.”

The Courage are 2-0-0 after two weeks of NWSL games and will look to remain undefeated on the road against the Spirit this upcoming weekend.

Q&A: Kimberly Keever, Houston Dash

In Keever's NWSL debut she scored the Dash's opening goal of 2018

Houston, TX - Sunday March 25, 2018: Kimberly Keever during a regular season National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) match between the Houston Dash and the Chicago Red Stars at BBVA Compass Stadium. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

By Celia Balf

Houston Dash forward Kimberly Keever didn’t have much time to adjust to life as a starting striker in her rookie NWSL season. The 12th overall pick at the 2018 NWSL College Draft joined the Dash just days before the start of the season — she was finishing up her studies at the University of Washington before reporting to Houston. However, no one would have guessed the California native was about as fresh as they come out there in the NWSL’s opening weekend. Earning the start in the Dash’s season opener against the Chicago Red Stars on March 25, Keever scored in just the 37th minute of play.

Keever has started the past two games for the Dash and has scored the only goal for the club so far this season. The Dash are 0-0-2 after two weeks of play and will face the Chicago Red Stars for a midweek matchup on Wednesday, April 18. NWSL Media caught up with the rookie during the league’s international break.

 

Question: How has it been adjusting to life as a professional soccer player?

Kimberly Keever: It has been pretty different honestly. The pace of the game is so much faster than college soccer so it was kind of hard to prepare for it. Also being out in Houston, [somewhere] I’ve never even been close to, that has been a lot harder too. But to be on a team where everyone is in the same situation as you has been really helpful.

Q: What has surprised you the most about the NWSL so far?

Keever: Just how good everyone is. It seems like there is no weak person anywhere on the field. Actually, what surprised me is that everyone is much faster and much stronger. The average here is just nothing that I have ever played [with or against] before.

Q: Do you feel like each day it is getting any easier to adjust to this pace?

Keever: Once I joined the team I’ve gotten better every day. I’ve gotten more comfortable on the ball and with the speed of play.

Q: You joined the team at the very end of preseason, how was that?

Keever: It was not that great. The team had been together and they knew how each other played already. I joined the team in Portland during the preseason tournament and I mean my second practice we played a game and that was kind of difficult I guess to understand how everyone played.

Q: I’m sure! Did you feel like just diving into it might of helped you in terms of not having much time to get the pre-pre-season jitters?

Keever: I think diving into it did actually helped me. Everyone knew I was new so they were all very helpful and understanding that I didn’t really know what was happening. They were nice, understanding, and very helpful.

Q: Well it seems like diving in absolutely helped you, scoring in your NWSL debut! Can you walk me through your first professional goal and the emotions that came from it?

Keever: I think it was pretty late in the half, so I was very tired and Savannah [Jordan] just did a great job making moves around her defender and getting the ball in behind the defense, which was the most dangerous ball she could have played. From there, I think I was just in the right place at the right time. But, I was super excited. I was really tired after it though. (Laughs.) 

Q: Two games under your belt now, how would you evaluate the way things are going with your team headed into Week 3 play?

Keever: I think we’ve gotten better every day which is very nice. And since we’ve already played Chicago, I mean I’m sure they are getting better too, but I think we are getting to know each other better as a team — even better than we did yesterday. We know what each player wants to do and what they are best at, which I don’t think we knew two weeks ago. I think we have much better chemistry as a team.

Q: And what are you hoping to improve on individually in the next game?

Keever: [I would like to work on] being more comfortable on the ball and being able to go forward instead of playing the easy ball back.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

Keever: I like to go forward, I don’t really like to defend or anything. I would say. I don’t really know…(Laughs.)

Q: How would you say your teammates might describe you then?

Keever: I think they would say I like the feisty side of the game! I like getting tackled and tackling other people, I just think that is what changes a game, it can spark an entire half, I guess.

Q: That feistiness and attacking mindset was your MO in college, not to mention your speed. Who would challenge you in a foot race in the league right now? 

Keever: (Laughs.) I think even like all my teammates would! I was maybe considered fast in college, but now everybody has gotten so much faster. The attributes that I used to think I was good at are very average now. (Laughs.)

Q: Well you managed to score in your professional debut, pretty fast at that! What was it like making your NWSL debut along side three teammates also in the same boat as you (making their NWSL debut)?

Keever: I think that kind of helped us all, knowing we weren’t the only one in that position. Kind of comforted us, thinking like, “Hey, they are new too, it is OK if we mess up.” They calmed me down because it is never easy going into your first game, but I was happy to have a few of those players in the same position as me.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t playing soccer?

Keever: I like to play beach volleyball.

Q: Have you found any beach volleyball courts, or beaches in Houston yet?

Keever: (Laughs.) I haven’t found any yet, but I’ve been keeping my eye out.

Q: What is it about beach volleyball that you like?

Keever: I just think it is different than soccer! Like obviously very different, but training both at the same time has kept me in the best shape of my life. It is fun and different from soccer, but they really do complement each other. I played all throughout high school, tried to a little in college, but Washington doesn’t have any beaches either. (Laughs.)

Q: I’ll make sure to help you with researching good beach volleyball courts in Houston, seems like a must!

Keever: (Laughs.) Thanks!

Q: Have you always known you wanted to be a professional soccer player?

Keever: Yes. It has been a life-long dream of mine to play professional soccer.

Q: How did that dream come about, did anyone in particular inspire you?

Keever: My first club coach Mandy Clemens, she probably inspired me the most. She played professionally a little bit, she was a Hermann Trophy winner at Santa Clara and I mean you could tell just how much she loved the game and she passed that down to me I guess.

Q&A: Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit

After Week 2, Bledsoe leads the NWSL in saves with 14

Aubrey Bledsoe is leading the NWSL in saves with 14. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf

After just two weeks of NWSL play, Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has already made her presence known. Last season, the Ohio native had a standout season for the Orlando Pride where she started 11 of the Pride’s 24 regular season games in net and earned two shutouts, while filling in for the injured Ashlyn Harris. The Spirit acquired Bledsoe this past January, and it didn’t take the Wake Forest alum much time to find herself in that starting role. Bledsoe leads the league in saves (14) and earned her first shutout of the year in the Spirit’s 2-0 win over her old side, the Orlando Pride, in Week 2 action.

Before the Spirit host the league-leading North Carolina Courage this Saturday, April 14, NWSL Media got the chance to catch up with Bledsoe on her off day.

Question: Two games in with the Spirit now, a new team for you and a young team at that, how would you evaluate the way things are going so far?

Aubrey Bledsoe: We are a very young and new team. Obviously [we] brought in a lot of U.S national team faces, draft picks, so it took us a bit to gel and we’re still working on those relationships [on the] the field — like knowing what to expect from each other and how to play into each other’s strengths. We’re still deciding what our identity is and what style of play we’re going to embrace, so we’re still very much a work in progress. But, we’ve already seen some great progress from Seattle to our home opener and I think we’ve got a huge upside in that we have a lot of attacking talent — obviously Mallory Pugh; one of the best up and coming players in the country if not the world, and yeah we’ve got a lot of different weapons. Now, if we can focus on our organization, our communication, and just ironing some of those things out, I think we could be a really dangerous team come the end of the season.

Q: You mentioned Mallory Pugh just there, and I couldn’t help but notice that during the last game you ran up to her in a full sprint after she scored in the 80th minute — how excited were you?

Bledsoe: A lot of people were like: “We were shocked to see you out there!” But keepers are all by themselves, and I was so excited! It was a great goal, especially in the 80th minute and it looked pretty deadlocked at zero…and I wanted to join in on the celebration! So yeah, it was a big goal for us!

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

Bledsoe: I think I have a lot of composure. I am pretty consistent; I pride myself on making the saves that are required of me to keep my team in the game and then I hope to be able to pull off the big world class saves that really propel us to a win. I think consistency is key and knowing that you can depend on your keeper. I think I’m really quick and I’m working on being more aggressive off my line — especially going into North Carolina here, they like to play over the top, so I think my speed is a huge advantage that I have. So I think if I can keep making the right decisions and use that to my advantage.

Q: Since we are on the topic of North Carolina, what kind of preparation goes into facing an attacking team like the Courage?

Bledsoe: A lot of it is making sure I’m connected to our backline and that we’re reading balls over the top. They have so much speed and they look to play pretty direct, so we have to read the cues and make sure we are dropping and trying to keep them in front of us as much as we can. So just positionally making sure I’m connected to them and when I can come and kind of tweak those balls that come through our backline and then just making sure they don’t get anything easy in over the top.

Q: What are some things you say to your backline — especially if it’s a game that is much more in your half than the other side?

Bledsoe: It’s mainly commands and directions; you’ll hear me say “drop,” or “step” a lot. Of course, I like to cheer them on and really celebrate like if they block or something. If someone makes a great play I’ll say, “Yes Estelle [Johnson]!” Or, “Love that!” Things like that, just to let them know they are doing a great job, because ultimately if I can get my defenders to work in front of me it makes my job a lot easier. So it’s a lot of commands, but at the same time I’ll try to get pumped up when they make good plays.

Q:Which player has the hardest shot on your team — Or which player in a 1-v-1 situation are you like — “Oh gosh, she’s coming.”

Bledsoe: Huh…That’s a good question…

Q: Doesn’t have to be hardest say, could also be unpredictable?

Bledsoe: All of our forwards bring something unique, so it’s not necessarily the hardest shot that would challenge me, but it’s the players who can pick out if I’m leaning or out of position and then can score the opposite way. So, obviously — Mal is a great finisher because of her speed. Franny [Francisca Ordega] is a bit of a wild card because of her speed as well and Ashley Hatch is a good finisher. Really everyone brings something different, so I wouldn’t say there is anyone that is all power, but they all offer something unique. Yeah even Tori Huster will pick her head up… she’s always looking to chip me, so she keeps me honest making sure I am dropping quickly enough to my line. We have a lot of weapons that bring different types of finishes.

Q: What is something that NWSL fans might not know about you?

Bledsoe: I come from a goalkeeping family, strangely, so my twin sister was a keeper. Even in high school, she actually played the field and I was in goal and we played on different club teams, but my brother is a goalkeeper and he plays professionally in Nashville, for Nashville SC. People are always like something is in the water at the Bledsoe household to have three Division I keepers in college out of four siblings, that’s pretty crazy, so I think that’s a fun fact. I’m very close with my siblings in my entire family, so it’s fun for me to get to train with my brother now. I’ll get my sister out there to train me in the offseason too. We’re just a big soccer family and they’ve really supported me and helped me out along way.

Q: How often do you and your siblings get to train together now?

Bledsoe: Offseason is pretty long, so offseason we’ll train a good bit. Like during Thanksgiving vacation. Maybe normal families would spend more time just relaxing, but me and my brother would be up early hitting the gym, or getting a field session in. Christmas too, kind of embrace the routine together.

Q: And lastly, what can we expect to see from you this season?

Bledsoe: I’m just hoping for a consistent performance throughout the season and to keep growing and evolving my game as the season progresses. I would love to see the Spirit in the playoffs, so hopefully I can help contribute to that. My ultimate goal would be to get a shot at the national team, so I’m hoping that my performance in the league will earn me a call in. I just want to be the best I can be and help the team win. 

France tops Canada 1-0

Canada will next face Germany in June

Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky in action for Canada at the 2018 Algarve Cup in March. (Photo credit: Canada Soccer/Flickr)

In a friendly meeting between the No. 4 and No. 5 ranked teams in the world, Canada fell 1-0 to France on Monday evening at Roazhon Park in Rennes, France.

The friendly served as a key tune-up for both teams. Canada will take part in the Concacaf Women’s Championship, the region’s qualifying tournament for the Women’s World Cup, in October. On Sunday, it was announced that Canada will be in Group B for the tournament, and play their group stage games at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. France, as 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts, has automatically qualified for next summer’s tournament and is not taking part in UEFA’s qualifiers. 

 

On Monday in France, Canada fell behind early after Utah Royals FC midfielder Diana Matheson was called for a handball in the box. France’s Eugénie Le Sommer converted the penalty kick to put France up 1-0 in the 10th minute.

 

Canada had a few chances midway through the game, but could not find a way to even the score. In the 43rd minute, Orlando Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky‘s cross was caught by France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi as Canada threatened on a corner kick.

 

In the 53rd minute, Sky Blue FC forward Janine Beckie’s free kick bounced around in the box for a short spell, but ultimately the French defense was able to clear it away.

 

 

In the 77th minute, France had a chance to double the score after Utah Royals FC midfielder Desiree Scott was called for a foul in the box. But former Portland Thorns FC midfielder Amandine Henry‘s penalty kick was saved by former Washington Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair — who has 172 international goals — had a shot come close in the first half, but it went just wide. She sits just 12 behind Abby Wambach for the all-time record.

Seven NWSL players started in the match for Canada: Allysha Chapman, Zadorsky, Scott, Matheson, Sinclair, Nichelle Prince and Beckie.

 

 

Canada will next face Germany on June 10 in Hamilton, Ontario, before October’s Women’s World Cup qualifiers. The NWSL returns to action on April 14.

Rapinoe’s goal, four assists lead U.S. to 6-2 win over Mexico

Carli Lloyd scored her 100th international goal in the game

Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) scored her 100th international goal and Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) added a goal and four assists, as the United States beat Mexico 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The game was the second of two friendlies between the sides, ahead of October’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

After a wild start to the game, Lloyd scored No. 100 in the 34th minute to make it 3-2. Following a Rapinoe cross, Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC) saved the ball from going over the end line, hitting it back into the mix in front of goal. With Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago coming out to try to make a play, Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) got a touch on the ball. Her effort bounced up and away from the goal, but Lloyd raced onto it and headed it into the open net for the eventual game-winner.

 

 

Lloyd scored No. 99 on Thursday versus Mexico before hitting the century mark on Sunday. The milestone comes in her 252nd international cap. Lloyd is the sixth United States player to score 100 goals, joining Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett.

“I think I could have ten careers and not get that many goals,” Rapinoe said of Lloyd’s accomplishment to Jenny Taft at halftime on FOX.

 

The goal completed a brief U.S. comeback and gave them the lead for good, after falling behind 2-1 earlier in the first half.

 

The United States scored first, in the third minute, with Rapinoe and Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh connecting yet again for the game’s opening goal. The pair did the same in Thursday’s win over Mexico.

 

 

But Mexico equalized in the 17th minute when Mónica Ocampo scored directly off a corner kick. Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell, earning her first start in goal in her third career appearance, couldn’t make a play on the in-swinging effort and it skipped just inside the far post.

 

 

Mexico took a 2-1 lead in the 24th minute, following another corner kick. Ocampo served it in, and Sky Blue FC draft pick Kiana Palacios headed it past Campbell for her first international goal.

 

 

Palacios was selected by Sky Blue FC in the fourth round of the 2018 NWSL College Draft.

 

But the United States wasted no time tying the game as Rapinoe and Horan connected on a corner kick in the 25th minute.

 

 

Horan left the game in the first half due to what looked to be a right calf injury. She was replaced by Houston Dash midfielder Haley Hanson in the 40th minute. It’s the first international cap for Hanson, and it came in her home NWSL stadium.

 

After Lloyd’s goal made it 3-2, Morgan put the United States up 4-2 near the end of the first half.

 

 

The United States added to their lead in the second half with goals from Rapinoe and Morgan.

 

Rapinoe’s goal came in the 64th minute, a long-distance chip into an empty net after Santiago was forced to come way off her line.

 

 

Morgan scored her second goal of the game in the 68th minute as Rapinoe earned her fourth assist of the day.

 

Rapinoe, the March NWSL Player of the Month after a goal and an assist in Week 1, showed no signs of slowing down in this match, despite the Reign having a Week 2 bye.

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Sofia Huerta entered in the 75th minute, her first appearance vs. Mexico since her one-time change of national association from Mexico to the United States last year.

 

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris subbed in at the 67 minute, her first minutes in goal of 2018.

 

The United States and Mexico could meet again later this year at the Concacaf Women’s Championship in October, which determines the Concacaf teams going to next year’s Women’s World Cup in France. Earlier in the day on Sunday, U.S. Soccer announced the venues for the tournament and that the United States will play their Group A games at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, home of the North Carolina Courage. Canada will be in Group B, with the remaining teams to be placed later this year.

 

The NWSL returns to action on April 14.

 

 


– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: April 8, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 15,349
Weather:  53 degrees; Cloudy

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             4          2          6                      
MEX                             2          0          2

USA – Mallory Pugh (Megan Rapinoe)                           3rd minute
MEX – Mónica Ocampo                                                 17
MEX – Kiana Palacios (Mónica Ocampo)                        24
USA – Lindsey Horan (Megan Rapinoe)                         25
USA – Carli Lloyd (Alex Morgan)                                    34
USA – Alex Morgan (Megan Rapinoe)                            44
USA – Megan Rapinoe                                                  64
USA – Alex Morgan (Megan Rapinoe)                            68

Lineups:
USA: 18-Jane Campbell (24-Ashlyn Harris, 67)16-Emily Sonnett (14-Sofia Huerta, 75), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 17-Tierna Davidson (25-Hailie Mace, 59), 19-Crystal Dunn; 6-Morgan Brian (20-Allie Long, 29), 9-Lindsey Horan (26-Haley Hanson, 40), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 11-Mallory Pugh (27-Tegan McGrady, 58), 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe
Substitutes: 21-Savannah McCaskill
Head coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 12-Cecilia Santiago; 2-Kenti Robles, 3-Bianca Sierra, 22-Greta Espinoza (5-Mónica Flores, 50), 23-Christina Murillo (13-Annia Mejía, 46); 6-Karla Nieto, 7-Cristina Ferral (4-Vanessa Flores, 79), 10-Stephany Mayor, 11-Mónica Ocampo (capt.) (17-María Sánchez, 60); 8-Ariana Calderón (9-Anisa Guajardo, 70), 18-Kiana Palacios (21-Renae Cuéllar, 74)
Substitutes1-Bianca Henninger, 14-Jocelyn Orejel, 16-Marcela Valera,
Head coach: Roberto Medina

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 14 / 2
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 9 / 6
Fouls: 4 / 10
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
None                                       

Officials: 
Referee: Karen Abt (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Deleana Quan (USA)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match:  Megan Rapinoe

March Team of the Month

The March Team of the Month presented by Cutter

By Celia Balf

The first Team of the Month of the 2018 NWSL season has been announced for March, with the top team in the NWSL standings, the North Carolina Courage, leading the way with three players named to the roster: Jaelene Hinkle, Debinha and Crystal Dunn. The March Team of the Month was selected by the NWSL Media Association.

Check out the full best XI, which lines up in a 4-3-3 formation:


GK: Jane Campbell, Houston Dash

In her second NWSL season with the Dash, goalkeeper Jane Campbell made six saves in March, allowing just one goal as the Dash went 0-0-2 in their first two games of the 2018 season. On March 30, Campbell had a standout performance against Utah Royals FC recording five saves, one of which earned her Week 2 Save of the Week honors.


D: Jaelene Hinkle, North Carolina Courage

Jaelene Hinkle helped the Courage to an undefeated start to the season. The defender has not only done her part defensively — with the Courage the only team standing without any goals against — but also recorded a team-high 88 touches against Sky Blue on March 31 and contributed three key passes, one feeding Jessica McDonald in the 92nd minute for the game-winner.


D: Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals FC

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn has kept the new Utah Royals FC team organized and hard to break down. Utah Royals FC are 0-0-2 and have conceded just one goal in their two games. Sauerbrunn’s performances against Orlando and Houston have combined for six clearances, four interceptions and two blocks.


D: Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns FC

Last season defender Emily Sonnett was a key piece in holding down the reigning NWSL champs’ backline, and in the first two weeks of the 2018 NWSL season, the same holds true. Sonnett recorded nine clearances and won possession 14 times against the Courage in Week 1, and in Week 2 put together another solid 90 minute effort against the Red Stars. Sonnett made six clearances, one interception and gained possession 10 times against Chicago.


D: Rachel Daly, Houston Dash

Daly’s defensive efforts have been crucial for the Dash, who have started the season 0-0-2. Daly recorded six clearances and four interceptions in a 1-1 draw with the Red Stars in Week 1 and made five clearances and one interception against Utah Royals FC in Week 2, a 0-0 draw and the first shutout of the season for the Dash.


M: Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC

Lindsey Horan scored Portland Thorns FC’s fist goal of 2018 on March 31 when she finished in the 9th minute. The Thorns are 1-1-0 in March, and Horan has showed up in the middle getting 67 touches in the season opener against North Carolina on March 24. On March 31, she saw even more of the ball, recording 69 touches against Chicago. Her passing accuracy was above 72% in both games.


M: Debinha, North Carolina Courage

The midfielder scored the first goal of the 2018 NWSL season on March 24 when she cracked it from outside the box to lift her team over the Thorns 1-0. In the Courage’s two games, she’s combined five shots and four key passes in the attack.


M: Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir, Utah Royals FC

Jónsdóttir scored the first goal in Utah Royals FC history and helped the new club earn their first-ever point. Jónsdóttir’s goal came against the Orlando Pride on March 24 — also her NWSL debut. The midfielder put Houston’s defense to the test in Week 2 action, taking five shots in the club’s 0-0 draw on March 30.


F: Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC

Seattle Reign FC may have only played one game in March, but forward Megan Rapinoe, the Player of the Month, made sure it counted. Rapinoe scored a goal and added an assist in the Reign’s 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit on opening weekend. Rapinoe also picked up Player of the Month honors for her performance. Rapinoe, even with just one game under her belt, leads the league in shots (11) and shots on target (6).


F: Mallory Pugh, Washington Spirit

Mallory Pugh lifted the Spirit to their first win of 2018 on March 31 with a late goal that eventually earned her Week 2 Player of the Week honors. Even though the Spirit fell to the Reign in opening weekend, Pugh managed to get 74 touches on the ball and get off five shots. In the Spirit’s 2-0 win against the Orlando Pride in Week 2, she got off four crosses, dished out two key passes and recorded 56 touches on the ball.


F: Crystal Dunn, North Carolina Courage

In her first two games with her new team, Crystal Dunn has been a key piece to the Courage’s attack, helping the team sit at the top of the table at 2-0-0. Dunn has been particularly impressive in her passing and crossing — in the Courage’s win over the Thorns she held the team’s highest passing accuracy percentage at 72.7% and had three shots and three key passes for the attack. In the Courage’s most recent win against Sky Blue, she recorded two shots and played two key passes on the day.


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.

NWSL rescinds Mark Parsons suspension

Parsons will be able to coach Portland's home opener on April 15

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

 

 

CHICAGO (April 6, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has rescinded the one-game suspension of Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons that was assessed by the NWSL Disciplinary Committee for misconduct in his interactions with the Officials following Portland’s match on March 24. In addition, the league upheld the fine assessed to Parsons.

Parsons served the automatic one-game suspension for the dismissal by the Official in the Thorns FC’s match on March 31 vs. Chicago Red Stars.

As a result of the Thorns FC appeal, Parsons will be eligible to return to the sideline for the club’s next match against the Orlando Pride on April 15 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

U.S. tops Mexico 4-1 in first of two April friendlies

Alex Morgan scores a brace

Alex Morgan scores a brace in friendly vs. Mexico. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf

The U.S. women’s national team continued their undefeated 2018 campaign on Thursday night defeating Mexico 4-1 in front of 14,360 fans at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The two teams met in the first-leg of a pair of friendlies — the second match scheduled for Sunday, April 8, at BBVA Compass Stadium. These games are key competitions for both sides in their preparation for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship coming up this October 4-17.

Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh opened up scoring for the United States in just the sixth minute of play. The United States’ other three goals came in the second half thanks to a brace from Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan (51st and 53rd minute), followed by a finish from Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd in the 54th minute to make it 4-0. Sky Blue FC forward Katie Johnson scored Mexico’s only goal on the night, scoring in the 64th minute.

Pugh’s opening goal was her fourth finish for the USWNT in 2018. U.S center back Tierna Davidson made a big defensive step which fed Orlando Pride forward Morgan into space. Morgan found Seattle Reign forward Megan Rapinoe in the box who was able to slide it across to Pugh, who slipped it past Mexico and Houston Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger for the 1-0 lead.

After Jill Ellis’ side got on the board, the game began to build for Mexico. The U.S. were thorough in the final third, however struggled to build out of the back against a pressing Mexican offense. The first half ended with the U.S. up 1-0, but it was a favorable scoreline for a young Mexican side.

Sky Blue’s Johnson and Houston Dash’s Henninger were both in the starting lineup for Mexico, with Henninger in goal and Johnson playing at target forward.

The second half opened up and who other than Morgan put her stamp on the game. Just a few minutes into the start of the second 45, Rapinoe, using great game awareness took advantage of a quick throw-in. The NWSL March Player of the Month quickly threw the ball into Morgan who made a crafty inside-out run and drew a foul in the box for a penalty kick. Morgan struck the ball to the low right corner past Henninger to make it 2-0.

A minute later, Morgan seemed to be the only one able to catch her breath. She made another inside-out run and was fed through by Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan. Morgan lifted up her head to see a sliver open for a shot and struck it far post for a 3-0 lead.  This is the 18th two-goal game of her career.

The U.S. made several substitutions in the second half, with Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd entering the game in the 53rd minute and immediately making an impact. Lloyd saw the ball go wide to Horan and timed her run to make sure she was in an onside position. Horan served the ball in, and with a one-time strike, Lloyd scored her 99th international goal and pushed the USWNT’s lead to 4-0. Lloyd will look for her 100th career goal on Sunday. Horan’s two assists on the night have her at 15 in her career and this also marks her third multi-assist game for the national team.

Also entering the game in the second half for the USWNT were Seattle Reign FC’s Allie Long (71′), Sky Blue FC’s Savannah McCaskill (71′), Utah Royals FC’s Becky Sauerbrunn (77′) and Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch (80′). This was Hatch’s second cap for the U.S.

Johnson’s goal was a textbook chip over Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 64th minute. Naeher initially tried to clear the ball, but Mexico was able to capitalize off of the poor clearance. Ariana Calderón got a hold of it and played Johnson in behind. Naeher, far off her line was chipped by Johnson to put Mexico on the board.

The United States and Mexico will have two days of rest before gearing up for the second leg at the home stadium of the NWSL’s Houston Dash on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT (FOX).


– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: April 5, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. ET
Attendance: 14,360
Weather:  64 degrees; Partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             1          3          4                      
DEN                             0          1          1

USA – Mallory Pugh (Megan Rapinoe)                           6th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (penalty kick)                                  51
USA – Alex Morgan (Lindsey Horan)                              53
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lindsey Horan)                                 54
MEX – Katie Johnson (Ariana Calderón)                         64

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Emily Sonnett, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 17-Tierna Davidson, 19-Crystal Dunn; 3-Andi Sullivan (10-Carli Lloyd, 53), 6-Morgan Brian (20-Allie Long, 71), 9-Lindsey Horan; 11-Mallory Pugh (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 77), 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (22-Ashley Hatch, 80), 15-Megan Rapinoe (21-Savannah McCaskill, 71)
Substitutes: 18-Jane Campbell, 25-Hailie Mace
Head coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 1-Bianca Henninger; 2-Kenti Robles, 13-Annia Mejía (23-Christina Murillo, 57), 3-Bianca Sierra, 5-Mónica Flores (22-Greta Espinoza, 46); 7-Cristina Ferral (8-Ariana Calderón, 46), 6-Karla Nieto (4-Vanessa Flores, 78), 19-Katie Johnson (21-Renae Cuéllar,76); 11-Mónica Ocampo (capt.) (17-María Sánchez, 76), 10-Stephany Mayor, 18-Kiana Palacios
Substitutes: 9-Anisa Guajardo, 12-Cecilia Santiago,14-Jocelyn Orejel, 16-Marcela Valera
Head coach: Roberto Medina

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 20 / 9
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 4 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials: 
Referee: Cardella Samuels (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Princess Brown (JAM)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan

Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe voted March Player of the Month

Rapinoe scored a goal and had an assist in March

Rapinoe's goal and assist led the Reign to their first win of 2018. (Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf

Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe has earned the first NWSL Player of the Month honors for 2018, as voted on by the NWSL Media Association.

While Seattle Reign FC only played one game in March, Rapinoe didn’t waste any time. Rapinoe scored a goal and added an assist in the Reign’s 2-1 home win over the Washington Spirit. Her performance in Week 1 also earned her Player of the Week honors.

Rapinoe is no stranger to NWSL awards, she has won Player of the Week on five different occasions, and this will be her second time named Player of the Month. She picked up July’s Player of the Month in 2017 after scoring five goals in four games to lead the Reign to a 2-1-1 record.

Even though Seattle had a bye in Week 2, the Reign FC still hold the league’s top rank in shots on goal (13) and Rapinoe sits comfortably in player ranks as No. 4 in both goals (1) and assists (1). If Rapinoe’s performance in opening weekend was any indication of what this year holds, expect goals. Although other players in the league are two games in, Rapinoe is still first in the league with shots on goal (6) and shots taken (11).

In 2017, Rapinoe scored 12 goals for the Reign.

After the FIFA break, Rapinoe and the Reign will play on the road against Sky Blue FC (0-1-0) on Sunday, April 15 at 5 p.m. ET (go90).

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.

Player of the Week: Mallory Pugh

The Washington Spirit forward scored a goal in the Spirit's first win of the season.

Mallory Pugh scored her first goal of the 2018 NWSL season. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf 

Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh has been voted Player of the Week for Week 2 by the NWSL Media Association.

Pugh earns the honors after scoring a goal in the Washington Spirit’s 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride on Saturday, March 31. Pugh made her NWSL debut last year, and has scored seven NWSL career goals to date. Her goal in Week 2 was her first of 2018 with the Spirit.

Over the weekend, Pugh was a key factor in helping the Spirit bounce back from Week 1, where they fell 2-1 to Seattle Reign FC. She recorded three shots on goal, and not only scored one of her own in the 80th minute, but also contributed on the Spirit’s second goal.

Pugh’s first goal of the season came from Ashley Hatch winning the ball in the air and directly heading it towards Pugh, who had time in space in the midfield. Pugh, doing what she does best, carried the ball with pace down the sideline. The Pride defense tried to keep up with Pugh, but she broke through and struck the ball in between Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ legs to make it 1-0.

Pugh set up the second goal in similar fashion just eight minutes later. She capitalized on a transition and managed to get in behind the Pride defense,  serving a cross into the box. Pride defender Carson Pickett tried to clear it, but Hatch got on the end of the attempt, striking it one-time to seal the game at 2-0.

According to Opta, Pugh created two chances in the Spirit’s win over the Pride and recorded 55 total touches.

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.

Canada names roster for friendly vs. France

Nine NWSL players named to 18-player roster for Canada

Christine Sinclair, Shelina Zadorsky and Janine Beckie all named to Canada roster. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf 

Canada Soccer announced their 18-player squad for an international friendly against France on Monday, April 9 at Roazhon Park in Rennes, France.

World No. 4 Canada has nine current NWSL players named to the roster to take on World No. 5 France in Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash), Allysha Chapman (North Carolina Courage), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Janine Beckie (Sky Blue FC), and Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash).

This past weekend in NWSL week 2 action, CANWNT captain Sinclair scored a brace to lift the Thorns over the Chicago Red Stars 3-2.

The CANWNT are preparing for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October which will see the top three nations qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

“France is definitely on their way up with some young players well engrained into the team and strong veteran players, so they are planning for the FIFA Women’s World Cup they will be hosting next year and they are in good shape,” Canada women’s national team head coach Kenneth said in the team’s press release. “We feel this will be a very equal match and we are looking forward to getting to France and having a number of days to prepare for it.”

Canada roster

GK Stephanie Labbé, age 31, from Stony Plain, AB/ Unattached

GK Erin McLeod, age 35, from St. Albert, AB/ FC Rosengård (Damallsvenskan)

FB Lindsay Agnew, age 23, from Kingston, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)

FB Allysha Chapman, age 29, from Courtice, ON/ North Carolina Courage (NWSL)

FB Ashley Lawrence, age 22, from Caledon, ON/Paris Saint German (Division 1 Féminine France)

CB Shelina Zadorsky, age 25, from London, ON/ Orlando Pride (NWSL)

CB Kadeisha Buchanan, age 22, from Brampton, ON/ Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine France)

M/CB Rebecca Quinn, age 22, from Toronto, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)

M Desiree Scott, age 30, from Winnipeg, MB/ Utah Royals FC (NWSL)

M Sophie Schmidt, age 29,  from Abbotsford, BC/ FFC Frankfurt (Frauen-Bundesliga)

M Jessie Fleming, age 19, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)

M Diana Matheson, age 33, from Oakville, ON/Utah Royals FC (NWSL)

M Julia Grosso, age 17, from Vancouver, BC / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)

F Christine Sinclair, age 34, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)

F Deanne Rose, age 19, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)

F Janine Beckie, age 23, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)

F Nichelle Prince, age 23, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)

F Jordyn Huitema, age 16, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)

Power Rankings: Courage steal the show

NWSL Power Rankings presented by Cutter

By NWSL Media Staff

Week 2 Power Rankings

The NWSL returned this weekend with eight of the league’s nine teams in action. The NWSL will take the week off from games for the FIFA break, and will return Saturday, April 14. See where each team falls in the second edition of the power rankings.

1

NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
2-0-0, 6 pts

Change: ▲ 1
Last week: 2

Jess McDonald scored in the 92nd minute to lift the Courage over Sky Blue FC and improve to 2-0-0 on the season. For the second weekend in a row the Courage dominated in shots, with both games seeing North Carolina get off 23 shots to Portland’s 3 in Week 1 and then Sky Blue’s 3 in Week 2. The Courage are also the only team that has yet to concede a goal this season.


2

SEATTLE REIGN FC
1-0-0, 3 pts

Change: ▼ 1
Last week: 1

Seattle Reign FC had a bye this week, but little budge has been made after Week 2 thanks to a Week 1 Player of the Week performance from Megan Rapinoe. Even after another weekend of games, Reign FC still hold the top rank in shots on goal (13) and Rapine sits comfortably in player ranks as No. 4 in both goals (1) and assists (1). Reign FC will travel to Sky Blue in Week 3, and will look to improve to 2-0-0 on the season.


3

PORTLAND THORNS FC
1-1-0, 3 pts

Change: ▲ 3
Last week: 6

Thorns FC came into the weekend eager to make a statement. After a 1-0 loss to the Courage in Week 1, the reigning 2017 NWSL champs didn’t waste any time showing what kind of team they can be. In the 9th minute Lindsey Horan got her team on the board, and Christine Sinclair earned a brace on the night for the Thorns 3-2 win. The performance also validated that the team can get it done even with the absence of Andressinha, Hayley Raso, Emily Menges, Tobin Heath, Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter all out due to injury or international duty.


4

WASHINGTON SPIRIT
1-1-0, 3 pts

Change: ▲ 3
Last week: 7

Hats off to the youth. The Spirit bounced back this weekend thanks to textbook finishes from Mallory Pugh and Ashley Hatch in the final ten minutes to top the Orlando Pride 2-0. Last weekend, the Spirit gave up two goals against the Reign, yet Saturday goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe showed up against her old team, earning four saves and a shutout on the day.


5

UTAH ROYALS FC
0-0-2, 2 pts

Change: ▼ 2
Last week: 3

Utah Royals FC displayed another weekend of solid defensive effort. Utah Royals FC earned their second draw on Friday, tying Houston 0-0. At center back, Becky Sauerbrunn and Rachel Corsie kept the Dash off the scoreboard and only to one shot on the night. On the other end of the field, Utah Royals FC were relentless on the attack testing Houston keeper Jane Campbell with 10 total shots. Royals FC dominated in shots on goal as well, 6-0.


6

HOUSTON DASH
0-0-2, 2 pts

Change: ▼ 2
Last week: 4

The Houston Dash will have to wait until Wednesday, April 18, to fight for their first win of the 2018 season. The Dash picked up a point against Utah Royals FC thanks large in part to goalkeeper Jane Campbell who earned her first shutout this season and made five saves. The Dash struggled to break down Utah Royals FC’s defense, but were organized from top to bottom and were able to come out with their second point.


7

CHICAGO RED STARS
0-1-1, 1 pt

Change: ▲ 1
Last week: 8

The Chicago Red Stars put together a much more complete game on Sunday, through organized and dangerous midfield play from Sofia Huerta and two goals on the night from Alyssa Mautz. The Red Stars are still trying to find ways to win without several key pieces out with injuries, in Vanessa DiBernardo Julie ErtzCasey Short and Yuki Nagasato  plus Sam Kerr, who has also yet to play due to international duty with Australia.


8

SKY BLUE FC
0-1-0, 0 pts

Change:
Last week: n/a

Sky Blue FC kicked off their regular season on Saturday with a tough test on the road against the Courage. The New Jersey team looked promising in the midfield through Carli Lloyd and rookie Savannah McCaskill, however putting together a full game did not look easy for Denise Reddy’s new team. Sky Blue tired in the second half and ended up conceding a 92nd goal to open their 2018 campaign at 0-1.


9

ORLANDO PRIDE
0-1-1, 1 pt

Change: ▼ 4
Last week: 5

The Orlando Pride have had their work cut out for them early on, with FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers keeping their squad without Marta, Monica, Poliana (Brazil) and Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond (Australia). The Pride had the three Brazilians in their first match, but were missing them on Saturday. The Pride will not have them back until after Week 4 action. The Pride were also missing Alex Morgan, who suffered a concussion last week vs. Utah Royals FC. Orlando will have a big test in Week 3 action when they travel to Providence Park to face the reigning NWSL champs, Portland Thorns FC.

O’Hara ruled out with injury, Hanson called up for WNT friendlies vs. Mexico

O'Hara ruled out with injury, Hanson called up

Hanson named to USWNT training camp roster ahead of friendlies vs. Mexico. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

By Celia Balf

Utah Royals FC’s Kelley O’Hara was kept out of NWSL Week 2 action with a hamstring injury, and on Sunday it was announced that the defender has been ruled off of the U.S. women’s national team roster for the upcoming friendlies against Mexico on April 5 and 8.

O’Hara played a full 90 minutes in Utah Royals FC’s inaugural match against the Orlando Pride on March 24, however she went on the injury report ahead of Week 2. USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has called-up two players to the training camp roster, U.S. U-23 defender Tegan McGrady and Houston Dash midfielder Haley Hanson.

Hanson was picked up by the Dash at the 2018 NWSL College Draft where she was selected seventh overall out of Nebraska. Hanson has clocked in two full 90 minute games for the Dash in her rookie season. McGrady is junior at Stanford and joins the USWNT roster alongside Cardinal teammate Tierna Davidson.

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

GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher(Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson (Stanford), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars), Hallie Mace (UCLA), Tegan McGrady (Stanford), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC) 

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon), Haley Hanson (Houston Dash), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)

Week 2 Rewind: Late game-winners

A look back at Week 2 in the NWSL

Mallory Pugh scored the game-winning goal for the Spirit over the Pride in Week 2. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

We had to wait a little while for the goals in Week 2 in the NWSL, but when they did, they were ones to remember. A quick look at all of this weekend’s NWSL action from eight teams. Seattle Reign FC had a bye this week.

Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals FC

In a defensive battle between the two teams, the Houston Dash and Utah Royals FC played to a 0-0 draw. Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made five saves to earn her first shutout of the season. Utah Royal FC centerbacks Rachel Corsie and Becky Sauerbrunn kept the Dash from registering a shot on goal. Read more

 


 

North Carolina Courage  vs. Sky Blue FC

Sky Blue FC nearly kept North Carolina’s dangerous offense off the scoreboard, but fell 1-0 thanks to a game-winning goal from Jess McDonald in the 92nd minute. The Courage are the only team that has yet concede goal this season. Read more

 

 


Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

Mallory Pugh and Ashley Hatch each scored in the final ten minutes as the Washington Spirit beat the Orlando Pride. Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made four saves to earn the shutout against her former team. Read more

 


Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Christine Sinclair bagged a brace and Lindsey Horan scored as the Thorns won 3-2 on the road over the Red Stars. Alyssa Mautz scored twice for Chicago in the loss. Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NWSL suspends and fines Portland head coach Mark Parsons

Parsons has been suspended following last week's game in North Carolina

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

 

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that Portland Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons has been suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident on the field following Portland’s match against the North Carolina Courage on March 24.

The NWSL Disciplinary Committee has determined that Parsons committed misconduct in his interactions with the officials in violation of Section 11.3.6, “Major Game Misconduct”, as well as Section 11.3.3, “Coach/Staff Misbehavior” of the League Operations Manual.

 In addition to the automatic one-game suspension for the dismissal by the Official, Parsons was further assessed an additional one-game suspension and fine.

 The Portland Thorns FC are currently appealing the decision of the Disciplinary Committee to the League office.

Parsons will serve the suspensions in the Thorns FC’s next two matches on March 31 vs. Chicago Red Stars and April 15 vs. Orlando Pride.