Outside the Box Scores: The best of Week 9 stats
A new fastest goal, passing accuracy and more
Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez now owns the record for fastest NWSL goal. (Photo credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil for isiphotos.com)
Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez now owns the record for fastest NWSL goal. (Photo credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil for isiphotos.com)

By Meg Linehan, with additional research by Jacqueline Purdy

There are stories to be found in statistics. From analyzing the box scores to keeping detailed spreadsheets tracking our favorite stats, we’re ready to shine a bright light for you thanks to Opta. After digging into this week’s data, here are the best of the numbers for Week 9 of the National Women’s Soccer League.

The fastest goal in the NWSL

The record for fastest goal in the National Women’s Soccer League has stood since 2015, when FC Kansas City midfielder Erika Tymrak scored a goal 25 seconds into the July 9 match against the Boston Breakers. On Saturday night, Sky Blue FC forward Raquel Rodriguez challenged that record when she scored in the first minute of the game at Providence Park against the Portland Thorns.

While the goal was initially recorded at 25 seconds, thanks to the video, we now know it’s just shy of the 0:25 mark. Rodriguez’s goal clocks in at 24.76; Tymrak’s at 25.73. The new mark to beat for fastest NWSL goal is officially 24 seconds.

Counting Orlando Pride’s counter

While we tested the broadcast clock on Rodriguez’s goal, it will do just fine to trust the clock to track of how quickly the Orlando Pride hit on the counter against the Houston Dash on Saturday. It all starts with Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe’s Save of the Week.

Here’s how the sequence went:

20:55 Bledsoe makes the save on Dash forward Carli Lloyd.

20:58 Orlando defender Steph Catley cleans up the rebound and clears the ball up the field.

21:03 After Camila receives the pass, Dash defender Cari Roccaro challenges her and Camila manages to get enough on the ball to push it to Marta.

21:04 Marta gets her first touch on the ball and it’s off to the races.

21:11 Marta releases her shot.

21:12 Houston goalkeeper Lydia Williams dives, but the ball is in the back of the net.

From one end of the field to the other, it only took 17 seconds for the Orlando Pride to get their second goal of the match.

Passing Accuracy

Marta had another huge game for the Pride, thanks to her two goals and two assists. But she’s been a key cog for Orlando in other ways, especially when it comes to passing accuracy. On Saturday, she led the NWSL in passing accuracy at 91.7 percent (with over 30 passes completed), and her numbers didn’t drop very far in the opponent’s half at 90.5 percent on 21 passes.

She’s one of only three field players to reach the 90 percent threshold at least twice this season, along with Portland Thorns FC midfielder Allie Long and Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes.

For field players with 30 passes or more in a game with 90 percent passing accuracy, Marta is the only player to keep her passing accuracy above that mark in the opponent’s half twice this season, which happened on June 17 and in the May 14 game against the North Carolina Courage.

The best single game mark set so far for passing accuracy? That one belongs to Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock during Week 7 against the Dash. With 48 passes total, she stayed 97.9 percent accurate, and stayed perfect in the opponent’s half with all 17 passes completed.

Brooke Elby keeps it one hundred

The Boston Breakers will get another crack at the North Carolina Courage this weekend, but there are a few bright spots from their 3-1 loss on June 24 against the first-place Courage. Defender Brooke Elby led the Breakers in duels with 14, and won every single one of them. Compare that to North Carolina’s Taylor Smith, who had 16 in the same match, but only won 43.8 percent.

Elby also led the Breakers in touches with 86, interceptions with 13, and tackles with nine. She earned three fouls while conceding none.

Ertz leads the Red Stars defense

For the Chicago Red Stars, the defensive contributions of midfielder Julie Ertz were a big part of gutting out the 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit at home in Toyota Park.

She led the Red Stars in total duels with 14, winning 71.4 percent. As to be expected, she also led Chicago in aerial duels during Week 9, and won 75 percent of her battles in the air. Ertz topped the Opta stats for her team in other categories too: clearances [five], interceptions [five], and possession gained [nine]. She also tied for first in tackles with three, along with defender Casey Short and midfielder Danielle Colaprico. And when Ertz won the ball, she kept the ball — only losing possession 11 times during the course of 90 minutes.

Sam Kerr makes club history at Sky Blue

Sky Blue FC have a new franchise record. After her brace in Saturday night’s game in Portland, forward Sam Kerr is now the all-time leading scorer in New Jersey with 15 career goals.

It’s been a stellar start for Kerr in 2017, who’s scored four goals and tallied three assists through nine weeks of play. She also earned NWSL Player of the Month honors in May, and thanks to Saturday night’s two goal/one assist performance in Portland, was also named Player of the Week.

Kerr’s scored 30 goals total in her NWSL career, the other half coming from her two seasons with the Western New York Flash.

“Obviously, this is a massive honor, but scoring goals is more of a reflection of the team that I have around me,” she told Sky Blue FC in their official release about the scoring record. “I would not be able to score these goals if it was not for my teammates, and I am just so lucky to be part of such an amazing club. We have a really good team this year and hopefully have a lot more goals coming over the remainder of the season.”

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