NWSL Week 15 Rewind: Western New York rallies to draw Houston

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By TOM SLATER

With nearly a month break coming up for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season, Week 15 saw teams still jockeying for position for the playoff stretch.

Portland scored a key victory that keeps them on top of the NWSL table with Washington. The Western New York Flash needed a remarkable comeback to get one point. Chicago got a victory as well to keep the fourth playoff spot.

Western New York 3, Houston Dash 3:  The Flash (8-5-2, 26 points) need some late-game heroics, including a stoppage time goal to garner a point with the Dash (3-7-3, 12 points).

Jess McDonald found Lynn Williams open in the penalty area in the third minute of extra time to forge the draw. McDonald and Williams had exchanged roles in the 70th minute to give Western New York a fighting chance. Williams now has eight goals on the season with McDonald getting her seventh.

Houston had built a 3-0 lead after spotting Western New York a goal in the third minute. Lianne Sanderson converted a serve from Williams before both teams could settle in.

The Dash got one goal from rookie sensation Rachel Daly and two more from captain Kealia Ohai before the Flash came all the way back.

Portland Thorns FC 1, Seattle 0: Nadia Nadim’s goal in the 74th minute was enough to hold off the Reign.

Nadim scored the game-winner by holding off two Seattle defenders, flicking a chipped ball into the box by midfielder Mana Shim down towards the right post and past the outstretched arms of Reign FC goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer into the back of the net.

Thorns FC  (8-2-5, 29 points) registered their sixth clean sheet of the season, including their third shutout at Providence Park. It also marked Portland’s second shutout against Seattle (5-5-5, 20 points) this season after the two teams played to a scoreless draw at Providence Park on May 29.

Portland made several key defensive plays to deny Seattle a goal in the match. Defender Katherine Reynolds kept Reign FC off the scoresheet in the 24th minute, sliding in to block a close-range attempt by midfielder Kim Little. Portland goalkeeper Michelle Betos earned her third clean sheet of the campaign, registering six saves in the match. Betos made several key plays in the game. In the 58th minute, Betos reacted and quickly came off her line to deny forward Manon Melis a breakaway opportunity and made a diving stop on a free kick from midfielder Jessica Fishlock in the 72nd minute.

While the victory bolstered the Thorns lead at the top of the table, the loss has put a serious dent in the Reign’s playoff hopes, dropping them back to sixth place.

Chicago Red Stars 1, FC Kansas City 0: Stephanie McCaffrey scored the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute to give the hosts a shutout victory over the Blues.

McCaffrey, who was obtained by Chicago (7-4-4) last week, rebounded a deflection from Sofia Huerta’s close-range shot to tap it into the net, earning her first goal for Chicago and first goal in the 2016 season.

Coupled with Sky Blue’s loss to Washington, the Red Stars are alone in the fourth playoff spot

Huerta and Vanessa DiBernardo were dangerous throughout the match. If not for the play of FC Kansas City (4-7-4, 16 points) goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart the score would have been much higher.

Boston Breakers 1, Orlando Pride 0: Boston got a goal from newcomer Natasha Dowie for the game-winner as the Breakers held off the visiting Pride in front of a record crowd of 4,379.

Dowie, making her NWSL debut, scored early on as the Breakers won for only the second time this season. She intercepted a bad backpass in the 10th minute and left no doubt in beating Orlando goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage

Washington Spirit 3-1 Sky Blue FC: For Full Recap, Click Here


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