A top-of-the-table clash and some big match-ups between a couple of Westfield Matildas makes it an intriguing weekend ahead in the National Women’s Soccer League in America.
Here’s a rundown of what’s ahead for the Aussie girls in the NWSL.
Houston Dash v Portland Thorns
An important game for both teams who currently sit just outside the top four and are searching for consistency.
After making her long-awaited return from injury off the bench last weekend, Hayley Raso will be pushing for a start for Portland.
The Thorns, who also have fellow Westfield Matilda Ellie Carpenter in their side, are coming off a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Chicago Red Stars last time out.
For the Dash, Kyah Simon is likely to start and will hope to add to her one goal and one assist from seven appearances this season.
Seattle Reign FC vs. North Carolina Courage
It’s a top-of-the-table clash in Seattle as the second-placed Reign host runaway leaders North Carolina.
While the Courage have a healthy 11-point lead at the top of the ladder, they did lose their last match and have also played two games more than Seattle.
It means a win here for Steph Catley and Lydia Williams’ would put them within striking distance of the NWSL summit.
While Williams and Catley were both superb for the Reign last weekend, they only managed to pick-up a point after a 0-0 draw with lowly Washington Spirit.
Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride | Sunday 9am AEST
One of the surprise packets of the season so far, Orlando Pride can consolidate their spot in the top four when they travel to the capital to face the Spirit.
Both Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy have been among the Pride’s most consistent performers in 2018, working superbly together in the middle of the park.
The pair both started the late 3-2 win over Sky Blue FC last weekend, which increased the team’s unbeaten run to three games.
Against a Sky Blue FC team that has yet to register a win this season, the Pride should be too strong.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals
Two of the Westfield Matildas’ most exciting players face-off in Chicago in a match that has serious ramifications for a spot in the top four.
Katrina Gorry’s Utah Royals – fresh from becoming the first team to beat the Courage this season – are in fourth spot on 17 points.
But Sam Kerr’s Red Stars are just one point behind in sixth position in what is a real logjam on the ladder.
Gorry is someone who can certainly make a difference for the Royals, while Kerr has been in strong goal-scoring form, contributing five of Chicago’s 17 goals for the campaign.
*Teams in bold contain Westfield Matildas players
- North Carolina Courage – played 13, 30 points, +12
- Seattle Reign – played 11, 19 points, +5
- Orlando Pride – played 12, 19 points, +4
- Utah Royals – played 11, 17 points, +2
- Portland Thorns – played 12, 16 points, -1
- Chicago Red Stars – played 13, 16 points, 0
- Houston Dash – played 12, 14 points, -4
- Washington Spirit – played 13, 10 points, -7
- Sky Blue – played 11, 2 points, -11
Here are the game details for Westfield Matildas stars and their teams…
- Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns FC | Saturday, 10.30am AEST
- Seattle Reign FC vs. North Carolina Courage | Sunday, 6am AEST
- Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride | Sunday 9am AEST
- Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals | Sunday 10am AEST
Matches can be live-streamed at nwslsoccer.com