Sam Kerr announced her National Women's Soccer League return in some style, netting a hat trick in Chicago Red Stars' 3-2 win over Orlando Pride.
Red Stars forward Kerr had been allowed an extended period of rest by coach Rory Dames following Australia’s Round of 16 World Cup exit to Norway on June 23.
But the Australian skipper arrived in the States from France earlier than expected and scored three in Monday morning's drought-breaking win for Chicago.
Chicago had lost all three matches and not scored in Kerr's World Cup absence, and Kerr's seventh minute opener was their first in over 350 minutes of action.
Feature image courtesy of www.nwslsoccer.com
She added a second in first-half stoppage time, sealed her treble early in the second half and nearly scored a sensational fourth from halfway in injury time, only for Pride ‘keeper to Hayley Kopmeyer to make a last-ditch recovery.
Despite missing a month of NWSL action due to her international commitments, Kerr leads the Golden Boot race with nine goals, four ahead of Utah Royals striker Amy Rodriguez (five), and has scored Chicago's last seven goals.
Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond were not involved for the Pride.
Harrison and Logarzo return, Simon scores
Washington Spirit lost the NWSL lead and their first home match of the season in Sunday morning’s 2-1 defeat to reigning champions North Carolina Courage.
World Cup Westfield Matildas Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo started for the Spirit in left back and left midfield roles respectively, and were substituted in the 58th and 67th minutes.
Washington’s lapse allowed Portland Thorns to hit the summit hours later thanks to a 2-1 win over Houston Dash.
Kyah Simon scored the opener for the Dash – who were missing Clare Polkinghorne – while Ellie Carpenter played the second half for Portland. Carpenter’s Thorns teammates Hayley Raso and Caitlin Foord were not involved.
Portland are now unbeaten in their last eight matches against Houston.
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