The National Women's Soccer League played a three-game slate on Sunday, with both the Chicago Red Stars and the OL Reign picking up victories. Here are Sunday's scores, as well as takeaways from each match.
NWSL Sunday scores
- Portland Thorns 0, Gotham FC 0
- Chicago Red Stars 2, Houston Dash 1
- OL Reign 2, Kansas City 0
1. Moultrie builds on minutes; Portland settles for draw
Portland Thorns FC hosted Gotham FC at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon as the two sides played to a scoreless draw.
The Thorns were active in the attack throughout the match, including early on as forward Morgan Weaver drew a yellow card on Gotham defender Gina Lewandowski. Despite the early foul, Gotham's signature defense was on full display as backup goalkeeper DiDi Haracic came up with big saves against the attacking Thorns. The two sides entered halftime with Portland leading in shots on target with four.
Haracic continued to keep things scoreless for Gotham as the Thorns expanded their shot total in hunt for the breakthrough goal. Portland Head coach Mark Parsons opted to make adjustments throughout the second half, utilizing all five of his available subs in an effort to snatch an eventful goal and pick up the win.
15-year-old Olivia Moultrie made her second consecutive appearance for the Thorns, coming off the bench in the 68th minute and making her professional debut for her club in front of home fans. She featured for over 20 minutes as Portland got different looks on the pitch in the midfield. Moultrie had 11 touches and four passes and recorded a 75% pass rating.
Gotham leads the league in fewest goals allowed with only three, and the team managed to hang on to the scoreless draw in the end for a point in the standings. In postgame comments, Gotham head coach Freya Coombe spoke on how the team could've done better in the first half, but tried to make a game of it in in the final stretch.
"For us it was the traditional cliche of a game of two halves," Coombe said, "We struggled a little bit under Portland's pressure in the first half and weren't able to really keep the ball, but definitely improved in the second half. We were able to possess, move it, and create better chances. Overall, we felt a bit hard done by not really being able to come out with a result towards the end after putting a lot of pressure, but probably a fair result overall."
2. Chicago riding momentum of Own Goal
The Chicago Red Stars hosted Houston Dash and picked up their second consecutive win thanks to some help from chaotic own goals.
The Red Stars had previously failed to pick up back-to-back wins this season, and have been trying to figure things out in their attack during the Olympic stretch. The home side got off to another fast start of establishing tempo and getting into dangerous spaces but failed to find the breakthrough goal in the first half. Chicago lead Houston in total shots at halftime, five to three.
A goal early in the second half from Houston Dash gave the listing side the lead. Dash forward Jasmyne Spencer made a long sprint past several Red Stars defenders and fed a ball through to Veronica Latsko for a goal in the 62nd minute, but own goal chaos ensued for the Dash just 10 minutes later.
A free kick opportunity for Chicago led to an own goal in the 73rd minute as forward Mal Pugh delivered service into the box toward defender Kayla Sharples.
A second own goal occurred just three minutes later as Chicago continued to apply pressure in their attack.
Chicago would go on to pick up the victory and secure the three points at home without recording a single shot on target during the match. Despite the lack of offensive for Chicago, head coach Rory Dames believes the team was able to create the goals through waves of attack.
"I think we absolutely caused the goals. So, just so we're clear on that. I don't think those were flukes," Dames said. "We add numbers up, we have people in the box, we have runners coming across the front of their defenders, put them in pressure. So, at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it now until I rewatch it."
3. OL Reign pick up first win with interim coach
OL Reign defeated Kansas City NWSL, 2-0, as forward Bethany Balcer recorded a brace in the victory.
After a slow and inconsistent start to their season, OL Reign picked up their third win this regular season and first win under Sam Laity. Laity has been with the club since the teams inaugural season, and took over as interim head coach after the dismissal of Farid Benstiti.
The victory wasn't without a bit of drama, after Reign goal keeper Sarah Bouhaddi picked up a red card for contact in the box.
Despite the player advantage, Kansas City struggled to break through on goal. The Kansas City side is still looking for its first win in 2021.