The Olympics are in full gear but does not mean the National Women's Soccer League is taking a break. The league continued its season on Friday with Matchday 11 as North Carolina Courage and Kansas City NWSL met for the first time ever but played out a scoreless draw as the new franchise continues to search for win No. 1. You can watch the match highlights above or here in this link.
Here are three takeaways:
1. Players traded Wednesday and played Friday
The North Carolina Courage and Kansas City NWSL engaged in a trade two days prior to their match. North Carolina shipped Kristen Hamilton, Katelyn Rowland and Hallie Mace in exchange for $60,000 allocation money and forward Amy Rodriguez from Kansas City. With just days in between games, Hamilton and Rodriguez were featured in the starting lineup against their former squads while Mace also made an appearance off the bench.
The midseason trade came as a bit of a shock to the players, but Hamilton said in postgame comments that despite the emotions on the trade, she wants to contribute to Kansas City this season.
"For me it's important to come here and try to help in any way I can really, without stepping on toes. I think that we have a really good system here. We have a really good base and a lot of really good players and I think there are a lot of results that could have gone different ways this season for this team. I think it's been unfortunate, but I think it's a really good good group of girls, I think that they're a very talented squad and I'm looking forward to the rest of season."
2. Clean sheet for Carly Nelson
Kansas City goalkeeper Carly Nelson made her NWSL debut when she earned the start in net. She didn't record any saves against North Carolina, despite facing seven shots, with one on target as she recorded a shutout.
"Honestly, being out there when I stepped on the field for the first time, it's kind of like a dream come true, but it's exciting to experience," said Nelson on her first start.
"I thought the team played well. Given the circumstances and everything that has happened this week, really proud of the team."
3. Courage winless in three, still in top three of table
North Carolina walked away with a point and is still sit top three in the table. That said, the club is winless in its last three matches and have managed to find the back of the net just once in that span.
"We've lost a lot of quality with the Olympics, the trade and the COVID situation, and that's made things very difficult. We've got a lot of things to work on in the coming weeks," coach Pau Riley told reporters after the match.
"Wasn't a great game of soccer to be honest with you, I thought that we couldn't really find any rhythm. We dug in and battled, but nil-nil seems to be a fair result given the quality on show. It was a fitting end to a long week, and we're happy to get a point on the road."
The move for Rodriguez could be a temporary solution, given that their top scorer Lynn Williams is currently overseas participating in the Olympics, but the team still struggled in the final third, recording only one shot on goal the entire game for the second time this season.