The National Women's Soccer League closed out Week 6 action with big goals and a shake-up in the league standings. Orlando Pride are no longer undefeated, North Carolina Courage climbed the standings, and NJ/NY Gotham FC got back to scoring. Let's take a look at how the matches played out on Saturday across the league.
OL Reign 0, NJ/NY Gotham FC 3
Gotham FC picked up a big win on the road as they defeated OL Reign 3-0 at Cheney Stadium. Coach Freya Coombe rolled out a bit of rotation as the starting 11 featured Nahomi Kawasumi, Ifeoma Onumonu, and Midge Purce in the attack. The look at the offense is possibly a glimpse at how the team could line up moving forward with the Olympics on the horizon, as Purce and Onumonu connected for the opening goal.
The team's exciting day in front of goal was only highlighted by the defensive effort for the visiting side, as the team remained stingy on goals allowed. Gotham's defense leads the league with 0.3 goals allowed per game.
Chicago Red Stars 0, Racing Louisville FC 3
Racing Louisville FC bounced back from a midweek loss against North Carolina as they picked up a 3-0 win over Chicago Red Stars on the road. The match was a rainy affair, and after a delay that took more than two hours, the two sides played out a slippery first half with Ebony Salmon breaking through on goal just before halftime.
The 20-year-old Salmon earned her first regular-season start for Louisville and the goal is her second of the season. As Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill extended the scoreline, the team closed the match with a clean sheet and jump in the standings. The win gives Louisville six points.
North Carolina Courage 2, Portland Thorns FC 0
The North Carolina Courage defeated Portland Thorns FC, 2-0, as they hosted their longtime playoff rivals. The 2019 NWSL champions got off to an inconsistent start this season but have slowly begun to regain their form ahead of the departures of their international players for the Olympics and the recent win elevated the Courage to second place with 13 points.
The club will miss the services of forward Lynn Williams, who was named an alternate for the U.S. women's national team Olympic roster, and was responsible for the goal scoring in the two-goal win over the Thorns. Williams scored her second consecutive brace for the team.
"When I'm with the Courage I have to focus on what the team needs me to do, to be the best Lynn I can possibly be," said Williams in post-game comments.
"The last few weeks have had their ups and downs, but it's been an exhilarating time and I think my hard work is paying off."
Houston Dash 2, Orlando Pride 1
Houston Dash snapped Orlando Pride's seven-game undefeated streak in the league with 2-1 win at home. The team got on the scoresheet during the first half of the match with an opening goal from Mexican international Maria Sanchez who scored in her final game with the club for 2021.
Sanchez joined the team for the month of June on a short-term summer loan via Liga MX Femenil. Her short stint with Houston has seen her get two starts out on the left wing over four matches and develop chemistry along the left flank with Kristie Mewis and other Dash attackers along the top line. Sanchez will return to Liga MX Femenil with her club Tigres Femenil.
Kansas City NWSL 1, Washington Spirit 2
Washington Spirit defeated Kansas City NWSL, 2-1, in a thrilling come-from-behind victory on the road, and did it with goals from their young attacking duo in Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman. Still searching for a breakthrough goal late in the game, Rodman was able to thread a ball through to Sanchez in the 79th minute as Sanchez cut her defender to slot the equalizer.
The 19-year-old Rodman scored the game-winner in 95th minute after veteran Tori Huster intercepted a ball and connected with the young forward on a run.