NWSL Week 14 Weekend Recap

Paul Kane

Only one team walked away with three points as Seattle Reign FC defeated the Washington Spirit 2-1 in the NWSL national television debut on Fox Soccer.

Sky Blue FC vs Boston Breakers, Final Score: 0-0

Despite having Lisa De Vanna back in the front line, Sky Blue FC still struggled to score as they played to a 0-0 draw in their final regular season match with Boston Breakers.

Both sides created chances going forward, but neither managed to convert them. Sky Blue FC struck early with great advances from De Vanna, while Boston tried to make some headway late into the opening half through Kyah Simon and Sydney Leroux. Neither side managed to cut the scoreless opener and the 0-0 draw would stand for the night.

Early in the first half it appeared that Sky Blue might open the scoring as De Vanna and Danesha Adams were toying with the Boston defense, sending dangerous crosses into the box. GK Ashley Phillips was on quick to react and continued to make daring saves, keeping Sky Blue off the score sheet.

In the closing minutes of the opening half, Simon set up a powerful strike that was punched out by GK Brittany Cameron. The corner kick that followed didn't provide Boston with any additional opportunities on net as Cameron picked the ball up out of the penalty area before any Breakers could damage her clean sheet.

The action in the second half was similar to that of the first where Sky Blue showed real promise throughout the half, pressing the Breakers defense with a steady stream of attack whereas Boston failed to create much of a threat. The home team put up nine shots, four on goal. Phillips made two crucial saves early on to keep a scoreless game intact. Katy Freels set up a strike at distance but Philips was there to make the save, punching her strike over the bar. Shortly after, in the 53rd minute, De Vanna was on the end of a Manya Makoski cross into the penalty area. De Vanna whipped a header towards the goal but Phillips made a diving save.

Chicago Red Stars vs FC Kansas City, Final Score: 3-3

An own goal by Chicago didn't damage their confidence ,as they fought back late in the second half to crush FC Kansas City's hope to walk away with three points on the road in a nail-biting 3-3 draw.

It didn't take FC Kansas City long to open the scoring on the back of Lauren Holiday, who returned after a brief absence from the field. Despite the Red Stars' dangerous attack early on, it was FCKC who struck first in the 17th minute.

Erika Tymrak received a pass from Melissa Henderson as she was slipping through the Chicago defense. Chicago's keeper, Erin McLeod saw the through ball intended for Tymrak and went off her line to quash the danger but her poor clearance provided Holiday with a rebound opportunity atop the 18 yard box where she was able to bury the ball into an open net.

After the opener Chicago failed to produce much of a threat and it wasn't long before FCKC's Merrit Mathias tried to double the lead in the 25th minute with a low strike that was pushed out by McLeod. Chicago finally got on the board in the 41st minute with an equalizer from Maribel Dominguez. The Mexican international scored her first goal of the season from 32 yards out on an assist from Julianne Sitch. The distance strike had too much force behind it for Nicole Barnhart to stop it as the ball curled over her head.

The 1-1 scoreline didn't stand for long before FCKC took the lead in the closing moments of the second half. In the 43rd minute, the visitors countered with a powerful strike by Kristie Mewis that hit the crossbar. The ball was pushed out into the six yard box but Chicago defender Taryn Hemmings was unable to control it, scoring an own goal to give FCKC a 2-1 lead.

Chicago had several opportunities to equalize early in the second half but couldn't overcome the FCKC defense. A solid 42 minutes of action produced promising opportunities for both sides but the lead remained in FCKC's favor. The home side's struggle to equalize would take a turn for the worse in the 85th minute when Chicago was forced to come up with two goals to meet an equalizer following Tymrak's goal that lifted FCKC 3-1 over Chicago.

Tymrak teamed up with Holiday again only this time it was Tymrak who finished off the move. The duo beat out the defense to find ample room in the box where Holiday sent a short pass to Tymrak who chipped the ball over McLeod.

Hemmings was injured in the second half while trying to block a shot and was forced to exit the game after her team had used all of their substitutes. With a 10 man team, Chicago made a sparkling comeback during injury time.

Before the second half of regular time was up, the second half substitute Ella Masar scored off a header. Chicago earned a free kick after Adriana Leon was fouled on the left flank. Sonja Fuss took the free kick which met the head of Masar who finished it off into the corner pocket.

Seconds before stoppage time was up, Chicago captain Lori Chalupny took away two points from the visitors. In the 95th minute Leslie Osborne slid a pass to Leon who sent into the box for Masar. The second half sub earned an assist after leaving the ball for Chalupny who struck it well beyond Barnhart's reach to earn a 3-3 draw.

Western New York Flash vs Portland Thorns FC, Final Score: 1-1

The arrival of Tobin Heath was felt on the field as Portland earned their first point in three weeks on the back of a 1-1 draw with Western New York Flash.

Thirty six minutes of tense action between the sides produced missed opportunities on goal due to the efficient defending from both keepers. Karina LeBlanc made the biggest impact of the night completing numerous crucial saves including a late second half penalty kick save. As both sides struggled to defeat the keepers, it was Alex Morgan in the 3rd minute that displayed the offensive struggle to get past the Flash defense. Morgan and Katherine Reynolds battled it out at the top of the Flash's half to win possession but ended in Morgan being forcefully pulled to the ground.

At the start of the opening half, Veronica Perez gave LeBlanc some trouble but the Canadian international was able to keep the Flash off the score board until Abby Wambach lent a hand inside the box to earn the lead. Wambach was on the receiving end of a Samantha Kerr cross. Despite being held back by Kat Williamson, Wambach got a touch on the ball and chipped it over LeBlanc who was unable to knock it out. The Flash led 1-0, 36 minutes into the opening half.

The Thorns immediately countered with Christine Sinclair on the side of the 18 as she was battling for possession with Estelle Johnson. Sinclair sent a low pass into the box intended for Morgan but the U.S. striker could not reach in time, instead of the ball fell to Mana Shim who slotted it low into the net. Shim tied up the game in the 37th minute with the final goal of the night.

In terms of shots, Portland had the upper hand in the second half with 11 shots, 5 of which were on target in comparison with the Flash who only managed to place two shots on goal. Despite having the offensive advantage in the second half, Portland could not defeat Adriana Franch. The Flash's keeper made crucial saves late into the half with shots coming from midfielder Allie Long and Morgan.

The Flash were given a golden opportunity in the 83rd minute to break the draw as they were awarded a penalty kick for a take down tackle by Long on Perez. The PK was well read by LeBlanc as she denied Wambach a scoring opportunity for the dozenth time that night.

Seattle Reign FC vs Washington Spirit, Final Score: 2-1

A brace from Jessica McDonald was enough to see Seattle through with three points and a 2-1 at home against the last-placed Washington Spirit.

Washington won their only match this season on May 16th at Starfire Stadium and after 11 minutes of action it looked like history was close to repeating itself as the Spirit took the lead following a converted penalty kick by Diana Matheson. The Spirit claimed a handball on Seattle's Keelin Winters and the referee subsequently agreed and handed them a PK.

The 1-0 lead by Washington stood for 21 minutes until Jessica McDonald scored the first of two goals that night in the 30th minute. Christine Nairn collected a poorly cleared ball at the top of the penalty box before she found McDonald. The former Chicago forward slid the ball into the far post to clinch the equalizer.

The home team would not rest for long on a tied up game as McDonald was at it again this time sitting atop the 6 yard box where Elli Reed found the top of McDonald's head after sending a cross into the box. McDonald earned Seattle a 2-1 lead which would stand for the remainder of the night.

The second half might not have produced goals for either side but the action was lively as Seattle put up 14 shots only two of which were on target. Mid-way through the second half, the Spirit were forced to make a substitution due to an injury scare to Ali Krieger who was sent off the field following a collision with Kaylyn Kyle.

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