NWSL Week 15 Weekend Recap

USA TODAY Sports

The top four spots in the league were on the verge of a drastic makeover on Saturday night before Portland took down Boston.

Chicago Red Stars vs Washington Spirit, Final Score: 1-0

An own goal late in the second half by Washington's Tiffany McCarty sealed three points in a 1-0 victory for Chicago. It was a fairly one-sided match that produce little chances for the Spirit.

The Spirit did not put up any shots in the second half but did look dangerous midway through the opening half from a powerful strike inside the box from Conny Pohlers. The German international struck a low ball outside a crowded six yard box that was snuffed out by Erin McLeod.

Harris was hoping to maintain a clean sheet for the night but didn't expect her own teammate to score the lone goal of the night. Two minutes before McCarty scored the own goal, Red Stars captain Lori Chalupny struck a powerful strike 20 yards out that Harris deflected away from the net. Her heroics between the posts were not enough to prevent the lone goal in the 62nd minute.

The own goal was a by product of intense pressure placed inside the six yard box by Inka Grings. The German Red Stars forward received a cross from Michelle Wenino which she headed towards goal. McCarty tried to deflect the ball but instead directed it inside the net, earning Chicago a 1-0 lead and three points at home.

FC Kansas City vs Seattle Reign FC, Final Score: 2-0

FC Kansas City ended Seattle's six game unbeaten streak on the back of two goals from Lauren Holiday (née Cheney, for those not used to the change yet) and Erika Tymrak in a 2-0 shutout at Verizon Wireless Field.

The Reign have experienced difficulty in the past scoring on FCKC as they have been denied a goal in their previous three matches. On Saturday, history would repeat itself. Holiday scored the game winner in the 39th minute and Kansas City maintained the lead throughout.

Kansas City put four shots on target in the first half to the visitors' zero. The home side threatened to claim a lead early on with Holiday and Melissa Henderson working together to penetrate the box but couldn't work around Hope Solo between the posts.

Seattle was disorganized in the midfield, allowing FCKC greater possession and added opportunities on goal. The opening goal of the night in the 39th minute was assisted by Erika Tymrak after she won a poorly shipped pass from Megan Rapinoe to Jessica Fishlock. Tymrak carried the ball towards the 20 yard line before she crossed it over to the left side for Holiday who was waiting and open outside the 18 yard box.

Holiday quickly cracked a shot outside the box before she was closed down the by the defense. The powerful strike was too strong for Solo to keep out and her deflection was directed into the back of the net. FCKC would close out the opening half with a 1-0 lead.

Seattle didn't sit back in the second half as they tried to tie the game up through Jessica McDonald and Renae Cuellar. The visitors couldn't overcome the FCKC defense which gave the home side some breathing room to build up to their second goal of the night.

Towards the end of the second half FCKC was pressing the Seattle defense again in hopes to extend their lead. Courtney Jones tried to catch Solo off her guard with an angled strike that the U.S. keeper kept out. A minute later Solo was defeated by Tymrak who scored her sixth goal of the season.

Tymrak maintained possession while moving through five Seattle players outside the 18 yard box before cracking a low strike into the corner pocket of the net, too low for Solo to make the save. FCKC collected three points and a 2-0 victory over Seattle in their fourth and final meeting this season.

Western New York Flash vs Sky Blue FC, Final Score: 3-0

Western New York Flash served Sky Blue FC another 3-0 defeat in their final meeting this season with goals from Carli Lloyd, Brittany Taylor and Samantha Kerr.

It didn't take the Flash long to get on the board from an Abby Wambach - Carli Lloyd partnership. Wambach charged inside the 18 creating a one on one situation with Jill Loyden but instead of taking the shot herself she shipped a short pass to Lloyd who was running onto the ball and knocked the ball into the back of an open net.

The Flash led 1-0 but would continue their dominance on the scoreboard through an aggressive style of soccer. Less than five minutes after taking the lead, the Flash's aggressive pursuit for a win cost Sky Blue their most powerful forward, Lisa De Vanna who went down to a hamstring injury. The Australian national was substituted for Taylor Lytle in the 19th minute resulting in Sky Blue getting fewer chances on goal. This was the first setback of the night for Sky Blue. Ten minutes later, Caitlin Foord exited the field due to an ankle injury.

WNYF put six shots on frame in the first half, scoring their second goal in the 35th minute on the back of defender Brittany Taylor. The Flash took advantage of SBFC's delay in clearing a dangerous ball out of the six yard box from a corner kick. Wambach pushed the ball towards the net finding McCall Zerboni whose attempt on goal was pushed out by the post. Taylor pounced on the rebound and chipped the ball into the net for a 2-0 Flash lead going into halftime.

Sky Blue was unable to find their footing in the match despite promising opportunities on goal by Brittany Bock and Monica Ocampo. Ten minutes into the second half, Wambach earned her second assist of the night recreating a similar attack into the box as the opening goal. Wambach forced Loyden off her line again manipulating the keeper into the thinking she would take a shot but instead she cross the ball across the open net for Samantha Kerr to finish.

Boston Breakers vs Portland Thorns FC, Final Score:1-2

Despite taking an early lead, Boston could not prevent the Thorns scoring a goal in each half to produce a 2-1 victory over the Breakers.

It was a fairly even match up, both sides put three shots on goal and defended well. The Breakers earned the lead early after 13 minutes of action. Kyah Simon found Lianne Sanderson inside the box who finished it off with a strike into the back of the net that Karina LeBlanc was unable to block. The Breakers lead was short lived as Portland tied up the game ten minutes later in the 23rd minute.

The equalizer was produced on the back of poor judgment from Breaker's keeper Ashley Phillips who stepped off her line while Alex Morgan was rushing towards the goal and maneuvered around the keeper and effortlessly put the ball into an open net. Portland kept the pressure coming well into the second half nearly shutting down most of Boston's attacking strategies.

Portland put up seven shots to Boston's three but could not break the level game for a large portion of the second half. Even though Boston couldn't set up many shots, their two on-frame shots were dangerous and nearly broke the level game. LeBlanc managed to deflect Leroux's inside the box shot before getting help from Nikki Marshall to clear a dangerous strike from Kia McNeill.

As the night was winding down and approach the final five minutes of regular play, Portland stepped up their game. Tobin Heath shipped a pass to Morgan near the top of the box in the 86th minute but the U.S. striker did not take the shot. Instead she passed it over to Mana Shim who was running into the box and knocked the ball low into the net beyond Phillips reach.

Portland earned a three points on the road against Boston leveling their record and keeping their second place spot in the league.

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