It was a rough weekend for the top half of the table. With Seattle and Portland idle, the suddenly hot Red Stars climbed into second place with a win in Boston. Western NY pulled a "Washington Spirit" to drop to fifth with an own goal equalizer and a lack of offense, and the Spirit took full advantage thanks to a big game from Jodie Taylor. In Kansas City, the Blues twice gave up a lead to Houston and had to settle for a draw.
Jodie Taylor and the Spirit battle back
There has long been a tradition at the Maryland SoccerPlex, and though the exact rules are a closely guarded secret, the basic idea is this: If your name is something other than Diana Matheson, you can take your goals elsewhere, because they are not needed. Matheson has always been the Spirit's go-to -- and too often, only -- goal scorer.
On Saturday, Jodie Taylor decided this tradition was kind of dumb, and changed it. Taylor has largely been a quiet participant in every game for the Spirit so far this season, but against the Flash, the English striker finally got loud.
After giving Washington the early lead by chipping Kelsey Wys, Taylor watched her team concede the equalizer and then the go-ahead just before halftime to Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd, respectively -- the former left almost entirely unmarked in front of goal for a classic Abby header, the latter allowed to barrel through the entire Spirit defense before tucking a shot just inside the post. It was all just so ... Washington.
Until it wasn't.
Taylor rang a shot off the crossbar that then deflected off the back of a Flash defender and in. (Bonus points for the Spirit being on the right side of an own goal for once.) Taylor and her team were not done, however. A Spirit club full of fight outshot the visiting Flash 13-3 in the second half, and Taylor put away the game winner in the 78th minute. The win was Washington's third of the season, a number it took until the penultimate weekend to reach a season ago.
Holiday to Tymrak
Last season, the Lauren Holiday-Erika Tymrak tandem was one of the league's most dangerous, but that hadn't been the case in 2014. Tymrak was injured, and Holiday struggled to find any kind of rhythm with the rest of the FCKC offense. But two minutes into Sunday's game against Houston, that duo looked like its old self.
Tymrak gave to Holiday to put the Blues up by one. Houston equalized 18 minutes later thanks to Jordan Jackson, but then it was Tymrak coming through again to give Kansas City the lead ten minutes before the break.
Tiffany McCarty equalized for Houston in the 78th and that's how things stayed, which was good news for the Dash, who not only didn't lose a game they lost a few weeks ago by an embarrassing score, but also finally found some offense.
And FC Kansas City? That Holiday-Tymrak thing is back.
Boston tries to dig to China, forgets what they're doing 45 minutes later, and what is all this dirt from?
Oh, Boston, you adorable, adorable mess. Does someone do that Men in Black mind erasing thing at the half and conclusion of each game? Because every time time you take the field it looks as though your players have never met and are even a little unsure of where they are.
The Breakers continued their descent into the NWSL's sub-basement with an abysmal performance for the second time in four days against Chicago, who scored four goals outshot Boston 21-8. Jen Hoy, Lori Chalupny, Zakiya Bywaters and Michelle Wenino scored for Chicago, while Heather O'Reilly converted a PK for the Breaker's lone goal.
Not that any of it matters for Boston, anyway. Everyone has been zapped and they're all just wandering around on the banks of the Charles trying to figure out what is with the shoes with the funny bumps in the bottom and -- why are they on my, what's this called? Foots? Do you know Cat? Cat White-something?
Chicago is now second on the table, unbeaten in four, and has won three straight. What? Games. It's a thing, for 90 minutes you -- Directions? To Harvey? Laura Harvey? Oh, Harvard. Do you mean Harvard?
Washington Spirit 3 - 2 Western NY Flash
FC Kansas City 2 - 2 Houston Dash
Boston Breakers 1 - 4 Chicago Red Stars