A season ago, Western NY, Portland and FC Kansas City finished tied in points for the top spot. All three teams had 38 points, and Portland and FC Kansas City - thanks to it being the inaugural season and all - set the wins record at 11. The Flash set the mark for goals scored at 36. Lauren Holiday took home the Golden Boot with 12 goals. Leslie Osborne led the league in assists with nine. Twenty-two games, that was the best of the best.
Now, let's all hop in our VCRs and hit fast forward ‘til we get to now.
It's two months - two months - into this season. Seattle, now unbeaten in ten, already have 26 points, and eight wins. And they've scored 22 goals, already, too. We haven't even reached the halfway point of the season yet. Kim Little leads the league in scoring, with nine goals. Amy Rodriguez trails her by one. There are, again, still nearly three full months left to play. Bev Goebel is the current assist leader, with four. And the top four on the table? If we were to start the postseason now just one of last year's playoff teams would be in. One. Season two; you're crazy, and awesome.
Western NY, we hardly knew ye
Before Saturday, the Houston Dash had not won a game since the end of April. The Dash's one win on the season was a wild back-and-forth with even-worse Boston and since then? Sure, they'd come close, been undone late a couple times, but ultimately that second three points had long-eluded the NWSL's newest team. Which, normally, is not the time you want to play perennial powerhouse and they won't let you forget it Western NY. This Western NY is not that one, though, and Houston took advantage of another half-hearted performance from the newest member of the Does This League Have Relegation? No? Thank God. Club.
McCall Zerboni put the Flash up by one just before the half, but rookie Kealia Ohai leveled things for Houston on the other side of the break. Nina Burger put the Dash up by one in the 73rd and Houston sustained whatever late-game push the Flash could manage to win the first edition of the Flash-Dash Unfortunate Rhyme Derby. Perennial powerhouse Western NY is now winless in four and has slipped into sixth. The Dash's second win keeps them in eighth, with a one-point lead over last-place Boston.
Diary of a Sad Sky Blue FC
Seattle found themselves in a strange place heading into Sunday. The league-leaders were still unbeaten on the season, but the Reign also hadn't won in two games. And after 45 minutes, it looked very much not only like that number was going to get to three, but also that they might be making their first visit to the loss column. Sky Blue FC, purveyors of disorganization but also somehow beating teams they have no business beating, had a 1-0 lead thanks to Katy Freels' Christine Nairn impression. Freels' 42nd minute goal - a rocket from above the 18 that Hope Solo had no chance on - gave Sky Blue the lead as a very even first half came to an end.
But Sky Blue FC has never met a lead they've liked enough to keep, and so the whole defense decided that halftime wasn't quite long enough and maybe we'll just take a little nap right here and oh? Wait, no, stop. You're not also going to nap? Messed up, Seattle. That is messed up. If we knew we were not napping we maybe would not have left Naho Kawasumi just wide open in front of the goal like that. Or maybe we would have. The world will never know. But since you've already equalized, would you also like a free kick right on the 18? Oh, you're going to let Kim Little take it? Perfect. And now you're winning. Good, that's good. That means we can just kind of let Little have a breakaway and then pass to Kawasumi and she can literally slow motion dribble the ball into the net and we won't even have to worry about it.
Impossible Boston, unlikely Washington
A season ago, the Washington Spirit finished dead last, with only three wins, 16 goals scored and a massive minus-23 goal differential. The 2014 Washington Spirit are in third on the table. They have scored 20 times and currently have a goal difference of zero. The Spirit, with Sunday's 3-2 win over Boston, are now also unbeaten in four straight games. Really. That's a thing that's happening.
Lianne Sanderson put the Breakers up in the 29th, and it looked like Boston had really learned whatever lesson Tom Durkin was trying to teach when he benched a good chunk of the starting lineup on Wednesday. Then, the Breakers had come away with a shock 4-1 win over Portland. But Boston is still Boston and momentum is fickle that way. It took Washington just five minutes to equalize thanks to Christine Nairn. The Breakers did manage to pull ahead again, with Sanderson netting her second of the night in the 37th to close out a wild eight minutes, but taking a lead into halftime was as close as Boston would get to an actual win. Jodie Taylor scored twice in the second half for Washington and the Spirit won their second straight.
Washington Spirit 3 - 2 Houston Dash
Sky Blue FC 0 - 2 Chicago Red Stars
Boston Breakers 4 - 1 Portland Thorns FC
Western NY Flash 1 - 2 Houston Dash
Sky Blue FC 1 - 3 Seattle Reign
Boston Breakers 2 - 3 Washington Spirit