NWSL Week 2: It Gets Real

Hello one and all, back to the great world of the WOSO fandom!

Week 2 of play started with the dreaded injury report. A list of all of the players that will likely be out for the week, due to an injury sustained in the last week or before the season started. The list isn’t very long, due to it only being the second week of the season. But will likely get longer as play intensifies and more players are called for national team duties.

Of the players on the injury report, there were two that stood out to me, because they had the ability affect the game the most.

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The tackle which lead to Hinkle’s injury

From the Western New York Flash, Jaelene Hinkle (pictured to the right) was out due to a toe fracture. Nothing all that uncommon with a contact sport like soccer. This fraction was a direct result from a clumsy collision from USWNT teammate and FCKC midfielder Heather O’Riley, making it unique in nature. *It was later stated by the coach that the injury was from Hinkle stubbing her toe at home. But I’m going to use this gif anyway.

For the Houston Dash and United States National team player, Morgan Brian was listed as questionable. Brian was still recovering from a strained hamstring that has been bothering her for the past couple of weeks. This is the same injury that caused her to leave the most recent USWNT camp early, and caused her to sit out of week one of play. If Brian was to play this week she wouldn’t be a 90 minute player where her skill would be needed in terms to beat what is showing to be a very strong Orlando Pride team.

The week two game line up was filled with a few rivalries and many exciting games, including the very advertised home opening game for the Orlando Pride. The games were as follows:

On Saturday 4/23/16    

Chicago Red Stars vs. Western New York Flash

Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash

FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns

On Sunday 4/24/16

Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit

Boston Breakers vs. Seattle Reign

First up was a game between two teams who had something to prove after sloppy play the week before. The Chicago Red Stars took on the Western New York Flash  on a new and improved home field. After years of playing on a college field, the Red Stars took to their new field with the same ferocity that the  have held for the past few years. In the past, Chicago has been a very dominant team with very aggressive (and yes sometimes dirty) play.

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Offensive symphony of CRS 

With names like Julie Johnston, Sofia Huerta, and in the past Melissa Tancredi, there has been a strong offensive and defensive presence within the team. After their embarrassing showing against Houston the previous week ,  it was vital that they showed that they could not be trampled over. For Western New York, it was important that they show they can control a game. Both of the teams succeeded, in a sense. Western New York held their own and had a pretty strong offense. Chicago was stronger and dominated  most of the game. Their few attacking chances left Casey Short of Chicago with the only goal of the game.

Player who made this place their home: Julie Johnston (8) is a rock. Her defending is world class and it shows in her fearless plays. She stands out on the field and can clearly take on the hardest of offence with grace and the occasional foul mouth.

Game ended Chicgo Red Stars 1 and Western New York 0

Next we have the slaughtering that was the game between the Orlando Pride vs. the Houston Dash. There was a lot of hype and pressure surrounding this game. It was Orlando’s first home game and they were attempting to break a massive record of having the most attendees at a women’s professional game in the United States. By George did they do it. With 23,403 people in attendance and a sea of purple, Orlando had broken a new record. Orlando also needed to prove that they could hold their own in the league, and hold their own they did. tumblr_o685bkcLYX1ubhu4ko1_1280In this fan’s untrained eyes, it looked like a slaughtering. Houston held themselves together until the injury of Carli Lloyd in the 10th minute. Injuries often can shake a team, but when it happens to the best player in the women’s game? A team can fall apart after that. Alex Morgan spent a while appearing as the only offensive player for the Pride, until the second half when the flood gates opened for the pride.

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Andressa’s Goal for the Dash

Underdog Moment of the Game: Andressa’s  goal for the Dash in the 75th minute. In a moment where the game looked to be entirely toward the Pride, Andressa gave the Dash some futile hope.

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Ashlyn Harris save

Moment that took my breath away: Ashlyn Harris came in with a huge save in the first half that is nothing aside from world class. When the shot happened, I nearly lost my breath watching her diving save.

 

Game ended Orlando 3- Dash 1

The last game of the night was between FCKC and the Portland Thorns. FCKC was sloppy at best the week before, with only a few moments of power that stood out. While the Portland Thorns, on the other hand had proved to be a power house of the season. This week, FCKC showed the entire country (can I be optimistic enough to say world?) why they were the season champions last year. It was nice to see a give-and-take between the defense and offence and a team. It looked as though they had been working and training together. With this unity, FCKC was able to score a goal in the first half. Unfortunately for them, the Thorns also appeared to be playing in harmony. The defining moment was during the second half, where FCKC player Shea Groom received her second yellow of the night. Those who are new to soccer need to learn a little math lesson: yellow card + yellow card = red card. Red card = leaving the game and the team playing one player down for the rest of the game. Which is exactly what happened for FCKC. On this advantage, the Thorns were able to score an equalizer.

Flipping my hair moments: I have been telling anyone who would listen for literal years

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Horan Goal 

how fantastic of a player Lindsey Horan (PTFC) is and how much she will change the game in the States.After playing for the past three years with PSG in France, the WOSO fans were excited to hear that she was bringing her seasoned international talent back to the states.  Horan’s goal on a set piece was something that will for sure be noticed by everyone and will start to make a difference in international play. With her stature and her grit she will be able to help bring any team into the winners circle.

Game ended FCKC 1- PTFC 1

After an exciting Saturday night, Sunday would open between a self declared rivalry game between the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC. It appeared that many followers of the league were confused by this new rivalry, but I went along with it anyway. The national team players were out and proud this game and ready to defend their club teams. Both goals for the Spirit came from national team players, Krieger for the United States and Matheson for Canada. The Spirit defense lacked something to be desired and let in a goal from Sky Blue. At the end of the day, they are the only team who has won two games as of now.

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The moment that almost killed me

The moment that made me almost die: in full disclosure, this is not the safest thing to do, so do as I say and not as I do. I had the game playing on my phone while I was driving five hours between my two homes as I call them. When Ali Kreiger scored the goal on what was intended to be a cross, that was damn near enough to make me crash my car onto a guard rail.

Game ended Washington 2-SBFC 1

Ending the week was the drama that was Boston Breakers vs. Seattle. I used the word slaughter earlier in this post, so let me think of another adjective that will describe how drastic the game was between these two players. Annihilation is a good word to use. Seattle showed that their loss against Sky Blue last week was nothing but a fluke. They were back and ready to party.  Seattle showed that they were the team to beat, and will never be the team that they were in 2013 sitting pretty at the bottom of the table. The game proved to be pretty exciting, even with the beat down that Seattle served. Including several shots from the Breakers and a few awkward defense moments where weaknesses were shown from the Reign.

Players who deserve better: Kristie Mewis (breakers) was clearly frustrated with the game,

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Pretty much a metaphor for Boston’s Game

and it showed in her play in the second half, she worked her way up and down the field and had a solid breakaway that wasn’t strong enough to score. Keelin Winters is another solid player, who has held strong for the Reign for as long as they have been the team. Both players continue to play their hearts out every week, despite getting the snub from the USWNT.

Game ended Boston 0- Seattle 3

Overall the week was showing fans that it is a new season. Which teams are ready to play, and which teams will continue to be forgotten. The Washington Spirit has gotten lucky the past two weeks to have secured wins both times. They hope to continue their streak in the next week against WNYF. Consistency has not been the friend of many of the other teams in the league including SBFC and the Seattle Reign. Week three could be the true turning point for these two teams and many others as game play steps up.

fishlockWhen play starts to increase and teams start to come together and play together, injuries tend to plauge the field. The scariest injury both for fans to watch and for players to endure by far is any knee injury. This week, three players were made victim of a rough tackle, fall, or misstep that lead to what looked like a very scary twist of a knee that could
have lasting damages for the rest of the season. Carli Lloyd of the Houston Dash, after reeking havoc over teams internationally during last summer’s World Cup, is widely considered one of the most diverse and best players in the game. Watching her go down after a mistep with her knee turned the wrong way was a sight that my lil heart almost couldn’t take. She was diagnosed with an MCL sprain and will not need surgery. Jess
Fishlock for the Seattle Reign was the victim of a tackle gone wrong resulting in a tibia fracture. While Portland’s Kat Williamson took an awkward step and fell without any tackle or contact at all. All three players were taken off the field and appeared to be in a lot of pain. This is sadly a chronic plague on the field of players who suffer knee injuries. Though these will not be the last, here’s to hoping that they are not as severe as these were.
peanut butterThe exciting goal this week leads me to my player of the week. Ali Kriegegross waterr (D, 11, Washington Spirit) at 31 years old has proved to be one of the best defenders in the world
both on the international stage and the club stage. The first two seasons of the NWSL, Ali Krieger all but carried the Washington Spirit defensively and attempted to be the captain that could do it all. This week has been very Krieger filled both with her amazing goal and her various endorsements that have come about this week alone (because who doesn’t like peanut butter and coconut water?). Krieger played all but 10 minutes this past World Cup (why she was subbed out, I
will never understand) and has jokingly been refferred to as part of the “department of defense” for the USWNT. She will make an impact this upcoming Olympic season and is currently in the race for a starting position in the starting 11 leading up to Rio.

This weeks tweet of the week is:

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All teams come back to action this Friday! You can catch me cursing at my wifi router when a game will stall and avoiding all friends and opportunities of socialization in order to watch, read, and write about soccer.

Catch ya later

-SJ

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