Tag Archives: USWNT

Hat Trick Hero: USWNT 4, Japan 2

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Key Contributor, USWNT

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The U.S. Women’s National Team made a winning start to their 2018 Tournament of Nations campaign on Thursday, defeating Japan 4-2 before a sellout crowd at Children’s Mercy Park.

The long-standing rivals spent the first few minutes going back-and-forth, with both sides creating a few chances to break through.

In the 18th minute, the USWNT found the opening goal, with a brilliant play between Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan. Japan, however, responded quickly two minutes later when Mina Tanaka snuck in behind the defense and chipped a ball over goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher leveling the match.

It was Morgan again who found herself in the right spot after receiving a pass from Emily Sonnett – who brought it down off a cross from Crystal Dunn – and headed home her second goal giving the USWNT the lead again with 2-1.

Shortly after the restart, second-half substitute Tobin Heath became a real magician in the 56th minute; when she got around Japan’s defense down the right side and sent a cross into the middle. The ball bounced directly to Morgan who brought the ball down with her left knee and then smashed her shot into the roof of the net with her left foot completing her fourth-career hat trick.

Ten minutes later, Megan Rapinoe initially sends the ball to Rose Lavelle, who immediately returned the pass. It ricochets off a Japan player and bounces in Rapinoe’s path. Running unchallenged, Rapinoe blasts the ball into the back of the net making the score 4-1.

The final minutes saw Japan desperately trying to add another goal – if not tie up the match; after successfully scoring their second goal in the 76th minute. Fortunately, the USWNT would preserve the 4-2 victory until the final whistle.

The 2018 Tournament of Nations now moves to the East Coast, as the teams travel to East Hartford, Connecticut for the second set of games on Sunday, July 29.

Featured image of Alex Morgan: @ussoccer_wnt

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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NWSL: League-leading awards updates

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USWNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken @abigailgerken22

At MLSFemale we have decided that we need to help promote our amazing female athletes in the sport we love. I am excited to start reporting about the National Women’s Soccer League and the US Women’s National Team, hopefully, to draw more attention to the growing league and national team. What better way to kick it off than an NWSL recap and awards check-in?

The first place to discuss is the standings.

NWSL standings as of July 20th, 2018:

Team Points Matches played Record
North Carolina Courage* 46 19 14-1-4
Seattle Reign 29 17 8-4-5
Orlando Pride 28 18 8-6-4
Chicago Red Stars 28 18 7-4-7
Portland Thorns FC 26 17 7-5-5
Utah Royals 22 18 5-6-7
Houston Dash 20 17 5-7-5
Washington Spirit 10 17 2-11-4
Sky Blue FC 3 15 0-12-3

*Clinched 2018 NWSL Playoff spot

The North Carolina Courage stand out on these standings because of the giant gap of 17 points that they have set between themselves and the next closest team. They lead the league in team goals with 41 (next closest is Portland with 27). This has led them to already clinch a spot in the 2018 NWSL playoffs, and are on track to win their 2nd NWSL Shield (would be tied with the Seattle Reign for most Shields).

Although the Shield race seems to be locked up, there is a tight race for the Golden Boot Award. Lindsey Horan of the Portland Thorns and Sam Kerr of the Chicago Red Stars are tied for first place with 9 goals apiece, Lynn Williams of the North Carolina Courage is right behind them with 8. Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, and Christine Sinclair are not far behind with 7 goals each.

As for Goalkeeper of the Year, one stat that could help determine who is the most valuable keeper this season is in the saves category. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit) leads the league in saves with 84. Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue) comes in second with 60 saves. In addition to saves, Alyssa Naeher has broken out as, to what is seeming to be, her role and the USWNT new number one keeper after Hope Solo’s terminated contract in 2016. This could help place her as the Goalkeeper of the Year.

At the ESPYS, Megan Rapinoe came out on top as the best NWSL player this year. The Seattle Reign veteran has 7 goals for the year and 4 assists and is leading her team towards the top of the table. Australian forward Sam Kerr won the best international women’s soccer player. She has 9 goals this year for her club Chicago Red Stars and 24 goals in 67 caps with the Australian national team.

At the 2018 Kids Choice Sports awards Alex Morgan took home Favorite Female Athlete award because of her continued success at both the club and international level.

Which NWSL players do you think will win these awards? Chat with me on twitter @abigailgerken22 and let me know.

Featured image of Lindsey Horan: American Soccer Now

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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I Live Soccer

Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Christina Casas @nkstar9

Originally from Southern California, I grew up watching Cobi Jones and the LA Galaxy.  I also attended the 1999 Women’s World Cup final where our USWNT brought back the CUP to the US.

Playing soccer is not simply a hobby. I live soccer, dream about soccer, and the days that I get to play soccer are the best days of the week.

After moving to Vancouver, BC, I quickly found myself rooting for the Vancouver Whitecaps and becoming swept up in the passion of the community built around this soulful team.

Come chat with me on twitter: @nkstar9