The 2019 NWSL season is off and running after an exciting Week 1. There were goal, some surprises, and a few emerging storylines that could end up shaping the season.
Here are a few standout performances from Week 1 that you may have missed.
After a few missteps in 2018, and a shaky performance against Australia for the USWNT a few weeks back, there were some reasonable concerns about how she would hold up for the Red Stars at the start of the season.
But Uncle Naeher laid a lot of those worries to rest, putting in an absolutely superhuman performance against North Carolina. Chicago would’ve had trouble on their best day containing the Courage’s attack; with early season nerves and a rookie central defender on the backline— albeit one with an already-impressive WNT pedigree— the Red Stars could’ve potentially been in a lot of trouble. But Naeher managed to help restrict North Carolina to one goal, thanks to plays like this:
Big saves, big mood for @AlyssaNaeher#NCvCHI | #NWSL | @YahooSports: https://t.co/lApUrwqIjH pic.twitter.com/ohlxnBoZ7x— NWSL (@NWSL) April 14, 2019
Ideally, Chicago wouldn’t have to rely on their goalkeeper putting in a Captain Marvel-esque display to get a result. But I guarantee you they’re happy to have a keeper who can pull that off.
In our What To Watch For piece on Friday, Kim singled out Sofia Huerta as one of the best attacking midfielders in the game right now. 2019 could be a big year for her, and for the Dash if they give her what she needs to succeed.
It’s only Week 1 and I hesitate to make sweeping pronouncements this early, but I’m with Kim on the Sofia Huerta Hype Train. While she didn’t get on the scoresheet in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Reign FC, she was consistently one of the most dangerous players for the Dash this weekend.
Sofia Huerta might've damaged that post. #HOUvSEA | #NWSL | @YahooSports: https://t.co/YE3dOb142N pic.twitter.com/p1iynnQ31T— NWSL (@NWSL) April 14, 2019
For a brief period of time this weekend, the Washington Spirit were top of the league.
They secured a 2-0 win over Sky Blue, with the gamewinner coming from defender Megan Crosson. The 24-year-old was cut by Houston in 2017 and spent some time in Japan and Spain before signing with Washington last year as a replacement player. Her substitute appearance in Week 1 offered a real opportunity for her to prove that she deserves regular starting minutes. Her stoppage time winner will go along way toward pressing her case.
.@MalPugh ➡️ @megggcrosson for the stoppage clincher #WASvNJ | #NWSL pic.twitter.com/Kvf4CRpP1L— NWSL (@NWSL) April 14, 2019
Again, early days, but there’s every possibility that the Spirit could actually compete this year. And if that bears out, don’t be surprised if Crosson becomes a big reason why.
Who stood out for you this weekend? Any surprises? Let us know in the comments!