As many people’s attention was on the Women’s World Cup, the National Women’s Soccer League returned to action this past Saturday and provided fans of the game with goals to savor. The Women’s World Cup continues to thrill but the NWSL came back with a timely reminder as to why you should be watching it too.
Amy Rodriguez (16’): Utah Royals FC (1)-0 Sky Blue FC
The best goal of the weekend was undoubtedly that of Amy Rodriguez who scored the only goal of the game when the Utah Royals welcomed Sky Blue to the Rio Tinto Stadium. Rodriguez picked up the ball in her own half during the 16th minute, sped past the Sky Blue midfielders around her before firing off a rocket from about 30 yards out that Didi Haracic had no chance of saving.
Rodriguez now has four goals in seven appearances so far this season and is looking to chase down Sam Kerr and Crystal Dunn for the Golden Boot while the latter two are away at the World Cup. If she continues in this rich vein of form, Rodriguez will achieve just that.
Midge Purce (26’): NC Courage 0-(1) Portland Thorns FC
The North Carolina Courage came against the Portland Thorns as the first game of the weekend and it was Midge Purce who sent the Thorns’ fans into celebrations with a fantastic lob over the advancing goalkeeper.
Purce raced onto a long ball over the Courage’s backline and proceeded to execute a perfect chip over Samantha Leshnak to put the Thorn ahead in the 26th minute. Purce has now scored three goals in five games, making her mark as the national team players continue to represent their countries at the World Cup.
Julia Spetsmark (59’): NC Courage (1)-1 Portland Thorns FC
If you’re looking for a well-timed volley, look to further than North Carolina’s equalizer that came by the way of Julia Spetsmark. Spetsmark bodied her defender off the ball after Merritt Mathias had sent a searching pass down the field, steaded herself and then proceeded to smash the ball over Britt Eckerstrom’s body.
Eckerstrom had barely any time to react as Spetsmark took her volley quickly and placed it perfectly into the goal. Purce may have started off the match with an acute finish but Spetsmark had the best goal of the game.
Joanna Boyles (13’): Houston Dash 0-(1) Orlando Pride
The NWSL wasn’t done showing off on its return and as the second match of the weekend crept along in the first half, Orlando Pride’s Joanna Boyles turned up to score a peach of a free kick.
With the Houston Dash wall set up and goalkeeper Jane Campbell standing in the middle of her goal, Boyles picked out the far corner and sent a low curling effort that evaded Campbell’s dive. In a season that has not gone well for the Pride, Boyles’ moment of quality was a welcome sight for head coach Marc Skinner.
Kristie Mewis (67’): Houston Dash (2)-1 Orlando Pride
The Dash were not to be outdone on their own home turf and Kristie Mewis popped up to give her team with a lethal left-footed shot in the 67th minute.
Mewis had missed a lot of soccer least season due to injury but she showed on Saturday night that the quality had not deserted her left foot with a powerful shot that beat Hayley Kopmeyer all ends up.
Andi Sullivan (62’): Reign FC 0-(1) Washington Spirit
The last match of the weekend action provided another goal to admire as Andi Sullivan waltzed her past three Reign FC defenders before finish low past Casey Murphy in goal.
The Reign had been the more dominant side throughout the game but Sullivan showed her class and technique with that goal in the 62nd minute. As long as Sullivan continues to play like this, the Washington Spirit will feel good about their chances of causing a surprise this season and finishing within the playoff places.
The NWSL will continue on throughout the World Cup with matches coming up this weekend as well. Many of the players currently representing the various teams may not be considered as great international or domestic talents but they are showing their worth while some of the bigger name players are on national team duty. Pay closer attention to them, they have the talent to surprise you and allow you to enjoy the game of soccer, as evidenced above.