After a whirlwind morning over the pond — with England defeating Germany for their first-ever European Championship title — the National Women’s Soccer League followed up with a big victory for the Houston Dash, and a major comeback to extend an unbeaten streak for the Kansas City Current.
NJ/NY Gotham FC 2, Houston Dash 4
The Skinny: Houston are what Gotham wishes they were. They went down a goal early and came back to score four goals and take all three points, scoring two in quick succession in the second half to kill Gotham’s hopes of a comeback that were still alive at 1-2.
One Key Moment: Houston’s third goal was both the game-winner and the goal that crushed Gotham’s comeback dreams, coming at a crucial midway point in the match, 35 minutes after the previous goal with 20 minutes left to play. Not to mention it’s a banger and the first time Schmidt has scored multiple goals in an NWSL season since 2013 when she had seven.
Inside the Game: This game got off to a flying start just three minutes in when Paige Monaghan converted the pinpoint perfect cross from Taylor Smith.
But Gotham would hold the lead for less than two minutes total this entire game as a Houston corner would find its way into the back of the net thanks to just a mess of defending by the home team. It’s harsh that this goal was credited to Mandy Freeman alone but overall Gotham have to do better defending this set piece.
Compared to the first two goals the third took forever to come, but 30 minutes after equalizing, Houston would take the lead. Again, there are big question marks on Gotham’s defending of this move, particularly the amount of space and time afforded to María Sánchez, known to have a terrific cross, to send that ball in.
If Sophie Schmidt’s second half goal was the game-changer, the penalty kick sealed the win for Houston. Once again the brilliance of María Sánchez is shown, dancing around defenders in the box and earning the foul. Ebony Salmon stepped up and calmly converted with impressive composure for a young player to score her fourth goal of the season.
To Gotham’s credit, they did not give up, and they created chances, even scoring a consolation goal in the 82nd minute. This was pure individual brilliance and execution by Margaret Purce, from the initial turn in her defensive third, to running 2/3rds the length of the field, to the perfect finish.
- NJ/NY Gotham FC — Paige Monaghan (Taylor Smith), 4′
- Houston Dash — Mandy Freeman (OG), 5′
- Houston Dash — Shea Groom (María Sánchez), 36′
- Houston Dash — Sophie Schmidt (Marisa Viggiano), 70′
- Houston Dash — Ebony Salmon (PK), 73′
- NJ/NY Gotham FC — Margaret Purce (Ellie Jean), 82′
— Bella Munson
Kansas City Current 2, Orlando Pride 2
The Skinny: It almost looked like the Orlando Pride were going to do it. However, the Pride could not keep a clean sheet or limit Kansas City’s attack. In the end, the Kansas City Current extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches, tying the Pride 2-2 at home.
One Key Moment: Since her arrival to Kansas City, CeCe Kizer has been an under the radar, but excellent, striker. Kizer came from Racing Louisville, but started her career with the Houston Dash. Kizer, now settled in with the Current, has found her knack, and puts in consistently good performances in teal. Kizer’s goal was the equalizer, extending that unbeaten streak and snatching a point at home.
Inside the Game: Orlando was coming into this match fresh off a few departures during the international break, including players like Angharad James and Amy Turner, who both recently announced their signings with Tottenham Hotspur of the FAWSL. Orlando also entered this game with a decent spell of matches under their belt. Besides a thumping by Portland on June 19, Orlando has picked up one win and two draws in their last three matches.
Meanwhile, as mentioned, Kansas City has been on a hot-streak, having not lost a game since their May 25 loss against OL Reign.
Few players left on international duty between the two sides, but Kansas City welcomed back Canadian international Desiree Scott and Orlando returned Icelandic international Gunny Jónsdóttir.
Orlando started off the match hot, with Spanish international Celia Jiménez Delgado beating out defender Hailie Mace and getting a head off a ball from Erika Tymrak. Delgado put the ball on frame, sending it past AD Franch in goal for the Current. Julie Doyle immediately opened up the second half with a goal inside the box after Meggie Dougherty Howard picked up a loose ball, created space for herself and passed to Doyle for her first NWSL goal.
However, the two-goal lead didn’t last for Orlando.
In the 57th minute, Kansas City rookie Elyse Bennett took the ball down the right side of the pitch, cutting her run into the box. Defended by Toni Pressley, Bennett cut back and took the ball herself, firing past Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
Kizer’s goal in the 82nd minute was the nail in the coffin for Orlando, leaving them with only point on the road.
- Orlando Pride — Celia Jimenez Delgado (Erika Tymrak), 25′
- Orlando Pride — Julie Doyle (Meggie Dougherty Howard), 46′
- Kansas City Current — Elyse Bennett (Hailie Mace), 57′
- Kansas City Current — CeCe Kizer (Lo’eau LaBonta), 82′
— Rachael Kriger