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NWSL Matchday 1 round-up: Thorns dominate

NWSL Matchday 1 round-up: Thorns dominate the Red Stars, Gotham defeats the Dash and the rest draw

May 20, 2021 By Juan Aguerrevere
Matchday 1 of the 2021 NWSL season saw the Portland Thorns put five goals past the Chicago Red Stars, Gotham take down the Houston Dash and draws in the other three contests. Here you can find the league table, top scorers, headlines – including latest transfers – and how to watch Matchday 2 games.

2021 Challenge Cup champions the Portland Thorns demolished the Chicago Red Stars in a NWSL After Dark game on Sunday. It all started with a Tierna Davidson's own goal after just four minutes of play to open the scoring at Providence Park. Thorns veteran Christine Sinclair added another goal in the 13th minute. Then, striker Sophia Smith scored a brace – both goals assisted by forward Morgan Weaver – to give the Thorns a 4-0 lead by the 30th minute. Substitute Tyler Lussi scored one more for Portland to conclude the scoring at 5-0 in favor of the home team.

NJ/NY Gotham FC displayed yet another defensively sound and possessive performance against the Houston Dash on Saturday. The clean sheet and possession statistics reflect the performances that led Gotham FC to a runner-up finish at the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. Head coach Freya Coombe will continue to count on her backline and skilled attacking players in Midge Purce, who scored the winner against the Dash, Carli Lloyd, Evelyne Viens, Paige Monaghan and Ifeoma Onumonu to reach the NWSL playoffs.

Forward Alex Morgan salvaged a point for the Orlando Pride in the dying stages of a home game against the Washington Spirit. Washington's Ashley Hatch scored in the 76th minute, but Morgan's 84th-minute winner meant each team received a point in Matchday 1.

Racing Louisville and Kansas City did not get the ball in the back of the net on opening day, and the game between OL Reign and the North Carolina Courage also ended in a goalless draw.

Top five teams in the NWSL after Matchday 1

 
 
 
 
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Who are the three top scorers in the NWSL?

 
 
 
 
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NWSL Matchday 1 top headlines

  • Thorns head coach Mark Parsons revealed that he will be joining the Dutch national team after the 2021 season.
  • Portland Thorns' Christine Sinclair became the third player in NWSL history to reach 50 regular-season goals, joining Sam Kerr and Lynn Williams.
  • OL Reign's Lauren Barnes became the second player in NWSL history to play in 150 NWSL regular-season matches and the first to do so playing for one club.
  • USWNT midfielder Sam Mewis will make her return to the NWSL after a year with Manchester City.
  • USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle is set to make her OL Reign debut against her former team, the Washington Spirit, on May 30. OL Reign acquired Lavelle's rights before her departure to Manchester City in August 2020. OL Reign paid a total of $200,000 in allocation money – $100,000 paid at the time of the trade and $100,000 now – and traded away a natural first-round draft pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft for the 26-year-old.
  • English international Ebony Salmon joined Racing Louisville from this year's FA WSL's relegated side Bristol City. The 20-year-old is a proven talent after scoring a team-leading six goals for Bristol in the WSL.
  • Defender Kiki Pickett, who was drafted by KC NWSL in the 2021 NWSL College Draft, signed with the club after spending her last season at Stanford.

Must-watch NWSL games May 21-23

 


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