A couple of Westfield Matildas have been key contributors as Seattle Reign boosted their National Women’s Soccer League finals hopes with a crucial win on Thursday (AEST).
Elsewhere, there were four Aussies in action as Houston Dash and Orlando Pride did battle in a vital clash for top four spots.
Here’s how our Westfield Matildas went in our midweek NWSL wrap.
SEATTLE REIGN 1-0 UTAH ROYALS
Steph Catley and Lydia Williams were both instrumental as the Reign took a big step towards finals football with a narrow win over Katrina Gorry’s Royals at Memorial Stadium.
In a hard-fought and tense encounter, it was a goal from US international Megan Rapinoe nine minutes into the second half which proved the difference.
And it was Catley who set up the goal, with her in-swinging corner to the far post finding Rapinoe whose looping header went in at the far post.
The Westfield Matildas left-back got forward plenty of times for the home side in another excellent display while Williams was rarely tested but did everything flawlessly to keep another clean sheet.
Gorry started on the bench for the Royals and came on for the last 13 minutes but was unable to manufacture an equaliser for her side.
While second-placed Reign has now opened up a four-point gap to Orlando Pride in third, Utah remain sixth and four points outside the finals spot.
Seattle are on the road this weekend, taking on Sam Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars while the Royals return to Utah to host the Pride.
HOUSTON DASH 3-1 ORLANDO PRIDE
There was a significant Aussie flavour on display in Houston, with the home side breathing new life into their finals hopes with a crucial win over the in-form Pride.
Clare Polkinghorne and Kyah Simon (71 minutes) both started for the home side in a match they had to win, to keep in touch with the top four.
And they did just that with a brace to Rachel Daly – courtesy of goals either side of the break – sending them on their way, before Sydney Leroux pulled Orlando back into the match 10 minutes into the second half.
In a dramatic end, Thembi Kgatlana scored in stoppage-time to ensure the result, with Pride’s Brazilian superstar Marta sent off at the death to compound a tough night for the visitors.
Alanna Kennedy played another full match for Orlando, with Emily van Egmond coming off the bench in the second-half as her side chased a passage back into the match.
Despite the win, Houston remain in seventh spot and five points outside the playoff places, while the Pride are in third position.