A huge game for a couple of Westfield Matildas at the top of the National Women’s Soccer League this weekend, while there’s a huge Aussie flavour to a top-four battle in Seattle.
It’s all here and a little more in the rundown of what’s ahead for the Aussie girls in the NWSL.
ORLANDO PRIDE v NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
Orlando will be hoping to bounce back to form quickly as they host runaway NWSL league-leaders North Carolina.
The Pride – which features Westfield Matildas duo Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond – are coming off a heartbreaking late loss in midweek, conceding twice in the last 11 minutes to lose 2-1 against Houston Dash.
Despite the loss, Orlando remains in second spot but 11 points behind the Courage, meaning a win in this one is vital if they are to chase down their opponents.
Van Egmond was an unused sub in the midweek loss against Houston with one eye on this match, and is likely to partner Kennedy in the midfield.
SEATTLE REIGN v PORTLAND THORNS
It’s third v fourth in Seattle as both the Reign and Thorns do battle for what could be a huge three points in the race to cement a top-four spot.
Seattle have found goals to come by of late, managing just one in their last three games, including two goalless draws.
But they have been fairly sound defensively, led by Westfield Matildas left-back Steph Catley, while Lydia Williams is likely to return in goal after being rested for the midweek stalemate against Utah.
The Thorns were also held to a disappointing draw in midweek, conceding a late penalty to come away with a 1-1 result against lowly Sky Blue FC.
Ellie Carpenter has been excellent for Portland and should start again in this one, while Hayley Raso must also be close to a spot in the starting XI as she continues her comeback from injury.
UTAH ROYALS v SKY BLUE FC
A vital match for Katrina Gorry’s Royals if they are to stay in touch with the top four.
After their midweek draw against Seattle, Utah dropped from fourth to sixth spot, underlining the congested nature of the NWSL this season.
SEE THE FULL LADDER BELOW
Gorry has been superb for the Royals this season in her nine appearances and she should again be in the starting side for this one.
With Sky Blue FC yet to register a win this season, Utah will want to avoid any complacency and take all three points as the campaign edges closer to the pointy end.
CHICAGO RED STARS v WASHINGTON SPIRIT
Westfield Matildas star Sam Kerr will be hoping to get back amongst the goals as Chicago host lowly Washington Spirit.
Kerr – the reigning NWSL player of the year and golden boot – has scored five of Chicago’s 19 goals this campaign and will be desperate to add to that to get the Red Stars back into the top four.
The classy striker played a key role in Chicago’s 2-0 win over Utah last weekend, setting up the match-sealing goal for Vanessa Di Bernardo with a superb run and pass.
If the Aussie is on her game again at Toyota Park, it could spell trouble for second-from-bottom Washington.
*Teams in bold contain Westfield Matildas players
- North Carolina Courage – played 14, 33 points, +15
- Orlando Pride – played 14, 22 points, +4
- Seattle Reign – played 13, 20 points, +2
- Portland Thorns – played 14, 20 points, +1
- Chicago Red Stars – played 14, 19 points, +2
- Utah Royals – played 13, 18 points, 0
- Houston Dash – played 14, 17 points, 5
- Washington Spirit – played 14, 10 points, -8
- Sky Blue – played 12, 3 points, -11
Here are the game details for Westfield Matildas stars and their teams…
- Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage | Sunday, 5.30am AEST
- Utah Royals v Sky Blue FC | Sunday, 12pm AEST
- Seattle Reign v Portland Thorns | Sunday 12pm AEST
- Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit | Monday 8am AEST
Matches can be live-streamed at nwslsoccer.com