With two weeks of the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League in the books, the team with the most Canadian content finds itself at the top of the table.
Backstopped by goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, the Washington Spirit have six points, with only one goal conceded. Elsewhere, her Canadian counterpart Sabrina D’Angelo was solid for her Western New York Flash this weekend, making a number of key saves.
Here’s a closer look at how the Canadians fared in the second week of NWSL play:
Janine Beckie had another strong outing in the second professional match of her young career. Although she didn’t find the back of the net in Houston’s 3-1 loss to Orlando, she had good looks on goal. Her best chance came in the 19th minute, when the Canadian striker stole the ball from Pride defender Laura Alleway and got it on target. Beckie led her team in shots on goal with two.
Defender Allysha Chapman had another 90-minute performance on the left side. She was booked in stoppage time for an aggressive foul.
The losing result is the least of the Dash’s worries. American Carli Lloyd sustained a Grade 1 MCL sprain, which will keep the 2015 FIFA Player of the Year out of the line-up for three to six weeks.
FC Kansas City
Desiree Scott played a full match in FCKC’s 1-1 draw versus Portland. The central midfielder had her hands full marking a potent Thorns midfield, which includes U.S. internationals Allie Long and Lindsey Horan.
The Pride won their first ever NWSL game on Saturday, defeating Houston 3-1 in front of a record 23,403 spectators at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Josée Bélanger saw 90 minutes of play at right fullback. Similar to last week, she didn’t have much of an attacking role, but she did a good job containing Houston’s scoring threats.
While midfielder Kaylyn Kyle wasn’t credited with any shots, she made a number of strong passes to create opportunities for her teammates.
Christine Sinclair remains out with an Achilles injury. The Thorns have earned a win and a draw in her absence.
The Washington Spirit are the only club to collect a full six points through two games. Diana Matheson’s first goal of the season proved to be the winner in the 2-1 affair versus Sky Blue. The diminutive midfielder showed her experience when she received a pass from 2015 NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn and beat goalkeeper Caroline Casey with a sneaky nutmeg.
Stephanie Labbe faced four shots on goal and while she was beaten by one, she made a great save late on Raquel Rodriguez’s curler to the right corner to preserve the win. Centre-back Shelina Zadorsky played well in front of Labbe and cleared a number of dangerous balls. She’s quietly been very effective for Washington in her rookie season.
Western New York Flash
Sabrina D’Angelo finds herself at the top of the NWSL saves category after two matches with 10. During Week 2, she made a number of key stops for the Flash, including a sliding stop on U.S. international Christen Press during a 1-v-1 situation. In her side’s 1-0 loss against Chicago, D’Angelo faced seven shots on goal, with one beating her in the 28th minute.
Adriana Leon started her second consecutive game for the Flash. She played 62 minutes with two shots on goal, including one of her team’s best chances to beat Alyssa Naeher.
Canadian veterans Melissa Tancredi and Marie-Eve Nault, who play for KIF Örebro of Sweden’s Damallsvenskan, earned a 0-0 draw versus Kopparbergs / Göteborg FC. Örebro have only surrendered one goal this season.
It was a tough opening leg for Sophie Schmidt and FFC Frankfurt in their UEFA Champions League semifinal. They were defeated 4-0 by Wolfsburg. The second match goes May 1 in Frankfurt.
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