NWSL Week 5: Sunday Matches

courtesy of nwslsoccer.com

courtesy of nwslsoccer.com

Week 5 of NWSL action wraps up on Sunday with three matches. All matches can be seen on YouTube.

Western New York Flash vs Sky Blue FC

The Western New York Flash finishes a three game home stand against Sky Blue FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00pm EDT. The two teams are separated by one point in the standings. The Flash enters this match with a record of 2-1-1 (win-loss-tie) while SBFC enter at 1-2-3.

The Flash is coming off a 2-1 win on Wednesday against FC Kansas City. Samantha Kerr, who finished third on the team in scoring last year, registered her first goal of the season on Wednesday as well as an assist.

Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines will be more than happy to welcome Amy Wambach and Carli Lloyd back from United States Women’s National Team duty. He will also get Sonia Bermudez and Vicky Losada back from Spain Women’s National Team duty back for the game against SBFC before heading out on the road for six of their next seven games.

Just as soon as he gets these four back, he will lose two more as Australians Kerr and Lydia Williams were called in to camp by Australia Women’s National Team for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Vietnam. Kelsey Wys is expected to make her professional debut at goal keeper for the Flash while Williams is away.

Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra is expected to have all five of his U.S. and Canada internationals back at his disposal. Defenders Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara, goalkeeper Jill Loyden, midfielder Sophie Schmidt and forward Jonelle Filigno will be a welcomed site on the field. While these five players were gone, SBFC went unbeaten which includes the 1-1 tie at home to the Chicago Red Stars.

Normally if a team loses their starting goal keeper to National team duty, they would have less of a chance to win their next match. I’m going to go against conventional wisdom and pick the Flash to win this one at home 2-1 over SBFC.

Chicago Red Stars vs Houston Dash

The Houston Dash travel to Chicago to face the Chicago Red Stars at Benedictine U. Sports Complex Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6:00pm EDT. Chicago and Houston are separated by one point in the standings with Chicago sitting at 1-2-1. Houston enters the match with a record of 1-3-0.

Chicago has allowed just three goals in four games this season. They are tied with the Portland Thorns FC for the second best defensive record in the league. They have conceded just one goal from open play, with their opponents other two scores coming from the penalty kicks. On the offensive ball, they are the worst scoring team in the league having scored just two goals.

Houston on the other hand enters the match as the worst defensive team in the league having allowed nine goals in four matches. Their last match they conceded four goals to FC Kansas City, six in their last two matches. It was also the second straight game that they were shutout.

Head Coach Randy Waldrum is expected to have Erin McLeod and fellow Canada international Kaylyn Kyle back in his lineup to face the Red Stars after the pair was involved in their nation’s 1-1 draw against the U.S. on Thursday. Kyle played all 90 minutes in her debut with Houston in the loss to Kansas City after being traded from the Boston Breakers at the end of April.

I believe this is the week Houston will get their second win of the year. I know I have been saying it for a few weeks now but I have a good feeling about this match. I’m picking the Dash to win this one as it will be a scoring fest with a final score of 4-3.

FC Kansas City vs Washington Spirit

The Washington Spirit head to Kansas City and hope to earn a win and leap frog FCKC in the standings as only one point separates them. The Spirit enters this match with a record of 2-3-0 and FCKC enter with a record of 2-3-1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm EDT. Both teams enter this match coming off losses as Kansas City lost 2-1 on the road to Western New York. TheSpirit lost last week to the Seattle Reign FC 2-1 at home.

The 12th overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft, Morgan Marlborough, scored her first goal of the year for the Blues on Wednesday night. It wasn’t enough as the Blues saw their two game winning streak come to a halt. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made three saves for FCKC, who were without U.S. internationals Becky Sauerbrunn, Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez. They are expected to be back for Sunday’s match against Washington.

Defender and U.S. international Ali Krieger matched her goal total for all of last season by giving the Spirit a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute when she smashed home the rebound after Seattle goalkeeper Hope Solo saved forward Jodie Taylor’s shot. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris had six saves in the game as Washington fell to Seattle for the second time in three games.

I’m picking Washington in an upset. I know FCKC are leading the league in shots but I see the Spirit controlling this match and winning 2-1.

Related Links:

NWSL Week 5 Preview: Seattle Reign Take on Portland Thorns

Chris Blakely writes for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealCBlakely.

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