NWSL Food Stands: Rachel Daly Makes Dash Story; The rivalry between thorns and rule increases; Louisville takes first win
The regular season of the National Women’s Soccer League rolls over the weekend with plenty of conversation going from Week 2, including the regular season debut of the Cascadian rivalry and late game drama in Houston. Let’s dive right in with some weekend takeaways:
Results in week 2
Friday May 21st
Racing Louisville FC 2, Washington Spirit 0
Saturday May 22nd
North Carolina Courage 1, Orlando Pride 2
Chicago Red Stars 0, NJ / NY Gotham FC 0
Sunday 23rd May
Portland Thorns FC 1, OL Reign 2
Houston Dash 2, Kansas City 2
1. Racing Louisville wins first franchise win
The sixth time is the thrill for Racing Louisville FC, who took their first win in franchise history with a 2-0 victory over Washington Spirit on Friday. Louisville started the season without a win in the Challenge Cup and, thanks to Louisville-born Emina Ekic, was able to set the historic milestone in the second game of the regular season. The talent from his hometown, who had withdrawn from the University of Louisville, switched to the game shortly after an hour and immediately made an impression in a goalless game over 75 minutes. She managed to score her first NWSL goal and assisted with her professional debut. Ekic solved the impasse with the opening goal in the 76th minute and prepared for a green goal from CeCe Kizer.
It’s their first loss of the season for the Spirit and they’ll look to evolve after Racing 29-8’s surplus as they record 10 shots on goal against Louisville’s three shots on goal.
2. Proud veterans are on their way
The Orlando Pride left Shalen Stadium in Cary, North Carolina with three big points away as they beat Courage 2-1 to claim their first win of the season. It was a night of goals from several league veterans including Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan for the pride and Jessica McDonald for the courage.
Although we’re still in the early stages, Pride is currently in the top half of the overall standings for a team that finished last in 2019 and seventh in 2018, thanks to the big win this weekend. Could we be there for playoff Marta this season?
3. Chicago welcomes the return of the fans
After the worst loss in their NWSL history with a 5-0 loss to the Portland Thorns, the Chicago Red Stars were unable to return to winning ways in their second week goalless draw with NJ / NY Gotham FC.
The Red Stars welcomed the return of fans for the first time since their 2019 NWSL semi-final win at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Village of Bridgeview gave a limited quota for participation and 3,121 fans supported the NWSL campaign in Chicagoland.
The two teams played an even up and down as the clubs almost split up shots and attempts to score. The draw brings Chicago the first point of the season as it marks its first goal since the Challenge Cup final on Jan.
4. A perfect rivalry in the Pacific Northwest
Portland Thorns FC and OL Reign have probably one of the best rivalries in the league. It’s an organic rivalry that dates back to the league’s inaugural season in 2013. How organic, you ask? The bitter blood dates back to before 2016, when the league organized “regional rivalries” with geographically close clubs and scheduled four of the 20 games during the 2016 season to ease travel between teams at the time. The idea failed with the NWSL fan base.
The 2021 regular season debut of the Cascadia rivalry at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon ended 2-1 in favor of OL Reign. The real winners, however, were those who watched the two teams battle for supremacy in the Pacific Northwest. Megan Rapinoe equalized, her first regular season goal in 1,047 days, and Shirley Cruz met the game winner.
After the game, Rapinoe made fun of the rivalry and shared her desire for more trash talk among Portland supporters.
“Obviously the Thorns fans don’t need an introduction – they are incredible,” said Rapinoe after the game. “They have one big problem though. They love me so it’s really difficult for them to cheer against me. When I scored a goal I had to go over and talk my shit right away.
“I tried to talk shit and too [Portland fans] and they just didn’t know what to do. And then finally someone gave me a big double f — her middle finger up and I thought, ‘That’s what I’m talking about! This is the kind of rivalry we want! ‘
“The Thorns are always assholes. Everyone hates them. That’s the general vibe. They are always good, they have the best stadium, they have the best fans, they always have incredible talent on the field, so everyone is always on the hunt after [them]. “
5. Daly becomes the top scorer in Dash history
Houston Dash and Kansas City drew 2-2 to wrap up NWSL action at BBVA Stadium in Houston over the weekend. Dash captain Rachel Daly made history during the game as the England international became the club’s top scorer in all competitions.
The moment was short-lived, however, as Houston failed to hold their 2-1 lead despite Kansas City defender Elizabeth Ball receiving a second yellow card and being sent off. Houston failed to take advantage of the player advantage in the tortuous minutes, and Kansas City snatched the win with Taylor Leach equalizer
The action starts right again with midweek games with six teams on Paramount + and CBS Sports Network. Here is a look at the schedule:
Wednesday May 26th
Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns, 7 p.m. ET (Paramount +)
Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount +)
Kansas City vs. Chicago Red Stars, 8 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)