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Fuel Soccer Talk: Special National Women’s Soccer League Edition

Our heroes are home. They returned with what they coveted and have been celebrated and applauded and praised. Now it’s back to work for their National Women’s Soccer League teams and the action picked up right where it left off while the U.S. players were France winning a World Cup. So here is a special ALL NWSL edition of Fuel Talk. Enjoy. For more coverage of the NWSL

Orlando’s Marta named NWSL Player of the Week

Orlando Pride forward Marta has been voted the Week 13 NWSL Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association.

Marta scored once and helped create two more goals in Orlando’s 4-3 loss vs. Portland Thorns FC. She was key to Orlando’s comeback efforts in the second half of the match.

Her goal came in the 61st minute, a left-footed shot from outside the box that tucked just into the upper 90 of the goal. In the 68th minute, she forced an own goal as her shot deflected off Thorns defender Emily Menges and into the back of the net. In the 90th minute, her free kick into the box was cleared by the Thorns, but right to Erin Greening, who scored to tie the match at 3-3. Marta finished the match with one goal, one shot on goal, two chances created and an 86.8% passing accuracy. It’s the first time in Marta’s NWSL career that she has been named Player of the Week.

The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Wild one in Portland features several World Cup stars

Portland, Oregon Win the World Cup on Sunday. Fly to New York Monday. Appear on Good Morning America on Tuesday. Take part in a parade Wednesday morning, then fly to LA for the ESPYs that night. Then, finally, after 50 days of training camp and tournament play, followed by 72-odd hours of non-stop celebrating, the world-champion U.S. women’s national team got to come home to their club teams this week.

“You go from treating your body like a temple, to just like, throwing it out the window,” laughed national team and Portland Thorns FC winger Tobin Heath, safely back in Portland earlier this week. “It feels so good to be home.”

“I feel like we haven’t really had a breather,” said Lindsey Horan, Heath’s Thorns teammate. “It’s awesome. I’m so happy to be back here and starting back with the Thorns, so it’s kind of a whirlwind. It’s nonstop.”

Even during the World Cup, the nine teams of the NWSL were surprising and entertaining fans. The thrills have only continued as the league’s international World Cup players have returned in waves to their clubs, with the Thorns hosting the Orlando Pride in one of the wildest games of the season last weekend.

In what was also the first nationally televised NWSL match of 2019, the home team went up 2-0 on goals by Hayley Raso and Midge Purce, and by the 60th minute, the game looked likely to be a straightforward win for the Thorns. Until Marta had a say.

The two teams traded goals for the rest of regulation time, and Erin Greening tied it up for Orlando in the 90th minute. Then Portland’s Tyler Lussi headed home a stoppage-time winner.

It was the kind of rollercoaster that showcases just how thrilling and unpredictable the NWSL tends to be.

“That’s the type of excitement the NWSL definitely brings,” said Thorns and USWNT goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, “and with people getting on that train from the World Cup to this, they see that type of game and they’re like, ‘I could definitely get into that.’ How do you not watch a game like that and then get excited?”

Around the league: Orlando, Houston score wins

Orlando Pride 1 | Sky Blue FC 0
  • The Orlando Pride beat Sky Blue FC 1-0 in Week 14 in front of 9,415 fans at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The Pride improved to 3-9-2 with 11 points. Sky Blue FC dropped to 2-8-2 with 8 points.
  • Pride rookie forward Marisa Viggiano scored the game’s only goal, her first professional score.
  • It’s the first clean sheet of the season for the Pride.
  • The match saw the returns of Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, following the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Claire Emslie made her NWSL debut for the Pride.
Washington Spirit 1 | Houston Dash 2
  • The Houston Dash beat the Washington Spirit 2-1 on Saturday night in Boyds, Maryland, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,500 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The win snaps a seven game winless streak for the Dash. They are now 4-5-4 with 16 points. The Spirit are now 5-4-3 with 18 points and winless in their last five matches, including three straight losses.
  • Spirit midfielder Jordan DiBiasi opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, but the Dash came from behind with goals from Kristie Mewis and Amber Brooks in the 56 and 72nd minutes.
  • The Dash were called for a foul in the box on Andi Sullivan in the 90th minute, but Jane Campbell stopped Mallory Pugh‘s penalty kick to preserve the win.
  • The match was Pugh’s first following the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

Follow Terry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/@TerryJacoby

Do you have a story idea for a post or a comment on a recent post? If so, email Terry at tajacoby@comcast.net