The National Women's Soccer League season kicked off with full force this past weekend, and we bring you news and notes from around the league after the first round of games.
Houston Dash 2-0 Washington Spirit
After finishing their inaugural season in last place, the Dash started their second campaign on top with an impressive performance over the Washington Spirit. New and old scored for the Dash, as Carli Lloyd opened the scoring with a rocket shot in first half stoppage time and Kealia Ohai sealed the win in the 50th minute. The Dash unsurprisingly looked like a completely different team than the year before, with only five of the 14 players used on Friday in the gameday squad for last year's opener against Portland Thorns FC. The only blight on the match was the injury of Spirit and USWNT defender Ali Krieger, who had to be stretchered off the field with what Washington described as a mild concussion. Krieger is expected to be ok, however.
Portland Thorns FC 4-1 Boston Breakers
Thorns FC scored twice in each half as they cruised to a 4-1 win at Providence Park on Saturday night. Sinead Farrelly opened the scoring by getting on the end of an Allie Long corner kick at the back post. Mana Shim doubled the lead 38 minutes in, curlling a low shot around Alyssa Naeher from 12 yards out. Boston grabbed a goal back with a well-placed strike from rookie forward Stephanie McCaffrey in the 63rd minute, but Shim fed Long for goals twice in the span of 1 minute, 14 seconds to cap an opening win for Portland.
FC Kansas City 0-1 Sky Blue FC
The reigning NWSL champions suffered a shock defeat to Sky Blue FC at Sporting Park on Sunday afternoon. FCKC controlled the mat h for much of the afternoon and outshot Sky Blue 15-5, but couldn't get a shot past SBFC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron. Sky Blue forward Nadia Nadim, who scored seven times in six matches in 2014, pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 29th minute and blasted in a half-volley attempt to give the New Jersey club their sixth consecutive win dating back to last year.
Seattle Reign FC 5-1 Western New York Flash
Seattle reminded the league that last year's loss in the NWSL final didn't decrease the quality of their squad. If anything, it may have made them hungrier. The Supporters' Shield winners grabbed the lead 25 minutes in when Jess Fishlock latched onto the end of a Megan Rapinoe ball. The hosts could have stretched their lead further in the first half when Kendall Fletcher was fould in the box on a free-kick, but NWSL MVP Kim Little fired her penalty kick wide. It proved to be nothing, however, as Little assisted Beverly Yanez eight minutes into the second half. Jordan Angeli cut the lead in half in the 68th minute, but Rapinoe responded with a hat trick in the span of 15 minutes to close the match.
Week 2 Fixtures
Saturday, April 18
Washington Spirit vs. FC Kansas City (6 p.m. CT)
Portland Thorns FC vs. Western New York Flash (6 p.m. CT)
Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash (6 p.m. CT)
Chicago Red Stars vs. Seattle Reign FC (7 p.m. CT)