Many of the U.S. women's national team's Women's World Cup champions returned to action for their NWSL clubs, and the result was
NWSL featured the eagerly awaited return of many of the USA's Women's World Cup winners over the weekend, with the likes of Tobin Heath, Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Abby Dahlkemper, Christen Press, Ashlyn Harris and others in action for their respective club teams.
Alex Morgan watched from the stands as Orlando Pride faced Sky Blue, while Megan Rapinoe's Reign FC were not in action.
The Pride were buoyed by the returns of goalkeeper Harris and veteran fullback Ali Krieger, though, as they saw off Sky Blue in front of 9,415 fans at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. Rookie talent Marisa Viggiano scored the only goal, while Brazilian legend Marta was also playing for Pride.
But the crowd of nearly in Florida couldn't beat the record 17,388 attendance at SeatGeek Stadium where the Chicago Red Stars hosted the North Carolina Courage. Just days earlier, MLS side Chicago Fire had drawn only 7,482 fans at the venue for their game against Columbus Crew.
World Cup winners Alyssa Naeher, Tierna Davidson, Morgan Brian and the aforementioned Ertz all started for the Red Stars, while Mewis, Dahlkemper, Jessica McDonald and Crystal Dunn all featured for the Courage. A 10th NWSL goal of the season for Australian star Sam Kerr handed Chicago a 2-1 win.
Elsewhere, 15,931 fans were at Rio Tinto Stadium to see Utah Royals host Portland Thorns. Press marked her return to club action with a spectacular goal in the 2-2 draw, with Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O'Hara also in action for Utah. Heath, Horan, Emily Sonnett and Adriana Franch all played roles for the visiting Thorns, who stay top of the standings despite the tie.
There was a sellout crowd of 5,500 just north of the nation's capital as the Houston Dash beat the Washington Spirit 2-1 to end a seven-game winless streak. The Spirit were still missing World Cup Bronze Ball winner Rose Lavelle, but Mallory Pugh could have been a hero on her return by salvaging a draw–only to have a stoppage-time penalty saved by Jane Campbell.
NWSL 2019 Season - Week 14 Standings:
|2.||North Carolina Courage||13||+13||22|
|3.||Chicago Red Stars||13||+1||20|
NWSL play continues with a pair of midweek matchups, as Sky Blue faces the Spirt and the Thorns take on the Dash on Wednesday night.