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NWSL Weekend Rewind: Red Stars rout Reign, Courage earns comeback win, and more

National Women’s Soccer League offered three tilts over the weekend, and each saw a team earn three points with ten weeks to go in the regular season.

Saturday night saw the North Carolina Courage earn a comeback win in Salt Lake after scoring two unanswered goals to improve to second in the table.

Sunday had the Chicago Red Stars embarrass Reign FC in Tacoma to earn its third consecutive win and the Houston Dash take care of business at home against Sky Blue FC.

Here’s a closer look at NWSL weekend action:

Courage 2, Royals 1

(35′ Hamilton, 54′ McDonald)-(13′ Press)

Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah kicked off the NWSL weekend on Saturday night as Utah Royals FC played host to the defending champion, the North Carolina Courage.

Christen Press opened up the scoring with a golazo from outside the box in the 13th minute, curling one to beat Courage goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé on the far post.

The Courage would even things up before halftime though. In the 35th minute, Samantha Mewis connected with Kristen Hamilton who took the ball off her shoulder and took it out of the air and drilled a close-range rocket past Utah keeper Nicole Barnhart.

Hamilton would get involved again in the 54th minute. She fought through traffic to find an isolated Jessica McDonald in the box, and she didn’t miss from point-blank.

The Courage was able to withstand late pressure to pick up its first-ever win against the Royals, who finds itself winless in its last five.

Reign 0, Red Stars 4

(4′ Wright, 14′ DiBernardo, 51′ Nagasato, 81′ )

With Megan Rapinoe still sidelined with an injury, Reign FC would pay dearly for putting its unbeaten streak at home on the line Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington on Sunday afternoon. The visiting Chicago Red Stars got on the board early and often on its way to a decisive victory.

Arin Wright picked up her first goal of the season in the fourth minute after cleaning up Yūki Nagasato’s effort from distance. Wright took the deflection off of Reign keeper  Casey Murphy and nailed it in from close range.

Ten minutes later, Sam Kerr found Vanessa DiBernardo in traffic to double the lead. DiBernardo finished with her right foot from the middle of the box to earn her second goal in as many weeks.

Nagasato would eventually get her goal in the 51st minute as she found the back corner thanks to a dime of a cross from Casey Short. The strike was good for Nagasato’s fourth of the season.

Ultimately, Kerr would have the final say. She finished off a late chance in the box that was created by Katlyn Johnson to put a cap on a dominant road win for the Red Stars.

Dash 1, Sky Blue 0

(22′ Daly)

BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas saw the last action of the weekend as Houston Dash was able to take care of business at home against visiting Sky Blue FC.

Rachel Daly broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute with her right foot after Ally Prisock found her in isolation and Houston carried the lead into halftime without much of a fight. Carli Lloyd registered the only two shots for Sky Blue in the opening 45 minutes, but neither were on target.

The teams continued to battle back and forth but Sky Blue failed to offer any serious threat as the shots on goal tally remained at zero for the duration of the match en route to back-to-back losses.

The Dash improves to sixth in the table and only two points off a claim in the playoff race as it bounces back from the 5-0 midweek drubbing in Portland.

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