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NWSL Week 7 Review: Only one unbeaten team remains

Photo Copyright William Purnell for USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 of National Women’s Soccer League action brought more exciting storylines from top-to-bottom including a surprising first win – and loss – of the season.

Houston breaks Portland’s unbeaten streak

The Houston Dash came from behind to hand the Portland Thorns their first loss of the season on Friday.

The Thorns lead at halftime through a Rocky Rodriguez goal, but Joelle Anderson equalized in the 59th minute for the Dash. And just 10 minutes later, Ebony Salmon put on a show for the home fans, when she twirled around defender Meaghan Nally and buried a shot past Bella Bixby to take the win.

Not only did Houston earn three points, but they also had the satisfaction of becoming the first team since August of 2017 to defeat Portland after trailing at the half. According to Opta, that’s 57 matches!

Chicago concede their fourth and fifth penalty of the season

Chicago conceded two first-half penalty kicks on Friday en route to a 3-0 loss to Racing Louisville. Savannah DeMelo – who covered just about every inch of the field in a dominant performance – buried the first penalty, while Wang Shuang’s converted penalty was the first goal scored in NWSL history by a Chinese international.

If we’re keeping count, that is five penalties conceded by the Red Stars in seven games played so far this season. They have just four points, and occupy the lone spot at the bottom of the table.

Washington stay unbeaten

We’re only two weeks through May and the Washington Spirit have already surpassed their entire win total from the 2022 NWSL season.

The Spirit now hold the distinction of being the only unbeaten team through seven weeks of the season, as they delivered Angel City a 1-0 defeat on Sunday courtesy of a last-ditch, second-half stoppage time penalty kick from Ashley Hatch.

The Spirit hold top spot in the standings, and – in the words of Andi Sullivan – are “fit as hell.”

Courage command the ball in win over Reign

A first-half goal by Tyler Lussi – assisted masterfully by Rikke Madsen’s cross-field pass – earned North Carolina the win over OL Reign. The days of lopsided scorelines and a boisterous attack may be gone for the Courage, but their command of the ball was on display on Sunday, as they registered an 83% passing accuracy and completed 540 passes (the most in an NWSL game this season).

Gotham, Pride play to scoreless draw

Gotham keeper Abby Smith made an outstanding save in the last minute of added time on Sunday to keep a clean sheet and ensure the points were shared with the Pride.

Sunday’s match in New Jersey was just the second scoreless draw of the season so far, but it wasn’t without chances – the visitors had the better share of shots on the night, with 13 shots (six on goal) compared to six shots (one on goal) for Gotham.

San Diego breaks their skid, gets back on track with a shutout win

A record crowd of 12,969 fans turned up in Kansas City for the Current’s match against visiting San Diego Wave on Sunday, but a victory was not in the cards for the home team.

The Wave – coming into the match with two straight losses – got back on track with a 2-0 win, thanks to an Adrianna Franch own goal created by Alex Morgan (on Mother’s Day, no less) and a second by Belle Briede.

The Current pressed for a comeback, registering 20 shots (four on goal) during the match, and came close to pulling one back in the 63rd minute. Debinha stepped up to take a free kick just outside of the box, but keeper Kailen Sheridan had it covered with a stunning diving save.

The Current now sit second last in the table, with just six points from seven matches.

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