USA: Field stretches as frontrunners continue form
The field is finally starting to spread in the NWSL with the top four now separated by eight points, albeit some teams have matches in hand. USA’s national team stars were absent from weekend action as they continue to prepare for the fast-looming Rio 2016, with the league to take a mid-season break later in the month. Portland Thorns continue to hold down top spot, although they were made to work overtime to see off midtable Sky Blue FC in front of another bumper 14,000 home crowd in the northwest. Tasha Kai’s goal threatened the Thorns’ 12 match unbeaten run, but Iceland international Dagny Brynjarsdottir headed her fourth goal of the season, while Denmark striker Nadia Nadim, who provided the assist for the equaliser, scored the winner from the penalty spot. Western New York Flash continued their winning ways - though in more sedate fashion than last week’s record 7-1 victory - with a 2-0 scoreline against Chicago Red Stars, a result which saw the visitors slip to fourth.
Top three: Portland Thorns (26 points), Western New York Flash (21), Washington Spirit (20)
Sweden: Two-horse race continues
The leading pair remain neck-and-neck in the Damallsvenskan, although contrasting victory margins saw Rosengard regain top spot on goal difference at the halfway point of the campaign. The champions trounced struggling Kvarnsveden 6-1 with striker Natasa Andonova leading the way by nabbing a hat-trick. Linkopings, for their part, could only manage a tough 1-0 win at midtable Djurgardens. The rest of the field seemingly must settle for a race for third place, a position currently held by Pitea following a 2-1 win over last season’s fairytale side Eskilstuna United.
Top three: Rosengard, Linkopings (both 31), Pitea (18)
England: Cup blues for the Blues
The FA WSL League Cup has been whittled down to eight teams with big-spending Chelsea suffering a shock elimination. The reigning league champions crashed out against London Bees on penalties following a 3-3 draw. Matters were more straight forward for rivals Manchester City who hit eight unanswered goals past an outclassed Aston Villa, with Nikita Parris netting a treble. Holders Arsenal were 3-1 victors at Reading, while Liverpool edged a win over Merseyside rivals Everton thanks to Emma Lundh’s headed goal.
Norway: Top two forge clear
Avaldsnes maintained their two-point advantage at the summit in Norway’s Toppserien thanks to an Andrea Rosa second-half winner for a 2-1 scoreline against Medkila. LSK Kvinner stayed on their tail with a comfortable 5-0 win over third-placed Kolbotn, based around a double from the competition’s leading scorer, Isabell Herlovsen. Stabaek missed an opportunity to close the gap on the leading pack, managing only a 2-2 draw at bottom-side Uraedd.
Top three: Avaldsnes (34), LSK Kvinner (32), Kolbotn (28)