Westfield Matildas star Sam Kerr has grabbed another goal in the National Women’s Soccer League to help Chicago Red Stars snap their seven-game winless run and move equal on points with fourth-placed Portland Thorns.
Kerr bundled home the rebound of a Yuki Nagasato free kick in the 25thminute to help Chicago to a 2-0 away win against Washington Spirit in a rain delayed match.
Nagasato grabbed the game’s other goal, which allowed Kerr to enjoy her first win with Chicago since joining the club in a three-way off-season trade from Sky Blue.
“It was really important for the confidence of the group and that’s my first win as a Chicago Red Star so I’m pumped right now,” Kerr told Lifetime after the match, which was delayed by five hours due to a torrential down pour before eventually taking place.
WATCH KERR'S GOAL AND POST-GAME INTERVIEW IN THE VIDEOS BELOW
“I like the rain, the ball was crisp but obviously it wasn’t ideal with the break but both teams came out, we knew what we had to do and it was a good game in the end.”
The win was a perfect way for Kerr to enter the two week international break, having now bagged five goals in five games to race up to second in the NWSL top scorer charts.
The 24-year-old Westfield Matilda added: “I need the break after the Asian Cup – my ankle gave way at the end but it will be fine with the [two week international] break.”
Incredibly, Kerr now only trails top scorer Christine Sinclair by one goal, with the Portland Thorns star grabbing six goals in 11 games so far this season.
Yet while Kerr has only scored five times, all of them from open play, she betters Sinclair in the non-penalty goals per 90 minute stat.
Kerr has netted an open play goal every 126 minutes so far this season – and a goal every 90 minutes in her last five starts – while Sinclair by contrast has an open play goal every 248 minutes.
But Kerr was also praised for her defensive efforts for Red Star against Washington, where she worked alongside Nagasato to apply pressure from the front and win the ball back for her side.
“I thought defensively, the pivot between Nagasato and Kerr [was important],” explained 131-capped former United States international star Aly Wagner during Lifetime’spost-game show.
“You could see it that when Kerr [pressed], Nagasato would drop and vice versa.
“If one was out, the other would cover and there just seemed to be more team cohesiveness and tightness between the lines that we didn’t see against Orlando.
“They really worked hard to put pressure on and deny service … and that allowed them to spring offensively because they were then close to each other and could play one or two short passes to break initial pressure and boom before you knew it, [Chicago] were on the attack.”
Chicago next play Portland Thorns in the NWSL on Sunday 17 June.
Meanwhile, fellow Westfield Matildas star Katrina Gorry played 75 minutes in Utah Royals’ 2-1 away win to bottom-placed Sky Blue.
Gorry, playing in behind Westfield W-League striker Katie Stengel, saw her Utah side take the lead just three minutes into the match via Diana Matheson.
Gorry herself had the chance to regain Utah’s lead in the 30thminute, with Sky Blue equalising moments earlier. She was teed up by Stengel on the edge of the 18-yard-box but fired her left foot drive wide of the upright.
Then in the 62ndminute Gorry attempted another long range effort, this time forcing a strong save from Kailen Sheridan before being substituted.
The Royals grabbed a late 85thminute winner via a Mandy Freeman own goal in a result which takes them to just one point off fourth spot with a game in hand over Portland Thorns.
There are still five Aussies to play on Monday in the NWSL, with Kyah Simon’s Houston Dash hosting league leaders North Carolina Courage.
That game is followed by a clash between Seattle Reign and Orlando Pride, with Lydia Williams and Steph Catley facing off against Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy.
Here's how to watch the NWSL on Monday, with five Westfield Matildas in action:
- Houston Dash v North Carolina Courage – 9:00am Monday 4 June
- Seattle Reign v Orlando Pride – 11:00am Monday 4 June
Matches can be live-streamed at nwslsoccer.com