*co-authored with Aaron Bellamy
Week 2 of the NWSL preseason saw six teams prepare for the upcoming season with scrimmages.
Chicago Red Stars vs University of Wisconsin - Mar 4 @ UWi
The Chicago Red Stars played their second closed-door preseason match against the University of Wisconsin. Unlike last week where some details of the scrimmage were leaked, nothing made its way out of the match this game. No score or lineup was released from the game.
Houston Dash vs Texas A&M University - Mar 2 @ Texas A&M
The Houston Dash played their second preseason game of 2018 on Friday night when they traveled to Texas A&M University. After a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo U-15 academy team, the Dash pulled out a 1-0 win on the road against the Aggies ladies soccer team. The game stayed tied at zero for most of the game until Dash midfielder Caity Heap gave Houston the lead.
The starting lineup for the Dash was Shimer in goal with Murphy, Brooks, Mewis, and Hanson on the back line. Hahn, Falknor, Heap, Weimer, and Kaleiohi played in the midfield with Latsko alone at the top. The Dash will have a drastically different starting lineup once the international players return from their duties later this week.
North Carolina Courage vs North Carolina State University - Mar 1 @ NC State
The North Carolina Courage played their second preseason game against NC State at Dail Soccer Field. The Courage played well on the road and in the rain, beating the home team 4-0 in the scrimmage. Jessica McDonald, Darian Jenkins, Kristen Hamilton, and 2018 NWSL College Draft selection Ryan Williams each scored goals in the win.
North Carolina Courage vs University of Tennessee - Mar 4 @ Cary, NC
The Courage played their second match of the week on Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park against the University of Tennessee women’s side. Jenkins opened up the scoring for the Courage in the first half, scoring her fourth goal in three preseason games. In the second half, Hamilton scored her second goal of the preseason off a cross from Meredith Speck. The Courage have not yet been scored on in their three preseason wins.
Orlando Pride vs Florida State University - Feb 28 @ FSU
The Orlando Pride opened their preseason play with a 3-2 loss on the road at Florida State University. This was the third loss by an NWSL team after Sky Blue FC and Houston Dash lost last week. The Pride were short-handed with their Brazilian and American contingents away with national team duties, but it is nonetheless impressive for the FSU ladies.
New Orlando forward Sydney Leroux got the scoring started in the 8th minute, but FSU would take the lead off two defensive mistakes. Florida State scored their first goal from the penalty spot and their second from a bad defensive pass. Trudi Carter tied the game at two each with a hard shot from distance, but FSU would put a final shot past the Pride keeper just before time ran out.
Orlando Pride vs University of Central Florida - Mar 3 @ UCF
The Pride played their second scrimmage of the week against the University of Central Florida at UCF’s home field. The match was closed to the public. Leroux scored the first two goals of the game in the 14th and 21st minutes. Newly acquired midfielder Christine Nairn, who is playing for her third team in three seasons, found the back of the net again for Orlando in the 33rd minute. The game continued, but the score remained unchanged through the end at 3-0. Leroux has now scored three goals in two games with the Pride, but she will be challenged for playing time with Morgan and Marta coming back from national team duty.
Sky Blue FC vs University of North Carolina - Mar 3 @ Sportika Sports
Shea Groom and McKenzie Meehan led the New Jersey-based club to a 2-1 victory against the Tar Heels at Sportika Sports. Groom and Meehan had a goal and assist each as Sky Blue improved in holding possession and a stronger defense. Groom scored in the 8th minute from a Meehan assist. Sky Blue would only hold their lead as halftime neared and allowed a UNC goal before the halftime whistle. But later in the second half, Groom found Meehan in the 75th minute for the game-winner.