Thorns win, Dash and Red Stars draw: highlights
Portland beats KC, 2-1, while Houston and Chicago draw 0-0.
Another action-packed weekend of soccer is on the horizon in the FA Women’s Super League, and if you’re still unsure of who to watch, we’ve got you covered.
Here are four impact players to keep your eye on as the regular season continues to take shape.
Manchester United vs. Reading FC @ 7:30 a.m. EST on AtaFootball.com
At the ripe age of 21, Ella Toone has been an instrumental piece in Manchester United’s line-up as the squad fights to maintain their positioning atop the table. In only eight games with United, Toone has notched four goals and one assist — her most recent goal being in last weekend’s contest against Aston Villa, providing United a comfortable 2-0 cushion in the 89th minute to seal the win.
Toone shows patience and abilities on the ball that extend well beyond her years. Most importantly, she is able to find the net when it matters most. In a match against Arsenal back in early November, it was Toone who finally broke through the Gunners’ defense after 82 minutes of scoreless play as her tap-in goal handed Arsenal their first loss of the 2020/2021 season. An impactful presence up top, keep an eye out for Toone as Manchester United faces off against Reading FC this Sunday.
Chelsea vs. Brighton & Hove Albion @ 9:00 a.m. EST
It should come as no surprise that Sam Kerr is included as a player to watch this weekend. Bagging three goals in last Sunday’s 3-2 win against West Ham United, Kerr continues to cement her reputation as an elite goal-scorer, even when playing against some of the best defenses in Europe. In seven matches with Chelsea this season, Kerr has scored six goals and is beginning to mesh well on offense with teammates Fran Kirby, Bethany England, and Pernille Harder.
Chelsea is set to take the field against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, a match that will be pivotal for the squad should they want to remain competitive for a top-three finish on the season. With 17 points, the Blues currently sit at third place in the table, bested only by Arsenal’s 19 points and Manchester United’s 20. The Australian will look to mark up the score sheet yet again this weekend, in hopes of stealing a necessary victory for her squad.
West Ham United vs. Bristol City @ 9:00 a.m. EST
On loan to West Ham United from the Houston Dash, Rachel Daly was a key component of West Ham’s attempted comeback campaign in their most recent loss to Chelsea on December 6th. Logging the equalizer as the second half began, Daly was able to tie the match at 1-1 in the 47th minute. Despite the forward’s best efforts as the game continued, however, West Ham would ultimately be defeated 3-2.
Daly has not received nearly the amount of attention she deserves since joining West Ham United in September, and though her time with the Hammers is coming to a close (as she is only on loan until the end of the year), she has put forth an incredible effort for the squad. In only three appearances during the FA WSL Cup, Daly scored two goals, and in eight regular-season appearances, she has scored two goals and assisted one.
West Ham currently holds a 1-1-6 record and is in desperate need of another win to avoid the relegation zone, as they’re only two points off the bottom of the table. This weekend could be West Ham’s best chance to build a cushion as they compete against last-place Bristol City. Expect Rachel Daly to lead the offensive attack.
Arsenal vs. Manchester City @ 9:30 a.m. EST on AtaFootball.com
A machine on offense for Arsenal, Caitlin Foord has bagged five goals and five assists in eight appearances for the Gunners this season. Given that Arsenal is the top-scoring team in the league with 33 goals, this is no small feat. Foord is currently one of the WSL’s top scorers behind Sam Kerr and teammates Vivienne Miedema and Jill Roord. The Australian star has been a key contributor in wins over Birmingham City, Tottenham, and Bristol City, and has scored in three of Arsenal’s last six matches.
Though Arsenal has cruised through its recent contests, a test awaits them this weekend in amatch-up against Manchester City, who is in red-hot form as of late. In the last meeting between the two teams, Manchester City bested Arsenal 2-1 to keep them out of the FA Women’s Cup Final. It goes without saying that Foord and her team will be on the hunt for sweet revenge, so be on alert for a thriller Sunday morning.
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