The league seasons in USA and Japan are heading towards exciting climaxes, while in Europe the quantity of domestic action continues to build following mid-summer. *FIFA.com *reviews the latest women’s club news across three continents, including another small milestone for Marta.
*USA: Four set to become two *The penultimate round in the NWSL failed to confirm any further play-off participants, with leaders Seattle Reign and second-placed FC Kansas City having earlier booked their passage. A surprise 2-0 win for the already eliminated Boston Breakers put a major dent in Portland Thorns’ top four aspirations and opened the door for a thrilling finale next weekend. Fifth-placed Chicago Red Stars, who revived their hopes with a 2-1 win over Kansas, have a midweek game in hand as do sixth-placed Western New York Flash. The goalscoring heroine of the weekend was Sky Blue FC’s Danish striker Nadia Nadim who slotted a hat-trick as the New Jersey outfit collected a 3-1 win over Houston Dash.
*Top three: Seattle Reign (54 points), Kansas City (41), Washington Spirit (35) *
*Sweden: Marta back in the groove *
Brazilian superstar Marta scored her first goal for new club Rosengard on Sunday as the Swedish season continued to gather momentum after the mid-season break. Marta netted after just 13 minutes as the league leaders eased to a one-sided 3-0 win over Jitex. There were also goals from Amanda Ilestedt and German Anja Mittag, with the latter extending her lead at the top of the league's goalscoring list. Kopparbergs/Goteborg edged a crucial 1-0 win over Pitea in midweek, with Norway star Andrine Hegerberg netting the only goal.
*Top three: Rosengard (33), Orebro (27), Kopparbergs/Goteborg (24) *
*Japan: Goals in short supply as leaders stumble again *
The finale to the opening stage of the season looms with a quartet of teams still eyeing top spot following a tense penultimate round. Urawa Reds remain in control despite recording a third consecutive scoreless draw, this time at Vegalta Sendai. NTV Beleza were the weekend’s big winners with a 3-0 win over Kibi University, while Albirex Niigata moved within a point of third-placed Okayama Belle Yunogo thanks to a lone strike from Kana Kitahara. INAC Kobe Leonessa crashed to yet another defeat – their seventh of the season – which leaves the league’s dominant team of the past three seasons in danger of missing a top-six finish and a place in the championship round.
*Top three: Urawa Reds (35), NTV Beleza (34), Okayama Belle Yunogo (33) *
*Norway: Leaders resume in winning fashion *
The second half of the campaign began in Norway after a one-month mid-season break with the front-runners continuing their winning form. A four-goal haul from seasoned Norway national team striker Lene Mykjaland saw LSK Kvinner ease to a 5-0 triumph at Medkila. Last season’s champions Stabaek were 3-0 winners over Trondheims-Orn, while third-placed Roa were untroubled in easing to a 5-1 win over struggling Amazon Grimstad.
Top three: LSK Kvinner (32), Stabaek (27), Roa (25)