Rosengard win cup, Chicago eye play-offs
Following the conclusion of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, the protagonists are slowly returning to their everyday routines at club level, although some can enjoy a somewhat longer break than others. In the USA the Chicago Red Stars are closing in on a play-off spot, whilst in Sweden – winners of the silver medal in Rio – FC Rosengard lifted the Svenska Cupen. FIFA.com rounds up the most recent events in women’s club football.
USA: Washington pulling clear Washington Spirit stayed top of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) standings thanks to a 2-1 win at Orlando Pride, their third straight victory. Cheyna Williams and Christine Nairn were on the score sheet for Washington and, though Sarah Hagen pulled one back, an equaliser eluded the hosts in front of a crowd of 7,052 at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
Meanwhile, Portland Thorns lost 3-1 at Seattle Reign to slump to a third straight defeat and lose further ground to the leaders. The victory was Seattle’s first over Portland this calendar year and came courtesy of a brace by Dutch forward Manon Melis and a goal by Megan Rapinoe, with midfielder Allie Long on target for the Thorns. Seattle are now up to fifth in the table on 23 points, just four points off the fourth and final play-off place.
That spot is also coveted by Chicago Red Stars after their 3-1 success against Sky Blue FC. Stefanie McCaffrey, Christen Press and Sofia Huerta were all on target in an important victory in the context of the play-offs race.
Top three: Washington Spirit (35 points), Portland Thorns (29), Chicago Red Stars (28)
Sweden: Rosengard exact revenge For the second season running, Sweden’s cup final pitted FC Rosengard against Linkopings FC, a clash between the top two teams in the country. In an intense encounter, both sides had good chances early on, with Linkoping’s Kristine Minde spurning the best of them by shooting over the bar when unmarked in front of goal. Shortly before the interval, the reigning league champions from Malmo showed no such profligacy, as Lotta Schelin, who failed to score in the Olympic final against Germany, fired Rosengard in front after a brilliant pass from Marta. Lieke Martens then added a second not long after the restart, and though Stina Blackstenius halved the deficit, Marta’s effort a minute later confirmed Rosengard’s 3-1 triumph. It was sweet revenge for the Brazilian and her team following Linkoping’s 2-0 win in the 2015 final.
England: Chelsea in pursuit Manchester City are a step closer to the Women’s Super League (WSL) title, as goals from Jennifer Beattie and Steph Houghton gave them a comfortable 2-0 success against Reading that maintained their ten-point lead over Chelsea Ladies at the top of the table. “It’s not about individuals. Everyone has to step forward and take responsibility,” said goalscorer Beattie, a league champion with Arsenal Ladies in 2011 and 2012, after the match. “We’re all capable of doing what’s needed to win the league. I hope it’s an advantage that I’ve already won it.”
Second-placed Chelsea kept apace with a comprehensive 4-0 win at Birmingham City and also have two games in hand on the league leaders, meaning the race for the title is far from run yet. Eni Aluko, Karen Carney, Gemma Davison and Ji So Yun were the scorers for the capital club. Arsenal stayed in touch with their London rivals after beating Notts County 2-0, meanwhile, and they will hope to have their own say in the title race when the leaders come calling on 11 September.
Top three: Manchester City (35), Chelsea Ladies (25), Arsenal Ladies (23)
Other leagues In the Danish Elitedivisionen, Brondby IF and Fortuna Hjorring remain the only clubs to boast a perfect record after three games. Brondby were 3-1 victors against Skovbakken and sit top of the table, whilst Hjorring ground out a 2-1 win over Ballerup-Skovlunde Fodbold (BSF). In Sweden's Damallsvenskan, Rosengard and Linkopings are due to kick off their new seasons on Friday, while the new campaigns in Germany and Spain begin this weekend. France’s Feminine Division 1 gets underway a week later on 11 September.