The Final confetti may still be fluttering in the Vancouver breeze but there has been no rest for many of Canada 2015's star players, for whom an immediate return to domestic action awaited. In England, Fara Williams netted a brace to lead Liverpool to victory, while Chicago Red Stars and Seattle Reign continue their championship battle in the USA.
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England: Chelsea extend their lead
With the Women’s Super League (WSL) restarting this week after a two-month break, league leaders Chelsea wasted no time in reinforcing their position at the top of the table thanks to a 4-1 win over Bristol Academy. Gilly Flaherty, Gemma Davison, Ji Soyun – who featured for Korea Republic at the FIFA Women's World Cup – and Millie Farrow all found the target for the Blues.
Meanwhile, Arsenal slipped further back from their London rivals as Pedro Martinez’s side suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool to leave them five points adrift of Chelsea. Reds captain Fara Williams showed little trace of fatigue after England’s third-place finish in Canada the previous weekend, scoring twice in an impressive performance.
“Jetlag’s a bit of an issue so I haven’t slept much, but the support here and across the league is fantastic,” said the Lionesses midfielder after the match. “It’s not about the goals or my goal – everyone’s worked really hard while we’ve been away. They wanted to get back out there and it’s fantastic to get three points. We have a different style of play from the one we have with England but I gave what I could and came off because I was tired in the end.”
Top three: Chelsea Ladies (17 points), Arsenal Ladies, Sunderland Ladies (both 12)
USA: Chicago and Seattle duel for the lead
The league did not take a break for Canada 2015 in the land of the newly-crowned champions, leaving teams to cope without their World Cup representatives. Chicago Red Stars and Seattle Reign are locked in a fascinating battle to head the table, with the Midwestern side securing their place at the top of the pile by beating Houston Dash 2-1 away from home.
Seattle Reign broke a very special record in their 4-2 win over Western New York Flash, scoring the quickest three-goal burst in the NWSL’s history. Beverly Yanez, Rachel Corsie and Amber Brooks netted in the 49th, 52nd and 55th minutes respectively to set their team on the path to victory despite Amanda Frisbie initially putting New York in front. Becky Edwards later narrowed Flash’s deficit to 3-2 before Jessica Fishlock struck to wrap things up for Seattle.
Just as in England, there was also a significant and encouraging spike in attendances, with fans responding to the call of their local teams having been so thoroughly entertained during Canada 2015.
Top three: Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign (both 21), Kansas City (17)
Sweden: Rosengard and Linkopings reach cup final
Although normal service resumed in the Damallsvenskan just three days after the Women’s World Cup final, the championship did not spring any major surprises. Eskilstuna United recorded a dominant 5-1 win against AIK to move into second place ahead of Linkopings, who have played one match fewer than their rivals.
Meanwhile Rosengard will only make their league return against Mallbackens on Wednesday after defeating Umea 4-1 in the semi-final of the Swedish Cup at the weekend. Marta and her team-mates will face Linkopings in the final after the side from southern Sweden recorded a 3-0 victory against Orebro in their last-four tie.
The two other games in the eighth round of Damallsvenskan matches both ended in draws, with Orebro and Kopparbergs/Goteborg sharing the points in an encounter that ended 1-1, while neither Hammarby and Vittsjo could find the winner in a 2-2 stalemate.
Top three: Rosengard (21), Eskilstuna United (18), Linkopings (16)