Off for 26 days because of the Olympics -- except for one make-up game -- the NWSL resumes this weekend.
The league was represented by 38 players who accounted for 20 percent of all the
minutes played and almost 23 percent of the goals scored at the Olympics.
Most of the will be back in action this week, though Carli Lloyd
won't return to Houston until next week
and Hope Solo
's status in the wake of her national team suspension was uncertain.
With five games left to play in the regular season, the Washington Spirit has opened up a
three-point lead at the top. Ali Krieger
returned for last week's make-up game against Houston, and Crystal Dunn
, the 2015 NWSL MVP, should return for Friday's game at Orlando.
The Spirit needs Dunn as Argentine star Estefania Banini
is out 4-6 weeks following knee surgery on Wednesday. Coach Jim Gabarra
will also be without Canadian bronze-medalists
, Shelina Zadorsky
and Diana Matheson
, who rejoin the team next week. Canadian
Bronze-Medalists: HOUSTON DASH
Janine Beckie, Allysha Chapman FC KANSAS CITY
Christine Sinclair WASHINGTON SPIRIT
Stephanie Labbe, Diana Matheson, Shelina Zadorsky WNY FLASH
Krieger's early return was a surprise to Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum
, who said after the 2-1 loss to Washington that it was "disappointing, and actually shocking" that Krieger played but
his U.S. Olympians (Morgan Brian
and Lloyd) didn't since he said he didn't get any guidance from U.S. Soccer or the NWSL about the policy for returning players.
"I know it’s
lame, being a coach in this league and to be sitting up here not able to give you something more concrete," Waldrum added, "but honestly this is what I deal with on a daily basis, so I don’t
The loss all but eliminated the Dash from playoff contention. It could be out of the postseason as soon as Saturday.
Of the Dash's seven Olympians, Waldrum said five
(Australia keeper Lydia Williams
, Canadian Janine Beckie
, Brazilians Andressa
and Brian) will be available Saturday at Western New York. (Canadian Allysha
is out with a separated shoulder.) Week 17 Results: FRIDAY, AUGUST 26
Orlando vs. Washington SATURDAY, AUGUST 27
Seattle vs. Portland
WNY Flash vs. Houston
Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago SUNDAY, AUGUST 28
FC Kansas City vs. Boston NWSL Standings: PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
32 Washington 10-3-2 24/12
29 Portland 8-2-5 20/12
26 WNY Flash 8-5-2 29/18
Chicago 7-4-4 14/13 ------------------------------------
22 Sky Blue FC 6-5-4 18/20
20 Seattle 5-5-5 18/14
18 Orlando 6-9-0
16 FC Kansas City 4-7-4 11/14
12 Houston 3-8-3 14/17
7 Boston 2-11-1 7/29