NWSL Weekend Preview: How will Flash follow up?

ROCHESTER, NY - JULY 29: Sinead Farrelly
ROCHESTER, NY - JULY 29: Sinead Farrelly /

After an eventful week 10 in NWSL action, here is what to watch for in week 11.

USWNT players are unavailable to their clubs for the first time this season as they prepare to take on South Africa in a friendly on July 9.

Western New York Flash vs. Chicago Red Stars, Friday, 7 p.m. ET

Week 11 of the NWSL season kicks off Friday night, as the Flash host the Red Stars. The Flash are coming off a dominant, record-setting 7-1 performance against the Boston Breakers. Flash forward Jessica McDonald had a hat trick and also recorded an assist and was named NWSL Player of the Week for her efforts. The Flash will be without Samantha Mewis and Jaelene Hinkle, who are on international duty for the U.S.

Chicago, meanwhile, is coming off a 2-0 loss to first-place Portland Thorns FC. The Red Stars will be without Alyssa Naeher, Julie Johnston, and Christen Press.

This is a crucial match, as the two teams are tied for second with 18 points.

Washington Spirit vs. FC Kansas City, Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET

The fourth-place Spirit play host to reigning champion FC Kansas City, who have struggled this season and currently sit in eighth place. The Spirit are coming off a 2-1 loss to Sky Blue FC. Washington will be playing without Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn.

FC Kansas City, meanwhile, are coming off a 0-0 draw with Seattle Reign FC and own a four-game unbeaten streak. FC Kansas City has only allowed seven goals on the season, but their problems lie on the offensive end, as they’ve only scored six times this season and now have to try to score without winger Heather O’Reilly. They’ll also be missing Becky Sauerbrunn.

Seattle Reign FC vs. Boston Breakers, Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET

The Reign are coming off the aforementioned 0-0 draw with FC Kansas City and the Breakers will try to recover from their 7-1 loss to Western New York. Seattle sits in seventh, and is missing crucial parts of their team with Hope Solo in USWNT camp and Megan Rapinoe rehabbing from an ACL tear. Seattle can jump as high as fifth with a win, depending on what happens with Sky Blue FC and the Orlando Pride.

Boston will look to turn things around after signing French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni and should get midfielder Kristie Mewis back after she missed last week with an ankle injury. Their defense will have to improve without center back and captain Whitney Engen, who is on USWNT duty.

must read: Jill Ellis Names USWNT Roster For South Africa Friendly

Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET

First-place Portland remained undefeated last week with a 2-0 win over Chicago on Wednesday and a 2-1 win over Orlando on Sunday. Their 11-game unbeaten streak is the second-longest in league history Many players will have to step up this week if they want to keep the streak alive, as they’ll be missing five players on USWNT duty (Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett, and Allie Long).

Sky Blue is coming off a 2-1 victory over Washington as Leah Galton notched two assists and Raquel Rodriguez scored her first professional goal. Sky Blue will take on the league leaders without the services of Kelley O’Hara, who is at USWNT camp.