Aussies Abroad: Kerr strikes again to boost bid for third straight NWSL Golden Boot

Sam Kerr netted her 12th goal of season as Chicago Red Stars made it four straight National Women's Soccer League wins with a 2-0 triumph over Utah Royals.

Westfield Matildas captain Kerr enhanced her bid for a hat-trick of NWSL Golden Boots by putting Chicago into a fifth minute lead at Toyota Park.

Featured image courtesy of Chicago Red Stars official website

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The 25-year-old pounced on a rebound, after her own header was saved by Royals goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, to go four goals clear of North Carolina Courage forward Kristen Hamilton in the top goalscorer standings.

Following a superb give and go with Vanessa DiBernardo, Kerr almost doubled her tally on the half hour but shot just wide of the Utah frame. 

Ever the goal threat, the winner of the past two Westfield W-League Golden Boots was denied by an outstanding save from Barnhart after a blistering counter-attack on 64 minutes. 

Substitute Brooke Elby’s late goal put the seal on a resounding victory after Kerr launch another breakaway, finding 2018/19 Sydney FC forward Savannah McCaskill in space on the left. 

Thorns relinquish grip on top spot

Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso featured as Portland Thorns slipped off top of the NWSL ladder following a 1-1 draw against rock bottom Sky Blue FC.

The home side created the best chances of an open first half and, after Raso earned a 39th-minute penalty, 286-cap Canada international striker Christine Sinclair gave Thorns the advantage from the spot.

But Portland could not find that crucial second goal and their New Jersey-based opponents stunned the 19,070 in Providence Park when Imani Dorsey struck on 69 minutes.

Despite a late red card to substitute Amandine Pierre-Louis, Sky Blue hung on to secure only their ninth point of the season. Thorns fall a point back from reigning champions North Carolina with 15 games played.

Washington fall to Courage in rearranged match

Chloe Logarzo and Elise Kellond-Knight were on the losing side as defending NWSL champions North Carolina Courage edged the ten-player Washington Spirit 1-0.

The game was postponed on Saturday AEST after a lightning storm prevented the teams from kicking off but, when they did get under way, Paige Neilsen’s 24th-minute red card did not help Washington’s cause.

The winning goal came from Brazil international Debinha in the 64th minute, before Courage keeper Steph Labbe denied Spirit substitute Bayley Feist a late equaliser. 

Amy Harrison was an unused substitute for Washington, who lose their grip on the top four finals places following Reign’s FC victory against Houston Dash on Saturday.