Rachel Daly had a strong two games for the Houston Dash in March. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
CHICAGO – Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe leads the National Women’s Soccer League team of the month for month as voted by the NWSL Media Association.
The U.S. international was voted NWSL player of the month and is one of six players voted to the NWSL Team of the Month that also made an appearance on the squad last season – along with Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell, Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn, Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan and North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha.
North Carolina Courage forward Crystal Dunn, a Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Houston Dash defender Rachel Daly, a one-time St. John’s University standout, also were named to the team of the month.
Sauerbrunn is the first player to earn a place on the Team of the Month as a member of two different teams after being voted to the elite squad three times for FC Kansas City last season. Her four appearances on the Team of the Month is tied for the most by any player – along with Chicago Red Stars forward Samantha Kerr, Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short and Orlando Pride forward Marta.
Five players were honored for the first time as members of the NWSL Team of the Month – with Daly, North Carolina Courage defender Jaelene Hinkle, Utah Royals FC midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir, Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and Dunn making their debut on the squad.
The Courage led the way with three players voted to the Team of the Month, followed by the Dash, Thorns and Royals with two each.
NWSL team of the month
GK – Jane Campbell, Houston Dash: Campbell made six saves and allowed just one goal in two appearances – including a five-save shutout March 30 against Utah.
D – Rachel Daly, Houston Dash: Daly featured all 180 minutes in the two games for the Dash in March – leading the team in touches in both matches, with 86 against Chicago on March 25 and 82 versus Utah on March 30.
D – Jaelene Hinkle, North Carolina Courage: Hinkle registered 171 touches, made nine interceptions and gained possession 29 times in two games for North Carolina. She also assisted on the game-winning goal to help the Courage to a 1-0 win versus Sky Blue FC on March 31.
D – Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals FC: Sauerbrunn notched three tackles, five clearances, four interceptions and gained possession eight times to help Utah to a pair of draws – including a shutout against Houston on March 30.
D – Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns FC: Sonnett tallied six tackles, 15 clearances, four interceptions and gained possession 24 times over two matches for the Thorns.
M – Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC: Horan scored one goal in two matches for the Thorns – with her tally helping Portland earn a 3-2 road victory against Chicago on March 31.
M – Debinha, North Carolina Courage: Debinha scored the game-winning goal for the Courage in 1-0 victory over Portland on March 24. She created four scoring chances in the two matches for North Carolina during the month.
M – Gunny Jónsdóttir, Utah Royals FC: Jónsdóttir scored the first goal in club history for Utah Royals FC when she found the back of the net just three minutes into the season opener against Orlando on March 24. The Iceland international played all 180 minutes in both matches for Utah during the month.
F – Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC: Rapinoe had a goal and an assist to lead the Reign to a 2-1 victory against Washington on March 24 in the only game of the month for Seattle. She also had 11 shots in the performance, which was enough to earn her NWSL Player of the Week and NWSL Player of the Month honors.
F – Mallory Pugh, Washington Spirit: Pugh scored the game-winning goal for the Spirit in a 2-0 victory versus Orlando on March 31. She featured all 180 minutes and created five scoring chances in two matches for Washington during the month.
F – Crystal Dunn, North Carolina Courage: Dunn created five scoring chances for the Courage and played all 180 minutes over two matches for the Courage during the month to help North Carolina earn a pair of 1-0 victories to start the season.
The NWSL will return to action Saturday, April 14 when Utah Royals FC host the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime at 3:30 p.m. ET before the North Carolina Courage travel to face the Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. ET. Then on Sunday, April 15, Sky Blue FC faces off against Seattle Reign FC at 5 p.m. ET and Portland Thorns FC meet the Orlando Pride at 6 p.m. ET.
The NWSL team of the month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis.