Sam Kerr Is The NWSL's All-Time Leading Scorer, The Refs Suck, And Carli Lloyd Is Filled With Rage
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Sam Kerr is the greatest goal scorer in the history of the National Women’s Soccer League, but all anyone wants to talk about is those refs, man.
Sky Blue FC striker Kerr scored a brilliant second-half hat trick to be set the career mark with 35 goals in the NWSL, but all three goals came after a red card to FC Kansas City’s Shea Groom. And it wasn’t the only controversy involving the league's top players on Saturday.
In New Jersey, KC went up 2-0 on the scoreboard at half but down 11-10 on the field after Groom was sent off for shoving the face of Erica Skroski, who received a yellow for her role in the scuffle.
— Zach (@Zac13_) July 9, 2017
After the match, the Kansas City coach was unimpressed with the officiating.
— Erica L. Ayala (@elindsay08) July 9, 2017
Nothing could take away from Kerr’s stunning hat trick, scoring all three goals after the 78th minute to claw Sky Blue to victory. She now has 35 career NWSL goals, passing Jessica McDonald on the all-time list.
While Kerr may be the hottest goal scorer this summer, last year’s hottest goal scorer, Carli Lloyd, had her own issues with refs. The Ballon d’Or winner was stunned to see red for a high challenge on Mallory Weber.
Despite the damning photo, Lloyd told the Houston Chronicle she was innocent.
"In my opinion, she was running to me with the red card already in her hand," Lloyd said of referee Christina Unkel. "I hope they look at the footage. We will appeal it, but in my opinion the Portland player had her foot up in the air as well trying to kick the ball. Your natural motion, you're running towards the ball and her right leg was up my left leg was going in to get it.
"You back out of something like that, I did that sort of last year and that's when I sprained my MCL. In the heat of the moment you are going, there's no intent on my part to hurt. In my opinion, I'm the first to put my hand up if I deserve a red (card). I did not deserve a straight red on that one."
— NWSL (@NWSL) July 9, 2017
Fellow Dash midfielder Amber Brooks chimed in to defend her teammate.
The refs in this league are an absolute joke. It's embarrassing and needs to be better if we want to call the @NWSL best league in the world— Amber Brooks (@abrooks22) July 9, 2017
But Lloyd is no saint, nor is she a stranger to soccer’s form of capital punishment. When she was still with Manchester City earlier this year, she was ejected for this violent elbow.
Carli Lloyd was issued a red card and will miss three of Manchester City's final four matches for this elbow. pic.twitter.com/tP3c6SGIwQ— ɹǝʇunH (@L1C4RDS) May 22, 2017
The Dash weren’t the only ones who felt aggrieved by late referee decisions.
The Washington Spirit equalized against the Orlando Pride with a penalty kick in the 90th minute to spoil Alex Morgan’s first start of the season. Washington and Orlando finished the match 2-2.
“I feel like that’s been the story of this year for every team in the NWSL,” Morgan said during the postgame interview. “PKs have been given out way too frequently. I’m not sure if they’re all deserving or not but it’s just unfortunate that so many games have been decided on PKs.”
Washington’s PK was the 26th of the year for the league as a whole, meaning about 16 percent of the goals have been scored from the spot.
Sam Kerr, though, has scored nine goals this season and none have come from the spot.
In fact, the top three goal scorers this year (Kerr and Megan Rapinoe with nine each, Marta with eight) have all yet to even attempt a PK. Kerr wins this week.