There have been five weeks completed in the 2017 NWSL season and in the first four weeks, two Seattle Reign players have taken home NWSL Player of the Week honors. Well, you can make that three in five weeks.
This time around the honor goes to Nahomi Kawasumi, also known as Naho. This is the fourth time in her career that she has been named NWSL Player of the Week and first since her first week back in the NWSL in July of 2016. This is also the 16th time a player from Seattle has been honored, the most in league history.
The 31-year-old Japanese international had a field day this past Saturday against the Washington Spirit. She scored one of the Reign’s six goals and assisted on four others – an NWSL record. Her first assist of the match game in the 20th min on Christine Nairn’s goal. After stealing the ball in the final third, Naho raced towards goal and played the ball to forward Beverly Yanez who in returned played a one-touch pass back to Naho. She then was able to spin around the defender and then laid the ball off to a wide-open Nairn who fired her shot far post into the back of the net.
In the 35th minute, Naho was at it again. After receiving a pass from Nairn to the far-right side of the field, Naho got to the end line and sent in a perfectly waited pass in front of goal that found the Yanez. Yanez was able to score the goal right in front of Stephanie Labbé by using the outside of her left foot to double to Reign’s lead.
In the 69th minute, Naho scored her first goal of the season. Megan Rapinoe received the ball just past midfield and raced towards goal. After getting inside the penalty box, Rapinoe played a ball across the front of the net to the far post where Naho was all alone and she made no mistake in putting the ball in the net.
Just two minutes later, Naho returned the favor to Rapinoe in the 71st minute. After receiving a pass at the top of the penalty area, Naho was able to draw the lone defender and goalkeeper towards her. Rapinoe kept running towards goal and Naho played the ball back to her right around the penalty spot. Rapinoe easily scored past a diving Labbé to make the score 4-1 in favor of Seattle.
Naho’s final assist came in the 79th minute. After receiving a pass from Katie Johnson towards the far post, Naho played the ball perfectly and was able to lay the ball off to Lindsay Elston who was all alone on the penalty spot. Elston one-timed her shot near post to beat Labbé and give the Reign a commanding 6-1 lead.
Naho know leads the league with four assists, two more than the next closest player in Sofia Huerta of the Chicago Red Stars.
The Reign will host the Orlando Pride this Sunday at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET and can be seen on the go90 app and league website.
The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association.