NWSL Snap: All she does is Lynn, and Ella Stevens kissed the badge!

Paying tributes to someone special we lost over the weekend, and those who soared on the pitch too.

NWSL Snap: All she does is Lynn, and Ella Stevens kissed the badge!
Lynn Williams roars after breaking the record most NWSL goals ever in all competitions | Courtesy of Gotham FC

Note: Welcome to 'NWSL Snap' – A weekly Monday morning brief whip-around of the weekend's action, talking points & nonsense from the U.S. league. Expect quick updates, curious notes, and some standout statistics. It is included in the FREE Squad Depth subscription.

NWSL Matchday Nine Results:

Houston 0-2 Portland || Bay 2-1 San Diego || NCC 1-0 Utah
Wash. Spirit 4-2 ACFC || Gotham 2-1 Chicago
KCC 3-3 Louisville || Seattle 2-3 Orlando

Watch NWSL highlights here

Table (via FotMob):

The Snapshot

Before we get to the NWSL, I want to take a moment to honour the late Om Arvind, who died over the weekend at just 25. Light a candle. All my thoughts are with his family.

Per his wishes, you can make a donation in his name to the NWSL PA emergency fund here.

The internet is a strange place. I question it often. But connecting – truly connecting – with brilliant people from all over the world whom you share a passion with is by far one of its most redeeming features.

Om was one of those people. He loved football greatly. He would hold the game in his hand and turn it around so he could look at it from every angle to understand it better. Then, he would share his perspective and thoughts with the world.

His greatest passion was Real Madrid, but he cared for all football. His work, helping us to analyze and think critically about the NWSL and European women's football, was some of the most thoughtful that I ever came across.

I wish I knew him better beyond our brief interactions from afar. But he touched so many people with his endless curiosity and that will never be forgotten.

"Lynn, just focus"

And, to the football.

It's a big and thoroughly deserved milestone for Lynn Raenie Williams, who on Sunday became the NWSL's leading goalscorer in all competitions with 79 ripples of the net.

Sam Kerr, with an extraordinary average of a goal every 127 minutes, might well be the most efficient and explosive NWSL forward of all time but no one epitomizes the league more than Williams, in my opinion.

Partly, that is because Williams has won so many trophies (seven) and contributed to different teams in different ways. The consistency has been there. Big goals needed in big moments have been there. But something I love about Williams is her defensive work ethic and pressing. That truly makes her an iconic NWSL forward.

The record-breaking 79th strike wasn't a screamer. It was a professional take. Textbook, if you like. A nod home from near point-blank range, after peeling off the defender, and reading Esther Gonzalez's volleyed cutback perfectly.

Afterwards, Williams commented on what was going through her mind as history beckoned in New Jersey. "I just said to myself to focus on your form and don’t let your eyes get too big because I feel like those are the goals that are the easiest to miss," she mused.

"I obviously missed another sitter. Your eyes just get big, and you’re like ‘this is your moment.’ I just said, Lynn just focus, put the ball in the goal...to have that moment altogether as a team, but also as just a larger community, and then also one on one. It just felt like I had every moment in my life with me if that makes sense."

It's also telling that Williams, in the celebrations of the goal turned to the fans and threw up the Gotham fans' 'bat symbol'. Another part of the 30-year-old's allure is her ability to turn things out to the fans and make them feel connected. Like she has done in her podcasting with Sam Mewis. A humble, grounded superstar and record-breaker.

Lynn Williams gazes out as she takes in the moment | Courtesy of Gotham FC

Look, even when NJ/NY Gotham FC were struggling at the beginning of the season, I think you only had to look at how they snapped back into defensive shape to see they would be okay. The coaching staff and roster were far too good for the crunchy showings to last.

Yael Averbuch-West got a lot of plaudits for her quadruple signings of USA national team players, but getting Ella Stevens on a free might take the biscuit for best offseason transfer.

That's now back-to-back weeks where Stevens has scored the winning goal. The 26-year-old scored her second-ever Gotham goal in the 90th minute to snatch all three points against her former club, the Chicago Red Stars.

Again the celebrations superseded another textbook header, as Stevens wheeled away to celebrate in front of the home fans she kissed the Gotham club crest on her shirt 14 times! You love to see it. We live for the stories.

"I didn't think about it [the celebration], but it felt right in the moment. A big thank you to Gotham," Stevens said about her effusive reaction to scoring the winner against her first club.

With the 'bat symbol' and the many many besitos for the crest, this was a big win that showed the players are all in on Gotham. Can anything beat a strong culture?

Quote of the week

"Mental health and physical health are equally as important. Us men need to talk about it more, support each other more, and get the help we deserve and need."
-- Scott Parkinson, Seattle Reign

Organization Common Goal, who are focused on using the business of football to drive social change, have been championing mental health and recently launched a new campaign: Create The Space To Retreat.

This was launched by a video feature with USA star Naomi Girma talking about the importance of mental health awareness, as well as England captain Millie Bright opening up about her struggles and processes.

Seattle Reign assistant coach Scott Parkinson tweeted a thread adding his journey to the discussion. I loved seeing the vulnerability, and also the exposure of caring for oneself and others.

Parkinson is well-known in the NWSL for his chirpy demeanor and charm. But that doesn't tell the whole story. People contain multitudes. In public and in private what people go through don't always align.

Make sure to check in on the ones you love. You are never alone.

NWSL Feels XI – Matchday Nine

Sort of like a team of the week – mostly gut feels, and who brought the vibes.

[NOTE I: Ryan Williams, of the NC Courage, you were brilliant this week. Defensively unbreakable, and on the attack you whipped in so many good passes that your teammates should have finished off. You were the 12th player this week. You will be remembered. On Friday night, Utah Royals goalkeeper Mandy Haught was a big reason that scoreline didn't look more lopsided.]

[NOTE II: Forgive me for cramming in an extra attacker this week but it felt like the goals were more in the spotlight this weekend.]