Manchester Derby Recap: USWNT stars shine, ending in 2-2 draw

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The second Manchester Derby in WSL history resulted in a 2-2 draw.

Within the budding Manchester rivalry, there was also some American pride at stake thanks to the four USWNT stars taking part. Tobin Heath and Christen Press started for Manchester United, while Sam Mewis played all 90 minutes for Manchester City (Rose Lavelle didn’t come off the bench, a somewhat surprising decision).

[RELATED READING: History of the Manchester “Derby”]

Manchester United entered the game as the favorite thanks to their top spot in the WSL rankings, but it initially looked like Manchester City was going to run away with it.

In the ninth minute, Manchester City got out to an early lead thanks to a goal by Chloe Kelly. Midfielder Laura Coombs then made it 2-0, taking advantage of an initial attempt by Sam Mewis.

Mewis had an exceptionally strong first half, making space and repeatedly putting herself in a strong position, something Manchester City coach Gareth Taylor spoke about after the game. “Sam’s been immense. She’s not just a really good footballer, she’s a really good person… she’s been a massive plus for us this season,” Taylor said.

[RELATED READING: Mewis and Lavelle “bring something extra” to Manchester City

Manchester United came out stronger in the second half. In the 54th minute, Tobin Heath took advantage of a Man City error to put United on the board (marking Heath’s second WSL goal this season).

United kept the momentum going with Kirsty Hanson leveling the score in the 74th minute.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw, each team earning a point. With the result, Arsenal will have a chance to overtake Manchester United’s top ranking in tomorrow’s London Derby (9:30am ET NBCSN).

After the game, Manchester United coach Casey Stoney said she takes partial responsibility for the team’s performance in the first half, noting some changes she made to the team’s press and formation at halftime. “I’m prouder today than I was on Sunday [after 1-0 win vs Arsenal] because I think we showed the strength and resiliency of the group,” Stone noted.

Manchester City and Manchester United won’t have to wait long for a rematch. The two teams meet again on Thursday in the FA Women’s League Cup.

While last year’s inaugural Manchester Derby drew a WSL-record 31,213 fans, today’s game was played with no fans in attendance due to England’s current COVID lockdown.

[NEW TO THE WSL? Learn all about the league here.] 

[Read more WSL stories at ProSoccerTalk

HOW TO WATCH MORE WSL COVERAGE THIS WEEKEND: 

Date Time (ET) Match Platform
Sat., Nov. 14 11:30 a.m. Everton v. Reading NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app (LIVE)
Sun., Nov. 15 7:30 a.m. West Ham v. Brighton NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app (LIVE)
Sun., Nov. 15 9:30 a.m. Arsenal v. Chelsea NBCSN (LIVE)

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