Canada’s Evelyne Viens helped power the NJ/NY Gotham FC to victory as the National Women’s Soccer League kicked off its 9th season.

Viens, a native of L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que., set up the game-winning goal in her team’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dash on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Whitby, Ont., native Kailen Sheridan picked up the win in goal, finishing with four saves.

While American Midge Purce provided the finish, it was Viens who spearheaded the charge—collecting a loose ball and running at full pace against a scurrying Houston backline. 

Having drawn the defenders towards her, the 24-year-old Canadian’s pass found Purce storming down the wing and into the 18-yard-box.

  

The forward then coolly pretended to cut inside, losing her defender, before taking a quick step back toward the outside and firing a low shot beyond the outstretched fingers of the diving keeper and into the far corner.

The match also featured fellow Canadian internationals Sophie Schmidt, Allysha Chapman and Nichelle Prince. All three started for the Dash, with Schmidt and Prince picking up yellow cards. 

It’s been an eventful year for Viens, who made her national team debut for Canada in February at the SheBelieves Cup.

The victory also marks a much-needed victory for Gotham, who fell to the Portland Thorns in a penalty shootout defeat in the Challenge Cup final earlier in the month. 

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In other action, expansion sides Racing Louisville and Kansas City battled to a 0-0 draw. 

In the late game, the OL Reign and the North Carolina Courage also fought to a scoreless draw.

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