After a 12 day break for international duty, the National Women’s Soccer League has returned. There is a little over two months until the regular season is over. Of the 12 teams in NWSL, six make it into the playoffs. It’s shaping up to be a wild final two months. If this past weekend is any indication it will be filled with high scoring games, goalkeeping masterclasses and skillful finishes galore.
Weekend Review: NWSL Is Back!
North Carolina Courage 3 – Washington Spirit 3
Washington and North Carolina occupied both of the bottom two spots in the standings heading into their matchup. This one took a while to get going in terms of scoring. After 41 minutes of play and a lightning delay, Trinity Rodman opened the scoring for Washington. North Carolina’s Brittany Ratcliffe was quick to respond with a goal in the 45th minute followed only a minute later by a Tara Mckeown header give Washington the lead back at the end of the half. A similar flurry of goals came midway through the 2nd half. North Carolina’s Dianna Rosario Ordonez tapped in the Courage equalizer in the 53rd minute followed by a Trinity Rodman blast from inside the box to get the lead back for the Spirit. Ordonez quickly followed up completing a brace of here own from the penalty spot after a foul in the box at minute 62. The game ended in a draw which does neither team any favors as the playoffs seem further away at this point for both sides.
Racing Louisville FC 1 – Portland Thorns FC 2
Portland Thorns entered their away trip to Louisville in 2nd place while the home side is trying to edge closer to the playoff line. Portland came out of the gates hot in the form of a Sophia Smith goal in the 7th minute. However Alex Chidiac equalized in the 29th minute with a goal from an impossible angle at the end line. After great goalkeeping from both sides into the second half, Portland’s Hina Sugita scored the game winning goal off a rebound to secure a vital 3 points in the Thorns push to top the standings.
Chicago Red Stars 0 – San Diego Wave FC 1
Going into the weekend, San Diego Wave were on top of the NWSL table. But after a Portland Thorns win on Friday they found themselves a point behind and needing a win to reclaim their top spot. After a mostly dominant first 20 minutes from the Red Stars, 17-year-old Jaedyn Shaw opened the scoring in her NWSL debut in the 27th minute. San Diego would find themselves down a player in the second half when Abby Dahlkemper got a second yellow card in the 59th minute. Then after a penalty was given to Chicago, San Diego goalkeeper and Canadian international Kailen Sheridan sealed the clean sheet by saving Mallory Pugh’s attempt from the spot. With all three points secured, the Wave remain atop the standings with 25 points.
Angel City FC 2 – OL Reign 3
The mid table battle between Angel City and the Reign got off to hot start with 2 first half goals from Angel City’s Cari Roccaro and Savannah McCaskill in the 9th and 28th minute respectively. The first half would end in without a reign goal after Kim Little couldn’t convert a stoppage time penalty. It was in the second half when OL Reign began their comeback. It started with a goal off the post by Jessica Fishlock in the 54th minute and then a golazo from outside the box by Sofia Huerta. In the 84th minute, US international Tobin Heath came into the match after making her return to NWSL just before the break. Five minutes later she gave OL Reign the game winner with a nutmeg goal, her first in NWSL since 2019.
NJ/NY Gotham FC 2 – Houston Dash 4
Gotham have been towards the bottom of the table this season. Against the Dash they scored four minutes in with a goal from Paige Monaghan. However things started to get ugly by minute 18 when they let in an own goal curtesy of an unfortunate bounce off of Houston’s Mandy Freeman. From there the Dash would dominate most of the match with goals from Shea Groom in the 36th, Sophie Schmidt in the 70th and Ebony Salmon in the 73rd minute. Gotham’s Midge Purce got one back in the 82nd minute, but it was too little too late. With a win Houston is in 3rd place on 21 points.
Kansas City Current 2 – Orlando Pride 2
In terms of goals, it was a tale of two halves in Kansas City on Sunday. In the first half it was all Orlando. In the 25th minute it was the Pride’s Celia who headed in a ball from Erica Tymrak for the first goal of the evening. The Pride would then take a 2-0 lead at the beginning of the second half with a goal from Julie Doyle. But from that point on the tables turned and it became about the Kansas City Current. Elyse Bennett got one back in the 57th minute. Then with eight minutes left in regulation, CeCe Kizer was able to equalize on a long pass from Lo’eau LaBonta. Both teams ended up with a point and are now occupying the first two spots in the table outside of a playoff berth.