Dramatic Weekend in NWSL Hopes to Have the Casual Fan Hooked

Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch's game-winning highlights Dramatic Weekend in NWSL

The NWSL season is winding down. Yet there are still many unanswered questions regarding who’s in and who’s out in the playoffs. A dramatic weekend in NWSL was highlighted by late goals. Including a rare matinee thriller on network television for a more casual national audience to take in.

A Dramatic Weekend in NWSL Hopes to Bring Casual Fans

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Orlando Pride 0 – Portland Thorns 2

The weekend kicked off in Orlando. The Pride was looking to move up the standings and keep their playoff hopes alive. But from the kickoff, it was all Portland. In the 31-minute, Yazmeen Ryan scored an acrobatic goal to give Portland the lead in the first half. Then in the second half, the Thorns’ Hina Sugita scored from outside the box to secure a victory for the visitors. Portland controlled most of the game with 60 percent of the possession and eight shots on target. This win may make the Thorns once again the favorites to end the season top of the table.

OL Reign 2 – Chicago Red Stars 2

The Reign and Red Stars entered the match at the fifth and sixth spots respectively. In the 18-minute, the reign took an early lead thanks to Jordyn Huitema. Ella Stevens then equalized just before the end of the half to make it 1-1. Chicago earned a penalty to start the second half after a handball by Sam Hiatt. Danielle Colaprico gave the Red Stars the lead in the 68-minute after burying the penalty.

With just 10 minutes left in the second half, the Reign’s Megan Rapinoe found Rose Lavelle outside the box. Lavelle then hit a laser shot to tie the match in a dramatic fashion. Both teams sit just above the playoff line after the draw. Though both are not safe as the season comes to an end.


Washington Spirit 4 – San Diego Wave FC 3

One of the most action-packed and dramatic matches of the season played out on a Saturday matinee on CBS. This means the most casual viewer may have witnessed the best NWSL has to offer. Both sides traded blows in the early stages. But Washington was able to pull ahead by halftime courtesy of two Amber Brooks goals. However, San Diego’s Alex Morgan was able to grab a brace of her own. First after a 57-minute penalty. And then a headed equalizer in the 82-minute.

Seven minutes into added time it appeared that both sides would settle for a draw. But Washington’s Tara McKeown earned a penalty which was then converted by Ashley Hatch. For the Spirit, it was their first league victory since May. Meanwhile, the Wave now finds themselves displaced from their status at the top of the table.

North Carolina Courage 5 – Racing Louisville FC 1

The Courage have been quietly making their way up the standings during the final push for the playoffs. So it was not shocking that they dominated a struggling Louisville club. North Carolina had 65 percent of the possession and 12 shots on target. Highlighted by a pair of braces from Kerolin and Debinha, the Courage’s victory was never in doubt. After a 5-1 result they find themselves just five points with a game in hand back from a playoff spot.


NJ/NY Gotham FC 0 – Kansas City Current 1

Gotham hosted a team in the Current that went into the weekend in the top three. Meanwhile, the home team has yet to have a result under interim head coach Hue Menzies. Most of the match was fairly even and scoreless for 78 minutes. After the Current earned a penalty, Hailie Mace broke the deadlock. With a 1-0 win, Kansas City is now atop the standings.

With only a few matches left in the season, they could end up remaining with the shield by the end. Meanwhile, for Gotham FC, this was their ninth-straight loss in NWSL, which included a loss earlier this month to the North Carolina Courage.

Houston Dash 1 – Angel City FC 1

Angel City went to Houston on Sunday looking for a victory to move above the playoff line. However, Houston started the scoring towards the end of the first half. Maria Sanchez scored a golazo from outside the box to give Houston the lead in the 42-minute.

Angel City did end up answering in the second half with a Simone Charley goal in the 49-minute. The match would finish in a draw 1-1. Angel City will no doubt be disappointed to not capitalize on a great opportunity. But, they are still just one point behind the Chicago Red Stars in the six spot.

Wednesday’s Matches after the Dramatic Weekend in NWSL

There are two-midweek matches coming up that have huge playoff implications. North Carolina Courage will host Angel City FC at 7:00 PM ET. The Chicago Red Stars will welcome first-place Kansas City Current at 8:00 PM ET. Both of those must-watch matches can be seen on Paramount+.