Week 2 of the fifth season of the National Women’s Soccer League begins on Saturday, April 22 as four of the five visiting teams from last weekend are set to make their season debuts in front of their home crowds. Additionally, the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinals kick off on Saturday, with one of the two matches set to feature two veteran WNT players.
Below are this weekend’s matchups and the U.S. Women’s National Team players to keep an eye on:
Saturday, April 22
Chicago Red Stars vs. FC Kansas City – 4 p.m. ET (go90.com)
After losing 2-0 in Houston last weekend, Chicago makes its home debut looking for its first goal and point of the season. Team captain Christen Press, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher and Casey Short will welcome a triumphant FCKC team captained by Becky Sauerbrunn to Toyota Park. After struggling early in the 2016 season but finishing strong, FCKC opened the new season with a terrific 2-0 win against the Boston Breakers last Sunday. Sydney Leroux scored in her first game back since 2015, as did Amy Rodriguez. The win was bittersweet, however, as Rodriguez was stretched off the field with an injury early in the second half. On Tuesday, FCKC confirmed that she suffered a torn ACL in her left knee and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Kansas City is unbeaten in its last five games dating back to last year. A win on Saturday could mark the first time in club history that the Blues start the year with wins in its first two matches. Even a draw would see them match the best two-game start in team history. FCKC is unbeaten in its last two matches against the Red Stars and a victory in Chicago would see the Blues match a club-record with three consecutive road wins overall.
Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit – 4 p.m. ET (TV: Lifetime Game of the Week)
After its inaugural season in 2016, this weekend will bring another historic first for the Pride as the club is set to play its first game in their new home, Orlando City Stadium. The brand-new stadium had its first MLS game on March 5, but it will host its first NWSL game this weekend. After a 2-0 loss in the national TV game last Saturday in Portland, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger will welcome their former club, Washington Spirit, in another nationally televised game on Lifetime as the Pride are featured in the Game of the Week for the second consecutive week.
North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns – 7:30 p.m. ET (go90.com)
After much anticipation, the North Carolina Courage are bringing women’s professional soccer back to the state of North Carolina when they face the Portland Thorns on Saturday evening. In a rematch of one of last’s year’s playoff semifinals, the game will bring together several WNT players in Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams for the Courage, and Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg and Emily Sonnett for the Thorns. Tobin Heath will sit out her second game in a row due to a minor back injury.
Portland tied FC Kansas City for the best road record in the league last season and allowed just 11 goals in 10 games, which was tied for the second-fewest goals allowed away from home.
Seattle Reign FC vs. Houston Dash – 10 p.m. ET (go90.com)
Seattle is the only team that gets to host back-to-back home games to open the season and after a 1-1 draw last weekend against Sky Blue, Megan Rapinoe and the Reign welcome Kealia Ohai and Jane Campbell to Memorial Stadium, a venue that has historically provided Seattle a strong home field advantage. Morgan Brian will sit out the match due to a minor knee injury.
The Dash have lost all seven previous meetings against Seattle, including all four road games by a combined score of 9-2. Houston’s most recent loss to the Reign came on the final day of the 2016 season. Seattle will come into the match looking to extend its NWSL record 18-game home scoring streak.
Sunday, April 23
Boston Breakers vs. Sky Blue FC – 6 p.m. ET (go90.com)
Boston welcomes Sky Blue FC in the only Sunday matchup this weekend. Top draft pick Rose Lavelle will play in front of her home crowd for the first time and face off against Kelley O’Hara, hoping to help Boston earn its first point of the season. Sky Blue comes into the match with a three-game winning streak against the Breakers, while Boston, who is 1-2-1 all-time in home openers, will look for its first win in one since 2015.
Saturday, April 22
Manchester City (ENG) vs. Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) – 9 a.m. ET UEFA Women’s Champions League
Saturday morning brings a huge matchup overseas between two European powerhouses in the first leg of one of the two semifinals series in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Alex Morgan and Olympique Lyoannais travel to Manchester to face Carli Lloyd and Manchester City. The second leg in France will be contested on April 29 in Lyon. The winner will advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final and will face either Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain. OL is the current reigning UWCL title holder.
ESPN3.com is slated to stream the match live at 8:55 a.m. ET. Authentication is required.
A NEW PLATFORM: go90.com
To watch live in the USA, download the go90 app (free) on your mobile device or tablet via the App Store or Google Play. Users with go90 version 3.0 and later can cast live games from the go90 app to Airplay and Chromecast. No registration or authentication is required. Matches will also be streamed live via nwslsoccer.com or the NWSL app (for users outside the U.S. only.)
The 2017 complete NWSL schedule is here. For more in-depth information and the latest news and updates about the NWSL schedule, matchups, records, etc., visit: www.nwslsoccer.com and follow them on Twitter @NWSL.