USWNT Rewind: Challenge Cup Semis Set, Regular Season Awaits


After six match days of group play, the four-team field is set for the semifinal round of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup. OL Reign, as winners of the West Division and the top overall seed, will take on four-seed and 2021 NWSL champions Washington Spirit on Wednesday, May (8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network). That match will be played at Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia due to a scheduling conflict at Seattle’s Lumen Field. The other semifinal will see two-seed and Central Division winners Kansas City Current hosting East Division Champions North Carolina Courage (10 p.m. ET on Paramount+).

Having already secured their spot in the Challenge Cup Semis the week prior, OL Reign officially clinched the West Division with a 1-1 draw on the road on Saturday evening against San Diego Wave FC. The Reign, who went unbeaten in the group stage with four wins and two draws, took the lead in the 13th minute but Alex Morgan converted from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time to draw the Wave level.


Kansas City clinched the Central Division with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Chicago Red Stars on Sunday afternoon. After a scoreless first half in which Red Stars and USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made several crucial saves for Chicago, the teams traded goals in the early stages of the second half before KC scored the game-winner in the 76th minute. The three points proved crucial for Kansas City, who wrapped up the group stage with 13 points (4-1-1) and will now host three-seed North Carolina (12 points; 3-0-3) in Wednesday’s semifinal.


The Courage played the Spirit to a 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon in Cary, N.C. to wrap up their unbeaten run through the East Division. Washington forward Ashley Hatch opened the scoring in the 15th minute, creating a turnover at the top of the North Carolina area and burying her right-footed attempt into the bottom left corner to give Washington a 1-0 lead. 


WATCH: Hatch Scores Opener for Spirit



However, the Courage tied the match shortly before the halftime whistle and took a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute. North Carolina had the opportunity to add to its lead in the 72nd minute when it was awarded a penalty kick, but Aubrey Kingsbury came up with the crucial save for the Spirit. Three minutes later, Washington was awarded a penalty kick of its own and Hatch converted from the spot to tie the game and preserve a point for the Spirit.

With her two goals vs. the Courage, Hatch, who won the NWSL Golden Boot in 2021, closes the Challenge Cup group stage as the competition’s leading scorer with five goals. Four players are tied for second on four goals, including Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Trinity Rodman.

The draw proved crucial for the Spirit, who locked up the fourth and final semifinal spot on Sunday night as the top second-place finisher across the three Divisions after Angel City FC topped Portland Thorns FC, 1-0. Powered by a well-taken penalty from Christen Press in the 29th minute, Angel City picked up the first victory in club history and in the process eliminated Portland from playoff contention.

Rounding out the rest of the weekend’s Challenge Cup action, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Orlando Pride played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, with Kristie Mewis scoring the equalizer for Gotham in first-half stoppage time. Less than three weeks after scoring her first international goal for the USWNT, midfielder Jaelin Howell scored her first professional goal for Racing Louisville FC. Howell found the back of the net in the 29th minute, finishing a half-volley for Louisville’s lone goal in a 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dash.

WATCH: Howell Nets First Professional Goal



While the Challenge Cup semifinals await, the NWSL regular season kicks off on Friday, April 29 with Angel City hosting the North Carolina Courage to mark the start of the league’s 10th anniversary season. The longest-running women’s professional soccer league in the United States, the National Women’s Soccer League was officially founded in 2012 and began play in 2013.

In Europe, Catarina Macario made it eight consecutive games with goals for club or for country as she scored twice in Olympique Lyonnais’ 3-2 victory over rivals Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal. Macario found the back of the net in the 34th minute and again in the 50th as Lyon overcame an early 1-0 deficit against its French foes. Named the Player of the Match, Macario has now tallied 11 goals in her last eight games for club and for country – scoring three goals in two games for the USA and eight goals in six games for Lyon over that stretch. Macario leads Lyon in scoring with 21 goals this season across all competitions, including eight goals total during the 2021-22 Champions League campaign and seven in the main tournament phase, which ranks third overall in the competition.

WATCH: Macario Continues Scoring Streak in Champions League Semifinal



Macario and fellow USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan both played the full 90 minutes in the victory. OL and PSG will meet again in the second leg of the semifinal on Saturday, April 30 with a berth in the Champions League Final on the line.

Information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.


Friday, April 29

NWSL: Angel City FC vs. North Carolina Courage

10:30 p.m.

CBS Sports Network

Saturday, April 30

UEFA Women’s Champions League Semifinal (Leg 2): Paris Saint-Germain vs. Olympique Lyonnais

3 p.m.

DAZN; ata football

NWSL: Portland Thorns FC vs. Kansas City Current

6 p.m.


NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. Racing Louisville FC

8 p.m.


Sunday, May 1

FA WSL: Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

9:15 a.m.

ata football

NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign

5 p.m.


NWSL: Houston Dash vs. San Diego Wave FC

7 p.m.


NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC

7 p.m.



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