USWNT Rewind: Reign Clinch Challenge Cup Semifinal Spot


After two victories over Uzbekistan to close out the April international window, the U.S. Women’s National Team players returned to action with their club teams as games quickly resumed in Europe and the NWSL Challenge Cup. Play began on Thursday, April 14, as OL Reign registered a resounding 3-1 win over visiting San Diego Wave FC. Alex Morgan scored San Diego’s lone goal in the 24th minute, but it was not enough to overcome three goals by the Reign in the opening 11 minutes of the match. 


The Reign continued their winning ways and extended their winning streak to four games in a row with a 2-1 victory over Angel City FC on Sunday, securing their spot in the Challenge Cup semifinals. Bethany Balcer gave OL the lead in the 34th minute on a blast from outside, though Angel City looked primed to steal a point after an 83rd minute equalizer. However, the Reign got the game-winner in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to keep the club unbeaten in the Challenge Cup. With 13 points through five matches (4-0-1), OL Reign have clinched a semifinal berth with a game to go. The top team from each of the three Divisions – East, Central and West – will advance to the semifinal round, along with the best second-place team overall. A win or draw against San Diego on April 23 would secure first place in the West Division for the Reign.

Portland Thorns FC remain in contention for the West Division with 10 points (3-1-1) following a 3-2 victory over the Wave on Sunday evening. Forward Sophia Smith, who tallied a hat-trick in the USA’s April 9 victory over Uzbekistan, scored in the fourth minute to give Portland an early lead it would never relinquish. It was Smith’s third goal of the 2022 Challenge Cup and helped the Thorns take a 3-0 lead into the locker room. San Diego responded with two unanswered goals in the second half but could not complete the comeback.




In the Central Division, the Kansas City Current defeated the Houston Dash, 2-1, to maintain their lead atop the division with 10 points through five matches. The Chicago Red Stars are second in the division standings with eight points after playing Racing Louisville FC to a 1-1 draw on the road on Saturday evening. A dangerous service in the seventh minute by Mallory Pugh led to Chicago’s opening goal, though Louisville tied the match in the 76th with an impressive free kick. The Red Stars and Current square off on April 24 in Kansas City. A win or draw would send KC to the semifinals, while Chicago needs a win to reach the knockout round.

The East Division also remains up for grabs entering the final weekend of play. The North Carolina Courage, who defeated the Orlando Pride, 4-2, on Saturday, remain unbeaten with 11 points through five matches (3-0-2). The Courage are trailed closely by the reigning NWSL Champions Washington Spirit, who defeated NJ/NY Gotham FC, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. After scoring in both of the USWNT’s April wins over Uzbekistan, Spirit midfielder Ashley Sanchez leveled the match in the 24th minute with perfectly struck free kick from just outside the area. It was Sanchez’ second goal of the 2022 Challenge Cup and gives her goals in each of her last four games for club and for country.



The Spirit took a 2-1 lead into halftime after a goal in the 39th minute by forward Trinity Rodman, assisted by USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara. Rodman, who scored her first international goal on April 12 and became the first teenager to score for the USWNT since 2018, perfectly timed her volley, tucking it into the bottom right corner.




Rodman found the back of the net again in the 75th minute off an assist from Sanchez and now has four goals during this Challenge Cup campaign, tied with Pugh for the most by any player in the league. Like Sanchez, Rodman has now goals in each of her last four appearances for club and for country. The Spirit will take on the Courage on April 23 in a match that will decide the East Division winner. The Courage advance with a win or draw while the Spirit need a win on Saturday to advance to the semifinal.


Catarina Macario continued her scoring streak on Sunday, netting the game-winning goal in Olympique Lyon’s 2-1 win over Fleury 91 in France’s D1 Féminine. Macario scored an Olimpico – directly off a corner kick – in the 60th minute to lift Lyon to the victory. It marked Macario’s team-leading 19th goal of the season for Lyon across all competitions and her 13th in league play.





Macario has now scored in seven consecutive games for club and for country, totally nine goals during that span -- six for Lyon and three for the USWNT. Lyon leads D1 Féminine by five points over rivals Paris Saint-Germain with just three league matches remaining.

In the Women’s FA Cup Semifinal, Arsenal fell to defending champions Chelsea, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon. Tobin Heath came on as a second-half substitute for Arsenal, who sit just one point back of Chelsea in the Women’s Super League standings.

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


Saturday, April 23

NWSL Challenge Cup: North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit

1 p.m.

CBS, Paramount+

NWSL Challenge Cup: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Orlando Pride

7 p.m.


NWSL Challenge Cup: San Diego Wave FC vs. OL Reign

10 p.m.


Sunday, April 24

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

11 a.m.


FA WSL: Everton vs. Arsenal

1:45 p.m.


NWSL Challenge Cup: Kansas City Current vs. Chicago Red Stars

5 p.m.


NWSL Challenge Cup: Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville

6 p.m.

CBS Sports Network

NWSL Challenge Cup: Angel City FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

9 p.m.


Go Deeper