USWNT Rewind: NWSL Kicks Off Regular Season, Lyon Through To Champions League Final

The National Women’s Soccer League kicked off its 10th season on April 29 with a sell-out crowd of 22,000 on hand to watch expansion side Angel City FC defeat perennial power North Carolina Courage, 2-1, at Banc of California Stadium. The match kicked off a full slate of fixtures across the league as the NWSL regular season officially got underway.

Like its neighbors up the coast, fellow expansion club San Diego Wave FC registered a victory in its first-ever NWSL regular season match, edging the Houston Dash on the road by a score of 1-0.

Defending NWSL champions Washington Spirit began their title defense with a 2-1 win over visiting OL Reign in a riveting Sunday afternoon affair at Audi Field. The visitors from Tacoma had a chance to take the lead in the ninth minute, but Aubrey Kingsbury saved the penalty kick attempt by OL’s Rose Lavelle. Five minutes later, Washington took the lead after midfielder Ashley Sanchez buried a right-footed blast from outside the box into the upper left corner. The goal continued what has been a strong run of form for Sanchez, who has now scored in five of her last six games combined for club and for country, including goals in each of the U.S. Women’s National Teams’ victories over Uzbekistan in April.




The Reign tied the match in the 53rd minute after Lavelle deftly buried a bouncing ball from close range. However, the Spirit would reclaim the lead in the 66th minute when Washington forward Trinity Rodman clipped a cross into the box from the right flank. Ashley Hatch timed her run well, elevating over the OL defense and deftly flicking her header across goal and into the back of the net. The 2021 NWSL Golden Boot Winner, Hatch led all scorers with five goals during the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup and has goals in five of her last six games for the Spirit across all competitions.


The Spirit and Reign will meet again at Audi Field on Wednesday evening in one semifinal of the Challenge Cup (8 p.m. ET; CBS Sports Network). OL won the West Division and boasted the best overall record over the course of Challenge Cup group play while the Spirit reached the semifinals as the top second-place group finisher. Wednesday’s other semifinal features the Kansas City Current – winners of the Central Division – hosting the North Carolina Courage, who finished atop the East (8:30 p.m. ET; Paramount+).


Kansas City heads into Wednesday’s Challenge Cup matchup looking to rebound after a 3-0 road defeat to Portland Thorns FC on April 30. The Thorns controlled the match start to finish, opening with a goal from Morgan Weaver in the eighth minute and adding to their advantage before halftime to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Just six minutes after entering the match, second-half substitute Sophia Smith tallied a third goal for the Thorns, blasting a half-volley from edge of the penalty area across the goal and into the upper-left corner.


NJ/NY Gotham FC also put together an impressive offensive showing, downing the Orlando Pride, 3-0, as Kristie Mewis and Margaret Purce each tallied a goal and an assist in the victory. Gotham got on the board in the 29th minute following a corner kick from Mewis and one minute later, doubled the lead as Purce broke in behind the Pride defense and finished with her left foot.



In the 41st minute, it was Purce playing provider, flighting a ball across the field from the right wing. Mewis deftly corralled the ball and cut in from the left flank, weaving through the defense before finishing from close range.




Rounding out the opening weekend action, the Chicago Red Stars defeated Racing Louisville FC, 2-1, on Saturday evening, prevailing despite a lengthy pause in play due to inclement weather in the Chicago area. Defender Emily Fox scored her first professional goal for Louisville in the defeat with a darting run from her position at outside back.


In Europe, Lindsey Horan and Catarina Macario each played the full 90 minutes as Olympique Lyon defeated rivals Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1, on Saturday at Parc des Princes in the second leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League Semifinals. The victory, coupled with a 3-2 win in the opening leg in Lyon, sends OL through to is 10th Champions League final. The French power will face defending champions Barcelona on May 21 in the Champions League Final at Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy. Lyon will be looking to lift the Champions League trophy for the eighth time. Should OL succeed, Horan and Macario would become the first Americans to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League since 2017, when Alex Morgan helped Lyon lift its second in a string of five consecutive titles from 2016 to 2020.

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

Wednesday, May 4

NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinal: Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign

8 p.m.

CBS Sports Network

NWSL Challenge Cup Semifinal: Kansas City Current vs. North Carolina Courage

8:30 p.m.


Saturday, May 7

NWSL Challenge Cup Final: Semifinal Winner #1 vs. Semifinal Winner #2

1 p.m.

CBS; Paramount+

NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

7 p.m.


NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit

8 p.m.


NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC

10 p.m.


Sunday, May 8

D1 Féminine: Olympique Lyonnais vs. Paris FC

8:45 a.m.

ata football

NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Houston Dash

5 p.m.


NWSL: OL Reign vs. Racing Louisville FC

6 p.m.


NWSL: Angel City FC vs. Orlando Pride

8 p.m.