USWNT Rewind: Wave Back In First, Current Surging Heading Into September FIFA Window
Forward Alex Morgan, who was awarded the Golden Ball as the top player in the Concacaf W Championship during the USA’s most recent on-field showing, continues to lead the NWSL Golden Boot race as she scored her league-leading 13th goal of the season – and added an assist – in San Diego Wave FC’s 2-0 win over the Portland Thorns on Saturday evening. The Thorns and Wave entered the match level on points, but it was the visitors from San Diego who took control early on, scoring in the 17th minute following an assist from Morgan. The Wave doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when midfielder Taylor Kornieck flicked a long service to an on-rushing Morgan, who collected the ball and deftly finished with her left foot for her 13th goal of the season.
WATCH: MORGAN SCORES IN SAN DIEGO WIN
August 28, 2022
The Wave kept Portland scoreless in the second half to move back atop the league standings. The Thorns – who now sit fourth in the table with a game in hand - suffered their second consecutive defeat, also dropping a mid-week matchup against North Carolina, 3-1, on Wednesday night.
San Diego sits atop the table, but no team is in better form than the Kansas City Current, who extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games with a 3-2 win over the Courage on Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park. Kansas City, which went winless through its first five games of the year, have not lost a match since May 26 and overcame a 2-1 second-half deficit on Sunday to move into third in the table, two points back of the Wave with a game in hand.
The Houston Dash are now second in the standings and played the Washington Spirit to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night in back-and-forth battle at PNC Stadium. The Dash took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute, but two goals from forward Ashley Hatch in a three-minute span early in the second half quickly flipped the script in favor of the Spirit. Hatch’s first goal came in the 53rd minute from a beautiful combination play down the wing between Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman. Rodman picked out Hatch with a centering pass towards the penalty spot and she buried the one-touch finish.
WATCH: HATCH NETS BRACE IN HOUSTON
Hatch tallied again just two minutes later, this time heading in a set-piece service from Sanchez. Hatch, who won the NWSL Golden Boot in 2021, now has seven goals on the season while the assists were the fourth and second of the season for Sanchez and Rodman, respectively. Houston’s Michelle Alozie – who has been named to Nigeria’s roster for the upcoming matches against the USA -- scored in second-half stoppage time to deny the Spirit their first victory since early May.
After the winning The Women’s Cup the preceding weekend in Louisville, OL Reign claimed yet another road victory, this time defeating the Orlando Pride in thrilling fashion with a 2-1 victory on Friday evening to maintain its spot in fifth in the standings. The Pride opened the scoring in the 37th minute but the Reign equalized in the 56th after a brilliant show of individual skill from Megan Rapinoe, who poked a bouncing ball around her defender and curled a perfectly weighted service into the box for her third assist of the season. Rapinoe’s impact on the game was far from over as she scored the game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time. Defender Sofia Huerta clipped her service to the far post and an on-rushing Rapinoe blasted in the volley for her fourth goal of the season. It was the fourth assist of the season for Huerta, tied for fourth overall in the NWSL this season.
WATCH: HUERTA ASSISTS RAPINOE ON STOPPAGE-TIME WINNER
August 27, 2022
The Chicago Red Stars maintained their current hold on the sixth and final playoff spot following a commanding 4-0 win over Louisville on Saturday evening in which forward Mallory Pugh played a hand in all four Chicago goals. The USWNT attacker wasted no time getting on the scoresheet, tallying her first goal in the third minute off a through ball over the top of the Louisville defense. In the 18th and 23rd minutes, Pugh played the role of provider, setting up a pair of goals by Japanese international Yuki Nagasato to give the Red Stars a 3-0 lead at the half. Pugh capped off her stellar showing with another goal in the 73rd minute, picking up a pass behind the Louisville defense and tucking her right-footed shot into the far corner. Pugh is tied for the league lead in assists with five this season while also tied for fourth overall in scoring with eight goals on the year.
WATCH: PUGH TALLIES TWO GOALS AND TWO ASSISTS IN WIN
August 28, 2022
Angel City remains in the thick of the of playoff race and is now just one point back of the Red Stars following a 3-1 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Sunday afternoon. The top six teams in the NWSL standings will qualify for the postseason with the top two teams overall earning first-round byes.
While the NWSL is entering the home stretch, a new season is fast approaching in Europe. One week after earning Tournament MVP honors for her role in leading Olympique Lyon to the Women’s International Champions Cup trophy, Lindsey Horan helped the reigning Champions League winners to another piece of hardware, defeating their French rivals Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 on Sunday to claim the Trophée des Champions. Horan played all 90 minutes in the matchup which pitted the reigning league winners Lyon against the reigning French Cup champions PSG.
All eyes now turn to international competition with the USA taking on Nigeria in pair of friendly matches. The USWNT and Super Falcons will square off on Sept. 3 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas (Kickoff at 12:30 p.m. CT / 1:30 p.m. ET with coverage beginning at Noon CT / 1 p.m. ET on FOX) and followed by a Sept. 6 matchup presented by Allstate at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. (6 p.m. ET on ESPN2).