USWNT Rewind: Four Teams Punch Playoff Tickets, Two Berths Remain

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, four teams have clinched spots in the 2022 NWSL playoffs with Portland Thorns FC, OL Reign, San Diego Wave FC and the Kansas City Current all punching their tickets to the postseason. Four teams – the Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, Chicago Red Stars and Angel City FC – remain in contention for the final two playoff spots while the NWSL Shield and postseason hosting rights will come down to the final weekend of play.

The Thorns became the first team to clinch a playoff spot, securing their berth with a 3-0 win over Racing Louisville FC on Wednesday evening. Portland opened the scoring in the 47th minute when forward Sophia Smith got in behind the Louisville defense and rounded the goalkeeper for her 12th goal of the season.


Only a minute later, Portland doubled its advantage as midfielder Sam Coffey scored her first professional goal, finishing with a blistering low left-footed strike to the far post to continue what has been a September of milestones for the 23-year-old who made her USWNT debut on September 6 against Nigeria.


Portland scored again in the 57th minute off a finish from U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team midfielder Olivia Moultrie. The Thorns, who won the NWSL Shield in 2021, followed up that victory with 3-0 win over Chicago on Sunday to maintain their place atop the table. Coffey and Smith both tallied assists in the victory. A road win over NJ/NY Gotham FC this coming Saturday would clinch the 2022 Shield for the Thorns and mark the club’s third time winning the regular season title.

Portland’s neighbors to the north, OL Reign, became the second team to make the postseason, doing so with a 2-0 road victory over the Dash on Saturday evening. Goals in each half led the Reign to their third consecutive road win and extended the club’s unbeaten streak to six games in a row. That run also includes a 1-0 midweek win over Gotham in which
Megan Rapinoe scored the game’s only goal in the 58th minute with a superbly taken penalty kick. It was her sixth goal of the season, all of which have come in the last eight games for the Reign. Heading into the final weekend of the season, OL trails Portland by just one point in the standings and can secure at least a first-round bye in the playoffs with a home win over the Orlando Pride on Saturday night.


The Kansas City Current secured their spot in the postseason with a 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit on Sunday afternoon, continuing what has been a fantastic turnaround story for the club. After going winless through their first five matches of the regular season (0-4-1), the Current have lost just once in their last 16 matches (10-1-5) and need only a point from Saturday’s regular season finale against Racing Louisville to secure a home playoff game.

San Diego Wave FC became the first expansion team to clinch a playoff berth in its inaugural season, doing so with a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against the Orlando Pride on Sunday night. Needing a win or a draw earn its playoff spot, San Diego fell behind 2-0 in the 68th minute before mounting a late comeback, capped off by an 87th minute equalizer from Taylor Kornieck to send the Wave into the playoffs. The 6-foot-1 midfielder pounced on a bouncing ball in the penalty box following a San Diego free kick and fired it home for her third goal of the season.


The Wave will close out the regular season on Friday night, hosting a surging North Carolina Courage side that currently holds the sixth and final playoff spot. The Courage opened the week with a 3-0 victory over Orlando on Wednesday night and followed it up with a 3-0 victory over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday to move into sixth in the standings. The Courage have seven wins in their last nine matches and have outscored the opposition 23-7 during that span, compared to the first 12 games of the regular season where they went 2-6-4 with 23 goals scored and 27 conceded.

While North Carolina now controls its own playoff destiny, the Chicago Red Stars and Angel City FC are close in pursuit, trailing the Courage by one and two points, respectively. Chicago and Angel City will play on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the regular season, one which, pending results earlier in the weekend, could determine the final playoff teams and matchups.

The Red Stars will be looking to bounce back from consecutive losses while Angel City split its last two matches, beating the Washington Spirit 2-1 midweek before falling to Racing Louisville by a score of 3-1 on Sunday night.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the 2022 NWSL Playoffs will kick off the weekend of October 15 with the third seed hosting the sixth seed and the fourth seed hosting the fifth seed in the quarterfinal round. The winners will then compete in the semifinals, against and hosted by the top two finishers in the regular season standings, for spots in the 2022 NWSL Championship Game to be played on October 29 at Audi Field.

Should teams be level on points in the standings at the conclusion of the season, the first tiebreaker is overall goal differential, followed by total wins and total goals scored.

In France, Lindsey Horan continued her strong start to the 2022-23 campaign, tallying the opening goal in Olympique Lyon’s 3-1 win over Montpellier on Friday afternoon. Horan now has goals in back-to-back games for the reigning French champions, also scoring in her first league appearance of the season.



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


Friday, September 30

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. North Carolina Courage

10:00 p.m.


Saturday, October 1

D1 Féminine: Olympique Lyon vs. Rodez

8:30 a.m.


NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

6:00 p.m.


NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash

7:00 p.m.


NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs. Kansas City Current

7:30 p.m.


NWSL: OL Reign vs. Orlando Pride

10:00 p.m.


Sunday, October 2

NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. Angel City FC

6:00 p.m.



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