USWNT Rewind: Record-Setting Crowd, Stellar Goals Punctate Weekend NWSL Play


With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the NWSL playoff picture is yet to be settled as there has once again been movement in the league table. The top six finishers in the league standings will qualify for the postseason, with the top two teams earning first-round byes. The team with the best overall record at the conclusion of the regular season will claim the NWSL Shield.

As it currently stands, San Diego Wave FC atop the table with 34 points from 20 matches, followed by the Houston Dash in second with 33 points in 20 games. The Kansas City Current (33 points, 20 games), Portland Thorns FC (32 points, 19 games), OL Reign (31 points, 19 games) and Chicago Red Stars (30 points, 20 games) round out the current playoff picture, but with plenty of movement still possible with only four points separating the top six teams. Angel City FC and the North Carolina Courage still remain in contention, sitting seventh and eighth, respectively, in the current standings, while the Orlando Pride, Washington Spirit, Racing Louisville FC and NJ/NY Gotham will not make the playoffs this year.

The Wave moved back atop the table with a 1-0 win over Angel City in front of a record-setting crowd of 32,000 on Saturday night at newly opened Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, setting an NWSL single-game attendance record. U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team forward Jaedyn Shaw scored the game’s only goal off a header in the 31st minute, as the Wave earned a hard-fought victory in the battle between California expansion clubs.

Houston moved to second in the standings following a 1-0 road victory over the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday. The Dash, powered by a first-half goal, extended their unbeaten run to three games in a row and have lost just one of their last nine matches as the club vies for its first ever NWSL playoff appearance.

Despite the setback against the Dash, the Red Stars picked up a valuable three points midweek with a commanding 4-0 victory over the Current, snapping KC’s 13-game unbeaten streak and handing them their first loss since May 25. Mallory Pugh’s attacking prowess was on full display as she tallied a brace and played a hand in all four of the Red Stars’ goals. Chicago took the lead in the fifth minute after the Current failed to clear a corner kick played in by Pugh and the bouncing ball was eventually poked into the back of the net. Three minutes later, Pugh netted her first goal of the night with a brilliant run, picking up the ball deep in her own half and dashing the length of the field to beat several defenders before rounding the goalkeeper for an open-net finish.



Pugh completed her brace in the 60th minute, picking up a loose ball near midfield and capping off yet another dynamic run with a right-footed blast from the top of the penalty box. She capped off her stellar night with an assist, serving in another dangerous corner kick in the 72nd minute for Chicago’s fourth and final goal of the night. After finishing second in the NWSL MVP voting last season, Pugh is in the midst of another stellar campaign in 2022. Pugh now leads the NWSL with six assists on the season and is fourth on the scoring charts with 10 goals this season, both single-season bests for Pugh, who is in her second season with the Red Stars.

Kansas City returned to action on Sunday, playing Portland to a 1-1 draw full of late drama at Children’s Mercy Park. Despite a combined total of 39 shots in the match, both teams remained scoreless until the 87th minute, when Portland struck first. The Current came up with an equalizer deep into second-half stoppage time as Hailie Mace blasted a set-piece from 20-yards out that deflected off a Thorns defender and into the upper left corner. It was the fourth goal of the season and second in three games for Mace, who saw action in both of the USA’s September wins over Nigeria as an outside back.



With the result, Kansas City now sits third in the standings with the Thorns in fourth, though Portland has a game in hand over the three teams it trails in the table.

OL Reign defeated the North Carolina Courage 2-1 on Saturday to extend its unbeaten run to four consecutive games and maintain its position in fifth in the standings. After conceding an own goal in the sixth minute, the Reign quickly responded with a goal from Rose Lavelle, who continued her scoring streak. Lavelle provided the equalizer for OL in the 11th minute after Megan Rapinoe whipped a ball in on goal, forcing a save out of Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy. Lavelle stayed with the play and pounced on the rebound to net her fifth goal of the season for the Reign. Lavelle, who has now scored in each of her last three games across all competitions for club of for country, has more goals this season than she scored in her previous four seasons in the NWSL combined.

Fifteen minutes after Lavelle’s equalizer, Rapinoe scored what proved to be the game winner for the Reign, blasting a sneaky yet powerful set-piece from distance that skipped along the turf and just inside the left post in the 26th minute. Rapinoe now has five goals and four assists in just 11 appearances this season for the Reign. Since the start of August, no player in the NWSL has been directly involved in more goals.


The loss on Saturday snapped North Carolina’s three game win streak, which included a 1-0 midweek victory over Angel City on Wednesday night.
After snapping their long winless streak last weekend, the Washington Spirit made it back-to-back victories with a 2-0 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday. Washington took a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute and doubled its advantage in the 86th as Ashley Sanchez pounced on a poor touch by the Gotham goalkeeper and after stealing the ball, coolly slotted it into the back of the net for her third goal of the season.


Racing Louisville FC made its return to the win column with a 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride on Friday night. A goal in the 10th minute and an impressive strike in the 50th by midfielder Savannah DeMelo, who earned her first senior National Team callup in September, lifted Louisville to its first victory since May 22.

In Europe, Lindsey Horan made her first appearance of the new D1 Féminine campaign and marked her return with a stellar goal for the reigning league champions as she helped lift Olympique Lyon to a 2-1 win over ASJ Soyaux. With the match still scoreless in the 32nd minute, Horan curled a brilliant free kick into the upper left corner from 25 yards out for her first goal of the league campaign. Horan joined Lyon in January of 2022, helping the club complete the double by winning the D1 Féminine and UEFA Women’s Champions League titles.




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


Wednesday, September 21

NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. OL Reign

7:00 p.m.


NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage

7:00 p.m.


NWSL: Portland Thorns FC vs. Racing Louisville FC

10:00 p.m.


NWSL: Angel City FC vs. Washington Spirit

10:30 p.m.

CBS Sports Network

Friday, September 23

D1 Féminine: Montpellier HSC vs. Olympique Lyon

3:00 p.m.

Ata Football

Saturday, September 24

NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC

7:00 p.m.


NWSL: Houston Dash vs. OL Reign

8:30 p.m.


Sunday, September 25

NWSL: Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

4:00 p.m.


NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Washington Spirit

5:00 p.m.


NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. San Diego Wave FC

7:00 p.m.


NWSL: Angel City FC vs. Racing Louisville FC

8:00 p.m.



Go Deeper