USWNT REWIND: NWSL Kicks Off 2023 Season
The National Women’s Soccer League kicked off its 11th season this weekend with a full slate of games across the nation in front of some tremendous crowds. The North Carolina Courage registered the first victory – and first shutout - of the 2023 NWSL campaign as they blanked 2022 NWSL Runner-ups Kansas City Current 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy and defender Emily Fox, who was traded to North Carolina in one of many notable player moves this offseason, went the distance for the Courage in the shutout victory.
The Saturday evening match featured goals aplenty as San Diego Wave FC topped the visiting Chicago Red Stars 3-2 in front of an NWSL-opening day record crowd of 30,854 at Snapdragon Stadium. The Red Stars took an early lead in the 18th minute before goals from San Diego in the 22nd and 32nd put the hosts back in front. Chicago’s Mallory Swanson converted from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time to send the teams into the locker room level at 2-2.
WATCH: SWANSON CONVERTS FROM PENALTY SPOT
Swanson, who was a finalist for NWSL MVP each of the last two seasons, is off to a stellar start to the year and has now scored eight goals in six combined appearances for club and country in 2023 and is in the midst of a seven-game scoring streak across all competitions.
While the first half featured four goals, the lone tally in the second half came in the 89th minute as Alex Morgan scored from the penalty spot after a handball was called inside the penalty area to lift the Wave to the 3-2 victory at home. Morgan tallied a career high 15 goals for the Wave in 2022 on her way to collecting NWSL Golden Boot honors and has now scored or assisted in all five of her appearances in 2023 for club and country combined.
WATCH: MORGAN SECURES SAN DIEGO VICTORY
Reigning NWSL MVP Sophia Smith picked up where she left off following a 2022 campaign that also saw her collect Championship MVP honors while leading Portland Thorns to the NWSL title. Smith scored and added an assist in Portland’s 4-0 victory over the Orlando Pride, finding the back of the net in the 22nd minute with a one-time finish from ten yards out and setting up Portland’s fourth and final goal of the game in the 76th.
WATCH: SMITH SCORES IN THORNS OPENER
Trinity Rodman tallied the lone goal as the Washington Spirit defeated 2022 NWSL Shield winners OL Reign 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. The 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year, Rodman kicked off her third professional season with an impressive individual effort in the 54th minute as she picked up the ball just inside her own half and broke towards goal, weaving through the Reign defense before unleashing a left-footed strike into the bottom right corner.
WATCH: RODMAN SOLO EFFORT SINKS REIGN
Out west, NJ/NY Gotham FC opened the year with a 2-1 victory over Angel City FC, pulling off the come-from-behind victory with a pair of second half goals. Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Thompson, who earned her first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team in October of 2022, opened the scoring in the 11th minute with an impressive right-footed strike in front of a sell-out crowd of 22,000 at BMO Stadium. However, the visitors from the East Coast flipped the script in the second half and scored twice to secure the season-opening victory. Gotham forward Midge Purce tied the game from the penalty spot in the 55th minute and helped the visitors take the lead for good in the 65th as she picked up the ball in the middle of the field and laid off a perfectly weighted pass for a one-touch finish from Lynn Williams. Williams, who has scored more NWSL regular season goals than any other American in league history, tallied her 58th career regular season goal and the first for her new club after being traded to Gotham this offseason.
WATCH: PURCE AND WILLIAMS COMBINE FOR GAME WINNER IN LA
The lone draw of NWSL opening weekend came in Houston, where the Dash and visiting Racing Louisville FC played to a 0-0 stalemate.
While the regular season has just kicked off stateside, in Europe, the fight for titles during the league season is heating up and other competitions are well underway. Lindsey Horan played the full 90 minutes for reigning UEFA Women’s Champions League victors Olympique Lyon in their 1-0 quarterfinal defeat on March 22 against Chelsea. The teams will square off again midweek in London for the decisive second leg.
Broadcast information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
|Thursday, March 30|
|UEFA Women’s Champions League: Chelsea vs. Olympique Lyon||3:00 p.m.||DAZN|
|Saturday, April 1|
|NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Portland Thorns FC||12:50 p.m.||CBS|
|NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash||2:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs. Washington Spirit||3:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. OL Reign||7:30 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. North Carolina Courage||10:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|Sunday, April 2|
|D1 Féminine: Le Havre vs. Olympique Lyon||6:45 a.m.||Ata Football|
|NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. Angel City FC||5:30 p.m.||Paramount+|