Coming off a weekend featuring several impressive goals and stellar performances in club play, the U.S. Women’s National Team has returned to action in Austin, Texas with 26 players called into camp for the USA’s upcoming matches against the Republic of Ireland.
Forward Sophia Smith, who returns to USWNT camp after missing the first two events of the year with a minor injury, continued her blazing start to the 2023 NWSL season, scoring a hat trick to lead Portland Thorns FC to a 4-1 road win over the Kansas City Current on Saturday afternoon. The rematch of the 2022 NWSL Championship game saw the Thorns, who lifted the trophy at the end of last season, take the lead in just the third minute with a goal from Crystal Dunn. Dunn’s goal was her first of the season and 34th career NWSL regular season goal.
WATCH: DUNN OPENS SCORING IN KANSAS CITY
Portland doubled its advantage in the 18th minute as Smith scored her first of the game – and third goal already this season – from the penalty spot to give the Thorns a 2-0 advantage. Kansas City pulled one back in the 58th minute before Smith tallied twice in the final seven minutes of action to secure the Thorns second victory in as many games and the first hat trick of her professional club career. Smith tallied her first hat trick with the U.S. Women’s National Team on April 9, 2022, putting three past Uzbekistan at the age of 21 to become the youngest player since 2000 to score a hat trick for the USWNT.
Smith’s second goal of the game came in spectacular fashion the 83rd minute, when she dribbled warded off several challenges from the Current defense and finished near post from a tight angle. The reigning NWSL MVP, Smith completed her hat trick in the 88th minute with a right-footed blast from the top of the box. Smith, who finished second in the league in scoring with 15 goals in 2022, has now scored five goals through her first two games of the 2023 campaign.
WATCH: SMITH SLICES THORUGH DEFENSE TO SCORE
Reigning NWSL Golden Boot winner Alex Morgan scored twice for San Diego Wave FC it topped the North Carolina Courage 3-1 on Saturday evening to improve to 2-0-0 on the year. Morgan netted her first of the night in the 48th minute, cutting past a defender and finishing with a low strike that beat fellow U.S. international Casey Murphy. Her second goal of the game, which marked her first multi-goal game of the year, came in the 73rd minute as she coolly converted a penalty kick.
WATCH: MORGAN FINDS BACK OF THE NET FOR WAVE
Colaprico steals it, Morgan strikes it, Wave lead 2-0. pic.twitter.com/c9Y1esBSym— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) April 2, 2023
Forward Ashley Hatch also netted a brace over the weekend, tallying twice as the Washington Spirit moved to 1-1-0 (W-D-L) on the year with a 2-2 draw against Racing Louisville FC. Hatch, the 2021 NWSL Golden Boot Winner, scored her first goal of the 2023 season with a finish from eight yards out in the 16th minute. She added another in the 32nd after she was played in over the top of the Racing defense by Trinity Rodman and finished from close range to give the Spirit a 2-0 lead. Louisville responded with two second-half goals to secure the draw.
WATCH: RODMAN FINDS HATCH FOR SPIRIT SCORE
That's a BRACE for Hatch! pic.twitter.com/vFHoPgq8t4— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) April 1, 2023
Houston also remains unbeaten on the season following a 2-1 road win over the Chicago Red Stars.
OL Reign, the 2022 NWSL Shield Winner, picked up its first victory of the season with a 2-0 road victory over NJ/NY Gotham FC in a match that was delayed for more than 90 minutes due to weather. Rose Lavelle tallied an assist - her first of the year – on OL’s opening goal in the 31st minute.
In Europe, eight-time UEFA Women’s Champions League winners Olympique Lyon saw its bid for a second consecutive Champions League title fall agonizingly short in the quarterfinal round. Lyon entered the second leg of the quarterfinal matchup against the champions of England trailing 1-0 on aggregate. The French powerhouse took a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute following a brilliant assist from Lindsey Horan. With the aggregate score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the teams went to extra time. Lyon seemed primed to go through to the semifinals following a goal in the 110th minute, but a late penalty to Chelsea in the dying minutes of extra time following a VAR review sent the match to penalty kicks where Chelsea prevailed, 4-3, to advance to the semifinal round.