USWNT REWIND: Thorns, Spirit Continue Unbeaten Starts To Season As NWSL Returns To Action Following International Window
The U.S. Women’s National Team wrapped up the April international window with a 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, April 11, after which the U.S. players quickly jumped back into action with their club teams as the National Women’s Soccer League returned to action with the third full weekend of play.
The action resumed on Friday evening as the 2022 NWSL Champion Portland Thorns continued their unbeaten start to the 2023 campaign with a 1-1 draw against the visiting Houston Dash. Portland jumped out to an early lead in the ninth minute as Sophia Smith drove down the left wing and beat her defender to the endline before delivering a pin-point cutback pass to Crystal Dunn at the top of the six-yard box. Dunn buried her attempt into the upper left corner for her second goal in as many games this season and the 35th goal overall in her eight-year NWSL career. Smith, who won NWSL MVP honors last season, has played a direct role in a league-best six goals this year with a league-high four goals and two assists to start the 2023 campaign.
WATCH: SMITH AND DUNN COMBINE FOR EARLY THORNS’ SCORE
The Soph & Crystal Masterclass, welcome 👋 pic.twitter.com/ZDsQ5rbXDC— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) April 15, 2023
Despite the fast start by the Thorns, the Dash equalized in the 24th minute and the match ended in a 1-1 draw, denying Portland its third consecutive win to start the year.
The Washington Spirit also remained unbeaten through three games this year, beating the North Carolina Courage 2-1 on Saturday to improve to 2-1-0 (W-D-L) on the season. Trinity Rodman put the visitors from D.C. on the board in the sixth minute as she pounced on an errant pass from the Courage and unleashed a blistering right-footed strike from the left side of the penalty area which stuck into right side of the goal for her second goal of the season. Rodman, the 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year, has now scored or assisted in all three appearances for the Washington Spirit this season with two goals and one assist to start the 2023 campaign.
WATCH: RODMAN BLAST PUTS SPIRIT ON BOARD
content team delivering the goods like rodman pic.twitter.com/Wskz0xJfaA— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) April 15, 2023
Brazilian international Kerolin converted from the penalty spot for the Courage just before halftime, but the Spirit reclaimed the lead early in the second half with a penalty from Ashley Hatch in the 50th minute to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage. The goal was Hatch’s third of the season – tied for second in the league – and the 40th of her NWSL career, becoming just the eighth player in league history – and the sixth American – to score 40 or more regular season goals.
WATCH: HATCH CONVERTS WASHINGTON GAME-WINNER
.@ash_hatch33 with her 40th (!!!) career goal 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Eg1iXOmbCj— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) April 16, 2023
OL Reign, the 2022 NWSL Shield Winners, made it back-to-back victories with a 1-0 win over San Diego Wave FC on Saturday in front of 9,219 fans at Lumen Field. The Reign scored late in second-half stoppage time to record the victory in their home opener while also handing the Wave their first loss of the season.
After winning just four games and finishing last in the league standings in 2022, NJ/NY Gotham FC have flipped the script to start the new season and tallied their second victory in three games this season with a thrilling 2-0 road victory over the Orlando Pride on Saturday. Forward Midge Purce, who came on as a substitute in the 69th minute, broke a 0-0 stalemate in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time as she blasted home a penalty kick for her second goal of the year.
WATCH: PURCE PENALTY LIFTS GOTHAM
CLUTCH! Midge from the spot for the lead in stoppage time!! pic.twitter.com/Ls6yAQqoLQ— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) April 16, 2023
Gotham added an insurance strike in the 17th minute – yes, 17th minute – of stoppage time, this time with Purce playing provider to fellow attacker Lynn Williams. Purce found Williams on the left wing and Williams sped past the Pride defense and finished from a tight angle with her right foot for her second goal of the season. It was the latest goal ever scored in NWSL history.
WATCH: WILLIAMS ADDS INSURANCE TALLY LATE IN STOPPAGE TIME
Lynn Williams puts the cherry on top 🍒 pic.twitter.com/rAnuq4f8VR— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) April 16, 2023
The Chicago Red Stars picked up their first win of the season with a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Current on Saturday evening in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Red Stars, who scored a combined three goals in their first two games of the season, jumped out to a 4-0 lead at home before the Current pulled two back in the final 20 minutes of the match.
Angel City FC and Racing Louisville FC played to an entertaining 2-2 draw to round out the weekend action in front of 18,007 fans at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles. It was a tale of two halves as Louisville led 2-0 at the half before Angel City stormed back in the second to preserve the draw.
Broadcast information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
|Wednesday, April 19|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage||7:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Washington Spirit||7:30 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Houston Dash vs. Kansas City Current||7:30 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: San Diego Wave FC vs. Portland Thorns FC||10:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Angel City FC vs. OL Reign||10:00 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|Saturday, April 22|
|NWSL: OL Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars||3:30 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash||7:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. North Carolina Courage||7:30 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: Portland Thorns FC vs. Racing Louisville||10:30 p.m.||Paramount+|
|Sunday, April 23|
|NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Orlando Pride||5:00 p.m.||Paramount+|
|NWSL: Angel City FC vs. San Diego Wave FC||8:00 p.m.||Paramount+|