The 2023 NWSL Regular Season has officially reached the midway point, with 11 games played and 11 games remaining before a Shield winner is crowed and the playoffs begin.
Halfway through the season, San Diego Wave FC leads the league with 20 points (6W-2D-3L) and a plus-six goal differential, followed closely behind by the Washington Spirit, who are also on 20 points (5W-5D-1L) but have a plus-five goal differential.
The Wave earned a point and extended their unbeaten run to five games in a row with a 0-0 draw on Friday night in Louisville. Without a loss since mid-May, San Diego owns the longest active unbeaten streak in the NWSL and has kept four shutouts during this five-game run.
The Washington Spirit extended their unbeaten streak to three and remained hot on the heels of the Wave with a 2-1 victory over Angel City FC on Saturday at Audi Field. Ashley Hatch opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, heading in the rebound after an attempt from distance by Ashley Sanchez careered off the crossbar and back in front of goal. Alert in front of net, Hatch reacted quickly to head the ball over the line for her sixth goal of the season.
WATCH: HATCH HEADER OPENS SCORING IN DC
Less than 10 minutes later, Sanchez solidified her spot on the scoresheet, finishing a header at the back post in the 41st minute for her second goal of the season.
WATCH: SANCHEZ SCORES GAME WINNER FOR SPIRIT
Angel City pulled one back in first-half stoppage time to cut the deficit to one, but the Spirit defense proved up to the task and secured the victory to keep Washington unbeaten at home this season (3W-3D-0L).
The league leaders at the end of last weekend, Portland Thorns FC dropped to third in the table.. The Thorns fell to the Orlando Pride 3-1 on Sunday night in Orlando, stymied by a pair of second-half goals from the hosts.
Forward Sophia Smith made it back-to-back games with a goal as she put Portland ahead 1-0 in the 20th minute. Smith received a cutback pass near the penalty spot and perfectly placed her right-footed attempt into the bottom left corner for her sixth goal of the regular season.
WATCH: SMITH SCORES SIXTH GOAL OF SEASON
Portland’s lead would be short-lived as the Pride equalized in the 26th minute to knot the game at 1-1 heading into the locker room. Orlando continued its momentum into the second half, scoring in the 47th and 69th minutes to hand the Thorns just their second loss of the season, both of which have come away from home.
After falling to Portland in last week’s rivalry match, OL Reign returned to its winning ways with a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Current on Saturday at Lumen Field. Defender Sofia Huerta was involved in both goals for the Reign, tallying a goal and an assist on the afternoon. Huerta gave OL a 1-0 lead in the minute 35th minute as she converted from the penalty spot following a handball in the box by the Current. The goal was Huerta’s first of the season and the 35th of her NWSL career for the forward-turned-defender.
WATCH: HUERTA SEALS IT FROM THE SPOT
Huerta’s attacking abilities were on display again in the 68th minute as she whipped in a cross from the right wing that found the head of Canadian international Jordyn Huitema to give the Reign a 2-0 lead. It was Huerta’s first assist of the season and the 29th of her NWSL career.
Kansas City scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to spoil the clean sheet, but the Reign claimed all three points at home.
NJ/NY Gotham FC also responded from a defeat its last time out and picked up a point with a 1-1 draw on the road against the Houston Dash on Sunday. Houston took the lead in the 36th minute but Gotham tied the game early in the second half, earning a penalty kick after midfielder Kristie Mewis was brought down in the penalty area. Lynn Williams stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty kick in the 53rd minute for her sixth goal of the season.
WATCH: WILLIAMS EQUALIZES ON THE ROAD
The biggest offensive outpouring of the weekend came on Saturday night in Chicago, where the visiting North Carolina Courage put together a convincing 5-0 win over the Red Stars. Brazilian international Kerolin netted a hat trick as the Courage tied the mark for most goals scored by any team in a game this season while also recording fifth shutout of the season. Boosted by her three-goal output over the weekend, Kerolin now leads the NWSL in scoring with seven goals this season, followed closely behind by Ashley Hatch, Lynn Williams and Sophia Smith, who have six goals each.
Broadcast information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
|Wednesday, June 14
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Racing Louisville FC vs. Houston Dash
|NWSL Challenge Cup: Kansas City Current vs. Chicago Red Stars
|Saturday, June 17
|NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. Angel City FC
|NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. Orlando Pride
|NWSL: Houston Dash vs. OL Reign
|Sunday, June 18
|NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC
|NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC
|NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Washington Spirit