USWNT REWIND: Spirit Surge To Top Of Table To Start Second Half Of Regular Season

The 2023 NWSL Regular Season has eclipsed the midway mark and there is yet again a new team atop the standings as the Washington Spirit moved back into first place with the second half of the regular season officially underway.

After falling behind 2-0 midway through the first half, the Washington Spirit rattled off three unanswered goals to beat the Kansas City Current 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. Trailing by two goals after 23 minutes, Washington drew one back in the 36th minute as midfielder Ashley Sanchez picked up the ball in the attacking third and drove towards goal, unleashing a skipping right-footed shot from the top of the box that took a deflection and tucked inside the right post. It was Sanchez’ third goal of the season and her second in her last three outings.


With the deficit cut to one, Washington completed the comeback late in the second half, equalizing in the 82
nd minute and then scoring the game-winner in the 87th to secure the victory and move into first in the league standings. The Spirit have now won back-to-back games and have just one loss through 12 games this regular season.

The Portland Thorns returned to the win column and are second in the standings following a 3-2 road victory over Racing Louisville FC on Sunday afternoon at SeatGeek Stadium. Sophia Smith continued her excellent run of form, extending her scoring streak to three games in a row with a left-footed strike from 20-yards out in the 43rd minute. It was Smith’s seventh goal of the season, good for second-most in the league this season.


Portland doubled its advantage with a goal in the 63
rd minute before Chicago pulled on back from the penalty spot in the 72nd. The Thorns quickly responded and scored what would prove to be the game-winner with a goal in the 75th minute from Canadian international Christine Sinclair which was assisted by the USA’s Crystal Dunn. The Red Stars scored again in the 82nd minute to cut the deficit back to one, but Portland closed out it to come away with all three points on the road.

The North Carolina Courage made it back-to-back wins to move into third place with a 3-0 victory over the Orlando Pride on Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Courage scored in the 32nd, 77th and 83rd minutes while recording their second consecutive shutout and sixth clean sheet overall of the regular season. Casey Murphy leads the NWSL with six shutouts this season while the Courage have allowed a total of 11 goals, the second fewest in the league.

The Courage have now won three consecutive matches across all competitions, beating the Washington Spirit 2-1 in midweek Challenge Cup action to move into first in the East Division standings.

OL Reign made it back-to-back games unbeaten with a 0-0 draw on the road against the Houston Dash on Saturday night. Houston held a 6-1 advantage on the night in shots on goal, but the Reign defense held strong for its fourth shutout of the regular season.

In one of the weekend’s marquee matchups, Angel City FC came from behind to beat California rivals San Diego Wave FC 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at SnapDragon Stadium. Following a scoreless first half, the Wave took a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute as Alex Morgan assisted the opening goal by Kristen McNabb. It was the third assist of the season for Morgan, who also has five goals on the year. However, the visitors from Los Angeles responded with goals in the 69th and 88th minute to complete the comeback.

Racing Louisville FC extended its regular season unbeaten streak to three with a 2-0 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Sunday afternoon, scoring in each half. 

Louisville also picked up a midweek win over Houston in the Challenge Cup, downing the Dash 3-0 on Wednesday night. Racing is now a perfect 3W-0D-0L in the Central Division and is now unbeaten in five straight matches across all competitions.

The Kansas City Current also remain in close contention in the Central Division and topped the Red Stars 4-0 on Wednesday evening at Children’s Mercy Park.

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

Friday, June 23
NWSL: Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit 10:30 p.m. Paramount+
Saturday, June 24
NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. Kansas City Current 7:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. Racing Louisville FC 7:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. OL Reign 10:00 p.m. Paramount+
Sunday, June 25
NWSL: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 5:30 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL: Angel City FC vs. Houston Dash 8:00 p.m. Paramount+