As the 2023 NWSL Regular Season nears the midway mark, there has been movement once again atop the league standings as NJ/NY Gotham FC saw its unbeaten run and hold on first place came to an (at least temporary) end with a 1-0 defeat to San Diego Wave FC on Sunday, June 4.
Playing in front of 15,085 fans at Red Bull Arena – the most ever for a Gotham home match – the teams both generated chances in the first half but remained scoreless at the break. However, the tides changed quickly as the Wave scored just 45 seconds into the second half and staunchly defended their lead to preserve the 1-0 victory away from home. The loss snapped Gotham’s four-game unbeaten streak and gave San Diego a four-game unbeaten run of its own and three wins via shutout during that span to vault the Wave into second in the standings.
Portland Thorns FC moved back into first place, holding the advantage over the Wave in goal differential, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over rivals OL Reign on Saturday night in Seattle. Sophia Smith opened the scoring for the Thorns in the 17th minute, picking up the ball in the middle of the field, creating the narrowest of windows to get her shot off from the top of the box and burying her left-footed blast into the bottom right corner. Smith’s goal was her fifth of the regular season, moving her into a tie with USWNT teammates Crystal Dunn, Ashley Hatch, Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams for the league scoring lead. Smith, the 2022 NWSL MVP, also leads the league with 10 total goal involvements on the year with a league-high five assists to go along with her five goals.
WATCH: SMITH SCORES OPENER IN CASCADIA CLASH
Portland struck again in the 87th minute to secure the 2-0 victory and the club’s first ever win over OL Reign at Lumen Field.
The Thorns are now unbeaten in four straight matches across all competitions, a streak which includes a wild 3-2 victory over Angel City FC on May 31 in midweek Challenge Cup action. The back-and-forth battle saw 2-0 lead for Thorns erased by two second half goals by Angel City, before Portland scored the game-winner in second-half stoppage time.
Despite the loss to Portland over the weekend, OL Reign remains unbeaten in the NWSL Challenge Cup with a 3-0 road victory over San Diego Wave FC on Wednesday night. In a match that featured as many combined yellow cards (7) as shots on goal (7), the Reign came away with the victory, tallying once in the first half and twice in the second while also keeping the clean sheet.
Racing returned to action on Saturday and played the Washington Spirit to a 1-1 draw on the road. The Spirit grabbed the lead in the third minute as Ashley Hatch hit a pinpoint ball over the top of the Louisville defense that found Trinity Rodman in stride. Showing off her speed and dynamic dribbling at pace, Rodman juked her defender and finished from close range for her fourth goal of the season. The assist was the second of the year – and second in as many games – for Hatch.
WATCH: HATCH, RODMAN COMBINE FOR OPENING GOAL
Louisville tied the game in the 51st minute after midfielder Savannah DeMelo converted from the penalty spot following a foul in the box. Racing was able to see out the match and secure a point despite playing with just 10 following a red card in the 77th minute.
The Houston Dash moved into the top-half of the standings with a 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride. Houston has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season and has 15 points from 10 matches on the year (4W-3D-3L).
The Chicago Red Stars also made it back-to-back victories and picked up their first road win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Angel City FC on Monday night at BMO Stadium. Boosted by goals in the 16th and 27th minutes, Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead and the advantage proved enough to hold off a comeback attempt by Angel City. The hosts pulled one back in the 88th minute as Alyssa Thompson picked out 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Sydney Leroux in the box for a close-range finish, marking Leroux’s return from injury and Thompson’s first career assist. However, Chicago held on to come away with all three points.
WATCH: THOMPSON TALLIES FIRST CAREER ASSIST
The Kansas City Current snapped their four-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over the North Carolina Courage on Saturday night, handing the Courage their first loss since April 22. The Current scored in the eighth minute and outshot the Courage 11-7 on the night to end North Carolina’s six-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
Broadcast information on upcoming matches featuring U.S. Women’s National Team players can be found below. All times listed are ET.
|Wednesday, June 7
|NWSL Challenge Cup: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Orlando Pride
|CBS Sports Network
|Friday, June 9
|NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs. San Diego Wave FC
|Saturday, June 10
|NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. Angel City FC
|NWSL: Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage
|NWSL: OL Reign vs. Kansas City Current
|Sunday, June 11
|NWSL: Houston Dash vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC
|NWSL: Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC
|CBS Sports Network