USWNT Rewind: Playoff Push Intensifies Post World Cup

The race for the 2023 NWSL Shield and the league’s six coveted playoff spots remains competitive as ever, with nearly all the league’s players back in action from international duty following the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The matches kicked off on Friday evening in Florida where San Diego Wave FC made it back-to-back victories with a 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride. Sidelined for the better part of a year as she returned from back surgery, center back and 2019 Women’s World Cup champion Abby Dahlkemper continued her remarkable comeback with a goal for the Wave in the seventh minute, scoring with a half-volley off a corner kick for her third career regular season goal and first since 2016.


Orlando equalized just before halftime with a goal from Brazilian international Adriana, but a goal from Ireland international Kyra Carusa in the 75th lifted the Wave to their second consecutive victory and moved San Diego up to third in the league standings, two points out of first.

Reigning champions Portland Thorns FC earned a point on the road on Sunday afternoon, drawing the Washington Spirit 1-1 at Audi Field. The Thorns opened the scoring in the 64th minute with a goal from forward Morgan Weaver. However, Washington drew level early in second-half stoppage time after the Spirit were awarded a penalty kick due to a handball in the box. Forward Ashley Hatch stepped up to the spot and converted her attempt to level the game at 1-1. It was the ninth goal of the regular season for Hatch, good for second in the league behind fellow USWNT attacker Sophia Smith, who leads the NWSL with 11 goals on the year.


The North Carolina Courage retained their hold on second-place in the standings with 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, which snapped a two-game losing streak for the Courage. North Carolina jumped out to an early lead with a goal in the 14th minute but was forced to play the majority of the match a player down after defender Emily Fox was show a red card in the 21st minute following a VAR review. Chicago took advantage and pressed in the attack, coming up with the tying goal in the 63rd minute to earn the point away from home.

NJ/NY Gotham FC remains in fourth place, three points back of the Thorns, following a scoreless draw against visiting Racing Louisville FC on Sunday evening. Gotham held a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal but was unable to solve the Louisville defense as Racing extended its unbeaten streak to four consecutive matches.

Angel City FC extended its unbeaten streak to six games in a row, the longest active streak in the league, with a 2-1 victory over OL Reign on Sunday night in front of a large crowd at BMO Stadium. Angel City scored in the 13th and 57th minutes to take a 2-0 lead over the visitors from Seattle before Megan Rapinoe pulled one back for the Reign with a penalty kick in the 74th minute. OL Reign currently hold the sixth and final playoff spot with 24 points from 17 matches while surging Angel City is in ninth just three points off pace.

The Houston Dash and Kansas City Current played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday night in Houston with both goals coming in the second half. The Dash now sit 10th in the standings, four points out of playoff contention, while the Current are in 11th and five points back.

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

Friday, September 1
NWSL: Kansas City Current vs. Angel City FC 8:00 p.m. Paramount+
Saturday, September 2
NWSL: North Carolina Courage vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC 7:30 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL: Racing Louisville FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 7:30 p.m. Paramount+
Sunday, September 3
NWSL: Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars 5:00 p.m. CBS Sports Network
NWSL: OL Reign vs. Orlando Pride 6:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL: San Diego Wave FC vs. Houston Dash 8:00 p.m. Paramount+