USWNT Rewind: Thorns, Wave Secure First Round Byes In NWSL Playoffs


Reigning NWSL Champions Portland Thorns FC became the second team to clinch a spot in the 2023 NWSL Playoffs, officially earning a berth to the postseason and moving back to the top of the standings with a 1-0 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday evening at Providence Park. Midfielder Sam Coffey tallied her league-leading eighth assist of 2023 – the most by any player in a single NWSL season since 2016 – when she picked out Japanese international Hina Sugita with a cross in the 54th minute for the game’s only goal. Portland’s defense withstood a flurry of chances from Gotham over the final half-hour of action to secure the shutout victory and punch their ticket to the playoffs. With 35 points from 21 matches, Portland controls its fate and can clinch the 2023 NWSL Shield with a win over Angel City FC in its regular season finale on Sunday. The Thorns have also locked up a top-two finish in the standings, securing a bye to the semifinal round, which they will host at Providence Park.

With 30 points and a plus-one goal differential, Gotham moves to fourth place in the standings and can clinch a spot in the postseason and first-round hosting privileges with a home victory this weekend over the Kansas City Current. In the NWSL’s first ever “Decision Day”, all 12 teams will be in action on Sunday, October 15 with simultaneous kickoffs (5 p.m. ET) for the final day of the regular season.

San Diego Wave FC, which last week became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2023 NWSL Playoffs, moved to second in the standings and also clinched a first-round bye following a scoreless draw on Saturday against the North Carolina Courage. In front of a single-game record crowd of 10,434 at WakeMed Soccer Park, the Courage outshot the visiting Wave 12-4 on the evening and goalkeeper Casey Murphy recorded her eighth shutout of the season, tied for the most by any goalkeeper in 2023.  San Diego’s defense also proved up to the task, recording its second consecutive clean sheet. The Wave, who now have 34 points, will close out the regular season at home against Racing Louisville FC while the Courage head out on the road to take on the Washington Spirit. North Carolina is third in the standings with 30 points and a plus-six goal differential and can clinch an outright playoff spot with a win or draw against the Spirit.

Washington enters the final weekend of the regular season fifth in the standings with 30 points and a minus-two goal differential coming off a scoreless draw against the OL Reign on Friday night at Lumen Field. An NWSL single-game record crowd of 34,130 was on hand in Seattle to celebrate the legendary Megan Rapinoe who was playing in her final regular season home match for the club at which she has spent the entirety of her NWSL career. The emotional and evenly-matched affair produced eight shots on goal total between the teams, with both sides picking up an important point in the playoff race. As the Spirit return home to Audi Field with a home playoff match in striking distance, the Reign, who currently hold the sixth and final playoff spot with 29 points, will head on the road to take on the Chicago Red Stars on Decision Day.

While currently on the wrong side of the playoff line, the Orlando Pride remain very much in the playoff hunt with 28 points despite a 3-2 loss to Racing Louisville on Friday night. In one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend, Louisville overcame an early 2-0 deficit to close out its home campaign with an emphatic 3-2 victory over the Pride. Orlando needs a win at home against the Dash on Sunday and some favorable results ahead in the table to secure its spot in the playoffs. Louisville, also still mathematically in playoff contention with 27 points, will close out the regular season in San Diego.

Angel City FC’s postseason hopes are also still very much alive thanks to 2-1 comeback victory on the road over the Houston Dash on Sunday. Trailing 1-0 at the half, Angel City tied the game in the 68th minute when Alyssa Thompson netted her fourth goal of the season just minutes after entering the match. The 18-year-old winger timed her run well and capped off her run at goal with a low and powerful right-footed strike to the far post.


Angel City completed the comeback with a goal in stoppage timing, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Currently on 28 points with a minus-three goal differential, Angel City hosts Portland on Sunday needing a win and some favorable results from around the league to secure the franchise’s first ever playoff appearance. Houston heads to Orlando needing a victory and help to make the playoffs.

While both are eliminated from playoff contention, the Kansas City Current and Chicago Red Stars met in a nine-goal thriller on Saturday, eventually won by the Current with a final score of 6-3. Kansas City took a 3-2 lead into the locker room and outscored the visiting Red Stars 3-1 in the second stanza to secure the victory in front of a crowd of 15,600 at Children’s Mercy Park.

In France, Lindsey Horan’s Olympique Lyon continued its perfect start to the 2023-24 Division 1 Féminine season with a 4-0 victory over Bordeaux on Sunday while Mia Fishel made her second consecutive start and played 45 minutes for Chelsea FC as the Blues tied Manchester City 1-1 on the second weekend of FA Women’s Super League action.

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

Saturday, October 14
FA Women’s Super League: Chelsea FC vs. West Ham United 12:30 p.m. Paramount+
D1 Féminine: Olympique Lyon vs. Saint-Étienne 3:00 p.m. Ata Football/DAZN
Sunday, October 15
NWSL Regular Season: Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage 5:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL Regular Season: NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Kansas City Current 5:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL Regular Season: Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash 5:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL Regular Season: Chicago Red Stars vs. OL Reign 5:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL Regular Season: Angel City FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 5:00 p.m. Paramount+
NWSL Regular Season: San Diego Wave FC vs. Racing Louisville FC 5:00 p.m. Paramount+