NWSL Weekly Preview

Story posted April 2, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Amanda Vogt

After a long off-season, the National Women’s Soccer League returned to action last week.

The 2022 league champions, the Portland Thorns, started right where they left off with a 4-0 victory over the Orlando Pride.

Gotham FC, the team that finished last in the league last season, took down Angel City FC 2-1 in an improbable road win.

Penn State alumna, Ali Kreiger announced that 2023 would be the final chapter of her professional career.

Kreiger has been a member of Gotham FC since a trade from the Orlando Pride was finalized in December 2021.

Yet, two other former Nittany Lions are just kicking off their professional careers.

Back in January, Penelope Hocking and Ally Schlegel were both drafted by the Chicago Red Stars, and they recently signed their rookie contracts with the club.

Hocking received the start in the season opener, but the Red Stars fell short 3-2 to San Diego Wave FC.

The league itself is headlined by the stars that also spend parts of their season on the US Women’s National Team.

Considering that 2023 is a World Cup year, several teams will be losing key players when they take the trip down under to New Zealand and Australia come July and August.

Some teams, in order to anticipate the certain positions that some of these national team players will vacate, drafted for depth this year.

The Weekend Ahead

Week two of the NWSL happens on Saturday and Sunday, and it starts with a rematch of the 2022 league championship.

The Kansas City Current is hosting the Portland Thorns for its first home game of the season.

Last week, the Current only had three shots on target in a 1-0 defeat to the North Carolina Courage.

Because of how quickly the Thorns work on their attack, the teal and red might have to double back on defense and build attacks out of the backfield.

Possession will be a key factor in this matchup as Portland has the capability of running up the score on opponents.

The Houston Dash enter Chicago to face the Red Stars as both teams are looking for their first wins of 2023.

Against Racing Louisville last week, neither team found the back of the net resulting in a scoreless tie.

Last season, the Dash beat the Red Stars twice in two shutout victories.

Houston can be aggressive on the attack and bombard keepers with back-to-back shots in relentless efforts; however, Alyssa Naeher has the experience to handle that pressure.

The Washington Spirit races to Kentucky to face Racing Louisville after beating OL Reign 1-0 last week.

The purple and white has a lot to overcome considering how poorly it performed in regular season contests in the past — the squad needs to start proving itself before it is considered a threat to the NWSL.

Red Bull Arena will open its doors to NWSL fans for the first time in 2023 as Gotham faces the OL Reign.

Receiving Lynn Williams in a trade on draft day was a key offensive move for a team that struggled with attacking last year.

Williams got acclimated quickly to the NJ/NY team with a score last week against Angles City and this week she laces it up in the Metropolitan area as a part of the home team.

San Diego Wave FC and the North Carolina Courage are fighting to maintain their 1-0-0 records.

But one team will have to walk away defeated, or both knotted up in a tie.

Closing out this week’s matchups is the Orlando Pride hosting Angel City FC.

Neither team looked strong in their first match defeats so both remain hungry to secure a mark in the win column.

Overall, the NWSL is just getting started but wins early add up down the stretch and develop momentum toward the Challenge Cup that happens later in the season.

Amanda Vogt is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email her at aev5215@psu.edu.