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NWSL Matchday 4 Preview: Spirit host Dash, Wave visit Angel City FC, and more


The National Women’s Soccer League pushes on this weekend with an intriguing showdown between the Chicago Red Stars and OL Reign. Matchday 4 action begins with a three-match slate followed by a pair of matches on Sunday to close out the weekend.

After collecting six points in its last two league matches, OL Reign looks to continue their wining streak against a wounded Chicago side. The Valkyries have registered a clean sheet in their last three matches while five different players contributed goals in their early-season run.

The Red Stars travel to Seattle without star forward Mallory Swanson due to an injury she suffered while with the U.S. women’s national team. Chicago’s leading goal scorer last season will be sidelined for an extended period of time with a torn patella tendon.

Despite Swanson’s injury, the Red Stars were able to collect three points last weekend in their 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Current. Ella Stevens needed only four minutes to register the first goal of the game before rookie forward Penelope Hocking bagged herself a second-half brace to pad the lead.

Here is a closer look at this weekend’s NWSL action:

Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash

Saturday 7:00 PM EST

The Washington Spirit head into Saturday’s match sitting in second place and unbeaten in league play through the first three weeks. Despite preforming well in league play, the Spirit took their first loss of the season on Wednesday in NWSL Challenge Cup group stage play.

Spirit forward Ashley Hatch scored one goal in two of the Spirit’s matches this season and will look to extend her streak against a questionable Houston defense. The Dash fell 2-0 to the Kansas City Current in their NWSL Challenge Cup match this week and have only registered three goals during the regular season. Last season’s Rookie of the Year Diana Ordonez will hope to spark the Dash to an impressive road win.

The Dash faced the Spirit four times across all competitions last year, splitting the series.

Gotham FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Saturday 7:30 PM EST.

The North Carolina Courage take a trip to New Jersey this weekend to match up with Gotham FC. After a less then ideal start to the 2023 season, the Courage sit in tenth place heading into their match with fifth-place Gotham.

The Courage are still looking for form after not wining a game since their home opener on March 25. With the departure of multiple veteran players in the offseason, the Courage’s young core is still trying to find confidence.

Lynn William’s lone goal was enough to secure a Gotham victory in their NWSL Challenge Cup group stage match against the red hot Washington Spirit on Wednesday. Gotham looks to ride their back-to-back victories into Saturday night and collect their third consecutive win in all competitions.

Portland Thorns vs. Racing Louisville

Saturday 10:30 PM EST.

First place Portland Thorns host ninth-place Racing Louisville in Saturday’s final match.

The defending champions are yet to lose in their reigning regular season campaign outscoring their opponents by nine goals thus far. Reigning NWSL MVP Sophia Smith leads the league with four goals through three matches, while also contributing two assists.

After scoring a total of eight goals in their first two league matches, the Portland Thorns were held to only one goal in their last two matches. The defending champions hope to bounce back after suffering a loss to the San Diego Wave in their Challenge Cup group stage match during the week.

Racing Louisville travels to Portland, drawing in all three of their matches so far. Louisville’s last match ended in a 2-2 draw as Kim Bjorkegren’s side fumbled a 2-0 lead late in the second half last weekend. Louisville will look for its first win of the season against a more than capable Portland Thorns side.

Kansas City Current v Orlando Pride

Sunday 5:00 PM EST.

The Orlando Pride travels to Children’s Mercy Park in search of their first win of the season against the Kansas City Current. Both clubs go into Sunday’s match without a single point earned through the first three weeks.

The Current remain pointless throughout their first three matches suffering defeats to Chicago, North Carolina, and Portland.

Regardless of their mediocre start to the season, the Current picked up their first win in their Challenge Cup group stage match against the Houston Dash. With head coach Matt Potter fired just hours before Wednesday evening’s match, the Current were able to leave Houston with three points and a new manager for the time being.

Things are not much brighter in Orlando, the Pride have conceded eight goals in three league matches while only scoring one goal. The Pride saw a glimmer of success on Wednesday with a home draw vs. the North Carolina Courage. Both sides are in desperate need of points to escape the bottom of the table.

Angel City FC vs. San Diego Wave

Sunday 5:00 PM EST.

Matchday 4 concludes with the battle of California as Angel City FC hosts third-place San Diego Wave at BMO Stadium. Angel City prepares for its duel after suffering a 2-0 loss to OL Reign in its Challenge Cup group stage match midweek.

San Diego collected three points in their group stage match against the Portland Thorns thanks to an own goal from Meaghan Nally.

Alex Morgan leads the Wave with three goals this season and will look to score again this weekend against a woeful Angel City FC defense. The Wave are looking to bounce back after falling 1-0 to OL Reign last weekend in league play.

Last years first matchup between the two southern California rivals ended with a 1-0 victory for the Wave, smashing the single-game attendance recored for the NWSL.

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