LA v KC 4/26/24
By: NWSL Editor
Here's What You Missed this Weekend 4/26-4/28

Friday, April 26

Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride - 2-3 (attendance: 11,636)

The first match of the weekend didn’t disappoint fans looking for goals, debuts, and chaos.

The first half was a lesson in defense, as both teams traded counter attacks. In the 22nd minute, Barbra Banda's lightning-fast breakaway to beat her defender and win the ball culminated in a precise cross to Angelina at the top of the box, who clinically dispatched the ball into the net. This marked Angelina's first goal for the Pride, with Banda registering her first assist, setting the stage for the Zambian sensation's future exploits. Not one to head to the locker room on the backfoot, Croix Bethune assisted an Ouleymata Sarr chip over Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse’s outstretched gloves, tying the match.

In the second half, as expected, Banda finally got on the score sheet with an expertly placed header past Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, making her the first African player to score and assist in the same match. The goals weren’t over, however. Before the final whistle, Pride midfielder Summer Yates would convert a penalty and in the 65th minute, Spirit forward Ashley Hatch collected a poorly cleared ball at the top of the box, made a quick pivot, and sent it rocketing towards the goal and bouncing off of Moorhouse’s gloves for a game winning goal.

Watch the full highlights here.

Angel City FC vs. Kansas City Current - 1-3 (attendance: 19,178)
Kansas City Current closed out their Friday evening with 3 goals, 3 points, and 90 minutes of gameplay they can learn from.

The two clubs last met less than a month ago, March 30th, on Kansas City’s turf. There, the Current won handily 4-2. This time though, Angel City FC came up big earlier in the match, scoring in the 34th minute when Claire Emslie juked her defender to advance into the box before left-footing it deep into the corner of the net. Late first half exploits from Current goalkeeper AD Franch ensured Los Angeles’ lead didn’t increase.

Current made adjustments during halftime and in the 54th minute, were able to get on the scoreboard and tie things up thanks to a goal shot from outside the box by Vanessa DiBernardo. And, in the waning minutes of extra time, Current midfielder Claire Lavogez came up big for her team, scoring not once but twice to ensure three points for her club.

Watch the full highlights here.

Saturday, April 27

North Carolina Courage vs. Seattle Reign FC - 1-0 (attendance: 8,135)
Seattle Reign FC's streak of misfortune persisted in the opening match of the day as they journeyed across the country to face off against league powerhouses, North Carolina Courage, where they were defeated by a lone goal. Although they put up a good effort competing for possession in the first half, they were unable to convert any shots. The Courage, meanwhile, found the back of the net in the 37th minute when Ashley Sanchez and Tyler Lussi linked up inside the box for one of the most electrifying goals of the season so far. It was Lussi’s third goal in three games, and Ashley Sanchez’s third assist of the season.

The second half, Reign FC outshot the Courage 12 to 3, but the Courage defended courageously, earning themselves a clean sheet and three points.

Watch the full highlights here.

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns - 0-2 (attendance: 4,544)

It seems the Portland Thorns of yonder years are finally back as they grabbed their first road win of the season, thanks in no small part to a brace from Sophia Smith and clinical goalkeeping from Shelby Hogan. Both goals were scored in the first half and were the only goals of the match.

The Thorns are on the road in a quick turnaround, this time in the Bay Area for their first matchup against expansion team Bay FC. Chicago, meanwhile, are hosting the Washington Spirit at home.

Watch the full highlights here.

Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash - 0-0 (attendance: 10,349)
Amandine Henry hit the ground running in Utah, immediately debuting the starting lineup for a team that is desperately looking for more creativity in the midfield, more goals, and ultimately, more points. However, those goals will have to be on another day, because the match between the Royals and their visitors, Houston Dash, culminated in a draw. Both teams traded chances, with the Royals out-shooting and out-possessing the Dash, but both were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.

Watch the full highlights here.

San Diego Wave vs. Bay FC - 2-1 (attendance: 17,206)
San Diego played host to their neighbors in the north as they faced new expansion side Bay FC for the first time in what is surely to be a rivalry for the ages. Wave forward Makenzy Doniak got the scoring started early in the 13th minute, deftly maneuvering past her defender before unleashing a precision strike into the upper left corner of the net, just beyond the reach of Bay goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx's outstretched gloves.

Bay FC came back in the second half when Asisat Oshoala caught a rebounding ball with the inside of her boot, sending it into an open net. Oshoala and teammate Racheal Kundananji chased a second goal all half, but were met by staunch defending from the Wave. Fate took a cruel turn for the visitors as Oshoala received medical attention on the sidelines, leaving Bay a player short. Seizing the opportunity, the Wave capitalized on their numerical advantage, orchestrating a cohesive team effort that culminated in a goal finished off by the recently substituted in Jaedyn Shaw.

The Bay is back home on Wednesday, where they’ll be facing a dangerously in-form Thorns FC. The Wave have a few extra days of rest before they need to be in Seattle to play Reign FC.

Watch the full highlights here.

Sunday, April 28

NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Racing Louisville FC - 1-1 (attendance: 6,015)
Gotham FC (and USWNT) fans breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday evening as Rose Lavelle made her long-awaited return to play for the first time this season, donning her new club’s colors in the process. She also scored her first goal in a Gotham FC jersey, and what a goal it was.

The match overall was a stalemate across the board, with both teams more or less sharing possession and no team really making a concerted effort to put the ball into the net. Recently announced Gotham FC goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger did what she was signed to do and made multiple impressive saves to keep her team in the game. In the final minutes of the second half, however, Racing rookie Reilyn Turner scored her second goal of the season thanks to a huge effort from fellow rookie Emma Sears. Sears' blistering pace down Gotham's right flank caught the defense off guard, and her cross created chaos in the box, eventually leading to Turner's opportunist strike.

Just as it appeared Racing had secured victory, Gotham FC launched a last-ditch cross into the box that eluded the grasp of Racing goalkeeper Katie Lund. Ella Stevens was able to get her boot on the ball enough for it to fortuitously find its way to Lavelle, who made an easy shot into the open net. The game ended minutes later, with no one winning but also, no one losing.

Watch the full highlights here.

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