By: NWSL Editor
Here's What You've Missed this Weekend 4/19 - 4/21

Friday, April 19

Orlando Pride vs. San Diego Wave - 1-0

“Momentum is key,” Pride head coach Seb Hines told press ahead of their match against San Diego Wave, the outcome of which would either extend their unbeaten streak or bring it to an end. And Orlando had all the momentum as they took every opportunity to shoot on goal, eventually resulting in a loose ball in the box that midfielder Summer Yates would redirect past Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

In the second half, the Wave attempted to change the tides but once Barbra Banda made her long awaited debut for the Pride in the 61st minute, the Wave were unable to come up with an answer. Although she didn’t convert a goal, Banda tied teammate Julie Doyle for shots on goal, a preview to come for fans who have been eagerly anticipating her arrival.

Watch the full highlights here.

Saturday, April 13

Washington Spirit vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC - 2-0

In the Spirit’s fourth highest attended match in history, the Spirit extended their win streak to four games, a feat they hadn’t reached since the season they were declared NWSL Champions.

The Spirit and Gotham FC traded shots for most of the first half but finally, in the 41st minute, Casey Kreuger threaded a precise ball through traffic to Croix Bethune. Bethune shook off her defenders with a few deft touches and sent in a ball from outside the box, giving the Spirit the lead into halftime. Bethune now leads rookies in goals scored.

In the second half, Bethune continued making an impact when her shot in the box earned the Spirit a penalty kick, which Ashley Hatch handily converted. The visitors were unable to find the back of the net and the match ended with the Spirit victorious, securing them three crucial points and, at that moment, a coveted spot at the top of the table with more games left to play over the weekend.

Watch the full highlights here.

Racing Louisville vs. Utah Royals - 5-1

Thunder Over Louisville brought scores of fans to Lynn Family Stadium this Saturday, an annual event in Louisville that mixes fireworks and one of the biggest airshows in the nation. But the action on the field was just as captivating, as Racing Lousivile FC dominated the match, securing their first win of the season and head coach Bev Yanez’s first win of her fledgling career, all in front of a record-breaking crowd.

Opposing Louisville was expansion team Utah Royals FC, also helmed by another veteran of the league, Amy Rodriguez. Racing midfielder Savannah DeMelo etched her name in club history books by notching her first career brace, simultaneously becoming the club's all-time leading goal scorer with 11 goals. Rookies Emma Sears and Reilyn Turner scored their first professional goals as well and not one to take her foot off the gas, forward Uchenna Kanu scored her fourth goal of the season. Utah rookie Olivia Smith Griffits was able to get her club on the board but ultimately, Racing’s dominance remained unchecked. The match ended with the home team the victors, extending their unbeaten streak to five games.

Watch the full highlights here.

Kansas City Current vs. Bay FC - 5-2

At this point, it might be impossible to stop the dominant superpower that is Kansas City Current under the guidance of Vlatko Andonovski and powered by two of the league’s best goal scorers, Temwa Chawinga and Bia Zaneratto.

Bay FC, however, put up a valiant effort as they fought to get out of their own half and make a run down the sides to cross the ball in. In response, the Current forced turnovers in Bay FC’s half, capitalizing on loose balls to pepper Bay FC goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx all match.

Early goals from Zaneratto and midfielder Bayley Feist propelled the Current into the lead, but the Bay Area team cut Kansas City’s lead in half in the 17th minute when centerback Kayla Sharples found the back of the net. However, any hopes of a comeback were dashed as Chawinga netted a brace and Zaneratto scored for the second time in the match. Although Bay FC managed to find the net again through Tessa Boade in the 78th minute, the match concluded with a decisive 5-2 scoreline in favor of the Current.The results put the Current back at the top of the table and extended their record to 4-1-0.

Watch the full highlights here.

Portland Thorns vs. Houston Dash - 4-1

“This is the standard the Thorns have always had” said Thorns FC forward Sophia Smith in her post match, and post victory, press conference. The club’s 2024 season so far has been a head scratcher for many fans across the league, who are used to a more dominant and victorious Thorns FC. But Portland seemed to have returned to their previous glory Saturday night as they hosted the Houston Dash in front of a raucous home crowd and came away with some desperately needed points.

An early goal from Thorns FC legend Christine Sinclair put the home side in the lead, which was doubled by Smith not long later. Diana Ordóñez got Houston on the board early in the second half but by the time the whistle blew at the end of the match, Portland midfielder Olivia Moutlrie and forward Janine Beckie would join in on the goal scoring fun. “We’re back,” Smith said, and truly, it feels like energy has changed. They’ll look to keep that momentum on the road next weekend in Chicago while Houston, also on the road, will hope to turn things around in Utah.

Watch the full highlights here.

Sunday, April 21

Seattle Reign FC vs. Chicago Red Stars - 1-2

Reign FC were at home this weekend, facing off against an in-form Chicago Red Stars on a sunny day in Seattle. The weather was the only bright spot for Seattle, however, as their unprecedented losing streak continued.

The Red Stars wasted no time, with forward Ally Schlegel scoring the first goal of the match in the 4th minute of the game. Their momentum carried into the 31st minute when Jenna Bike advanced with the ball on the right flank before delivering a pinpoint pass to an advancing Mal Swanson, who expertly slotted the ball into the far corner of the net.

Reign FC woke up in the second half, possessing the ball more and taking more shots on goal. Their persistence paid off in the 79th minute when Tziarra King made an instant impact after subbing on, sending in a rocket of a shot after receiving a well-timed pass from Jess Fishlock. But ultimately, it was too little too late, and after a few tense final minutes, the Red Stars came away victorious.

Watch the full highlights here.

Angel City FC vs. North Carolina Courage - 2-1

Angel City FC rewarded their sell-out crowd of 22,000 fans (and Christen Press) with an action-packed match Sunday evening, facing off against North Carolina Courage, a team yet to taste victory on Los Angeles turf. That trend continued thanks in no small part to the efforts of Scottish forward Claire Emslie, some staunch defending from Sarah Gorden, and a brief cameo from the goal post.

Emslie's first goal came from a precise free kick just outside the box, earned after forward Alyssa Thompson drew a foul. The shot with her left foot was accurate and powerful, leaving Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy with little chance of saving it. Emslie would double Los Angeles’ lead in the second half after receiving a through ball from Thompson, finishing her run with a chip over Murphy’s outstretched gloves. Although the Courage managed to pull one back with a fortuitous goal from Tyler Lussi off an inbound corner, they failed to capitalize on further opportunities, handing Angel City FC their first home victory of the season.

Watch the full highlights here.

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