By: NWSL Editor
Here’s What You Missed This Weekend 3/29 - 3/31

Week 3 is in the books. History was made in the Bay, there was a stoppage time stunner in San Diego and a fan favorite returned to her goal scoring ways in Orlando. Here’s what you might have missed this weekend!

Friday, March 29
Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars - 1-1
Two teams went into this game undefeated, and two teams emerged still undefeated. The Pride and Red Stars opened up the weekend action in Orlando and it was a game many Mal Swanson fans (all of us) have been waiting for. Down a goal after a Pride corner kick glanced off of Chicago’s Taylor Malham’s head and over Alyssa Naeher’s gloves into the net, Mal Swanson pulled one back for her team in the most stunning fashion off of a Jenna Bike pass.

It was the 64th minute but Orlando didn’t have an answer, and the match ended in a draw.

Watch the full highlights .

San Diego Wave FC vs. Seattle Reign FC - 1-0
This 2023 semi-final rematch did not disappoint NWSL fans hoping for some NWSL After Dark chaos as San Diego hosted Reign FC in the same stadium where Seattle’s championship dreams were crushed last season. Reign FC would once again leave disappointed after Emily van Egmond one-touched the ball past Reign FC goalkeeper Claudia Dickey in the final seconds of the match.

It was a team effort, San Diego’s Danielle Colaprico had a give and go with teammate Savannah McCaskill just outside the box and sent in a ball that would ricochet off of Reign FC and Wave players alike. Alex Morgan angled the ball to the open van Egmond and pointed towards goal but the Aussie knew what needed to be done. Her goal gave the Wave all three points and might have cured any lingering disappointment from last weekend’s home opener loss.

Watch the full highlights.

Saturday, March 30

Kansas City Current vs. Angel City FC - 4-2
In week 3, Angel City FC has yet to taste victory this season, but in the post-match presser, head coach Becki Tweed stated it’s not because they’re being outplayed, but because of mistakes. That could be the case for this game but simultaneously, credit to Kansas City–their combination of quick-thinking attacking and stoic defending gave them another win at home.

Kansas City’s Vanessa DiBernardo started off the scoring when she linked up with teammate Chawinga and slotted one past Angel City FC goalkeeper Angelina Anderson.

DiBernardo would assist her team’s next goal, this time with Alexa Spaanstra as the goal scorer. Sydney Leroux would then get Angel City FC on the board off a diving header from a Claire Emslie cross into the box. 

Watch the full highlights.

North Carolina Courage vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC - 1-0
Much like San Diego Wave had done the evening prior, North Carolina Courage overcame the team that handed them a 2023 playoff defeat by winning in front of a home crowd with a single goal. NJ/NY Gotham FC–although not the same squad as last season, with their new contingent of USWNT stars–headed south to North Carolina after handing Portland their first home opener defeat in franchise history. Confidences soaring, they outshot their opponents 15 to the Courage’s 6, but with only 1 shot on target being from the Courage and it being a goal, it was apparent luck was not on their side. North Carolina’s Ashley Sanchez, their own big off-season signing, met Bianca St-Georges’ cross into the box by heading it down and into Brianna Pinto’s path. Showing a level head, Pinto used the outside of her boot to one touch it at an angle past Cassie Miller, giving the Courage three more points and the 3rd place in the standings.

Watch the full highlights.

Portland Thorns FC vs. Racing Louisville FC - 2-2
Racing opened the scoring in their away match in Portland with back-to-back goals from forward Uchenna Kanu, both stunning in their own way. Kanu scored the first goal a few minutes into the match off of a deflection in the box that fortuitously put the ball at her feet. The second, mere minutes later, Kanu found glory again when a no-look cross from rookie Reilyn Turner found Kanu’s head, sending it past Portland goalkeeper Shelby Hogan.

By the middle of the second half, Portland had finally gotten used to Racing’s press, deploying a counter-press of their own that eventually panned out when, in the 67th minute, Morgan Weager sent a low ball rolling past Racing goalkeeper Katie Lund into the goal. Only needing one goal to level things, the Thorns continued to dominate possession and kept the ball in their final third. It paid off and, in the final seconds, Sam Coffey collected the ball at the top of the box and dribbled it in before taking her chance, firing a close range stunner into the box and securing the Thorns a point.

It’s clear that Racing has all the pieces it needs to be successful, despite results, and once the team and head coach Bev Yanez figure out what final piece is missing, they'll be a team to watch the rest of the season.

Watch the full highlights.

Bay FC vs. Houston Dash - 2-3
Women’s professional soccer has officially returned to the Bay Area, one of the biggest hotbeds of talent in the nation, and it did so in front of a sold out crowd of 18,000.

The home team got the scoring started in the 19th minute after the ball ricocheted to the feet of Bay FC midfielder Deyna Castellanos, who scored and celebrated in the most iconic way.

The rest of the first half would be comparatively quiet, as would most of the second half, until Houston’s Diana Ordóñez leveled it up in the 66th minute and then, in the 87th minute, scored a brace to give Houston the lead. Racheal Kundananji would make history in extra time, scoring off of a cut into the box and an arcing shot over Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell’s outstretched hands–the first Zambian to score in the NWSL. But not one to give up, Houston’s Havana Solaun answered in the final seconds of the match, giving the visitors the lead once again. Bay FC had several opportunities to equalize but were unable to put another one past Campbell, concluding their debut home opener in a poignant blend of emotions. While the taste of defeat was undoubtedly bitter for fans and players alike, the undeniable passion and exuberance radiating from the community throughout the match is one that will leave a lasting memory on everyone present.

Watch the full highlights.

Sunday, March 31

Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FC 2-1
Another home victory for the Spirit, as they hosted expansion team Utah Royals FC. In the 21st minute, Croix Bethune was fouled in the box, earning her team a penalty which Andi Sullivan stepped up to take. Utah goalkeeper Mandy Haught got her fingertips on the ball but Sullivan had put too much power on it, giving the Spirit the lead.

In the 30th minute, the Spirit would strengthen that lead when Trinity Rodman sent in a deep cross into the box, finding her teammate Ouleymata Sarr whose header would send it into the other corner.

In the 71st minute, Ally Sentnor would earn her second goal of her professional career when she collected a pass at the top of the box, switching to her right foot and slipping the ball perfectly past Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury and the post.

Utah had a few more opportunities, and almost capitalized on Kingsbury being out of her spot at one point, but the Spirit defended until the end, earning themselves three crucial points and the fourth spot in the standings.

Watch the full highlights.

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