NWSL Week 8 Review
A roundup of notes from Week 8 of NWSL regular season action.
BACK ON TOP
The combination of a Washington loss and decisive 4-1 win over OL Reign has landed NJ/NY Gotham FC in the top position in the NWSL standings through eight weeks of regular season play. With 16 points and a 5-2-1 record, the standings shakeup marks the first time the club has sat atop the midseason table alone since July 21, 2013. For perspective, in 2013 the NWSL had just embarked on its first season of play, the New Jersey/New York-based club still went by Sky Blue FC and the league boasted a roster of since retired soccer legends including Lauren Holiday, Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach.
Gotham FC unseats the Washington Spirit for the No. 1 spot, who until Saturday sat atop the standings as the last unbeaten club in regular season play before falling to the Orlando Pride by a 2-1 margin. The top half of the table remains congested, however, with just five points separating first and sixth place, and an additional two teams a point below the playoff line.
Gotham FC forward Lynn Williams scored her fifth goal of the regular season in Sunday’s win over OL Reign. The goal, which also proved to be the game winner, came on her 30th birthday, marking the third time she’s scored an NWSL goal on her birthday. No other league player has scored on their birthday more than once.
The NWSL’s Brazilian contingent continues to shine in 2023, with Gotham FC defender Bruninha, one of the league’s 10 Brazilian stars, becoming the sixth player from the country to score this season.
Orlando Pride midfielder Marta recorded a goal in her club’s 2-1 win over the Spirit on Friday, marking the 37-year-old's return to the scoresheet after rehabbing an ACL tear sustained in April of 2022. In addition to her goal, the Brazilian international also recorded an assist in the match, marking the third time she’s scored a goal and an assist in a single match, and the first time since August of 2017.
RACING IS ROLLING
Kentucky-based expansion club Racing Louisville FC has won three straight matches since earning its first win of the regular season with a 3-0 outing against the Chicago Red Stars on May 12.
Racing midfielder Savannah DeMelo scored a goal and an assist in Racing’s 2-0 shutout of Kansas City, adding a third goal to her regular season tally. With five goals across all competitions in 2023, DeMelo has already scored more goals than she totaled in her first 29 matches in the league.
Goals came fast and furious for the NWSL during Week 8, with four of six matches across the weekend seeing goals within the first 15 minutes of action.
At 93 seconds, San Diego Wave FC forward Alex Morgan's goal that kickstarted an eventual 3-0 win against Houston on Saturday marks the fastest goal ever scored by the veteran. In Kansas City, DeMelo’s goal for Racing came in the 12th minute of the match.
On the west coast, Gotham FC jumped out to a fast start against OL Reign with a pair of goals in the 10th and 12th minutes of play courtesy of rookie defender Jenna Nighswonger and Williams.
So far this season, Portland Thorns FC has scored five times in the opening 15 minutes of play, including twice in Sunday’s 4-0 rout of Chicago. Defender Kelli Hubly scored her first goal of the season in the eighth minute of play before midfielder Crystal Dunn doubled the score with a goal of her own in the 14th minute.
WEEK 8 MATCH RESULTS
May 20, 2023
North Carolina Courage vs. Angel City FC | 0-0
Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit | 2-1
Kansas City Current vs. Racing Louisville FC | 0-2
Houston Dash vs. San Diego Wave FC | 0-3
May 21, 2023
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars | 4-0
OL Reign vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC | 1-4