UKG NWSL Challenge Cup Week 9 Review
A roundup of notes from Week 9 of UKG NWSL Challenge Cup action.
NOTES TO KNOW
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
Racing Louisville FC remains undefeated in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup this season after defeating the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 on Friday night. Midfielders Jordan Baggett and Paige Monaghan both scored in the opening 20 minutes to lead Racing to their fourth Challenge Cup win this season. Goalkeeper Katie Lund recorded the fifth Challenge Cup shoutout of her career, tying her with the Houston Dash’s Jane Campbell and the North Carolina Courage’s Katelyn Rowland for second all-time. Racing moves to 4-0-0 in the Challenge Cup, making them the only perfect team.
Meanwhile, North Carolina extended its unbeaten Challenge Cup streak to 14 games with a win over the Washington Spirit. The Courage are 8-0-6 in Challenge Cup play, having not lost a match in tournament play since 2021, and boast a perfect record at home.
Entering this weekend, there had only been five two-assist games in Challenge Cup history. Three more players added themselves to the list within 24 hours of each other, starting with Portland Thorns FC defender Meghan Klingenburg during Friday night’s 4-1 win over San Diego Wave FC. On Saturday, North Carolina’s Tyler Lussi and the Kansas City Current’s Jenna Winebrenner both accomplished the feat in victories for their teams.
Meanwhile, with an assist for the Houston Dash in their loss, María Sánchez became just the second player with five assists in Challenge Cup history, joining Current forward Hailie Mace in the exclusive club.
MILESTONES AND RECORDS
The North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 6-0, scoring all their goals in the second half and breaking multiple records in the process.
The Courage became the first team with five goals in a Challenge Cup game, and the first to score six goals in a half in any NWSL competition. They also set new records for the shortest span to score four, five and six goals in any NWSL competition, as they scored four in 11:01, five in 18:39 and six in 22:31. North Carolina’s goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, who registered her fifth career Challenge Cup clean sheet in the win, was also in net for the Western New York Flash in 2016 when they set the previous record for fastest to six goals in a game against Boston.
The Courage’s six-goal performance was the ultimate team effort, as all the goals were scored by different players.
Forward Kristen Hamilton dominated for the Kansas City Current this weekend in a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dash. Hamilton, who was already tied for the most regular-season single-game record with four goals, recorded the first hat trick in Challenge Cup history, giving her the Challenge Cup record for single-game goals. With her three goals, Hamilton tied her teammate Debinha and Racing Louisville’s Savannah DeMelo for the most goals scored in this year’s Challenge Cup and passed Ashley Hatch for second place all time.
This week, Racing attacker Paige Monaghan and Houston defender Katie Lind made history after becoming the first players to start 20 Challenge Cup games. North Carolina attacker Tyler Lussi and Portland midfielder Morgan Weaver both played in their 20th Challenge Cup game, which has only been accomplished by five other players, including Monaghan and Lind. Weaver and Lind also tied Ashley Sanchez for most Challenge Cup games played for one team with 20.
UKG NWSL CHALLENGE CUP WEEK 9 RESULTS
July 21, 2023
Racing Louisville FC vs. Chicago Red Stars | 2-0
Portland Thorns FC vs. San Diego Wave FC | 4-1
July 22, 2023
North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit | 6-0
Kansas City Current vs. Houston Dash | 3-1
July 23, 2023
Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC | 1-3