We’re two weeks into the new NWSL season and this league is already going in hard. Maybe everyone’s getting their mid-season shenanigans out of the way now before everyone leaves for the World Cup. Maybe there’s some weird pollen in the air that’s making all the players extra. Whatever the case, this weekend was a wild ride.
Here’s a few things we learned from NWSL Matchweek 2.
Chicago VS Portland Is An Early Contender For Game Of The Season
I can’t say that this was a particularly good game of soccer. What I CAN say is that it was, as the kids say, lit.
What you had here on Saturday were:
- Two teams who were very good
- Who had also, inexplicably, both forgotten how to defend
- A referee who evidently LIVES for the drama
The result was a wild 4-4 draw that featured a Christine Sinclair hat trick, two penalties, and a stoppage-time equalizer. Not to mention a four-minute stretch earlier in the first half that had three goals. At times this felt less like a soccer game and more like that one carnival ride you puked on when you were eight.
As fun as this game was, I’m not sure we’d all survive to October if there was one of these every weekend.
Reports Of North Carolina’s Demise Were Greatly Exaggerated
After having to fight back to get a draw at home in Week 1, there was early speculation that maybe North Carolina wouldn’t be quite as scary this season as they were last. Maybe they would only be very good, rather than indomitable.
That didn’t hold up for long.
Orlando came a-knocking in mid-week and the defending NWSL dropped five (5) goals on their unsuspecting guests. With their attacking corps— featuring Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald, and Crystal Dunn— flexing all evening, the Courage looked very much like their 2018 selves.
The World Cup is going to throw a lot into the air, and it remains an open question as to whether NC can really keep it going all year. But try not to be too surprised if the Courage do indeed to run the rest of the league ragged in 2019.
Utah Out Here Showing Y’all Up
The 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit this weekend was fairly straight-forward for Utah. One goal, capable defending, an overall solid performance. Nothing you’d write home about, but exactly the kind of game you need to have if you’re even a little ambitious.
But the game itself isn’t the point here. It’s that more than 18,000 people came out to see it.
While other teams in the league are still struggling with attendance, teams like Utah— not a place you’d necessarily expect to see a strong appetite for WoSo prior to the team’s debut last year— show that these are not unfixable problems. Women’s Soccer is a fun product and potentially lucrative business. People do show up if they have a reason to.
As time goes on and more teams start posting Utah- and Portland-level numbers, more pressure is going to mount on league stakeholders to get with the program and take their investments seriously.