soccer

11 players to watch in the NWSL Championship Game


Published: 10/26/22
Sophia Smith

The 2022 NWSL Championship kicks off Saturday, October 29 and we. are. here. for it. The match features the Portland Thorns vs. KC Currant, kicking off at 8 p.m. ET from Audi Field in Washington, D.C. All of the action will air on CBS.

We already previewed the full game (you can read that here), but we thought we'd take things to the next level. Here, we'll break down 11 players you need to know ahead of the NWSL Championship.

1) Sophia Smith: Forward, Portland Thorns

Turned 22 in August and is already among the top-five players in the world, and she’s not #5.

2) Lo’eau LaBonta: Midfielder, KC Current

There is no more optimistic player in the NWSL, nearly every touch, turn, pass or run from LaBonta is full of creativity and/or pure joy.

3) Crystal Dunn: Midfielder, Portland Thorns

Won a Golden Boot and MVP as a striker, was a key central midfielder and winger on a dynastic NWSL team, then a shutdown left back during the World Cup run in 2019; delivered a baby five months ago and scored the match-winning goal this past weekend. There’s only one Crystal Dunn.

We take a closer look at her incredible story here.

4) Yazmeen Ryan: Forward/midfielder, Portland Thorns

Still somehow underrated, but was tied for third in regular-season assists and is an exceptionally versatile player who’s comfortable in midfield or as a forward.

5) Kristen Hamilton: Forward, KC Current

An energetic forward who never stops running and has a knack for popping up in dangerous areas to test the opposition goalkeeper.

6) Morgan Weaver: Forward, Portland Thorns

Never. Stops. Running. From intense high pressing all along the backline to runs central and out wide, Weaver refuses to let defenses rest.

7) Alex Loera: Defender, KC Current

A remarkably resolute defender with the creativity of an attacking midfielder.

8) AD Franch: Goalkeeper, KC Current

There are few things more frustrating for an opponent than a goalkeeper in God Mode, where Franch has permanent residence.

9) Elyse Bennett: Forward, KC Current

Typically comes off the bench but is a dynamic dribbler with exceptional balance who is strong enough to hold off a defender while creating a shot for herself or a teammate.

10) Sam Coffey: Defensive midfielder, Portland Thorns

A rookie excelling at one of the most physically and mentally demanding positions on the pitch, defensive midfield.

11) CeCe Kizer: Forward, KC Current

Kizer's direct runs and ability to create shooting opportunities from 1v1 situations is a perfect complement to the Current's ability to strike quickly after regaining possession.

Craving more NWSL? Be sure to check out our full NWSL Championship game preview!


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