Another NWSL season is finally here on March 25! There’s no league in the world as competitive as this one, and as we enter the NWSL’s 10th season of play, there’s reason to watch every single team.
The opening weekend gods blessed us even further with some extra tasty matchups.
Match 1: North Carolina Courage vs. Kansas City Current, Saturday March 25, 2pm ET @ WakeMed Soccer Park (North Carolina) & on Paramount+
It wasn’t long ago that the North Carolina Courage were the new hotness but now they’ve been picked apart and have been rebuilding ever since. Kansas City did one of those action movie montages in the offseason and went from good to great. Shrinking the Courage’s dynasty in the rearview mirror could be a perfect way to signal a new era.
Reason to watch: North Carolina’s Kerolin is a certified ankle snatcher and KC’s Michelle Cooper has a penchant for scoring absolute rockets.
Match 2: San Diego Wave vs. Chicago Red Stars, Saturday March 25, 10pm ET @ Snapdragon Stadium (San Diego, CA) & on CBS Sports Network
Both clubs surprised last season. San Diego got into the playoffs, a first for an expansion team, and were a goal away from getting to the championship game. Chicago rolled out a new formation and found a way to unleash God Mode Mallory Swanson, who had her best ever NWSL season in 2022 (and is currently on fire for the USWNT).
Reason to watch: God Mode Mallory Swanson, plus 18-year-old Jaedyn Shaw scored three goals in five appearances in her first games as a pro.
Match 3: Washington Spirit vs. OL Reign, Sunday March 26, 4pm ET @ Audi Field (Washington, DC) & on Paramount+
OL Reign won the NWSL Shield last season and were one of its most consistent performers, winning a league-high 11 games. One of those four was to the Washington Spirit on last year’s opening weekend, despite the Spirit going on to finish second from the bottom. There’s a lot of renewed hope in Washington with a new coach and new style of play, but Reign will be looking to avoid deja vu.
Reason to watch: When Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez are cookin' they’re can’t-miss entertainment, same when Rose Lavelle and Jess Fishlock are cookin' too.
Match 4: Portland Thorns vs. Orlando Pride, Sunday March 26, 5pm ET @ Providence Park (Portland, OR) & on Paramount+
This match might be a bit too soon for a refreshed, young and talented Orlando Pride, but defeating last year’s champions on matchday-1 would send shockwaves throughout the league.
Reason to watch: If you’re a fan of excellence in sports you are contractually obligated to watch every minute of Sophia Smith and Crystal Dunn on the pitch.
Match 5: Houston Dash vs. Racing Louisville, Sunday March 26, 7pm ET @ Shell Energy Stadium (Houston, TX) & on Paramount+
María Sánchez and Ebony Salmon now have goalscorer Diana Ordóñez to help them torment defenses, while Louisville has the electric Savannah DeMelo and Chinese superstar Wang Shuang. Also, Ebony Salmon was traded from Louisville to Houston last year and wasn’t happy about it. Whomst doesn’t love an opening day revenge game?
Reason to watch: María Sánchez loves putting defenders in blenders and Ebony Salmon scores in bunches.
Match 6: Angel City FC vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, Sunday March 26, 9pm ET @ BMO Stadium (Los Angeles, CA) & on Paramount+
Both clubs missed the playoffs last year but for very different reasons. Angel City were cursed by the injury demon while Gotham struggled to find identity and consistency on the pitch. However, Angel City is getting healthier and Gotham retooled with a new coach and lots of new talent, including former NWSL MVP Lynn Williams.
Reason to watch: This will very likely be 18-year-old No. 1 overall draft pick Alyssa Thompson’s debut. If you don’t know about her now, you will!
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)