Despite my penchant for hyperbole, I’m not in the business of overselling things. Hyperbole also lands best when expectations aren’t heightened, but enough about preferred literary devices. Every NWSL week 3 matchup was handcrafted by chaos the same way Lindt wants you to believe they craft their truffles. Let me show you…
Portland Thorns v. OL Reign, 10:30 ET on CBS Sports NetworkREAL SPOOKY HOURS! A Cascadia Rivalry on Friday the 13th is the NWSL scheduling gods “accidentally” dumping several eyes of newt into their cauldron. Seattle (OL Reign) and Portland is always a show and now they’re playing on a day beloved by the sinister. What I’m saying is Reign should be extra wary of Sophia Smith.
Orlando Pride v. Kansas City, 6:30 ET on Paramount+
Orlando shocked damn near everyone and went across the country to beat Angel City. Kansas City, meanwhile, has failed to live up to heightened expectations. In addition to losing both regular season games, they’ve also yet to score a goal. The Current desperately need rookie Elyse Bennett back on the pitch, and if she is, expect the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup assist leader to open her regular season account.
NJ/NY Gotham FC v. North Carolina Courage, 7 ET on Paramount+
For contrasting reasons, these teams have made me stare at my television with stank face. Gotham went to San Diego and let them set records for highest expected goals (xG; 4.53) allowed and most shots taken inside the box (24!). Meanwhile, North Carolina are a devastating collection of players deploying a devastating style of play dedicated to putting defenses under extreme pressure at all times. Either Gotham summons strength from the NWSL’s aversion to predictability or they lose, by a lot.
Racing Louisville v. Houston Dash, 8 ET on Twitch
Louisville went to Seattle to face OL Reign for their home opener and earned a 2-2 draw. Houston one-upped them by beating Kansas City, thanks to some terrific saves from goalkeeper Jane Campbell. In Louisville’s last match, they finally put veteran forward Jess McDonald and 21-year-old forward Ebony Salmon on the pitch at the same time, and [insert grinch_smile.gif]. If they’re named in the XI, expect the duo to combine for a goal.
San Diego Wave v. Chicago Red Stars, 5 ET on Paramount+
Alex Morgan’s four goals capped an outstanding performance from San Diego over Gotham FC, but was it an isolated performance or have they figured something out? Chicago has a new and very well-balanced 3-4-3 system, but are a bit toothless without star forward Mallory Pugh. Morgan is a streaky player, so don’t bet against her scoring in this one.
Washington Spirit v. Angel City, 5 ET on Paramount+
Angel City goes on their first road trip to face last season’s NWSL Champions, the Washington Spirit. Angel City rode the high of their inaugural opener to a win over a scarily good North Carolina team, but followed it up with a loss versus a not very scary Orlando side. On paper, Washington should be able to cope with the new kids just fine, but there’s no known defense for a Christen Press banger – and we’ve been waiting, (im)patiently.