NWSL After Dark explained: Origins and top moments

The National Women’s Soccer League promises plenty of late-night antics and entertainment and NWSL after dark has become a key term for women’s soccer fans. Here are the origins of the phrase and examples of some NWSL after-dark insanity.

When the sun goes down the goals stack up, or at least that’s the idea. With the NWSL spanning across the United States, it’s inevitable that there will be games that take place well into the evening, especially for East Coast viewers. When a game at Providence Park starts at 8:30 pm, East Coast fans are watching the game well past midnight. Therefore, NWSL after dark was born to describe moments in games that take place well after the sun goes down.

The league has fully embraced the term, and it’s found all over social media during late-night matches. NWSL after dark promises chaos to the fans, and often delivers, from insane VAR turnovers to late stoppage time game-winners. Here are some select NWSL after-dark moments for those who are new to the after-dark chaos to explain exactly how out of control these games can get.

Hometown Hero Olivia Van Der Jagt scores the game-winner for OL Reign during their stoppage time at the end of the second half.

This comes after the Reign fired sixteen shots at the Wave over the course of two halves plus stoppage and five of those shots were on target. Both Sheridan and Tullis-Joyce came out big time, making huge saves for both sides. But the Reign persisted, and Van Der Jagt finally netted her first NWSL goal, winning the game for the home side.

VAR Overturns Jun Endo’s Angel City Goal

Angel City thought they had secured their victory during their home opener against NJ/NY Gotham FC with a midfield banger from Jun Endo. But instead, they made a different kind of impact by becoming the first club to have a goal overturned by VAR. This came right after Alyssa Thompson put them up by one just eleven minutes into her professional debut. Exceptionally chaotic, very NWSL after-dark energy.

Lynn Williams scores an absolute banger with one arm, locking in three points for Gotham

After leaving the pitch for a few moments in the first half, Lynn Williams bounced back onto the field with her arm in a splint. But that didn’t matter to Williams, who scored the game-winning goal for Gotham in her debut for the team. It was the best possible way for her to begin her triumphant return to the NWSL after being injured almost all last season. She also coined the bat celly for Gotham which she revived this past weekend as she scored the latest goal in NWSL history at 90+16’.

Alex Morgan gets her first brace of the season for San Diego off a penalty awarded by VAR

VAR is here and for sure making an impact this season already, being either a hero to the league or a villain depending on who you’re cheering for. Regardless, in a class chaotic moment, VAR awards San Diego a penalty kick with the Wave already up two in the second half. Morgan does what she does best, burying the PK and tallying her first brace for San Diego while making her way into the golden boot race.

These are only a few of the NWSL after-dark moments that have taken place this season, with many more to come over the course of the next few months.

Check out our NWSL hub page for more news, analysis, opinion and unique women’s soccer coverage. And don’t forget to follow FOR(E) on Twitter, FanSided’s home for women’s sports.


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