No mid-week matches mean games run from Friday to Sunday night in Week 5 of the NWSL schedule as the month of April comes to a close.
In the final match week of April, the NWSL has a complete slate of matches with one each day throughout the weekend. The action begins with a trip down south to Houston where the Dash encounter a struggling North Carolina Courage side under the lights. Saturday includes four matches with the marquee matchup being played in Oregon after dark between Angel City and the best team in the NWSL, the Portland Thorns. Given that the mid-week matches affected week 4 of the regular season, the hope is that with a regular amount of rest, the goal-scoring will return to the kind of production that was found in weeks 2 and 3.
There is no better contest to conclude the weekend than the return of Lynn Williams to Kansas City. NJ/NY Gotham FC is red hot since the club’s loss to OL Reign at home a few weeks ago while the Kansas City Current are just beginning to hit their stride in the final weeks of April. Here are three intriguing NWSL contests to keep an eye on during a week that features contests on three different days for the first time in 2023.
3 must-watch matches on tap this weekend in the NWSL:
3. Angel City FC at Portland Thorns
Date: Saturday, April 29, 10:30 pm EST
How to watch: Paramount+
After having the return of Julie Ertz spoiled by the San Diego Wave at home, Freya Coombe and Angel City FC have their eyes set on bouncing back. ACFC is winless in its last three matches in all competitions, losing the last two due to multitude second-half goals by the opposition. The task of getting back on track does not get any easier for the Los Angeles side. Mike Norris’ Portland Thorns are a well-oiled machine, scoring earlier and often. After falling short in match week one of the UKG Challenge Cup, the Thorns rebounded to capture a convincing 2-0 victory at home over the previously unbeaten Racing Louisville.
Last season at Providence Park, Angel City became victim to the Thorns’ potent attack right out of the gate. Coombe’s side gave up two goals within the first 18 minutes en route to a 3-0 defeat. A defensive stand is needed for the LA side. No clean sheets in five matches this season, and with Portland next, it is a chance to make a statement. After what has to be considered an unsuccessful home stand, the California side hopes that a change in scenery can conclude this poor run of form.
In her first match in ACFC colors, Ertz made a difference in the midfield. The former Red Stars’ midfielder had a team-high in interceptions while contributing the second-most final third entries on in her 71 minutes on the pitch. Battling with Hina Suita, Christine Sinclair, and Sam Coffey in the midfield, Ertz is going to have her hands full. The Los Angeles side has undeniable potential with the combination of youth and experience through the roster, providing it with a chance to shock the NWSL world in one of the toughest places in the league to play.