NWSL schedule: 3 biggest matches to keep an eye on in week 7

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 26: Jess Fishlock #10 of OL Reign heads the ball during a game between OL Reign and Washington Spirit at Audi Field on March 26, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The NWSL, the most unpredictable and competitive league in women’s football moves into match week seven with the difference between fourth and first position just one point. 

Instead of three UKG Challenge Cup matches leading up to the weekend of fixtures, week seven had just one setting the stage for what is bound to be another exhilarating week of NWSL action. The slate of games includes two matches on Friday followed by one on Saturday, and another three beginning on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST in North Carolina.

It starts off on Friday night with the two teams at the basement of the NWSL currently with Chicago Red Stars visiting a desperate Racing Louisville side that is yet to win a match this season. Houston Dash host Portland Thorns just an hour later while one NWSL after-dark match on Saturday in Los Angeles sets the stage for three to close out the weekend. While it is almost impossible to guess what is going to happen on any given weekend in this league, here are three of the most fascinating fixtures to consider planning your weekend around.

3 matches to tune in for in week 7 of the NWSL regular season:

3. OL Reign at North Carolina Courage

Date: Sunday, May 14, 3:00 p.m. EST

How to watch: Paramount+

Considering the way Seah Nahas’ North Carolina Courage came out of the gate at home against the Portland Thorns, there is no reason they can’t do it a week later vs OL Reign. It is a clash between two sides that have to be feeling good coming off of quality week 6 results. North Carolina and the Reign are two of four clubs that have completed over 74 percent of their passes so far this season.

Powered by one of the league MVP candidates as of right now Kerolin, the Courage broke down the defending champions’ backline three times. Since getting shutout in the UKG Challenge Cup at Red Bull Arena, NC have begun to take their possession and turn it into goals. Nahas has made it clear that his side is going to possess the ball more than the opponent, and now, that possession is paying dividends.

After a two-game home stand, Laura Harvey’s Reign travel back to the east coast, a place that did not treat them particularly well at the beginning of the campaign. Since that loss to Washington Spirit at Audi Field to open the season, the Reign have strung together seven unbeaten across all competitions, netting two or more goals in three straight league fixtures. The Seattle side begins a tough stretch of league matches against a team that has been one of the NWSL’s most compelling sides so far in 2023. The top-level talent on both sides jumps off the page, creating a match that would feature some stunning goals. The Courage have won seven out of their last eight at WakeMed Soccer Park against the Reign which could very well be on Harvey’s mind heading into Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: OL Reign 2-3 North Carolina Courage


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