With just five weeks in the NWSL schedule before an extensive hiatus, each team seeks to put themselves in the right position ahead of the World Cup.
Just five points separate seventh-place North Carolina Courage and first place Portland Thorns. This upcoming week of contests has at least one match from Friday to Sunday. One slip-up, just like week 10 can shake up the top and bottom of the current table.
The NWSL schedule has three fixtures on Saturday, highlighted by an enticing “NWSL After Dark” matchup between the Kansas City Current and the struggling OL Reign at Lumen Field. Two fixtures on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. EST close out the match week as the Thorns and Houston Dash seek to continue the momentum they have created over the past few weeks.
To begin week 11, the red-hot San Diego Wave visit Racing Louisville who have dropped points in their last two matches on Friday. Casey Stoney’s Wave have won four out of their last five contests in the league away from Snapdragon Stadium. Here are three must-see fixtures among the six weekend matches across the NWSL:
NWSL schedule: 3 of the best fixtures in week 11
3. Kansas City Current at OL Reign
Date: Sunday, June 10, 10:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Paramount+
NWSL matches under the lights have not disappointed whatsoever so far this season. Interim manager Caroline Sjöblom and her Kansas City Current side head to Seattle following five straight defeats across all competitions. Since her return to the lineup, Kristen Hamilton has been a difference maker since her return to action on May 20 against Racing Louisville.
In just 45 minutes, the former Courage attacker collected two shots on target including a goal within the first eight minutes. Despite not having much of the ball at all, KC used Hamilton’s first goal of this campaign and a stable defense to shut down North Carolina in front of its home fans. Just having her presence on the pitch and in the dressing room seems to have made a difference in the Current’s confidence levels.
OL Reign remain at Lumen Field for the second successive match week after a loss in the Cascadia Rivalry. Despite the defeat, Laura Harvey’s side is the only team in the league with four wins on their home turf. Only the Portland Thorns have found the back of the net more than the Reign at their home facility.
The form of the Seattle side as of recently has begun to fall off in the last two matches. Going up against a midfield with one of the best players in the world, the Reign are going to desperately miss Rose Lavelle. Megan Rapinoe and Veronica Latsko are going to have to be the two players that step up for the home side. Rapinoe’s quality with her passing range has the ability to win the game alone. If Latsko or Bethany Balcer are able to get into the spaces between the Current’s backline, it has the potential to be a long day on the road for Sjöblom’s team.
It is a rematch of the playoff semifinals from last season where Kansas City walked into Lumen and knocked off the No. 1 seeded Reign with goals from Alex Loera and Hamilton. Taking down an in-form side like the Courage should motivate Kansas City. Hamilton’s return combined with the X-factors of Debinha and Vanessa DiBernardo in the midfield should be enough to give the home side fits. Expect chaos, just like most of these after-dark matches often possess.
Prediction: Kansas City Current 1-1 OL Reign