2023 NWSL semifinals preview
The GIST: The women’s soccer international break is over, putting the four remaining NWSL playoff squads on center stage as they push through tired legs for a ticket to next week’s championship game. For the love of club, let’s footy.
No. 6 NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. No. 2 Portland Thorns — Sunday at 7 p.m. ET: A perennial contender, the reigning-champion Thorns have lost to Gotham only once…ever. With Golden Boot–winning forward Sophia Smith back on the pitch from injury, Portland’s looking primed for a repeat trophy, but only if their defense actually shows up.
- Gotham, meanwhile, won their first playoff game mere weeks ago, but their high-press offensive line, led by forward Lynn Williams, shouldn’t be underestimated. And on the back line, all eyes will be on USWNT legend, defender Ali Krieger in what could be her last hurrah.
No. 4 OL Reign vs. No. 1 San Diego Wave FC — Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET: Bring on the clash of the coolers. A semis win for San Diego would give them a chance to play for the franchise’s first championship, at home, in just their second season.
- And after her recent breakout performance for the USWNT, the NWSL Shield–winning Wave will rely on forward Jaedyn Shaw to help secure the W.
- However, the Reign won all four regular-season battles against San Diego, so an upset isn’t out of the question. The player to watch? Retiring forward Megan Rapinoe, who’ll be looking for a chance to end her career on the ultimate high note.