The National Women’s Soccer League returns on Friday as the 2021 regular season continues with week two action. The 24 game regular season carries on with games spanning through Sunday, fans can watch games across CBS platforms such as CBS Sports Network and Paramount+,
Week two of the the NWSL regular season will have five games are on the docket over the weekend, starting with Racing Louisville FC and Washington Spirit kicking things off on Friday. Two teams host their home openers on Saturday with Chicago Red Stars against Gotham FC, and North Carolina Courage facing Orlando Pride.
The weekend closes with the cascadian rivalry as Portland Thorns FC host OL Reign, and Houston Dash square off Kansas City in BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.
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Here’s how to watch and what to know about the games this weekend:
Friday, May 21
- Racing Louisville FC vs. Washington Spirit, 7:30 p.m. ET (Twitch)
Saturday, May 22
- North Carolina Courage vs. Orlando Pride, 7:00 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
- Chicago Red Stars vs. Gotham FC, 8:00 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Sunday, May 23
Louisville and Washington on the hunt for first win
Expansion side Racing Louisville FC will get another shot to try and pick up their first franchise win in front of home fans when they face the Washington Spirit at Lynn Family Stadium. Spirit are coming off a 1-1 draw against Orlando Florida, where the young attacking duo of Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman remain impressive in the final third.
Louisville head coach Christy Holly had this to say of the opposition ahead of the match: “The Spirit has a lot of international talent: Kelley O’Hara, Andi Sullivan and Emily Sonnett. Trinity Rodman is making a big name for herself, but that is very exciting for the league. I think since we’ve played them, they have made a couple of changes. They have changed their system. They have brought in some of those big names that we have mentioned. We need to make sure that we are not looking back on that game as opposed to looking at their most recent performances.”
Chicago looks to bounce back
After picking up their worst loss in their NWSL club history, a 5-0 drubbing from Portland Thorns, the Chicago Red Stars will try to bounce back against NJ/NY Gotham FC. Chicago will also welcome the return of fans to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic put the Chicagoland area under strict social distance guidelines.
Chicago will have a new challenge ahead of them when they take on Gotham, the only team aside from Portland to pick up an win during NWSL regular season opening weekend.
Familiar foes in North Carolina and Orlando
While Courage county sing the praises of Sam Mewis and the midfielder’s return to North Carolina, the 2020 U.S. women’s national team player of the year isn’t expected to be available for the Courage until their next match, on May 28.
Each team is coming off a draw in their regular season debut, with each club featuring good performances from the respective veterans on the squads. North Carolina welcomed the return of their captain to the backline in center back Abby Erceg. The long time NWSL defender was a key player in earning a clean sheet for North Carolina, their first in 2021 after conceding 8 goals in four matches during the Challenge Cup.
Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan is coming off a late game equalizing goal for the Pride in their 1-1 draw against Washington Spirit last week. The goal was Morgan’s first in NWSL competition since 2018.
The Pacific Northwest heats up
The Thorns made headlines with their five goal victory over Chicago Red Stars during NWSL regular season opening weekend. The club also made additional news when they announced that current Thorns head coach Mark Parsons will be departing the club at the end of the season to take over as head coach of the Netherlands women’s national team.
On Sunday, the Thorns welcome their pacific northwest neighbors from Tacoma, Washington, OL Reign. The two sides will go head to head in another match for the nearly decade long Cascadian rivalry. OL Reign are hoping to pick up their first regular season win on the road against Portland.
Houston host home opener
2020 Challenge Cup winners Houston Dash try to shake off their 1-0 loss against Gotham FC as they host Kansas City at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The home side outshot their opposition last week, 21 to 10, but only earned 4 attempts on target and failed to breakthrough on goal. The attacking core led by captain Rachel Daly will try to get their first goals of the season against a Kansas City side also on the hunt for their first franchise win after playing to a scoreless draw against Louisville last weekend.