This week, we look at the first third of the 2023 NWSL Regular Season, with interesting team news and results, with all the teams having played seven games (out of 22).
In part 1, we examine the top six teams so far this season: Washington Spirit, OL Reign, Gotham FC, Portland, San Diego and North Carolina Courage. If the playoffs ended today, Washington Spirit, Gotham FC and North Carolina would be new teams to qualify in 2023, replacing 2022 playoff teams Kansas City Current, Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars, who would not make it, while Portland, the Reign and San Diego would repeat from last year, but there are a lot of games still to play.
We also look at some news on the expansion front as the Utah Royals turn to one of their former players to lead the side as head coach. We also look at two friendlies in April between the Mexican National Team and NWSL teams in Chicago and Houston. USWNT forward Catarina Macario has also explored a short-term loan to the NWSL from Olympique Lyonnais, in order to get more game time ahead of the Women's World Cup Finals this summer, as she recovers from a long-term injury.
Washington Spirit (4-3-0, 15 points, First)
Off-season head coaching hire Mark Parsons has the Spirit humming along as the club was undefeated after seven games. U.S. internationals Ashley Hatch (five goals) and Trinity Rodman (two goals) lead the offense, while Aubrey (Bledsoe) Kingsbury has three shutouts in seven matches. Defender Sam Stabb was named by the NWSL Media Association to the March/April League Best XI. Stabb broke the league's consecutive regular season stars record with her 73rd straight appearance on April 29 in the Spirit's 1-1 tie with Chicago in Illinois. Also in defense, Canadian international and 2020 Olympic Games Finals Gold Medalist Gabrielle Carle, who joined this season from Kristianstad in Sweden, has played all but 34 minutes of the seven regular season matches. Ashley Hatch scored her fifth goal of the season in the 94th minute for the only goal of the game as the Spirit defeated Angel City 1-0 on May 13 in front of a crowd of 17,427 in Los Angeles.
Off the field news has centered around owner Michele Kang's efforts to buy Olympique Lyon's women's side (see below).
Note: The purchase was finalized on May 16 for the Olympique Lyon Feminin women's side to be merged into a new holding company with the Spirit to create the first of its kind global multi-team women's football organization, which will attempt to bring in other women's professional teams from Europe, the Americas and Asia.
OL Reign (4-1-2, 13 points, Tied for Second)
With a goal in game two in a 2-0 win away against Gotham FC, Jess Fishlock became the only player in NWSL history to score a goal in every NWSL season and with the same club at that. Through seven games, she has three goals, tied with American Bethany Balcer for the team lead. Seattle-area native and former University of Washington midfielder Olivia Van der Jagt (23) scored her first ever league goal in the 95th minute to beat San Diego 1-0 on April 15 in front of 9,215 on a cold day in Seattle.
On April 22, OL Reign made a statement that they are definitely out to repeat their 2022 regular season title (the NWSL Shield) with a 5-2 win over Chicago Red Stars in front of 6,186 in a day game—perhaps the smaller crowd an aspect of OL Reign being put up for sale by their parent company in France (see below). Bethany Balcer had two goals and an assist while Jess Fishlock also had a brace and Megan Rapinoe had one tally.
History was made on April 29 in the Reign's 2-2 road draw between OL Reign and Racing Louisville FC as it marked the NWSL's 1000th regular season match. Three of the Reign players have featured in every NWSL season since 2013: defender Lauren Barnes, midfielder Jess Fishlock and forward Megan Rapinoe
Off the field, news broke in early April that OL Group of France was preparing to sell OL Reign. This writer always questioned the commitment of OL Group to the city of Seattle in particular and the State of Washington in general, with Miami, San Antonio and somewhere in California (before the league brought in San Diego and Los Angeles in 2022 and the San Franciso Bay Area for 2024) rumored to be possible sites, particularly when the team was forced to play in Tacoma (an hour drive away from downtown Seattle) in a baseball stadium for three seasons. (OL Group owner Jean-Michel Aulas had previously told the excellent U.S.-based The Equalizer that he wanted to bring an expansion team to Miami before OL Groupe acquired the Reign in 2020).
The good news is the Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang was buying 52% of the French women's side, with OL Group retaining the remaining shares—including the Lyon men's team and OL Reign, but wants to sell the latter. Kang would also cover 12 million Euros in the women's side annual deficit. The value of OL Group in France is around 50 million Euros. Kang originally set off the rapid expansion of NWSL team values when she bought the club from former owner Steven Baldwin for US$25 million, about double the estimated market value in early 2022, in part because of Baldwin's intransigence in selling the franchise, that one could argue was being run into the ground.
The French owners purchased the Reign for U.S.$3.5 million in early 2020. Two years later, Kang bought the Spirit for 10 times that, setting a new bar for league team values. The San Francisco Bay Area expansion group which recently joined the NWSL for the 2024 season just paid a $53 million fee to join the league. OL Groupe spent some undisclosed amount on Reign operations for three seasons but could make back a ton of profit with those types of franchise fee rates, though Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars are also in the market, after their owners were accused of cultivating hostile environments towards women.
The Spirit could utilize OL Lyon players on loan as the Reign did in 2021 when they brought in world class stars, including German international Dzsenifer Marozsan, and French international veterans Sarah Bouhaddi, and Eugenie Le Sommer. Kang could also set up a multi-club conglomerate like Red Bull, Manchester City (both with MLS franchises in the New York area) and other organizations have done on the men's side—the City group has a women's side in the WSL in England and Melbourne City in the A-League Women in Australia.
This could be a new trend in women's football, with Angel City FC and OL Reign in particularly reaching out for initial exchanges with Liga MX Femenil clubs such as Club America of Mexico City and UNAL Tigres of Monterrey, though exhibition matches and other joint efforts. NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman has insisted that "relocation is always the last resort" for existing franchises, and with new media rights deals on the horizon, clubs shifting cities is generally seen as a sign of league instability, which is the last thing that the league needs after a couple years of turmoil among its clubs on the coaching side and an inability of some clubs to create safe environments for women. There has been some reported local Seattle-area interest in purchasing the club and we expect to have news later this year about a possible purchase that should keep the team in Washington State for the long-term.
NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-1-2, 13 points, Tied for Second
Gotham FC is the other success story along with the Washington Spirit, reversing a poor 2022 season after making the playoffs in 2021. Two late goals by NJ/NY Gotham gave the side a 2-0 win over Orlando on the road on April 15. American international Midge Purce scored the first goal from the penalty spot in the 100th minute and her fellow U.S. national teamer Lynn Williams added a second goal in the 107th minute for a very late win. William's tally in the 16th minute of stoppage time was the latest goal ever scored in NWSL history. Gotham FC looks very strong and Williams was an inspired acquisition via trade during the 2023 NWSL draft in January from the Kansas City Current. In her first eight matches of the 2023 season—six regular season games and two matches in the UKG NWSL Challenge Cup—Williams scored six times. In her club's 1-0 win over North Carolina on April 23, she scored her 60th NWSL regular season goal—tied with Christine Sinclair (see below) and surpassed 10,000 minutes in the league. She is expected to be on the U.S WWC Finals roster for this summer.
Midge Purce, who after the seventh round of games has 99 regular season league appearances when combining her time with Boston, Portland and now NJ/NY across seven campaigns, has two goals in only three games in the 2022-23 regular season and U.S. youth international and rookie Jenna Nighswonger (ex-Florida State University) scored once in the club's 2-1 road win over Chicago on May 7. Their seven goals scored in the regular season are tenth in the league, ahead of only Houston and Orlando (5 each). They need more than those three players to be scoring to continue their playoff bid, but Abby Smith (29)—in her first season with the club after a move from the Portland Thorns—has been superb in goal and posted three shutouts in her six matches.
NJ/NY Gotham FC traded Canadian international midfielder Victoria Pickett to the North Carolina Courage in exchange for $200,000 in allocation money after the season started. Acquired by Gotham FC in a trade with the Kansas City Current on Aug. 22, 2022, Pickett made three appearances with the club this season and six at the end of the 2022 regular season. Pickett was drafted 15th overall by the Kansas City Current in 2021 and spent parts of two seasons with the club, appearing in 35 games with 30 starts. She played at the University of Wisconsin, and represented her country at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups before playing with the senior squad for a pair of friendlies in 2021.
Portland Thorns (3-3-1, 12 points, Tied for Fourth)
The Thorns started the season on fire with a pair of 4-0 wins over the Orlando Pride at home and then away to Kansas City. Sophia Smith had four goals in the first two games—a single against Orlando and a hat-trick in Kansas City—and will be key to the U.S.'s hopes in New Zealand/Australia this summer, particularly with Mallory (Pugh) Swanson out for the tournament after sustaining a knee injury against the Republic of Ireland last month.
The Thorns tied their third game at home against the Houston Dash (1-1) but won their fourth game on April 22 with a 2-0 win over Racing Louisville, as Smith had two assists—one on Canadian international Christine Sinclair's 60th career regular season goal in the league. Sinclair has scored against 14 of the 15 NWSL opponents she has faced in her career. Her 60 goals leave her tied for second-most in league history with Gotham FC's Lynn Williams (see above); both trail only Australian international Sam Kerr [now with Chelsea in the WSL], but Sinclair did it with just one team. Also, notably against Louisville, Bella Bixby earned her 20th career shutout in goal in front of a crowd of 14,972 in Portland.
In the fifth match of the season, Bixby was the hero as the goalkeeper scored only the second ever goal in the league in her position—in the 97th minute at that—to keep the Thorns unbeaten as they came back to tie Angel City FC 3-3 in front of a home crowd of 16, 938. She scored on a back heel near the goal line as Angel City keeper and Bosnia and Herzegovina international DiDi Haracic dropped a corner kick into a crowded goalbox. After the game, Bixby explained her innovative backheel goal to the Portland Oregonian: "Even though I'm tall, I'm not comfortable with my head, so I didn't want to impede any of my teammates that actually know what they're doing. So I just sat myself where I could hopefully pick up a rebound and luckily I did." Bixby joins former Thorns FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos as one of two goalkeepers to ever score a goal in NWSL history from the field. Betos [now with Gotham FC] tallied her goal in a 1-1 draw against FC Kansas City on June 19, 2015, in the 95th minute at Providence Park.
In their seventh regular season game, the Thorns lost their unbeaten start to the season by losing to Houston 2-1, after taking a first half lead through Costa Rica's Raquel (Rocky) Rodriguez. After seven games, Smith had upped her point scoring lead to four goals and five assists (13 points), to lead the league and is tops on assists and second on goals, tied with four other players—Kansas City's Brazilian international Debinha, and U.S. internationals Alex Morgan (San Diego), Gotham's Lynn Williams and her Thorns teammate Crystal Dunn—behind the Washington Spirit's Ashley Hatch, who has five.
Their forward line was boosted with another Canadian brought into the side to start the season as Adriana Leon came on loan from Manchester United of the WSL—who currently have a one-point lead for the WSL Championship over Chelsea (50 vs. 49) but Chelsea has three games left versus two for United and Chelea defeated United in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on May 14 in front of 77,390 fans, smashing the previous record by over 30,000. Leon will hope to see more action in Portland than she did in Manchester, as she played less than 80 minutes across 5 games this season, with one goal, particularly as she is expected to be on Canada's WWC side this summer in Australia/New Zealand. She will be a partial replacement for fellow Canadian attacker Janine Beckie, who is out for the Thorn's season and the Women's World Cup with an ACL injury.
Former Canadian WNT goalkeeper and team General Manager Karina LeBlanc said about the loan deal for Leon: "An opportunity was presented to us to bring Adriana to Portland, and we believe this is a move that is beneficial for both the club and Adriana. She wants to be here and take advantage of the opportunity in a competitive environment ahead of the World Cup. Adriana has the ability to make an impact as we strengthen this special group with her talent to help continue to push us forward."
She should reach 100 caps for Canada this summer. Leon (30) signed with Manchester United on July 4, 2022, after playing three and half seasons with WSL side West Ham United (2019-22). During her time at West Ham, Leon made 59 appearances and scored 13 goals. She began her professional career in the NWSL in 2013 with the Boston Breakers before she was traded to the Chicago Red Stars that same season. Leon played three seasons with Chicago (2013-15), while also playing with the Western New York Flash (2016), Boston for a second stint (2017), Sky Blue FC (2018) and Seattle Reign FC (2018) before departing for England.
This summer, the Thorns will be boosted when U.S. WWC winner Lindsey Horan returns from an 18-month loan to Olympique Lyon in France. On May 13, her team won the French Cup for the first time since 2020, defeating Paris St. Germain 2-1. Norwegian international Ada Hegerberg scored twice in the first half while PSG pulled one back with a penalty kick goal by Switzerland international Ramona Bachman, also in the first half, to finish the scoring in the game.
San Diego Wave (4-0-3, 12 points; Tied for Fourth)
The Wave has continued their quest to again make the playoffs in their second season in the league with a strong start. However, they did surprisingly fall at home (1-3) to previously pointless Orlando Pride at the end of May, though 15-year-old local phenom Melanie Barcenas made her professional debut in the 71st minute, as the Washington Spirit did recently with Chloe Ricketts their own 15-year-old, (see: The Week in Women's Football: NWSL (P3) preview - Spirit Rodman bobblehead; Ex-Spurs coach Amoros at Gotham - Tribal Football). Jaedyn Shaw—herself only 18—scored the lone goal for the Wave and she has been very impressive this season with three goals and second on the team to USWNT veteran Alex Morgan (four goals). Before the game, head coach Casey Stoney told the media, perhaps having some premonition about the Pride match, "We had a poor run of results against them last season (a loss and a tie). We're very aware of that. We wanna try and change that this weekend. We know we need to be at our very best to do that." Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (April 1) and defender Kristen
Shaw was not released by the club for the U.S. U-20 team in CONCACAF qualifying in the Dominican Republic for the 2024 U-20 Women's World Cup team, which will expand from 16 to 24 teams, with the host nation still to be determined.
Casey Stoney told the media on May 10: "There was a very open conversation with Jaedyn, and it's my choice not to release her. She's wanted by the [full] national team. Unfortunately, they [the U-20 CONCACAF regional tournament] don't run through FIFA for windows, and even if they did, the FIFA windows here aren't even respected. We've got six key players out with injuries. It's my job to look after the club. And Jayden was very appreciative of the honest conversation to say, we just can't release her right now. She's a starter for us. She's a main feature. She's been a key player for us this season, and we can't afford to miss her during this period.... She's massive for us at the moment."
MLS teams have done the same with some of their key young American players for the U-20 World Cup Finals in Argentina this summer. Stoney has made the decision which is best for the Wave and Jayden's absence from the qualifiers does not eliminate her from the pool for the U-20 WWC finals, which the U.S. is heavily favored to qualify for., and is typically held in late summer. Interesting, two other teenagers playing regularly for their NWSL teams—Angel City's Alyssa Thompson and Portland Thorns's Olivia Moultrie—were not released either. They played in last year's FIFA U-20 WWC finals in Costa Rica and both have scored goals this season in the league.
Stoney, who is always insightful and clear with the media, talked also about the possibility of MLS adding a 30th franchise soon in San Diego, which would likely play at the Wave's new home of Snapdragon Stadium (capacity of 35,000) on the campus of San Diego State University: "We're already having, you know, limitations to when we can play and when we can't. So we need to be at the forefront of those conversations and make sure that we are a priority on the list of Snapdragon and that we can have games when we need them... So I'm sure, as a club, we will be at the forefront of those discussions and make sure that women's teams game slots are protected."
The fact that the Wave started playing at the new stadium late last season and has had very strong crowds—leading the league after only three regular season games with an average of 21,360, including 30,854 at their season opening 3-2 win against Chicago on March 25—assists in that effort.
North Carolina Courage (3-1-3, 10 points, Sixth)
The Courage have made a better start than some league followers thought that they would, after losing long-time key players in former New Zealand international captain and defender Abby Erceg (Racing Louisville) and Brazilian international midfielder Debinha (Kansas City Current) in the offseason. Second year Brazilian import Kerolin leads the club with three goals while American Tyler Lussi (ex-Princeton University and in her first season with the club after 5 years in Portland and one with Angel City) has two goals. Their 1-0 win over previous first place OL Reign 1-0 at home on Mothers' Day (May 14) from Lussi's goal was their fourth consecutive undefeated game—including a 1-1 Challenge Cup tie against Gotham FC—picking up eight out of twelve possible points, with three of the games at home.
The Courage picked up Canadian international defender Victoria Pickett from Gotham FC on April 28 (see above). Head Coach Sean Nahas said: "We are excited to add Victoria to our club. She is someone we've noticed since her rookie year and always felt she can have a great impact on any team. She has great technical quality and comfort on the ball with a strong ability to dribble. She's a player we feel can help us in all phases of the game and someone who can come in and help us to continue building something special. She's a player and person I'm confident our fans will be excited about. I know she's excited to be here and we're thrilled to have her." Pickett scored the Courage's third goal in a 3-3 tie at home against Portland before 7,070 fans, the fifth highest regular season attendance in club history, in her first regular season appearance for the club.
Utah Royals select former player Amy Rodriguez as their head coach for 2024.
In late April, the 2024 expansion franchise Utah Royals of Salt Lake City named Amy Rodriguez as their head coach for their launch. She played with the previous incarnation of the Royas for three seasons, scoring 15 goals in 51 games. In the NWSL, she totaled 64 goals in 162 games in eight seasons with FC Kansas City, Utah, the Kansas City Current and North Carolina Courage. In 2014, Rodriguez scored both goals for FC Kansas City in a 2-1 victory over Seattle in the NWSL championship game.
She also scored the game-winner in the 2015 title match, a 1-0 win again over Seattle. She also played in WPS with the Boston Breakers and Philadelphia Independence, making the Championship Final with the latter in the final season of the league in 2011. At the national team level, she had 30 tallies in 132 caps, winning Olympic Gold Medals in both 2008 and 2012 and the Women's World Cup in 2015 in Canada. Since retiring as a player after the 2021 season, she has been as assistant at her alma mater USC, where she played from 2005-08; as a player she helped the program to its first NCAA championship in 2007.
Rodriguez said, "Returning to Utah is a dream I never knew I had and it is with the utmost humility that I step into this role as your club's head coach. My time with the Royals is among the greatest years of my professional career. The Utah community fully embraced my family and made this state feel like home for not just myself, but my husband and kids as well. We were devastated to leave and I left feeling like there was still unfinished business on the table. I cannot put into words just how excited I am to get to work and bring Royalty back to this community." She added: "I absolutely love being back here. It feels a bit full circle to have been here as a player and now to come back as a coach. It's an incredible honor and I will do my very best to make this community proud because I love this place. I enjoyed my time here so greatly."
Her signing is historic in that Rodriguez is the first former American NWSL player in league history to become a head coach in the league and is also the first NWSL title winner as a player in a team's head coaching position. Rodriguez is also only the second-ever World Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist to lead an NWSL side, joining current U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, who won the inaugural league crown as head coach in Portland in 2013.
Royals team President Michelle Hyncik was a teammate of hers in high school at Santa Margarita, California. Catholic High. Rodriguez is currently in the process of earning her US Soccer A Senior License and was part of the first group of players from the National Women's Soccer League, supported by the league, the NWSL Players' Association and U.S. Soccer, to receive her 'B' License in a concerted effort to increase the number of high-level female coaches in the United States.
Mexico National Team Internationals versus NWSL club sides during the April international window.
During the April FIFA international window, Mexico—which did not qualify for the 2023 WWC last summer during the CONCACAF regional qualifiers which they hosted—came to the U.S. to play two NWSL clubs in friendlies. Mexico defeated Chicago Red Stars in Bridgewater, Illinoi 5-2 on April 6 in a late morning start before a very small crowd on national television on the Spanish-speaking sports station TUDN in the inaugural MexTour W match.
The Red Stars used the friendly to give professional debuts to three Red Star players: Sophie Jones, (ex-Duke University and a 2023 fourth round draft choice by the Red Stars), Ally Schlegel (ex-Penn State University and a 2023 second round draft choice by the Red Stars) and Mackenzie Wood (ex-Northwestern University in Chicago, who registered for the 2023 NWSL college draft but was not drafted and signed with Chicago as a replacement player in late March after an injury to Red Stars backup keeper Emily Boyd, who has been with the club for six years and spent some of the 2020 season on loan to Koge of Denmark after playing collegiately at the University of California) as well as debuts for new Red Stars players who saw their first minutes with the club: Brazilian international Julia Bianchi (who signed with the team in January from Palmeiras in Sao Paulo), Brenna Lovera (ex-Northwestern University in Chicago, who played professionally in Iceland and Portugal before signing with Chicago this year) and Taylor Malham (ex-University of Arkansas, who played in four NWSL games with Racing Louisville last season), since they had five regulars gone on U.S. and Canadian national team duty—Tierna Davidson, Casey Krueger, Alyssa Naeher, Bianca St-Georges (Canada) and Mallory Swanson.
In the first half, Mexico built a 3-1 lead with goals by Charlyn Corrral (18th minute), Karla Nieto 22nd minute) and Maria Sanchez (34th minute) before Julia Bianchi and Sarah Griffin scored for Chicago in the last six minutes before half time. In the second half, Diana Ordonez and Carolina Jaramillo scored for Mexico for the final 5-2 advantage.
In the second game on April 11, Mexico defeated Houston Dash 5-1 in Houston. Houston gave six players their first game action as a Dash: Madelyn Desiano (ex-UCLA and a 2023 fourth round draft pick), midfielders Sophie Hurst (ex-Harvard University and a 2023 second round draft choice), Venezuelan international Barbara Oliveri (ex-Texas A&M who joined the Dash this year from Monterrey of Liga MX Femenil), defenders Jyllissa Harris (ex-University of South Carolina and a Dash second round draft choice), Lindsi Jennings (ex-Louisiana State University and Northern Colorado University and a Dash third round draft choice) and goalkeeper Savannah Madden (ex-University of Texas, who tried out with the Dash rather than take an invite from the San Diego Wave this spring; she grew up in San Diego). Mexico took the lead in the ninth minute of the game when Jacqueline Ovalle scored inside the six-yard box after a loose ball fell into the space—Diana Ordonez, who usually plays for the Dash, assisted on the goal.
Houston equalized in the 28th minute after forward Cameron Tucker (ex-Brigham Young University in Utah who played with Gotham FC last year) found the back of the net for her first professional goal. A minute later, Mexico regained the lead after the initial shot taken by Mexico hit the far post and fell to forward Charlyn Corral, who scored on the rebound. Ovalle scored again in the 38th minute for a 3-1 half time lead. Greta Espinosa scored the fourth goal of the night for El Tri in the 84th minute while Andrea Hernandez added the final goal of the night for Mexico in stoppage time. The match was nice for the Dash's Ordonez and Maria Sanchez, who could stay home after the game and didn't have to travel.
The two wins go nicely with Mexico's Women's Revelations Cup title in February in Leon, in which Mexico defeated Nigeria (1-0) and tied Costa Rica and Colombia—both 1-1—with Kiana Palacios scoring the Mexico goal in each of the first two games (against Nigeria and CR). Palacios, who was born in the U.S. and played at UC-Irvine, joined Club America this season after three years in Spain with Real Sociedad; she was not on the side for the North American trip. In the Colombia game, Stephanie Mayor, who plays with Tigres in Monterrey, scored; she also did not play in the April series, which allowed the coaching staff to bring in other national team pool prospects.
Mexico WNT roster for the U.S. tour
Gonzalez, Rodriguez Itzel
Alvarado, Natividad Emily
Stade de Reims (FRA)
Villeda, Medina Melany
Mauleon, Pinion Natalia
Delgado, Alvarado Alexia
Nieto, Castillo Karla
Casarez, Jasmine Alexis
Johnson, Carreón Kaitlyn
Angel City FC (USA)
Delgadillo, Prado Myra
Jaramillo, Quintero Carolina
Valenzuela, Chaparro Gabriela
Ordoñez, Torres Diana
Houston Dash (USA)
Sanchez, Morales Maria
Houston Dash (USA)
Ang, Charlyn Corral
Ovalle, Muñoz Jacqueline
Rodriguez, Cubero Kimberl
Hernandez, Buenosaires Andrea
Zuazua, Martinez Miah
Bernal, Castañeda Karol
Rayados de Monterrey
Robles, Salas Kenti
Real Madrid (SPA)
Espinoza, Casas Greta
Ferral, Montalvan Cristina
Rodriguez, Anika Elia
Jasmín Casarez of CF Juárez, received her first call to the Mexican Women's National Team. Three of the players were from the NWSL—two were the Dash players—and one each from clubs in Spain and France.
Olympique Lyon and USMNT forward Catarina Macario is considering joining a NWSL team on a short-term loan
Olympique Lyon of France's Catarina Macario (23) has been rumored to be investigating joining an NWSL team on loan ahead of the Women's World Cup this summer. Viewed by many as a shoe-in for the side if she is healthy, she is rehabbing from an ACL tear and has returned to training for her club team but has not been with the U.S. at all in 2023. With the French Division 1 Féminine season winding down and U.S. women's national team coach Vlatko Andonovski stressing the importance of club play ahead of the World Cup, Macario may need more playing time than Lyon can offer in order to make the USWNT roster.
Macario said to CBS Sports about coming to the NWSL on loan; "I mean… to be discussed, I guess. I can't really say much, but I have been talking to Vlatko, obviously, about the whole situation. Specifically, because my season in Lyon [ends soon] and I'm hoping obviously to play as soon as I can. But, like I said, sometimes with injuries you just have to be patient, you need to have time and just hope everything heals well. So far so good. At some point I think it's just going to be the fact that Vlatko is gonna have to trust me and knowing that if I say that I'm ready, I'm ready."
Note: Next week, we will review the Houston Dash, Angel City FC, Racing Louisville, Orlando Pride, Kansas City Current and the Chicago Red Stars.
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham is on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey