Over the last two weeks, the NWSL table has been filled with movement. Given the quality of fixtures in week 9, there could be even more heading into June.
Memorial Day weekend features at least one match Friday through Sunday in the National Women’s Soccer League. It is the final week of regular season fixtures in May, and what it month it has been. From a women’s soccer perspective, it is incredibly difficult to beat the NWSL. With the NBA season winding down and the NFL not kicking off for several months, this is the perfect time for every sports fan to tune into the most competitive women’s soccer league in the world. Just five points separate sixth and first position in the table with NJ/NY Gotham FC sitting at the top with a slim one-point advantage over Portland Thorns, San Diego Wave, and the Washington Spirit.
Week 9 kicks off in the mid-west as two of the teams in the bottom three of the league have the chance to get back on track. The weekend concludes with quite possibly the marquee matchup of the three days as first-place Gotham travel to Audi Field to do battle with the club that was in first heading into week 8, the Spirit. Saturday includes three contests between 3:30 pm EST and 8:00 pm EST kicking off with Angel City visiting the struggling OL Reign. Here are three matches in week 9 of the NWSL that you have to fit in your Memorial Day weekend plans:
3 contests that you can’t miss in week 9 of the NWSL regular season:
3. North Carolina Courage at Racing Louisville
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2023, 8:00 pm EST
How to watch: Paramount+
Just two weeks ago, Kim Bjorkegren’s Racing Louisville had no wins. Within a blink of an eye, the girls in purple are just one point out of a playoff spot. The Kentucky side heads back to Lynn Family Stadium after collecting another multi-goal clean sheet. With three goals and two assists, Racing’s Savannah DeMelo is one of seven players across the league with five or more goal contributions. The midfielder is scorching hot, netting three goals in the last two matches across all competitions. On the back of DeMelo, Louisville seeks to continue its unbeaten streak at home, currently sitting as one of the three teams in the NWSL without a loss on their home turf.
The team just ahead of them in the table, the North Carolina Courage will have something to say about that. Since its one-goal loss on the road, Sean Nahas’ team are unbeaten in their last five games including a sensational display against the Reign at home.
It is the team with the most clean sheets in league play against the club that has racked up eight goals over the last 270 minutes of soccer. The battle in the middle of the park is where all the attention of this contest should be given. North Carolina has grown into the best possession-based club in the league and with captain Denise O’Sullivan along with Narumi Miura, their hope is that they can limit the amount of space players like DeMelo and Ary Borges are presented with. For Racing it has been about those moments of individual brilliance, but the Courage could be the team to conclude their positive run of form given Nahas’ play style in 2023.
Prediction: North Carolina Courage 1-1 Racing Louisville