NWSL Fall Series: Week One Recap

NWSL Fall Series cup 2020

The NWSL is back, ladies! The Fall Series kicked off this past weekend after a very successful Challenge Cup. Sky Blue FC faced off against the Washington Spirit on Saturday. But before we get to that, there’s a ton of news to cover. Is it the NWSL without off season drama? Of course not!

So What’s the Tea?

Well, once the Challenge Cup was over, many NWSL players looked to play overseas in countries where the pandemic is better controlled. It makes perfect sense considering that seemed like the only way they could do their jobs. And guess what? The Orlando Pride curse continues. Nearly half the roster is out on loan, injury, or they were waived. That leave about 14 players on the Pride roster, which is clearly not enough. And remember, Alex Morgan is still listed as being out on maternity leave. Will she be back in time for their first game? It remains to be seen. Elsewhere, Megan Rapinoe is still in the WNBA bubble to support girlfriend Sue Bird, so she’s definitely out. Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis made the trek overseas to play in England. Rachel Daly will be out on loan for the remainder of the year. Even Tobin Heath and Christen Press signed onto Manchester United. Many of these players wont be back until next summer.

Aside from that, many players are also opting out of play due to COVID. And can you blame them? It only seems to be getting worse stateside. Almost half of the NC Courage is rumored to opt out of play. Despite this, no team as opted out of the series and all teams are expected to play. 

Sky Blue FC v Washington Spirit

These two really hit their stride during the Challenge Cup. It was fitting that they played the first game of the Fall Series. One notable thing about the match was there was no fake crowd noise. Thank the goddess. Secondly, the Spirit are without Rose Lavelle whose playmaking and goal scoring always make a notable difference on the pitch. Surely, they’d be fine without her, right? Well, Sky Blue came in and scored in the 18th minute. Ifeoma Onumonu launched a rocket at point blank range. There was no stopping it.

They went into the half at 0-1, with Sky Blue leading. A little over 10 minutes into the second half, Mal Pugh made her Sky Blue debut against her old team. But that’s not why you’re here, is it? You, my thirsty little lesbian, are here for Kailen Sheridan. You’re here to watch her do what she does best. Respectfully.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1302318317881917446?s=20

She didn’t a miss a step since the Challenge Cup. This save kept the Spirit from tying. But, just 7 minutes after that incredible save, Spirit had a chance to tie things up when they gained a penalty kick. Sheridan can’t stop everything. And Paige Nielsen tied it up with less than 2 minutes to go in regular time. Fortunately for Sky Blue, those 6 minutes of stoppage time worked in their favor. Midge Purce caught the goalkeeper off her line and slotted one home, giving Sky blue a 2-1 victory over the Spirit.

https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1302321187670896641?s=20

The Fall Series Continues

Several teams have made a bunch of last minute additions to their teams so they’d have enough players to participate. The Orlando Pride alone signed seven players earlier this week on short-term contracts. And it seems we’ll finally get see wives Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger in action soon. Meanwhile, the Courage are also trying to fill in the extra spots left by players who have opted out or are on loan. So far, it doesn’t seem to be as cursed or as chaotic as the Challenge Cup. But the beauty of the NWSL is that it can change at any moment. So stay tuned because we’ll recap the rest of the NWSL Fall Series.