NWSL Preview: Three Aussies in clash to shape play-off race

There are two all-Aussie clashes in another exciting weekend of National Women’s Soccer League action in the US.

With a total of 10 Westfield Matildas stars playing in the NWSL, Lydia Williams and Steph Catley will take on Sam Kerr, while Katrina Gorry’s side will be in action against Kyah Simon’s.

Portland Thorns are also playing this weekend, with all games to be played on Sunday AEST.


In the clash between Lydia Williams, Steph Catley and Sam Kerr, Seattle Reign will host Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars in a match which could make a big difference on the ladder even at this early point in the 24-game season.

Williams and Catley’s Seattle sit second on the NWSL ladder, with two games in hand on first-placed North Carolina Courage.

But Kerr’s Chicago, who have played three times more than Seattle, could overtake the Reign on the ladder with an away win.

Goalkeeper Williams could play her second game of the NWSL season, having regained her spot between the sticks in their 4-1 win over Sky Blue last week.

Catley has been a regular feature for Seattle since returning from Asian Cup duty, playing three straight 90 minutes, including providing inch-perfect assists two weeks in a row.

Kerr has also started to find her scoring form, netting two goals in two games for Chicago, earning two points for her side.


Katrina Gorry’s Utah Royals are back in action after having a bye last weekend and they will host Kyah Simon’s Houston Dash who are coming off a 2-2 draw with Chicago on Sunday.

Both Utah and Houston remain in touching distance of the top four place but will be keen to pick up wins after hitting good patches of form.

The two sides have picked up two draws and a win in their last three fixtures and know another positive result could see them go closer to a play-off position.

Gorry started Utah’s previous fixture and played a part in their win over Washington Spirit while Simon has one goal and one assist from her last two games for the Dash.


Ellie Carpenter will be looking to earn her third appearance of the NWSL season when Portland Thorns FC travel to Washington Spirit.

Carpenter made history by becoming the youngest debutant in the competition when she came off the bench against Houston last Thursday. She backed that up by starting and playing 82 minutes in Portland’s loss to Orlando Pride.


Fellow Westfield Matildas and Thorns stars Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso are yet to return from injury.

The two other Aussies in the NWSL – Orlando’s Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy – sit out Sunday with a bye, before hosting league leaders North Carolina Courage at 9.30am Thursday 24 May.


*Teams in bold contain Westfield Matildas players

  1. North Carolina Courage – played 8, 20 points, +8 goal difference
  2. Seattle Reign – played 6, 13 points, +5
  3. Orlando Pride – played 8, 12 points, +1
  4. Chicago Red Stars – played 9, 11 points, +1
  5. Portland Thorns – played 8, 9 points, -1
  6. Utah Royals – played 7, 8 points, +1
  7. Houston Dash – played 8, 7 points, -5
  8. Washington Spirit – played 7, 5 points, -4
  9. Sky Blue – played 5, 1 point, -6

Here are the game details for Westfield Matildas stars and their teams…

Utah Royals v Houston Dash – 5.30am Sunday 20 May AEST

Washington Spirit v Portland Thorns FC – 9.00am Sunday 20 May AEST

Seattle Reign v Chicago Red Stars – 12.00pm Sunday 20 May AEST

Orlando Pride – BYE

Matches can be live-streamed at nwslsoccer.com

*Lead photo courtesy of Chicago Red Stars' Twitter