NWSL West Week 8 Preview

It’s the last matchups prior to the off-week for the international break. Angel City heads up to Seattle to take on OL Reign this weekend while San Diego is on the road again and Portland returns to Providence Park. 

By Taylor Vincent

The NWSL’s 2022 regular season continues this week with Angel City heading north to take on the OL Reign at Lumen Field Saturday evening for some NWSL after-dark action. After their tie with San Diego this past weekend, OL sits solely in 6th in the NWSL standings with 10 points. Portland and Angel City are currently in third and fourth in the table, both with 13 points but with the goal differential tiebreaker going 8 to -1 in the Thorns’ favor. San Diego is atop the leaderboard with 15 points, taking the position over Chicago on a 5-to-4 goal differential (San Diego does have one more game than the Red Stars and the rest of the western conference). The strength of the western conference is clear in the fact that all four teams sit in the top six of the standings. 

Jess Fishlock gets around a defender / Taylor Vincent

OL heads home to take on Angel City 

OL Reign vs. Angel City FC  – Saturday, June 18 at 10 P.M. ET (Twitch)

After a disappointing tie against San Diego on Sunday, OL heads back to Seattle to take on Angel City who is also coming off a big win against Louisville this past weekend. Unfortunately for Angel City, defender Vanessa Gilles was out last weekend with a hip injury and it’s unknown when she’ll be able to anchor that backline again, which will be especially needed against the dangerous Reign attackers. Additionally, Angel City forward Christen Press went down with a knee injury against Racing, and it has been confirmed that she tore her ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. To further add to Angel City’s woes, former Reign player and current Arsenal captain Kim Little is expected to arrive in Seattle this week as a part of her short-term loan and be available for the Saturday matchup. 

OL will be looking to build on their momentum before the international break where they will lose a number of key players for over a month due to World Cup Qualifiers. Angel City will be trying to recover from their three matches in eight days and get to the international break on a high note. This is the first regular-season matchup for these two teams, but they did meet twice in the Challenge Cup, which resulted in two Reign wins. 

Keep an eye on Jess Fishlock for the Reign this week. The Welsh international’s 2021 regular season earned her NWSL MVP honors, and her play in the Reign midfield has been just as impressive this year. Fishlock is currently third on the team in terms of shots, and second as far as chances created. 

The player to watch for Angel City this week is Megan Reid. With Gilles unavailable, Reid has stepped up into a leadership role on the Angel City backline. She is one of seven players who has started all eight matches for Angel City, and the only field player to play every minute of every game. 

Portland takes on the Pride during Pride celebrations

Portland Thorns vs. Orlando Pride – Sunday, June 19 at 3 P.M. ET (Paramount +)

The Thorns return to Portland this weekend to take on the Orlando Pride in the midst of Portland’s Pride weekend. After a dominating win in the Houston heat this weekend, Portland will enjoy the late-Spring weather of Oregon Sunday afternoon and should be looking to continue their upward trend that we’ve seen in the last few matches. Portland’s versatility in their shape will be one of their greatest assets as the season continues on, making them very hard to scout and prepare for. As the international break approaches, Portland will likely try to rotate some of the players who won’t be missing games due to World Cup Qualifying up top to work on their finishing and fine-tune some things before the safety net of the more experienced players is removed. 

Janine Beckie dribbles around Jun Endo / Taylor Vincent

The player to watch for Portland this week is Janine Beckie. Although she joined the Thorns a bit late post-Challenge Cup, she has fit into the Portland attack quite seamlessly. Still looking for her first goal for Portland, she is currently tied for third on the team in terms of shots and tied for first in chances created. 

San Diego visits Gotham

San Diego FC vs. NY/NJ Gotham FC  – Sunday, June 19 at 4 P.M. ET (CBS)

San Diego heads cross-country to take on Gotham. The two teams faced off back in week 2 when San Diego walked away with a decisive 4–0 win, which included 4 goals by Alex Morgan (2 penalty kicks, 2 in the run of play). The Gotham from week 2 is not the Gotham of week 8 though; they have slowly but surely been finding their form and identity as a club and have won two out of their last three matches. San Diego will need to contain the threats of Midge Purce and Kristie Mewis as much as possible if they want to take home the win. 

Kailen Sheridan pushes a shot wide of the goal / Taylor Vincent

The player to watch for San Diego this week is Kailen Sheridan. Sheridan’s solid goalkeeping has kept San Diego in matches and helped the team immensely. Thus far this season she already has 23 saves, and she could add to that tally this weekend. 

This week’s matches begin Saturday, June 18th. Check out the full schedule here.

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