NWSL East Week 14 Update

The NWSL East teams continue to struggle, with all four teams sitting in the bottom half of the league.

By Kathryn Field

While many eastern teams excel defensively, their difficulties in making good scoring chances have kept them chasing the rest of the league for points. Scoring woes have hindered opportunities for these teams to climb up into safe playoff positions. The Orlando Pride had a successful outing against the San Diego Wave and will look to improve against a struggling NJ/NY Gotham team. The North Carolina Courage, sitting at the bottom of the league, will look to continue the upward battle in the standings against a middle-of-the-league Chicago team. 

Orlando breezes past San Diego

Orlando Pride took on the San Diego Wave on Saturday and was able to pull out a 1–0 win on the road. Meggie Dougherty Howard led the Pride to the win with the lone goal of the game in the first half. 

While San Diego led the game in scoring chances with 19 shots, six of them on goal, the Wave couldn’t find the back of the net. The Pride defense was on fire with 32 clearances in the game, decisively beating the Wave in that aspect. The Pride had only two shots on goal but were able to make one of them stick. 

The Pride will look to extend their good luck this Saturday when they travel to Pennsylvania to take on NY/NJ Gotham at 7 P.M. ET on Paramount+. 

Gotham continues to struggle, will take on Orlando

Gotham has struggled this season and currently sits at 11th in the league with a 4–10–0 record. The most recent loss came against Houston on Wednesday, with Gotham falling 2–1. McCall Zerboni scored the lone goal for Gotham with an assist from Kristie Mewis. 

Gotham faced disciplinary woes throughout the game, with Midge Purce receiving a yellow and a red card, and Ifeoma Onumonu receiving a yellow card. Gotham also found themselves offside eight times on Wednesday night, further adding to the difficulty of the game. 

When Gotham takes on the Pride Saturday night, the team will have to find a way to get more shots off against a stronger defensive team. Against Houston, NY/NJ was only able to get three shots on goal. The Pride proved that they can successfully defend against strong offensive teams in San Diego, so Gotham will need to find as many scoring chances as possible in order to come away with a win. 

North Carolina Courage scoring woes continue

The NC Courage have not won a game since early June and currently sit in last place in the league. On Saturday, the Courage will take on the Chicago Red Stars at home at 7 P.M. ET on Twitch. 

In the last matchup against the Red Stars in July, the game ended in a 2–2 tie. The Courage came away with a tie due in part to the team’s goaltending. Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland made five saves on seven shots on goal and was able to keep her team in a position to possibly get a win. 

The Courage offense will need to step up and create more chances if they want to get the chance at a win. In the last matchup against the Red Stars, the Courage only had nine shots, three of them on goal. 

Scoring chance woes have continued for the Courage throughout the season, but they could potentially be rounding a corner. In the team’s most recent game, a loss to Kansas City, the Courage came away with 12 shots, seven of them on goal. If the Courage can continue to create more scoring chances, they could have a shot at a win in the near future. 

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