(Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The NWSL is back in action this weekend, with Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit highlighting the East Coast lineup, while Portland Thorns and Angel City face off in the West Coast’s marquee match.

Three Storylines To Watch

Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit continue their rivalry

Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit will reignite their rivalry Saturday, facing off at Red Bull Arena for their first regular-season matchup and third game of 2022.

There is no love lost between these two clubs after a Twitter feud erupted between Gotham and Spirit players following their Challenge Cup contest in March. The dispute started with Gotham goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris publicly criticizing Segra Field after the Spirit posted a video of Ashley Sanchez putting Ali Krieger on skates.

The social media call-out led to a back-and-forth between Harris and Washington star Trinity Rodman. The veteran goalie wrote, “Oh my bad… one camp in and she’s feeling confident hunny,” in reference to the USWNT rookie.

Rodman responded on the pitch, notching a brace in the Washington Spirit’s 3-1 win over the NJ/NY club in their second Challenge Cup battle.

Gotham FC will look to log their first win over Washington, capitalizing on home-field advantage while hosting a fatigued Spirit side. The Spirit have been dealt a grueling start to their regular-season schedule, but they should be a worthy opponent for Gotham, who have yet to deploy a consistent attack.

Can OL Reign maintain their run of clean sheets?

Solid defense doesn’t always elicit excitement, but this matchup between the Chicago Red Stars and OL Reign is one to watch, with both squads boasting stalwart defensive lineups.

USWNT star goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has been stellar for Chicago, while Phallon Tullis-Joyce shines for OL Reign. With 24 saves in six games, Tullis-Joyce has allowed just four goals in the back of her net.

OL Reign enters Saturday’s game with four straight clean sheets and will look to continue their tidy defensive record against Chicago. Alana Cook anchors the Seattle backline, providing a sturdy presence in the center back position. Sofia Huerta has been critical for the club as well, contributing defensively while dominating the wings, recording two assists on the season.

Both sides’ defenses will be tested Saturday, as Mal Pugh is expected to get more minutes for Chicago and Rose Lavelle is coming into form for OL Reign.

NWSL turns focus to gun violence

The NWSL is turning orange Friday in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. To honor of the recent lives lost to gun violence and to call for change to address the crisis, the league is participating in the #WearOrange campaign.

The Portland Thorns will be encouraging fans to take action on gun violence during their home match against Angel City on Friday, a match that will also serve as a celebration of Pride month.

“While we celebrate Pride tomorrow, we grieve those who are unable to be here and have lost their lives to gun violence,” the club wrote in a statement, urging supporters to visit Everytown.org.

The Houston Dash and Orlando Pride both posted support of the Wear Orange movement ahead of their matchup, putting the issue of gun violence at the forefront.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day comes after a series of mass shootings, including the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, the shooting at a Buffalo grocery store and the shooting at a Tulsa medical center.

Week 6 Schedule

  • Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride, Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Portland Thorns vs. Angel City, Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Chicago Red Stars vs. OL Reign, Saturday at 3:00 p.m. ET on Twitch
  • Gotham FC vs. Washington Spirit, Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on Twitch
  • Racing Louisville vs. North Carolina Courage, Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Kansas City vs. San Diego Wave FC, Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+