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NWSL Golden Boot race: Morgan Weaver moves up, Lynn Williams hits lull

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Portland Thorns forward Morgan Weaver has three goals in as many games. (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

Morgan Weaver and Debinha moved into a tie for third in the 2023 NWSL Golden Boot race over the weekend.

Weaver’s goal, which helped Portland to a 2-0 win over OL Reign in the Cascadia Cup rivalry, was her seventh of the season. She is tied with North Carolina’s Debinha and Gotham’s Lynn Williams for third in the standings. Thorns star forward Sophia Smith continues to retain the top spot with 11 goals as she continues to nurse a week-to-week MCL sprain.

Also, while it’s unlikely she finds herself in the running for the Golden Boot, recent NWSL addition Esther González got her first two goals in a Gotham FC uniform over the weekend.

Trending upward: Morgan Weaver

Saturday’s goal marked Weaver’s third in as many games, with the Thorns midfielder gaining ground on the league leaders in recent weeks. If anyone in the league has a hot foot, it’s Weaver.

She has continued to put shots on goal, averaging two per game over the last three games and 1.5 shots on goal over the last 10 games. Her goals per 90 puts her ninth this season, but her shots average (3.92) puts her at third in the league. She also ranks first in key passes and expected assists, meaning that any time she’s on the field, the chances of a goal being scored are high.

She also ranks fourth in goal creating actions this season with nine. It would be difficult for the midfielder to overcome Smith, but if Weaver continues at the pace she is with three games left in the season, it’s not impossible.

Needs a goal: Lynn Williams

After starting the season hot, Williams has gone stagnant in her three games since returning from the World Cup. A good sign for her, however, is an assist in each of her last two games.

Her shot production, though, has decreased. In the three games before leaving for the World Cup, Williams had six, seven and eight shots, respectively, with an average of 3.67 shots on target over those three games. Since returning, she’s averaged three shots in the last three games and had just one shot on target in that timespan.

NWSL leaderboard

  • 11 goals
    • Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns
  • 9 goals
    • Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit
    • Kerolin, North Carolina Courage
  • 7 goals
    • Lynn Williams, Gotham FC
    • Debinha, Kansas City Current
    • Morgan Weaver, Portland Thorns
  • 6 goals
    • Messiah Bright, Orlando Pride
  • 5 goals
    • Bethany Balcer, OL Reign
    • Savannah DeMelo, Racing Louisville
    • Crystal Dunn, Portland Thorns
    • Cece Kizer, Kansas City Current
    • Tyler Lussi, North Carolina Courage
    • Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave
    • Ashley Sanchez, Washington Spirit
    • Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign
    • Jaedyn Shaw, San Diego Wave
    • Adriana, Orlando Pride