All Scores

NWSL Power Rankings: San Diego knocks Portland out of first

(Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)

NWSL teams are closing in on one month left to solidify a playoff spot. The fight to the finish has already intensified the level of competition, with last-minute goals, snapped unbeaten streaks and unexpected results playing out over the last two weeks.

In the third and final power rankings of August, the top six teams haven’t changed since the beginning of the month. But they’ve shuffled, a lot. Kansas City is making the biggest jump, rising from sixth to second over the course of the month. Meanwhile, the Portland Thorns fall to their lowest ranking of the year.

For the previous installment of JWS’ NWSL power rankings, click here.

12. NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-12-0) –

Five straight losses in August didn’t do Gotham any favors. Neither did the officials in their most recent game, as they failed to award Gotham a clear goal in the 12th minute and were later penalized for it by the Professional Referee Organization. Gotham would have taken a 1-0 early lead over Angel City FC if the goal had counted. Instead, they lost momentum and lost 3-1 on Sunday, a week after falling 2-1 to the Orlando Pride.

11. Racing Louisville FC (2-7-8) -2

Racing Louisville played just one game since our last power rankings, a 4-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday. Giving up three scores in the first 23 minutes, Louisville conceded the most goals they have all season in their worst loss of the year. They haven’t won a game in three months.

10. Washington Spirit (1-6-10) 

In the last two weeks, the Washington Spirit played just one game, a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dash that brought their number of ties this season to 10. The Spirit didn’t dominate possession or shots on goal like they have in other draws, playing for the first time after the firing of head coach Kris Ward, whose relationships with players had reportedly been deteriorating. Washington capitalized on its strengths for a short, two-minute burst in the second half, when the attacking trio took charge. Ashley Hatch scored first off a Trinity Rodman cross, and again after a free kick from Ashley Sanchez.

9. North Carolina Courage (4-7-4) +2

The Courage were busy but productive in the last two weeks, earning six points across three games to jump from last to ninth place in the NWSL standings. On Aug. 24, they shattered the Thorns’ 11-game unbeaten streak in a 3-1 win. Four days earlier, they shut out the Chicago Red Stars 4-0. In their most recent match, the Kansas City Current took the 3-2 win, but the Courage controlled 51 percent of the possession and delivered 24 crosses.

8. Orlando Pride (5-6-6) –

Before a 2-1 loss to OL Reign on Friday, the Pride hadn’t lost since the beginning of July. The week prior, they recorded an 84.7 percent passing accuracy and had eight shots on goal in a 2-1 win over Gotham FC. Neither performance was particularly strong, but based on their recent consistency, the playoffs aren’t out of the question for Orlando.

7. Angel City FC (7-5-4) –

Sitting in seventh place in the NWSL standings, Angel City remains in the running for the playoffs. A draw and a win in the last two weeks definitely helped their case. Beyond the results, Angel City would benefit from better passing — their accuracy was below 70 percent in both of those games — and more possession. Against Gotham, they had the ball just 38 percent of the time.

6. Chicago Red Stars (7-5-5) -1

The Red Stars have been a little all over the place lately. A week after losing to the Courage 4-0, they defeated Racing Louisville by the same scoreline on Saturday. The Red Stars had a hard time finding the net against the Courage, with only three of their 19 shots coming on goal. Against Louisville, they improved their possession to 54 percent with an 82 percent passing accuracy.

5. OL Reign (7-4-6) +1

In their only match since our last power rankings, OL Reign gained three points with a 2-1 win that snapped the Pride’s seven-game unbeaten streak. The Reign recorded a passing accuracy of 82 percent and outshot their opponents 15-8.

4. Portland Thorns FC (7-3-7) -3

The Thorns failed to keep their 11-game unbeaten streak alive as they fell 3-1 to the Courage last Wednesday and were outperformed in almost every area, including passing accuracy, shots, crosses, blocks and tackles. Against San Diego on Saturday, the Thorns pressed in the second half and forced the Wave to defend, but it wasn’t enough in the 2-0 loss. As a result, Portland came out of the last two weeks with zero points.

3. Houston Dash (8-5-5) -1

A loss and a draw have Houston moving down a spot in this week’s power rankings. Despite scoring just seven minutes into their match against San Diego last week and creating chances in a scrappy performance, the Dash couldn’t hold onto their lead in the 3-1 loss. A week later against the Washington Spirit, the Dash narrowly managed a 2-2 draw, scoring their second goal in stoppage time.

2. Kansas City Current (8-4-5) +1

The Current refused to let the Courage snap their 12-game unbeaten streak, now tied for the second-longest in the league. They outshot North Carolina 12-8 with nine shots on goal in the 3-2 win. In their game before that, Kansas City took control, managing 53 percent of the possession and doubling up Angel City with 16 total shots in a 1-1 draw.

1. San Diego Wave FC (9-5-4) +3

The Wave closed out their last game at Torero Stadium on Aug. 20 in front of a sold-out crowd with a 3-1 over the Dash. They proceeded to defeat the Thorns 2-0 and showcase their improved possession and defending. The two victories served as redemption from two losses at the beginning of the month and launched the team back into first place, where they’ve been for most of the season.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

Caitlin Clark dunks on Michael Che in surprise SNL appearance

(Julia Hansen/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Caitlin Clark made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, which quickly went viral.

The Iowa star showed up on the show’s Weekend Update segment to playfully call out Michael Che’s history of making jabs at women’s sports.

It started when Che joked that Iowa should replace Clark’s retired No. 22 “with an apron.” 

When Clark entered, Che said that he was a fan. But Clark wasn’t convinced – especially not when co-host Colin Jost brought the receipts of Che’s jabs.

“Really, Michael? Because I heard that little apron joke you did,” she said, before making him read some jokes of her own in retaliation. Clark finished her segment by shouting out the WNBA greats that came before her. She then got in one final dig – bringing Che a signed apron as a souvenir. 

When Che promised to give it to his girlfriend, Clark delivered her last playful dig of the night.

“You don’t have a girlfriend, Michael,” she said.

Afterward, SNL castmember Bowen Yang told People that the 22-year-old and teammates Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Jada Gyamfi – who joined her at Studio 8H – “were so cool.”

“She's so charming and witty,” Yang said. “They were just the most stunning, noble people.

“Athletes just have this air about them. They know they're amazing. I mean, these are people who have numeric attachments and values to their performance. That's something that comedians never have.”

Portland Thorns, in uncharted territory, start NWSL season winless

Portland has started the season winless through four games for the first time. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Portland Thorns continue to struggle to start the NWSL season, falling 2-0 to the North Carolina Courage over the weekend to remain winless through their first four games. 

It’s uncharted territory for Portland, who has never started the NWSL regular season without a win in four games before.

Following the loss, defender Becky Sauerbrunn voiced her frustrations with the start. 

“It’s hard to find a lot of encouraging things, but what I find encouraging is that people are frustrated,” she said. “People are pissed off that we’re not doing well. We care, and I think that’s really important.” 

She also added that while the team will reflect individually, “there’s going to be no finger pointing.”

“We’re going to look at ourselves and figure out what we should have done, or I should have done better,” she said. “There is a list of things that I could have done better, and I’m going to make sure I know every single thing and watch this game back.”

The Thorns currently sit at the bottom of the league table with just one point, having allowed 10 goals – tied for the worst in the league. They’ve yet to lead in a match. And as questions grow, attention turns to head coach Mike Norris. 

Norris is in his second year as head coach of the club after leading the team to a second-place finish in the regular season last year. When asked about the possibility of pressure growing after the unprecedented start, Norris said that the pressure has been there “from day one.”

“I cannot be driven by my day-to-day and the longer vision of the pressure of the job,” he said. “We’ve got a belief in how we want to play, how we operate. We’ve got to stick with the process of that. While we do it, we have to review and see what is working, what’s not working.

“I’ll be showing up for the team and being there for what they need from me as we approach getting back together as a group next week.”

Maria Sanchez reportedly requests trade from Houston Dash

Mar 23, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Maria Sanchez (7) warms up before the match between Racing Louisville and Houston Dash at Shell Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Sanchez, who signed one of the biggest deals in NWSL history just four months ago, has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

ESPN was the first to report the news, which was confirmed by multiple sources.

In a statement to ESPN, the team said: “​​Maria Sanchez is under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the Dash worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. At the time, it was the largest contract in NWSL history – something that was eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

The winger was a restricted free agent in the offseason, meaning that Houston could match any offer from another team and retain her rights. Should the team trade Sanchez, her contract would remain as it has been signed with the league. That limits the number of teams that could take on her contract. 

In three starts with the Dash this season, Sanchez has zero goals and an assist. The Dash are 1-2-1 through four games and have allowed a league-worst 10 goals.

The team hired a new coach, Fran Alonso, in December. Earlier this year, former goalkeeper coach Matt Lampson was fired for violating the league’s Coach Code of Conduct and Anti-Fraternization policy. 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close at midnight ET on Friday.

Canada beats U.S. Hockey 6-5 in thrilling World Championship win

UTICA, NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Team Canada raises the Championship Trophy after winning The Gold by defeating The United States in OT during the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship Gold Medal game at Adirondack Bank Center on April 14, 2024 in Utica, New York. (Photo by Troy Parla/Getty Images)

Canada got its revenge on Sunday, winning the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship and taking down the U.S. in a 6-5 overtime classic.

Marie-Philip Poulin, a longtime star for Canada, got her first two goals of the tournament, while Danielle Serdachny had the game-winner. 

"I hate to say you're not trying to rely on it, expect it, but I know I've grown to expect it," Canada coach Troy Ryan said of Philip-Poulin. "Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. It's just special."

The win came after Canada lost 1-0 to the U.S. in the group stage of the tournament. On Sunday, the two teams met for the 22nd time in 23 tournaments in the gold medal game – and the action between the two teams delivered. 

Among those scoring for the U.S. were Megan Keller, Alex Carpenter, Hilary Knight, Laila Edwards and Caroline Harvey. Julia Gosling, Emily Clark and Erin Ambrose had the other three goals for Canada, giving them their 13th World title after falling to the U.S. in last year’s title game in Toronto. 

This year’s game was held in New York, and it was the second-highest scoring final between the two teams. The U.S. won a world championship 7-5 in 2015. 

"Oh man, that feels good to win it on U.S. soil," Canada goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens said after the game. "We owed it to them and owed it to ourselves to win that one."

Canada also denied Knight a record 10th World Championship win, although she did become the most decorated player in women’s world championship history with 14 medals. After the game, Poulin gave Knight a hug on the ice. 

"We just said 'that was unbelievable,'" Poulin said.

U.S. coach John Wroblewski echoed the sentiment that it was an outstanding game after being asked about ending the game on a power-play after leaving too many players on the ice. 

"Instead of talking about the isolated events of tonight's game, I think that normally that's an interesting storyline,” he said. “But I think the entity of an amazing 6-5 game is an amazing hockey game that took place."

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