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NWSL Week 7: Can the San Diego Wave stay on top?

(Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

The league-leading San Diego Wave face a tough test this weekend, Mallory Pugh aims to continue her hot streak and more in a full slate of NWSL action this weekend.

Will the San Diego Wave defend their top spot?

San Diego has a big matchup this weekend, as the Wave host West Coast powerhouse OL Reign at Torero Stadium on Sunday.

The Wave are coming off a thrilling 2-2 draw with the Portland Thorns on Wednesday, with Taylor Kornieck scoring a brace in the final ten minutes of regulation to secure the tie. The Wave’s momentum and home-field advantage will be critical as they take on a formidable opponent in OL Reign.

The Seattle side, however, has struggled to get its offense going, notching only five goals to San Diego’s 13 on the season. The Reign are second only to the Thorns in shots per 90 minutes, with 14.57, but have yet to consistently convert in the final third.

On the other side of the ball, OL Reign are tied with the Houston Dash with the most clean sheets on the season with four. Phallon Tullis-Joyce has been stellar in goal, topping the league with 31 total saves.

The NWSL’s golden boot leader Alex Morgan will almost certainly keep the league’s top goalkeeper on her toes, setting up a compelling showdown.

Mallory Pugh vs. Sydney Leroux in Chicago

The last time the Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride faced off, it was goals galore, with six finishes between the two clubs in a 4-2 win for Chicago on May 22.

Forward Mallory Pugh has been red hot for the Red Stars, scoring four goals in five matches to anchor Chicago’s offense. She has helped lead the team to third in the NWSL standings.

Orlando, on the other hand, has been inconsistent throughout the season but has shown flashes of brilliance. A bright spot for the Pride is Sydney Leroux, a striker known to light up a game. If she can come alive in the team’s contest against Chicago, it will make for a captivating matchup.

The Houston Dash look to extend their unbeaten streak

The Dash enter their Sunday matchup against Portland sitting on a franchise-best six-game unbeaten streak.

Houston has tightened up its backline since the Challenge Cup, allowing just three goals and logging four clean sheets so far in the 2022 campaign. On offense, the Dash have the second-highest goal total with 11, and the team’s attack is beginning to gel around Nichelle Prince.

Portland also looks in solid form after registering a compelling 2-2 draw against San Diego on Wednesday. Sophia Smith has been critical for the Thorns, recording four of the team’s 11 total goals on the season, presenting Houston’s defense with a threat up top.

If the Dash can fill the gap star Rachel Daly leaves as she reports to England for international duty ahead of this summer’s Euros, they’ll have a shot against the surging Portland side.

Week 7 Schedule

  • Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage, Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Racing Louisville vs. Angel City FC, Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Twitch
  • Kansas City Current vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • San Diego Wave FC vs. OL Reign, Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride, Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on Paramount+
  • Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on Paramount+