It wasn’t long after arriving in Texas at the end of June that Ebony Salmon learned her new team, the Houston Dash, had never made the NWSL playoffs.

Two and a half months later, with two weeks left in the regular season, Houston is on track to make club history. Currently fourth in the NWSL standings, they need just one win in their two remaining games against OL Reign on Saturday and the Washington Spirit on Oct. 1 to clinch a playoff berth.

Salmon has been a catalyst for the Dash’s success, putting together a standout season that seemed unlikely for her halfway through the season. With Racing Louisville for the first nine games, Salmon played a total of 70 minutes under head coach Kim Björkegren despite leading the team with six goals last season.

Since joining the Dash via a trade on June 27, the 21-year-old has scored nine goals — over a quarter of Houston’s total — in 909 minutes across through 11 matches. She’s also made back-to-back NWSL Teams of the Month in July and August, and as of July 16 she’s outscored two teams and every player in the league to skyrocket to fifth in the Golden Boot race.

One of the teams she’s outscored is Louisville.

“I’ve obviously had to prove people wrong, and having that weight on my shoulders makes me perform,” Salmon told Just Women’s Sports.

What she’s learned about herself this year, as she’s balanced spending full games on Louisville’s bench to scoring at will with Houston, is that walking away isn’t an option. Her love of soccer will always motivate her to find a way back onto the field, even if at certain points this year she didn’t know when that time would come.

“If I wasn’t ready, I don’t think I would have had the start I did and scored the goals that I have, and the performances that I had,” Salmon said.

With the Dash, she’s also found confidence in playing with coaches and teammates who believe in her.

“Don’t let that one person make you think that you’re not good enough or you can’t do it because, as you’ve seen in my case, the next opportunity could be right around the corner,” she said. “One person might not think you’re the best player, and then the next person might think you’re the best in the world.”

Salmon’s success with the Dash has improved her case with the English women’s national team, for which she has one cap from February 2021. After being excluded from the 2022 Euro champions’ roster, she earned a call-up for friendlies against Austria and Luxembourg in early September.

At the end of a national team camp last September, England head coach Sarina Wiegman advised Salmon to work on her consistency. That became hard to do earlier this season when she wasn’t getting much playing time with Racing Louisville.

It didn’t take long into the 2022 season for Salmon to start considering a trade request. Before she could voice those thoughts, Louisville general manager James O’Connor, recognizing that Salmon wouldn’t be a part of their future plans, approached her with the same idea. On June 27, Louisville sent $150,000 in allocation money to Houston, with promises for more in 2023 as well as a performance-based incentive, in exchange for Salmon. That same day, Salmon signed a contract extension that will keep her in Houston through 2023.

With the Dash, Salmon not only exploded onto the scene, scoring a hat trick in just her third game, but she’s also maintained that level of play into the final stretch. In an open conversation at national team camp this month, Wiegman told Salmon she’s noticed improvements over the past year and gave her things to work on through the remainder of the season.

“The main thing was consistency,” Salmon said. “And I think I’m starting to find that now.”

Thinking about the Lionesses and the upcoming 2023 FIFA World Cup, however, will have to wait a few weeks.

“Within the next month and a half, I think my focus is completely on Houston and making playoffs, and then kind of going all the way in playoffs,” she said. “That’s what we want to do, that’s what everyone on the team wants to do, and I think we’ve seen that we’re capable of doing that.”

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

The 2022 NWSL summer trade window closed on Wednesday, ushering in a roster freeze for the rest of the season and the start of the NWSL’s first free agency period.

As the league and NWSL Players Association clash over the full list of eligible free agents, Just Women’s Sports breaks down each team’s trades, waives and signings from the summer transfer window, dividing them into winning and losing categories in no particular order.


Houston Dash

The Dash easily top this list. In the last week, they strengthened their backline with the addition of 2021 Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco, signed Jamaican national team forward Tiernny Wiltshire and acquired Valérie Gauvin from the North Carolina Courage. The forward has scored 17 goals in 37 appearances for the French national team and should help boost a Houston attack that Ebony Salmon has been lighting up since she joined the team via a trade on July 1. After playing sparingly for Racing Louisville this season, Salmon has scored eight goals in eight games with Houston. Despite star forward Rachel Daly leaving for Aston Villa in August, with so many new stars, it’s safe to say the Dash will be fine without her.

Kansas City Current

Cece Kizer has been a game-changer for the Current during their 11-game unbeaten streak. Since joining Kansas City at the end of May, Kizer has scored five goals, making up almost a quarter of the Current’s season total. French national team player and former Lyon midfielder Claire Lavogez has also provided a boost, scoring one goal in the three games she’s played since signing with the team on July 20. Kansas City will have to adjust to life without midfielder Victoria Pickett after trading her to Gotham FC this week, but they have a whopping $200,000 in allocation money and Gotham’s second-highest first-round 2023 draft pick or natural first-round pick to use to their advantage.

Angel City FC

Two words: Sydney Leroux. Acquiring the former U.S. women’s national team forward for a first-round 2024 draft pick and $75,000 allocation money was a big save for Angel City after losing Christen Press to a season-ending injury in June. They also just signed 2022 draft pick Claire Emslie and gained an international spot from OL Reign in exchange for $40,000 in allocation money. Goalkeeper Maia Pérez went on loan to Grand Paris Seine Ouest 92 Issy in France, where she’ll gain valuable experience as a starter while Angel City continues to play current starting keeper DiDi Haračić. Wins all around.

Portland Thorns FC

The first-place Portland Thorns have found their rhythm with the players they have, so there was no need for any major roster shake-ups. They did acquire defender Tegan McGrady from San Diego in exchange for Madison Pogarch in late July. McGrady brings experience after winning the NWSL championship with the Washington Spirit last season.

San Diego Wave FC

After picking up Pogarch from Portland, the Wave signed U.S. youth national team star Jaedyn Shaw, who had previously trained with the Spirit. The 17-year-old wasted no time showcasing her talent, scoring the game-winning goal in her NWSL debut, the only game she’s played with the Wave so far this season.

OL Reign

Like the Dash, the Reign have gone all-in on blockbuster signings this season, acquiring former NWSL MVP Kim Little, Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Huitema and star forward Tobin Heath. The team has yet to turn the additions into results as well as Houston has, but Heath’s impact should increase as she gets more minutes. Huitema has been finding her rhythm, scoring the game-winner in the Reign’s 2-1 Women’s Cup championship victory. On the downside, Little’s contract was only for the summer and the Reign traded Ally Watt, an important player off the bench, to Orlando. But OL Reign’s overall depth should keep them in contention as the playoffs approach.


NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham would have been a winner on this list after acquiring Taylor Smith and Victoria Pickett, especially given how dominant Smith has been with her two goals and one assist this season, but Caprice Dydasco is a big loss. The team has conceded a league-worst 32 goals this season, and without one of their most consistent players on the backline, they’ll continue to have their work cut out for them.

Orlando Pride

The Pride had a rollercoaster of a summer. While Sydney Leroux, Amy Turner and Angharad James were big, unexpected losses, Orlando also acquired some serious talent. Ally Watt from OL Reign and Haley Hanson from the Dash bring leadership and winning experience that will be important for the young squad. The Pride will hardly miss the second-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft and $75,000 in allocation money they gave the Dash in exchange for Hanson because they already have a wealth of draft picks. Thais Reiss and Haley Bugeja are two other young additions with loads of talent.


Chicago Red Stars

The Red Stars are getting left behind. They dominated the first half of the year to stay near the top of the standings, but as other teams started making moves to boost their rosters, Chicago remained stagnant. Sarah Luebbert returning to the Red Stars from a one-year loan with Club América in Liga MX Femenil has been the biggest change.

North Carolina Courage

From an outside perspective, it appears that head coach Sean Nahas didn’t realize the amount of talent his team had coming into the season. Taylor Smith and Jorian Baucom were waived after hardly getting any playing time with the Courage, but since leaving North Carolina, Smith has scored two goals for Gotham. The Courage also traded Valérie Gauvin, one of the top players in France, to Houston before she got a minute of playing time.

Racing Louisville FC

Louisville lost a big talent when they traded Ebony Salmon to Houston in exchange for $150,000 in allocation money in 2022, with an additional $25,000 in 2023. While head coach Kim Björkegren kept Salmon on the bench, she’s scored eight goals and moved into fourth on the list of scoring leaders since leaving Louisville. The team also traded star forward Cece Kizer and defender Addisyn Merrick to Kansas City and sent Tobin Heath’s rights to OL Reign. On the bright side for Louisville, defender Satara Murray has been a consistent starter after they signed her to a two-year deal.

Washington Spirit

The defending NWSL champions are near the bottom of the league standings and dealing with internal turmoil after head coach Kris Ward was fired following an incident at practice. While they haven’t been far off from winning games since appearing in the Challenge Cup final in May, the Spirit clearly need a spark and they didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline.

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

Houston Dash forward Ebony Salmon earned a call-up to the England women’s national team for World Cup qualifying matches in September.

The entirety of manager Sarina Wiegman’s roster was announced Wednesday.

England enters UEFA’s final group stage qualifying window on a roll after winning the Women’s European Championship in July.

The Lionesses sit atop Group D and will travel to face second-place Austria on Sept. 3, then will host Luxembourg on Sept. 6. They are a perfect 8-0 in qualifying so far and need either a point against Austria or a win against Luxembourg to clinch a spot in the World Cup.

Salmon will join England from Houston, where she has played for the NWSL’s Dash since late June after being dealt by Racing Louisville FC.

She has thrived since then, scoring eight goals in eight games, which puts her just four behind league leader Alex Morgan. Since July 16, she’s outscored seven NWSL clubs. Her first three goals of the season came in the form of a hat trick against Chicago on July 16 — just the second hat trick in club history.

The Dash are tied for the most points in the league with 28.

Salmon has just one cap for the England team, which came in 2021. But all-time leading goalscorer Ellen White announced her retirement this week, as did Jill Scott, which opened up space on the roster.

Lauren James has also been called up, and she is the only uncapped player on the roster. Jordan Nobbs has returned after missing the Euros with a knee injury. Euros stars Chloe Kelly and Fran Kirby will miss the two games due to injury.

Despite the fresh faces, England still has its sights set on World Cup qualification.

“It only feels like yesterday since we were celebrating at Wembley,” Wiegman said. “We have a big target in front of us this month to book our place at the World Cup, and we have to set aside our amazing memories of this summer for the moment.”

Ally Watt made an impression in her Orlando Pride debut, while Ebony Salmon and Diana Ordóñez surged in the Golden Boot race.

Just Women’s Sports breaks down the top plays from the past week of NWSL action.

NWSL Plays of the Week

Ally Watt’s debut Pride goal

Ally Watt knows how to make an entrance. The 25-year-old forward scored less than 10 minutes into her first game with the Pride.

After receiving a ball from Meggie Dougherty-Howard, Watt surged past her defender before burying a low shot into the far post.

“We needed one percent more, and what you had seen with Meggie’s one percent more resulted in a goal for Ally Watt,” said Pride coach Seb Hines following Orlando’s 2-1 win Saturday over Gotham FC.

Watt joined the Pride via an August trade with OL Reign after starting in three of her 14 matches with the Seattle club this season.

Ebony Salmon’s rocket

Ebony Salmon is on a tear, scoring eight goals in her eight starts with the Houston Dash.

Saturday’s match against the San Diego Wave proved no different, with the English striker launching a crafty shot to put the Dash ahead early. Trapping a stray ball at the top of the box, Salmon let off a screamer to the far post, adding to her goals tally, though the Dash eventually fell 3-1 to the Wave.

In her brief tenure with Houston, Salmon has proven to be a clinical finisher with extraordinary talent on the ball and in space.

Diana Ordóñez’s Brace

Diana Ordóñez is unstoppable, racking up a staggering 10 goals through 11 games. She has shattered the NWSL’s rookie scoring record (7 goals) and is challenging Alex Morgan for the league’s Golden Boot trophy.

On Saturday, the 20-year-old helped the Courage to an empathic 4-0 shutout over the Chicago Red Stars, logging two goals in the contest.

Ordóñez’s first came in the 10th minute, as she nodded in a corner kick for the go-ahead goal.

Then, in the 74th minute, Ordóñez doubled her tally, expertly shaking off a defender before slotting home the finish with poise.

The NWSL Golden Boot race is heating up, with this season’s goals tally already surpassing last year’s winning mark of ten goals.

Alex Morgan has held onto her spot atop the league goal scorers list, adding another finish to her haul Saturday, firing home a banger for her 12th goal of the season. The Taylor-Kornieck assisted finish also marked Morgan’s 50th regular-season NWSL goal.

The USWNT veteran isn’t alone in her quest for Golden Boot glory, though, with a group of young talent challenging Morgan for the top spot.

North Carolina’s Diana Ordonez has obliterated the NWSL rookie goals record this season, notching her ninth and tenth in the Courage’s 4-0 win over Chicago on Saturday. Her brace marks Ordonez’s tenth goal in 11 games, propelling her to third in the Golden Boot race behind Morgan and Sophia Smith, who sits in second with 11 goals.

Houston’s Ebony Salmon is also red-hot, notching her eighth goal of the 2022 campaign in the Dash’s loss to San Diego Saturday. The 21-year-old has alone outscored seven NWSL teams since July 16, going on a tear since being traded from Racing Louisville to Houston.

The English striker played just 75 minutes for Louisville this season before joining the Dash.

“I’m taking my anger from not playing in Louisville and I’m going to show what I can do here when I get on the pitch,” Salmon told The Striker Texas after her trade to Houston was announced. Salmon has undoubtedly shown what she is capable of, cementing herself as one of the most dangerous forwards in the NWSL right now.

The Golden Boot Race continues, with second-place Smith and third-place Ordonez facing off Wednesday in Portland’s matchup against North Carolina.

All 12 NWSL clubs were back in action this weekend, with teams finding their form heading into the second half of the season.

The weekend’s six matchups featured upset wins, goals galore, and, of course, some stunning bangers.

The top three NWSL plays of the week:

Ali Riley’s curler

Angel City defender Ali Riley is usually stopping goals, not scoring them, but that changed Sunday. The 34-year-old notched her second goal of the 2022 regular season to helping ACFC to a 2-2 draw with her old club, the Orlando Pride.

Riley opened up scoring in the 4oth minute, streaking down the flank before ripping a curler into the side netting to put the scoresheet at 1-0.

Riley spurred the club’s attack from the outside back position, sending 10 passes into the final third while executing three successful long balls. On the other side of the ball, Riley won seven of her eight tackles while logging two interceptions and two clearances.

While Riley’s thrilling finish earns her a spot on the top plays of the week, her defensive efforts also deserve applause.

Ebony Salmon’s brace

Ebony Salmon is on a tear with Houston, recording six goals in five starts with the Dash.

In a stunning performance, the English striker added two goals to her tally in Houston’s 2-1 win over OL Reign Sunday.

Salmon opened her account in the 53rd minute, burying a penalty kick from the spot to equalize. Then, two minutes later, Salmon stamped her name on the scoresheet again, getting in behind OL Reign’s backline before striking a rocket past Phallon Tullis-Joyce for the go-ahead goal.

Salmon is fifth in the NWSL Golden Boot race, a stunning achievement given the 21-year-old played just 75 minutes for Racing Louisville before being traded to the Dash in June.

Hailie Mace’s banger

Hailie Mace’s second goal of the season was one to remember, with the Kansas City Current star helping her side to a rousing 2-1 win Sunday over the San Diego Wave.

The 25-year-old ripped a rocket from the top of the box after the Wave backline failed to mount a challenge. After getting the ball on her right foot, Mace struck a banger to the top right corner, putting the ball out of reach from Kailen Sheridan.

Mace created two chances for Kansas City, propelling her side’s offense to extend the Current’s unbeaten streak to nine games.

Honorable mentions

Sophia Smith dazzled for the Portland Thorns, scoring two goals in a brilliant individual effort. Megan Rapinoe also had a solid weekend, logging her first goal of 2022 with a cheeky half-volley.

In just her third start with the Dash, Ebony Salmon got back to her scoring ways, burying a hat trick in Houston’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday.

The English striker joined the Dash in a trade from Racing Louisville last month amid some controversy. Despite a breakout 2021 season with Louisville, Salmon wasn’t getting much playing time this season, averaging just 15 minutes in five appearances.

The 21-year-old voiced her displeasure with the club after the trade.

“I think I was at a point where I’d kind of given it long enough. I’m not going to play here,” Salmon told The Striker Texas on June 27. “I need to go somewhere where I am going to play and where I’m valued.”

Salmon has started all three games she’s appeared in for the fourth-place Dash and made an immediate impact on the attack, earning her JWS Player of the Week honors.

In 84 minutes Saturday, Salmon recorded 16 touches, created one chance and scored three goals in an incredibly efficient performance.

Salmon’s debut goal for the Dash came in the 11th minute. She then doubled Houston’s lead with her second finish of the night just before the half.

The forward continued to cause problems for Chicago’s backline after the break, slotting home another goal to complete the hat trick in the 55th minute.

“My confidence was quite low after not playing earlier this season. I missed one that I should’ve scored, but we didn’t take our foot off the gas,” Salmon said of her performance Saturday.

Salmon is not only lethal in the final third, but also an expert at pulling defenses apart and exploiting space while flawlessly timing her runs in behind the backline. With Salmon, Houston’s attack is brimming with potential, averaging a league second-best 1.7 goals per game.

Following the international break, Houston will regain its top two goal scorers in Canada’s Nichelle Prince and England’s Rachel Daly. The new offensive trio has the potential to catapult the club atop the league. The Dash (5-3-4) sit just four points back of the first-place San Diego Wave.

Ebony Salmon’s exit from Racing Louisville is a surprise given the England striker’s emphatic start with the club.

Just one minute into her NWSL debut, Salmon slotted home a stunning finish, opening up her scoring account stateside.

Yet just more than one year to the date since Salmon’s buzzy introduction to the NWSL, Racing Louisville announced that Salmon had been traded to the Houston Dash.

Racing will receive $150,000 in allocation money for Salmon in 2022 and an additional $25,000 in 2023. Louisville could receive up to $15,000 more in allocation money this year if Salmon meets performance-based criteria while with the Dash.

“We thank Ebony for all of her contributions here in Louisville and see this as an opportunity for her to get the minutes she’s seeking,” Racing coach Kim Björkegren said in a statement.

As Björkegren alluded to in the trade announcement, Salmon struggled to get on the pitch for Louisville during the 2022 season.

Given her prolific breakout year, which included six goals and one assist across 20 matches played, many expected Salmon to be a mainstay of the Racing attack, but that hasn’t been the case.

“I think when you look at the minutes Ebony had last year to this year, the evolvement of the squad, you have a World Cup winner [in Jessica McDonald], you’ve got a world-class player in Nadia Nadim, you’ve got a young player who’s filled with enthusiasm and wants to play. I think when a situation like that arises, it’s okay, what’s best for everyone?” said Racing Louisville president James O’Connor, who added that the trade could allow the club to sign new talent while getting Salmon on the field elsewhere.

Salmon opened up to Theo Lloyd-Hughes of The Striker Texas about her struggle to get playing time, telling the publication that she didn’t feel the minutes decision was transparent.

“There were questions to be asked there, and I asked questions multiple times and didn’t really get the answer that I wanted or a definitive answer that I agreed with, which was frustrating. But then you have to agree with the coach’s opinion,” Salmon said. “I wanted to stick it out and give it a chance to prove myself. I think I was at a point where I’d kind of given it long enough. I’m not going to play here. I need to go somewhere where I am going to play and where I’m valued.”

The 21-year-old went on to say that Björkegren didn’t talk to her about her lack of minutes. Instead, she claims, she had to address him about the issue and after the trade was initiated, communication between the two ended.

Despite the tough break at Louisville, Salmon is still eager to make her mark on the NWSL and prove her ability on the field.

“I think I’ve still got a lot to do out here before I think about going back to England,” Salmon told The Striker Texas. “I’m taking my anger from not playing in Louisville and I’m going to show what I can do here when I get on the pitch.”

Racing Louisville FC and the Houston Dash have agreed to a trade, with Ebony Salmon heading to Houston in exchange for allocation money.

The two sides announced the trade on Monday. After the deal, Salmon signed a contract extension with the Dash through the 2023 season. She will be available for Houston’s next match on July 1.

For 2022, Racing will receive $150,000 in allocation money. Then in 2023, they will receive $25,000 in allocation money. There is also a performance-based incentive, with Racing receiving up to $15,000 more in allocation money this year if Salmon meets the criteria while with the Dash.

“We thank Ebony for all of her contributions here in Louisville and see this as an opportunity for her to get the minutes she’s seeking,” said Racing coach Kim Björkegren. “At the same time, the allocation money received will in return allow us to pursue new player signings this year.”

Salmon was the team’s highest scorer in Louisville’s inaugural season, notching six goals in 2021. Through the first months of the season in 2022, she’s made nine appearances – including two starts.

“I am excited for the next chapter, but I want to thank the Racing fans for all of their support over the past year,” Salmon said. “When I arrived in Louisville, they welcomed me with open arms.”

In a statement, Louisville president James O’Connor called the decision to trade Salmon “difficult.”

“Ebony is a young player with a bright future. We wish her the very best moving forward and appreciate the work she put in here,” he said.

With the departure of Salmon, four of the team’s top five scorers last season are no longer with the club. Cece Kizer was traded to Kansas City in early June while Savannah McCaskill was traded to Angel City in the offseason. Yuki Nagasato also returned to the Chicago Red Stars in the offseason after requesting a trade back to Chicago to be closer to her fiancé.

The 2021 NWSL season featured a plethora of stunning goals. From long-range bangers to cheeky chips, the regular season was packed with quality finishes which flexed the talent saturation of the league.

Though it’s a tall order to select the year’s top goals, a few plays rose above the rest, defining the NWSL season that was.

These are the 10 must-see goals from this 2021 NWSL season:

1. Jess Fishlock’s long-range effort

OL Reign midfielder and league MVP Jess Fishlock is no stranger to a long-range shot. The Welsh star has proved herself dangerous from any distance, causing problems for defenses across the NWSL.

Fishlocks’s banger from outside the box in OL Reign’s October matchup against Chicago showcased the 34-year-old’s shot-making ability and her command over the midfield. Her equalizer was one of her five goals on the season as well as one of the most stunning finishes of the year.

2. Trinity Rodman’s crazy assist

Trinity Rodman burst onto the scene in 2021, putting together one of the most impressive rookie campaigns in NWSL history. Her assist to Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch in the Spirit’s October 3-0 win over Racing Louisville was likewise one of the most impressive services of the year, highlighting the 18-year-old’s technical ability and defensive commitment.

Winning the ball in the midfield, Rodman perfectly picked out Hatch, putting the ball on a platter for the Washington striker to slot home.

3. Ebony Salmon’s NWSL debut

Ebony Salmon wasted no time making her mark on the NWSL, scoring in her first two minutes on the pitch. The English striker opened up her account with Racing Louisville in June, setting herself up with creative skill to notch her first finish with flare.

The 20-year-old finished her inaugural season with six goals and one assist, giving Racing Louisville fans a lot to look forward to in 2022.

4. Sophia Smith’s sensational strike

Sophia Smith showed why she is considered the future of the USWNT’s attack, striking a sensational ball from outside the box to beat Ashlyn Harris at the near post. The 21-year-old’s finish helped Portland to a 2-1 win over the Pride, catapulting the team to the top of the table just before the Olympics.

The moral of the story — be weary of giving Smith time and space.

5. Caprice Dydasco’s “shross”

Caprice Dydasco’s first NWSL goal was a stunner, albeit confounding to categorize. The NWSL Defender of the Year’s finish looked to some to be a cross that tucked into the back of the net. To others, it was a stunning curler.

Whatever Dydasco’s intention, her June finish for Gotham FC was one of the most impeccable goals of the year.

6. Eugénie Le Sommer puts her defender on skates

Eugenie Le Sommer’s first OL Reign goal was arguably the league’s best finish of the season. The French forward put her defender on skates before curling the ball past the fully extended Louisville keeper to open her OL Reign account in stunning fashion.

Le Sommer’s July finish kicked off a stellar campaign with the NWSL club, scoring eight goals in 18 matches.

7. Emina Ekic plays hometown hero

Racing Louisville clinched the club’s first-ever win with a 2-0 shutout over the Washington Spirit in May. Emina Ekic, a Louisville native and graduate of the University of Louisville, notched the team’s go-ahead goal, evading a swarm of defenders before striking a banger into the far post.

The moment was the stuff of movies, galvanizing her hometown crowd in a franchise-defining moment.

8. Christine Sinclair’s chip 

Christine Sinclair is a soccer legend, making even the most difficult skills look effortless. The Portland star’s finish in her team’s May rivalry matchup against OL Reign was no different. Karen Bardsley’s deflected save fell to Sinclair, who, with precision, chipped the Reign keeper for a cheeky and memorable goal.

38 years old, Sinclair still hasn’t lost a step.

9. Crystal Dunn from deep

For those who forgot, Crystal Dunn can score goals. While USWNT fans may be accustomed to seeing Dunn at outside back, for Portland, the 29-year-old plays higher up the pitch in her preferred position.

Dunn showed off her attacking skills in May when she hit a banger into the upper 90, beating her Gotham defender at the top of the box and reminding us all of what she’s capable of.

10. Gotham FC’s team goal

Gotham FC showed a team goal could be just as thrilling as an individual flash of brilliance, executing one of the most comprehensive plays of the year. Margaret Purce finished off the buildup play, which started with the team’s backline. Ifeoma Onumonu set up a dummy for Carli Lloyd before making a critical overlapping run, notching the assist.

The October finish showed just what this burgeoning Gotham team is capable of. Lloyd may be gone in 2022, but an influx of USWNT stars has the New Jersey/New York club looking to continue their ascent.