The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

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But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

Two NWSL teams avoided some major setbacks on Thursday, as both Portland’s Morgan Weaver and Orlando’s Angelina were cleared of season-ending injuries after undergoing scope procedures earlier this week. 

Angelina has been described by her club as "week-to-week," while Weaver has been placed on Portland’s 45-day injury list. 

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The Thorns won their May 4th game without Weaver 2-1, continuing their season turnaround, while the Pride remain one of two unbeaten teams in the NWSL.

In other injury list news, Christen Press posted a video on Thursday of her running with a trainer and doing drills, providing further updates on her road back from a June 2022 ACL tear.

Angel City coach Becki Tweed has told reporters that Press is back with the team, but has not issued a timetable for her return to the field.

USWNT regulars Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson furthered their cases for Olympic inclusion with their respective club victories on Saturday and Sunday.

After a roller coaster of a week that saw former Thorns head coach Mike Norris reassigned and a flurry of last-minute roster reshufflings as Friday's trade window closure loomed, the NWSL sprung to life over the weekend with standout performances from ninth-place Portland and third-place Chicago, among others.

After her blocked attempt at goal set up a volleying sixth-minute opener from veteran Christine Sinclair — now the only player in history to record a goal in all 11 NWSL seasons — Smith swiftly netted her own in the 27th minute off a breakaway run that eluded Houston's backline. The goal represented Smith's third of the season as well as her 35th for the Thorns, ultimately leading to the home side's first win of the season in a 4-1 routing of the Dash.

But that wasn't Smith's only stat of the evening. The star forward also lapped former Chicago Red Star Sam Kerr to become the youngest player to reach 50 NWSL goal contributions across all games, chalking up 40 goals and 10 assists at the age of 23 years and 254 days.

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"Obviously it feels good to get a win," said Smith in a post-match press conference. "But this is the standard the Thorns have always had. So a win is great, but a win is the expectation — we're hungrier than ever after the way we started."

170 miles up the road, Lumen Field similarly showcased some promising Olympic prospect footwork on Sunday. In Chicago's 2-1 victory over the lagging 13th-place Seattle Reign, striker Mallory Swanson racked up an impressive counterattack assist on fellow forward Ally Schlegel's fourth-minute goal. Swanson went on to find the back of the net herself before halftime, lacing an explosive ball into the top corner in the 31st minute, her second of the season after returning from a lengthy sidelining injury.

Speaking of injuries, fellow USWNT favorites Alex Morgan and Tierna Davidson were not as fortunate as their national squad teammates this weekend. Each exited their club matches early, Morgan with an ankle knock in San Diego's loss to Orlando and Davidson with an apparent hamstring incident early on in Washington's win over Gotham.

The Portland Thorns are looking for a new head coach after a winless start to the NWSL season. 

The organization has reassigned head coach Mike Norris to a newly created technical director position. Assistant coach Rob Gale is set to take over as interim head coach while the club conducts a "global search" for its next head coach. 

Norris began his time at the club as an assistant coach before taking the reigns after former head coach Rhian Wilkinson abruptly resigned in 2022. Under Norris, the Thorns finished second in 2023's regular season standings, but suffered three losses in their last five games in a spell that saw them knocked out of the running for the NWSL Shield. They went on to lose their first playoff game in postseason play. 

At the start of the 2024 season, the Thorns went winless through four games for the first time in club history. 

"The results have not gone our way, and in a head coach position, the results do matter," Thorns GM Karina LeBlanc told The Athletic's Meg Linehan shortly after the Tuesday afternoon announcement. “But the results that we have, you can’t just pinpoint it on one position.”

Norris' reassignment marks the first major personnel decision made under the club’s new ownership. RAJ Sports' Lisa Bhathal Merage and Alex Bhathal, who also own the NBA's Sacramento Kings, bought the club in January from Merritt Paulson, who sold the Thorns amidst the fallout stemming from reports of misconduct within the NWSL.

Both the Bhathal family and the Thorns front office have been looking to make changes, and establishing a technical director topped the list. According to LeBlanc, Norris has what it takes to assume the position. 

"Where can we grow? Where are the gaps? How do we move forward with being the standard that people are used to with the Thorns?" LeBlanc continued. "One of [Norris’] strengths is to analyze and process, then come down to communicate what needs to happen."

Despite the dismal start, a quick turnaround could certainly be in the cards for Portland. The club currently leads the league in shots and shots on goal, as does star forward and USWNT standout Sophia Smith

"These changes will help us maximize our strengths as we continuously pursue championship-level success," LeBlanc said, voicing full support for the staffing shakeup.

Becky Sauerbrunn is returning to Portland.

The free agent re-signed with the Thorns on a one-year deal. In a statement, Sauerbrunn said she is “thrilled” to be staying in Portland.

“I’m thrilled to be continuing my career with the Thorns as we enter a new era for the club,” Sauerbrunn said. “And as we welcome new ownership and investment, I’m thankful for the opportunity to play for the city and supporters that have always made being a Thorn such an unrivaled experience.”

Her return comes after Christine Sinclair signed a one-year deal to remain with the club also through 2024. And it also comes after the Thorns were sold to RAJ Sports for $63 million, a company that is led by the Bhathal family, which also holds ownership stake in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Sauerbrunn is an 11-year NWSL veteran who has established herself as one of the top defenders in the league. Four times she’s won Defender of the Year – a league best – with her most recent award coming in 2019. She’s also been named to the NWSL Best XI and Second XI a league-best eight times.

A three-time NWSL champion, she’s helped Portland to the 2020 NWSL community shield, the 2021 NWSL challenge cup, 2022 NWSL shield and 2022 NWSL championship. She’s one of just a few players in league history to have won every possible title.

She’s also a key member of the USWNT, having captained the team and helped them to the 2015 and 2019 World Cup titles, as well as one Olympic gold and one Olympic silver medal.

“We are delighted to be able to bring Becky back to Portland for this upcoming season, her leadership, on and off the field, her professionalism, and quality on the pitch will be paramount to what we are hoping to achieve this year as a team and in this new era as a club,” general manager Karina LeBlanc said in a statement.

Christine Sinclair has re-signed with the Portland Thorns, the club announced on Monday.

Sinclair, the world’s all-time leading international goalscorer, signed for just one more year. This comes after she retired from playing for the Canada women’s national team.

She’s one of just three active players in the NWSL to have played for the same team since the league launched in 2013.

“Are you ready for one more year, Portland?” Sinclair announced on social media, posing with the NWSL championship trophies she won in 2013, 2017 and 2022 with Portland.

Sinclair leads the Thorns with 62 goals – the third most in league history – and 176 appearances. She is owner of Portland’s first-ever goal, scored in a match against FC Kansas City on April 13, 2023.

“Sinc has been with this club from the beginning, she is the foundation with which Portland Thorns is built on, and as much as she is a part of the DNA of the Thorns, the Thorns are part of her DNA,” Portland general manager Karina LeBlanc said in a statement.

Jessie Fleming is headed to Portland, with the Canadian national set to join the Thorns after departing Chelsea FC.

The Telegraph’s Tom Garry first reported the news, writing that Fleming said farewell to her Chelsea teammates on Monday. Garry also reported that Fleming is “adored by everyone” at the club and is parting on “great terms.”

Fleming’s transfer fee is reportedly around £250,000, or about $316,000 USD. It’s a record number for the NWSL and makes her the most expensive signing ever made by an American women’s team.

Fleming is a winner, having helped Chelsea to three Women’s Super League titles, three women’s FA Cups and a League Cup. She also won Olympic gold with Canada in Tokyo in 2021, scoring in the final.

With the transfer fee, Garry reports that the WSL leaders are likely going to use it toward signing a striker. Their sights are set on Colombian forward Mayra Ramírez from Levante, which has already been reported in Spain.

Fleming joins Canadian national teammates Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie in Portland.

The Portland Thorns sale has officially gone through, with the Bhathal family acquiring the NWSL team from Merritt Paulson for a record $63 million, according to multiple outlets.

The Thorns announced the sale to RAJ Sports, led by siblings Lisa Bhathal Merage and Alex Bhathal, who also own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

According to The Athletic, Lisa Bhathal Merage will serve as the team’s controlling owner and represent the Thorns on the NWSL board of governors. Alex Bhathal, her brother and business partner, will serve as alternate governor.

The group has committed to keeping the team in Portland, and will remain at Providence Park through 2035 as per their lease agreement.

“As fans ourselves, and as seasoned sports and real estate operators, we believe in the future of Portland and the NWSL, and in the tremendous opportunity that surrounds this iconic team,” Bhathal Merage said Wednesday. “We look forward to working with the Timbers throughout this transition and beyond to ensure the continued success of the Thorns at Providence Park.”

Additionally, the team will continue training at the Portland stadium as they await a new women’s practice facility, which the family has committed to building. According to The Athletic, their goal is to have “at least two” training fields, a training and performance center and office space.

Merritt Paulson put the Thorns up for sale in late 2022 amid allegations of abuse and misconduct both within the Thorns and the NWSL. A $1 million fine issued by the league to the Thorns in January 2023 has been paid as part of the purchase transaction.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Red Stars sold to a group led by Laura Ricketts for $35.5 million, while Michele Kang previously paid $35 million for the Washington Spirit, to help put the Thorns’ price in perspective.

Tierna Davidson is in advanced talks to sign with Gotham FC in NWSL free agency, The Equalizer’s Jenna Tonelli reported Tuesday.

Davidson, 25, is a star defender who has played for the Chicago Red Stars since 2019, when she was selected by the club with the No. 1 overall pick in the NWSL college draft.

A member of the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, Davidson has made 51 international appearances. She also has made 61 appearances for Chicago since 2019.

Davidson becomes just the latest USWNT player to be linked to Gotham FC in free agency. Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett also reportedly are in advanced discussions to join the reigning NWSL champions, and Crystal Dunn has been linked to the club as well.

The addition of Davidson would make sense for Gotham FC given the retirement of 2023 NWSL Defender of the Year nominee and captain Ali Krieger.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Moultrie impressed in her debut for the U.S. women’s national team in 3-0 win against China on Dec. 2.

Moultrie came on as a substitute in the 71st minute for Rose Lavelle, becoming the first player born in 2005 to earn a cap. She played the rest of the game in a midfield role behind young forwards Jaedyn Shaw, 19, and Mia Fishel, 22.

“Very, very pleased with Liv,” USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore said after the match. “I know I talked to her after the game, she was ecstatic, as you would imagine that she would be, but I think there’ll be greater moments for her to come.”

Moultrie started training with the Portland Thorns at 13 years old, and she officially signed with the NWSL club in 2021 at 15 years old following a legal battle over her right to play. Two years later, she registered one shot on target in her debut for the senior national team.

Kilgore praised Moultrie’s playmaking ability, going so far as to say that she wishes the squad would’ve gotten the ball to her more.

“I think she went in and occupied spaces really well,” Kilgore said. “I felt like we could have found her more and when we did find her I thought she was very good in combination and looking to play forward, tried some things, we asked her to be brave. She was brave. And I thought she was great at looking to regain the ball right away when other people lost the ball.”

And bravery is key when making an appearance for a national team at 18 years old. But as Kilgore said, Moultrie was brave, and she likely has a successful future ahead of her with the USWNT.

“One of the things I was able to get to her right before she went in, she’s obviously already been briefed tactically what we’re looking for, but just reminding her that I would not play her if she wasn’t ready,” Kilgore said. “She’s earned this and she did an incredible job going in and playing on both sides of the ball.”