By Ashley Hart
What a week we’ve already had in NWSL action. Christine Sinclair scored a hat trick in Wednesday night’s matchup between the Portland Thorns and OL Reign. The Thorns won the Cascadian challenge 4-1 with Bethany Balcer being the lone goal for the Reign.
We’ve got a full weekend of matches headed your way with what is sure to be an exciting finale between the Houston Dash and NC Courage on Sunday night. She Plays has a full slate of fantasy games for you to play along with the weekend’s action. Play Assign the Line and build your perfect team, or try your hand at Starting XI and choose a roster that will rise above the rest. However you like to play, She Plays has some tips to help you make the best picks each week. Here are your pro tips for this week of the NWSL fall series!
NWSL FALL SERIES WEEKLY SCHEDULE
- Sky Blue FC vs Washington Spirit – Saturday, October 3 at 12:30pm ET (TWITCH)
- Utah Royals FC vs Portland Thorns FC – Saturday, October 3 at 10pm ET (CBS Sports)
- Houston Dash vs. NC Courage – Sunday, October 4 at 7 pm ET (TWITCH)
Sky Blue FC
Ifeoma Onumonu has had a goal in each of Sky Blue’s games this season. She and the Sky Blue offense are up against a tough goalkeeper in the Spirit’s Aubrey Bledsoe. The team has done well in drawing corner kicks in the two previous games and that might aid them in this mid-Atlantic matchup.
The Spirit have been peppering opposing teams with shots (2nd in the league in overall shots with 31, tied for 1st in the league for shots on goal with 15) but their success rate still leaves much to be desired (only four goals). Maybe this week they will make things click and find the back of the net against Kailen Sheridan and the Sky Blue defense.
Utah Royals FC
The Utah Royals FC squad has been through the ringer as of late. In exciting off-the-pitch news, they will have a new addition to the sideline this weekend with their new assistant Coach, Nikki Washington! Washington is a former NWSL player and member of the US youth national teams. She was an assistant coach at the University of Washington from 2017-2019 and is the first black female coach in the NWSL (first of many to come we hope!). She will join LePeilbet who is acting as interim head coach.
Portland Thorns FC
What else is there to say about the Thorns after their performance on Wednesday? They have the league leader in goals – Christine Sinclair (3). They have the league leader in assists – Lindsey Horan (3). They lead the lead in goals for the season (7 in two games!) and are tied for first in the league with 15 shots on goal. At the top of the standings and facing off against the team bringing up the bottom of the table, this should be a good weekend to draft the Thorns in our Assign the Line game.
In what we are anticipating as the match of the weekend, the Dash play host to the Courage. Shea Groom is the league leader in shots (10) and will hopefully put up quite a game. The NC defense/GK unit has not had the best season to start so the Dash’s shooting rate might be quite the handful – they lead the league in shots with 34. Will the Dash be able to hand the Courage their first loss of the season?
We know it’s a broken record but when it comes to the Courage, keep your eyes on Debinha. She’s just that special of a player. She’s already given us Sportscenter highlights and this game looks promising on that front. This will be a well-fought match. The Courage are certainly not the underdogs sitting in 3rd place (to Houston’s 5th place spot) and we will see if the whole squad travels. Last week’s game had a few Pride players missing due to a positive COVID test from the Dash team.