NWSL week 2: The good, the bad, and the ugly

NWSL week 2: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Instead of a rundown of every game in week 2 of the NWSL season, I thought I'd instead mention a few high points and low points from the weekend full of games.

The Good

The Washington Spirit vs. Bay FC game was tied 1-1 and scoreless for the entire second half, but in the last 30 seconds inside five minutes of injury time, rookie Croix Bethune scored a brilliant stunner to win it for the Spirit.

In the Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Redstars game, Chicago ultimately prevailed 2-1 but Ji So-Yun's goal was not only the first ever NSWL goal by a Korean player, it was placed perfectly.

I'm a fan of great goalkeeping and in the Racing Louisville vs. Houston Dash game that ended 0-0, this little breakaway and shot on goal is saved by pure instinct and tons of luck on the part of Dash defender Puntigam after Jane Campbell goes for the first block. Honestly, it's probably Save of the Week.

In Utah's first victory of the season (over North Carolina), their keeper Haught took on two consecutive penalty kicks (a first in the NWSL's history) with the first one going wide and hitting the woodwork and the second one blocked. Pretty amazing way to win the game.

The Bad

The standings after week two feel like they're from the Upside Down universe. I can't remember the last time Chicago was in the top spot (maybe 5-6 years ago?), or when I last saw Portland in the bottom of the league. It's early in the season though, and I'm sure things will change soon.

The Ugly

In the Orlando Pride vs. Angel City game, LA defender Mary Vignola (called up to the USWNT last year!) had a collision with another player who rolled on top of her in a weird way, and afterwards Vignola could get up or put weight on her leg. It looked like a possible ACL tear, though the club has been silent on what injury she sustained. Hopefully it's not her ACL, as it would end her entire season.

If it is an ACL tear, that's the second star player on Angel City to tear an ACL in 2024 after their forward Jun Endo suffered an ACL tear in training last month.

Torn ACLs are frighteningly common in women's pro soccer and it's a shame because once it happens, a player is out for at least a year to undergo surgeries and have adequate recovery time, with some players having to undergo multiple surgeries and a few players never fully healing or playing again (see: Christian Press and Sam Mewis). It's an unfortunate plague in the sport that affects women more often then men and lots of sports physiologists are studying why it that's so (Is it overtraining? The unique physiology of women's hips/legs? Poor field quality?) but it would be nice if researchers could figure out a cause and do everything to prevent them in the future.