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Alex Morgan celebrates her goal. Credit: San Diego Wave

The 2023 NWSL season just began!

The 2023 NWSL season just began!

The NWSL is finally back. It’s been almost five months between vacations and preseason, but the league is officially back. How did the teams do in their season openers?

North Carolina vs. Kansas City Current

After North Carolina’s original squad got completely disbanded in the last two years, the club was forced to look for new players that could fill the huge holes in the roster.

One of the footballers that left was Brazilian Debinha. After winning multiple championships with the Courage and becoming the star of the team, she decided to leave for Kansas. 

Speaking of Kansas, they started to build something special there. Even though their most important new signings didn’t pay off due to injury, they were capable of getting to a Championship final last season.

It’s no wonder why they were the favorites to win this season opener against the Courage but again, injuries left their new signings out for this match, and among them, was Debinha.

The Courage, playing at home, took advantage of this weakened Current, and one of their new signings, Mille Gejl, surprised the backline with a shot from distance. The low finish beat AD Franch and was enough to keep the three points at the end of the day.

North Carolina midfielder Denise O’Sullivan (10), right, celebrates with forward Mille Gejl (22) after Geil scored during the first half of the Courage’s game against Kansas City at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., Saturday, March 25, 2023. ETHAN HYMAN

Besides the goal, the Courage showed a stronger midfield than Kansas. Another of their new signings, Japanese international Narumi Miura, was pivotal in the 6 position and did a good job there being good in passes and defensively speaking.

The Courage started this 2023 season on the right foot but the question about how their season will go with this very new roster still remains. Let’s hope that the next time they play at home, the fans can show up in numbers at the stadium because the attendance was truly disappointing.

San Diego Wave vs. Chicago Red Stars

This match-up looked a little like the previous one. Why? Well, San Diego had a great season last year, one that exceeded all expectations, while Chicago Red Stars lost many players that were pivotal for the team for years.

One of them was Danielle Colaprico who was starting for the home team in their season opener. Leaving her aside, the rest of the Wave was pretty much the same compared with last year. The same can’t be said about the Red Stars when you look at their starting XI.

In any case, it was weird to see Colaprico with a shirt different than Chicago’s. It looked like karma when she fouled an opponent inside the box and so Chicago got a PK to equalize the game (2-2) through Mallory Swanson.

When everybody thought the season opener was going to end in a draw, the Wave got a penalty. The 2022 Golden Boot winner Alex Morgan shot it and scored and that was enough for San Diego to get the three points at home.

Despite the loss, it was nice to see USWNT players Casey Krueger and Tierna Davidson fully healthy again. By the way, they did pretty well, specially Tierna. She was the player with the most attempted passes with 62. Of those, she completed 85.5% (53). She also excelled at clearances with 19, the most of any player in the league in Week 1.

Tierna Davidson's clearances. Source: Opta
Tierna Davidson’s clearances. Source: Opta

It will be interesting to see how Chicago does the rest of the season with this new and different roster. It will also be riveting to see if the Wave can replicate their rookie year, or do even better.

Speaking of San Diego, will Alex Morgan be the Golden Boot again? It is good she started to score early but let’s remember this will be a busy year for her, national team-wise.

After a Saturday full of action, Sunday brought the 2022 Champions’ season opener at Providence Park stadium. But how did the Portland Thorns do? Jump to the next article to find out.


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