A takeaway from every NWSL team after opening weekend

Annie Peterson analyzes the outcomes of each NWSL game after opening weekend and gives a look-ahead at the season to come

KaaaaayyyyyyCeeeeeeee-BaaaayyyyyyBeeeeeeee! And with that cheer, Brittany and Patrick Mahomes opened the Kansas City Current’s new stadium and the NWSL regular season.

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What happened next was a goal fest, with the Current coming out on top 9-5 against the Portland Thorns. The nine total goals was a record for fifth most in league history. It was entertaining television, which was good because the game was on ABC.

The main takeaways for each team.

THORNS: Janine Beckie is back from her ACL tear and Sophia Smith is doing Sophia Smith things. There were three newcomers on the backline: Nicole Payne, Marie Müller, and Isabella Obaze. So it may take a while to mesh.

CURRENT: At this point, the biggest question is how bad Debinha’s hamstring injury is. Great first game and a cool stadium, but as Debinha goes, so the Current goes.

RED STARS: They beat the expansion Utah Royals 2-0. Allison Schlegel and Ava Cook scored. But the most important thing: Mallory Swanson is back. She started for Chicago.

ROYALS: Sold out the opener for the biggest crowd ever to see a women’s soccer game in Utah (besting the USWNT!). One player to keep an eye on is Brecken Mozingo. The draft’s No. 4 pick changed the energy when she was subbed in.

RACING: Played to a 2-2 draw at home against the Orlando Pride, blowing a two-goal lead in the process to spoil Bev Yanez’s debut as a head coach. Racing didn’t have Ary Borges, and Jaelin Howell was a sub as she works her way back from injury.

PRIDE: Got a road point, and were a player down after the 62nd minute. So, not a win, but not a loss either. Summer Yates’ first career goal tied the match in the 86th minute.

COURAGE: Opened the season with — wait for it — a 5-1 rout of Houston. Talk about starting the season off right. Bianca St-Georges had a pair of goals. The Courage dominated possession. Oh, and not to be lost on opening day: Sam Mewis was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

DASH: Rocky start to Fran Alonso’s first game as head coach. Not much more to say.

BAY FC: Welcome to the NWSL, Asisat Oshoala! Bay FC won its first-ever NWSL match 1-0 on the road against Angel City. Don’t overlook the performance of goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx, who had a heck of a game and finished with eight saves.

ANGEL CITY: Merritt Mathias is back, which is nice to see. In the meantime, rumors are swirling about the team seeking new ownership. And keep an eye on teenager Kennedy Fuller.

REIGN: Bethany Balcer scored on an early penalty kick and the Reign hung on for a 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit. A day later, the sale of the team to a group that includes Sounders’ ownership is complete.

SPIRIT: Trinity Rodman didn’t play because of a red card in the regular-season finale. Casey Krueger nearly scored an equalizer in the 69th minute but VAR called it back.

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And let’s not forget:

GOTHAM: So, no Super Team just yet. But it will probably take time for ALL those pieces to come together.

WAVE: Alex Morgan to the rescue, again! Her header off a corner from Savannah McCaskill gave the Wave the win. You think Alex heard those whispers about how the game was moving on without her? She’s laughing.

Onto the links:

Interesting story on sponsorship data for the NWSL.

Women’s sports hits a tipping point. Yes, the Nebraska volleyball game was super cool, but might be putting too much emphasis on that one event. I’d argue that Caitlin Clark was more of a tipping point, if you are looking at the near past.

The Athletic’s guide to the key player on each team.

ESPN’s NWSL ambition rankings

Boston.com with a nice feature on Ally Sentnor

CNN spoke to Jen Beattie about Bay FC

ESPN with a wide-ranging interview of Vlatko Andonovski. P.S. A BIG congratulations to Jeff Kassouf, who is now a staff writer for ESPN!

Ahead of the season, Jessica Berman sat down with the Athletic’s Steph Yang and Meg Linehan.

Front Office Sports with a story on the NWSL’s new media rights deal

Loved this story from Jayda Evans on Lu Barnes.

Sandra Herrera’s power rankings from the opening weekend.

Brittany Mahomes spills the beans on the NWSL championship game.

Barcelona through to the Champions League quarterfinals.

The Reign sale is complete.

Jonathan Tannenwald’s story from the Challenge Cup

From the post-game interview with Jaedyn Shaw and Alex Morgan:

Question: The big victory here in the Challenge Cup. Just put that into perspective though, starting off the season with some hard work.

Shaw: I mean, two championships in a week, so that’s awesome. I’m super proud of the team. I know they worked so hard in pre-season, even when we weren’t there. So I feel like it’s all just paying off now and we’re happy to get the hardware this time.

Question: Tell me a little bit about the chemistry of this team and what you saw on the pitch tonight.

Shaw: I mean, I feel like all the new players integrated really well. I haven’t really gotten to know them too much off the field yet, but I feel like we really played well together on the field and we’re just going to continue to work at it and continue to grow. And I think it’s just going to get better as we go on.

Question: Give me your perspective on Alex’s game winning goal in the final minutes.

Shaw: I mean, she’s the GOAT for a reason. She is an amazing human and I think that she deserves it. And ultimately she came through for the team.

Question: Alex, put it in perspective, I was just asked Jaedyn, kicking off the season with some hardware against a team like Gotham, who everyone is talking about.

Morgan: It’s awesome. I mean, to just start off with a win. We got two championship titles in one week, which is not bad, but just the fight that this team had was great and obviously it’s like the first game of the season, technically, so we’re going to grow into our style and everything, but really happy about this.

Question: In those final minutes getting that goal, what’s going through your head?

Morgan: I just wanted to get a goal. I mean, the corner came and Sav always plays in a great ball, so I just tried to get free. The ball came straight to me, so I knew I couldn’t mess it up.

Question: You two have a great relationship on and off the field. So I’ll start with you, Jay. What have you learned from who you call the GOAT?

Morgan: Yeah, let’s go. What did you learn, girl?

Shaw: Oh, nothing at all — just kidding. I mean, enjoying things like this and and also enjoying the low points, too. I feel like enjoying every moment and just continue to take it in and grow and just continue to get better each and every day.

Question: Your daughter, Charlie, is with us here. How special is this for you getting to share this with her?

Morgan: Yeah, it’s really special. She wants to go on the podium already, so she can’t get too used to it.

Question: When we look at the rest of the season, what do you make of the team and how this sets you up?

Shaw: Yeah, obviously it’s a great start. We have a lot more to do and I think it all starts in training and continue to recover but also focus on our home opener and continue to grow from there.

Question: Alex, when you go back home, we’ve talked a lot about San Diego and the community there and the support. What’s it like bringing back this trophy to San Diego?

Morgan: It’s so great. Honestly, we’re hoping to have this Cup Final in San Diego. We knew we’d get 32,000 fans but next weekend and we know we’re going to get that and we’re going to be lifting it next weekend to our home fans. So very excited to bring it home. Oh, Charlie wants to say something else.

Charlie: I like the fireworks.

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Written by Annie Peterson