NWSL Fall Series Preview: Week 6

With only two weeks of games left, the top of the standings is tighter than ever. Each team will be looking to come away with three points this weekend.

Here is a preview of this weekend’s three NWSL games and a player to watch for each team.

Houston Dash at Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride host their first game of the Fall Series on Friday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. ET when they welcome the Houston Dash to town. The last meeting between these two teams was all the Dash who came away with a 3-1 win.

2020 has been the year of the Houston Dash. Houston has a rejuvenated attack and a solid new center back pairing that has helped this team come to life. The Dash won the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup and scored the most goals at the tournament. The goal-scoring has continued for Houston in the Fall Series, where they have scored at least three goals in all three of their matches. In their last match, the Dash defeated the North Carolina Courage for the first time in club history with an impressive 4-1 victory.

The last time that the Orlando Pride took the field was against Houston in that 3-1 loss. In that match, Marisa Viggiano scored the Pride’s lone goal. The Orlando defense will need to be at their best and slow down the Houston attack.

Players to Watch

Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash) – Mewis has been arguably the best player in the league during this unusual 2020 season. To add to her incredible year, she was the star for the Dash against North Carolina registering a goal and three assists.

Marisa Viggiano (Orlando Pride) – Viggiano has scored the lone goal for the Pride during the Fall Series through two matches. The midfielder has played all 180 minutes for Orlando. Viggiano and the midfield will play a big part for Orlando if they hope to pull off the upset.

Chicago Red Stars at Sky Blue FC

The Chicago Red Stars travel to New Jersey to take on Sky Blue FC on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET. This match will be the last for both teams in 2020. The Red Stars came away with a 4-1 win in the last matchup between these two.

In their last time out, the Chicago Red Stars played the Washington Spirit to a 1-1 tie, bringing Chicago’s record in the Fall Series to 1-1-1. Through three games in the Fall Series, Chicago has scored six goals and had five different goal scorers.

Sky Blue FC is coming off of a 1-0 loss to the Washington Spirit. Ifeoma Onumonu is the leader of the attack for Sky Blue and has scored two goals in the Fall Series.

Players to Watch

Midge Purce (Sky Blue) – Purce has played every minute of the Fall Series up top for Sky Blue, registering one goal. Look for Purce to continue to combine with Onumonu and help lead the Sky Blue attack in their final match.

Sarah Luebbert (Chicago Red Stars) – The rookie has been really impressive for the Red Stars these last three matches. She scored her first career goal for Chicago against the Washington Spirit in September. Luebbert has also registered an assist in the last two games for the Red Stars.

Portland Thorns at OL Reign

The Cascadia rivalry takes place in Tacoma on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. ET. Portland took all three points in the last meeting with an impressive 4-1 win. The series between these two teams is pretty tight with OL Reign taking a slight edge with an 11-10-4 record.

OL Reign is looking to get their first win in the Fall Series and get some revenge after the 4-1 loss to the Thorns just a week and a half ago. The lone goal in that one for the Reign was scored by Bethany Balcer.

This match will be Portland’s last of 2020, where they look to finish the Fall Series without a loss. After scoring seven goals in their first two matches, the Thorns were held to a 1-1 draw by the Utah Royals in their last match.

Players to Watch

Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns) – The Thorn’s captain has been phenomenal in the attack for Portland. Sinclair has scored four goals during the Fall Series, including a hat trick against OL Reign in their last meeting. The Canadian international will look to find the back of the net again on Saturday to help Portland defeat their rivals for the second time in a row.

Stephanie Cox (OL Reign) – The defense for OL Reign will play an important part in this game. Last time they conceded four goals so the emphasis will be on being defensively sound. Cox is the leader on the backline, she’s got seven interceptions, four clearances, and two blocks through two games. She also registered an assist in their first match of the Fall Series.