The North Carolina Courage struck early and often, smashing the Chicago Red Stars 4-0 to repeat as NWSL champions.
Brazilian international Debinha scored in the fourth minute. She was followed by USWNT stars Jessica McDonald (26′), Crystal Dunn (45+5′), and Sam Mewis (61′).
The big difference between the squads was quality of shots. Possessions was essentially even (51-49% for Courage), and completed passes were even at 401 a piece. For Courage, of their 20 shots, 11 were on target. Chicago only managed to get 2 of their 13 on target.
Big year for NWSL
This was a watershed year for NWSL.
Bouncing off the popularity of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, attendance surged. ESPN took note, striking a broadcast deal with the league. Some cities experienced more fans at games than their MLS counterparts. In general, attendance was up across the board.
What’s next for NWSL and Women’s Soccer?
Well first, the USWNT is naming their new coach tomorrow. It’ll be Reign FC (Seattle) head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
For the league though, expect the following:
- Expansion tied to MLS cities (like Atlanta, which would crush it)
- A strengthened and expanded broadcast deal
- Attendance to grow though not at the same spike seen from the summer of 2019
The league is in good shape. It takes a long time to build a sports league. It’s a brick-by-brick process. It feels like NWSL has learned from the mistakes of past leagues. MLS is a good model to follow. There’s a template here for success. NWSL is on the right path.