Congratulations to the 2022 NWSL Champions Portland Thorns. In his 2–0 win against the Kansas City Currents at Audi Field, the club earned his third star atop the apex thanks to a well-executed plan that ran over his 90-plus minutes. Added. In fact, the plan worked so well that forward Sophia Smith later said, “Honestly, it was just a fun game to play.”
All in all, it was a successful closing to an intense and sometimes painful season.
One of the things that stood out about this year’s NWSL Championship was the opportunities we had all weekend long. This is not always the case. Previous championships may have had a few events like supporter meetups and pre-game parties, but this one felt like the culmination of a decade of growth.
First of all, it was CBS’ primetime game on U.S. terrestrial TV, and the pre-game fanfest outside Audi was loud, crowded, and filled with sponsorships.via the Attacking Third show. There was live coverage from both CBS Sports and the league’s partner, Just Women’s Sports. Players from other teams were everywhere, and there was a special presentation of the bespoke Letterman his jacket for a player who had been in the league since his first season.
OG is here!
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 29, 2022
Also, importantly, there was a huge truck parked outside, selling merchandise for every team in the league. It is a recurring problem not only in all women’s football, but also at the international level. The line of merch trucks was nearly the length of the Fan Fest at one point, with well over 100 people waiting to buy. People who spend money on women’s soccer! What a concept!
— Steph Yang | Scary Soccer Goose (@thrace) October 29, 2022
A game called Sophia Smith
So far, we’ve seen a goal celebration. It’s right there, pictured at the top of this piece. The USWNT forward’s reaction to the early goal was also Smith’s exclamation mark in his stellar year. If her fans didn’t think she had arrived earlier, she said she was here to chew bubblegum on the spot and score goals, so she’s all out of bubblegum.
“You know, there are a lot of people who think I don’t deserve to win MVP. So it was kind of ‘that’,” Smith said when asked about the celebration after the game.
There will always be pros and cons for MVP players, no matter who is nominated. For example, if Alex Morgan or Devinha wants to say he should have been MVP in 2022, there’s certainly evidence to back it up. However, there is no denying that Smith should join the discussion. per FBRef, she led the league in shots per 90 with 2.73 (second place was Mal Pugh with 2.1), and her shots made and shots made per 90 were the best in the league, finishing 3 overall in both categories. It is the rank. Her actual goal making and her goal making around 90 her are also top, 5th and 10th overall respectively.
These stats are heavily dominated by the midfielder, which is not surprising given his role on the field. That’s why it’s all the more special to see a forward like Smith so dominant in creating shots and goals for the team.
This photograph of Smith is said to now hang in the National Portrait Gallery.
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) October 30, 2022
The Current isn’t finished yet
It doesn’t feel good to lose the championship, no matter how much you won in the end. This whole season was a proof of concept that with the right mindset, the right job, the right people and the right resources, you can fight your way to the top. can overtake teams that are historically much better than you, and outperform teams with longer histories or with better names. Current did it, so it’s possible and they’ll be determined to do it again in 2023.
“We’ve earned this. I don’t think we’ve been given anything,” midfielder Rooh Labonta said after the final.
“This is why it hurts, because Kansas City certainly showed up for us.” You know, when we were FCKC, all the time we didn’t have the city’s support, we were for each other. We were playing. The best thing we did this year was having the support of the whole city behind us. ”
Best city in the world, but let it be teal 😍 pic.twitter.com/pcPv6a62av
— KC Current (@thekccurrent) October 29, 2022
“We now have the city on our backs and the future is certainly bright for this team,” continued LaBonta. “Last year we were in the last[place]and we turned it around quickly by investing in buying new staff members. I don’t think anyone sleeps on this team anymore.”
It was nice to be able to focus on soccer for a while
It’s worth noting that for just a few days, the majority of conversations in NWSL circles were about… football. just football. Sure, the media asked some questions of the players about finding joy out of these games or coping with a difficult season, but everyone had a question about a football match between two good teams and an on-field experience. He seemed satisfied with being able to concentrate on the fight.
The issues that have come to light about the widespread abuse and harassment that are prevalent in the NWSL this season are serious issues and we need to be candid and detailed about them in order to find justice for abuse victims and prevent this from happening. It is absolutely necessary to discuss More players in the future. But after Yates’ report was released just before his USWNT friendly in Europe, and after weeks of intense questioning on the topic, the conversation was about the two teams he’s playing the game, One of them won.
There are more questions and harder feelings to process in the offseason, especially since the impending NWSL investigation is yet to come. However, it should be remembered that players cannot and should not always assert themselves. At some point, they needed a break, too, and a large, exciting game with a legion of fans and the primetime spotlight was what they deserved.
(Top photo: Jessica Rapfogel / USA Today Sports)