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  • Isa Almeida

NWSL Matchday 4 Recap

When Bay FC celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2034, it sure will have stories to tell, but a good starting point could be to match week four of its inaugural season. Fans crowded the Paypal Park in San Jose to watch northern California’s newest club and left the stadium with smiles on their faces as they celebrated the team’s first home win. On the other coast, Gotham FC held the Kansas City Current to its first draw of the season. The Current, however, remains unbeaten and leads the table.

Follow along for a dive into those moments and others that made up the fourth round of the 2024 season.

A Debut Own Goal and a Redemption

When Kayla Sharples dreamed about her first goal in front of Bay FC’s crowd, she surely thought she would be scoring for her own team. However, at the 27th minute mark, Sharples put the ball in the back of Bay’s Katelyn Rowland’s net after an attempted clearance by Alyssa Malonson deflected off her feet into the goal. Sharples’ moment of despair came to an end three minutes into the second half and was replaced with pure joy, as Bay FC finally got its maiden home goal through a header from a set piece. 

“It speaks to her character and her value as a player,” Sharples’ teammate Alex Loera said. “She was able to not let that (own) goal get in her head and shut her down. She came out of that, scored a goal for us and came up huge.”

Loera got a screamer from outside of the box to give Bay FC a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute. Things looked good for the hosts, but the Seattle Reign wasn’t ready to give up on those much-needed three points. With only seven minutes left in regulation time, Bethany Balcer found the equalizer for the Reign. And in talks of not giving up, the NWSL debutants were not going to settle for a draw. In the 87th minute, Joelle Anderson scored the winner. 

Bay FC 3, Reign 2. Full-time.

“To get the win at home is so special,” Sharples said. “The crowd, the fans, are truly the 12th man out there. During the 90th minute we just heard them screaming ‘Bay FC! Bay FC!’ And I just wanna say, they’re so special.”

Bangers by, Brittany Ratcliffe, Marta and Temwa Chawinga

In addition to Loera’s goal from 25-yards out, other players put their names in the Goal of the Week dispute. In Houston, Brittany Ratcliffe gave the Washington Spirit the lead. Ratcliffe, one of the Spirit’s free agent signees, made her first goal for the club a memorable one. In the 82nd minute, less than 10 minutes after getting subbed on, made it hard for Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell to get her hands on the ball.

“She is very competitive,” Spirit interim head coach Adrian González said. “I wasn’t expecting that finishing, but she has a huge quality and she can do that. She’s working hard and today she had a huge impact in the game”

While Ratcliffe might have scored her first goal for the Spirit, Marta is no stranger to scoring for the Orlando Pride. And this weekend was no different. In her eighth season for the Pride, Marta put her team ahead with only one touch. The Utah defense tried to get to the ball, but the 38-year-old showed that she still has it in her.

“She’s full of energy,” Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines said. “You can see her passion. She had a different role today, we were mindful of her energy levels. She played 90 minutes for Brazil on Tuesday and it was a quick turnaround with the travel, also. So to come off the bench and make an impact, there’s no better way than scoring the winning goal. She’s been brilliant for us. She just loves the game, whatever her role is.”

Temwa Chawinga in red and teal kit shooting the ball
Temwa Chawinga shooting the ball for Kansas City against Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ on April 14, 2024 | Photo by Nala Burton for WSX

The last contender for goal of the week was Kansas City’s Temwa Chawinga. After Bia Zaneratto managed to keep possession of the ball for a solid run, a pass to Chawinga and a perfect execution opened the scoreboard in New Jersey. The communication between the two showed fans why the Current is having the season they’re having.


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