The USL W League Conference Semifinals kick off today and feature 16 teams competing in eight matches across the country for a chance to claim the 2023 USL W League title.
Check out the full 2023 W League bracket and find where to stream each match.
These semifinal matches will feature a host of matchups including regular season divisional rivals and clubs who have never before met on the pitch. Read up on what to expect in each matchup below:
Minnesota Aurora comes into the 2023 postseason with a chip on their shoulder after losing the 2022 USL W League Final 2-1 in extra time to South Georgia Tormenta FC. This season, Aurora has shown no mercy, joining TBU as the only club to play a perfect season. With newcomer defender Tianna Harris and returning players such as Morgan Stone and Mariah Nguyen, Minnesota will be a force to be reckoned with this postseason. Will Chicago City be up to the task? The two clubs have met twice this season with both ending in Minnesota’s favor, however, Chicago’s captain Kennedy Berschel will hope to rally her team to keep Aurora at bay.
This matchup will feature old foes who played in the same division last season, but with the establishment of the Valley Division, Indy Eleven and Flint City haven’t faced off... until now. Indy Eleven brings a strong midfield with Louisville Cardinal Addie Chester and Clemson Tiger Hal Hershfelt, who both have the ability to pull the strings in the attack third. However, Flint City also features a high-caliber offense with UNC commit Bella Gaetino and Michigan forward Sammi Woods, who have proven to be the core of Flint’s firepower, accounting for 14 of the club’s 36 goals scored in the regular season.
his matchup features the Southeast Division winners and South Central Division winners, with both teams’ starting goalkeeper having received Team of the Month honors this season. Tampa Bay United went 12-0-0 during the regular season and only allowed one goal thanks in large part to their strong defensive unit spearheaded by LSU Tiger goalkeeper Bailey Herfurth. Tennessee SC’s season started rough, going 0-2-1 through their first three matches, but then after some fantastic goalkeeping by Vanderbilt alum Taiana Tolleson, the club finished the final nine matches 8-0-1, securing the divisional top spot. TSC’s offensive charge has been led by South Carolina commit Katie Shea Collins, with 14 goals, and USYNT midfielder and Auburn Tiger Anna Haddock who has scored seven.
NC Courage U23 will be making their postseason debut as the Southern Conference playoff hosts against FC Miami City. The Courage come into the match with 19 goal scorers, including Academy standout Phoebe Goldthwaite and USWNT legend Heather O’Reilly, who is expected to be with the club during the semifinal matchup. FC Miami City’s defense has been strong all season with six shutouts, however the club’s starting goalkeeper Kerly Theus has departed for the FIFA Women’s World Cup where she will represent Haiti. Will FC Miami City’s backline be up for the scoring challenge the Courage bring?
The two NorCal giants will face off yet again, after meeting twice during the regular season with both teams securing a win over the other. The Glens will rely on the offensive prowess of Nadia Gomes and USYNT star Jasmine Aikey, and the steady defensive presence of USYNT defender Elise Evans. Soul will look to maintain their momentum from the club’s most recent victory over the Glens and get on the board early. Veteran leadership from Stanford alum Sam Tran and brick wall goaltending by Layla Armas will be crucial for Soul to keep the Glens attack at bay.
After dominating the Northwest Division and earning themselves the number one seed in the Western Conference, Oly Town will face the tall task of weathering Cal Storm. Oly Town’s offense will be led by June Team of the Month selectee Mariah Lee and Oregon State Beaver McKenna Martinez, the squad’s leading goal scorers, bagging six apiece during the regular season. Cal Storm boasts some heavy firepower in Gonzaga forward Giana Riley and Creighton Bluejay Eleanor Dale, with a whopping 24 goals scored between the two. The Storm’s veteran goalkeeper Abbie Faingold will need to bring her A game to deny Oly Town’s offense from finding the back of the net.
Up first is an inter-divisional matchup between Morris Elite and the Long Island Rough Riders who both finished the season with 31 points and split their regular season series with one win apiece. Fans can assume that scoring will be often in this match as Morris Elite and Long Island collectively have the highest combined goals scored in a single division out of the entire league. Georgetown standout Claire Manning has 15 goals on the season for Morris Elite and if the team wants to advance to the Conference Final on Saturday, Manning will need to continue her hot streak. For Long Island,
Hosts Eagle FC will take on wild card bid Christos FC in the night cap of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Another inter-divisional matchup, Eagle FC’s lone loss on the weekend came from Christos, who outscored Eagle 4-3 in one of their final matches of the season. Eagle’s strong midfield will be the key to winning this match. Eagle FC will need to bring their defensive A-game as Christos’ leading scorer Baylee DeSmit has netted a league-high 21 goals this season and will need to be firing on all cylinders for Christos to beat the divisional winners.