2023 NWSL Playoffs Preview: Schedule, Top Teams, and How to Watch Live

2023 NWSL Playoffs: Schedule, Top Teams, and How to Watch Live

The 2023 NWSL Playoffs, promise to deliver thrilling moments as the San Diego Wave clinched their inaugural NWSL Shield. With the season heading towards its grand finale, let’s take a closer look at the playoffs schedule and how to watch the action live.

NWSL Decision Day Drama

NWSL Decision Day provided a nail-biting conclusion, with playoff qualification and elimination decided by the slimmest of margins. Angel City’s impressive 5-1 victory over the Portland Thorns secured them a top-six finish. Fortunately for the 2022 Champions, the Thorns had already performed exceptionally throughout the season, securing a second-place finish.

Find out how to watch the 2023 NWSL Playoffs as the competition heats up.

Despite a 1-0 win over the Houston Dash, the Orlando Pride narrowly missed a playoff spot. However, OL Reign and North Carolina Courage secured crucial victories to secure their places in the top-six. Meanwhile, San Diego Wave’s impressive 2-0 win against Racing Louisville secured them the NWSL Shield with the league’s best record, marking a historic achievement for the expansion team since its founding in June 2021.

Both San Diego Wave and second-place Portland Thorns receive a bye into the semifinal round of the playoffs, thanks to their exceptional regular season performances.

Understanding the 2023 NWSL Playoffs

The 2023 NWSL Playoffs, with will feature six teams, with their seeding determined by their regular-season performance. San Diego Wave and Portland Thorns, the top two seeded teams, receive automatic advancement to the semifinals scheduled for November 5th. San Diego Wave finished the regular season with 37 points, while Portland Thorns accumulated 35 points.

The next four seeded teams, including North Carolina Courage, OL Reign, Angel City FC, and Gotham FC, will compete in the quarter-finals. Several teams, such as Orlando Pride, Washington Spirit, Racing Louisville, Houston Dash, Kansas City Current, and Chicago Red Stars, have been eliminated based on their regular-season performance.

In case of teams finishing with the same number of points, seeding is determined by win-loss-draw ratios and goal differences, as exemplified by Angel City, Gotham, and Orlando Pride.

NWSL Championship 2023 Playoff Schedule and Match Previews


  • OL Reign vs. Angel City FC
  • Date: Friday, October 20, 2023
    • Time: 22:00 ET, 03:00+1 GMT, 04:00+1 CET

Match Preview: OL Reign and Angel City previously clashed this season, with OL Reign securing a 4-1 win in May. However, Angel City turned the tables with a 2-1 win in August. Given their close point standings, this match promises to be intense, especially as NWSL legend Megan Rapinoe takes the field in what could be her final competitive game.

  • North Carolina Courage vs. Gotham FC
  • Date: Sunday, October 22, 2023
    • Time: 19:00 ET, 00:00+1 GMT, 01:00+1 CET

Match Preview: A late goal gave Gotham FC a 1-0 win over North Carolina Courage in April, but their reverse fixture ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Gotham FC secured a playoff spot based on goal difference, while North Carolina Courage comfortably claimed third place.


  • Portland Thorns vs. North Carolina Courage OR Gotham FC
  • Date: Sunday, November 5, 2023
    • Time: 19:00 ET, 00:00+1 GMT, 01:00+1 CET

Match Preview: Portland Thorns have a favorable record against North Carolina Courage this season, with a 2-1 win in August. They previously drew 3-3. However, they lost to Gotham in July but redeemed themselves with a 1-0 win in October.

  • San Diego Wave vs. OL Reign OR Angel City FC
  • Date: Sunday, November 5, 2023
    • Time: 21:30 ET, 02:30+1 GMT, 03:30+1 CET

Match Preview: Despite winning the NWSL Shield, San Diego Wave hasn’t managed to beat OL Reign in the league or the Challenge Cup this season. They did, however, secure a win over Angel City earlier in the season, but lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture. Both sides will provide tough competition for the debutant NWSL Shield Champions.

NWSL Championship

Following the quarter and semi-final rounds, the NWSL Championship final is scheduled for Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, with a kickoff time of 20:00 ET (01:00+ GMT, 02:00+1 CET).

How to Watch the 2023 NWSL Playoffs?

CBS Sports Network will broadcast most of the 2023 NWSL Playoffs fixtures, with the exception of the quarter-final between OL Reign and Angel City, which will be available on Paramount Plus.

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