NWSL Power Rankings: Week 17
We are in the final stretch of games and the first team has finally been eliminated from playoff contention. Who are this week's risers and fallers?
The NWSL and all of its clubs have made it clear they are united in their support of Jenni Hermoso and the Spain Women’s National Team.
There is no room in football for he who must not be named, his cronies, and everybody who enables & supports those types of people.
Portland Thorns - It was a tale of two halves for the NWSL leaders. In the first half, it was some of the worst football we’ve seen from them. However, in the second half they dominated and were close to picking up three points. Defensively, they were sound and stout. Heck of a job by Meaghan Nally filling in for Kelli Hubly. On the PK, we all know that is the correct call by the book, but definitely not what the ‘spirit’ of the rule was meant for. Losing Sophia Smith for any amount of time, possibly the rest of the year would be a massive loss (huge understatement). Let’s all hope she is ok and a speedy recovery.
San Diego Wave - Winning in Orlando has been a tough task, but they got the job done. Abby Dahlkemper’s resilience and comeback is one of the best stories in the league. Her first goal since 2016! Casey Stoney has integrated her World Cup stars in beautifully. Unfortunately, due to her red card infraction, she’ll be out for their next match. Can this team continue to play direct, bypass their midfield, and still win consistently? Both of their goals came off set pieces.
NJ/NY Gotham FC - Without Lynn Williams starting and being the focal point of their attack, it has been a struggle to score consistently.
Washington Spirit (+2) - The inability to score consistently in the run of play has been their kryptonite all season. Even with some of the best attackers in the league, they have trouble creating consistent chances through their midfield. Getting a draw at home against Portland was deserved, but not in the way it happened. They outplayed the Thorns first half before being overwhelmed in the second. Although the schedule is very manageable the rest of the way, it’s extremely difficult to trust this team.
North Carolina Courage (-1) - Not getting all three points against Chicago is unacceptable. Emily Fox’s early red card gave the Red Stars the player advantage which eventually led to an equalizer by Tatumn Milazzo’s 63rd minute header off a corner kick. Kerolin’s PK miss late in the game was the difference. The marking near post by NCC was non-existent. The schedule only gets harder for them here on out.
OL Reign - They lost their first ever match to Angel City. The Reign cannot win away from Lumen Field right now. This decision to bench Phallon Tullis-Joyce was not the right call. That’s three straight losses for Laura Harvey and OL Reign. They have a must-win game at home against Orlando Pride which will have playoff implications all over it.
Angel City FC (+1) - Head coach Becki Tweed is unbeaten since she took over at Angel City. In the 9 games since, they have 5 wins and 4 draws in all competitions. The contract talks to give her the job full time should have started already. This club is only three points from the final playoff spot. They head to Kansas City next in a must-win match.
Orlando Pride (-1) - Not getting a result at home against San Diego Wave is tough with the playoff standings so close from top to bottom. They have a chance to redeem themselves with a tough game at Lumen Field against OL Reign. If they can pull off the upset, they will overtake them for the 6th spot.
Racing Louisville (-1) - These draws they continue to rack up just aren’t good enough. They have all the talent in the world, but the consistently is missing. If they can put together a late reason run it would not be surprising, but time is running out. Racing Louisville has a chance to make a statement at home against Portland Thorns on Saturday.
Houston Dash - Finding the equalizer after being down a goal is a good sign. Michelle Alozie has been incredible for club and country. This side needs to figure out how to build consistent attacks through midfield. The lack of goals will be their downfall and why they won’t make the playoffs this year.
Kansas City Current - The NWSL Championship finalists are on the verge of being out of the postseason before it even started. They were the preseason pick to win by the majority of the media. If they don’t pick up maximum points with their remaining schedule, it looks like it’ll be game over.
Chicago Red Stars - They are the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention.
*Key: Teams with (+ or -) moved up or down from last week’s rankings
Tier 1 - The Favorites: Portland, San Diego
Tier 2 - Dark Horses: Gotham, Washington, North Carolina, OL
Tier 3 - Playoff Chase: Angel City, Orlando, Louisville,
Tier 4 - Nope: Houston, Kansas City, Chicago