Discover more from Stumptown Footy
NWSL Power Rankings: Week 18
There is a new #1 and a logjam of teams fighting for the final playoff spot.
San Diego Wave (+1) - Three straight wins for Casey Stoney’s side. Are they the best team in NWSL? No, but right now they are getting the results that matter the most: wins. They are now at the top spot in the NWSL table.
Portland Thorns (-1) - Lost their first ever match to Racing Louisville. They were thoroughly outplayed the entire game and fortunate the score was not worse. With three of their final four games at home, Portland will need to find a way to win without superstar Sophia Smith. Could she be back for the final few matches?
NJ/NY Gotham FC - Terrific fight to come back from two goals down to get a draw. Gotham look set to become very scary with the additions of Esther González and Maitane López. However, they have not won in their past four matches (all competitions).
North Carolina Courage (+1) - To defend their NWSL Challenge Cup crown was massive. Say whatever you want about the tournament, but repeating as champions is quite impressive. Unfortunately, they are winless in their last three regular season fixtures.
OL Reign (+1) - Thanks to a red card, they played with a one player advantage for the majority of the game. The 1-0 win over Orlando Pride was a much needed one, especially at Lumen Field. However, they followed that up with a 0-1 loss to Racing Louisville in the NWSL Challenge Cup semi-finals at home.
Angel City FC (+1) - Head coach Becki Tweed is unbeaten since she took over at Angel City. In the 10 games since, they have 6 wins and 4 draws in all competitions. One question: when is the interim title removed for something more permanent?
Racing Louisville (+2) - They beat the PNW in back to back games. Racing Louisville is unbeaten in their last five regular season games and will need to extend that to make the playoffs.
Washington Spirit (-4) - In regular season play, they are winless in their last six. This team is struggling to find the back of the net consistently. Their attack is predictable and as a result, stale. Unless someone can step up and finish consistently, they will find themselves out of the postseason.
Orlando Pride - Their playoff chances are hanging on by a thread. Even if they don’t make the playoffs this season, the Orlando Pride will be one of the best teams for 2024. Seb Hines should be in the running for coach of the year either way.
Houston Dash - The team fired Sam Laity. Ebony Salmon has been transferred to Aston Villa. Houston needs a refresh because nothing has seemed to work all season. The attack has been the league’s worst all season.
Chicago Red Stars (+1) - They have a slim chance of making the playoffs, but that has not stopped them from playing spoiler. They got a draw against North Carolina and beat Washington Spirit in their last two games.
Kansas City Current - No NWSL Challenge Cup trophy and now last in the NWSL table. Could Vlatko Andonovski be their next head coach?
*Key: Teams with (+ or -) moved up or down from last week’s rankings
Tier 1 - The Favorites: San Diego, Portland, Gotham
Tier 2 - Dark Horses: North Carolina, OL
Tier 3 - Playoff Chase: Angel City, Louisville, Washington, Orlando
Tier 4 - Nope: Houston, Kansas City, Chicago