For the second-to-last time this season, Just Women’s Sports is naming a monthly NWSL Best XI honoring the best players at every position in that period of time.
August was a particularly competitive month for forwards. With a month left in regular season, three attackers — Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith and Diana Ordoñez — already have scored as many or more goals than last year’s Golden Boot winner, Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch.
Seven of the league’s 12 teams are represented in JWS’ August lineup. North Carolina, Chicago, Kansas City and Angel City each have two players on the Best XI, while OL Reign, Houston and Louisville have one player each. Just two players have made one of JWS’ previous Best XIs this season.
Diana Ordoñez, North Carolina Courage
The 2022 sixth overall pick scored in three straight games in August, extending her streak to five consecutive matches with a goal. Her five goals this month have moved her into second in the Golden Boot race and made her a top candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign
With a goal or an assist in every match in August, the U.S. women’s national team forward is in her best form of the season. Throughout the month, she recorded a total of four goals, three assists and one stoppage-time winner. On the other side of the ball, her tackle success rate is a jaw-dropping 89.5 percent.
This was RIDICULOUS from Megan Rapinoe 😳 #ThatsaW(via @NWSL) pic.twitter.com/U608AO2IxQ— ESPN (@espn) August 27, 2022
This was RIDICULOUS from Megan Rapinoe 😳 #ThatsaW(via @NWSL) pic.twitter.com/U608AO2IxQ
Mallory Pugh, Chicago Red Stars
Pugh is back from a minor injury and playing at an NWSL MVP level. With a two-goal performance against Racing Louisville on Aug. 27, the 24-year-old sits in fourth in the Golden Boot race. She also had two assists in that match, improving her overall tally to three across her three games played in August.
Sophie Schmidt, Houston Dash
The Canadian national team midfielder has been a staple for the Dash all season. Across her five starts and 441 minutes played in August, she notched a goal and her first assist of the season while staying consistent in the middle of the park with a 75.4 percent passing accuracy.
Lo’eau Labonta, Kansas City Current
Currently on a 12-game unbeaten streak, the second-longest in NWSL history, the Current have been riding players like Lo’eau Labonta, who’s controlling the midfield with a 78 percent passing success rate. Tallying three goals and an assist in August, she also leads her team in assists and big chances created.
Hailie Mace, Kansas City Current
Playing on the left side of the midfield, Mace has been heavily involved in the Current’s game-winning goals. She scored the decider in a 2-1 victory over the first-place San Diego Wave on Aug. 7 and set up the play that secured Kansas City a 3-2 win over the North Carolina Courage on Sunday.
For those about to rock, we salute you 🤘@hailiemace ➡️ @kdelfava ➡️ @khamilton17 pic.twitter.com/pQ6h1997dX— KC Current (@thekccurrent) August 29, 2022
For those about to rock, we salute you 🤘@hailiemace ➡️ @kdelfava ➡️ @khamilton17 pic.twitter.com/pQ6h1997dX
Carson Pickett, North Carolina Courage
Leading the NWSL in assists with five, Pickett recorded two of those helpers in the Courage’s two wins in August, helping her team rise from last place in the standings to ninth. Pickett also leads North Carolina in big chances created.
Tatumn Milazzo, Chicago Red Stars
Milazzo has been a weapon in all areas for the Red Stars, averaging a 78 percent passing success rate, a 67 percent tackle success rate and a 63 percent win rate in duels. She’s contributed just as well to the attack, scoring a goal in Chicago’s first game of August, a 2-0 win over Gotham FC.
Ali Riley, Angel City FC
The Angel City captain had an impressive month defensively and offensively, recording a 73 percent tackle success rate and 71 percent passing accuracy in August. Most notably, the fullback contributed a goal and an assist to Angel City’s undefeated month.
Tyler Lussi, Angel City FC
A firecracker for Angel City this year, Lussi was remarkably consistent in August, playing all but one stoppage time. Leading the NWSL in interceptions, she improved upon her average of 2.8 with three or more in every match of the month. She had six interceptions against the Orlando Pride on Aug. 7, a game in which she also won 91 percent of her ground duels.
#ad the back line tonight! 💪@tyler_lussi @Paigenielsen #AngelCityFC | @JohnnieWalkerUS pic.twitter.com/cj8CPv4lfG— Angel City FC (@weareangelcity) August 15, 2022
#ad the back line tonight! 💪@tyler_lussi @Paigenielsen #AngelCityFC | @JohnnieWalkerUS pic.twitter.com/cj8CPv4lfG
Katie Lund, Racing Louisville
On the watchlist for the U.S. women’s national team, Lund leads the NWSL with 79 saves after a heroic month in goal for Racing Louisville. Averaging a 75 percent save percentage this season, she earned a shutout against the Houston Dash with nine saves and set an NWSL single-game record with 12 saves on 25 shots in a 1-1 draw with OL Reign on Aug. 25.
☝ All The Stops ✌Congratulations to @kt_lund for taking home @Verizon Save of the Week honors 👏@RacingLouFC | #RacingLou pic.twitter.com/ZavqcwG2JZ— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 11, 2022
☝ All The Stops ✌Congratulations to @kt_lund for taking home @Verizon Save of the Week honors 👏@RacingLouFC | #RacingLou pic.twitter.com/ZavqcwG2JZ
Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.