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‘This is not girl math’: NWSL playoff race remains complicated

Sydney Leroux controls the ball for Angel City FC. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Entering the final stretch of the NWSL season, the playoff field is hardly set. There are, in fact, 729 possible outcomes with postseason implications for this week’s games, according to the NWSL.

And that’s not so-called “girl math” a reference to a popular new meme, Angel City FC forward Sydney Leroux joked in a post to X.

Multi-layered scenarios for playoff berths abound throughout the league.

The Portland Thorns (9-5-5) enter Saturday’s match against the San Diego Wave with a league-best 32 points. The Thorns can clinch a playoff spot with a win, or with a draw and an Orlando Pride win or draw against Angel City. Portland can also clinch with a draw and with two more results: the Washington Spirit lose to the KC Current and Racing Louisville loses to or draws the Chicago Red Stars.

The endless possibilities are the product of a season of parity: All 12 teams remain in postseason contention, and each have scored at least 20 points for the first time in NWSL history.

Eventually some teams will rise above the rest, and the NWSL Championship is set for Nov. 11 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, Calif., at 5 p.m. ET.