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NWSL Power Rankings: Portland is pulling away

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The Olympics have ended, and national team players are starting to trickle back to their NWSL squads. With two and half months left in the regular season, the playoff race is heating up, and a certain team in the Pacific Northwest is tightening its hold on the top spot.

Here’s how I see the NWSL table today:

10. Kansas City (–)

They got their first win! And traded for a USWNT goalkeeper, so things are looking up. Another win or two, and they might just dig themselves out of the bottom of the table.

9. Racing Louisville (-1)

Louisville keeps managing to come away with some respectable wins and ties, but it’s not yet enough to put them into the playoff chatter. The duo of Ebony Salmon and Nadia Nadim are still a big reason to tune in each week, however.

8. Houston Dash (-3)

That 5-1 loss to the Reign was hard to watch. This group needs Jane Campbell in goal to steady the backline. I still expect the Dash to rebound, and while their ICC loss to Portland in penalties ICC hurt, the Dash were right there with the best team in the league.. 

7. OL Reign (+2)

The Reign seemed like they were on the up until they went on the road and suffered a loss to previously winless Kansas City. What this team under Laura Harvey will look like remains to be seen, and the injury to a red-hot Le Sommer should have fans hoping she comes back quickly.

6. Chicago Red Stars (-2)

Chicago might be the most confusing team in the league right now. They looked better (?) while the Olympians were away, but it’s hard to know how things will look and who will play as they re-incorporate their national team players. This team desperately needs an identity (beyond the elusive Own Goal).

5. Washington Spirit (-2)

A rough few weeks for the Spirit… which goes without saying. Despite the off-field turmoil, players are showing up, putting their heads down and performing well enough. Once the dust settles, they’ll need to find ways to reignite Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman.

4. Gotham FC (-2)

Gotham isn’t winning a ton of games, but they also aren’t losing a ton of games. In fact, they’re tying a bunch of games. It’s keeping them afloat after a strong start to the year, but they’ll need to find some points in a difficult string of upcoming matches.

3. Orlando Pride (+3)

Becky Burleigh seems to have this crew back on a run and Jodie Taylor has partnered with Sydney Leroux nicely, which makes the Alex Morgan injury less of a blow. Orlando looks like a playoff team.

2. NC Courage (+5)

The Courage capped a rough period with a blockbuster trade that brought Amy Rodriguez into the fold. The move has slowly paid off, with the team winning their last two games, largely thanks to their defense. The midfield errors should go away with Olympians returning.

1. Portland Thorns (–)

They have the most points, the best goal differential, and a 15-year-old who can score off free kicks. The Thorns are truly the best team in the league. They were consistent during the Olympic break, and should only get better when their USWNT players return.