The first international window of the NWSL season is here, allowing us all to take a giant deep breath and enjoy some USWNT friendlies.
Each NWSL team has 4-5 games under their belt, and it feels like this break is coming at a good time for most. The Pride at the top of the table will hope the two weeks allows Sydney Leroux time to get healthy, while Kansas City at the bottom will take the much needed time to continue to develop players as the team searches for their first win.
Here’s how I see the league today:
10. Kansas City (–)
With a loss to Houston, Kansas City stays in last place in the Power Rankings and the actual table. They’ll want to take these few weeks to go back to the drawing board as they continue to search for their first win of the season.
9. Racing Louisville (-1)
Michelle Betos stood on her head and Louisville still lost 3-0 to Portland. Being a “young team” is one thing — conceding eight goals in their last two matches is another.
8. Chicago Red Stars (+1)
They’ve been terribly inconsistent BUT the Red Stars just got their biggest win of the season, in their best performance of the season, with a 1-0 upset over the North Carolina Courage. THIS is the Red Stars team that needs to show up for them to get back into the playoff conversation.
7. Houston Dash (–)
The Dash had to beat last-place Kansas City and they did just that. A small step forward, but they’re trending in the right direction.
6. OL Reign (–)
They might have deserved more out of their loss to Gotham FC, but they now have lost two straight games on a set piece goal. Will the French connection (and return of Alana Cook) be the difference maker when we return?
5. North Carolina Courage (-3)
That Louisville thrashing is starting to look more like an outlier as the Courage were shut out again, even with the likes of Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald, Sam Mewis and Debinha in the starting XI. If you take out that 5-0 win over Louisville, the Courage only have one goal in their other three games. Ouch.
4. Gotham FC (+1)
How spoiled are Gotham FC to have two goalkeepers who simply know how to win? It’s hard not to root for this team.
3. Washington Spirit (+1)
The Spirit are good. They dominated Orlando, and had it not been for Ashlyn Harris and the crossbar, likely would have walked away with 3 points. They’ll be disappointed to have just about gifted Orlando the tying goal, but they can still go into the break with their heads held high.
2. Portland Thorns (+1)
With their second straight win (and clean sheet), the Thorns appear to have found their footing again. Louisville never threatened and the defense is looking less leaky than it did in their two straight losses.
1. Orlando Pride (–)
The draw against Washington wasn’t their prettiest or most dominant game of the season, but they still came away with a point. We also learned just how much Sydney Leroux matters to the Pride keeping the ball out of their own end. This is what elite teams do: they learn how to win ugly and without all their players.