All Scores

NWSL Power Rankings: Houston Dash move into the top three

The Dash have now scored four goals or more in four games this season. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

After two weeks off, Just Women’s Sports‘ NWSL weekly power rankings are back and, in typical NWSL fashion, are full of chaos.

Most notably, the Chicago Red Stars move out of the top three for the first time since May as the Houston Dash surge into their spot. The Kansas City Current slide down for reasons outside of their control, while the North Carolina Courage rise despite playing to a 3-3 draw on Friday.

The full season is taken into account in these rankings, but teams’ recent performances are also heavily weighted, which means some squads might be two or three places off of where they sit in the league standings. (For the last installment of JWS’ power rankings, click here.)

Here we go.

12. Racing Louisville FC (2-6-5) -1

Since June 11, all of Louisville’s results have had a maximum one-goal difference, and none of those seven games have been a win. They dominated the beginning of the second half against the Portland Thorns on Friday, before giving up a second goal in the 2-1 loss. Louisville has a lot of promising pieces, but in a league as competitive as the NWSL, they need to put them all together on a consistent basis. The six losses they’ve recorded in their last nine games are the most of any team in the league in that stretch.

11. NJ/NY Gotham FC (4-7-0) -1

Gotham continues to lead the league in losses after falling 4-2 to the Houston Dash, their fifth defeat in the last nine games. Gotham controlled the tempo at the beginning of the first and second halves against Houston, and even scored a goal just four minutes in. But as both teams settled into their possession, the Dash quickly assumed the upper hand and outdid Gotham in all areas except for blocks (2-1), clearances (24-11) and ground duels won (52 percent).

10. North Carolina Courage (2-5-3) +2

The Courage’s two-spot rise up the power rankings is generous, considering their last game was a draw. It would have been one spot if Gotham and Louisville hadn’t both moved down. North Carolina also suffered in the last power rankings after they had to postpone their match due to COVID-19 protocols. Currently 12th in the league standings, they’ve played four fewer games than the Spirit and Wave and three fewer than most teams, so the team’s situation is not just about poor results. They’re the best at possession in the league and are lethal in transition. They were particularly relentless against Washington on Friday, refusing to let them walk away with the win and answering every goal the Spirit scored to complete the 3-3 draw.

9. Washington Spirit (1-5-8) —

The Washington Spirit have found success creating and finishing their chances, and that’s partly where the momentum ends. They scored three times against the Courage on Friday, but they also conceded three, and it cost them what could have been their first win since the season opener. The Spirit did well in possession, recording an 83.7 percent passing accuracy, but they also allowed the Courage to connect on 83 percent of their passes. Needless to say, The offense is there for Washington, especially with Trinity Rodman back in the mix, but they need the same energy on the other side of the ball.

8. Orlando Pride (3-5-5) —

The Pride found their stride in the first half against the Current on Sunday, scoring the opening goal in the 25th minute and doubling their lead just seconds into the second half. They couldn’t adjust to the pressure that Kansas City piled on afterwards, however, ultimately conceding two goals for a 2-2 draw. Orlando’s lack of hunger in the second half was concerning, since the Current are a lower-ranked playoff contender that Orlando should set their sights on chasing down.

7. Angel City FC (5-5-2) —

Angel City came out flying against OL Reign on Saturday, with Cari Roccaro scoring the opening goal nine minutes into the game and Savannah McCaskill putting them up 2-0 in the 28th. ACFC didn’t carry the momentum into the second half, however, giving up three goals to fall 3-2. Despite having less possession than the Reign, they connected on 76.5 percent of their passes and effectively used their space on the dribble. Overall, a loss like that should result in a drop in the rankings. But after Angel City fell two spots in the last power rankings due to a postponed game, they deserve a second chance.

6. Kansas City Current (5-4-4) -2

It took 45 minutes for the Current to wake up on Sunday, but once they hit their stride, they came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 with the Pride and extend their unbeaten streak to eight games. By the second half, they cleaned up their passing and increased the tempo to put pressure on Orlando. As coach Matt Potter said Sunday, “You can see that we haven’t come away from too many games in the second half where we haven’t played in a manner that fits our identity.” They could have easily stayed at fourth in the power rankings, but with Houston moving up, the Reign or the Current had to get bumped down.

5. OL Reign (5-3-5) —

The Reign have so much potential, and yet they’ve only won once in their last four games. With a dynamic attack outshooting Angel City 25-9 and registering an 81.6 percent passing accuracy on Sunday, OL Reign showed what their capable of in the 3-2 comeback win. They’re second in the league in shots on target per match, but their six draws this season indicate they need to be more clinical in the final third. That’s what happened Tuesday in a 1-1 draw with Racing Louisville, where the Reign outshot their opponents 25-6 — with 11 of them on target — but were unable to get around goalkeeper Katie Lund, who made a league-record 12 saves in the game.

4. Chicago Red Stars (5-3-5) -2

The Red Stars haven’t won a game since July 2. With a 1-0 loss to San Diego on Saturday, Chicago dropped to fifth place in the standings. They put up a fight, though, maintaining 59 percent of the possession and a 77.6 passing accuracy. Even though they outshot the Wave 20-9, only four of their shots were on target, tying them with the Wave for shots on goal.

3. Houston Dash (6-4-3) +3

With a 70.6 percent passing accuracy and 51 percent of the possession against Gotham on Sunday, the Dash stuck to their high-press game plan and it paid off. An early mistake in the opening four minutes cost the Dash a goal against, but they didn’t let it get to them as they went on to bury four straight, including two within four minutes of each other. They’ve now scored four goals or more in four games this season, picking up enough points to take the Red Stars’ place in the top three of the NWSL standings and these power rankings.

2. San Diego Wave FC (7-3-4) +1

The Wave were lucky not to come away with a draw against the Red Stars on Saturday after sustaining 20 shots against. Thanks to Naomi Girma making goal-line saves and 17-year-old Jaedyn Shaw scoring her debut goal, the Wave came out on top, 1-0. Chicago had the majority of possession, but San Diego did well defensively to hold onto the lead, winning 54 duels, 10 tackles and 38 clearances.

1. Portland Thorns FC (6-1-6) —

With their 2-1 victory over Racing Louisville on Friday, the Thorns extended their unbeaten streak to nine games. They’ve scored two or more goals in nine of their last 10 matches, and they were missing seven of their star players in half of those games due to overlapping international tournaments. Over the last four games, 10 different Thorns players have scored. Meanwhile, Portland’s leading scorer, Sophia Smith, returned from the U.S. women’s national team Friday to record her ninth goal of the season. The club was on a tear in July, and now that world-class players like Smith are back on the pitch, the Thorns’ chances are looking better than ever.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek Headlines a Stacked 2024 French Open

Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico
Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

The 2024 French Open starts on Sunday, with a match schedule that promises to wrap the short clay court season up in style.

Looking for her fourth title at the major is three-time Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, considered the favorite to win the whole Slam. Three of her four major titles have come at the French tournament. 

Swiatek's career record at the French Open is a dominating 28-2, and she's currently on a 16-game winning streak fueled by victories at tune-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

But that doesn't mean she won't face some serious challengers along the way. Get to know some of the Polish tennis champ's strongest competitors.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 in the world and faced Swiatek in the finals at both Madrid and Rome. She lost in three sets in Madrid, which included a close third-set tiebreak, before losing in straight sets at the Italian Open. 

She enters the French Open having won the Australian Open in January, successfully defending her title in the first Slam of the season. At last year’s French Open, Sabalenka reached the semifinals — a career best — before being ousted by Karolina Muchová in three sets.

Season record: 25-7

Coco Gauff

Currently sitting at No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked American on the schedule is none other than Coco Gauff. Gauff won her first major at the US Open last year, and reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open. She faced Swiatek in the semifinals of the Italian Open last week, losing in straight sets. 

But her first major final came at the French Open in 2022, before being ousted by Swiatek in the quarterfinals at last year’s French Open. The two are on a crash course for a meeting before the finals, as Gauff anchors the other quadrant on Swiatek’s side of the draw, should they both advance deep into the competition.

Season record: 25-8

Chicago Sky Upset New York to End Liberty’s Unbeaten Streak

chicago sky's angel reese on the court against new york liberty
Angel Reese registered a near double-double against a strong Liberty side. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Liberty’s unbeaten streak came to an end on Thursday as Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky got the upset win over New York with a final score of 90-81. 

Angel Reese stood out with a near double-double, registering 13 points and nine rebounds. She’s currently the only rookie this season to exceed 10 points in her first three games, and the first player in Sky history to begin their career with three consecutive double-digit scoring games, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The outcome may not have come as a surprise to Liberty stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, who sung Reese’s praises ahead of the game.

"She’s a workhorse," Stewart told The Post. "She doesn’t stop. She’s tough, she’s strong, she’s tough to box out and good at cleaning up for her team offensively and defensively."

"I feel like she’s an energizer bunny," Jones added. "She doesn’t stop moving, she doesn’t stop crashing the boards. Just someone that is gonna be relentless in her approach to getting to the glass and playing tough."

It was the first time Chicago has met New York this season. The game was especially meaningful for new Chicago head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who led the Liberty for seven years as a player and joined the team's Ring of Honor in 2011.

"This place means a lot to me... I played in that jersey, I adored that jersey, I adored every player that I had an opportunity to play with. The love that I received even today was overwhelming," Weatherspoon reflected after the game.

Following the win, Sky guard Dana Evans had some kind words for her coach.

"I mean, it's just special. She's special," Evans said. "She just breeds confidence in each and every one of us. We love her. We just wanted to go so hard and play hard for her, and I feel like this one was really for her. We really wanted this for her more than anything."

Thursday's victory brings Chicago's record to 2-1, a somewhat unlikely feat given that their offseason featured starter Kahleah Copper getting traded to Phoenix. The Connecticut Sun are now the only undefeated team left in the league this season, and will formidable foes for the Sky as they take their winning streak on the road to Chicago this weekend.

New USWNT Coach Emma Hayes Embracing the Challenge

United States Women's Head Coach Emma Hayes
The ex-Chelsea skipper has officially arrived in the US — now it's time to get down to business. (USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Emma Hayes has officially begun her tenure as USWNT manager ahead of the team’s June friendlies.

Hayes made the rounds on Thursday, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the WSL with Chelsea last weekend.

One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the US. The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023. 

"I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world," she told ESPN. "We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally hired six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

With Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step, and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

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