NWSL Power Rankings: Week 5 upsets and underdogs

After a weekend of surprises and upsets, the NWSL week five power rankings are in. Where’s your team rank right now?

Week 5 provided an exceptional slate of NWSL chaos, with several surprising upsets that resulted in half of all matches ending in ties this weekend. The power rankings went through a similar shakeup to reflect all the brilliant action from this weekend as teams continue to build chemistry and strategy.

NWSL Power Rankings 1. Portland Thorns

Even with a tie, the Thorns are still on top this week, matching Angel City goal for goal on Saturday night in true NWSL after dark chaos. Their team reminded everyone that even keepers can score as Bella Bixby became the second goalkeeper in NWSL history to score a goal when she tapped in the final equalizer in second-half stoppage time. Even though Angel City gave the Thorns a bit of trouble, Portland stuck it out and kept their unbeaten streak.

2. OL Reign

The Reign struggled against a confident Racing Louisville during the first half of their match, especially as they were missing key components to their usual starting lineup. With Lavelle, Quinn, and Van Der Jagt out, the Reign struggled with getting the ball out of their own half. But they still managed to get a tie out of the game with the help of a few fouls on Racing’s part. The Reign remain one of the strongest ‘it’s not over till it’s over’ teams, keeping their fans on their toes until the last second with a Jordyn Huitema equalizer, tying their game 2-2.

3. Washington Spirit

The Washington Spirit remain one of the two teams to be still unbeaten this season, managing to get the tie against the Red Stars on Saturday. Even though they’re walking away with a point, the Spirit will be disappointed that this scoreline wasn’t higher. With 23 shots and six on target, the Spirit will be wanting some of those points back next week. Ashley Hatch is on a roll lately, sinking a penalty kick to get the Spirit on the board. The Spirit were the better side for this match, possibly due to the start of Amber Brooks in the backline to provide some defensive stability to back up the Spirit’s attack.

4. San Diego Wave

Even with their most recent loss, the Wave still look dangerous, and they’re sure to bounce back from this. With Alex Morgan out of the lineup for the Wave, they struggled to get their through balls to their forwards and make the connection to get the final touch toward goal. But even with some issues, it’s unlikely the Wave will fall detrimentally, given all their talent and record. However, they’ll be sorely disappointed with this result and will look forward to redeeming themselves in their upcoming matches.

5. Kansas City Current

The Current is catching in KC, as they pulled off a decisive victory against Gotham on Sunday, rounding out the weekend matches with a 2-0 shutout. Debinha pulled off her first brace for KC, netting both of their points at home. The Current also got the clean sheet, able to keep the ball out of their own half for most of the match with cleaner defensive and midfield work. It seems the Current are well on their way to returning their previous last season glory, even with nine players still listed as out for Sunday’s match.

6. Angel City FC

Angel City struck first against Portland this weekend, with Alyssa Thompson doing what she does best and outrunning an entire backline to earn the first point of the match. But they had to continue to fight until the last minute, with Portland able to answer them goal for goal. There’s a lot of talent in this lineup, and they showed that over the full ninety minutes, just barely settling for a tie at the end of the game by allowing for a late-minute equalizer. They’re getting better with every match, and the Julie Ertz effect is sure to help them along as the veteran scored her first goal on Saturday with more surely to follow.

7. Racing Louisville FC

Racing came out strong this week, having the better first half over the Reign. They started off strong, opening the match with Paige Monaghan’s first goal for her new club, and doubling their lead before the end of the first half with a Savannah DeMelo banger. They came out with surprising strength and speed against the Reign and a well-coordinated plan of attack. Having been overlooked in previous seasons, it appears that Racing are looking to make sure they can’t be ignored this year.

8. NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham’s winning streak came to an end this weekend when they fell to the Kansas City Current, suffering a 2-0 loss despite strong performances from their defense. Ali Krieger and Abby Smith in particular both had a very strong game, preventing the scoreline from being much higher. The game was a back-and-forth battle, with Gotham unable to finish a couple of chances and suffering a loss in the end. Gotham will want to look at cleaning up their work this week, finishing their shots, and tightening up their through work to get the ball out of their own half more efficiently.

9. North Carolina Courage

The Courage started things off on the right foot, which turned out to be exactly what they needed considering they would only get to play one half. Even though their first goal was called offsides and disallowed, the Courage pressed on and found their first point through Tyler Lussi scoring her first goal for the club. They continued to press high and run circles around the Dash for the entire first half. The Courage continue to build their attack slowly but surely, and new acquisition Victoria Pickett is sure to help with that.

10. Orlando Pride

The Pride were the big headline of the weekend, surprising everyone with their 3-1 win against the San Diego Wave, delivering them their first Snapdragon loss. The Pride came out for this game as a team with renewed vigor and determination. Catching Sheridan off her line a few times and keeping up a good attacking presence showcased all that the Pride have to offer and hopefully what we’ll continue to see from them the rest of the season.

11. Chicago Red Stars

Even though the Red Stars were able to pull off a tie this week and had major defensive improvements from last week, their attacking prowess wasn’t able to keep pace with the Spirit. They only had one corner to the Spirit’s nine and were only able to find three shots on target during the match. With the defensive line showing improvement, the Red Stars now need to turn to making their attack consistent and deadly.

12. Houston Dash

In an unfortunate rain-declared loss, the Dash fell to the Courage this week by a lone goal with no second half to redeem themselves. But unfortunately, they only had one half to win and they weren’t able to do so. The Dash found themselves outpaced by the Courage, with their defense unable to keep up with the attacking presence of their opponent. Hopefully, the Dash will be able to have a full ninety minutes to prove themselves next time.

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