NWSL Power Rankings, week 11: We’re halfway there

After 11 weeks of ups and downs, we are halfway through the season. Here’s where every team stands in our NWSL power rankings. 

We are officially halfway through the NWSL season, and with no games in hand all the standings are true. In terms of points, the San Diego Wave sit top of the table after week 11 while the Kansas City Current take up the rear in 12th place.

The race is just as tight as usual, with only three points between first place and sixth. But numbers and statistics can never truly convey the power of these teams as they race towards playoff spots. Here are the updated power rankings taking into account eleven weeks of NWSL action.

NWSL Power Rankings: 1. Washington Spirit

The Washington Spirit were incredible against Angel City this week, and both goals scored were spectacular. The best thing about this match for the Spirit is that it was a true team effort, with the attack building in the midfield to take on LA’s formidable defense. On the defensive end, the Spirit recovered well when Aubrey Kingsbury was subbed out in the second half due to concussion protocol; NWSL legend Nicole Barnhart came on and made an incredible save just moments later. Their key players pulled them through this match again, with Ashley Hatch getting another goal, and Ashely Sanchez finding her way to the net as well with a phenomenal header.

2. OL Reign

The Reign took a little bit to build into their game this week, finding themselves getting really aggressive right out of the gate in an attempt to stop the Kansas City Current attack that is desperately looking for a win. The Kansas City Current attack was denied several points by the talents of OL Reign keeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce. Even without Megan Rapinoe on the field, who was subbed off in the 7th minute due to a non-contact injury, the Reign found themselves able to get points through their attacking depth as they fight to make it to playoffs with Jordyn Huitema heading in a point and Sofia Huerta earning her first goal of the season with a converted penalty.

3. Portland Thorns

Even with a defeat this week, the Portland Thorns are still the Portland Thorns, that is to say inevitable. They fell to the Orlando Pride on the road this week, but still had great attacking moments. They seem to be struggling defensively though, as we’ve discussed earlier in the season. Their concession of goals hasn’t always been a problem due to their typically unstoppable attackers, but in games like this one not being able to lock down your defensive line cost them valuable points.

4. North Carolina Courage

In the most dominant performance of the weekend, the North Carolina Courage traveled to Chicago and quite frankly made fools of the home side. The Courage walked away from this one with a five-to-zero victory, disallowing Chicago the time and space to build momentum to respond to their firecracker attack which they built carefully and collectively. This was also Kerolin’s first career hat trick, which she earned in amazing fashion with three goals past the struggling Chicago defense. The Courage are playoff ready, and gunning for their comeback spot in the playoffs after just missing out last year.

5. San Diego Wave

Even though their gameplay this week wasn’t exceptional, the Wave are steady as always in their conquest. They managed to go top of the standings this week, due to the efforts of Kalien Sheridan stopping Racing Louisville, and Jayden Shaw keeping them on their toes. Down an Alex Morgan out of precaution, the Wave held their own against Racing and split the points to show they can compete. But they’ll be looking for more next weekend during the infamous San Diego v Angel City rivalry game.

6. Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride have protected their house three times in a row now, stunning fans by doing so for the first time since 2017. They sent Portland away disappointed after giving them front row seats to the Adriana show, who dazzled all over the field in and out of the box, weaving through the Portland defense. She got a brace for her side, and built momentum and energy that the Pride thrives on. Rookie Messiah Bright also got another goal, one of the key rookies to watch as the season goes on.

7. NJ/NY Gotham FC

After a disappointing loss to San Diego last week, Gotham was hoping for more than a tie this week, but they’re lucky to have a point at all. Gotham traveled down to Houston and ended up in a one-to-one stalemate, thanks to a few VAR calls and an undeniable Lynn Williams penalty. The bigger issue here wasn’t the calls but the way that Gotham couldn’t seem to build an attack, turning over the ball way too much before finding their groove.

8. Houston Dash

The Houston Dash were just barely denied a win by a VAR overturn on a beautiful Michelle Alozie goal and Sophie Schmidt woodwork rattler. Houston was the better side of this match-up, forcing pressure on Gotham and creating chances with incredible pressure on their opponents. They generated a multitude of turnovers and had exceptional breakaway runs, with their dangerous front three starting to connect. The Dash are just on the edge of playoffs looking in, but they’re headed the right way.

9. Kansas City Current

The Kansas City Current comeback is loading as more of this star-studded squad comes back from injury. With several breakaway chances, the Current forced the Reign to commit fouls in order to stop their rejuvenated attack. Even though it didn’t end in a victory this time, the Current are trending the right direction for where they want to go. But they are at the bottom of the table and will need to start making up for lost time fast with results that get them points.

10. Racing Louisville

Racing were unable to find their groove in this one, with their goal generation machine Savannah DeMelo not connecting to get them in the back of the net. Racing still had a decent game, but you need more than a decent game to beat the San Diego Wave. They’ll be taking on a desperate Gotham FC next week and will need to work on finishing their shots and making good use of their excellent long-ball ability to defeat the bats.

11. Angel City FC

After another loss, Angel City is starting to slip further down the standings and facing a repeat of their unfortunate miss out on playoffs from last season. It might be time for Angel City to be asking themselves what needs to change to find success on the field. Their players are talented but desperate for a win and often lose composure when they concede a goal. LA needs to lock down their second-half play to start turning losses into victories.

12. Chicago Red Stars

Something has to change for the Red Stars, and preferably soon. They fell hard this week, allowing North Carolina to steamroll their team by conceding five goals and finding themselves unable to recover and answer back. As their team sale drags on and their losses add up, it’s hard to watch the Red Stars play without hoping for at least a tie for their disheartened squad.

Check out our NWSL hub page for more news, analysis, opinion and unique women’s soccer coverage. And don’t forget to follow FOR(E) on Twitter, FanSided’s home for women’s sports.


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