Ban the Back-to-Backs: NWSL Power Rankings, Week 10 Edition


As the National Women’s Soccer League edges towards the midseason mark, Week 10 saw the top two teams consolidate their spots and the rest of the field were left to jockey for position in what has been a very competitive season. And here are the latest Power Rankings.

1. (+1): Chicago Red Stars (6-2-2; def. Sky Blue 2-1)

Needing a win to keep pace near the top of the table, Chicago got off to a slow start and quickly found themselves in a hole against Sky Blue when the visitors took the lead in the third minute, a deficit that would remain at halftime. But the Red Stars proved why they are unbeaten at home in the second half when Vanessa DiBernardo’s 25-yard blast drew the home side level, and Sofia Huerta put home the game-winner four minutes later.

Next matches: 6/28 @ Seattle at 10:30 PM EST, 7/1 @ Orlando at 5 PM EST

2. (-1): North Carolina Courage (8-3-0; def. Boston 0-1)

North Carolina made their second trip of the season to Boston looking for a season sweep, and after a quick start by the Breakers, the Courage slowly took control of the match and broke through late in the first half when Ashley Hatch scored her third goal in three games. But similar to their first meeting of the season, NC spent the majority of the second half defending waves of Boston attacks and barely held on for a narrow win.

Next match: 7/1 vs Sky Blue at 3:30 PM EST

3. (+1): Sky Blue FC (5-5-1; lost to Chicago 2-1)

So close, yet so far away for Sky Blue against Chicago, a team they have never beaten in NWSL play. Sloppy defending by the Red Stars on a corner allowed Madison Tiernan to open the scoring in the third minute, and the Jersey side were on track to finally get that elusive victory. But in the second half, two Chicago goals in four minutes put Sky Blue behind for good, and the visitors left the Windy City with no points.

Next matches: 6/28 v Orlando at 7 PM EST, 7/1 @ North Carolina at 3:30 PM EST

4. (-1): Portland Thorns FC (4-3-3; lost to Washington 1-0)

The offensive woes continued for Portland as they dropped their second consecutive match, falling to the resurgent Washington. The Thorns were put behind in the first half after Emily Sonnett failed to properly defend a Spirit attack, and although Portland had the majority of possession and a few good opportunities for an equalizer, they ultimately came away with no points.

Next matches: 6/28 vs Kansas City at 10 PM EST, 7/1 @ Seattle at 10:30 PM EST

5. (+1): Seattle Reign FC (3-2-5; drew Kansas City 1-1)

Round 2 of Seattle vs Kansas City began with a major blow to the Reign when Lauren Barnes was sent off in the fourth minute, forcing the hosts to play almost the entire match with just 10 players. And when the Blues scored first and took their lead into halftime, Seattle’s already tough task seemed even more daunting. But the Reign battled back in the second half and Nahomi Kawasumi put home a deserved equalizer in the 58th minute to earn her team a point.

Next matches: 6/28 vs Chicago at 10:30 PM EST, 7/1 vs Portland at 10:30 PM EST

6. (+2): Washington Spirit (3-5-2; def. Portland 1-0)

After letting a win slip away in Chicago, Washington returned home and rode a first half goal to victory against Portland. Francisca Ordega scored the only goal of the match, wrecking the Thorns’ backline to fire home past a diving AD Franch. And Stephanie Labbe enjoyed a relatively uneventful night in the Spirit goal, as Estelle Johnson anchored a strong defensive effort by the Washington backline to keep the Portland offense in check.

Next match: 7/1 @ Boston at 4 PM EST

7. (-2): Orlando Pride (3-4-3; lost to Houston 0-2)

Orlando came into their rematch with Houston high on confidence, the Pride having convincingly beaten the Dash the week before. And after controlling the first half hour, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Pride would crack open a shaky Dash defense. But a first half stoppage time goal from Houston handed the momentum to the visitors, and despite the best efforts of Orlando’s attack, the hosts conceded a second in the second half and were left with no points and no goals on the day.

Next matches: 6/28 @ Sky Blue at 7 PM EST, 7/1 vs Chicago at 5 PM EST

8. (-1): FC Kansas City (3-3-4; drew Seattle 1-1)

For the second week in a row, the two-time champion FC Kansas City faced off against the team they had beaten for both their titles and just like the previous week, the Blues could only come away with a point for their efforts. KC was given a quick advantage when the Reign were reduced to 10 players less than five minutes in, and took a well-deserved lead when Brittany Ratcliffe scored her first NWSL goal. But the Blues were made to pay for their lack of offensive production in the second half after Nicole Barnhart could only parry away a near own goal from Becky Sauerbrunn, which Seattle pounced on for the equalizer to take a share of the spoils.

Next matches: 6/28 @ Portland at 10 PM EST, 7/2 vs Houston at 8 PM EST

9. (-): Boston Breakers (2-6-2; lost to North Carolina 0-1)

An injury-riddled Boston squad hosted North Carolina for the final time in 2017 and although the Breakers got off to a bright start, aided by a stellar debut from backup keeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme, they once again were left trailing after the Courage scored near the end of the first half. Desperate to try and get a result, Boston poured on the pressure in the second half and came close to an equalizer on more than one occasion, only to come up empty handed when the final whistle blew.

Next matches: 6/28 @ Houston at 9 PM EST, 7/1 vs Washington at 4 PM EST

10. (-): Houston Dash (3-7-0; def. Orlando 0-2)

After a brutal six game losing streak sent Houston plummeting to the bottom of the standings, the Dash headed to Orlando desperate to turn around their fortunes. Despite a rough opening 30 minutes that put Houston on the defensive, it was the visitors who scored first on the stroke of halftime when Carli Lloyd opened her 2017 account with a trademark rocket into the upper 90. Rachel Daly added an insurance goal in the second half, and the Dash held on for their first win since April and rookie GK Jane Campbell earned her first NWSL shutout. But the victory was soon overshadowed with the news that Kealia Ohai suffered an ACL injury late in the match and will miss the remainder of the season.

Next matches: 6/28 vs Boston at 9 PM EST, 7/2 @ Kansas City at 8 PM EST