Even though we aren’t too far in the season, there are signs of which teams will be a force to be reckoned with. Today, we will take a look at who those teams are.
Seattle Reign FC
Seattle has the most depth of any NWSL team; they have amazing players for every position. Seattle has been and always will be one of the most feared teams in the NWSL. Every game they seem to have numerous opportunities no matter the opponent. As all these players continue to gel, they will get even better than they already are. After missing the playoffs last year Seattle has an opportunity to finally hoist that NWSL trophy this season!
North Carolina Courage
A team that’s nearly impossible to not have at the top of any list. North Carolina came out this season with flying colors, continuing their dominance and going undefeated. North Carolina’s pressure seems to be unbeatable, and with the personnel they have up front, scoring hasn’t been an issue this season. Even with some chances missed, they’ve made up for it. Look for them to continue their astonishing form.
Portland got a slow start with most of their internationals missing and some still out due to injury, but as they are coming back we see what Portland is capable of. Their only problem so far has been finishing; they create wonderful chances but aren’t able to put them in the back of the net. Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair specifically have played a pivotal role in how well Portland plays week to week. When they get Haley Raso and Caitlin Foord back out on the pitch Portland will be the hardest team to beat, especially in home matches due to the great atmosphere.
Orlando has one of the most star-filled teams this year, with the likes of Marta, Morgan, and Krieger. Orlando made it to the playoffs last year only to be destroyed by a superior Portland team in the first round. They’ll be hungry to win this year. If Orlando can click well enough I can see them having a very successful season, but so far it’s been a process. Even so, they’re sitting in third place with a game in hand on Portland.
Chicago Red Stars
Chicago has phenomenal potential, but the results just aren’t quite coming. Despite this, they are in a spot they could grab a playoff spot. They are waiting on Nagasato and Kerr to click up top, but even with that, they are sitting in fifth place. As people get back from injury it should get better, but for now, I think they can hang right around mid-table.
Utah has the strongest defense in the NWSL, the problem is the scoring. Utah creates wonderful opportunities and aren’t able to put them away, but the defense is what’s keeping them at mid-table. Katrina Gorry was a brilliant addition to this team, she finds the ball well and sprays the ball around the field which is much needed. Hopefully, Utah can turn things around on the attacking side of things and keep the standings interesting.