A seven goal thriller, three own goals in one day, another classic edition of the Cascadia derby … Week 4 delivered some much-needed excitement to the National Women’s Soccer League, and we have the latest Power Rankings for you.
1 (-): North Carolina Courage (4-0-0; def. Boston 0-1)
The undefeated North Carolina traveled to Boston this week in a search for searching for a fourth straight win, and Jessica McDonald’s first-half goal ensured that the Courage would return home with the 3 points. But this was no walk in the park for NC, as the Breakers gave them their toughest match yet. The Courage backline and Sabrina D’Angelo smothered every attack thrown their way by Boston, but the normally stellar midfield collectively had a match to forget.
Next match: 5/14 @ Orlando at 5 PM EST
2 (+1): Boston Breakers (2-2-0; lost to North Carolina 0-1)
The 2016 Boston Breakers are dead. Long live the new and improved Breakers. While the result of the match against North Carolina was one very familiar to the Boston faithful, the Breakers had the better of play for a large portion of the game. Several chances in the second half were wasted by the Breakers forwards, but Boston gave the Courage all it could handle and more.
Next match: 5/14 @ Chicago at 6 PM EST
3 (-1): Portland Thorns FC (2-1-1; drew Seattle 2-2)
The Cascadia Derby is always one of the most anticipated matches on the NWSL schedule, and the latest edition lived up to the reputation that this fierce rivalry has established. For Portland, getting a result this time around was no easy task, as they trailed for long stretches of the match. But the Thorns showed their determination in twice erasing deficits, and came out of the match with a hard-earned point.
Next match: 5/13 @ Kansas City at 4 PM EST
4 (+1): Chicago Red Stars (2-2-0; def. Houston 2-0)
A bit of payback was on the agenda for Chicago this past weekend as they flipped the script on Houston, claiming their second win of the season. The Red Stars were in control for most of the match, and while it was an own goal that provided the breakthrough, Julie Ertz popped up in the second half to add a second goal and put the game away.
Next match: 5/14 vs Boston at 6 PM EST
5 (+2): Seattle Reign FC (1-1-2; drew Portland 2-2)
Seattle went into the match against their bitter rivals Portland looking to bounce back from the thrashing they’d received at the hands of Boston in Week 3. But while the Reign had a much-improved showing, a win was not in the cards and they conceded two equalizers to leave Portland with only a point.
Next match: 5/13 vs Washington at 4 PM EST
6 (-2): Sky Blue FC (1-2-1; lost to Washington 4-3)
It was a night to forget for Kailen Sheridan and the Sky Blue defense as the inexperienced backline was ripped apart by the speed of the Washington forwards. But Sarah Killion continued her strong start to the season with a brace, and Kelley O’Hara notched a goal as well in another strong game for Sky Blue.
Next match: 5/13 @ Houston at 4 PM EST
7 (-1): Houston Dash (2-2-0; lost to Chicago 2-0)
Saturday fans saw a lackluster performance for Houston, as they slumped in defeat handed to them by Chicago. The Dash were the unlucky victims of an own goal at the stroke of halftime, and a second half goal effectively decided the contest in favor of the Red Stars. Front line tandem Kealia Ohai and Rachel Daly were held in check by a strong defensive performance from the Chicago backline, and the Dash were repeatedly punished by turnovers from the midfield. Morgan Brian made her first appearance of the season as a sub, and should help stabilize the Dash midfield going forward.
Next match: 5/13 vs Sky Blue at 4 PM EST
8 (+1): Washington Spirit (1-2-1; def. Sky Blue 4-3)
A much-needed result for a rebuilt Washington squad, who pummeled a youthful Sky Blue defense with 4 goals in what proved to be the most entertaining match of the week. Francisca Ordega had a standout performance for the Spirit with a pair of goals, Havana Solaun earned an assist, and they forced New Jersey into an own goal situation. Despite surrendering three goals, Stephanie Labbe made some crucial saves in stoppage time to give her team its first win of the season.
Next match: 5/13 @ Seattle at 4 PM EST
9 (-1): FC Kansas City (1-2-1; drew Orlando 1-1)
In the previous four seasons of NWSL, Kansas City has had difficulties coming from behind to get results. The Blues had dropped their first 19 matches in which they had trailed, and only managed a come-from-behind win for the first time last season. That trend seemed set to continue after Marta put Orlando ahead, but a late set-piece scramble was poked home by Erika Tymrak to salvage a draw for KC.
Next match: 5/13 vs Portland at 4 PM EST
10 (-): Orlando Pride (0-2-2; drew Kansas City 1-1)
Orlando’s long winless streak appeared to be over this weekend as when Marta scored her first NWSL goal to put the Pride ahead in their match against FCKC. But though the much-maligned Pride defense was well on its way to getting its first shutout in almost a year against a Kansas City squad that had been shut out in its previous two games, a costly foul late in the match ended up spoiling both for Orlando, and KC equalized on the resulting free kick.
Next match: 5/14 vs North Carolina @ 5 PM EST