Week 5 was an interesting round of games in the National Women’s Soccer League, and we have the latest version of the Power Rankings to recap it all.
1 (-): North Carolina Courage (4-1-0; lost to Orlando 3-1)
North Carolina saw their perfect start to the season brought to a screeching halt, falling on the road to the previously winless Orlando. The 3-back that had been solid against the Pride in their prior encounter was ripped apart by the strength and speed of the Orlando forwards, and the Courage were doomed to certain defeat once captain Abby Erceg was sent off with her second yellow just before the hour mark.
Next match: 5/21 vs Chicago at 4 PM EST.
2 (-): Boston Breakers (2-2-1; drew Chicago 1-1)
Another very good outing for a reborn Boston side, despite dropping two points courtesy of a late equalizer. Rose Lavelle put in another strong performance for the Breakers, and even though Abby Smith had a somewhat shaky game, the Boston backline held strong until Christen Press broke through in the final two minutes of regulation.
Next match: 5/19 vs Portland at 7 PM EST
3 (+2): Seattle Reign FC (2-1-2; def. Washington 6-2)
After a two game road trip that saw Seattle gain only a single point out of a possible six, the Reign returned to the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium to face Washington and put a spectacular beat down on the Spirit. Led by a four assist performance from Nahomi Kawasumi, Seattle’s offensive line sliced and diced up Washington’s porous 3-back with ease.
Next match: 5/21 vs Orlando at 9:30 PM EST
4 (-1): Portland Thorns FC (2-1-2; drew Kansas City 0-0)
The scoring woes for Portland continued this week as the Thorns were shut down by the iron curtain that is the Kansas City backline. Despite dominating the passing and possession stats, Portland managed only two shots on goal in 90 minutes, and never once really threatened to break through the Blues’ defense. But it was not all bad news, as the Portland defense achieved their first ever shutout of Kansas City.
Next match: 5/19 @ Boston at 7 PM EST
5 (+1): Sky Blue FC (2-2-1; def. Houston 1-3)
Sky Blue traveled to Houston looking to rebound from a loss to Washington and came away with a well-deserved 3 points against the Dash. Sam Kerr was back to her old dominating self, being involved in all three of Sky Blue’s goals, and had a supreme assist on Leah Galton’s game-winner early in the second half. Captain Christie Pearce returned after two games on the shelf under concussion protocol, and helped solidify a backline that had been wrecked the previous week.
Next match: 5/20 vs Houston at 4 PM EST
6 (-2): Chicago Red Stars (2-2-1; drew Boston 1-1)
Christen Press picked a perfect time to snap her long scoring drought, salvaging a point for her side with a stooping header in the 89th minute. But that was one of the few good moments in a very frustrating afternoon for Chicago. The Red Stars were largely ineffective against Boston in all areas of the field, and were very fortunate to come away with even a point.
Next match: 5/21 @ North Carolina at 4 PM EST
7 (+2): FC Kansas City (1-2-2; drew Portland 0-0)
The good for Kansas City: the defense. Any unit that has Becky Sauerbrunn at CB and Nicole Barnhart in goal is going to be a challenge to crack, and the Blues successfully stymied what little offensive efforts Portland threw their way.
The bad for Kansas City: the offense. Since Amy Rodriguez’s injury, KC has only scored one goal, and it was from a scramble off a set piece. While it is still early in the season, Vlatko Andonovski will have to figure out how to get his attack back on track before it’s too late.
Next match: 5/20 @ Washington at 7 PM EST
8 (+2): Orlando Pride (1-2-2; def. North Carolina 3-1)
A badly needed result for Orlando, as the Pride took down visiting North Carolina in their best performance of the season. Camila was a standout for Orlando, carving up a shaky Courage backline at will, and helping break the game open in the second-half. And once the Pride were up a player following Erceg’s ejection, the game was as good as done.
Next match: 5/21 @ Seattle at 9:30 PM EST
9 (-2): Houston Dash (2-3-0; lost to Sky Blue 1-3)
Another poor performance from Houston in a season where poor performances have been the norm for the Dash. Houston appeared lost and lacking direction for most of the game, relying on individual effort to try and get a result rather than working as a unit. The seat under Randy Waldrum continues to get hotter with each passing week, and if the Dash cannot turn things around soon, there may be changes made in the near future.
Next match: 5/20 @ Sky Blue at 4 PM EST
10 (-2): Washington Spirit (1-3-1; lost to Seattle 6-2)
A day that began very well for Washington, with the long anticipated announcement that they had acquired USWNT forward Mallory Pugh, ended with a massive thud. The Spirit were handed one of their worst losses in history by a Seattle squad that could seemingly do no wrong on the day, and the 3-back employed by Jim Gabarra was ill-prepared to handle the tight form of the Reign attack.
Next match: 5/20 vs Kansas City at 7 PM EST