AND SO THE NWSL PLAYOFFS ARE SET
It’s weird that we’re getting two playoff preview matches on the final weekend of the regular season, but here we are. All four teams will go into them definitely with the intent of using them as film study for the semi-final matches next weekend. The results will surely help set a tone for the win or go home stakes of next weekend, so in a way you can look at the Portland/Chicago and North Carolina/Orlando matches as basically the first leg of the NWSL Playoffs.
HERE WE ARE, WEEK 22, THE FINAL WEEK OF THE REGULAR SEASON
And what a ride it has been.
PORTLAND THORNS OVER CHICAGO RED STARS
For your first NWSL Semi-Final preview, you have Portland hosting Chicago. Decades ago, in another sport, someone playing for Chicago wearing the number 23 lit up a team from Portland. I don’t see the Red Stars’ number 23 doing something similar. Portland is too well balanced of a team and at home, they will look to set the tone and show the Red Stars what’s to come next weekend in a win or go home scenario.
SEATTLE REIGN FC OVER WASHINGTON SPIRIT
The Seattle Impossible did not happen and for the second straight season, the Reign FC miss the playoffs. Where their offseason goes, I think is going to be dictated by if head coach/general manager Laura Harvey becomes the new manager of the England Women’s National Team. No one in their right mind will dispute her credentials, so we shall see what happens in the not too distant future. In the immediate future, Reign win this one on the field and who knows what happens around it in this year’s edition of The Bill Lynch Derby.
BOSTON BREAKERS AND SKY BLUE FC PLAY TO A DRAW
I’m glad the Breakers are keeping head coach Matt Beard for next season. It’s not his fault Rose Lavelle came back broken from national team duty. The development of the Breakers under Beard’s system should be allowed to have more time and with an actually healthy franchise player. While I don’t think we’ll get any solid evidence of what the 2018 Boston Breakers will be from this match, the comfort for the players knowing he will be back I think takes away some anxiety of needing to play for their future. Breakers open the scoring, but Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr answers back and yep becomes the new queen of most goals in an NWSL season, surpassing Kim Little.
NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE OVER ORLANDO PRIDE
North Carolina secured the NWSL Shield, but just like the preview of the Thorns/Red Stars match, this will be a preview of the number 1 seed versus the number 4. Orlando needs to win to move up to the 3 seed, but no way North Carolina loses this one going into the playoffs.
FC KANSAS CITY OVER HOUSTON DASH
It’s crazy to think that in one offseason, the NWSL could lose its two most successful coaches. Just as much as there is uncertainty over the future of Laura Harvey in Seattle, the same can be said about Vlatko Andonovski in Kansas City. Time will tell if we are going to see the last match of the Vlatko Andonovski Era in Kansas City, but take away that question, Kansas City is still the better team and handles Houston easily.
Here is your last music video break of the regular season.
Song: “Cut Chemist Suite” | Artist: Ozomatli