This past weekend of National Women’s Soccer League action saw some fairly interesting results, and here are my Power Rankings for Week 3.
1 (-): North Carolina Courage (3-0-0; def. Orlando 3-1)
The new kids are sitting pretty at the top. While it wasn’t completely smooth sailing for North Carolina last week–the backline showed signs of weakness and was bailed out on more than one occasion by outstanding saves from Sabrina D’Angelo–their finishers woke from their slumber and powered the Courage to a third consecutive win.
Next match: 5/7 @ Boston at 6 PM EST
2 (+1): Portland Thorns FC (2-1-0; def. Chicago 1-0)
It was an extremely close race for second between Portland and Boston, but the edge goes to the Thorns, who knocked off a strong Chicago team thanks to yet another penalty goal by Nadia Nadim. Portland were on the front foot for most of the match, and were able to shut down everything the Red Stars threw their way.
Next match: 5/6 vs Seattle at 10 PM EST
3 (+3): Boston Breakers (2-1-0; def. Seattle 3-0)
All streaks eventually come to an end, and this week it was Boston’s turn to halt a long record of futile attempts against Seattle. Coming into this season, the Breakers had dropped 9 of 10 matches to the Reign, and could only manage a draw in the 10th match. But two goals in the first 15 minutes last week put Boston on top early, and the Breakers never let up, handing the visitors a humbling defeat and garnering deserved POTW honors for Adriana Leon.
Next match: 5/7 vs North Carolina at 6 PM EST
4 (+3): Sky Blue FC (1-1-1; def. Kansas City 1-0)
In a dull, listless match that saw very few moments of excitement, Raquel Rodriguez pounced on Kansas City’s poor attempt to defend against a Kelley O’Hara corner in the last quarter of the match, earning three points for Sky Blue, the team’s first win of the season.
Next match: 5/6 @ Washington at 7 PM EST
5 (-3): Chicago Red Stars (1-2-0; lost to Portland 1-0)
The 2017 season of NWSL has seen almost every team struggle with scoring goals, and no team is a better example of the lack of offensive production than Chicago. Christen Press has yet to open her 2017 account for the Red Stars, even having what appeared to be a stonewall penalty against Portland waved away, and without Press in her usual scoring form, Chicago could not come away with the points.
Next match: 5/6 vs Houston at 4 PM EST
6 (+2): Houston Dash (2-1-0; def. Washington 0-1)
After suffering a butt-whipping at the feet of Seattle, Houston was able to bounce back and earn a morale-boosting win against a depleted Washington squad, and a second clean sheet for Lydia Williams and the Dash defense. Kealia Ohai continued her red-hot form with the game’s only goal.
Next match: 5/6 @ Chicago at 4 PM EST
7 (-2): Seattle Reign FC (1-1-1; lost to Boston 3-0)
If there were an award for Most Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde team in the league, Seattle would be early front-runners. The Reign, who looked nearly unbeatable in a thrashing of Houston in Round 2, were in the other seat against Boston in Round 3. Haley Kopmeyer and the Reign defense had a rare off night, conceding three times to the home side, while the Reign offense could not get past an in-form Abby Smith o the other side of the pitch.
Next match: 5/6 @ Portland at 10 PM EST
8 (-4): FC Kansas City (1-2-0; lost to Sky Blue 1-0)
The Blues were left feeling the blues after falling in a second straight 1-0 defeat that marked their first ever loss to Sky Blue at Yurcak. Kansas City lacked options in the attack with both Amy Rodriguez and Shea Groom on the shelf, and Sydney Leroux was rendered invisible as the lone striker in Andonovski’s preferred 4-2-3-1.
Next match: 5/7 @ Orlando at 76 PM EST
9 (+1): Washington Spirit (0-2-1; lost to Houston 0-1)
An injury-riddled Washington squad put up a Spirited effort against the visitors from Houston, but fell with their second defeat in three games. Keeper Stephanie Labbe was at her best once again, parrying away nearly every attempt on her goal to keep her team in the contest until the very end.
Next match: 5/6 vs Sky Blue at 7 PM EST
10 (-1): Orlando Pride (0-2-1; lost to North Carolina 3-1)
An overall poor showing for Orlando last week, as the Pride continue their slow start to the season. The defense is a consistent trouble spot for Orlando, and became the latest victim of North Carolina’s potent offense. And despite the best efforts of Marta and a top notch finish by Camila, who has found new life in Orlando after struggling in Houston, the Pride’s offensive woes were on full display.
Next match: 5/7 vs Kansas City at 6 PM EST