These are your NWSL Week 3 power rankings based on team performances and potential as the standings shake themselves out, with numerous clubs shuffling around every week based on the previous game. Contenders are teams well positioned to claim the regular season NWSL Shield, pretenders are teams with an outside shot, and imposters get participation trophies for showing up.
NWSL Week 3 NWSL Shield Contenders
The Thorns are a force, and their performances show that their three championship victories were not an accident. They collaborate exceptionally effectively, creating out of the midfield with players like Sam Coffey, plenty of Sophia Smith goalazos, and Crystal Dunn turning up in the right spots. The Thorns appeared to be quite dangerous even with just a draw this week, maintaining their lead over the league.
The Thorns are now operating at full capacity, so it will be interesting to observe how they change when the World Cup rolls around.
There is no disputing this team’s talent. The Reign don’t have to be concerned about pressing high when they have such a formidable backline with Hiatt, Cook, Huerta, and Barnes backing them up. They frequently benefit from their constant pursuit in the shape of incredible opportunities and balls that are passed through ingeniously by a skillful midfield. The Reign are confident in their group dynamic, as evidenced by their aggressive demeanor.
However, the Reign frequently struggle with poor goal-scoring, often creating fantastic opportunities but failing to take advantage of them. If they can up their conversion percentages, they will be impossible to stop.
San Diego Wave
The Wave’s defense is tight, despite having one of the league’s strongest offenses. The Wave are masters at stifling the enemy, thanks to Naomi Girma’s keen observation and Kailen Sheridan’s unyielding defense. If a ball manages to get past Colaprico’s tough midfield defense, it is unlikely to get past the centerback duo of Girma and Riehl. And if it happens, Sheridan will be there immediately to save the day.
The Wave excels in clearing their ball and fending off charges, but when in control of the ball, they may have trouble moving it forward.
Every week, Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch score goals for their team, making them genuinely undeniable. The midfield of the Spirit is led by Andi Sullivan, and with the inventiveness of Ashley Sanchez and Marissa Sheva, they have no trouble moving the ball quickly and launching attacks. The Spirit are making an appearance in the points column this weekend thanks to Ashley Hatch scoring her 40th goal of her career.
The Spirit, however, are a young team, and while their defense can get better over time, it now presents a weakness that rival teams might take advantage of.
NWSL Week 3 NWSL Shield Pretenders
North Carolina Courage
With Kerolin presently tied for third in the league with nine shots and moving up the chart for shots on goal with five, the Courage aren’t afraid to go for the goal. The Courage will attack if they are at striking distance. In their matchup with the Spirit, they had the advantage in possession and attempted to score with a total of 13 shots. Although they have the ambition, they would benefit from slowing things down and intensifying their attack to provide more reliable opportunities.
The Courage will be close to becoming the championship team they once were if they can figure out a way to slow it down.
Chicago Red Stars
All eyes were on the Red Stars this week and their match against the Kansas City Current due to the terrible news of a Mal Swanson injury. Swanson’s absence did not, however, deter Chicago, who came out on top four to two. By introducing the excellent Cheyna Matthews, who had an exceptional performance, they began their response to the Mal Swanson question. The Red Stars have already demonstrated their ability to perform without Mal, and they are determined to do so going forward.
The Red Stars are currently having trouble linking their outstanding defense to their midfield. They have neglected their midfield passing networks, therefore they must find a way to advance the ball further.
When the Dash got Ordonez from the Courage, everyone was understandably a little trembling in their boots. The combined strength of Sanchez, Salmon, and Ordonez has been tremendous, opening up space behind defenses across the league and producing opportunities. They’ve made a number of plays that have paid off, and as they spend more time together, they’ll get stronger. This club needs more time to gel as a unit and really master the art of locating the space between their defensive line, midfield, and attack.
Their ability to connect their excellently functioning individual lines will be essential to their future success.
NY/NJ Gotham FC
Throughout the entire ninety minutes, Gotham remains in the game, earning each and every second and each shot. They put up effort throughout the entire 90 minutes, pressing their opponents hard and are not hesitant to get a little filthy. So far, their drive has paid off as they battled their way to two victories. Gotham frequently executes passes too quickly to get enough people forward to capitalize on their opportunities.
This occasionally pays off in the form of a swift Lynn Williams run or an Ify Onumonu who is standing by but the overwhelming impression is that the last pass and last puzzle piece are absent.
NWSL Week 3 NWSL Shield Imposters
Kansas City Current
The Current are still in the game despite their dismal start to the season, as we saw at the conclusion of their play on Saturday. A magnificent Debinha chip and a valiant Larsson goal demonstrate that KC still has hope and is not hopelessly out of it. They’re definitely not off to the start this season that they wanted, but things could change. There is a small amount of sadness each time the Current publishes its health report before to the games.
The majority of their offensive strength, including Kristen Hamilton, Sam Mewis, and Morgan Gautrat, is presently on the sidelines due to injury. It is hoped that having more of their talented roster play will help them have a successful season.
This Louisville team appears to be committed to finding the answer, and they have a wide range of playing philosophies to guarantee victory over nearly any opposition. Ary Borges might go on a breakaway run, or Carson Pickett or Abby Erceg might play some creative defense, but Racing has a variety of methods they can use to surprise their opponents and switch things up from game to game. It’s not just enjoyable; it also works wonders.
Due of Racing’s varied strategy, they occasionally seem to have trouble getting along and having a completely developed game plan. Their effort and approach change from half to half, with the side generally appearing dangerous in one half and losing in the other.
Angel City FC
This season, Angel City has experienced its fair share of incredible events, and the caliber of their players has not gone ignored. These breakthrough moments provide them energy surges that they frequently convert into chances, dodging defenders as they go. Their electrifying home fan support is proof that they’re entertaining to watch and even more so to root for.
However, Angel City has a propensity to fluctuate wildly. There is undoubtedly a midfield issue, and maybe it will get better now that Julie Ertz has been signed. LA will feel much more safe for the remainder of the season if they can become more consistent with their high-energy moments.
The Pride were expecting for a better season opener, but this is definitely not it. Orlando believed that with Marta’s return and Adriana in the top position, they may now be preparing some stronger possibilities. Messiah Bright, a remarkably promising rookie, has scored the only goal for the Pride thus far this season. Additionally, Emily Madril, another rookie, has shown promise on defense.
The Pride have been struggling to halt the strong attacking lines they have been up against because they have been allowing balls get away from them. They’ve given up a lot of corners and given opponents too much room to shoot. The Pride will be in much better shape if they can tighten up their defensive line.
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