These are your NWSL Week 5 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 5 NWSL Shield Contenders
The Thorns tied this week in a classic NWSL after-dark pandemonium, maintaining their lead even with a stalemate for the week. When Bella Bixby scored the game-tying goal in stoppage time of the second half, she became just the second goalkeeper in NWSL history to score a goal, serving as a reminder to everyone that even keepers can score. Despite some difficulty from Angel City, Portland persevered and maintained their winning streak.
Especially considering they were missing key players from their typical starting lineup, the Reign struggled in the first half of their game this week. The Reign had trouble moving the ball out of their own half when Lavelle, Quinn, and Van Der Jagt were injured. With a Jordyn Huitema equalizer that tied the score in the dying seconds, the Reign proved once again why they are one of the best “it’s not over till it’s over” teams.
The Washington Spirit are one of only two teams that have yet to lose this season. The Spirit will be disappointed that this result wasn’t better despite the fact that they earned a point on the road after only six of their 23 shots were successful. A penalty kick from Ashley Hatch, who has been on a roll lately, put the Spirit on the board and the fact that Amber Brooks started in the backline to add some defensive stability and support the Spirit’s attack may have contributed to the Spirit’s superior performance in this game.
NWSL Week 5 NWSL Shield Pretenders
North Carolina Courage
The Courage got things going in the right direction, which was crucial given that they would only get to play one half. Despite having their first goal disallowed for offsides, the Courage persisted and got their first point when Tyler Lussi scored her first goal for the team. For the duration of the first half, they continued to press hard and outpace the Dash. The recent addition of Victoria Pickett will undoubtedly aid The Courage as they continue to steadily expand their offense.
San Diego Wave
The Wave still appear to be a threat despite their most recent defeat, and they will undoubtedly recover from this. The Wave had trouble getting through passes to their forwards and making the connection for the final touch toward goal with Alex Morgan out of the lineup. Given their talent and track record, the Wave is unlikely to suffer a serious setback even if there are some problems. However, they will be extremely disappointed with this outcome and eagerly anticipate having a chance to make up for it in their upcoming games.
The Dash were defeated in an unpleasant rain-declared loss, and they had no time to rally in the second half. But regrettably, they could only win one half, and they failed to accomplish so. The Dash’s defense could not keep up with their opponent’s aggressive presence. Next time, hopefully, the Dash will be given a full 90 minutes to demonstrate their worth.
NWSL Week 5 NWSL Shield Imposters
Chicago Red Stars
Even though the Red Stars managed to tie this week and had significant defensive upgrades from last week, their offensive brilliance couldn’t keep up. Only three of their shots on goal were made during the game, and they only had one corner. Now that the defensive line is becoming better, the Red Stars must focus on developing a reliable and dangerous assault.
Kansas City Current
Kansas City completed the weekend to make it two wins last week. Debinha scored both of KC’s points at home with her first brace for the team. The Current also managed to retain a clean sheet, thanks to improved defensive and midfield play that allowed them to keep the ball out of their own half for the majority of the game. Even though nine players are still listed as out for Sunday’s game, it appears that the Current are on the right track to reclaiming their previous last season glory.
This week, Racing started out strong and outperformed the Reign in the first half. Paige Monaghan scored the game’s first goal for her new team to give them a quick lead, and Savannah DeMelo doubled their advantage before the end of the first half. They surprised the Reign with their strength, speed, and coordinated attack strategy as they charged forward. Racing seems to be trying to make sure they can’t be ignored this year after being disregarded in past years.
NY/NJ Gotham FC
Gotham lost this past weekend, ending their winning run despite a great defensive effort. The performance of Ali Krieger and Abby Smith in particular prevented the score from being considerably higher. The game was back-and-forth, with Gotham missing a few opportunities to score and losing in the end.
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