It was a week of upsets as both Portland and Western New York fell to the teams at the bottom of the table. Chicago Red Stars continued their hot ways while the Washington Spirit won yet again this week to jump up the rankings. Seattle, of course, remains on top.
Here are the Orange in the Oven NWSL power rankings for week 8 (see last week’s rankings here):
1. Seattle Reign FC (8-0-2), 1st Place (Last Week – 1)
Seattle had one match this week, an away meeting with Sky Blue FC which the Reign took by a score of 3-1. No points for guessing who had one of the goals; Kim Little brought her season tally to nine in ten matches. Naho Kawasumi celebrated her return from the Asian Women’s Cup with a brace.
Seattle now sits 7 points clear of Chicago in 2nd place and shows no signs of losing anytime soon. The only bad news for the Reign is that Megan Rapinoe may not play again until July. Seattle does not seem to be hurting without her, however.
Week 9 Schedule: Seattle hosts red hot Chicago on Saturday night at Mode Pitch Memorial Stadium.
2. Chicago Red Stars (6-2-1), 2nd Place (Last week – 2)
Chicago took their run of consecutive wins to five with a 2-0 win over Sky Blue FC in mid-week. Chicago is doing exactly what a team that wants to create separation needs to do; beating the teams in the bottom half of the table. Their five straight wins come over the bottom three teams in the table.
Chicago’s defense remains tenacious and they are now getting goals from multiple sources – this weeks came through Lori Chalupny and Adriana Leon.
Week 9 Schedule: This week will test whether the Red Stars are really this good. They host the Washington Spirit on Wednesday before heading to Seattle for a Saturday show down. Chicago gets a very big offensive lift this week with the arrival of Christen Press.
3. FC Kansas City (4-4-3), 4th Place (Last week – 4)
FC Kansas City finally had a break this week after an intense start to the season. Amy Rodriguez dropped to second overall in the goal scoring charts through the combination of not playing and Kim Little’s goal.
Week 9 Schedule: FC Kansas City is back in action with two home matches this week. Wednesday they host Western New York, Saturday the Boston Breakers come to town.
4. Washington Spirit (5-4-1), 3rd Place (Last week – 6)
Another milestone for Washington; with Sunday’s 3-2 win over Boston they surpassed their point total for the 2013 season. They now sit in 3rd place in the standings and have not lost in their last 4 matches.
Jodie Taylor is the hot hand at the moment, with a brace this week to bring her goal total on the season to 5. Christine Nairn followed up her stoppage time golazo to beat Houston with her 3rd of the season in this weeks win.
Week 9 Schedule: Two hot teams that were not generally thought to be playoff contenders will meet on Wednesday when the Spirit travel to Chicago. A Washington win would solidify their role as genuine contenders.
5. Western New York Flash (3-4-2), 6th Place (Last week – 5)
Western New York took a halftime lead at home over the Houston Dash this week, but could not hold on as the Dash managed to score twice in the 2nd half. It was the latest down in an up-and-down season for the Flash this year. Only Portland’s loss to Boston kept the Flash from dropping to the 6th spot this week.
Abby Wambach left Saturday’s match early and his listed day-to-day with a mild left LCL sprain. At this stage, the Flash need her back as soon as possible to keep their season on track.
Week 9 Schedule: The Flash have two very difficult matches this week, both on the road. Wednesday they are at FC Kansas City, Saturday they make their second trip in two weeks to Portland. Wambach can’t come back soon enough.
6. Portland Thorns FC (4-3-2), 5th Place (Last week – 3)
Portland plunges down the table following a mid-week disaster against the Boston Breakers. That they lost was surprising; that they lost by a score of 4-1 against a team that had benched its most well known players was shocking. Red card or not, Portland should not be losing by three goals to a team that is as big of a mess as Boston.
Portland needs to find some consistency in its performances and quickly. They’ve now lost two in a row, both against bottom three teams while the likes of Washington and Chicago are winning those matches.
Week 9 Schedule: One match this week, a rematch at Providence Park with Western New York Flash. The good news is Vero Boquete arrives this week and Rachel Van Hollebeke is expected back.
7. Sky Blue FC (2-5-4), 7th Place (Last week – 7)
Just as Sky Blue began to look like they had some life in them, they go and lose two in a week. Back-to-back losses at home by an aggregate of 5-1 to Chicago and Seattle kept Sky Blue buried in 7th place in the standings and the power rankings.
Wins by Houston and Boston brought Sky Blue dangerously close to slipping further.
Week 9 Schedule: Sky Blue hosts Houston on June 8th. A loss and they slide down the table and the rankings.
8. Houston Dash (2-7-1), 8th Place (Last week – 8)
It was a big week for the Dash, who played just as well as they have in recent matches but this time got the win over Western New York. It was their 7th point on the road this season making them truly road warriors.
As has been the norm, they made it difficult on themselves by conceding first. This time, however, they did not concede after getting the equalizer and managed to nudge ahead then hold the lead.
Week 9 Schedule: Week 9 is a big week for the Dash as their two US Women’s National Team players, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg finally join the team to solidify the back line. The Dash have a chance to jump up to 7th when they face Sky Blue FC this weekend.
9. Boston Breakers (2-6-0), 9th Place (Last week – 9)
Big win over Portland in mid-week, followed by a loss to Washington. The mid-week performance in only conceding once seemed to be an aberration by the time the weekend rolled around.
Things appear to be amiss in Boston with losses stacking up and big names getting benched. How much longer can it continue?
Week 9 Schedule: The Breakers hit the road this week, heading to FC Kansas City, the start of a string that sees them play 8 of their next 10 away from home.