Another week without a win for Seattle or FC Kansas City. Meanwhile, Portland Thorns debuted on ESPN 2 and put up another six goals in a display that was impressive from an offensive standpoint, considerably less so from a defensive standpoint.
The win, coupled with draws and losses for the teams around them, made Portland the big winner in this week’s edition of “who wants the final two playoff spots?”
Here are the Orange in the Oven NWSL power rankings following the completion of week 15 (see last week’s rankings here):
1. Seattle Reign FC (13-1-4), 1st Place (Last Week – 1)
Seattle rebounded from their first loss this season with a draw at home against Chicago. What is notable about the result, however, is that the Reign scored first which is something they have not done often as of late.
Unfortunately for Seattle, the tables were reversed from the normal course of action for the Reign – where they have gotten results by scoring late, this time out they conceded in the final 10 minutes to let Chicago share in the points.
Week 16 Schedule: After their meeting earlier this season marked the start of a true rivalry, Seattle hosts a Portland team that has been scoring in buckets over the past two weeks. This will make for must watch TV.
2. FC Kansas City (10-5-4), 2nd Place (Last week – 2)
This week marked an improvement for FC Kansas City; they only conceded one goal in holding Western New York to a 1-1 draw. Lauren Holiday was back in the lineup following illness as was Nikki Phillips. Sarah Hagen picked up her 3rd goal of the season since returning from Europe.
Amy Rodriguez, who was scoring at an insane rate earlier this season, is in the midst of a dry run. FCKC needs to see more goals from other sources like Holiday and Erika Tymrak.
Week 16 Schedule: FCKC will host Sky Blue FC this weekend.
3. Portland Thorns FC (8-6-5), 3rd Place (Last week – 4)
Is it safe to declare that Portland is back yet? We are not sure; sandwiched around the big goal results was a draw with Chicago. Then, there is the not insignificant matter of conceding 3 goals against Boston.
Sunday’s display of offense was awesome. Christine Sinclair has gone from no goals to 7 in rapid fashion and Vero Boquete was simply amazing as the creator in the middle. NWSL could not have asked for a better individual performance to introduce viewers to the NWSL than the one that Boquete delivered.
Portland is back in the driver seat now for the playoffs, can they keep it up?
Week 16 Schedule: Portland travels to Washington Wednesday for a meeting with the Spirit that has significant playoff implications. They then head to Seattle for a Sunday meeting with the Reign.
4. Chicago Red Stars (7-6-6), 5th Place (Last week – 3)
Chicago had two potentially difficult matches this week against Portland and Seattle and came away with a point from each. This is how you make the playoffs, grab draws at a minimum while the teams around you are losing.
A positive sign for Chicago is the fact that they have not conceded more than a goal in any one game over the past four games. The defense which was so stingy earlier in the season seems to be back in form. Other positive: goals from Christen Press. Her late goal to share in the points with Seattle was her 3rd since returning.
Week 16 Schedule: Chicago hosts the Houston Dash this weekend.
5. Washington Spirit (8-8-3), 4th Place (Last week – 5)
It was bad week for the Spirit’s playoff ambitions. A relatively poor performance in a 1-1 mid-week draw at Houston gave way to a very bad 4-2 loss at Sky Blue FC. End result: Washington went backwards in the playoff positioning.
With five games to go, they are even on points with Chicago for the final playoff spot. Every match is critical from here on out. The good news? 4 of their 5 remaining matches are at home.
Week 16 Schedule: A key mid-week match with Portland in Maryland.
6. Western New York Flash (7-9-3), 6th Place (Last week – 6)
Following a draw with FC Kansas City, the Flash are now three points back of Chicago and Washington with five to go. Three of their final five matches are at home. Two are against Boston and one against Sky Blue FC, so the Flash do have some reason for hope.
Other reason for hope? Abby Wambach is said to be on the verge of a return to the team. None of this matters, however, if the Flash don’t start winning games.
Week 16 Schedule: The Flash host Boston on Friday night in an absolute must win game.
7. Sky Blue FC (4-7-7), 7th Place (Last week – 8)
Sky Blue and Houston continue their recent game of leap frog. By virtue of their 4-2 win over Washington this weekend, a team that Houston eeked out a draw against, Sky Blue move back up to 7th in the standings and the power rankings.
Kelley O’Hara has been one of the best players for Sky Blue this season, her brace against Washington was just the latest in a string of good performances.
Week 16 Schedule: On the road to face FC Kansas City with Western New York plainly visible in 6th place now.
8. Houston Dash (5-10-2), 8th Place (Last week – 7)
The Dash secured just their 2nd draw of the season this past weekend. It has tended to be all or nothing for Houston this season. It was a generally strong performance that might well have resulted in a win if not for some strong goal keeping.
Week 16 Schedule: The Dash get one last crack at Chicago this season on Saturday in Lisle, IL.
9. Boston Breakers (3-13-2), 9th Place (Last week – 9)
If nothing else, Boston put on a good show this weekend at Portland in front of ESPN 2′s camera’s. It was neck-and-neck in the 1st half until Boston fell apart in the 2nd half - an all too familiar scene as of late for the Breakers.
Contrary to earlier reports, Boston is not playing in the Morgan Brian sweepstakes. It seems that the Breakers traded the pick earlier to obtain Lisa De Vanna from Sky Blue before trading her this season to Washington.
Week 16 Schedule: Boston travels to face Western New York this weekend.