A return to normal service as both Seattle and FC Kansas City get back in the win column. Seattle’s victory came in dominant fashion; a 5-0 win over a Portland Thorns side that had been putting up FIFA 14 type scores recently. With their win, Seattle clinched a playoff spot and could win the Shield this week.
3rd through 5th place remains tight and Western New York is not out of it yet in 6th place, just 4 points back of the final playoff spot. No change in the overall standings within the table as nobody in the 3rd through 6th place spots won this week.
Here are the Orange in the Oven NWSL power rankings following the completion of week 16 (see last week’s rankings here):
1. Seattle Reign FC (14-1-4), 1st Place (Last Week – 1)
Great week for Seattle as they thump rival Portland Thorns 5-0 in front of a packed Moda Pitch Memorial Stadium. Then, Seattle heads to Houston early, arriving on Monday, complains about the heat and humidity and suddenly NWSL implements a new cooling break procedure. What more could Seattle ask for?
Naho Kawasumi won NWSL Player of the Week for the 2nd time this month after a 2 goal and 1 assist showing against Portland. Kim Lilttle got back on the scoreboard for the Reign. Everything is coming up roses with only a few weeks to go until the playoffs.
Week 17 Schedule: A mid-week visit to Houston followed by the weekend match up with FC Kansas City that we all have been anxiously waiting for.
2. FC Kansas City (11-5-4), 2nd Place (Last week – 2)
Back in the win column for FCKC with a 2-1 victory at home against Sky Blue FC this past weekend. Most notable about the game was Amy Rodriguez getting on the scoreboard for the first time in a while. Lauren Holiday had a strong game in setting up the Rodriguez goal and adding one of her own.
On the negative side, it was the 3rd consecutive game without a clean sheet for FCKC.
Week 17 Schedule: FCKC goes to Washington mid-week before hosting the aforementioned weekend meeting with Seattle.
3. Portland Thorns FC (8-7-6), 3rd Place (Last week – 3)
Portland barely holds on to the 3rd spot in our rankings by virtue of their road draw with Washington and the failure to win of any other team around them. Taking points on the road from a playoff rival is big. Losing by a 5-0 scoreline to your main rivals at their home is less big.
Still, the match at Seattle was not a must win situation whereas the Washington game was a must not lose scenario. With three matches left to play this season, the playoff picture is looking pretty good for Portland to grab one of the final two spots.
Week 17 Schedule: Portland hosts the Houston Dash on Sunday evening.
4. Chicago Red Stars (7-6-7), 5th Place (Last week – 4)
Chicago had an opportunity to take full points from their match against Houston this past weekend and failed to do so. It was their 5th draw during the month of July. On the positive side, they finished the month undefeated and have four winnable matches remaining in the final playoff run, three of which are at home.
The most important of their remaining matches, however, is the one away match against Washington. That match is a must not lose situation. A win would put Chicago in the playoff driver seat, a loss would leave them looking a long shot to make the playoffs.
Week 17 Schedule: The aforementioned road match against Washington comes up this Saturday night.
5. Washington Spirit (8-8-4), 4th Place (Last week – 5)
Dropping points at home against a playoff rival is never a good thing; that is exactly what the Spirit did this week, however, when they failed to take full points against Portland. Granted, the result was significantly better than the last time Portland visited the Maryland Soccer Complex; a 6-1 loss for the Spirit on that late June night.
Washington has four difficult looking matches to go this season. They need to reverse the trend of recent results if they want to be in the top 4 come the end of the season.
Week 17 Schedule: A tough home match on Wednesday against FC Kansas City followed by a must win situation against Chicago on the weekend.
6. Western New York Flash (7-10-3), 6th Place (Last week – 6)
Western New York is running out of time. An absolutely devastating home loss to bottom of the table Boston may have sealed their fate this week. They have four matches remaining, but nothing about this team screams out playoffs right now. At this rate, the Flash would do well to hold on to 6th place.
Four matches to go, all of which look very winnable if the Flash are playing up to their potential. That hasn’t happened in a while, however. Thursday night’s game will tell us how much character the Flash have this season and whether or not they intend to make the month of August interesting.
Week 17 Schedule: A busy weekend schedule with a Thursday visit from Sky Blue FC followed by a Sunday trip to Boston for a re-match with the Breakers.
7. Sky Blue FC (4-8-7), 7th Place (Last week – 8)
Sky Blue took a respectable 2-1 loss against FC Kansas City this weekend. Given they lost 5-0 at home to FC Kansas City earlier this month, 2-1 on the road is an improvement.
With playoffs looking a pipe dream, Sky Blue’s focus has to be on taking 6th place from Western New York. The teams meet two more times between now and the end of the season, so closing the five point gap is infinitely possible.
Week 17 Schedule: A chance to pull close to the Flash when they travel to Rochester on Thursday night.
8. Houston Dash (5-10-3), 8th Place (Last week – 7)
The Dash secured their 2nd clean sheet of the season and their 3rd draw against Chicago this past weekend. It was the best overall defensive performance of the season but may have come with an offensive cost – the Dash managed only one shot on goal during the match.
The Dash could still make some noise with six matches remaining (assuming the postponed match against Sky Blue gets made up). It is a rough run in, however, with Seattle twice and Portland once.
Week 17 Schedule: The Dash start a 3 match run against Cascadia teams when they host Seattle on Wednesday night. Their Cascadia road trip begins on Sunday with a visit to Portland. Both games are part of the ESPN broadcast package.
9. Boston Breakers (4-13-2), 9th Place (Last week – 9)
Boston ends their month long road trip with a win over Western New York. The Breakers played well at times but have been unable to finish out matches prior to the weekend win.
August will be a busy month for the Breakers who still have five matches to go. A run of results and they could feasibly climb out of the cellar.
Week 17 Schedule: Boston returns home to face Western New York this weekend. After being away so long, will they still be able to find Harvard Stadium?