Thursday, May 26, 2022

NWSL Power Rankings: North Carolina Courage take No. 1 after Challenge Cup crown; San Diego Wave creeping up

There’s a new number and it’s not the undefeated San Diego Wave

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The regular season continues in the National Women’s Soccer League after Week 2 action concluded on Sunday. The North Carolina Courage were crowned the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup champions after defeating the Washington Spirit. As a result of schedule overlap, the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns had their Week 2 matches rescheduled to a later date, which left us to only eight clubs competing in regular-season action.

Let’s take a look at where teams stand on the power rankings as we head into week three.  

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NWSL Power Rankings

1.

North Carolina Courage

+7

The Challenge Cup champs sit atop our list after a breakout performance from Brazil international Kerolin. The Challenge Cup final MVP scored the opening goal and led the team in pass completion (93.3%).

2.

Washington Spirit

-1

The Challenge Cup finalists have nothing to be ashamed of as the attack is still looking lethal heading into Week 3. Trinity Rodman recorded an assist, three shots and created two chances in the final.

3.

Portland Thorns FC

-1

Their Week 2 match was rescheduled after some Challenge Cup overlap. The time off may benefit them after they welcome back Sophia Smith. Smith’s second-half impact in the opener was immediate as she scored just six minutes after subbing in after halftime. 

4.

San Diego Wave FC 

+2

The only team with two consecutive wins to start the season. Alex Morgan made history after becoming the third player to score four goals in a game. Two wins against struggling teams are a good early test for an expansion club.

5.

Chicago Red Stars

Another club on a Week 2 hiatus due to Challenge Cup overlap. They’re getting results without two of their key players in Mal Pugh and Morgan Gautrat. The extra time off could benefit them heading into Week 3. 

6.

OL Reign

+1

Three games played in eight days, including a Challenge Cup semifinal elimination and a loss on opening day is brutal. Despite the heavy game load, the Reign bounced back to get a result against Louisville thanks to a brace by Tziarra King. 

7.

Racing Louisville FC

+2

They did a better job of trying to apply pressure against OL Reign in Week 2 by attempting to play higher at times, which led to an opening goal. They also forced a second-half own goal created by the set-piece service of Savannah DeMelo.  

8.

Angel City FC

-5

After a historic franchise win against North Carolina on opening night, ACFC dropped a close result against an Orlando squad that is in the midst of rebuild. A strong second half just wasn’t enough to get the job done.

9.

NJ/NY Gotham FC

-5

The team looked lost during a lopsided 4-0 loss to San Diego with no answers inside the middle third as the team recorded eight shots to 31 from San Diego.

10.

Orlando Pride

+1

Orlando earned its first win in 12 games stemming back to September 2021 after a narrow 1-0 win against expansion side Angel City. The club welcomed the return of Sydney Leroux — who scored the winner — after a brief injury spell

11.

Houston Dash

+1

They got an added mental boost after defeating Kansas City 2-0 this week. Club captain Rachel Daly converted a penalty and recorded an assist as the Dash continued their season with interim head coach Sarah Lowdon.

12.

Kansas City

-2

They are on a three-game skid after being eliminated in the Challenge Cup semifinal and dropping two regular-season games and will need to regroup after failing to convert in the final third over the last two regular-season matches.

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