Thursday, April 18, 2024
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NWSL Power Rankings: NJ/NY Gotham start the season strong but still chasing San Diego Wave FC for top spot

Where do clubs stand after two weeks of play?

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USATSI

The 2024 NWSL regular season rolls on as all 14 clubs rumbled into week two. San Diego Wave FC and NJ/NY Gotham FC made their regular season debuts after opening up the league’s 12th campaign with the 2024 Challenge Cup. Now the march toward the postseason begins. Fans can watch select NWSL regular season matches starting April 20 across CBSCBS Sports NetworkParamount+and CBS Sports Golazo Network.

The Wave earned the first title of the year with a 1-0 win against Gotham, but dropped their season opener. 2023 NWSL Champions NJ/NY Gotham FC bounced back with a victory on the road in their first regular season game. They’re in good standing on our power rankings but have some competition. We’ve kept track of all the league moves and ranked clubs after opening weekend, so what has changed after week two?

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Let’s take a look at where teams stand ahead of week three in our power rankings:

2024 NWSL Power Rankings 

Rank Team Change Analysis

1. 

San Diego Wave FC

Truly a squad representative of their namesake and showed they will have stretches in games where they attack in waves. Provided all kinds of service into the box (39 crosses!) and kept the ball. A loss at home wasn’t the start the 2023 Shield and 2024 Challenge Cup winners wanted, but not exactly a bad run of form either.

2. 

NJ/NY Gotham FC

+1

No Rose Lavelle or Lynn Williams? No problems. Forward Esther Gonzalez remains a threat and is not intimidated by a goal that might seem bigger than the moment. The group is off to a good start with a win to kick off their title defense. 

3. 

North Carolina Courage

–1

Sometimes soccer is a strange sport where you can control the game, earn two penalties, and still lose. Still, the Courage offseason signings have made an impact immediately, and Sanchez is the silver lining now that she opened her scoring account with the team heading into week three. 

4. 

Seattle Reign FC

Last week we sang the praises of So-Yun Ji and she’s fitting right into the Reign and the league. The group played a little slower this week, and it led to a loss, but the vision is there along with the chemistry. 

5. 

Orlando Pride 

Gunning for the unofficial title of comeback queens, Orlando simply refuse to lose. Sure, results are coming in the form of draws, and Marta may have been left unmarked in the box for the equalizer, but it takes skill to convert on one touch. The Brazilian captain, and the team, have the bite.  

6. 

Kansas City Current

-3

Speaking of refusing to lose, head coach Vlatko Andonovski is showing he was made for NWSL. Have to credit veteran midfielders with executing the tactics. Veterans Vanessa DiBernado and Lo’eau LaBonta are pulling the strings alongside 18-year-old Claire Hutton.

7. 

Chicago Red Stars

+1

It’s truly a new era for the Red Stars after making some history with a pair of wins to open the season. Defensive interchange is on display with six different players involved in goal contributions, all while Mallory Swanson continues to build her minutes. 

8. 

Portland Thorns FC 

-2

Thorns still have one of the deepest benches in the league and in the early days of the season, it’s causing some growing pains. Sophia Smith is still in Golden Boot form and other players are splitting early minutes. Head coach Mike Norris will need to make tough choices to figure things out. 

9. 

Racing Louisville FC

-2

Louisville has some exciting first year attackers but the group couldn’t capitalize on their chances in front of goal. Jaelin Howell being back in the midfield will help with regulating tempo, but it’s still early in the season to tinker and try different attacking looks. 

10. 

Angel City FC 

Sometimes old habits are hard to break and conceding a late equalizer is not something this team wants to replicate. The group still needs to find that goal in the run of play.  

11. 

Washington Spirit 

+1

Rookie parade on display for the Spirit. Croix Bethune and Hal Hersfelt recorded goals. Score major points for those who are fans of the NWSL draft system.

12. 

Bay FC

-1

Asisat Oshoala is doing it all for the Bay. She’s scored their franchise’s historic first goal and provided an assist in their road loss. If the squad can find the balance between early leads and closing out games, they’ll climb back up the rankings. 

13. 

Utah Royals FC 

Sometimes winning ugly works. Is this team better with or without the ball? Who knows. We’re all learning together. In the meantime, 20-year-old rookie Ally Sentnor opened her scoring account in Utah. 

14. 

Houston Dash

It’s definitely an improvement to go from conceding five goals to a clean sheet. Adaptability is good, but it’s another week without goals, and the jury’s still out on the Dash’s Fran Alonso era.

Want more coverage of women’s soccer? Listen below and make sure to watch Attacking Third on Golazo Network Monday and Friday for all your USWNT, NWSL and WSL women’s soccer coverage.

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