NWSL Power Rankings: KC Current go top as NC Courage in free fall

Published on: 12 June 2024

Open Extended ReactionsThe Kansas City Current are in top form this season and cruised to a 5-2 victory over Seattle Reign FC this week, earning them top spot in our NWSL Power Rankings. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It's Monday, and another week of NWSL action is in the books, which means it's time for ESPN's Power Rankings.

Our rankings are derived from a combination of key season statistics (points per game, goal differential, expected goal differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings and the observations of our writers.

Who's climbing the table? Who's in free fall? Our writers and statistical models have ranked all 14 clubs in the league after matchday 12. Let's dive in.

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1. Kansas City Current

Previous ranking: 2

Next match: Friday vs. Chicago Red Stars, 8 p.m. ET

Nobody has scored more goals than Kansas City Current this season. Sunday against Seattle Reign they added five to their season tally of 31, marking 23 goals scored in their first six home games at CPKC Stadium. That's the most goals scored in a six-match home stretch in NWSL history. Hard to argue with that offensive power, and home field momentum, for a side that took the top spot back from Orlando Pride Sunday night.

2. Orlando Pride

Previous ranking: 1

Next match: Saturday at North Carolina Courage, 7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando's eight-game winning streak came to an end in San Diego this weekend. That said, after a 1-1 battle at Snapdragon, they're still unbeaten in 2024. Zambian wonder Barbra Banda didn't score this time (Julie Doyle did -- her second of the year). But Banda did set up Doyle for the counterattack goal, marking her third assist of the season. Banda's 11 goal involvements in eight matches are the most per 90 (1.77) in NWSL.

3. Washington Spirit

Previous ranking: 3

Next match: Saturday vs. San Diego Wave FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Washington Spirit collected their fourth straight win of the year Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Utah Royals. Highlights include Kate Wiesner scoring her first NWSL goal days after returning from her first senior USWNT training camp, and Trinity Rodman live streaming their visit to In-n-Out Burger afterward. The weekend's 1-0 victory is the Spirit's ninth of the season; that's more wins than any other team in the league, and sets a club record for wins and points in their first 12 games.

4. Portland Thorns

Previous ranking: 4

Next match: Sunday at Seattle Reign FC, 4 p.m. ET

Images of Sophia Smith getting carded from the bench for time wasting will live long in meme-world. NWSL's golden boot leader attempted to hide the ball beneath the Thorns bench in stoppage time of a 1-0 win over North Carolina and was disciplined for time-wasting. In the 79th minute, Smith provided the day's decisive goal from the penalty spot as reclaimed the lead in her golden boot race with Banda. But she'll miss Portland's rivalry match in Seattle next weekend.

5. NJ/NY Gotham FC

Previous ranking: 5

Next match: Saturday at Racing Louisville, 12 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+

Gotham started slowly in '24 but after 11 games played, they're fifth in the Supporters Shield race and fourth in points per match. Saturday's 2-1 victory over Angel City marks their fifth win in six games for a team now unbeaten since April 20. Fittingly, players that started the year injured made the difference: Crystal Dunn opened up Gotham's goals and Rose Lavelle slotted home the decisive factor.

6. San Diego Wave FC

Previous ranking: 7

Next match: Saturday at Washington Spirit, 7:30 p.m. ET

Casey Stoney's Wave put an end to Orlando's historic eight-game winning streak with a 1-1 draw at Snapdragon this Friday. San Diego has let in the second fewest goals of any team in the league (10), and Kailen Sheridan's five saves did their part to keep Marta, Banda & Co. at bay. Makenzy Doniak's goal from the bench brought the Wave level in the 62nd minute, which marks her eighth goal as a substitute in NWSL

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2 Related 7. Racing Louisville FC

Previous ranking: 8

Next match: Saturday vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 12 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+

Louisville started slowly hosting the Dash on Saturday, but grew into the second half and claimed two goals en route to their third win of the season and their second consecutive clean sheet. They're not the flashiest team, but they can grind out results (they've nicked more draws than anyone else in the league), and they have some real quality in their ranks. Savannah DeMelo is the side's top scorer, as she collected her fifth goal of the year in a decisive performance that also marks three goals in three home games.

8. North Carolina Courage

Previous ranking: 6

Next match: Saturday vs. Orlando Pride, 7:30 p.m. ET

North Carolina is in a bit of free fall, as they can't seem to recover results from their recent run of games. They followed last week's 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Houston Dash with a more respectable 1-0 defeat to Portland Thorns this weekend (Casey Murphy's four saves were key), but the Courage are in dire need of a confidence boost. They've now lost five of their last six games, with the only win coming against bottom of the league Utah Royals. Next up: the unbeaten Orlando Pride.

9. Chicago Red Stars

Previous ranking: 9

Next match: Friday at Kansas City Current, 8 p.m. ET

Chicago set the NWSL attendance record Saturday evening as 35,038 fans crowded Wrigley Field to see the Red Stars play Bay FC. With poetic flourish, Penelope Hocking's fourth goal of the year makes her the second member of her family to score at Wrigley Field, after her father Denny hit home runs there in Major League Baseball. Despite the fanfare, visitors Bay FC took all three points in a 2-1 victory.

10. Bay FC

Previous ranking: 13

Next match: Sunday vs. Utah Royals, 10 p.m. ET

Bay FC were so close to their second clean sheet of the year. Though Penelope Hocking's stoppage time goal was a fitting moment for the historic occasion. The 2-1 victory is Bay's fourth of the season, marking more wins than any other team sitting outside the playoff positions. With no draws and eight losses, though, the expansion side needs to focus on their defending and consistency as they head home for a surmountable run of games in the Bay Area (Utah Royals first, Angel City second).

11. Houston Dash

Previous ranking: 10

Next match: Saturday vs. Angel City FC, 9:30 p.m. ET

The Dash looked like the better team for flashes in the first half, but seemed to tire as time went on in Louisville. They'll rue the late collapse in a winnable game, but head home for a span of games where they might recover some form in Houston.

12. Angel City FC

Previous ranking: 12

Next match: Saturday at Houston Dash, 9:30 p.m. ET

Angel City hasn't won a game since May 3, and head to Houston next where they'll need to shift their fate in high humidity. French midfielder Clarisse Le Bihan provided the lone goal in a 2-1 loss at home against Gotham. The goal marks her first for Angel City and makes her just the fourth player to score for the SoCal side this season. There's star power in this team, but relying on two players (Claire Emslie and Sydney Leroux) for three quarters of your goals won't suffice.

13. Seattle Reign FC

Previous ranking: 11

Next match: Sunday vs. Portland Thorns, 4 p.m. ET

They were level at the half in Kansas City, but there's something magical afoot at CPKC Stadium this season. With a 5-2 end result, Seattle became the latest to fall before a Kansas City goal-fest Sunday evening. With nine losses this season, time is running out to turn this ship around.

14. Utah Royals

Previous ranking: 14

Next match: Sunday at Bay FC, 10 p.m. ET

Utah's bottom-dwelling expansion side are building into themselves and taking their struggles on the chin. They lost 1-0 at home to Washington Spirit, a respectable result against a dominant club all things considered. Amanda McGlynn's six saves were vital to the scoreline.

Source: espn.co.uk

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