NWSL Power Rankings: K.C. Current stay unbeaten as Utah struggle

Published on: 17 June 2024

Open Extended ReactionsThe Kansas City Current are one of two teams that remain unbeaten this season, and maintain their spot at first in this week's 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 13. Let's dive in.

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1. Kansas City Current

Previous ranking: 1

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

The Current are still undefeated and top of the league after drawing with Chicago 2-2. Their attack was as terrifying as ever, but K.C. has to figure out how to stop conceding late equalizers in games it so thoroughly controls. Getting better play in goal, where goalkeeper Adrianna Franch's form has dipped, and sorting out its set piece defending would be a big help.

2. Orlando Pride

Previous ranking: 2

Next match: Friday vs. Utah Royals FC, 8 p.m. ET

Orlando became the first team to walk out of North Carolina with a result after drawing 0-0 vs. the Courage. They're still undefeated on the season and tied on points with K.C. atop the league, with their biggest problem sometimes being that forward Barbra Banda is not selfish enough. If that's what qualifies for a problem, you're something special.

3. NJ/NY Gotham FC

Previous ranking: 5

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

Gotham does not lack for star power, but it's astounding just how many good players the team has. Yazmeen Ryan scored their opener and Ella Stevens stayed hot with a terrific goal of her own as the Bats won in Louisville, 2-0. Don't forget Mandy Freeman either, who was maybe the best player in the match. With so much talent, it's no wonder they're on an eight-match unbeaten streak.

4. Washington Spirit

Previous ranking: 3

Next match: Sunday at NJ/NY Gotham FC, 1:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+

The Spirit got burned by San Diego's starlet Jaedyn Shaw, so they unleashed their own brilliant youngster Croix Bethune. The 23-year-old's ability to chest the ball down at a full sprint, hit the ball on the half-bounce and blast it into the back of the net was magnificent and Audi Field gave her the roar she deserved for her last gasp equalizer. It doesn't matter that Bethune is a rookie, she's a star.

5. Portland Thorns

Previous ranking: 4

Next match: Sunday vs Kansas City Current, 4 p.m. ET

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Portland vs. Seattle usually makes for can't miss TV, but we did in fact miss the beginning of it thanks to a broadcasting snafu. The match was also "a bit of a snoozefest for the fans," in the words of Thorns boss Rob Gale. Portland has an excuse for that with Sophia Smith, Sam Coffey, Morgan Weaver and Olivia Moultrie all out so managing a point despite those absences is a job well done.

6. San Diego Wave FC

Previous ranking: 6

Next match: Wednesday at NJ/NY Gotham FC, 7 p.m. ET

Jaedyn Shaw gave San Diego an early lead and it looked like that would be enough thanks to a defense that was up to everything Washington threw at them. Naomi Girma was especially marvelous, standing out as the best player on a pitch full of amazing players. That's why it was so tough when Croix Bethune scored in the final minute of stoppage time, forcing the Wave to settle for a 1-1 draw.

7. North Carolina Courage

Previous ranking: 8

Next match: Sunday vs. Chicago Red Stars, 6 p.m. ET

The Courage's perfect start to the season at home is over, but they are still undefeated at WakeMed Soccer Park after drawing Orlando, 0-0. Nobody is going to complain too much about taking a point off of Orlando, especially after the way NC sold out to keep their clean sheet. They kept Barbra Banda in check, which is deserving of a trophy on its own.

8. Chicago Red Stars

Previous ranking: 9

Next match: Sunday at. North Carolina Courage, 6 p.m. ET

The Red Stars' three-match losing streak is over after snagging a draw in Kansas City. It's a really impressive point for Lorne Donaldson's crew, who continue to bring along the kids, but piece together enough points thanks to their star veterans Mallory Swanson and Sam Staab, who both scored, and Alyssa Naeher, who made some fine saves. You can see the vision for this club and their ability to get results like this is nothing to sneeze at.

9. Racing Louisville FC

Previous ranking: 7

Next match: Wednesday at Angel City FC, 10 p.m. ET

Racing were understandably disappointed after being pretty handily beaten by Gotham at home, 2-0. They have to do some augmenting when the transfer window opens if they want to earn their first-ever playoff berth, and if they wanted to improve the pitch at Lynn Family Stadium in the meantime that'd be nice too.

10. Bay FC

Previous ranking: 10

Next match: Saturday vs. Angel City FC, 10 p.m. ET

Exactly how Bay did not have a lead as stoppage time beckoned is unclear. They were on the front foot for most of the match and had the bulk of the chances -- some of them massive. But if failing to deservedly find the back of the net wasn't bad enough, Utah scored in the 89th minute and left Bay with not even a single point to show for what should have been a three-point performance. Ouch.

11. Angel City FC

Previous ranking: 12

Next match: Wednesday vs Racing Louisville, 10 p.m. ET

ACFC went to Houston and kept a clean sheet while seemingly putting the ball in the net once themselves. Job done and a win, right? Not quite, because the referee did not see Angel City's stoppage time shot cross the goal line and VAR deemed it not clear and obvious. Becki Tweed and Co. are no strangers to dropping points in frustrating manner, but this draw may have left them their most frustrated yet.

12. Houston Dash

Previous ranking: 11

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

The Dash were second-best at home against an Angel City team that hasn't exactly been in sparkling form and the only reason they managed a point was Jane Campbell, some fortunate bounces and some very fortunate refereeing. It wasn't a good night in Houston, but they did somehow get a result out of it.

13. Seattle Reign FC

Previous ranking: 13

Next match: Sunday vs. Racing Louisville, 6 p.m. ET

The Reign have had a tough start to the season, but a win over their rivals would have gone a long way to changing the vibe around the team. That the Thorns came to town absent a slew of top players put Seattle in a great position to get that victory too, but it was not to be. The Reign could only manage a dull scoreless draw and remained winless since 2021 against their rivals in league play.

14. Utah Royals

Previous ranking: 14

Next match: Friday at Orlando Pride, 8 p.m. ET

Kate Del Fava scored in Utah's first win and she came to their rescue again on Sunday when she scored the lone goal for their second win, a 1-0 victory over Bay FC. She is also the team's iron woman, having played every minute of every match so far. There's no doubt who the star of the Royals 2.0 is.

Source: espn.co.uk

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