NWSL Power Rankings: Can anyone stop Kansas City Current?

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 15. Let’s dive in.


Previous ranking: 1

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

They left it to the end, but Kansas City Current made history Friday evening at CPKC Stadium. Temwa Chawinga scored a brace to clinch a 2-0 win over Houston Dash, marking 17 games unbeaten for Kansas City — an NWSL record. Chawinga moved to the top of the Golden Boot race (where she’s now tied with Barbra Banda) with 11 goals after scoring six in her last four games.

Previous ranking: 2

Next match: Saturday at Kansas City Current, 7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando’s formidable cast of attacking talent combined for multiple goals Sunday evening in Los Angeles, ensuring the Pride also remain unbeaten as they prepare to face Kansas City next weekend. Marta set up Adriana for the first, and scored the second to make it a brace before Zambian phenom Banda made it 3-0 in stoppage time. Banda’s 11 goals in 11 games are even with Chawinga atop the league, but top the charts for goals per 90.

Previous ranking: 3

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

Washington Spirit slipped against the Courage over the weekend, falling 1-0 thanks to former Spirit midfielder Ashley Sanchez‘s stunning, decisive strike. The moment was storybook worthy (Spirit traded Sanchez on Draft Night in a decision that came as a shock), though it doesn’t portend long-lasting damage for a formidable Spirit side. It does mark their first loss since May 4, though.

Previous ranking: 4

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

Gotham had a win in the bag but conceded a goal in the 99th minute of stoppage time to come away with a draw in Seattle. Better to focus on Rose Lavelle — who clinched her fourth goal of the season against her former club — and let that last minute fumble fade into the past.

play

0:17

Seattle Reign get extra-time equalizer on own goal

Seattle get a late draw after Gotham FC’s Nealy Martin puts the ball in her own net.

Previous ranking: 5

Next match: Friday vs. San Diego Wave, 10 p.m. ET

Portland’s draw against bottom-ranked Utah Royals wasn’t their most impressive. The draw also marks their third match without a win, as the Thorns trace their last victory to a memorable 1-0 victory over North Carolina Courage June 8, in which Sophia Smith was disciplined for time-wasting in one of the most meme-able moments of the season. Despite the slight slump, the stats like the Thorns nearly as much as the top teams above them. They’ll be aching for some turnaround points as they head to face the Wave next weekend.

Previous ranking: 6

Next match: Sunday vs. Racing Louisville, 4:30 p.m. ET

The Courage are building some decent form. The two-time NWSL champions collected their second-straight win over the weekend, marking three straight games unbeaten against teams in the top half of the table. This weekend’s win came against a soaring Spirit side, and featured Sanchez scoring an emotional goal against her former club in the 19th minute. With Kerolin on her way back, there’s a lot to be excited about for Courage fans as we look toward the second half of the season.

Previous ranking: 9

Next match: Saturday vs. Houston Dash, 1 p.m. ET

Mallory Swanson was at her best in a 3-0 defeat of San Diego Wave Friday evening. She scored her third goal in three games in the process. Swanson in form is great news for the Red Stars as well as the USWNT, who will soon be banking on the forward Emma Hayes called “world class” when she announced the Olympic roster last Wednesday. The win marks Chicago’s first since May 12. Alyssa Naeher clinched her second clean sheet of the season to help claim it.

Previous ranking: 10

Next match: Saturday vs. Washington Spirit, 10 p.m. ET

Bay FC collected their third win in four games with a 1-0 victory over Racing Louisville Saturday evening. Asisat Oshoala clinched the win from the penalty spot, making the difference in an even game to mark her third goal of the season. The penalty was a history-making one: Oshoala now claims the first penalty in history scored for the expansion side (she also scored the club’s first-ever goal from open play earlier this year). Bay’s general manager Lucy Rushton resigned from the club last Monday (one among a spate of big changes across NWSL last week), though Bay’s relatively mid-table form stayed steady through the shakeup.

play

0:42

Asisat Oshoala converts opener for Bay FC from the penalty spot

Asisat Oshoala converts the penalty in the 76th minute for Bay FC.

Previous ranking: 8

Next match: Sunday at North Carolina Courage, 4:30 p.m. ET

Racing knows how to battle and have more draws than any other team in the league for a reason. They did enough to clinch yet another draw at home against their visitors Saturday (both teams only registered one shot on target), and may have gotten one were it not for Oshoala’s penalty that made the difference.

Previous ranking: 7

Next match: Friday at Portland Thorns, 10 p.m. ET

Alex Morgan‘s missed penalty in the 74th minute of a 3-0 loss to Chicago (which she sent over the crossbar) was a chance to clinch her first goal of the season. It was the continuation of bad, bad luck instead. Days after missing her first USWNT roster for a major tournament since 2008, Morgan’s confidence could use a spark. The Wave are now winless since May 8th (five draws, two losses in between), and just fired their former Coach of the Year, Casey Stoney.

Previous ranking: 12

Next match: Saturday at Chicago Red Stars, 1 p.m. ET

Houston went to CPKC stadium and held the top-ranked Current off for most of the match. Ultimately, Chawinga and Current’s attack were too inevitable to hold off as they made history in Kansas City. A respectable performance, all in all, given the gap in strength between both sides and the momentum behind the occasion.

Previous ranking: 11

Next match: Saturday vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 10 p.m. ET

Angel City has never beaten Orlando. That streak stayed intact in Los Angeles Sunday evening thanks to two goals from Brazilian dynamo Adriana plus a stoppage time nightcap from Banda. Hard to find silver linings for this Angel City squad, whose fire is intermittent and attacking power insufficient.

Previous ranking: 13

Next match: Sunday vs. Utah Royals, 6 p.m. ET

Seattle salvaged a point against Gotham thanks to a 99th minute goal following a set piece. That’ll do, and credit to Quinn for the setup. That said, it’s not a definitive sign of turnaround for Seattle’s stagnant season. With three straight draws they’ll still winless since May 3, though they’ll face a beatable Utah Royals next weekend.

Previous ranking: 14

Next match: Sunday at Seattle Reign FC, 6 p.m. ET

Utah pulled off a respectable 0-0 draw against the fifth-placed Portland Thorns this weekend. By all accounts, it was far from their weakest performance of the year. Yet for some reason it was deemed the final straw for ownership, who pulled the plug on inaugural expansion team manager Amy Rodriguez. The decision is strange, and the timing even stranger. The expansion club had focused on youth and building instead of big-name splash signings in their first season. There was only so much Rodriguez had to work with.