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3 Games left Post Season Status and Predictions for all 12 teams.





Gary Gibson

09/17/23


3 games left in the NWSL regular season. Last years Shield winner had 40 points. It looks like no one is going to reach that total and my prediction of 33 points being the playoff threshold is not coming true. Not because my math is off, but because no team at the top of the table is taking care of business.


But let's continue this exercise anyway. This is shocking. There are 3 games left and not a single team has clinched. Which means that the current #1 team with 3 games left can still miss the playoffs. Insanity.


#1 Portland Thorns (up 1 spot)

Current points: 32

Goal Differential: +15

Points per match: 1.68

Points to 33: 1

Minimum results to 33: 1 draw

Max points: 41

Projected points based on points per match: 37

Thoughts: Two top teams took care of business this week. Gotham and Portland. 2 of the last three at home. But those games are against the 2 and 3 seed. Then a final match against unbeaten in 11 Angel City. There are 3 games left and the top seed can still miss the playoffs. That goal differential might sure come in handy later.


#2 San Diego Wave (Down 1 spots)

Current points: 30

Goal Differential: +5

Points per match: 1.58

Points to 33: 3

Minimum results to 33: 1 win or 3 draws

Max points: 39

Projected points based on points per match: 34.74

Thoughts: Listen, there aren't any easy games in this league. You would think top of the table teams would take care of bottom table teams. But KC shouldn't be at the bottom of the table. Two away games against #1 and #4. Then home to play a team on the cusp of making the playoffs and will certainly be fighting.


#3 Gotham FC (Up 2 Spots)

Current points: 30

Goal Differential: +4

Points per match: 1.58

Points to 33: 3

Minimum results to get there: 1 wins or 3 draws.

Max points: 39

Projected points based on points per match: 34.74

Thoughts: Esther Gonzalez is a killer and Katie Stengel has signed to 2025. A team full of talent added two solid attacking pieces heading into the last push. Gotham is looking pretty scary. 2 of last 3 at home against lower table teams. But Houston and KC have enough talent to be top 6 teams. Away at Portland will be a massive matchup that could determine the shield.


This is probably the shield threshold line.


#4 Courage (Down 1)

Current points: 28

Goal Differential: +6

Points per match: 1.47

Points to 33: 5

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins or 1 win and 2 draws

Max points: 37

Projected points based on points per match: 32.41

Thoughts: The leagues best home team has to play 2 of the last 3 away. Against 3 top 6 teams. Losing Berkeley can't help. Next up floundering OL Reign away.


#5 OL Reign (Down 1 spots)

Current points: 27

Goal Differential: +2

Points per match: 1.42

Points to 33: 6

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins

Max points: 36

Projected points based on points per match: 31.26

Thoughts: OL is floundering. 1 win in their 5. Shut out 3 times. The loss against Portland without Smith shows why they aren't challenging for the shield. A team above the line in real danger of falling below. Courage and Washington at home are 3 teams fighting to stay in playoff contention. Then the wildcard of Chicago at home.


#6 Washington Spirit (down 1 spot)

Current points: 26

Goal Differential: -3

Points per match: 1.36

Points to 33: 7

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins and 1 draws

Max points: 35

Projected points based on points per match: 30.11

Thoughts: 1 win in last five. Last 2 games, 2-0 losses to Chicago and Gotham. The first Washington was the better team and was thoroughly dominated by Gotham. They need a momentum. A win against KC at home could be season defining. Dropping points makes them quite vulnerable to fall below the line as 4 teams are within 3 points. A -3 goal differential isn't going to do them any favors.


#7 Orlando Pride (up two spots)

Current points: 25

Goal Differential: -2

Points per match: 1.31

Points to 33: 8

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins

Max points: 34

Projected points based on points per match: 28.96

Thoughts: A season saving win against the courage puts Orlando is a very good spot to get across the line. 3 games against bottom 6 teams fighting for their playoff lives. First up... Can they be the first team to knock off a Becki Tweed coached Angel City side away?!


#8 Angel City (up one spots)

Current points: 25

Goal Differential: -3

Points per match: 1.31

Points to 33: 8

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins

Max points: 34

Projected points based on points per match: 28.96

Thoughts: 11 games unbeaten. Unreal run. Not the hardest last 3. Orlando at home and Houston away. Pivotal game against Portland at home will be massive.


#9 Racing Louisville (Down 2 spots)

Current points: 24

Goal Differential: +3

Points per match: 1.26

Points to 33: 09

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins

Max points: 33

Projected points based on points per match: 27.78

Thoughts: Racing put their playoff lives in jeopardy by losing to Houston. They will essentially have to win out to qualify. If Racing doesn't get points against last place Chicago it's pretty much over. Orlando and San Diego on the road isn't going to be easy. If there is one saving grace it is that they are the only team below 5th with a positive goal differential. May come in handy.


This is probably the playoff contention line.


#10 Houston Dash (same)

Current points: 23

Goal Differential: -2

Points per match: 1.21

Points to 33: 10

Minimum results to get there: Can't reach.

Max points: 32

Projected points based on points per match: 26.63

Thoughts: New coach bump activated! Can it be enough? Essentially have to win out. First up Gotham away. Who haven't lost in 7 home matches. Then direct competition for the last spot with Angel City and Orlando.


#11 Kansas City (up one spot)

Current points: 22

Goal Differential: -8

Points per match: 1.16

Points to 33: 11

Minimum results to get there: Can't reach.

Max points: 31

Projected points based on points per match 25.48

Thoughts: Talent isn't the problem. They are essentially playing spoiler to Washington's playoff hopes, away. Then cellar dweller game at home against Chicago. Then could play spoiler to Gotham's shield hopes in the same way Gotham spoiled Portland's shield hopes in the final game last season.

#12 Chicago Red Stars ( down one spot)

Current points: 21

Goal Differential: -17

Points per match: 1.11

Points to 33: 12

Minimum results to get there: Can't reach.

Max points: 30

Projected points based on points per match: 24.33

Thoughts: Last place, yet only 5 points from the line. Playing for their spot under new ownership. Any win they get from here on out could eliminate those teams from the playoffs. So there is that.


Projections:

Portland Shield Winners


Playoff bound:

Portland, San Diego, Gotham, Courage, Washington, Orlando




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