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NWSL End of the Season Projections.




Gary Gibson

8/21/23


6 games remaining in the NWSL regular season for each club. This is a look at current standings and projecting out who may make the playoffs. Last season I correctly predicted it would take 33 points to make the playoffs as the 6 seed. Using that as a guide until proven otherwise we'll look at what it will take and how likely your favorite team gets there. The current 6 seed, the Wave project out based on points per match to 33 points. But the NWSL is chaos and anything can happen.


Last season's shield winner the Reign reached a total of 40 points. Which every team based on points per match will fail to meet. The table is so tight this season and with very small margin of error. No team is pulling away from the pack and that is going to lead to a thrilling conclusion to the 2023 NWSL season.


#1 Portland Thorns

Current points: 28

Points per match: 1.75

Points to 33: 5

Minimum results to get there: 1 win and 2 draws or 5 draws.

Max points: 46

Projected points based on points per match: 38.5

Thoughts: 4 of the last 6 games are against current top 6 teams. 3 of those are at home with 2 away games against bottom 6 teams. Barring a catastrophic collapse, Portland will make the playoffs as a top seed and in the shield hunt.


#2 Courage

Current points: 26

Points per match: 1.63

Points to 33: 7

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins and 1 draw

Max points: 44

Projected points based on points per match: 35.75

Thoughts: 4 of the last 6 games are against current top 6 teams. 3 of the last 4 games on the road and Challenge cup playoff game against the Current in between. The top possession team in the league should have no issues competing for the shield, the challenge cup and making the playoffs.


#3 Gotham FC

Current points: 25

Points per match: 1.56

Points to 33: 8

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins and 2 draws or 1 win and 5 draws.

Max points: 43

Projected points based on points per match: 36.38

Thoughts: 4 of the last 6 matches at home and 3 of last 4. 3 games against top 6 opponents. Recent injuries aside, the deepest team in the league should have no problems completing a near miraculous turnaround from one of the worst seasons in league history to being in the hunt for the shield and a top playoff spot.


#4 Washington Spirit

Current points: 25

Points per match: 1.56

Points to 33: 8

Minimum results to get there: 2 wins and 2 draws or 1 win and 5 draws.

Max points: 43

Projected points based on points per match: 36.38

Thoughts: 4 of the last 6 matches are against current top 6 teams. 4 at home. Away at Gotham and OL. The 2 bottom 6 teams are Chicago (currently last) and KC. KC is a team that has all the talent to be a top 6 team and are currently (pun intended) are playing for the challenge cup supremacy. With Sanchez and Rodman all things possible and have a tough but realistic chance at the shield. Not making the playoffs would be a massive failure.


This is probably the shield threshold line.


#5 OL Reign

Current points: 24

Points per match: 1.5

Points to 33: 9

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins or 2 wins and 3 draws.

Max points: 42

Projected points based on points per match: 33

Thoughts: 3 of last 6 against top six teams. 4 of 6 at home. First 2 matches against teams fighting to get above the line and could be trap games if OL doesn't meet the moment. 3 games in a row against 1,2, and 4 will be a daunting task. Another trap game awaits in the final match. Last season OL won the shield because last place Gotham FC drew top team Portland. This match could be eerily similar. Tied with San Diego on 24 points. They are in the danger zone of possibly getting the shield or not making the playoffs.


#6 San Diego Wave

Current points: 24

Points per match: 1.5

Points to 33: 9

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins or 2 wins and 3 draws

Max points: 42

Projected points based on points per match: 33

Thoughts: 3 home and 3 away. 4 of 6 against bottom 6 teams. The two top 6 teams are back to back on the road and could be a playoff preview. Two bottom six team that they face they have never beaten. The Pride and Racing Louisville. Both team with a shot at the playoffs. If the Wave make the playoffs in 2023, they are going to have to earn it.


#7 Orlando Pride

Current points: 22

Points per match: 1.38

Points to 33: 11

Minimum results to get there: 3 wins and 2 draws or 4 wins.

Max points: 40

Projected points based on points per match: 30.25

Thoughts: 3 games in a row to start the final 6 against teams above the line. Then 3 games against teams in that same group as them fighting for that final playoff spot. They call themselves dark horses and that may be quite fitting. If they catch steam, they could pull themselves into the playoffs. A lot of things have to go right.


#8 Racing Louisville

Current points: 20

Points per match: 1.25

Points to 33: 13

Minimum results to get there: 4 wins and 1 draw.

Max points: 38

Projected points based on points per match: 27.5

Thoughts: Nearly everything has to go right here. They also have a big matchup against the OL reign in their chase for the challenge cup. This could come down to the final day of the season away against the Wave. Really have to over achieve here.


This is probably the playoff contention line.


#9 Houston Dash

Current points: 19

Points per match:

Points to 33: 14

Minimum results to get there: 4 wins and 2 draws.

Max points: 37

Projected points based on points per match:

Thoughts: razor thin margin of error. Houston can't lose a single match to meet the 33-point threshold over the past couple seasons. Not sure they can pull it off.


#10 Angel City

Current points: 18

Points per match: 1.13

Points to 33: 15

Minimum results to get there: 5 wins

Max points: 36

Projected points based on points per match: 24.75

Thoughts: Only 2 matches against current top 6 teams. Angel City is undefeated under interim coach Becki Tweed. They need a miracle.


#11 Kansas City

Current points: 18

Points per match: 1.13

Points to 33: 15

Minimum results to get there: 5 wins

Max points: 36

Projected points based on points per match 24.75

Thoughts: Still in contention for the Challenge Cup. Maybe their most realistic title. A run to the playoffs seems highly unlikely. However, this team is deep and has a ridiculous amount of talent. If anyone could pull off a miracle run it could be them.


#12 Chicago Red Stars

Current points: 16

Points per match: 1

Points to 33: 17

Minimum results to get there: win out.

Max points: 34

Projected points based on points per match: 22

Thoughts: a team with a -19-goal differential needing to win 6 matches in a row seems a bit out of reach. All but mathematically out of the playoffs. The best they can hope for is to spoil some other teams parties.



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