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NWSL Power Rankings: North Carolina Courage, Washington Spirit make big moves; Orlando Pride still No. 1


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The 2021 National women’s Soccer League regular season is in full swing. Clubs are starting to get more acclimated into a regular season flow, though the 24-game regular season is still in the early stages. The league has provided some exciting results to set the tone for the season. All teams have played at least three matches, while other clubs have played four, shaking up the league table.

       <p>Ahead of another weekend of action, let's take a look at where some teams have landed in power rankings as the regular season rolls on.</p><table><tbody><tr></tr><tr><td><p>1.</p></td><td><p>Orlando Pride</p></td><td><p>--</p></td><td><p>The Pride are undefeated in their last four games and winners of their last three. Along with big victories over teams like Portland and North Carolina, Pride striker Alex Morgan is in top form, connecting on goal in four consecutive matches. The Pride defense also continues to impress. The backline is conceding 0.8 goals per game to start the season, third lowest in the league.</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>2.</p></td><td><p>NC Courage</p></td><td><p>+6</p></td><td><p>The Courage picked up their first win of the season in three matches with a huge five-goal victory over Louisville. The return of Sam Mewis in the midfield and the rise of Carson Pickett on the flank has North Carolina looking like the club has finally arrived in the regular season.</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>3.</p></td><td><p>Washington Spirit</p></td><td><p>+3</p></td><td><p>After going winless in their first two matches to start the season, the Spirit have picked up two consecutive wins and settled into second place on the league table, making the most of their possession against their last two opponents with less time on the ball. </p></td></tr><tr><td><p>4.</p></td><td><p>Portland Thorns FC</p></td><td><p>+1</p></td><td><p>After two consecutive losses, the Thorns unlocked a stingy Gotham FC defense and picked up a big three points on the road in New Jersey. The midfield is looking more dominant for the club with strong individual performances from Crystal Dunn and Rocky Rodriguez. </p></td></tr><tr><td><p>5.</p></td><td><p>Gotham FC</p></td><td><p>-3</p></td><td><p>Offense for the NY/NJ side has gone cold as the team is goalless in its last two matches. The defense has been a bright spot for the team to start the season with two clean sheets and a league-leading 0.3 goals conceded per game.</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>6.</p></td><td><p>OL Reign</p></td><td><p>-3</p></td><td><p>After an exciting win against their pacific northwest rivals, OL Reign struggled to connect on goal in their match against the Spirit. Despite out possessing their opposition the goals never came, but the introduction of Rose Lavelle to the team has been an instant upgrade to the midfield.</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>7.</p></td><td><p>Houston Dash</p></td><td><p>+3</p></td><td><p>After going winless in their first three matches, Houston picked up its first win against Chicago. The team has conceded six goals over their first four matches, including an opening goal in four minutes against the Red Stars before coming from behind to pick up the win. The midfield has been connecting better, and Nichelle Prince has been a bright spot on the front line. The Dash will miss her presence with the upcoming Olympics. </p></td></tr><tr><td><p>8.</p></td><td><p>Chicago Red Stars</p></td><td><p>-1</p></td><td><p>An inconsistent start to their season over the first four games, Chicago has had lots of good ideas with minor results to show for it. But forward Mallory Pugh has been reminding the league she's a force to be reckoned with as she continues to score goals and set up her teammates.</p></td></tr><tr><td><p>9.</p></td><td><p>Racing Louisville FC</p></td><td><p>-5</p></td><td><p>After earning results in their first two matches, Louisville picked up its first defeat against the Courage in an abysmal five-goal loss. The team appeared to have no answers during the game, where they recorded only one shot on goal compared to 11 from the opposition. </p></td></tr><tr><td><p>10.</p></td><td><p>Kansas City NWSL</p></td><td><p>-1</p></td><td><p>Winless in its last four matches, Kansas City is starting at two consecutive losses ahead of its next match. The team has been dealt injuries to start the season, including one to key player Lo'eau LaBonta. The midfield also needs to figure things out soon if they don't want the season to get away from them.</p></td></tr></tbody></table>

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