NWSL Power Rankings: Portland Thorns get back heading in the right direction; No. 1 Orlando Pride remain unbeaten

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The 2021 National women’s Soccer League steady season continues as teams begin to navigate the early stages of the season. The steady season now takes a brief pause for the international window ahead of Week 5 action, with a return to play on June 19 with the North Carolina Courage hosting OL Reign on CBS (and Paramount+). 

Let’s check out where some teams have landed in our rankings after Week 4.

1.

Orlando Pride

The Pride are unbeaten in their final five games and coming off a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit. Alex Morgan’s four-game streak of a minimum of a goal or an assist ended, but a quick equalizer to level things from 2020 draft pick Taylor Kornieck and a solid defensive shift from the backline kept them in first once again.

2.

Portland Thorns FC

+2

The Thorns are coming off two wins after back-to-back losses. Their most recent win against Racing Louisville FC showcased why their midfield is elite as Angela Salem, Rocky Rodriguez and Lindsey Horan all ended up on the scoresheet.

3.

Washington Spirit

They are unbeaten in their final three matches and coming off a 1-1 draw against first place Orlando. They are slowly getting their attack in order as Ashley Hatch continues to score goals for the Spirit. 

4.

Chicago Red Stars

+4

Inconsistent in the early stages but coming off a immense win against the Courage. Chicago limited North Carolina to one shot on goal, won the duels battle (58.9 to 39.2 percent) and dominated the midfield all without Julie Ertz who is sidelined with an injury.

5.

Gotham FC

Offense has been limited but a breakthrough goal from Ifeoma Onumonu against OL Reign used to be the difference in the latest win as the defense continues to step up no matter who has rotated into the backline.

6.

Houston Sprint

+1

After going winless in their first three matches, Houston are now winners of their final two games. The team added new offensive pieces in Jasmyne Spencer and Maria Sanchez, but struggled a bit without their Canadian internationals in their most recent win, a narrow 1-0 victory against final place Kansas City. 

7.

North Carolina Courage

-5

Another team with an inconsistent start to their season, the Courage are coming off a 1-0 loss against a Chicago Red Stars side that stifled their signature box midfield. As Courage coach Paul Riley said in postgame comments: Back to the drawing board. 

8.

OL Reign

-1

OL Reign have missing their final two matches by narrow 1-0 margins. The team could also be in the process of adding more pieces to their roster, first welcoming Rose Lavelle, and now Alana Cook. Whether they are able to finish their opportunities in the last third, they could quickly climb our rankings and the standings.

9.

Racing Louisville FC

Two straight losses for Racing Louisville FC where they were out scored 8-0, including a 5-0 beatdown from North Carolina Courage. The team is struggling and the recent break is coming just in time for the club to assess before their next match against Houston Sprint.

10.

Kansas City NWSL

The only club without a win in 2021. After two draws to open steady season play, Kansas City has missing its final three fixtures. Being bit by the injury bug has not helped things, and the international break could help the club hit the reset button on the season.

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