NWSL East Week 17 Update

NWSL East sees team standings shuffle after a week of unexpected wins.

By Kathryn Field

The Orlando Pride dropped to ninth in the standings after a loss to Portland and will try to end its losing streak against Racing Louisville this week. North Carolina has gotten back to its winning ways and looks to continue to climb into a playoff position. The Washington Spirit has been successful in distancing itself from the bottom of the league while NJ/NY Gotham continues to struggle when it comes to scoring. 

Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch (33) turns to midfielder Dorian Bailey (19) and forward Trinity Rodman (2) after scoring the game-winning goal from the penalty spot in the final minute (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Orlando Pride drop second straight game

The Orlando Pride lost its second straight game on Friday against the Portland Thorns with a score of 2–0. The Pride, once the best team in the east, finds itself sitting three spots out of last place in the league. Friday’s loss was mainly due to the Pride’s inability to get shots on goal, with only one of 10 shots ending up on target. 

The Pride will look to end the losing streak against Racing Louisville on Friday at 7:30 P.M. ET on Paramount+. Racing Louisville has struggled for a majority of the season and currently sits at 11th in the league. Louisville has only two wins on the season and appears to be an easy opponent for Orlando. The Pride will have to consistently challenge the Louisville defense and limit opportunities for the offense to come away with the win.

North Carolina Courage cruise past Racing Louisville

North Carolina Courage got back to their winning ways on Saturday against Racing Louisville with a 5–1 win. North Carolina had 12 of 22 shots on goal, while Louisville only had 2 of 5 shots on goal. The Courage took advantage of a struggling Louisville offense and jumped into eighth in the league, only two places out of a playoff spot. 

The Courage will host No. 7 Angel City at home on Wednesday at 7 P.M. ET on Paramount+ with a chance to continue climbing the standings. Angel City tied its last game against the Houston Dash and will also be fighting to climb into a playoff spot. While Angel City has conceded fewer goals this season than North Carolina, they have also scored almost half as many goals. North Carolina will have to get as many shots on goal as possible if they want to take advantage of that disparity. The strategy for the Courage will have to be to hammer the Angel City defense for 90 minutes straight. 

The Courage will then host No. 5 OL Reign on Saturday at 7:30 P.M. ET on Paramount+. While the Reign is ranked higher than the Courage, North Carolina has scored more goals this season and has a higher conversion rate. North Carolina’s 22.6% conversion rate compared to OL’s 10.3% could make the difference in a game that will likely be very close. 

Washington Spirit top San Diego Wave

Washington Spirit grabbed their second win of the season on Saturday against San Diego with a 4–3 win. Saturday’s win pulled the Spirit further out of the bottom of the league and into 10th place. The Spirit and Wave played an evenly matched game, the Spirit with 8 of 17 shots on goal and the Wave with 7 of 17 shots on goal. 

The Spirit will host NJ/NY Gotham on Saturday at 7 P.M. ET on Twitch. The Spirit should have no trouble against a struggling Gotham team but will need to get more shots on goal if they want to secure the win. If Washington can manage to put 50% of their shots on goal against Gotham, they’ll stand a good chance to pull out a third win this season and continue to climb the standings.

NJ/NY Gotham scoring woes continue

NJ/NY Gotham continued to struggle, earning their eighth straight loss against Kansas City with a final score of 1–0. Gotham had only 3 of 14 shots on goal and simply could not pull out a win. Gotham has struggled to keep up with opponents all season with 14 losses and no draws. The issue seems to stem simply from a lack of goal-scoring ability; there’s plenty of talent on the team, but they just haven’t been able to put the pieces together to convert. Gotham has only scored 13 goals this season, which has likely cemented them at the bottom of the league. 

Gotham will travel to take on the Washington Spirit on Saturday at 7 P.M. ET on Twitch. Formerly sitting at last in the league, the Spirit have climbed the standings and will be yet another challenge for Gotham. Gotham will have to quickly solve its scoring woes if there is any hope of pulling out a win against the Spirit.

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