NWSL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
1.Portland Thorns: I think it would be a shock to everyone if Portland didn’t make the playoffs after their strong Challenge Cup outing. They looked like the best team in the league even when they were missing their international players the first two games. Once those players returned they looked even more dangerous. (They will also have the golden boot winner in Simone Charley)
2.Gotham FC: Gotham brought the fire off the field with their rebrand but carried that fire onto the field as well. They showed everyone that they aren't here to play around this season. Between the depth in their backline and strong attack, they will finish top 4.
3.Houston: Houston proved that winning last year’s Challenge Cup wasn’t a fluke. Their defense will be hard for any team to break down. Which they proved by only allowing 2 goals in 4 games during this year’s Challenge Cup. Between Kristie Mewis, Nichelle Prince, Rachel Daly, and Shea Groom they will get plenty of chances on goal.
4.OL Reign: In the last 2 games of the Challenge Cup they showed the potential and grit that they have as a team. Throw in Eugénie Le Sommer, Dzsenifer Marozsán, and Sarah Bouhaddi who will arrive this summer on loan from Lyon and they will be hard to beat.
5.NC Courage: Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams, and Kristen Hamilton are enough to give any defense trouble… and then oh yeah they have Debinha. Who in my opinion is the best player in the league. They will be one of the most lethal offenses in the league. Plus I don’t think their gritty midfield and defense will give up a lot of goals.
6.Chicago Red Stars: Even though Chicago struggled in the Challenge Cup I still think they will finish top 6 this season. They have the depth to have several starting lineups. It's just about finding which lineups work best together. We already know their defense will be solid. It’s just about finding who will put the ball in the back of the net. I think that Pugh and Watt will both find their rhythm and score at least 6 goals each this season.
NWSL Finals Prediction:
OL Reign vs NC Courage
Winner: OL reign will pull of a 3-2 win.