The 2022 NWSL regular season is nearing the home stretch as teams begin to enter the final third of the schedule. That means the playoff picture is starting to take shape as the year draws to a close. Some teams have climbed to the top half of the table, while others are eyeing a playoff push. The league table may change once again as NWSL action continues this weekend. Fans can watch NWSL games on Paramount+.
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The top six teams will advance to the playoffs, with the first and second seeds earning a first-round bye to the semifinals as hosts. The third and fourth seeds will host the fifth and sixth seeds in the quarter-finals, where the winners will face off in the semi-finals for a spot in the 2022 NWSL Championship Finals.
Let’s take a look at the standings after the last weekend of action, possible playoff scenarios and the teams that are on the verge of being eliminated:
1. San Diego Wave FC (31 dots) — Playoff standings
2. Houston Dash (29 dots) — Playoff standings
3. Kansas City Current (29 dots) — Playoff standings
4. Portland Thorns FC (28 dots) — Playoff standings
5. OL reign (27 dots) — Playoff standings
6. Chicago Red Stars (26 dots) — Playoff standings
seven. Angel City F.C. (25 marks) — Look outside
8. Orlando Pride (21 dots) — Look outside
9. North Carolina Courage (16 dots) — Shot from afar
ten. Race Louisville F.C. (14 dots) — Safety rope
11. Washington’s Spirit (13 dots) — Safety rope
12. NJ/NY Gotham FC (12 dots) — Safety rope
Tiebreakers are decided first by most goal difference during the regular season, then most wins, then most goals scored. There are seven possible tiebreaker scenarios for teams, and as listed in order
- Biggest goal difference over the entire regular season (against all teams, not just tied teams).
- Most wins in total over the entire regular season (against all teams, not just tied teams).
- Most goals scored throughout the regular season (against all teams, not just tied teams).
- Head-to-head results (total points) between the tied teams.
- Head-to-head most goals scored between the tied teams.
- Fewer disciplinary points accumulated over the entire regular season (against all teams, not just tied teams).
- Draw (if two teams are tied) or draw (if three or more teams are tied).
The regular season will have a brief break in play during the international window, with NJ/NY Gotham FC and North Carolina Courage set to play a catch-up game.
Let’s take a look at the results from the weekend and where to watch the midweek game:
Wednesday August 24
- North Carolina Courage 3, Portland Thorns FC 1
Friday August 26
- Orlando Pride 1, OL Reign 2
Saturday August 27
- Racing Louisville FC 0, Chicago Red Stars 4
- Houston Dash 2, Washington Spirit 2
- Portland Thorns FC 0, San Diego Wave FC 2
Sunday August 28
- NJ/NY Gotham FC 1, Angel City FC 3
- Kansas City Current 3, North Carolina Courage 2
Sunday September 4
- NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. North Carolina Courage, 5 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Possible playoff matches
Here’s a final look at the playoff photo as the season continues this weekend:
- No. 1 San Diego Wave FC – farewell to the semi-finals
- No. 2 Houston Dash against bye for the semifinals
- No. 3 Kansas City Current vs. No. 6 Chicago Red Stars
- #4 Portland Thorns FC v #5 OL Reign
San Diego wins first place again
1. San Diego (31 points: 9-5-4)
- Possible match in the first round: Would earn a semi-final bye and host the quarter-final winner at Snapdragon Stadium
The wave had a month of mixed results with two wins and two losses and the team was briefly ousted from first place. The club closed August with a convincing 2-0 win over Portland where Alex Morgan scored his 13th goal of the season.
Houston Dash narrowly in second place
2. Houston Dash (29 points: 8-5-5)
- Possible match in the first round: Would earn a semi-final bye and host the quarter-final winner at PNC Stadium
The Dash collected eight points in August and now enter the latter part of the season in second place in the standings. The team is on course to have its best regular season record yet, and forward Ebony Salmon has been key to the team’s success as she has scored four goals this month.
Kansas City breakthrough to third place
3. Kansas City Current (29 points: 8-4-5)
- Possible match in the first round: against 6 Chicago Red Stars
- Tiebreaker: Kansas City is tied with Houston on total points, but the first tiebreaker with more goal difference all regular season (against all teams, not just the tied teams) keeps them third.
The Current are on a remarkable 12-game unbeaten streak and the team finally cracked the top three in the standings with a 3-2 win over North Carolina Courage to close out the month. CeCe Kizer continues to be one of the best mid-season pickups this year. The striker has scored six goals for the team since joining in June.
Portland Thorns FC slip to fourth place
4. Portland Thorns FC (26 points: 7-3-7)
- Possible match in the first round: against No. 5 OL Reign
The Thorns slipped in the rankings after closing the month with back-to-back losses. Head coach Rhian Wilkinson has made some tweaks to the team’s roster that could make them unpredictable and benefit them in the latter part of the season, especially if forward Sophia Smith returns from USWNT camps in scoring goals again.
OL Reign stays the course
5. OL Reign (24 points: 7-4-6)
- Possible match in the first round: against No. 4 Portland Thorns FC
OL Reign closes the month with two consecutive victories but remains in fifth place in the standings. Although there was no change in the table for them from July, the individual performances stood out for the team, as Megan Rapinoe scored four goals for the club in their last three matches.
Red Stars cling to last playoff spot
6. Chicago Red Stars (26 points: 7-5-5)
- Potential matchup in the first round: vs Kansas City Current No. 3
The Red Stars ended their month with a big 4-0 win over Racing Louisville FC, reminding the league that their squad is young – and sometimes thin due to injury – but capable of delivering crucial results.
Angel City FC and Orlando Pride remain away
7. Angel City FC (25 points: 7-5-4)
- Playoff outlook: one point shy of a last playoff berth, one point shy of sixth place, with the Red Stars holding the first tiebreaker for goal differential of the regular season.
The team is undefeated in its last four games and is still looking for a playoff spot. The club ended their month with a 3-1 away victory over Gotham FC thanks to midfielder Cari Roccaro who scored three goals in the last four games.
8. Orlando Pride (21 points: 5-6-6)
- Playoff outlook: two spots from a final playoff spot, five points from an eventual sixth-place finish with Angel City and the Chicago Red Stars holding the first tiebreakers for goal differential.
After a seven-game unbeaten streak under interim head coach Seb Hines, the team saw their streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to OL Reign to close out the month.
On the verge of elimination
9. North Carolina Courage (16 points: 4-7-4)
The club picked up two more wins this month to climb three places in the standings. Rookie Diana Ordoñez has been massive for the club this year and scored six goals in five appearances in August.
10. Racing Louisville FC (14 points: 2-7-8)
The team hasn’t won a game since May 22 and ended August with a resounding loss to Chicago. The club made a good comeback from Chinese international Wang Shuang, but the team are quickly going nowhere.
11. Spirit of Washington (13 points: 1-6-10)
The Spirit have not had a win since May and closed out August with their tenth draw of the season. Players also posted a statement on the dismissal of former head coach Kris Ward and are focused on closing out the final five games of their season.
12. NJ/NY Gotham FC (12 points: 4-12-0)
The club suffered their twelfth defeat of the season and received no favors as the PRO referees made a horrible call on a goal. PRO have issued a error statement.