The NWSL playoffs are set to start in less than two weeks and we now have the confirmed six teams who will face each other then.
The quarter-finals will be on October 15th at 5pm EST/2pm PST and 10pm EST/7pm PST respectively and the following week will see the semi-finals being played out.
OL Reign FC (1), Portland Thorns FC (2), San Diego Wave FC (3), Houston Dash (4), KC Current and Chicago Red Stars (6).
Let’s start at the top. Going into the final matchday of the regular season, the NWSL Shield was within the Portland Thorn’s grasp. All they needed to do was win against bottom-placed NJ/NY Gotham FC and they would be the Shield winners for 2022. Instead, Gotham showed up and pushed the Thorns all the way to a 3-3 draw. That meant that OL Reign had the chance to win the Shield at home later on that evening and on top of that, with Sophia Smith only getting two goals, Alex Morgan was crowned the Golden Boot winner of 2022.
OL Reign knew exactly what they had to do against the Orlando Pride, another team that many considered a less opposing opponent. Unlike the Thorns, OL Reign got the job done against the Pride and ran out as 3-0 winners, earning themselves the NWSL Shield, a first round bye and a home semi-final match.
With so many key players out with injury, San Diego could’ve been forgiven for not going all out during their final game of the regular season as they had already booked their place in the playoffs and were up against a surging NC Courage. Instead, in front of another large home crowd, the Wave gritted out a 0-0 draw which saw them finish third in the standings and be the hosts of one of the quarter-finals in the playoffs.
The final hosts of the other quarter-finals came down to who would win their last game between the Houston Dash and KC Current. The Dash did the business against the Washington Spirit, earning a 2-1 win and booking their first ever playoff appearance; while the Current faltered away to Racing Louisville and will now travel to Houston in the quarter-finals.
Finally, the Red Stars did enough on the final day to become the sixth seed in the playoffs. After watching the Courage draw against San Diego, Chicago knew that anything less than a win against Angel City would leave them on the outside looking in. Chicago overcame two of their starting defenders being unavailable due to suspension and put together a slod performance in front of their home fans. They now travel to San Diego in the other quarter-final match,
NC Courage (7), Angel City (8), Racing Louisville (9), Orlando Pride (10), Washington Spirit (11) and NJ/NY Gotham FC (12).
Going into the final weekend, we knew that Louisville, the Orlando Pride, Washington and Gotham FC were out of playoff contention. The remaining question was which of the three, Chicago, NC and Angel City, would find themselves out of the playoffs on the final day.
When all was said and done, it was the Courage and Angel City who just couldn’t do enough over the final round of matches to book their spot in the playoffs. The Courage will be bitterly disappointed to make the playoffs. Their destiny was in their own hands and considering their form leading into the game against San Diego, many people expected to get the three points they needed to make the playoffs. Instead, they couldn’t find the back of the net and will now be watching the playoffs at home.
Angel City may be disappointed with how their season ended but considering just how many key pieces were injured for most of the season for them, this season should be looked at with pride by them and their fans.
Updated on October 3, 2022