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The 2023 NWSL season roundtable is back!

It’s that time of the year again where we try to see into the future and make some BOLD predictions.

NWSL: National Women’s Soccer League Championship-Kansas City Current at Portland Thorns FC Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back again! Yes, we decided to once again put our money where our mouths are make our predictions for this season.

Last year, some of us were close while the rest of us were way off the mark (see here) so even though it’s a risk, we’re going to come back together again and hopefully get more right than wrong this time.

Joining me, Kudzi Musarurwa, below this year are Helping me out on the roundtable are Andre Carlisle, Jenna Tonelli, June Eden, Sylvia Bullock and Theo Lloyd-Hughes.

Okay, first things first, who’s going to win the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship?

Andre: I’m going with Kansas City Current for the Shield and OL Reign for the Championship.

Jenna: Orlando Pride for the Shield and NJ/NY Gotham FC for the Championship.

Andre: Heavens!

Jenna: I have decided to manifest this for Gotham.

June: OL Reign FC and OL Reign FC.

Theo: I’m with June here. OL Reign for both as well.

Sylvia: KC and OL Reign.

Theo: OL Reign for both as well.

Kudzi: Sylvia and I thank y’all for having so much faith in our team. This year is our year?

Your dark horse pick of the season?

Andre: Houston Dash.

Sylvia: Houston for me as well.

Kudzi: It’s a tossup between Houston and Gotham for me. I can’t decide which though.

June: *with snark* NJ/NY/NH/NS Gotham

Theo: Is there a dark horse in this league? I feel like for any team to qualify as a dark horse, they need to have not made the playoffs in 2022 so in that case, I’m going to say Angel City FC.

Soccer: SheBelieves Cup-USA at Japan Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Which player are you most looking forward to watching?

Andre: It’s revenge tour SZN! Lynn Willams.

Jenna: Lynn Williams!

Sylvia: Sarah Gorden.

Theo: Sarah Gorden is right up there for me, but to be a little bit different I’m going to say Michelle Cooper. I think her 2022 NCAA year was one of the best I’ve seen and she looks built to play in the NWSL. One of the hardest-working players you’ll ever see too. Perfect for KC.

June: Heck, all of them but I’m very intrigued to see what Luany brings to the Reign and in the interest of not being a complete Reign partisan, I’m always extremely keen on seeing more from Midge Purce.

Kudzi: My Reign bias is showing here but I’m so curious to see how Jordyn Huitema, Bethany Balcer and Elyse Bennett are going to work together, and when you add in Megan Rapinoe, Tziarra King and Veronica Latsko… exactly is Laura Harvey going to make that work? tl;dr my answer is a Reign forward but I can’t figure out which one. As for another player on another team? Anyone coming back from a long-term injury.

Which team won’t do as well/may end up at the bottom?

Sylvia: Washington Spirit and San Diego Wave FC.

June: Pretty sure Washington’s going to have a rough go of it this year.

Theo: I think everyone expects a bit of a fall for the North Carolina Courage. The Spirit can’t really do worse than 11th in my opinion so NCC is the fall to watch.

Kudzi: I agree with Theo. The easy choice is the Spirit but I don’t know about NCC especially considering all the players they’ve lost.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Andre: As a follow up from the question above, I’m shooketh for the Courage fans. The Courage are going to struggle and that’s why they’re my surprise package.

Jenna: Orlando will for sure surprise people.

Sylvia: Orlando seems very fun and Chicago are never a bad wager.

Theo: I don’t know if Gotham has been under the radar but in terms of which team I expect to get more points than 2022 it would be Gotham. And perhaps that could upset the Top 6. Orlando are going to get better over the course of the season but may fall short of truly shocking the standings.

June: I’m picking Angel City FC to surprise but I’m not 100% sure that it’ll be a good surprise.

NWSL: NWSL Preseason-OL Reign at Portland Thorns FC Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff predictions (in no particular order)

Andre: Kansas City, OL Reign, Portland Thorns, Gotham, Houston and San Diego.

Jenna: Orlando, Kansas City, OL Reign, Gotham, San Diego and Portland.

Sylvia: OL Reign, Gotham, Kansas City, Angel City, Portland, Houston (I think attacks win out this year).

Theo: OL Reign, Kansas City, San Diego, Portland, Houston, Angel City.

Kudzi: I concur with Theo’s list. For Gotham, this might be one season too early for all their pieces to fit together properly so I’m going with Houston over them.

June: OL Reign, Portland, Gotham, Angel City, Kansas City and San Diego.

Name your Coach of the Year (COTY), Rookie of the Year (ROTY), Defender of the Year (DOTY) and Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Andre: COTY - Laura Harvey, ROTY - Messiah Bright, DOTY - Sarah Gorden, MVP - Debinha.

Jenna: COTY - Juan Carlos Amoros, ROTY - Messiah Bright, DOTY - Paige Monahan, MVP - Lynn Williams.

Sylvia: COTY - Seb Hines, ROTY - Alyssa Thompson or Messiah Bright, DOTY - Sarah Gorden, MVP - Rose Lavelle.

Theo: COTY - Casey Stoney, ROTY - Michelle Cooper, DOTY - Alana Cook, MVP - María Sánchez.

June: COTY - Laura Harvey (just stamp her name on the trophy already), ROTY - Michelle Cooper, DOTY - Lauren Barnes! (she’s got a history in World Cup years), MVP - Mal Swanson.

Kudzi: COTY - Casey Stoney, ROTY - Michelle Cooper, DOTY - Carson Pickett, MVP - Phallon Tullis-Joyce (it’s a WC year so I’m going with a goalkeeper winning MVP because it’s time they get some love. Tullis-Joyce since she’ll be the goalkeeper most likely to play all throughout the season and not miss any game time due to the World Cup).

That’s it! Thanks everyone for participating in this once again this year.

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