NWSL Power Rankings: KC stays unbeaten as Marta helps Pride soar

It’s Monday, another week of NWSL action is in the books, which means it’s time for ESPN’s Power Rankings.

Our Power Rankings are derived from a combination of key season statistics (points per game, goal differential, expected goal differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings and the observations of our writers.

Who’s climbing the table? Who’s in free fall? Our writers and trusty statistical models have ranked all 14 clubs in the league after Matchday 4. Let’s dive in.

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Previous ranking: 1

Next match: April 20 vs. Bay FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

After picking up three wins from their first three games, the Current couldn’t stay perfect on Sunday vs. Gotham — but a point on the road is a point on the road. In the attack, Bia Zaneratto and Temwa Chawinga continue to look unplayable in transition. The two combined for a goal in the first half, with Chawinga capitalizing on her incredible speed to break behind. There isn’t a defense in the NWSL that will feel confident about locking down Kansas City for a full 90 minutes.



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Previous ranking: 2

Next match: April 21 at Angel City, 7:30 p.m. ET

When you’re missing an MVP in the attack, you’re going to struggle to create clean looks in open play at times, just as the Courage did on Saturday in their win over Portland. But an early set piece goal shows that North Carolina have other ways to trouble opposing defenses. Thanks to Tyler Lussi’s goal in the fifth minute, the Courage controlled the ball and the gamestate against Portland.

Previous ranking: 6

Next match: April 20 vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC, 1 p.m. ET

Am I still puzzled by the fact that Ashley Hatch is now a left winger for the Washington Spirit? Yes. Does that seem to be slowing them down? Nope. There’s a whole lot of dynamism in the Spirit’s 4-2-3-1 shape, as the Houston Dash learned on Friday. Their press gave Houston trouble, as did the elite Trinity Rodman-Croix Bethune pairing. A bunch more dominoes still need to fall for the Spirit, but early signs are encouraging.

Previous ranking: 3

Next match: April 19 at Orlando Pride, 8 p.m. ET

Keeping a clean sheet for the second game in a row, San Diego defensive approach looks every bit as tight as it was in 2023. Manager Casey Stoney is still trying to find the ideal way to integrate Savannah McCaskill into the team while maximizing Jaedyn Shaw’s talent in the attacking midfield line. That’s a work in progress, as we saw against Louisville.

Previous ranking: 4

Next match: April 20 at Washington Spirit, 1 p.m. ET

To no one’s surprise, things took a turn for the better in a 1-1 draw with KC when Juan Carlos Amoros added Crystal Dunn, Jenna Nighswonger, and Lynn Williams into the equation in the second half. Managing around international breaks will be a constant struggle for Gotham in 2024, but it’s becoming clear just how dangerous this team can be when they’re even close to full strength.

Previous ranking: 5

Next match: April 21 vs. Chicago Red Stars, 6 p.m. ET

Despite their poor form and a heartbreaking loss against Bay on Sunday, the underlying numbers like the Reign far more than the table. Seattle have a positive expected goal differential through four games this year and were an Alex Loera banger away from earning a point on the road.

Previous ranking: 7

Next match: April 20 vs. Houston Dash, 10 p.m. ET

Speaking of teams the data has a thing for, the Portland Thorns are dead-last in the standings, but get upheld here by a nice set of behind-the-scenes metrics. The attack is still such an asset that if the defense and goalkeeper can sort itself out even a little, Portland will soar up. The early signs when they play against the ball, though, are horrific.

Previous ranking: 13

Next match: April 19 vs. San Diego Wave, 8 p.m. ET

Still undefeated, the Pride notched their first win against a struggling Utah Royals team. Marta excelled as a super-sub, scoring her first of the season just minutes after coming onto the field. With Barbra Banda now in Orlando, expect an even more dangerous version of the Pride coming soon.

Previous ranking: 9

Next match: April 20 vs. Utah Royals, 5 p.m. ET

Four games, four draws for Racing Louisville in 2024. They continue to default to more of a transition-heavy style even after Bev Yanez was appointed to the managerial role, holding 44% of the ball in a 0-0 draw with San Diego. There’s midfield solidity in this team, no doubt about it. But can the attack find its groove?

Previous ranking: 10

Next match: April 20 at Kansas City Current, 7:30 p.m. ET

Sunday’s victory over the Seattle Reign was a step in the right direction for Bay FC — and not just because of the result. The expansion side outshot Seattle 23 to eight and put themselves in the driver’s seat for the vast majority of the match. The firepower is starting to show, even while the defensive control lags.

Previous ranking: 11

Next match: April 21 vs. North Carolina Courage, 7:30 p.m. ET

It wasn’t a game to remember, but Angel City notched their first win of 2024 by a 1-0 scoreline in Chicago. A solid performance in the first half, where Becki Tweed’s team controlled the ball and created the better chances, gave them just enough momentum to collect all three points.

Previous ranking: 8

Next match: April 21 at Seattle Reign FC, 6 p.m. ET

An own goal just minutes before halftime put the Red Stars in a permanent hole against the Angels. Playing without Mallory Swanson due to a hip issue, we were never going to get the best version of Chicago. Let’s hope the USWNT star comes back quickly after an excellent SheBelieves Cup.

Previous ranking: 14

Next match: April 20 at Racing Louisville, 5 p.m. ET

It’s only been four games, so we need to take the underlying numbers with a whole spoonful of salt, but the Utah Royals have the worst expected goal differential in the NWSL. They took just one shot from inside the box in their loss to Orlando and need to find another gear to avoid hanging out towards the bottom of these rankings all year.

Previous ranking: 12

Next match: April 20 at Portland Thorns, 10 p.m. ET

Maybe even more troubling than their 3-1 loss to Washington was the news reported by ESPN’s Jeff Kassouf that Maria Sanchez has requested a trade. The Dash signed Sanchez to one of the richest deals in league history over the offseason, hoping to find some stability. Things couldn’t be going much worse for Houston.

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