NWSL second half: Three things to watch, including Portland Thorns’ Shield pursuit

The Olympics have concluded and the NWSL common season is on the midway level after Week 12 motion. All 10 groups have performed not less than 12 video games through the 24-match season, with Portland Thorns FC at the moment sitting in first-place in league standings. Because the second half of the season begins this weekend, and extra gamers return from worldwide responsibility, let’s check out three storylines to control because the season continues. You possibly can watch stay NWSL motion all season lengthy on Paramount+.

1. Will Portland win the Defend?

Forward of the Tokyo Video games, the Portland Thorns bid farewell to a number of key gamers to the Olympics. U.S. girls’s nationwide staff gamers Becky Sauerbrunn, Adrianna Franch, Lindsey Horan, Crystal Dunn, and Canadian worldwide Christine Sinclair have all been away from the staff since July and all 5 internationals are beginning XI-caliber for the Thorns.

The Thorns went undefeated in six matches over the Olympic portion of the schedule and have prolonged their level whole in first-place. This is a have a look at the highest half of the NWSL standings:

1. Portland Thorns






2. North Carolina Braveness






3. Gotham FC






4. Orlando Satisfaction






5. Chicago Purple Stars






The depth of the Thorns over the past a number of weeks not solely helped Portland get again into first place, however lengthen the membership’s lead within the place. The Thorns have a seven-point hole between them and second place, and a nine-point lead forward of sixth-place OL Reign.

As their Olympic medalists slowly return to membership, head coach Mark Parsons and his roster have put themselves in a powerful place to contend for the NWSL Defend (given to the staff with the perfect common season file).

Need extra protection of ladies’s soccer? Hear beneath and ensure to observe Attacking Third, A CBS Soccer Podcast dedicated to bringing you every part you’ll want to know from the NWSL and across the globe.

2. Have OL Reign figured issues out simply in time?

After struggling to discover a constant kind within the first half of the season, OL Reign closed out their Olympic portion of the schedule with a three-game profitable streak to maneuver into sixth place.

The membership parted methods with former head coach Farid Benstiti after a sequence of disappointing outcomes and a failure to win after including big-name expertise to the squad with Olympique Lyon stars Sarah Bouhaddi, Dzenifer Marosan, and Eugenie Le Sommer becoming a member of OL Reign.

Very long time assistant Sam Laity took over as interim head coach, and the staff started to seek out their kind a bit as Jess Fishlock, Marosan, and Sofia Huerta grew to become key figures within the midfield. Ahead Bethany Balcer has been in high kind, main the staff with six objectives by the primary half of the season. Together with the return of American stars Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle from the Olympics, the staff can even welcome the arrival of head coach Laura Harvey. 

OL Reign introduced Harvey would return the the Reign as head coach on the conclusion of the Olympics, after finishing her time as a part of the U.S. soccer workers with the ladies’s nationwide staff. 

3. Will Orlando maintain playoff tempo?

Orlando Satisfaction struggled all through the Olympic portion of the schedule, dropping within the standings, and seeing the departure of head coach Marc Skinner to Manchester United. The membership went on a six-game winless streak between coaches, and finally named College of Florida head coach Becky Burleigh as interim head coach earlier than snapping their skid with a win in opposition to Chicago Purple Stars.

Veterans have spoken on Burleigh’s arrival as refreshing and an essential step for the membership of their pursuit of the playoffs throughout this subsequent half of the common season. The staff has welcomed again the return of Olympians in Brazilian icon Marta and New Zealand defender Ali Riley. The return of USWNT ahead Alex Morgan can be postponed a bit as she picked up an damage through the bronze medal match and USWNT gamers aren’t instantly anticipated again in membership markets after worldwide tournaments. Backup goalkeeper and Canadian gold medalist Erin McLeod can even be part of the staff at later level. 

The Olympians added expertise will enhance the Satisfaction little doubt, and the membership at the moment has the highest scorer within the league with ahead Sydney Leroux. Leroux has seven objectives over 13 appearances this common season. 

After a formidable seven-game unbeaten streak to start the season, the Satisfaction additionally navigated varied accidents amongst as they fell from first place to seventh place through the Olympic stretch. Their latest win over Chicago has propelled them again into the highest 4, and as Burleigh continues to problem youthful gamers in Taylor Kornieck and Courtney Petersen, the staff might make push to remain in playoff competition. | NWSL second half: Three issues to observe, together with Portland Thorns’ Defend pursuit


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