These Five Teams Can Will It All And Look Good Doing So
The 2018 NWSL season is less than a month away. Five teams are poised to win it all. It's parody. Mediocrity isn't the verb to describe the league. If these five squads play to their potential they can be entertaining and title contending.
NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE
Crystal Dunn's presence will bring speed and a remarkable dribbling ability giving Lynn Williams space to perform. Samantha Mewis' attacking ability can make the Courage offense the most potent in the NWSL. The defense may spark the attack with the addition of Japanese International Yuri Kawamura. The fullback should provide speed and discipline protecting the touchline.
What can go wrong for North Carolina is their identity. Dunn's signing signals a possession philosophy officially ending the ways of low line defending and counter attacking. The Courage possible identity crisis won't hurt their playoff chances but may cost them a playoff win.
PORTLAND THORNS FC
From defense to midfield Portland is a championship contender. The Thorns problems at forward could deflower a back to back title run. As Canadian legend Christine Sinclair gets older, no other forward has challenged her for the spot. Ifrorma Onamonu came from the Boston Breaker Dispersal Draft to add competition.
Halyey Raso had appearances to prove she could topple Sinclair. Raso failed only scoring seven goals in those games. One common factor of the five contenders are improving defenses. Portland's dilemma in finding another great forward can prove costly.
Orlando played the most entertaining soccer in 2017. Marta and Alex Morgan were electric. The Pride possession in their offensive third did get haywire at times last season.
Christine Nairn is an experienced midfielder signed to calm the Pride attack. Sydney Leroux's addition can keep the ball at their attacking third. Defensively, Paliana Medeiros is a Brazilian International fullback who can slow down an opponents'attack.
Sydney Leroux is the X-factor. Can she finally reach her full potential? If so, Orlando can be in the top two.
CHICAGO RED STARS
The Red Stars just traded for a much better forward in Samantha Kerr. Not to say they wont make the playoffs. Chicago have an easy chance to be dominant at both ends of the field.
The Red Stars process into being a championship contender is knowing their roles. Can Vanessa DiBernardo be a consistent number 10? Former Red Star Kristen Press led the team in assists last year.
If Chicago descends it should be as shocking as Portland or the Courage imploding. It wont happen but the Red Stars' front office can't be pleased with semifinal failures. They got an MVP for these big time games.
SEATTLE REIGN FC
The Reign invested in defense nabbing Megan Oyster and Christen Westphal from the Breakers' Disperal Draft. Seattle's problem for the two years has been balance. In 2016, the Reign had one of the best defense in the league yet their attack was anemic. Last season Seattle were second in the league in scoring but fourth worst in goals allowed.
Seattle has been hovering outside the top four trying to find balance in attack and defense. If their defense improves, the final weeks of the regular 2018 season can be exciting. Coaches and players preach to only focus on their own game. Seattle must do so. The rest of the teams above needs to be a disappointment if the Reign defensive signings don't help.