2017 National Women's Soccer League season

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National Women's Soccer League
Season 2017
Champions Portland Thorns FC
NWSL Shield North Carolina Courage
Matches played 120
Goals scored 344 (2.87 per match)
Top goalscorer Sam Kerr
(17 goals)
Biggest home win ORL 5–0 SKY
(Aug 12)
Biggest away win HOU 0–4 NC
(Sep 27)
Highest scoring SEA 5–4 SKY
(Jul 22)
SKY 5–4 SEA
(Aug 19)
Longest winning run 5 games
North Carolina Courage
(Aug 5 – Aug 30)
Orlando Pride
(Aug 8 – Sep 2)
Longest unbeaten run 9 games
Orlando Pride
(Aug 8 – Sep 30)
Longest winless run 10 games
Boston Breakers
(Jul 7 – Sep 10)
Longest losing run 6 games
Houston Dash
(May 6 – Jun 17)
Highest attendance 21,144
POR 3–1 CHI
(Sep 30)
Lowest attendance 428
KC 2–1 POR
(Aug 16)
Total attendance 609,957
Average attendance 5,083
2016
2018
All statistics correct as of October 1, 2017.

The 2017 National Women's Soccer League season was the fifth season of the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States. Including the NWSL's two professional predecessors, Women's Professional Soccer (2009–2011) and the Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2003), it was the eleventh overall season of FIFA- and USSF-sanctioned top-division women's soccer in the United States. The league is operated by the United States Soccer Federation and receives major financial backing from that body. Further financial backing is provided by the Canadian Soccer Association; both national federations pay the league salaries of many of their respective national team members in an effort to nurture talent in those nations.

The reigning champions Western New York Flash did not play under that name; the franchise was sold, relocated to Cary, North Carolina and rebranded as the North Carolina Courage.[1]

After schedule disruptions in the previous two years caused by the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, NWSL teams in 2017 once again played 24 games, a schedule last played during the 2014 season.[2] The Courage won the NWSL Shield (the regular season), topping the Portland Thorns by two points.

The NWSL Playoff semifinals were held October 7–8, 2017, and were won by the Thorns and the Courage. The NWSL Championship Game was held on October 14, 2017 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida.[3] The Thorns won 1–0, becoming NWSL Champions, their second championship.

Teams, stadiums, and personnel[edit]

Stadiums and locations[edit]

Two teams, the Dash and Reign, do not make their stadiums' entire capacity available for home games, instead restricting ticket sales at a lower level. The full capacities of their venues are included in parentheses and italics.

Personnel and sponsorship[edit]

Note: All of the teams use Nike as their kit manufacturer.

Team Head coach Captain Shirt sponsor
Boston Breakers England Matt Beard United States Julie King / England Natasha Dowie Steward Health Care
Chicago Red Stars United States Rory Dames United States Christen Press Illinois Bone and Joint Institute
Houston Dash United States Omar Morales (Interim) United States Kealia Ohai / United States Amber Brooks BBVA Compass
FC Kansas City Republic of Macedonia Vlatko Andonovski United States Becky Sauerbrunn Domino's
North Carolina Courage England Paul Riley New Zealand Abby Erceg Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina
Orlando Pride Scotland Tom Sermanni United States Ashlyn Harris/United States Ali Krieger Orlando Health
Portland Thorns England Mark Parsons Canada Christine Sinclair/United States Tobin Heath Providence Health & Services
Seattle Reign FC England Laura Harvey Wales Jess Fishlock/United States Lauren Barnes Microsoft
Sky Blue FC Vacant United States Christie Pearce Meridian Health
Washington Spirit United States Jim Gabarra Canada Shelina Zadorsky ProChain Solutions, Inc.

Coaching changes[edit]

Team Outgoing manager Manner of departure Date of vacancy Incoming manager Date of appointment Ref.
North Carolina Courage Franchise relocation England Paul Riley January 30, 2017 [5]
Houston Dash United States Randy Waldrum Mutual separation May 29, 2017 United States Omar Morales (interim) May 29, 2017 [6]
Sky Blue FC Northern Ireland Christy Holly Mutual separation August 16, 2017 [7]

Competition format[edit]

  • Each team played a total of 24 games, 12 home and 12 away.
  • The four teams at the end of the season with the most points qualified for the playoffs.

League standings[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 North Carolina Courage 24 16 1 7 38 22 +16 49 NWSL Shield
2 Portland Thorns FC (C) 24 14 5 5 37 20 +17 47 NWSL Playoffs
3 Orlando Pride 24 11 7 6 45 31 +14 40
4 Chicago Red Stars 24 11 6 7 33 30 +3 39
5 Seattle Reign FC 24 9 7 8 43 37 +6 34
6 Sky Blue FC 24 10 3 11 42 51 −9 33
7 FC Kansas City 24 8 7 9 29 31 −2 31
8 Houston Dash 24 7 3 14 23 39 −16 24
9 Boston Breakers 24 4 7 13 24 35 −11 19
10 Washington Spirit 24 5 4 15 30 48 −18 19
Source: NWSL
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

(C) – Champion

Tiebreakers[edit]

The initial determining factor for a team's position in the standings is most points earned, with three points earned for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. If two or more teams tie in point total, when determining rank and playoff qualification and seeding, the NWSL uses the following tiebreaker rules,[8] going down the list until all teams are ranked.

  1. Head to Head win/loss record between the teams (or points-per-game if more than two teams).
  2. Greater goal difference across the entire season (against all teams, not just tied teams).
  3. Greatest total number of goals scored (against all teams).
  4. Apply #1–3 to games played on the road.
  5. Apply #1–3 to games played at home.
  6. If teams are still equal, ranking will be determined by a coin toss.

NOTE: If two clubs remain tied after another club with the same number of points advances during any step, the tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format.

Weekly live standings[edit]

Considering each week to end on a Sunday.

Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Team ↓
North Carolina Courage 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Portland Thorns 3 4 3 2 3 5 5 3 4 4 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Orlando Pride 10 10 10 10 9 8 8 7 6 7 6 6 6 7 7 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
Chicago Red Stars 9 6 8 4 6 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4
Seattle Reign FC 5 2 5 6 2 4 4 5 5 5 3 4 5 4 4 5 5 6 5 5 5 5
Sky Blue FC 6 8 6 8 4 2 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 5 5 6 6 5 6 6 6 6
FC Kansas City 2 3 7 7 8 7 6 6 7 6 7 8 9 9 10 8 7 7 7 7 7 7
Houston Dash 1 7 4 5 7 9 9 9 10 9 8 7 7 6 6 7 8 8 8 8 8 8
Boston Breakers 8 5 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 9 9 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 9 9
Washington Spirit 7 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 8 8 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 10 10 9 10 10

Washington Spirit and Boston Breakers were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 18 on August 26, 2017 after losing their respective games.[9][10] FC Kansas City and Houston Dash were both eliminated in Week 20 on September 9, after the Chicago Red Stars gained one more point in a tie against FC Kansas City.[11][12] Sky Blue FC was eliminated later that weekend after a loss against the Washington Spirit.[13] Seattle Reign was the last team to lose a playoff spot after a defeat in Week 21.[14]

In Week 19, North Carolina Courage was the first team to clinch a playoff spot.[15] Later that week, Portland Thorns clinched the second playoff spot.[16] Both Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride clinched the remaining two spots in Week 21.[17]

Attendance[edit]

Average home attendances[edit]

Ranked from highest to lowest average attendance.

Team GP Attendance High Low Average
Portland Thorns FC 12 211,830 21,144 14,471 17,653
Orlando Pride 12 74,233 14,452 4,273 6,186
Houston Dash 12 54,938 6,707 1,258 4,578
North Carolina Courage 12 52,672 7,020 2,383 4,389
Seattle Reign FC 12 48,449 6,041 2,727 4,037
Washington Spirit 12 41,891 5,200 2,365 3,491
Chicago Red Stars 12 38,379 4,934 1,827 3,198
Boston Breakers 12 34,754 4,321 2,276 2,896
Sky Blue FC 12 31,355 3,451 2,008 2,613
FC Kansas City 12 21,456 3,340 428 1,788
Total 120 609,957 21,144 428 5,083

Updated to games played on October 1, 2017.[18]

Highest attendances[edit]

Regular season

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Date Stadium
1 Portland Thorns FC 3–1 Chicago Red Stars 21,144 September 30, 2017 (2017-09-30) Providence Park
2 Portland Thorns FC 2–0 Houston Dash 19,672 August 19, 2017 (2017-08-19) Providence Park
3 Portland Thorns FC 4–0 Washington Spirit 19,141 September 2, 2017 (2017-09-02) Providence Park
4 Portland Thorns FC 2–0 Boston Breakers 18,637 May 27, 2017 (2017-05-27) Providence Park
5 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Washington Spirit 18,478 July 22, 2017 (2017-07-22) Providence Park
6 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Houston Dash 18,243 August 5, 2017 (2017-08-05) Providence Park
7 Portland Thorns FC 4–1 Orlando Pride 18,193 October 7, 2017 (2017-10-07) Providence Park
8 Portland Thorns FC 1–0 North Carolina Courage 16,804 July 15, 2017 (2017-07-15) Providence Park
9 Portland Thorns FC 1–3 Sky Blue FC 16,736 June 17, 2017 (2017-06-17) Providence Park
10 Portland Thorns FC 3–0 FC Kansas City 16,199 June 28, 2017 (2017-06-28) Providence Park

Updated to games played on October 7, 2017.[18]

Statistical leaders[edit]

NWSL Playoffs[edit]

The top four teams from the regular season competed for the NWSL Championship. In one semifinal, the North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars 1–0 on a dramatic 90th-minute goal. In the other, Portland Thorns FC defeated the Orlando Pride 4–1. One week later, in the final on October 14, Portland defeated North Carolina 1–0 to claim the NWSL Championship.

Semi-finals Championship
      
2 Portland Thorns FC 4
3 Orlando Pride 1
2 Portland Thorns FC 1
1 North Carolina Courage 0
1 North Carolina Courage 1
4 Chicago Red Stars 0

Semi-finals[edit]

Portland Thorns FC 4–1 Orlando Pride
Henry Goal 12' Yellow card 80'
Sonnett Goal 15'
Raso Goal 71'
Sinclair Goal 82'
Report
Report
Kennedy Goal 23'
Attendance: 18,193
Referee: Timothy Ford
North Carolina Courage 1–0 Chicago Red Stars
O'Sullivan Goal 90' Report
Report
Colaprico Yellow card 36'
Attendance: 10,017
Referee: Ramy Touchan

Championship[edit]

North Carolina Courage 0–1 Portland Thorns FC
Report
Report
Heath Yellow card 41'
Raso Yellow card 45+1'
Horan Goal 50'
Brynjarsdóttir Yellow card 72'
Attendance: 8,124
Referee: Danielle Chesky

Individual awards[edit]

Monthly awards[edit]

Player of the Month[edit]

Month Player Club Ref
April United States Rose Lavelle Boston Breakers [19]
May Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC [20]
June [21]
July United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC [22]
August United States Alex Morgan Orlando Pride [23]
September Brazil Marta Orlando Pride [24]

Team of the Month[edit]

Month Goalkeeper Defenders Midfielders Forwards Ref
April Canada Stephanie Labbé, WAS United States Estelle Johnson, WAS
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, KC
United States Emily Sonnett, POR
United States Julie Ertz, CHI
Brazil Debinha, NC
United States Rose Lavelle, BOS
Wales Jess Fishlock, SEA
United States Sam Mewis, NC
United States Kealia Ohai, HOU
United States Lynn Williams, NC
[25]
May Canada Kailen Sheridan, NJ United States Samantha Johnson, CHI
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, KC
United States Casey Short, CHI
United States Danielle Colaprico, CHI
France Amandine Henry, POR
United States Rose Lavelle, BOS
United States Sarah Killion, NJ
Japan Nahomi Kawasumi, SEA
United States Christen Press, CHI
Australia Sam Kerr, NJ
[26]
June Canada Stephanie Labbé, WAS United States Casey Short, CHI
United States Abby Dahlkemper, NC
United States Ali Krieger, ORL
United States Estelle Johnson, WAS
Brazil Marta, ORL
United States Sam Mewis, NC
Wales Jess Fishlock, SEA
United States Megan Rapinoe, SEA
Australia Sam Kerr, NJ
United States Ashley Hatch, NC
[27]
July United States Jane Campbell, HOU United States Amber Brooks, KC
United States Abby Dahlkemper, NC
United States Casey Short, CHI
United States Taylor Smith, NC
Brazil Andressinha, HOU
United States Julie Ertz, CHI
Brazil Marta, ORL
United States McCall Zerboni, NC
Australia Sam Kerr, NJ
United States Megan Rapinoe, SEA
[28]
August United States Katelyn Rowland, NC Australia Steph Catley, ORL
United States Emily Sonnett, POR
United States Ali Krieger, ORL
United States Taylor Smith, NC
Brazil Marta, ORL
United States Sam Mewis, NC
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
Australia Hayley Raso, POR
United States Alex Morgan, ORL
Australia Sam Kerr, NJ
[29]
September United States Adrianna Franch, POR United States Emily Menges, POR
United States Kelley O'Hara, NJ
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, KC
United States Casey Short, CHI
Australia Alanna Kennedy, ORL
Brazil Marta, ORL
United States Sam Mewis, NC
United States Shea Groom, KC
Canada Christine Sinclair, POR
United States Lynn Williams, NC
[30]

Weekly awards[edit]

Week NWSL Player of the Week NWSL Goal of the Week NWSL Save of the Week Reference
Player Club Player Club Player Club
1 United States Haley Kopmeyer Seattle Reign FC England Rachel Daly Houston Dash United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [31][32]
2 Wales Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign FC United States Danica Evans Orlando Pride Brazil Mônica Orlando Pride [31][33][34]
3 Canada Adriana Leon Boston Breakers Brazil Camila Orlando Pride United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [35][36][37]
4 Nigeria Francisca Ordega Washington Spirit Wales Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [38][39][40]
5 Japan Nahomi Kawasumi Seattle Reign FC United States Christen Press Chicago Red Stars United States Alyssa Naeher Chicago Red Stars [41][42][43]
6 United States Christen Press Chicago Red Stars United States Sofia Huerta Chicago Red Stars United States Abby Smith Boston Breakers [44][45][46]
7 United States Sydney Leroux FC Kansas City United States Becky Sauerbrunn FC Kansas City United States Danielle Colaprico Chicago Red Stars [47][48][49]
8 United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [50][51][52]
9 Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC Brazil Camila Orlando Pride United States Aubrey Bledsoe Orlando Pride [53][54][55]
10 Brazil Poliana Houston Dash United States Vanessa DiBernardo Chicago Red Stars Australia Steph Catley Orlando Pride [56][57][58]
11 United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC Canada Stephanie Labbé Washington Spirit [59][60][61]
12 Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Aubrey Bledsoe Orlando Pride [62]
13 Brazil Andressinha Houston Dash United States Toni Pressley Orlando Pride United States Aubrey Bledsoe Orlando Pride [63][64][65]
14 United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC United States Alyssa Naeher Chicago Red Stars [66]
United States Christen Press Chicago Red Stars
15 United States Arielle Ship Washington Spirit United States Sofia Huerta Chicago Red Stars United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [67]
16 United States Sam Mewis North Carolina Courage Brazil Marta Orlando Pride United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [68]
17 Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [69]
18 Australia Hayley Raso Portland Thorns FC United States Alex Morgan Orlando Pride United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [70][71][72]
19 United States Shea Groom FC Kansas City United States Julie Ertz Chicago Red Stars United States Jane Campbell Houston Dash [73][74][75]
20 United States Whitney Church Washington Spirit Canada Christine Sinclair Portland Thorns United States DiDi Haracic
United States Whitney Church
Washington Spirit [76][77][78]
21 Canada Adriana Leon Boston Breakers England Rachel Daly Houston Dash United States Ashlyn Harris
Brazil Mônica
Orlando Pride [79][80][81]
22 Wales Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign Australia Alanna Kennedy Orlando Pride United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [82][83][84]

Annual awards[edit]

Award Winner
Golden Boot [85] Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC 17 goals
Coach of the Year [86] England Paul Riley North Carolina Courage NWSL Shield Winner
Rookie of the Year [87] United States Ashley Hatch North Carolina Courage 7 goals, 1 assist, 1,200 minutes
Goalkeeper of the Year [88] United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC 11 shutouts, 80 saves, 0.83 GA/A
Defender of the Year [89] United States Abby Dahlkemper North Carolina Courage Played all 2,160 minutes
Most Valuable Player [90] Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC League record 17 goals
NWSL Best XI
Position First team [91] Second team [92]
Goalkeeper United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC 11 SO; 80 saves United States Katelyn Rowland North Carolina Courage 8 SO, 39 saves
Defender United States Casey Short Chicago Red Stars 2,004 minutes Australia Steph Catley Orlando Pride 2,032 minutes
Defender United States Abby Dahlkemper North Carolina Courage 2,160 minutes New Zealand Abby Erceg North Carolina Courage 1 goal, 2 assists
Defender United States Becky Sauerbrunn FC Kansas City 1,980 minutes United States Meghan Klingenberg Portland Thorns FC 6 assists
Defender United States Ali Krieger Orlando Pride 2,160 minutes United States Emily Menges Portland Thorns FC 2,063 minutes
Midfielder Wales Jess Fishlock Seattle Reign FC 7 goals, 2 assists United States Danielle Colaprico Chicago Red Stars 1,093 minutes
Midfielder United States Sam Mewis North Carolina Courage 6 goals, 3 assists United States Julie Ertz Chicago Red Stars 4 goals, 3 assists
Midfielder United States McCall Zerboni North Carolina Courage 23 starts United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC 4 goals, 2 assists
FW // MF Brazil Marta Orlando Pride 13 goals, 6 assists United States Sofia Huerta Chicago Red Stars 6 goals, 4 assists
Forward Australia Sam Kerr Sky Blue FC record 17 goals United States Alex Morgan Orlando Pride 9 goals, 4 assists
Forward United States Christen Press Chicago Red Stars 5 GWG United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC 12 goals, 1 assist
NWSL Championship Game MVP
Player Club Record
United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC Scored the game-winning goal

References[edit]

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  78. ^ "Save of the Week: DiDi Haracic and Whitney Church". September 12, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017. 
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  81. ^ "Save of the Week: Ashlyn Harris, Monica". September 26, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017. 
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  83. ^ "Goal of the Week: Alanna Kennedy". October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  84. ^ "Save of the Week: Ashlyn Harris". October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
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  86. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 16, 2017). "Paul Riley voted NWSL Coach of the Year". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
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  88. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 18, 2017). "Goalkeeper of the Year: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 18, 2017. 
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NWSL Statistics
  1. ^ a b "NWSL Stats". NWSL. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Official website