Playoff Scenarios in NWSL Heading Into Final Weekend

The Portland Thorns FC celebrates Taylor Porter's goal as Portland maintains first place heading into the playoff scenarios in NWSL with the final regular season weekend coming up

This weekend will see the final matches of the regular season in NWSL. So far, four teams have clinched playoff spots, Four have been eliminated and four have yet to decide their fate. Along with the battle for making the playoffs is who will top the table and win the NWSL Shield. As well as see who will receive a bye week to begin the playoffs. So, here are the playoff scenarios in NWSL that each remaining team faces and what they need to do to make them a reality.

The Playoff Scenarios in NWSL: The Final Weekend

Portland Thorns FC – 1st place 38 points

Currently sitting atop the table, Portland was the first to clinch a playoff spot on September 21. Portland was able to maintain its top position with a 3-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars on September 25. They play last place in Gotham FC on Saturday.

They would clinch the shield with an outright win. If they were to draw they would need the OL Reign to draw or lose. If they were to lose they would need the same result from the Reign plus a draw or loss from Kansas City. A draw or more would also automatically see Portland clinch a bye to start the playoffs.

OL Reign – 2nd place 37 points

Just one point behind Portland, the Reign could clinch the shield with a win against Orlando and a Portland draw or loss. A win would also see them automatically clinch a bye. If they draw they could still get a bye if both Kansas City and San Diego draw or lose.

Kansas City Current – 3rd place 36 points

The Current can still get the shield with a win against Louisville as well as a Portland loss and a Reign draw or loss. They would also clinch a bye with a win and a Reign draw/loss or a Portland loss.

San Diego Wave FC – 4th place 35 points

There is no scenario where San Diego can clinch the shield. However, they can clinch a bye by beating North Carolina and a Reign draw or loss, plus a Kansas City draw or loss.

Houston Dash – 5th place 33 points

The Dash have yet to clinch a playoff spot. They can do so with a win or draw against Washington. If they lose they could still qualify with either a Chicago draw/loss or a North Carolina draw/loss. They could also host a first-round playoff match with a win and a San Diego or Kansas City loss. Home field advantage in the first round could also come from a win by four or more goals and a San Diego draw.

North Carolina Courage – 6th place 31 points

For the Courage to make the playoffs they could do so with a win over San Diego. If they were to draw they would rely on a Chicago draw or loss. And, if they were to lose they would need Chicago to draw at most.

Chicago Red Stars – 7th place 30 points

The final match of the season between Chicago and Angel City could end up being the most consequential. To make the playoffs, Chicago would need to win and have a North Carolina draw/loss or a Houston loss by more than two goals.

Angel City FC – 8th place 29 points

For Angel City, they would need to beat Chicago on the final day and rely on a North Carolina on Friday.

How to watch

The final weekend of the regular season begins on Friday, September 30. The San Diego Wave FC will host North Carolina Courage at 10:00 PM ET on Paramount+. This is while Saturday has four matches starting with NJ/NY Gotham FC vs Portland Thorns FC at 6:00 PM ET on Paramount+.

The Washington Spirit host Houston Dash at 7:00 PM ET on Paramount+. Then there is a doubleheader on Twitch starting at 7:30 PM ET with Racing Louisville FC vs Kansas City Current followed by OL Reign vs Orlando Pride at 10:00 PM ET. Sunday will see a match that depending on other playoff scenarios in NWSL could either be completely inconsequential or the most important match of the year when Chicago Red Stars will host Angel City FC at 6:00 PM ET on Paramount+.

Photo Credit: Portland Thorns FC’s Twitter Account on September 26, 2022.