2018 National Women's Soccer League season

National Women's Soccer League
Season2018
ChampionsNorth Carolina Courage
NWSL ShieldNorth Carolina Courage
Matches played108
Goals scored278 (2.57 per match)
Top goalscorerSam Kerr (16 goals)
Highest scoringORL 3–4 NCC
(May 23)
CHI 2–5 ORL
(May 26)
HOU 6–1 SKY
(August 25)
Longest winning run4 games
North Carolina Courage
(March 24 – April 18)
(May 12 - May 30)
Longest unbeaten run12 games
North Carolina Courage
(March 24 – June 3)
Longest winless run23 games
Sky Blue FC
(March 31 – September 4)
Longest losing run10 games
Washington Spirit
(June 23 – August 25)
Highest attendance21,144
POR 3–1 SEA
(September 7)
Lowest attendance1,913
SKY 0–1 SEA
(April 15)
Total attendance650,562
Average attendance6,024
2017
2019
All statistics correct as of September 8, 2018.

The 2018 National Women's Soccer League season was the sixth 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 twelfth 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 and take the financial burden off individual clubs.

The off-season brought significant changes, with FC Kansas City and the Boston Breakers ceasing operations, while new club Utah Royals FC joined the league. The 2018 season began on March 24, and ended on September 8. Teams once again played 24 regular-season games this year, with the top four teams making a single-elimination playoff.[1] The North Carolina Courage won the NWSL Shield with 15 more points than second place Thorns. The NWSL Playoffs began on September 15 with the two semifinal matches, which were won by the Thorns and the Courage. The NWSL Championship Game was held on September 22 at Providence Park in Portland. [2][3] The Courage won 3–0, becoming the first team to win both the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship in the same season.

Teams, stadiums, and personnel[]

Stadiums and locations[]

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[]

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

Team Head coach Shirt sponsor
Chicago Red Stars United States Rory Dames Magellan Corporation
Houston Dash Netherlands Vera Pauw BBVA Compass
North Carolina Courage England Paul Riley Continental AG
Orlando Pride Scotland Tom Sermanni Orlando Health
Portland Thorns England Mark Parsons Providence Health & Services
Seattle Reign FC Republic of Macedonia Vlatko Andonovski Microsoft
Sky Blue FC United States Denise Reddy Meridian Health
Utah Royals FC England Laura Harvey Conservice
Washington Spirit United States Tom Torres (interim) ProChain Solutions, Inc.

Coaching changes[]

Team Outgoing manager Manner of departure Date of vacancy Incoming manager Date of appointment Ref.
Seattle Reign FC England Laura Harvey Mutual separation November 7, 2017 Republic of Macedonia Vlatko Andonovski November 7, 2017 [4]
Sky Blue FC Vacant August 16, 2017 United States Denise Reddy November 15, 2017 [5]
Utah Royals FC New franchise England Laura Harvey November 27, 2017 [6]
Houston Dash United States Omar Morales End of interim period September 29, 2017 Netherlands Vera Pauw November 27, 2017 [7]
Washington Spirit United States Jim Gabarra Fired August 21, 2018 United States Tom Torres (interim) August 21, 2018 [8]

Competition format[]

League standings[]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 North Carolina Courage (C) 24 17 6 1 53 17 +36 57 NWSL Shield
2 Portland Thorns FC 24 12 6 6 40 28 +12 42 NWSL Playoffs
3 Seattle Reign FC 24 11 8 5 27 19 +8 41
4 Chicago Red Stars 24 9 10 5 38 28 +10 37
5 Utah Royals FC 24 9 8 7 22 23 −1 35
6 Houston Dash 24 9 5 10 35 39 −4 32
7 Orlando Pride 24 8 6 10 30 37 −7 30
8 Washington Spirit 24 2 5 17 12 35 −23 11
9 Sky Blue FC 24 1 6 17 21 52 −31 9
Source: NWSL
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
(C) Champion.

Tiebreakers[]

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,[9] 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.


Attendance[]

Average home attendances[]

Ranked from highest to lowest average attendance.

Team GP Attendance High Low Average
Portland Thorns FC 12 203,506 21,144 14,485 16,959
Utah Royals FC 12 113,593 19,203 7,137 9,466
North Carolina Courage 12 61,549 9,505 3,011 5,129
Orlando Pride 12 58,046 9,017 3,104 4,837
Chicago Red Stars 12 48,048 13,678 2,027 4,004
Washington Spirit 12 46,704 7,976 2,433 3,892
Seattle Reign FC 12 45,885 5,251 3,172 3,824
Houston Dash 12 42,859 5,846 2,376 3,572
Sky Blue FC 12 30,372 4,086 1,913 2,531
Total 108 650,562 21,144 1,913 6,024

Updated to games played on September 8, 2018.[10][11]

Highest attendances[]

Regular season

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Date Stadium
1 Portland Thorns FC 3–1 Seattle Reign FC 21,144 September 7, 2018 (2018-09-07) Providence Park
1 Portland Thorns FC 0–3 North Carolina Courage 21,144 September 22, 2018 (2018-09-22) Providence Park
3 Utah Royals FC 0–1 Chicago Red Stars 19,203 April 14, 2018 (2018-04-14) Rio Tinto Stadium
4 Portland Thorns FC 2–2 Chicago Red Stars 18,631 August 18, 2018 (2018-08-18) Providence Park
5 Portland Thorns FC 1–1 Sky Blue FC 18,237 June 27, 2018 (2018-06-27) Providence Park
6 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Sky Blue FC 17,986 August 22, 2018 (2018-08-22) Providence Park
7 Portland Thorns FC 4–0 Utah Royals FC 17,930 July 6, 2018 (2018-07-06) Providence Park
8 Portland Thorns FC 1–2 Orlando Pride 17,115 May 12, 2018 (2018-05-12) Providence Park
9 Portland Thorns FC 2–1 Orlando Pride 16,466 April 15, 2018 (2018-04-15) Providence Park
10 Portland Thorns FC 2–3 Seattle Reign FC 16,054 May 5, 2018 (2018-05-05) Providence Park

Updated to games played on November 3, 2018.[10]

Statistical leaders[]

NWSL Playoffs[]

The top four teams from the regular season compete for the NWSL Championship. The North Carolina Courage secured the number one seed on August 5th, winning their second straight NWSL Shield.

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

Semi-finals[]

Portland Thorns FC2–1Seattle Reign FC
Sonnett Yellow card 27'
Heath Goal 43' (Horan)
Menges Yellow card 50'
Horan Goal 77' (Sinclair)
Report Spencer Goal 29'
Fishlock Yellow card 40'
Rapinoe Yellow card 54'
Long Yellow card 60'
Providence Park
Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 14,179
Referee: Ramy Touchan
North Carolina Courage2–0Chicago Red Stars
McDonald Goal 5' (Dunn)
Mathias Yellow card 72'
Mewis Goal 86' (Dunn)
Report
Providence Park
Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 4,646
Referee: Tim Ford

*Originally scheduled for September 16 at Sahlen's Stadium in Cary, North Carolina; rescheduled and moved due to Hurricane Florence. [12]

Championship[]

Portland Thorns FC0–3North Carolina Courage
Report
Report
Debinha Goal 13'
McDonald Goal 40' (Hinkle)64' (Mathias) Yellow card 65'
O'Sullivan Yellow card 42'
Providence Park
Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 21,144
Referee: Guido Gonzales Jr.

Individual awards[]

Monthly awards[]

Player of the Month[]

Month Player of the Month Club Month's Statline
March United States Megan Rapinoe [13] Seattle Reign FC 1 goal, 1 assist, 6 shots on goal
April United States Sofia Huerta [14] Chicago Red Stars 2 goals, 6 shots on goal, 9 chances created
May England Rachel Daly [15] Houston Dash 4 goals, 9 shots on goal, 11 chances created
June United States Crystal Dunn [16] North Carolina Courage 2 goals, 9 shots on goal, 8 chances created
July United States Lindsey Horan [17] Portland Thorns FC 3 goals, 1 assist, 5 shots on goal, 5 chances created
August Australia Samantha Kerr [18] Chicago Red Stars 5 goals, 1 assist, 11 shots on goal, 8 chances created

Team of the Month[]

Month Goalkeeper Defenders Midfielders Forwards Ref
March United States Jane Campbell, HOU United States Jaelene Hinkle, NC
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, UTA
United States Emily Sonnett, POR
England Rachel Daly, HOU
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
Brazil Debinha, NC
Iceland Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir, UTA
United States Megan Rapinoe, SEA
United States Mallory Pugh, WAS
United States Crystal Dunn, NC
[19]
April United States Aubrey Bledsoe, WAS United States Jaelene Hinkle, NC
United States Estelle Johnson, WAS
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, UTA
United States Emily Sonnett, POR
United States Sofia Huerta, CHI
United States Crystal Dunn, NC
United States McCall Zerboni, NC
Nigeria Francisca Ordega, WAS
United States Jessica McDonald, NC
United States Mallory Pugh, WAS
[20]
May United States Abby Smith, UTA Australia Steph Catley, SEA
New Zealand Abby Erceg, NC
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, UTA
United States Ali Krieger, ORL
United States Kristie Mewis, HOU
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
United States McCall Zerboni, NC
England Rachel Daly, HOU
Canada Christine Sinclair, POR
United States Crystal Dunn, NC
[21]
June United States Alyssa Naeher, CHI United States Becca Moros, UTA
New Zealand Abby Erceg, NC
United States Becky Sauerbrunn, UTA
United States Merritt Mathias, NC
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
Japan Yuki Nagasato, CHI
United States McCall Zerboni, NC
United States Kealia Ohai, HOU
Canada Christine Sinclair, POR
United States Crystal Dunn, NC
[22]
July United States Adrianna Franch, POR United States Katie Naughton, CHI
New Zealand Abby Erceg, NC
Scotland Rachel Corsie, UTA
Denmark Theresa Nielsen, SEA
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
Japan Yuki Nagasato, CHI
United States McCall Zerboni, NC
United States Megan Rapinoe, SEA
England Rachel Daly, HOU
Australia Sam Kerr, CHI
[23]
August Australia Lydia Williams, SEA United States Megan Oyster, SEA
New Zealand Abby Erceg, NC
United States Taylor Comeau, HOU
Denmark Theresa Nielsen, SEA
United States Lindsey Horan, POR
United States Sofia Huerta, HOU
United States Vanessa DiBernardo, CHI
United States Lynn Williams, NC
United States Tobin Heath, POR
Australia Sam Kerr, CHI
[24]

Weekly awards[]

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 Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC Iceland Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir Utah Royals FC United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [25] [26] [27]
2 United States Mallory Pugh Washington Spirit United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Jane Campbell Houston Dash [28] [29] [30]
3 United States McCall Zerboni North Carolina Courage United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [31] [32] [33]
4 United States Sofia Huerta Chicago Red Stars United States Merritt Mathias North Carolina Courage United States Aubrey Bledsoe Washington Spirit [34] [35] [36]
5 United States McCall Zerboni North Carolina Courage United States Tobin Heath Portland Thorns FC United States Aubrey Bledsoe Washington Spirit [37] [38] [39]
6 United States Alyssa Naeher Chicago Red Stars Canada Diana Matheson Utah Royals FC United States Alyssa Naeher Chicago Red Stars [40] [41] [42]
7 United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC United States Christine Nairn Orlando Pride United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [43] [44] [45]
8 United States Crystal Dunn North Carolina Courage United States Carli Lloyd Sky Blue FC United States Katelyn Rowland North Carolina Courage [46] [47] [48]
9 England Rachel Daly Houston Dash United States Sydney Leroux Orlando Pride United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [49] [50] [51]
10 Japan Yuki Nagasato Chicago Red Stars United States Katherine Reynolds Portland Thorns FC United States Haley Kopmeyer Orlando Pride [52] [53] [54]
11/12 United States Aubrey Bledsoe Washington Spirit United States Brittany Ratcliffe Utah Royals FC United States Britt Eckerstrom Portland Thorns FC [55] [56] [57]
13 United States Crystal Dunn North Carolina Courage Australia Alanna Kennedy Orlando Pride United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [58] [59] [60]
14 United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC United States Kealia Ohai Houston Dash United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [61] [62] [63]
15 Australia Sam Kerr Chicago Red Stars Brazil Marta Orlando Pride United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [64] [65] [66]
16 United States Lynn Williams North Carolina Courage United States Kristen Edmonds Orlando Pride Scotland Rachel Corsie Utah Royals FC [67] [68] [69]
17 United States Jane Campbell Houston Dash United States Toni Pressley Orlando Pride Scotland Rachel Corsie Utah Royals FC [70] [71] [72]
19 United States Lynn Williams North Carolina Courage United States Katie Stengel Utah Royals FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [73] [74] [75]
20 United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC Australia Hayley Raso Portland Thorns FC United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC [76] [77] [78]
21 Mexico Katie Johnson Sky Blue FC Canada Christine Sinclair Portland Thorns FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [79] [80] [81]
22 Australia Sam Kerr Chicago Red Stars United States Tobin Heath Portland Thorns FC United States Ashlyn Harris Orlando Pride [82] [83] [84]
24 United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Nicole Barnhart Utah Royals FC [85] [86] [87]

Annual awards[]

Award Winner
Golden Boot [88] Australia Sam Kerr Chicago Red Stars 16 goals
Coach of the Year [89] England Paul Riley North Carolina Courage Won both NWSL Shield & Championship
Rookie of the Year [90] United States Imani Dorsey Sky Blue FC 4 goals, 1 assist
Goalkeeper of the Year [91] United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC 45 saves, three shutouts
Defender of the Year [92] New Zealand Abby Erceg North Carolina Courage All 2,160 minutes, fewest goals allowed
Most Valuable Player [93] United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC 13 goals, 2 assists, 1,800 minutes


NWSL Best XI
Position First team [94] Second team [94]
Goalkeeper United States Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC Australia Lydia Williams Seattle Reign FC
Defender New Zealand Abby Erceg North Carolina Courage Australia Steph Catley Seattle Reign FC
Defender United States Abby Dahlkemper North Carolina Courage United States Merritt Mathias North Carolina Courage
Defender United States Becky Sauerbrunn Utah Royals FC United States Julie Ertz Chicago Red Stars
Defender United States Emily Sonnett Portland Thorns FC United States Emily Menges Portland Thorns FC
Midfielder United States Tobin Heath Portland Thorns FC Brazil Debinha North Carolina Courage
Midfielder United States Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC United States Carli Lloyd Sky Blue FC
Midfielder United States McCall Zerboni North Carolina Courage Canada Christine Sinclair Portland Thorns FC
Forward United States Crystal Dunn North Carolina Courage United States Sofia Huerta Houston Dash
Forward Australia Sam Kerr Chicago Red Stars United States Lynn Williams North Carolina Courage
Forward United States Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC England Rachel Daly Houston Dash
NWSL Championship Game MVP
Player Club Record
United States Jessica McDonald North Carolina Courage 2 goals

References[]

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NWSL Statistics
  1. ^ a b "NWSL Stats". NWSL. Retrieved September 8, 2018.

External links[]

Official website