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2017 National Women's Soccer League season

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.

National Women's Soccer League
Season2017
ChampionsPortland Thorns FC
NWSL ShieldNorth Carolina Courage
Matches played120
Goals scored344 (2.87 per match)
Top goalscorerSam Kerr (17 goals)
Biggest home winORL 5–0 SKY
(Aug 12)
Biggest away winHOU 0–4 NC
(Sep 27)
Highest scoringSEA 5–4 SKY
(Jul 22)
SKY 5–4 SEA
(Aug 19)
Longest winning run5 games
North Carolina Courage
(Aug 5 – Aug 30)
Orlando Pride
(Aug 8 – Sep 2)
Longest unbeaten run9 games
Orlando Pride
(Aug 8 – Sep 30)
Longest winless run10 games
Boston Breakers
(Jul 7 – Sep 10)
Longest losing run6 games
Houston Dash
(May 6 – Jun 17)
Highest attendance21,144
POR 3–1 CHI
(Sep 30)
Lowest attendance428
KC 2–1 POR
(Aug 16)
Total attendance609,957
Average attendance5,083
2016
2018
All statistics correct as of October 1, 2017.

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.

Contents

Teams, stadiums, and personnelEdit

Stadiums and locationsEdit

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 sponsorshipEdit

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

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

Coaching changesEdit

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

Competition formatEdit

  • 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 standingsEdit

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.

TiebreakersEdit

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 standingsEdit

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]

AttendanceEdit

Average home attendancesEdit

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 attendancesEdit

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 leadersEdit

NWSL PlayoffsEdit

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 89th-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-finalsEdit

Portland Thorns FC4–1Orlando Pride
Henry   12'   80'
Sonnett   15'
Raso   71'
Sinclair   82'
Report
Report
Kennedy   23'
Attendance: 18,193
Referee: Timothy Ford

ChampionshipEdit

North Carolina Courage0–1Portland Thorns FC
Report
Report
Heath   41'
Raso   45+1'
Horan   50'
Brynjarsdóttir   72'
Attendance: 8,124
Referee: Danielle Chesky

Individual awardsEdit

Monthly awardsEdit

Player of the MonthEdit

Month Player of the Month Club Month's Statline
April   Rose Lavelle[19] Boston Breakers 1 goal, 1 assist in 3 games; Breakers 2-1-0 in April
May   Sam Kerr[20] Sky Blue FC 2 goals, 2 assists in 5 games; Sky Blue FC 3-2-0 in May
June   Sam Kerr[21] Sky Blue FC 3 goals, 1 assist in 4 games; 30th career goal
July   Megan Rapinoe[22] Seattle Reign FC 5 goals in 4 games; Reign FC 2-1-1 in July
August   Alex Morgan [23] Orlando Pride 7 goals, 2 assists, 13 shots on goal, 11 chances created
September   Marta [24] Orlando Pride 2 goals, 13 chances created, 85.5% passing accuracy

Team of the MonthEdit

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

Weekly awardsEdit

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

Annual awardsEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

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  81. ^ "Save of the Week: Ashlyn Harris, Monica". September 26, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  82. ^ Linehan, Meg (October 3, 2017). "Jess Fishlock earns final Player of the Week honors for 2017". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  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.
  85. ^ Linehan, Meg (October 2, 2017). "Sam Kerr wins 2017 Golden Boot". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  86. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 16, 2017). "Paul Riley voted NWSL Coach of the Year". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  87. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 17, 2017). "Rookie of the Year: Ashley Hatch, North Carolina Courage". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  88. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 18, 2017). "Goalkeeper of the Year: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  89. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 19, 2017). "Defender of the Year: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  90. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 20, 2017). "NWSL MVP: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  91. ^ Purdy, Jacqueline (October 12, 2017). "2017 Best XI announced". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  92. ^ "NWSL announces Second XI selections". Nwslsoccer.com. October 10, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
NWSL Statistics
  1. ^ a b "NWSL Stats". NWSL. Retrieved October 1, 2017.

External linksEdit