We’re one month into the regular season and, particularly in a league this deep, no team can be perfect.
So I’ve decided to exercise the freedom of prose and imagination to deliver a gift to every team that I think will help them this season, and possibly beyond.
Angel City FC – Healing crystals (the kind that work)
It’s not like ACFC have been shifting lots of goals, they’ve only allowed three, but they’ve had to abandon their intended 3-back formation due to long-term injuries. Seeing Sarah Gorden and Paige Nielsen fully fit and alongside the dominant Vanessa Gilles is what they intended, and I would like to see it.
Chicago Red Stars – A superstar #9
Don’t get me wrong, the Red Stars being fun has been a tremendous surprise. Though Mal Pugh has been in supernova God mode, a consistent striker would turn the fun-o-meter to eleventy billion.
Houston Dash – A hypnotist
The Houston Dash wowed in the first iteration of the Challenge Cup and won the whole darn thing. They were a fun, flying, high-energy team that hasn’t been that since. Most people don’t want to remember 2020, yet alone relive it, but it might help the Dash to believe the calendar hasn’t changed.
Kansas City Current – Healthy Snacks™
The Current shocked the woso world when they acquired USWNT stars (and hosts of the Snacks podcast) Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams. Mewis has been battling a knee issue and Williams is out for the season with a detached hamstring. It’s most unfortunate because it’s noticeable how they’d fit in.
NJ/NY Gotham FC – A midfielding midfield
Of course, this could be as simple as playing Jennifer Cudjoe, but Gotham need to find stability in midfield. They put up too little resistance to their goal and make very hard work of attacking the opposition’s net.
North Carolina Courage – A brand new front office
OL Reign – A sprinkling of magic finishing dust
OL Reign are solid defensively with versatility in midfield and sharp attacking talent. They also have surgical right foot deliveries from Sofia Huerta. Yet they’ve only converted a league low 6.5% of their shots. Forget sprinkling, they may need to frolic in it.
Orlando Pride – The remote from Click
Amanda Cromwell, longtime UCLA coach and now rookie NWSL head coach, has already had positive results. But an additional year of familiarity, an offseason of good recruitment, plus the return of injured players like Marta (the GOAT), and Orlando could become a fixture at the top half of the table. Just fast forward.
Portland Thorns – Less conservatism more vibes
Since 2016 the Thorns have only failed to crack 30 goals in a full season once (there were only 9 teams that year), and hit 40 twice! Presently they’re on pace to score 26 goals in a twelve team league, twenty-two game season. I miss the chaos, the fun, the dynamism and unpredictability. Get off my lawn and give me my spritely Thorns back.
Racing Louisville – Team sheets with EBONY SALMON in permanent marker
Salmon was responsible for 33%(!) of Louisville’s goals last year, yet the exciting England forward and author of some of the team’s best moments last season has gone missing. Well, not really, she’s right there, but coach Kim Björkegren isn’t using her. She’s only played 68 minutes.
San Diego Wave – New inaugural kits
On the pitch the Wave have been the regular season’s biggest surprise, but you only get to do an inaugural season once, and the shirts better be good. Racing Louisville reworked their entire branding (which led to an incredible home shirt) ahead of their first season, and Cali pals Angel City released two iconic first shirts. Meanwhile, San Diego is running around with rec league vibes.
Washington Spirit – Naps. All of them. All of the naps.
The Spirit are currently in a stretch of eight games in 27 days. They need a break, they need to rest, they need to recover. They need some damn naps.