Below is the first edition of North American women’s soccer power rankings, brought to you by The Equalizer, All White Kit and SportsMyriad. Thanks to Beau Dure for taking the initiative to compile everything while the rest of us ramble.
Right now, the soccer scene is such that two leagues – WPSL Elite League and the USL W-League – want to be known as the league. Each boast some great squads and some teams just totally out of their league. While we would all love to see those teams play each other, it just isn’t going to happen this year (except for that one Boston Breakers-D.C. United Women friendly).
Thus, we debate. I was out-voted on keeping Boston at No. 1 on the overall rankings list despite Sunday’s loss to Chicago. The Red Stars are clear contenders, I would just argue that a series of solid wins for Boston should account for more than one big one. But again, we debate!
And as Beau notes anyway, it’s impossible to physically see all of these games. I personally missed the Red-Stars Breakers match on Sunday, despite the live stream, since I was at the NY Fury-WNY Flash match.
Here’s what we have so far (at the bottom, check out the games to watch — or follow on Twitter — this week):
1. Chicago Red Stars (3-0-0, WPSL Elite) – roster
The Red Stars moved down from WPS after the 2010 season and kept a handful of experienced players. They also added WPS stars Lori Chalupny and Jen Buczkowski. The Boston game was their first real test, and they passed, winning 1-0.
2. Boston Breakers (5-1-0, WPSL Elite) – roster
The Breakers returned a few players from their WPS days, including Leslie Osborne, and added Cat Whitehill, Australians Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt, and a few other WPS veterans or signees. Heather O’Reilly signed but has not yet played. The Breakers had a nice streak going, including a win at New York, until visiting Chicago.
3. Pali Blues (4-0-0, W-League Western) – roster
National team pool players Sarah Huffman and Whitney Engen, 2011 All-League player Sasha Andrews, WPS vets Liz Bogus (WPS) and Nikki Washington (WPS), 2011 first-team All-American Cami Levin, Australian Servet Uzunlar … this is a W-League team?
4. New York Fury (3-1-1, WPSL Elite) – roster
In many respects, the Fury is simply the reincarnation of the Philadelphia Independence, with Sinead Farrelly, Gina and Tina DiMartino, Kia McNeil and a few others in the mix. Tobin Heath signed but may not be available much. The early schedule has been tough: The Fury already is 1-0-1 against the Flash and 0-1 against the Breakers.
5. Western New York Flash (1-2-1, WPSL Elite) – roster
The Flash kept a couple of players from their WPS days, including McCall Zerboni, then added U.S. pool players Lori Lindsey and Meghan Klingenberg (WNT) along with WPS veterans Nikki Marshall and Omolyn Davis. The record is deceiving thanks to a tough early schedule — losses vs. New York and at Boston.
6. Seattle Sounders Women (3-0-0, W-League Western) – roster
For some games, they’ll have Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe. For others, they’ll just settle for U.S. vet Stephanie Cox, pool player Keelin Winters, Mexico’s Veronica Perez and some youth national standouts.
7. D.C. United Women (4-0-0, W-League Atlantic) – roster
Becky Sauerbrunn won’t spend much time in Maryland, and FIFA’s rules are delaying Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson (though they were allowed to play in the exhibition). But WPS vet Carolyn Blank (WPS) and Marisa Abegg lead a strong group of collegians that has outscored league foes 10-2.
8. Atlanta Silverbacks (4-0-0, W-League Southeast) – roster
Defending champs are missing 2011 W-League final MVP Megan Tomlinson, but former UNC star Libby Guess is leading an overwhelming attack and bidding to be the best athlete among Athens Academy alumni.
9. Colorado Rush (3-1-0, W-League Western) – roster
Sole loss is 2-1 decision at Seattle Sounders Women (the version WITH the national teamers). WPS vet Brittany Bock and U-20 star Lindsey Horan are the big names on a solid team.
10. New England Mutiny (2-1-1, WPSL Elite) – roster
Not quite as many WPS veterans as the big four WPSL Elite teams, but New England has experience in Ciara McCormack and an impressive set of rising U.S. prospects from various age groups — Victoria DiMartino, Kristie Mewis and Morgan Andrews. The loss: New York Fury.
11. Santa Clarita Blue Heat (1-2-0, W-League Western) – roster
All-Leaguer Edites Fernandes has a couple of fellow Portuguese players on the team along with U.S. U-23 player Nadia Link and 2011 W-League goalkeeper of the year Cynthia Jacobo. They’ve dropped two games to Pali Blues.
12. Toronto Lady Lynx (3-0-1, W-League Central) – roster
Not many recognizable names, but they beat Hamilton, who beat longtime power Ottawa, so they claim this spot for now.
ALSO CONSIDERED (alphabetical order)
ASA Chesapeake Charge (1-2-0, WPSL Elite) – roster
Christine Nairn is the big name on a team consisting mostly of local prospects.
Beach Futbol Club (1-0-0 WPSL Pacific South) – roster
Only one game so far for a team featuring ex-WPS players Lauren Barnes, Megan Jesolva and Kristina Larsen.
Charlotte Lady Eagles (4-0-0, W-League Southeast) – roster
From Brazil via Austin, Leah Fortune leads an offense that has outscored opponents 13-1.
Colorado Rapids Women (2-0-1, W-League Western) – roster
A few internationals (Australia, South Africa, Denmark) may help this team compete in the tough West.
FC Dallas (2-0-0, WPSL Big Sky South) – roster
Casey Nogueira, Kerri Hanks and Alina Garciamendez are the names that pop out on this roster.
Fredericksburg Impact (3-0-0, W-League Atlantic) – roster
First-team NCAA D1 All-American Becca Wann scored two goals in the Impact’s 5-0 win over Northern Virginia. Tougher opposition awaits.
Hamilton FC Rage (2-1-1, W-League Central) – roster
Snapped Ottawa’s 17-game regular-season win streak.
New Jersey Wildcats (2-1-2, W-League Northeast) – roster
Might have started slowly, but they’re now integrating national team pool player Yael Averbuch, All-American Maya Hayes and youth national teamers Amber Brooks and Morgan Stith (U-23).
Ottawa Fury (2-1-0, W-League Central) – roster
Loss to Hamilton broke a 17-game regular-season win streak, but they have plenty of time to bounce back behind 2011 W-League MVP Mallory Outerbridge and All-League striker Jessica Shufelt.
San Diego SeaLions (2-0-0 WPSL Pacific South) – roster
Defeated the California Storm (Brandi Chastain, Sissi et al) in an exhibition, then wiped out the LA Vikings and Ajax America to start league play.
GAMES TO WATCH (times Eastern and possibly incorrect)
Monday, June 4
W-League Western: Colorado Rapids Women at Seattle Sounders Women; 10:30 p.m.; Tukwila, Wash.
Friday, June 8
WPSL Elite: New York Fury at Chicago Red Stars; 7 p.m.; River Forest, Ill.
W-League Western: Pali Blues at Colorado Rapids Women; 8 p.m.; Commerce City, Colo.
W-League Western: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Seattle Sounders; 10 p.m.; Tukwila, Wash.
Saturday, June 9
W-League Atlantic: D.C. United Women at Fredericksburg Impact; 2 p.m.; Fredericksburg, Va.
WPSL Elite: New England Mutiny at Western NY Flash; 7 p.m.; Rochester, N.Y.
WPSL Pacific South: San Diego SeaLions at Beach Futbol Club; 10 p.m.; Carson, Calif.
Sunday, June 10
W-League Western: Pali Blues at Colorado Rush; 2 p.m.; Commerce City, Co.
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