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2018 SFPI NWSL Power Rankings (Week Ending May 13)

First 2018 edition!

Kris Lattimore

Now that everyone (looking at you Sky Blue FC) FINALLY has five matches under their belts we can begin the 2018 NWSL SFPI Power Rankings! To the surprise of precisely nobody, the reigning Shield holders, North Carolina Courage, are picking up right where they left off, blowing through the competition with a 6-0-2 (W-L-D) record. The big early surprise, though, has been the way the defending champion Thorns have struggled as late as they are winless in their last five (0-2-3).

As always, here’s a quick reminder of how I arrive at these rankings:

The SFPI has two main components: “Performance Score,” which is determined 100% by on-the-field results, and “Strength of Schedule,” which takes the average Performance Score of all of a team’s opponents to date, with a mechanism to account for games on the road.

Performance Score

A team’s Performance Score is made up of the following components:

  • Points Per Game (PPG) Score: This takes a team’s overall PPG and adds their PPG over their last five matches with the last five being given more weight. This is the single largest component of the SFPI.
  • Goal Difference Per Game: overall goal difference divided by total games played.
  • Home/Away Bonus: Bonus points are awarded for earning results (W/D) on the road, and an equal number of points are subtracted for dropping results (D/L) at home. Accrues over the entire season.

Strength of Schedule

As stated above, a team’s Strength of Schedule is reached by taking the average performance score of all of a team’s opponents to date. It accounts for road matches by adding a percentage of an opponent’s PPG at home to their Performance Score. Teams faced multiple times are counted that number of times. Weighted at less than 100%.

For the purposes of ranking Strength of Schedule, the number represents how hard a team’s schedule is in relation to the rest of the league. One is the toughest and nine is the easiest; the same goes for Remaining Schedule. Also note the “Pace” feature. This is how many points a team is on pace for given their current points per game. Future weeks will show how a team’s results in the current week change that pace.

Performance Score and Strength of Schedule combine to give a team’s total score. A negative total score is theoretically possible, although it requires an extended period of very poor play.

Let us begin!

1 North Carolina Courage (20 points, 6-0-2)

Score: 8.852

Schedule: 9; Pace: 60; Remaining Schedule: 6

Last Week: W 1-0 vs Washington

Next Week: at (9) Sky Blue FC

2 Seattle Reign (13 points, 4-1-1)

Score: 8.771

Schedule: 8; Pace: 52; Remaining Schedule: 9

Last Week: W 4-1 vs Sky Blue FC

Next Week: vs (7) Chicago

3 Orlando Pride (12 points, 3-2-3)

Score: 7.7169

Schedule: 6; Pace: 36; Remaining Schedule: 4

Last Week: D 0-0 at Utah

W 2-1 at Portland

Next Week: Bye

4 Utah Royals (8 points, 1-1-5)

Score: 5.46

Schedule: 4; Pace: 27; Remaining Schedule: 5

Last Week: D 0-0 vs Orlando

Next Week: vs (8) Houston

5 Portland Thorns (9 points, 2-3-3)

Score: 4.7261

Schedule: 3; Pace: 27; Remaining Schedule: 7

Last Week: D 1-1 at Houston, L 2-1 vs Orlando

Next Week: at (6) Washington

6 Washington Spirit (5 points, 1-4-2)

Score: 4.0904

Schedule: 2; Pace: 17; Remaining Schedule: 8

Last Week: L 1-0 at North Carolina

Next Week: vs (5) Portland

7 Chicago Red Stars (11 points, 2-2-5)

Score: 3.9946

Schedule: 7; Pace: 29; Remaining Schedule: 2

Last Week: Draw 2-2 vs Houston

Next Week: at (2) Chicago

8 Houston Dash (7 points, 1-3-4)

Score: 3.6339

Schedule: 5; Pace: 21; Remaining Schedule: 1

Last Week: D 1-1 vs Portland, D 2-2 at Chicago

Next Week: at (4) Utah

9 Sky Blue FC (1 points 0-4-1)

Score: 2.4549

Schedule: 1; Pace: 4; Remaining Schedule: 3

Last Week: L 4-1 at Seattle

Next Week: vs (1) North Carolina


I didn’t do NWSL Predictions last year, but will give it a try this year. Unlike MLS, I will give a 1.5 point bonus to home teams and call a draw if the teams are within a point.

Houston at Utah: Utah

Portland at Washington: Draw

North Carolina at Sky Blue: North Carolina

Chicago at Seattle: Seattle