As we hit the Olympic break there are less than 10 points that separate the first six teams in the NWSL, four of which will head to the playoffs in October.
With the middle of the table compacted as much as it is, the job of predicting who might or might not make the playoffs becomes more challenging. But I decided to take a stab at looking at the tea leaves to see what the future holds for the NWSL playoffs.
With 5 games left (or 6 if you're Washington), there are still quite a few points left on the table.
Washington Spirit: Washington has 6 games, one more than any other team in the playoff race. Because of those "extra" three points that could be won, I see them ending up at the top of the table for the first time.
Portland Thorns FC: Portland has survived having the national team players away better than most people thought. I'm predicting no more losses for the Thorns but three more draws to close out their season.
Western New York Flash: This is the team that has surprised quite a few people. Last season was undoubtedly rough for the Flash. But this season the "blue collar" team has managed to put together quite a few surprising wins and made themselves a contender.
Seattle Reign FC: If Seattle is going to fulfill my prediction to make the playoffs, they are going to need to win at least three of their last five games. I have two draws to round out their five games. With Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo rejoining the team post Rio, the Reign might have a little magic left heading into the final stretch of the season.
Sky Blue FC: The road for Sky Blue is not an easy one. With the three draws I'm predicting, they will end up one point behind Seattle. If, however, they manage to tie Seattle on points for 4th, they would make the playoffs because head-to-head is the first tiebreaker.
Chicago Red Stars: I will admit that I do not find much hope for Chicago heading down to stretch. With the assumption that other teams will fight ahead for a playoff spot, I admit this might be the least reliable of the predicted results.
Below is a breakdown of each team's final matchups, and the predicted results in each game.
Western NY Flash
Sky Blue FC
Chicago Red Stars