Only four points separate the Houston Dash (3rd) and Orlando Pride (8th), turning the last two weeks of the NWSL regular season into an all-out skirmish to secure playoff spots.

The Dash made the best of their two NWSL games last week. James Clarkson's side picked up three points on the road against league-leaders Portland on Wednesday, Oct. 6, and another three points at home against the NC Courage on Sunday. English forward Rachel Daly was the difference-maker in both matches, scoring a couple of braces. The six points helped Houston jump from sixth to third place.

Two other teams that also enjoyed last week's games were NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit. The two sides met at Subaru Park in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 6, a game that ended in a goalless draw. However, both teams secured three points on the weekend. 

Gotham edged out a 3-2 win against the Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium thanks to a brace from French midfielder Gaetane Thiney. On the other hand, Ashley Hatch lifted the Spirit with a two-goal performance against Racing Louisville. Washington (5th) and Gotham FC (6th) are now holding the last two playoff spots.  

Welsch midfielder Jess Fishlock scored two goals against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday to give OL Reign a win in their only game of the week. The Reign will face a Thorns side that has retrieved one point from their last three league matches on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The Cascadia matchup will most likely serve as the NWSL Shield decider.

Who are the top five NWSL teams as of Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021

NWSL top three goalscorers

NWSL – Headlines

The Portland Thorns became the first team in the league to secure playoffs on Oct. 9.

Bethany Balcer is named NWSL Player of the Month for September 2021.

The Portland-OL Reign match from Oct. 2 has been rescheduled to Oct. 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET

Top matches to watch in NWSL: Oct. 13

Wednesday, Oct. 13

NC Courage vs. Washington Spirit at 7:30 p.m. ET

Kansas City vs. Houston Dash at 8 p.m. ET

Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride at 8 p.m. ET

Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign at 10:30 p.m. ET