NWSL Week 19: 2 Spots Remain

On Wednesday night, it was easy to miss the news that came out of the Washington Spirit match that they'd clinched a home playoff game, because everyone was talking about the lightning delay instead. Oh, no, it was the National Anthem thing. Right. Almost forgot.

I'm with the players on this, and probably on most other things. 

Portland also punched their ticket to the post season, while the Flash missed the chance to grab all three points and cement their unlikely playoff appearance by drawing 2-2 away at the Breakers. The Flash and Red Stars still look like solid bets, but if neither team can earn a point over the next two matches while Seattle and Sky Blue collect 6 points each, the seemingly impossible could become very interesting. All the more reason to watch every match.

And, as luck would have it, there are four on YouTube and one on FS1 for your enjoyment this weekend. 

Bold Predictions weren't as awful as expected last week, and my lone reader was as shocked as anyone. I'm sure I'll mess them up this time.

Sky Blue FC at Orlando Pride

Saturday at 7:30PM Eastern

Bold Predictions: I like the Pride at home, plus Sky Blue will be without Leah Galton (concussion) and Taylor Lytle (knee). Additionally, Kelley O'Hara is questionable with the right ankle. I suspect she'll give it a run out as a sub to see how she feels ahead of the USWNT friendlies. Orlando will be without Becky Edwards, and Laura Alleway is 50/50. No stress. 3-1 Pride

Chicago Red Stars at FC Kansas City

Sunday at 6:00PM Eastern

Bold Prediction: FCKC embarrassed Chicago with a 3-2 defeat at home on FS1 just days ago, and now the Red Stars get the chance to return the favor. I'm not so sure. Both teams are close to full strength, but the Blues had a way of repelling the Red Stars attack, even if it wasn't pretty at times. Broon and Averbuch held up well enough, and O'Reilly had a lot of space to operate. I think Chicago improves enough to collect a point, but that's it. 2-2 Draw.

Boston Breakers at Houston Dash

Sunday at 7:00PM Eastern

Bold Prediction: Houston beat the Breakers in Boston 3-1 just two Wednesdays ago, and Boston had all their players. Now, the visitors will be without Julie King due to a 1-game ban from yellow card accumulation. Oh, and they'll be without Whitney Engen, whose hamstring isn't cooperating. That's half the back line. Christen Westphal (who, incidentally, was missed by her Florida side against Kentucky the other night) has looked good at times and should slot in, but she's not 100% with a right ankle sprain suffered early in the first Dash clash. Will Beard resort to his 5-back formation, possibly employing Rachel Wood and Kylie Strom simultaneously? I'm not sure it's going to matter. Kealia Ohai can't be stopped. I'm going to hope this doesn't get ugly. Dash win 4-2.

WNY Flash at Portland Thorns

Sunday at 9:30PM Eastern

Bold Prediction: Thorns, Thorns, Thorns. Portland doesn't list so much as a single probable player on the injury report, and that's because they're all lizard people who cannot be injured or contacted or have balls removed from their possession. They slither through everyone, and score delightful goals while playing delightful football. No room for Sinclair? No stress, Nadim will score three. If the Flash turn in a performance like they did on Wednesday night in Boston, they're going to be in for a big surprise and an ugly result. Crucial Flash defender Alannah Kennedy is questionable due to a hamstring strain that she hasn't had proper time to let recover. This match is on FS1, and Providence Park should be full. Though they could be forgiven for resting a few players after having clinched the playoff berth, I think the Thorns will make a statement on national TV. The Flash need the points, but I can't see them getting any in the Rose City on Sunday. Portland 3-1 Flash.

Turn on your TV and flip on over to FS1 at 9:30PM. Or, set your DVR, because...

Washington Spirit at Seattle Reign

Sunday at 10:00PM Eastern

Bold Prediction: Megan Rapinoe kneels during the National Anthem at home, and the world doesn't end, WoSo Twitter doesn't explode, and maybe, just maybe, these two teams can play what's essentially a meaningless game for Washington. Seattle needs all 3 points (and for the Flash and Red Stars to flop) to stay in the chase. I think they put together a winning performance at home and we get to wait until the final weekend of the season to determine the playoff teams. Reign 3-2 Spirit. Rapinoe just has to score, right?