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CBS Sports/USATSI

The NWSL expansion sides have cooled off after hot starts to the regular season and other teams out there are navigating through a brutal match load. Meanwhile, other clubs have welcomed the return of playmakers back into the fray. Kerolin returned from an ankle injury for North Carolina and Mallory Pugh returned from concussion protocols for Chicago. We've only got two matchday left in the month of June before we break for an international window. 

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Let's take a look at some power rankings ahead of midweek NWSL action:

NWSL Power Rankings

RankTeamChangeAnalysis

1.

Portland Thorns FC

+2

Lethal in the attacking third with five goals in their past two matches. Sophia Smith has been key to up front, getting dynamic looks in front of goal. Longtime captain Christine Sinclair leads the club in expected goals (xG) with 1.86 after scoring a brace in the recent win against Kansas City.

2.

San Diego Wave FC

-1

Bounced back from the OL Reign loss by splitting points with Kansas City. San Diego is third among the league in total goals (10) after Sofia Jakobsson came up clutch with the stoppage-time assist to Alex Morgan for the equalizer. Morgan is doing the bulk of the scoring and Jakobsson sits third among the team in expected assists (xA) at 0.86 despite only 88 pass attempts over the Wave's seven games.

3.

Houston Dash

+3

Interim coach Sarah Lowdan has this side on a five-game unbeaten streak (3W, 2D) entering June. The Dash have the best goal differential (11-3) in the league and are tied with Chicago for most goals (11) through six games played. But they will be without their captain and leading scorer Rachel Daly as she heads off to represent England ahead of the Euros.

4.

Chicago Red Stars

+1

The club has plugged in several rookies into the fold as it deals with stretch of five games in 15 days. The first-year players have helped the Red Stars go unbeaten in their past four matches as Mallory Pugh continues her impressive form. Pugh leads the team in goals scored (4) over her first four appearances.

5.

OL Reign

+3

Their struggles to finish in front led to their first regulation loss since the regular-season opener on May 1. They're league leaders in total shots (103) and chances created (75), but have been unable to convert or put together a multi-goal win. Only two goals have been scored in the past 503 minutes.

6.

North Carolina Courage

+3

Finally string together some positive results after going three games without a win to begin regular season play. Brazilian international Kerolin made her return as they kicked off June with a 3-0 win over Racing Louisville FC. Rookie Diana Ordonez has been providing offense for the Courage, scoring a goal in each of the past two games.. 

7.

Racing Louisville FC

-4

Back-to-back losses will sting for a team that has backed off from the high press, which gave them some success earlier in the season with a four-game unbeaten streak. They will need to ensure that Jessica McDonald is targeted as she leads the team in goals (2), shots (16) and xG (1.96).

8.

Angel City FC

-4

How bad has the finishing in the final third been for this team? It's been 318 minutes since we last saw an ACFC player score a goal (Christen Press). They are scoreless in their last two matches and they have last found the back of the net via an own goal. The forwards have been tasked with more defensive work as of late. As a result, the midfielders and fullbacks need to get more involved in providing different options up front. 

9.

NJ/NY Gotham FC

+3

Back-to-back 1-0 wins has this club in the top five. Let's see if these wins are the start of a spark for a Gotham attack that is only averaging a goal a game, with forward Margaret Purce leading the team in goals (2).

10.

Washington Spirit

-3

The attacking trio of Ashley Hatch, Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman have combined for only six goals over seven regular-season games. A heavy load of eight games in 31 days, including the Challenge Cup final, can explain some of those struggles.

11.

Kansas City Current

They haven't quite been able to recapture their Challenge Cup success in the regular season. They let three vital points slip away on Alex Morgan's stoppage-time goal. Rookies Elyse Bennett and Alex Loera have been bright spots for a club that has been dealing with injuries. 

12.

Orlando Pride

-2

Moving Gunny Jonsdottir out of her defensive midfield role and into right back was a decision that backfired for the Pride as they suffered a massive 5-0 loss to Houston on Friday.