Welcome to the NWSL Star Power Index -- a weekly gauge of the players who are generating buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list is often a a good thing but it doesn't have to be. Buzz comes in all sorts of different flavors and simply means that they're capturing the NWSL world's attention for one reason or another. Also, this is not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order, they're just all driving the conversation in their own ways.
1. Trinity Rodman (F) - Washington Spirit
Washington Spirit rookie Trinity Rodman has had an eventful year to date. The second-overall pick in the 2021 draft, Rodman made history when she became the youngest player to ever score a goal in an NWSL competition. That was earlier this year when she found the net in her 2021 NWSL debut during the Challenge Cup against the North Carolina Courage as a substitute in the Spirit's 3-2 loss.
Now, during the regular season, the 19 year old is continuing her impressive run with Washington, earning five starts over six games. She's regularly featuring in the attacking line alongside Ashley Hatch and Ashley Sanchez, and recorded her first regular season assist in May against Houston Dash.
Rodman topped it all and made highlights during week five action in NWSL against Chicago Red Stars when she scored her first NWSL regular season goal. Given that Rodman has the third most shots in the NWSL there will likely be many more to come.
2. Marta (F) - Orlando Pride
The Brazilian international is in her fifth year with Orlando Pride, and was recently named to Brazil's Olympic squad for the upcoming Tokyo games, and will participate in her fifth Olympic games. The club is off to their best regular season start in club history, and are undefeated in the first six matches of the season.
Her role through the clubs first games have primarily been as play maker rather than goal scorer, with her strong positioning off the ball, awareness to create space and pick out lanes for her teammates, and technical ability on the ball. She's created 12 chances, the most of anybody on the Pride and her 212 passes played is the third most on the team, behind only the two center backs.
Orlando's regular season undefeated run almost slipped away in their recent match against NJ/NY Gotham FC, but the streak continues thanks to some late game heroics from Marta and center back Courtney Petersen.
3. Ebony Salmon (F) - Racing Louisville FC
Earlier this month the Kentucky side recently signed Ebony Salmon to the team from Bristol City and the 20-year-old has already recorded her first goal for the team. The lone goal and game winner against the Houston Dash came in the 72nd minute.
Watch her sub in, receive the ball from Savannah McCaskill, split multiple Dash defenders and break through on goal:
4. Maria Sanchez (M) -- Houston Dash
The Mexican international was signed to a short term summer loan with the Dash in the beginning of June and has one match remaining with the club before she departs back to Liga MX Femenil with her club Tigres Femenil. The signing has provided the Dash with some new excitement as the winger has become another attacking option with captain Rachel Daly off on international duty ahead of the Olympics.
Sanchez earned her first start for Houston against Racing Louisville FC where she nearly broke through on goal for the team, but the goal was ruled offside. She lead attackers in total touches with 45, and was highest in completed pass percentage among attacking Dash players as well with 82.5%.
5. Caprice Dydasco (D) -- NJ/NY Gotham FC
The outside back has had to play her way back from a string of injuries, but her recent form for Gotham FC on the flank has been key for the defense with the lowest goals allowed in the league with 0.4 per game. For the veteran defender, however it's not how she's keeping the ball out of the net that's bringing her attention, but rather how she connected on goal after getting out wide and sending in service that wound up in the back of the net for an early Gotham FC lead against Orlando Pride.