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NWSL Playoff Scenarios

Utah Royals need a LOT of help to make the playoffs

2015 NWSL Championship Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

What needs to happen for the Utah Royals FC to make the playoffs? To be blunt, we’ll need a lot of help where only the top 4 teams advance.

Six teams sit above the Royals, with North Carolina Courage , and Seattle Reign FC already in, Washington Spirit, and Sky Blue FC are eliminated:

  • Portland Thorns FC have 33 points from 21 games; the Royals could pass them - if they only get 1 point from their remaining 3 games. They play Sky Blue at home tonight, and we all know how that one should go. Their 2nd game is away vs the Spirit, which could be a close game. And as above, the final game is vs Seattle - possibly a draw, but a likely narrow win. Probable final points: 39
  • Chicago Red Stars currently in 4th with 31 points from 21 games. They play in Orlando this weekend, then away vs Sky Blue and the final game here in Utah. They’ve only lost once away this season, so figure on a win and two draws for their final three games. Probable final points: 36
  • Orlando Pride currently sit just outside the playoff standings with 30 points from 22 games. They play home vs Chicago then away vs Sky Blue. To be in they have to win out. Probable final points: 34
  • Houston Dash are in the same boat as the Royals, but with one game in hand. If they win out they could end on 38 points, but with Seattle, Sky Blue and North Carolina as their last opponents, it’s likely the best they’ll get is 3-4 points. Probable final points: 33

For the Utah Royals to have a chance they must win their last two games - tonight vs Washington Spirit, and then on the 8th at home vs Chicago Red Stars. That would put us at 35 points, good enough for 3rd place, but it’s more likely that the best we could do is 4th. For us to make it in, we’ll have to hope for the best case scenario in every remaining game.

Remaining NWSL Season


  • Washington vs Utah: Utah has to win. A loss or draw and we’re out. (Utah 32 pts)
  • Portland vs Sky Blue: A Portland win or draw means best we could do is 4th. Hope for Sky Blue to pull off a miracle! (POR 33 pts / SKY 8 pts)


  • Orlando vs Chicago: We want no winners here. If Chicago wins they’ll have to lose their final two games for us to have a chance at 4th; if Orlando wins, they’ll have to lose their last game. (ORL 31 pts / CHI 32 pts)
  • Seattle vs North Carolina: Results here will not affect the Royals; both teams have already qualified.
  • Washington vs Portland: C’mon Spirit! Again, a Portland win or draw and the best we can do is 4th! (WASH 16 / POR 33 pts)
  • Houston vs Sky Blue: Root for Sky Blue like you’ve never done before! (HOU 29 pts / SKY 11 pts)


  • Washington vs Sky Blue: Results here will not affect the Royals as both teams are already eliminated.
  • Chicago vs Sky Blue: Again, root for Sky Blue! (CHI 32 / SKY 14 pts)

9/7-9/8 Final game day!

  • Portland vs Seattle: Even if they lose their other two games, Seattle should already be in based on other results, so root for Seattle! (POR 33 pts / SEA 43 pts)
  • Sky Blue vs Orlando: Hope for Sky Blue, but a tie wouldn’t be bad unless they won vs Chicago. (SKY 14 or 15 pts / ORL 32 or 34 pts)
  • Utah vs Chicago: Utah has to win, or it’s over. (Utah: 35 pts / CHI 32 pts)
  • North Carolina vs Houston: North Carolina is expected to, and needs to win if Houston has won and or tied their previous two games. (NCC 59 pts / HOU 29 pts)

In the ideal scenario the standings would end up:

  1. North Carolina Courage: 59
  2. Seattle Reign: 43
  3. Utah Royals: 35
  4. Portland Thorns: 33
  5. Chicago Red Stars: 32
  6. Orlando Pride: 32
  7. Houston Dash: 29
  8. Washington Spirit: 19
  9. Sky Blue FC: 15

Will all the cards fall our way? Chances are obviously against us, but this shows hope is not completely lost!