NWSL players set for W-League Finals Series
The W-League Finals Series begins this weekend
Sam Kerr plays for Perth Glory and Yuki Nagasato plays for Brisbane Roar in the W-Leauge. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)
Sam Kerr plays for Perth Glory and Yuki Nagasato plays for Brisbane Roar in the W-Leauge. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

The Westfield W-League wrapped up its 11th regular season this past weekend, featuring over 35 NWSL players. The W-League semifinals are set for this weekend with Melbourne Victory facing Perth Glory on Saturday (10 p.m. ET) and then Brisbane Roar hosting Sydney FC on Sunday (3 a.m. ET).

There will be several NWSL players vying for a final berth this weekend–for Melbourne Victory, Christine Nairn (Orlando Pride), Dani Weatherholt (Orlando Pride) and Samantha Johnson (Utah Royals FC) will face the all-time W-League goal scorer Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride), Nikki Stanton (Chicago Red Stars), Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Naughton (Chicago Red Stars).

The semifinal between Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory will be a rematch from last weekend when Melbourne Victory defeated Perth Glory 2-1. Despite the defeat, Kerr scored her 11th goal of the season—last month Kerr broke the W-League all-time scoring record reaching 64 career goals. She is now the all-time scorer in both the W-League and the NWSL (59 goals).

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Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill scored five goals this season for Perth Glory, good for third-best in the league. She also leads the W-League in assists with six. Perth Glory teammate Alyssa Mautz chipped in four goals, finishing fourth-best in the league.

Melbourne is soaring into the Finals Series after clinching the regular season with a 7-2-3 overall record for 24 points. Christine Nairn finished the regular season with four assists, good for second-best across the league. Nairn was also second for chances created this season with 31.

NWSL players dominated in chances created across the board. Kerr led the way with 39, followed by Nairn and Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC/Sydney FC) each with 31 chances created respectively, Hill (29), Elizabeth Addo, who played for Reign FC before being waived this week, created 25 chances, Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars/Brisbane Roar) created 25 chances, Elise Kellond-Knight (Reign FC/Melbourne City FC) had 25 too, Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars/Perth Glory) created 24 chances and then Theresa Nielsen (Reign FC/Melbourne City FC) created 23 chances.

The other semifinal match features Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC. Brisbane Roar have Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars), Clare Polkinghorne (Houston Dash), Carson Pickett (Orlando Pride), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride), Celeste Boureille (Portland Thorns FC) and Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC).

Sydney FC also are properly stacked with NWSL players in Sofia Huerta (Houston Dash), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC), Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) and Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit).

Sydney FC return to the W-League Final Series for their 11th consecutive season. Foord scored nine goals in 12 appearances this season, second-best in the league. Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe finished the regular season with 45 saves in 11 appearances, third highest in the W-League.

Brisbane Roar finished in second place in the regular season with 20 points and a 6-4-2 overall record, and Sydney FC finished just behind them in the standings with 19 points and a 6-5-1 overall record. Carson Pickett finished third-highest in the W-League regular season with 63 crosses in 11 appearances.

In addition to all the NWSL players gearing up for the Finals Series, the other five W-League teams also featured NWSL talent. Melbourne City FC Women, who won the last three Grand Finals, have a handful of Reign FC players on the roster: Lauren BarnesSteph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight, Theresa NielsenJasmyne SpencerJodie Taylor and Lydia Williams. Additionally, Kyah Simon (Houston Dash) also played for Melbourne City this past season, but recently underwent ankle reconstruction surgery.

Melbourne finished the season in fifth place with a 6-5-1 overall record for 19 points.

Reign FC forward Jasmyne Spencer scored four goals in 11 appearances to lead her team.

Adelaide United Women finished the regular season in fourth place with a 5-4-3 record for 18 points. Houston Dash defender Amber Brooks and forward Veronica Latsko played for them this season, along with Utah Royals FC forward Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir. Latsko scored nine goals in 12 appearances for Adelaide, which put her in a three-way tie for second-most goals across the league. Amber Brooks led her side in assists with three in 12 appearances.

Four NWSL players, Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit), Britt Eckerstrom (Portland Thorns FC), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and Katie Stengel (Utah Royals FC) played for the Newcastle Jets this season, however Smith and Stengel both suffered injuries in December. Smith tore her ACL while playing for Newcastle against Perth Glory, and Stengel suffered an ankle injury that has kept her sidelined in a boot. Newcastle finished in seventh place with a 5-6-1 overall record for 16 points.

Eckerstrom finished the regular season with the most saves across the league with 61 in 12 appearances for Newcastle.

Canberra United and the Western Sydney Wanderers sit at the bottom of the W-League ladder after 14 weeks. Canberra United finished in eighth place with a 3-5-4 record for 13 points, while the Western Sydney Wanderers won one game this season and finished at 1-10-1 for four points. Canberra featured three NWSL players in Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC) and Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals FC). The Western Sydney Wanderers had a duo of Utah Royals FC players on their roster in Lo’eau LaBonta and Sydney Miramontez.

The W-League shared a guide to watching the Finals Series.

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