At 15-1-4, the North Carolina Courage have already locked up the NWSL Shield and the No. 1 seed in the NWSL playoffs — but with four games left in the regular season, they have a chance to make some history.
The record for wins in an NWSL regular season is 16 — set by Seattle Reign FC in 2014 and tied by the Courage in 2017. And, if you look at all of women’s professional soccer in the United States, 16 wins is the record across all three leagues — NWSL, Women’s Professional Soccer and the Women’s United Soccer Association. The only other team to record 16 wins in a season is FC Gold Pride in 2010.
Seattle Reign FC in 2014:
50 goals for, 20 against, +30 goal differential
54 points, 13 points ahead of the second-place team
FC Gold Pride in 2010:
46 goals for, 19 goals against +27 goal differential
53 points, 17 points ahead
North Carolina Courage in 2017:
38 goals for, 22 goals against, +16 goal differential
49 points, 2 points ahead
North Carolina Courage in 2018, through 20 games:
43 goals for, 15 goals against, +28 goal differential
49 points, 16 points ahead
Seattle Reign FC’s 54 points and 50 goals scored also remain records. The Courage need just eight more goals and six more points over their last four games to break those. Whether they finish more points ahead of the second place finisher than FC Gold Pride did in 2010, will likely come down to the wire.
The 2018 Courage are also chasing the highest points per game across all three leagues.
While the teams mentioned above all did their damage in 24-game seasons, the points per game record brings in a few more teams that played shorter seasons: the 2011 Western New York Flash and the 2009 Los Angeles Sol of WPS, as well as the 2016 Portland Thorns FC and 2015 Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL.
The Flash only played 18 games in the World Cup shortened season of 2011, but finished 13-2-3 with 42 points, which factors out to 2.33 points per game. The Sol went 12-3-5 over 20 games in 2009 — 41 points and 2.05 points per game. The Thorns went 12-3-5 over 20 games in 2016 — 41 points and 2.05 points per game. The Reign followed up their 2014 campaign with a 13-3-4 record in 20 games in 2015 — 43 points and 2.15 points per game.
1. 2018 North Carolina Courage, so far: 2.45 points per game
2. 2011 Western New York Flash: 2.33 points per game
3. 2014 Seattle Reign FC: 2.25 points per game
4. 2010 FC Gold Pride: 2.21 points per game
5. 2015 Seattle Reign FC: 2.15 points per game
6. (tie) 2009 Los Angeles Sol: 2.05 points per game
6. (tie) 2016 Portland Thorns FC: 2.05 points per game
8. 2017 North Carolina Courage: 2.04 points per game
The Courage need at least eight points in their final four games (57 points or higher to end the season) to finish with a higher points per game average than 2.33. Even if they don’t earn another point this season, they will still average 2.04 — the same as last year.
Between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Courage have already eclipsed the mark for most wins over a two season span in the NWSL with 31 wins over the last two years. The 2014/2015 Reign had 29 wins over two seasons, the previous high mark.
For those wondering, the best regular season finish in the WUSA was the 2002 Carolina Courage. They went 12-5-4 with 40 points in 21 games (1.90 points per game). Carolina scored 40 goals and allowed 30 goals for a +10 goal differential.