The 2021 NWSL MVP might not go to the golden boot winner; here are three candidates that deserve consideration

The National Women’s Soccer League season is reaching its last weeks of play and with it come the routine season awards cycle. Historically, the golden boot winner for leading scorer has actually eventually gone on to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award. It’s occurred 6 out of the 7 seasons going back to 2013. 

In 2018, then-Chicago Red Stars forward and Australia worldwide Sam Kerr led the league in scoring with 16 objectives, however Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan took house NWSL MVP honors. It’s likewise worth keeping in mind that the league did not distribute awards in 2020 when the league needed to work around the continuous COVID-19 pandemic to hold the Challenge Cup and Fall Series.


Lauren Holiday (12 objectives), FC Kansas CIty

Lauren Holiday, FC Kansas CIty


Kim Little (16 objectives), Seattle Reign FC

Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC


Crystal Dunn (15 objectives), Washington Spirit

Crystal Dunn, Washington Spirit


Lynn Williams (11 objectives), Western New York Flash

Lynn WIlliams, Western New York Flash


Sam Kerr (17 objectives), Sky Blue FC

Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC


Sam Kerr (16 objectives), Chicago Red Stars

Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC


Sam Kerr (18 objectives), Chicago Red Stars

Sam Kerr

Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch is the present frontrunner for the Golden Boot reward with 10 objectives this season. Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly and the OL Reign’s Bethany Balcer remain in 2nd and not far behind with 9 objectives. Orlando Pride’s Sydney Leroux and NJ/NY Gotham FC’s Margaret Purce are likewise in the hunt with 8 objectives.

In 2019, the last time the NWSL played a complete season, there were 108 matches played and 2.61 objectives scored per match. As of Friday, we have actually had 172 objectives scored through 86 video games played, which puts us precisely at a two-goal-per-match clip. The MVP Award does not always need to go to the very best scorer. If there’s ever been a season where the leading scorer may not run away with the MVP Award, then this may be it. Clinical objectives have actually been limited. Scoring is down to the point where if no one reaches 11 objectives, this will be the worst scoring output for any Golden Boot winner in the young history of the NWSL.

This, then, is an introducing point for us to analyze a few of the very best gamers in the league this season that aren’t especially respected scorers, however have actually been important to their particular group’s success and should have MVP factor to consider. Consider this your take a look at the dark horse prospects for the 2021 NWSL MVP award.

1. Jess Fishlock (OL Reign, midfielder)

The Welsh worldwide has actually been with the club considering that its inaugural season, and has actually been a staple in the middle of the park since. OL Reign are stacked with skill this season and presently being in 2nd location with a ticket currently reserved for the postseason. 

Jess Fishlock has actually included in 22 video games (20 starts) for OL Reign, with 4 helps to date. She’s practically outshined her anticipated objective rate of 4.71 by scoring 5 objectives this season. Her capability to establish colleagues and develop her own shot has actually made her danger in the attack in any given minute. She covers a lots of location for the club as she’s 2nd on the group in aerial battles (54.8) and healings (129). 

OL Reign left to a extremely rough start, losing 5 of their very first 8 video games and had a hard time to hover in playoff position. But Fishlock’s use the pitch and her management off it has actually played a substantial function in the turn-around.

2. Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit, midfielder)

Andi Sullivan was prepared in 2018 and has actually turned into the face of the Washington Spirit as a powerhouse midfielder and group captain. Sullivan has actually included in 18 video games, all as a starter and leads Spirit midfielders in pass conclusion portion (83.3) and is 4th total in the league in the exact same classification. 

Sullivan has actually just scored two times and dispensed 3 helps (second-best on her group), however it’s her capability to break lines and get in touch with assaulters on long through balls that makes her a genuine danger on offense. Her battle success rate (52.1) makes her difficult to break down in the midfield. She has actually likewise been the one to step up and take charges for the group in current video games.

3. Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars, midfielder)

Morgan Gautrat has actually included in 20 video games, all starts and is putting the ending up touches of an MVP-caliber project for a Chicago Red Stars side that discovers even more success with her on the field far than when off. Her 2 objectives this season (all by means of penalty shot) aren’t precisely turning heads and making headings, however the holding midfielder has actually discovered success no matter who she’s coupled with in the middle of the park as Chicago handles its congested midfield alternatives on the lineup. 

Gautrat has actually had the ability to manage pace when on the ball and both create attack and cover ground defensively. She is 3rd on the group in crucial passes and helps behind assaulters Mallory Pugh and Kealia Watt, and 3rd in the whole league in healings with 192. She is 2nd on the group with effective enter the last 3rd. 

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