Women's Soccer

67YAZ

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Changes already starting to ripple through the NWSL.

The Red Star's owner Arnim Whisler released a risible statement indicating he is so sorry for what happened to players, which he already had knowledge of, and is stepping away from the management of the club and involvement in the league. As soon as Chicago's season wraps, he needs to sell.

Louisville's president issued a statement apologizing for hiring Christy Holly and added "We are not the same club that we were in August of 2021. We now owe it to our players and community to prove it." Racing refused many of Yates' requests saying their hands were tied by NDAs signed when removing Holly. I think signing NDAs to cover up such vile behavior is itself enough to warrant a change in ownership.

Portland is taking more direct action already.

 
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InstaFace

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Merritt Paulson firing the front office, for making decisions showing poor moral character, is like Putin firing some generals for not winning the strategically disastrous war he chose to start.
 

67YAZ

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England-US tomorrow! For England, their captain Williamson and Euro Golden Boot winner Russo both left camp with injuries. And the US left Alex Morgan home with a minor knee concern. Both managers still have plenty of talent to roll out. And since Wiegman is one of the best managers on the planet, it will be fascinating to see how she comes at the Americans.

The USSF report on sexual abuse hangs over this match. One one hand, it’s very sad that players from both squads have to keep answering questions about this and distract from probably the most anticipated women’s friendly in history. On the other hand, the players have very effectively used their platform to bring attention to the report & the problems. England reached out to the US to plan a show of solidarity tomorrow.
 

67YAZ

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Lalas was complaining that England had brought out the Euros trophy on to the pitch pre-match, and Aly Wagner quipped at him, "What, you never lifted a trophy?"

Not often do you see Lalas dumbfounded.
 

67YAZ

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Pinoe got bypassed like a training cone there. Cook was unlucky that the ball squirted through, but the English have been enjoying too much space on the wings.

Chance for redemption here though...Pinoe with the free kick on the edge of the box to the right. And she hits the wall.
 

67YAZ

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Smith! The US high press has been very good. Horan made that goal.
 

67YAZ

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Wow. A very delayed VAR check on a Mace high boot in the box.

Stanway buries the PK.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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After that first goal I was ready to start agitating for Rapinoe to get her gold watch because she's older and slower, but that dummy, ooh that was nice. Looks like they're gonna chalk it off though, which sucks.
 

67YAZ

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Rodman ties it up!

Great build up - Cook with the long ball to Smith in space, Smith wins 1v1 to cross to Pino and the near post, Pino backheels to a wide open Rodman.

Now an interminable VAR check - NO GOAL??? WTF?
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Rodman ties it up!

Great build up - Cook with the long ball to Smith in space, Smith wins 1v1 to cross to Pino and the near post, Pino backheels to a wide open Rodman.

Now an interminable VAR check - NO GOAL??? WTF?
I honestly buy the offside once they finally showed the angle, but man was it tight. I think it was correct VAR bullshit, but VAR bullshit nevertheless.
 

67YAZ

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I honestly buy the offside once they finally showed the angle, but man was it tight. I think it was correct VAR bullshit, but VAR bullshit nevertheless.
I dunno man, the camera angle was pretty extreme...

Girma is the truth. She's going to anchor the backline for a long time.

England are going right past Pino on the left.
 

Joe D Reid

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The Guardian minute-byminute called the offside "ludicrous" fwiw.
 

67YAZ

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That was a great build up and chance for Smith.

England's possession has done a great job limiting American creativity. We aren't seeing much from Lavelle and Pino in the attack.
 

67YAZ

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I like these subs, but there’s still a Julie Ertz-sized hole at the base of the midfield.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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On one hand, the US is getting close enough to killer balls that I get why that's the main strategy right now. I'd like to see more possession though.
 

67YAZ

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Amazing for Alyssa Thompson to make her debut at Wembley.

What we learned…

Girma is a must start. Now it’s about finding her best partner. Cook had a tough match today. Would like to see a Girma-Sauerbrun pairing for Spain.

Smith v Morgan for the starting 9 is a real battle. Morgan was in the form of her life this NWSL season, so if she’s flying that high again next summer, it’s hard to not start her. But Smith has such a great all around skill set. I’d be tempted to try them together in a friendly to see how it plays.

Pino is going to get targeted by other teams. Against top aides, it’s hard to see if she’s a net positive still. Mal Pugh has climbed over Pino.

Lavelle couldn’t find time on the ball to pull strings. I think this was part of Wiegman’s plan, but it was disappointing not to see Andonosvki adjust.

Wiegman post match - “USA played as we expected and gave us some hard times sometimes, which is obviously normal because they are really good.” She’s Dutch, so you know that’s honest. Andonovski is a good manager, but he’s not of the class the USWNT is accustomed to. He gets players in good spots generally, but the in game adjustments and tactical wrinkles to gain advantage are not his strength.
 
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InstaFace

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If they're going to 32 teams for the WWC next year, they really ought to let the defending champions enter a B team too, just to see how it'd go. USA-B would at least make the QFs, depending on whether the A-team gets just the top 11, or the full top 22.
 

67YAZ

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The US faces Spain tomorrow, but this doesn’t promise to be the quality matchup it should be. 15 Spanish players have refused the call up despite being threatened with 2-5 year bans from the FA. The players have complained for years now that their manager is verbally abusive, lazy, and generally bad at his job. Of course, he is being protected by the FA president. This is all so sad for the players who deserve a great manager and would be a WC contender if Putellas comes back from an acl tear in time. But instead, it’s a shit show of the FA’s making.

Spain plays an extreme possession tika-taka style - they held over 60% of the ball against England at the Euros. So it will be a tactical adjustment for the US, but it’s hard to see how Spain will perform well given the number of new faces, third choice players, and open warfare against the manager.

This is a chance for Andonovski to try out some new combinations and really test the coordination of their pressing.
 

InstaFace

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Spain should be allowed to draft any 5 players from the US roster and then we face them with whoever's left.

Who on the US roster speaks Spanish? Ashley Sanchez, maybe Sofia Huerta and/or Savannah DeMelo?
 

67YAZ

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.

Who on the US roster speaks Spanish? Ashley Sanchez, maybe Sofia Huerta and/or Savannah DeMelo?
Which speaks to what a shitty job American soccer does engaging & supporting Latina players.

US womens soccer has gotten a pass on racial equity in part because of their historical greatness. There’s so much work to do, and frankly, so much great untapped potential. The generation breaking in now is more multicultural than all of its predecessor combined. I’m hopeful about the ways they’ll use their platform to grow the game.
 

InstaFace

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The last time the USWNT lost back-to-back games was against England and France in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. Before that, Sweden and Denmark in the 2014 Algarve Cup. Before that, Sweden and Norway in the 2001 Algarve Cup.
 

67YAZ

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Ugh.

This is not crisis mode, but very concerning. The US will still show up in Aus/NZ with the most talented roster. That counts for a lot and can paper over some real cracks.

But…does Andonovski know how to deploy all this talent? We haven’t seen him roll out a commendable or even notable match plan against a top opponent yet. There’s always reasons, and this week was a tough one with the Yates report dropping plus the absences of key cogs like Pugh, Macario, and Ertz. And Spain is always going to present a distinct challenge because no other national team plays their style.

But…damn. This was listless, sluggish stuff against Spain‘s C team. The next 2 matches against Germany will be big. The squad and coaches need to show a lot more against a contender. This team needs its swagger back.

And it’s now confirmed, Pino is done as a big match starter. Not enough pace and pressing. Not enough creativity to make up for that against tough opponents. She deserves a seat on the plane for her leadership, experience, and set piece prowess. But she’s a late match tactical sub.

The biggest losers today are the boycotting Spanish players. The manger and FA will use this as string evidence against them - if we can beat the US without you all, then what do we need you for? Clearly our manager is brilliant! The US would have done the Spanish players a huge favor with a 5 goal win today.
 

SocrManiac

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The biggest losers today are the boycotting Spanish players. The manger and FA will use this as string evidence against them - if we can beat the US without you all, then what do we need you for? Clearly our manager is brilliant! The US would have done the Spanish players a huge favor with a 5 goal win today.
First place my head went as well. This was an awful outcome.
 

wonderland

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Jul 20, 2005
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Ugh.

This is not crisis mode, but very concerning. The US will still show up in Aus/NZ with the most talented roster. That counts for a lot and can paper over some real cracks.

But…does Andonovski know how to deploy all this talent? We haven’t seen him roll out a commendable or even notable match plan against a top opponent yet. There’s always reasons, and this week was a tough one with the Yates report dropping plus the absences of key cogs like Pugh, Macario, and Ertz. And Spain is always going to present a distinct challenge because no other national team plays their style.

But…damn. This was listless, sluggish stuff against Spain‘s C team. The next 2 matches against Germany will be big. The squad and coaches need to show a lot more against a contender. This team needs its swagger back.

And it’s now confirmed, Pino is done as a big match starter. Not enough pace and pressing. Not enough creativity to make up for that against tough opponents. She deserves a seat on the plane for her leadership, experience, and set piece prowess. But she’s a late match tactical sub.

The biggest losers today are the boycotting Spanish players. The manger and FA will use this as string evidence against them - if we can beat the US without you all, then what do we need you for? Clearly our manager is brilliant! The US would have done the Spanish players a huge favor with a 5 goal win today.
You point out the missing talent, which is huge, but I don’t think they are the clear best side right now. Maybe it’s the manager, maybe it’s the usa players, maybe it is other top teams are a lot better but I don’t think they will be the best team going into next year’s World Cup.
 

67YAZ

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You point out the missing talent, which is huge, but I don’t think they are the clear best side right now. Maybe it’s the manager, maybe it’s the usa players, maybe it is other top teams are a lot better but I don’t think they will be the best team going into next year’s World Cup.
At the risk of splitting hairs, the most talented team is not the same as the best team. The French mens and womens sides proved this point at their respective last Euros.

Coaching, familiarity on the pitch, cohesion, leadership, complementary talents - a lot goes into the being the best. Right now, it’s England, but the US has the deepest and most well rounded talent pool in the world still, even if that gap is closing.

Nine months is a long time in soccer, a lot can change. But right now, it’s much easier to imagine this current US team bombing out of the quarterfinals than winning the whole thing.
 

67YAZ

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KC defeated Houston and then San Diego needed extra time to down Chicago. Alex Morgan scored a 110th minute acute angle long shot that really should have been saved by Naeher.


Disappointing end to an uneven season for Chicago. Now Whisler needs to announce his intention to sell. Today would be fine.

San Diego heads to Portland and KC travel to the OL Reign next weekend for the semis
 

SocrManiac

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That's an awful goal to concede. I've done the same in an identical situation - extra time in a playoff. It haunts me to this day, and I'm not a professional. I feel for her.
 

InstaFace

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KC defeated Houston and then San Diego needed extra time to down Chicago. Alex Morgan scored a 110th minute acute angle long shot that really should have been saved by Naeher.
That ball was hit without any spin, was probably moving like a knuckleball and took a bounce right in front of her. A situation that's going to create more mistakes than you'd think there.

That said, we may have a controversy for the #1 jersey next year at this rate. Casey Murphy looked pretty good against Spain.
 

67YAZ

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That said, we may have a controversy for the #1 jersey next year at this rate. Casey Murphy looked pretty good against Spain.
A more proactive manager than Andonovski probably would have made the change already. Naeher isn’t the same keeper she was before the knee injury in Tokyo. She’s 34 now and I’m not sure if she’s still climbing back from that injury or just had an uneven season or if she’s in decline. It’s probably a mix of all 3.

Her NWSL stats were good this year - save percentage right at career average and up from last season. (I don’t know of any sites that publish advanced metrics for the NWSL like we get for MLS, so please excuse the “batting average” type stat.) But there were matches where she definitely let through some that she used to save. She also doesn’t come out as aggressively to defend or as often to support ball circulation. This might be a tactical change under a new manager…or maybe she’s not as mobile.

Yes, the #1 shirt should be an open competition right now. I hope Andonovski makes full use of the 2 upcoming Germany friendlies to take sort out the position.
 
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ThePrideofShiner

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Why is the NWSL final at a pre-planned site? I'm going to the Reign semifinal on Sunday and was thinking that if Portland and Seattle win, that will be an epic final at Lumen Field.

But then I found out that actually the game is on DC for whatever reason.

When MLS went away from pre-planned sites and switched to highest seed it really made the MLS Cup a much, much bigger event.
 

67YAZ

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Why is the NWSL final at a pre-planned site? I'm going to the Reign semifinal on Sunday and was thinking that if Portland and Seattle win, that will be an epic final at Lumen Field.

But then I found out that actually the game is on DC for whatever reason.

When MLS went away from pre-planned sites and switched to highest seed it really made the MLS Cup a much, much bigger event.
I think the TV partner (CBS) calls the shots here. Last year and this year the league pushed CBS to move the championship match to better timeslots. This year moved from 12noon to 8pm est.

Last year's championship match snagged 525k viewers with a 12noon est kickoff. Hopefully, the primetime slot will bring in a big bump.

But 100% agree with your point. If the final is a Pacific Northwest grudge match, they're really missing the opportunity to show how passionate and raucous NWSL fans are.
 

67YAZ

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World Cup Draw was in the wee hours this morning.

GROUP A
New Zealand
Norway
Philippines
Switzerland

GROUP B
Australia
Republic of Ireland
Nigeria
Canada

GROUP C
Spain
Costa Rica
Zambia
Japan

GROUP D
England
Group B playoff (Chile, Haiti or Senegal)
Denmark
China

GROUP E
United States
Vietnam
Netherlands
Group A playoff (Cameroon, Portugal or Thailand)

GROUP F
France
Jamaica
Brazil
Group C playoff (Chinese Taipei, Panama, Papua New Guinea or Paraguay)

GROUP G
Sweden
South Africa
Italy
Argentina

GROUP H
Germany
Morocco
Colombia
South Korea

US-Netherlands is easily the best group stage match up. Given how lopsided the expansion to 32 teams has made the groups, coming out of the group as #2 means a brutal path.
 

67YAZ

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Some more about the US' possible pathways:

Group E takes on Group G in the first knockout round. Sweden is a very heavy favorite to sweep through that group, so the punishment for finishing second in Group E is a tough match with Sweden. The reward for first is...well, I really can't predict who is going to take 2nd in G. Italy had an abysmal Euros this past summer. Argentina has some raw talent - they have 2 players at Madrid and 1 at Atletico - but their talent is so underdeveloped. Assuming both Italy and Argentina beat South Africa and lose to Sweden, their head to head will dictate 2nd place.

The winner of Group E 1st place vs Group G 2nd place gets the winner of Group A 1st place (New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland) vs Group C 2nd (Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan)...probably Norway or Japan. And then most likely Spain in the semis.

That's a nice path. The US needs to take care of business and win its group.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Portland won on a banger by Crystal Dunn on stoppage time.

The Reign gave up a goal to KC in the fourth minute. Good sized crowd here, however.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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God, the Reign played terrible. KC was opportunistic and played great team defense. The Reign looked like a team with tons of stars and no cohesion.
 

67YAZ

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Soph Smith wins NWSL MVP. A slight surprise that it wasn’t Morgan, who won the golden boot and is an established star. But Smith is deserving. And still growing into her talents.

Naomi Girma wins defender of the year & rookie of the year. What a massive career she has ahead.

The championship match should be a good one. KC have a knack for doing exactly what they did to OL Reign - go up early and then stay very organized, hit on the counter when the other squad starts pouring forward to equalize. If KC takes an early lead, Portland will have to be very sharp.

Of course, Portland has a ton of talent and players who contribute to the attack from all areas of the pitch. They can come back if they have to. But if Portland can grab the first goal? Then they can really pounce on KC.
 

Ale Xander

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Bad time for the game imho
Should have done it 6pm ET tomorrow for maximum eyeballs