Morgan, Thorns outlast Spirit in SoccerPlex sellout

Jennifer Gordon May 4, 2013 383

BOYDS, Md. — Portland Thorns FC defeated the Washington Spirit 2-1 in front of record-setting crowd at the Maryland Soccerplex. A total of 5,011 fans were present besting the previous record for a women’s game at the Soccerplex by more than 300. The crowd was treated to entertaining, if controversial, game as Alex Morgan scored from the penalty spot and Nikki Washington each notched a goal for Thorns while Diana Matheson scored for the Spirit.

Judging from the number “Baby Horse” signs and large applause she received when announced, it was clear that a large segment of the crowd came to see Morgan, the U.S. women’s national team superstar. The applause for Morgan easily eclipsed that for any of the home team’s players.

“For me personally, it’s something that’s new to me to have all these little girls screaming my name,” she said. “If it brings popularity to the sport and brings some development and creates the passion for them to want to play professional soccer then I’m all for that.”

Morgan opened up the scoring on a 12th minute penalty kick. Allie Long sent the ball ahead to Morgan, who may have been offsides. Spirit defender Domenica Hodak and Morgan got tangled up just inside the box, resulting in a foul against Hodak. Morgan lined up to take the penalty for the Thorns and Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris guessed wrong, diving right as Morgan’s shot flew in.

“Ashlyn is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Sinclair asked me if I wanted to take it, I thought about it for a second and if she knew where I was going to go and was like, ‘yeah, I want to take it,’” Morgan said. “Ashlyn is a good friend of mine, I don’t think she quite knows where I’m going.”

Alex Morgan Portland Thorns

Alex Morgan scored a PK in Portland Thorns FC's 2-1 win over the Washington Spirit on Saturday. (Photo Copyright Amanda McCormick | www.amandamccormick8.com)

Harris argued with the referee before and after the penalty kick, presumably about the placement of the foul. Harris’ protests earned her a yellow card.

Washington’s attack struggled in early goings and the team managed only two shots in the first half. Once again, the Spirit starting forwards hesitated to shoot resulting in lost offensive opportunities. Caroline Miller, who got the start in place of Tiffany McCarty, got a breakaway in the 36th minute. Rather than shoot or pass the ball to Ochs, who was open on the left flank, Miller held the ball too long and a Thorns defender knocked it away.

Jorden admitted his forwards struggled.

“I think that whether it’s pulling the trigger or maybe making quicker runs, that’s what we’ve been talking about,” he said. “(We need to) try to get in behind a little quicker and be a little more dangerous.”

Things heated up between the two sides in the 43rd minute when Hodak fouled Morgan again. Morgan said a few choice words to Hodak and when play resumed Morgan was quickly fouled once more, this time by Diana Matheson. The two exchanged words and were separated by the referees, but no cards were issued.

Morgan admitted after foul by Matheson she was “a little bit fed up,” adding that she “can get a little feisty” at times. The teams toned it down a bit in the second half and Morgan felt that both teams recognized that they “don’t get paid to go out there and fight but go out there and play so that’s what we needed to do.”

Washington subbed usual sMcCarty on for Ingrid Wells to start the second half and McCarty made an almost instant impact on her side. In the 49th minute, McCarty sprang forward and battled three defenders to get a shot off. Her effort was blocked by keeper Karina LeBlanc. In the 50th minute, McCarty again tested LeBlanc, who made the stop despite McCarty being belatedly called offsides.

In the following minute, Nikki Washington extended the Thorns lead off a bad pass from Spirit defender Ali Krieger. Washington’s shot was a beauty. She took it just outside the penalty box and the ball bent around Harris, bounced off the post and into the net.

Christine Sinclair nearly added to Portland’s cause in the 66th minute with a long-range shot that had to be tipped over the crossbar by Harris.

In the late stages of the match the Spirit put Portland under significant pressure. In the 84th minute, Miller, despite pressure from three Thorns defenders, passed the ball the Lori Lindsey. Unfortunately for the Spirit, Lindsey’s shot went wide right. Less than a minute later, LeBlanc collected a potentially dangerous cross intended for Jasmyne Spencer.

For the third time in as many games, Matheson provided the only offense for the Spirit. In the 86th minute, Matheson was fouled in the box by Jazmyne Avant. Matheson took the penalty kick and calmly aimed her shot at the center of the net as LeBlanc drove right.

LeBlanc called penalty kicks an “interesting mind game” explaining that although she knew Matheson’s tendencies, Matheson was aware of that very fact. Matheson won the mind game as LeBlanc admitted, “I think D didn’t even pay attention to me.” Matheson’s strike wasn’t enough and the heavily favored Thorns won the match 2-1.

“I’m tired of talking about how young we are but that’s the reality. You look at Portland and they have experienced veteran players and we got 5 or 6 rookies right out of the gates and we’re busting our asses and doing a great job but we still got to keep working and learn more about each other because the fight’s there,” Jorden stated after the game about his team’s losing efforts.

Washington (0-2-2) lost its second straight game, and remains winless in the early going this season. The Spirit host Boston next Saturday Portland (3-0-1) remained unbeaten at the top of the NWSL table through four weeks of play and return to Chicago to face the Red Stars next Sunday.

Takeaways:

Thorns defense: With the attacking duo of Morgan and Sinclair a lot of attention, little attention has been paid to the Thorns’ defense. Portland’s defense played superbly last night aside from the costly foul committed by Avant that led to the penalty kick. Every time a Spirit player brought a ball within the final third, two or three Thorn defenders quickly swarmed and stifled the Spirit attack.

Matheson is magnificent: Matheson now accounts for 75 percent of the Spirit’s offensive production and when she’s not scoring, she’s the catalyst for much of the Spirit offense. Although other players have more of an impact on a single game, Matheson arguably more of an impact on her team than any other field player thus far in the league.

Spirit attacking woes continue: After four games the Spirit forwards have still tallied only one goal. Starting Miller in place of McCarty didn’t resolve the issue for Jorden and leaves questions as to who will start against Boston. Both McCarty and Miller have been more impressive off the bench than when they start. Meanwhile, Stephanie Ochs is spending too much time defending. Perhaps if the Spirit can find a way to free her up to focus her energies on offense, she can help the team score goals.

  • Kernel Thai

    It was an oddly officiated game as the ref seemed to allow lots of contact between the boxes yet still whistled two penalties.

    • Michelle

      Truth, at one point Lori Lindsey basically got punched in the stomach and the ref didn’t call anything.

  • luke

    It was the first time I saw good Portland Thorns TEAM performance.

    Not Sinclair, Morgan or anyone else moments of brilliance, but the whole squad hard working with good chemistry, especially in the back, supporting each other, fighting for each other, using their brains and skills.

    They start to work as an unit and they have some great components inside of that unit.

    • vert2013

      Their midfield was finally starting to live up to their potential. Don’t know how much the lack of Kerr had in that but I’m thinking a lot.

      • luke

        Have to admit, Washington stepped up, beautiful goal, Shim played very well as a rookie, running a lot, fighting with dedication, but it was all about defence for me. Fantastic Buehler&Co., just stunning.

        unfortunately Allie Long is still bad…

        • vert2013

          yeah I was glad to see Washington step up. Long still isn’t great but she was playing better than she had been. I’m hopeful.

        • Don B.

          Long has zero field vision and no anticipation of when or where Morgan or Sinclair are going to make a break. Several times I’ve seen Morgan break through a seam directly in front of Long, and she passes in the opposite direction or keeps grinding forward until she’s stripped. And it isn’t just her. The entire group seems to lose situational awareness when they cross into the attacking third. Kerr, Washington, Long – all guilty of tunnel vision.

          • Christy

            Don, this should improve when Heath arrives, Alex and Sinc will be able to correct this and heath can quarterback the mid-field and teach the others how to anticipate and feed the fwds properly. I really think the improvment will be great when we add her to the team.

          • Don B.

            I hope you’re right. I do think, however, that field awareness is something that isn’t easy to teach. Take Morgan and Sinclair for example; they seem to have an innate ability to know not only where the goal is, but to also be aware of what everyone around them is doing and to calculate angles on the fly. Consider the number of one touch passes they both make and how they are always exactly where they need to be when they need to be there. They anticipate and they create, and their success is evidenced by the goals they score and the assists they offer up.

          • Christy

            Oh no your right certain things aren’t teachable, however instincts are what makes them uswnt players, there are a ton
            Of skilled womens players who execute the game well. Also keep in mind the speed of the game, Alex and Sinc run at Nt pace. Club play is much much slower, this forces the club players to learn a faster pace and you can learn to anticipate runs, Alex and Sincy have slowed down a bit and the rest of the team has sped up so they can meet in the middle. Once the other girls learn their patterns they can anticipate where they are going to be and feed them better, this can be taught and will come with playing together.
            Look at the games where Alex struggles with the uswnt , it’s usually when Tom has thrown this mish mash of players in to the mid who haven’t played together and they don’t know how to play her in. They can’t anticipate her pace in game situations , they need more real game expeierencd with Fwds with pace. Same with syd. That’s why Press is more successful with a more youthful mid , her pace is much slower so she’s able to be where they play the ball. It’s time and experience. I hope that makes sense, I’m typing this on my phone lol!

          • NYRick

            I’ve come to the conclusion that on the elite level of just about every pro sport, innate awareness can’t be taught or learned for that matter. John McEnroe had an interesting quote that at the world class level in tennis, 90% was mental, 10% ability. He went on to say to the effect that everybody at that level can crush a forehand, serve etc. or they wouldn’t have gotten that far. Some of course a little better than others. But the winning part of things at the top level is in your head. It comes down to who has the bigger set of stones in the huge spot when it really matters and who understands the finer points of the game and how to play it. Alex has that gene more than any woman in the sport and that’s what makes her who she is. She’s fast, athletic and coordinated, but so are a lot of girls. I’m sure Crystal Dunn or even Rampone can beat her in a flat race.

            What Alex, Sinc, Abby, and Christen know how to do on the soccer pitch can’t be taught. What Tom Brady sees on a football field during the action of a play can’t be taught. The seam Leo Messi sees five seconds before it happens can’t be taught or learned. You are born with it in athletics. Wayne Gretzky said the most interesting thing I’ve ever heard an athlete say. And after I heard it, I realized why he became Wayne Gretzky. He said, “I don’t go where the puck is, I go where I think it’s going to be.”

            That’s incredible and beautiful at the same time.

          • luke

            Come on, stop it. Nobody can beat AM13 in the race, she’s freak of nature.

          • NYRick

            To be honest, I’d put some serious money on Dunn in a 40 yard dash with AM. I’ve never seen any girl in the sport close as fast from distance as she does.

          • Don B.

            Pure footspeed is nice, but it isn’t everything. Morgan is without doubt one of the fastest players in the world, but even more important is the quality that goes with that speed, well spoken of by Tony DiCicco, “She has this great quality that, when the ball is coming down the other side, she always finds herself in front of goal. She accelerates, and she never arrives late; she’s always there because she’s got this goal scorer’s mentality.”

            She accelerates, and she never arrives late. That’s what’s important.

          • luke

            Lately, there is some talk about Brittney Griner’s chances in the NBA – personally I think the idea of women physically competing with men in contact sports is ridiculous, bit IF I HAD TO to pick one lady the most capable of doing it, I would go with Alex Morgan.
            Just because of that phenomenal speed combined with her strong physique, that make almost brutal combo against female opponents and I think decent one against male ones.I’m not sure why I’m even doing it :) , because IMO it’s stupid topic to discuss, but she’s the only female athlete I could imagine having some kind of average success in this field.

          • Christy

            All of the players in this league are elite, the USWNT players of the Elite of the Elite. Those club players can learn to anticipate, and play as a cohesive team with those upper 1% players, that’s all I am saying. Just like my reference of the NFL, All of those players are Elite, the faces of the sport are the Elite of the Elite. They make the other players better and those “elite” players learn to play their role to make a team successful.
            The teams as any team does needs time to gel. There is no perfect team in sports, there is always a piece of the puzzle that could be better.

            And Rick I know you love Press , but she is hardly in a class with Morgan, Sinc and Abby. Certainly no where in the ball park of Sinc and Abby. She has a handful of caps and a lot to prove.
            We are 4 games deep in a league in it’s infancy, you all expect miracles from groups of girls who 2 months ago hardly knew each other. Teams don’t work that way. The quality on the field improves every week and even though a lot of these girls aren’t in the player pool for the national team they are still Elite. There are what 300 some odd universities and colleges with women’s soccer teams that’s thousands of players who were good enough to gain scholarships to play the game they have played most since they could walk .With approx 30 players or so on a roster at each college that means there are THOUSANDS of good great and excellent players, of those players approx 184 play in this professional league of that less than 100 are in the player pool for the national team, less than 30 get invited to national team camps and 18-22 make a roster for a game or tourny. If every girl in the league were as good as Alex and the other NT players, they’d all be in camps and fighting for roster spots, but they aren’t but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough to play the game professionally. We are used to watching the national team play and that level of soccer. This takes some adjustment, the game is slower and scrappier and the fans will have to be patient.

          • NYRick

            Christy, you make excellent points as always. But I’m going to slightly disagree with you on whether innate awareness on the pitch can be taught. I understand what you’re saying, and you’re correct that team cohesion, knowing your teammates characteristics and movements etc. can be learned to an extent by all players on NWSL teams to form cohesive units through practice, hard work and good coaching. They are good to begin with, and that all makes logical sense.

            But I’m talking more about the mind-blowing elite. I guess what you’re calling the Elite of the Elite. I don’t necessarily think all the USWNT players are the Elite of the Elite in the true meaning of the phrase, just because they made the national team. There is no way I view Buehler as an elite player. I fully respect how difficult it is to even make the 30 player talent pool for the US team and you’ve outlined it quite well. It may be the hardest national team to make for our country.

            I think right now on the USWNT, there are currently two elite players (AM and Hope). Players who I consider the best players at their positions in the sport. There are 5 who are past their prime, elite in their day (Abby, Boxx, Rampone, HAO, Carli). And there are the rising stars on the fringe of elite (Tobin, Pinoe, Press, KO, Brunn). The rest of the team are excellent players or they wouldn’t be anywhere near the national team. First year players like JJ, Mewis and Dunn need more caps so I can’t grade them now. I realize that Press has only 7 caps, but her talent level is so ridiculously obvious as a pure gold striker. And that has nothing to do with her 6 goal in 7 game start. She just has it. That something that can’t be taught. She can play fast or slow and with any talent with her on the pitch, but she always plays smart. Kind of like a Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox or Yoakim Noah of the Bulls. They just do things correctly and are in the right place at the right time. That’s Christen. I know you think I go overboard with her, but I just think she’s something special and she will prove it over time. Before 2012, I thought Alex was better than Abby, ARod and Cheney and just needed a chance to prove it.

          • NYRick

            I forgot Ali Krieger. She by all means is in the Elite of the Elite. A truly great player and one sorely missed at the Olympics.

          • Steglitz49

            The point is moot because the USA got the Olympic gold, did they not?

          • Christy

            It’s possible press is going to be excellent we will have to wait and see. Goal count means nothing if you don’t perform in must win situations. That’s where press hasn’t shown me anything. Just like syd, ppl talk about goals to games ratio but when your goals come against sub par competition they hold less value to me as someone evaluating someone’s talent level. In this case Rick u and I are at an impasse, but I love you any way :) Bueler is not great, nor was arod, but she has some value and is still in the upper 1% of the player pool but she won’t be necessary on Engen is more seasoned. Too much talent back there. If your on the national team you are the cream of the crop, that’s not debatable . But my whole point is you need to let the teams come together and see how well things go. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The national team players make good players better and that’s what we’re waiting for.

          • luke

            Thank you so much Don.
            I’m so happy there are still sober-mindedppl like you, otherwise this half-of-a-player might be invited to the NT camp, just because she is Alex Morgan’s roomie in Portland and she’s attractive. I think she’s got some field vision though but she’s constantly moving in slowmotion, her passing is inaccurate and she confuses feistiness wiith irresponsible fouling everybody on the opposing team. She’s the only player in women’s soccer I’m getting irritated watching. :-(

    • Christy

      I think cohesion at mid will come with Heath, Alex already has chemestry with her so once she meshes with sinc and starts managing those young players this team will elevate 1000%. Even now the team is starting to gel and they improve every week, all of the teams are! I’ve watched damn near every game the product is getting good!

  • NYRick

    AM should not get the headline on top. Sorry. It should just be “Thorns dominate Spirit in Soccerplex Sellout.” This is where it gets to silly hype concerning her. If you want to say the sellout is because of her, I totally agree it was. As many of us on here have said, all her games will be sellouts BECAUSE of her, not Sinclair. AM is the biggest star in her sport tenfold. Tonight further proved that.

    The Portland team played a great game as a whole, and so dominated the game that it wasn’t nearly as close as the score. If not for Ali Krieger, they would have had 5 or 6 goals. And for the record, Harris got a yellow because she was correct and rightfully mad on the AM foul/penalty shot. That foul happened outside the box.

    It really is hard to imagine Portland losing a game in this league the rest of the year (home or away) due to having AM and Sinc. That’s a really absurd advantage in this league. The other teams really don’t have many girls, if any, who can finish/dominate in the final third (Maybe LeRoux, Cheney, HAO) All US national teasers. So Portland has to major screw up to actually not win this league. No big news on that though.

    • Don B.

      You might want to watch the replay of the Morgan foul. She was completely inside the box.

      • NYRick

        Kind of borderline, maybe you’re right. The real pushing and grabbing started outside the box. I just don’t think it warranted a penalty shot. I’ve seen far worse happen to her inside the box with no call made in plenty of other games. But she always creates havoc, so give her credit. Just not a PK in my opinion.

        One thing I’ve always said though is that she should be taking all PKs. Even before Sinc on Portland, and before Abby with the national team. She is always money when the pressure is on. If I had one player to put it on with everything on the line you is first and second choice.

        • NYRick

          Typo. She is my first and second choice.:–)

          And the big crowd tonight was all about her. That’s indisputable. That team will draw half that amount the rest of the year for their home games.

          • PMT

            Sorry Rick, but the Spirit is already on track for more than half of tonight’s attendance at next week’s game v Boston (3500+ tickets already sold). Tonight’s attendance was 5000+. So the Spirit’s already 1000 over your last statement. The DMV backs their home team.

          • Steglitz49

            The fine attendances warm the cockles of all soccer-loving hearts. Long may it last.

          • NYRick

            Good for them. I hope they continue to draw very well. But they will never sell out the place completely like last night’s game unless AM is in the building. That was really more my point.

          • http://twitter.com/JennySoccerFan JennyNWSL

            Well, they had 4500+ for Abby Wambach at the opener. If your point is that the draw for ALL teams is the USWNT allocatees, you’re right — but the Spirit have averaged @ 4,000 over three games so far. Not exactly “half” of last night’s 5,011.

            At any rate, the owner has said that if they average 3k a game, the team will survive financially, so that’s the bottom line. I don’t think it’ll be a problem in the Beltway. Lots of soccer families and fanbase here.

            Watching the best women’s players in the world battle on real grass at a close distance, as at the Plex, is worth coming back for again and again.

          • NYRick

            Really nice to hear that they are getting such great support. I stand corrected.

          • NYRick

            Really nice to hear that they are getting such great support. I stand corrected.

          • newsouth

            depends on how you market FCKC. that’s the best package on the field in terms of a hot, young marketable team. people just buy into the morgan hype, but that’s how the USA idol making machine works. outside of the phantom penalty call, she was tamed again. sinclair makes that team’s motor run.

          • NYRick

            newsouth: you really don’t like AM, do you? Reasons?

          • newsouth

            the league is more than morgan. and that call was a phantom . if anything, she was heading out of the box when she fell. some of us have our own favorites. and i don’t think the league lives or dies because of her. it’s so crazy people think the national team can’t win the WC without her. Really? they won a gold medal without Wambach and no offense in 2008. now they are loaded. they’ve done a good job of marketing her but the soccer world doesn’t revolve around her. she isn’t even the best, most diverse player on her nwsl team. how about sinclair, top scorer and pulling that lousy mid-field together?

          • NYRick

            Yes, the league is more than her. But she is no doubt the marquee star of the women’s game right now. She did achieve that through terrific play, capitalizing on her chance when it presented itself (2 goals, 2 assists in first national team start vs. Canada in a dominating performance). That was on the heels of her clutch play and star turn at the WWC11 the previous summer and all around great play at the Olympics and throughout 2012 to present. I do agree that she is partially the product of a well hyped marketing Nike/US Soccer machine behind her due to her talent and great looks, but credit is due because she’s backed it all up to this point with outstanding play.

            Also, keep in mind the power of social media as it pertains to the USWNT, and she is by far the most popular player of both young and old fans. From all indications she seems to be a real nice girl, articulate, good with the kids, fan friendly and a class act too. So maybe cut her a bit of slack. Yes, Sinclair is a great player too. And probably the best player in the NWSL, if not the world. But AM is who the paying customer is coming to see play right now.

          • Christy13

            Sinc is holding down the young midfield until Heath gets there sometime in June, then Sinc should push up top with Alex, She is such a seasond sollid player and they need her more in the middle right now than up top with Morgan because she can hold that down for now. The other fwds on the team are average at best, we need Sinc up top with Alex so they can create chances for each other. I find your disdain for Morgan poorly placed, every league has a golden child, some have more than 1. There is always one face that has to stand out, its marketability of the sport and a necessary evil. I have been a Morgan fan since October of 2010, before most of the rest of you even knew she existed and I find it unfortunate that you rest the opinion of an extremely talented young player based on politics and marketability. Does the name LeBron James ring a bell? The average fair weather basket ball fan can’t name you a single player in the league and people who don’t follow the sport probably can’t even name their local team but ask them if they know who LBJ is and they know. How about Tom Brady? Peyton Manning? Tiger Woods? They are all not solely representative of their sport yet they are the first names you think of when talking about them in the average public. Is that acceptable because their men? It certainly should not be the case.

            The face of a sport or franchise is what fuels the sport in popularity, you either love to hate them or you love them either way they get your attention.

            Either way you look at it you can not dispute Morgan’s talent on the field. That should be first and foremost!

          • NYRick

            Well said.

            Whether you like her or not, right now AM is the “Face of the Franchise.” And that franchise is women’s soccer.

            Abby, Hope, Pinoe, Sinc, Marta etc. are far in her rear view mirror.

          • luke

            Got no idea who Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are… :o

          • Steglitz49

            They play football with their hands. On the other hand, ski-shooters (biathletes) do not shoot with their skis.

          • Christy

            Lol crazy talk!

          • luke

            Please, point the moments when she was “tamed”.
            In HH:MM:SS format – I will watch it on youtube stream, I’m so curious how defenders managed to do that, thank you.

          • Steglitz49

            The best way to market KC is to keep winning.

            How many could name even one Nadeshiko player before 2011? Now we can name several and where they play and which one changed to play under her married name.

            The NWSL can’t do without Alex Morgan. It could manage without Ms Sinclair, albeit poorer for such a loss, but it has to have Alex.

          • vert2013

            The DMV backed Alex Morgan last night. They cheered more when she scored than when D-Math did.

          • Steglitz49

            Department of Motor Vehicles?

            Am I missing something? Please explain yourself. Let me in on the insider trading.

          • vert2013

            DC, Maryland, Virgina.

          • Steglitz49

            So, AOU stands for AC, Oregon, Utah?

          • Don B.

            Watch the crowd behind goal when they realize AM is taking the shot. Scramble for front row seats.

          • Dorv

            They did the same — or worse — for Matheson’s PK in the second half.

            Source: I got a much better picture of Morgan’s shot than DM’s.

            This was the Spirit’s second sell out in three games. The team has a solid fan base. That being said, there were a LOT of people there cheering for Morgan first — something that couldn’t be said about Wambach when the Flash were here.

        • KT5000

          Apologies if I’m misinterpreting your comment, but – it’s pretty black and white. A foul that would normally result in a direct kick that takes place in the box is a PK. There’s no gradation for severity or aggression, necessarily.

          • heremerawr

            Technically you’re correct. A foul is a foul is a foul to a ref, and anything constituting a direct free kick in the box necessitates a PK. However, severity often does play a role where PKs are concerned, as well as whether the foul very obviously affected their ability to get a shot off. PKs are tricky business, especially at the higher levels, as they usually decide who wins and who loses (a case in point can be made for the USWNT vs CANWNT OG match). The final ‘law’ for referee’s isn’t known as common sense for nothing.

      • NYRick

        Hey Don,

        Alex pretty feisty tonight, no? I think you have mentioned it before that she really fights back and takes no BS out there when teams try to get physical with her. I think opposing players may see a prom queen, but she’s completely opposite. LOL. However, I would try to rattle her if I was the opposition to get her off her game. But that could backfire with her competitiveness. She is going to have to learn to deal with it all and channel it properly though. It comes with the territory now. Matheson was testing her for sure.

        • Steglitz49

          As long as the referees protect skillful players all will be well.

          As we ken well, on the men’s side the list is long of players being fouled repeatedly, even injured into retirement. Fortunately, that is much rarer today. We do not want that pestilence in the ladies game.

          One of the attractions of ladies’ football has been the comparative absence of gratuitous and cynical fouling, and theatrics. There will, of course, be mistimed tackles but even reckless challenges are rare.

          Unfortunately, judging by the OG, the standard of the refereeing does not seem to be up to the modern ladies’ game. This is something FIFA needs to tackle.

          • Anton

            Reffing in professional soccer sucks in general. Regardless of the gender. Refs in Europe show way to much favoritism to the big sides (i.e. Barca, Real, Man U and so on), while refs in MLS are just downright incompetent, case in point today’s PHI/SEA game.

            Not sure what you mean by ‘as long as the refs protect skillful players’. Are you basically saying that fouls on Alex Morgan should be treated differently than fouls on say, Nikki Washington? If so, I have a huge problem with that. No player deserves special treatment, no matter how good they are.

          • Steglitz49

            The annals of soccer is filled with skillful players who were repeatedly fouled. Pelé and Eusebio in 1966, and Mardonna in all his career. Some players were able to protect themselves.

            The refereeing of the match for 3rd place in 1994 in USA became a turning point because an unknown referee from a small football-nation showed on a big stage that it was possible to referee properly. Colina and Frisk ultimately became more famous but one wonders if it had not been for that gentleman in USA we would still be stuck in the dark times.

          • NYRick

            You make a great point. Steglitz is certainly indicating that star players deserve special treatment.

            We know in all sports they get it most of the time, but there should be no “protection” for a star player over a lesser player. That’s just wrong and it would be irresponsible for any ref to have that approach. Personally, I think part of the competitive strategy of any sport should be to get a star player off their game by just about any legal means possible. If that means some rough stuff with no injury intent, I’m all for it. It’s called gamesmanship. If you want to call it gameswomanship, I’m fine with that too.

          • Christy

            Special treatment sounds so gushy lol, protected for sure star players are targets and you have to protect them. Alex is going to get dbl and triple teamed at times deservedly so. If you don’t make those early calls to protect your high profile players that’s when injuries happen and that would be a catastrophe of sorts.

          • NYRick

            I did say with no injury intent. :–) Late sliding tackles, and intentional jabs at the ankles are just plain dirty. I mean lining up for a corner kick and letting someone know you are there. Maybe an irksome comment or two is harmless and fun to get the juices flowing. That’s sports and part of just being competitive.

            I do find soccer players (especially men) to be quite babyish in regard to gamesmanship. Players actually get suspended by FIFA for nasty comments to each other during matches which is laughable. Suarez’ biting is of course another matter. That boy needs help. As a player, I’d be embarrassed to report a comment (even racist) to a ref or official made by another player. I would just burn to then want to beat them on the field and make them pay that way. That’s the American athlete in me from playing American football, basketball and baseball. In baseball, I was a shortstop and I can’t tell you the nasty intentional times players used to slide into you hard and dirty, and try to spike you at second base. You had to take it like a man and get your revenge in other ways. Like maybe the next time that said player comes in sliding make sure your throw to first doesn’t hit them but is in close proximity to their face. That works.

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that you exaggerate. A Man Utd player was sent off in a CL match this season, was he not, and at Old Trafford to boot.

            It is in the nature of refereeing to be remembered for your errors, not your fine moments. On the ladies side there seems to be three who are consistently excellent: Jenny Palmqvist, Kirsi Heikkinen and a young Argentinian lady who I think is judge or lawyer in her real profession.

            I can only name 3 male referees: Taylor, Colina and Frisk, and I remember Webb having an awful time with the World Cup final 2010 yet he is a fine referee, so it can happen to anyone.

          • Christy

            I don’t think special treatment was what he meant, but Star players take the brunt of the fouls because they are the most dangerous. Just like in the NFL you have players that are dbl teamed because no matter how hard you try to take them on 1 v 1 they burn you every time. That is why the NFL has added all of these riducules rules to protect the “star” players, quaterterbacks, receivers, etc.. And these guys wear pads and helmets. In soccer you have to make those early calls and pull a yellow if you have to before the fouling becomes a problem and before some one get’s hurt because of it. It seems to benifit the star players because they tend to be the targets and are the best players on the field. Its not prefferd treatment it’s just the facts the best players will get fouled the most. Alex is a beast up top, the only way to stop her is to be able to play her 1v1 and win dbl team her or take her down. Do you think the refs should look the other way when the stars get fouled? Because then they would never be playing, they would always be on the ground.

          • Don B.

            If I’m not mistaken, the ref for this match was the same one who presided over the China match where Morgan got sandwiched between two thugs and ignored the whole thing.

          • Dorv

            Morgan got her fair share of calls in the game, to be sure. But that’s how it goes with star players. Example: while I couldn’t hear what Harris said that garnered her the yellow, she didn’t run clear across the field to complain about a call like Wambach did a couple weeks ago.

            But the ref aggravate me the entire game because how she kept making the game about her (the ref). I hate that type of official.

          • Steglitz49

            High time maybe for the ref to go to the opticians on Monday?

          • Christy

            Don, you are right, these are FIFA refs but they’ve been subpar at best so far this season. Uncle is a terrible ref. this multiple tackles and fight between Morgan and Matheson could have been avoided by a deserved card on Matheson . Hodak got words from Alex for a second take down, the first being the foul in the box. I don’t think that deserved a card but the second foul by DM was flagrant and should have been booked.

        • Don B.

          Matheson seems to think she’s heir apparent to Tancredi. She’s always been a bit of a cheap shot player full of poor sportsmanship, and now she’s working on making herself into an avenging angel for Canada v. U.S. Alex represents everything that frustrates her, such as never being on the winning end of a match against her.

          • NYRick

            Ha, Matheson the heir apparent. That’s really funny and maybe so true. I do find her to be a bit chippy whenever I see her play. She’s five foot nothing and has some thug in her. As a NY Knicks fan, her and Tancredi are starting to remind me of some of the old Knicks teams featuring Anthony Mason and John Starks. We used to call them Big Thug (Mason), Little Thug (Starks).

            The sad thing is that I really think Matheson and Tancredi are pretty good players who don’t need to resort to those tactics. The June 2nd game should be very interesting. I think AM and Press are going to be targets and have to have eyes behind their heads in that match. Especially with all the emotions and a large Canadian crowd and the team wanting some revenge. If Tancredi was playing I think there could be some real trouble.

          • Steglitz49

            Two teams defeated Canada in the Olympics: Japan and USA. Canada finishing 3rd was a reasonable level of achievement, maybe punching slightly above their weight, eh what old chap?!

        • Christy

          I am really getting tired of ppl acting like this is a new Alex, that this temper of hers is because she’s turned some kind of “diva”, Alex has ALWAYS been this way, if you have followed her from the begining you all would know this. You can frustrate her and she can frustrate herself but your not going to change her so everyone needs to get over it (NOT DIRECTING THIS AT YOU Rick :) , she was fouled by Hodak in the box (PK) then again before the half, thats why she had words with Hodak after the play. DM’s foul was Flagrant and she should have been carded especially since the foul came immidiately after the other one. I’m certain the discussion Alex was having with the ref was just that. Hey you know what thats 2 in less than 30 seconds, how bout a card there or this is going to keep happening. Alex had every right to be upset and voice the opinion, she got it off her chest then moved on. Alex doesn’t lose focus on goal if anything she get’s more focused when you piss her off.
          These girls are out there to play, the ref mismanaged the game from the start! She did the same against China when she was the ref.

          • NYRick

            Yeah, I agree with all you’re saying. I’ve now seen her play enough times to understand her style, how she plays the game and the fire that burns inside her. Like all great athletes, you don’t become an AM without that.

            The only important thing as it pertains to her is that she MUST channel it properly or subsequently hurt her team. She is a star. A very big one at that. The chippiness towards her comes with the territory and primarily because any intelligent opposition realizes a good way to beat her team (USWNT or Portland) is to frustrate her and maybe get her off her game. Especially with the USWNT, many of us are in agreement that if you stop AM, you stop the USWNT. Or at the very least have the best chance to beat them. The Canada and Japan coaches understand this the best.

            The officiating in women’s soccer is abysmal, and that’s putting it mildly. I think you and I have had this discussion previously about the need for more cards, especially early in matches. The ref in her match on Saturday lost control of the match from the onset. There is sometimes nothing you can do about that as a player. Except in Alex’s case, with her talent, make your opponent pay on scoreboard. She is the star of the sport now obviously and this is just the start of it for her really. To become an iconic player which I think she’ll be, and maybe the best player the sport will ever see, her emotions have to be kept in check. Let her play do the talking, and not cry to the ref or opposition on every bad challenge. That probably will happen with more maturity as a player over the next year or so, but it is the measure of true greatness when that is achieved.

          • Christy

            I don’t disagree with you Rick, I just happen to think Alex’s feistiness is an important part of her personality and don’t want her to lose that edge to appease the masses. She’s media friendly and publically she’s perfect in front of the cameras, she’s never going to sound arrogant she will always credit the team and understand that she can always get better. But when it comes to that temper on the field all bets are off which shows me she can turn off all that commercial stuff and be the player she is. I think if she loses that edge and become commercial on the field , that will be a distraction. Of course that is my opinion :) .

          • Steglitz49

            The great and only Johan Cruijff could be feisty on the field but today he is better known for his “turn” (aka dribble) and for creating the modern Barcelona style of play.

            Have we got any Alex Morgan quotes yet? Zlatan has entered the Swedish language with his comment that “sometimes it is post-in and sometimes it is post-out” which is now used in innumerable permutations. Zlatan also allegedly once quipped that “it does not matter what we do in Sweden because Stenmark will always be the greatest” — on that points Swedes would agree.

          • NYRick

            Christy, that’s an interesting point and a good one. I didn’t realize that an on-field temper was her persona a bit too. She does seem pretty easy to wind up, so she’s going to have to be careful because teams are going to keep doing it to her now that her profile has become so magnified. Where in the past, like at Cal, the Under 20 teams or even her first years with the national team, that stuff can fall in under the radar. Now, it can’t. Everything she does, onfield and off, is under a microscope. She has to realize that.

            But you’re right, you never want an athlete to temper their inner edge. It’s usually what separates the good ones from the great ones. Most top athletes have a nasty side. It’s the super competitive gene that they all have. I totally hear and agree with what you’re saying, but she is going to still have to control it more now, than in her past. She doesn’t have to get commercial or vanilla on the field, just more professional in her approach in understanding that she’s a big star now. It’s not two or five or ten years ago for her anymore. With the fame, money and recognition comes sacrifice and commercialism to an extent too. Whether she likes it or not.

          • Steglitz49

            I know two proverbs that allegedly originate in Arabia.

            If someone tells you that the mountain has moved, believe him. If someone tells you that a person has changed their character, do not.

            It is better to have a crust of bread and a rind of cheese than to hold the key to the golden door but to be kicked in the eye by a broody camel.

            I do not know if they apply to AM or PM or PC, but I thought that I would share them. Make of them what you will, preferably before Sol does.

          • Christy

            Um what…

          • Steglitz49

            You typed — “Alex has ALWAYS been this way” — which fits with the first proverb.

            The second proverb I take to mean along the lines of — “Seek you great things for yourself? seek them not”.

          • Christy

            Got it, ;)

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Maybe Sol could now gives us a German proverb or two?

          • KT5000

            Agree – I can’t stand this “diva” insult being thrown around. (Guess what? We’re on internet boards talking about her every move. It’s probably us with the problem, not her. QUIT POLICING WOMEN’S DEMEANORS AND BEHAVIOR. JUST STOP. *said to nobody in particular and everyone all at once*) I play in rec leagues with people who get just as pissed when people are obviously sloppily running through them and yanking them to the ground, then refuse to let go.

    • Steglitz49

      Dissent is the stupidest yellow card to pick up. It cost Sweden dearly in WC-11. To get one for a mistimed or reckless tackle is one thing. Indeed, you risk getting a red card, as we know.

    • JennaB

      You didn’t hear the hundreds of young girls screaming Alex’s name and waiting for autographs. I did – I was in the throngs of them – they were thrilled when she gave them a wave. She was the big draw for the crowd – I’m interested to see what the capacity will be next weekend.

      • Steglitz49

        Star power. You can’t replace it. The new Marta. Now Zlatan has a competitor for top tiger.

      • NYRick

        Not sure why this is directed to me. I’ve said several times in this thread that she is by far the biggest name and player in the sport and responsible for the crowd, etc. I just don’t think her name belongs in the headline of this article. Not fair to the rest of the Portland players who played their best game as a team. Washington’s goal was more important and the winner, and a more exciting play but she gets no mention in the headline.

        Every game she scores in she gets a headline, regardless of the score or importance of the goal. I completely understand why the media does it. They are hyping the league star, but it’s not necessarily fair.

  • Anton

    They’re good enough. They don’t need the benefit of the officials.

  • newsouth

    morgan = diva night out at the circus, acting like a little princess. you don’t see her wanting to fight, when she is running defenders over to score. hoping press and sydney takes over some of the top scoring duties for the national team, so they can co-market someone else also. washington is pulling up the cellar with seattle. who in their right mind thought this game would be close, given washtington has about as much offense as seattle? chicago has the players up top, but i have no clue whats going on with that team. portland was allocated to lead the league, esp at home for their season ticket holders. kc, sbfu and a late season wny can beat this team. once you throw sinclair the mid-field, those 3 are more than solid enough to silence morgan. and i’m tired already of the phantom calls for portland in box. fckc got robbed of 3 pts, and washingon was taken out the game early when they were fighting to at least stay in the running with portland. have to love to hate portland.

    • vert2013

      Did you miss the part where she was fouled 2 times in less than 10 seconds and then as she was trying to get up she was pushed again? Alex does need to watch her temper, she’s marked now and she’s going to get fouled more but D-Math was baiting her.

      • Steglitz49

        It could be argued that it is the captains of the teams that are responsible for keeping their players in line.

        There was an ugly foul early in the OG group match between Canada and Japan. The referee spoke sternly to the offending player. The message seemed to be that next time she would send her off and please could the player inform her team-mates. No card was given. The match was then played in a comradely and mutually trustful spirit.

        There is a big difference between a mistimed tackle and gratuitous violence aimed at taking a top player out of the game and preferably a whole tournament. Seeing that the star players are much more subject to such treatment than the ranks, referees must be extra vigilant, even if it looks as if they are giving the stars special attention.

        • vert2013

          See I don’t see it as much as favoritism to the big names as much as the big names get fouled a lot more. When other players get taken down as hard and as often as Alex, Abby and other big name players, they’ll get the calls too (assuming that the ref is actually paying attention).

          The problem I see with Alex is that if she keeps reacting the way she has recently, more and more players are going to bait her and she’s eventually going to get a card if she keeps it up. I can’t blame her for getting pissed but she’s got to try and watch her temper.

          • Steglitz49

            Gary Lineker is unusual as a striker in that he was never cautioned. He never received either a yellow or red card in his long and distinguished career. Such players are unusual.

            Maybe Alex could e-mail Johan Cruijff, Zlatan or Messi and ask them how they deal/t with excessive attention? Barcelona’s ladies just won the Spanish league, Tobin Heath plays for PSG ladies, and Ajax this season started a ladies side, so Alex would have plenty of colleagues she can ask for an intro — if she needs it.

          • vert2013

            heck she could just ask Abby. Until Alex came on the scene Abby got the crap beaten out of her.

          • Steglitz49

            Doesn’t Abby’s brother run a bar or something? I think Ms Morgan is of a more genteel background. Body-paint only protects you so far. Abby might even be able to teach Zlatan a trick or two — at least they could compare notes and have a laugh together.

  • http://twitter.com/JennySoccerFan JennyNWSL

    I remain intrigued at the executive decision making whereby Portland ends in being allocated two of the three top North American forwards. Sinclair, a UP grad and BC native, I can see being reasonably allocated there. She’s CANWNT, but very personally attached to PDX.

    Yet adding Morgan to a roster with an unsung goddess like Sincy smacks of something other than an eye for balance. As far as the max-marketing argument, the PDX fanbase is already well-colonized for pro soccer and doesn’t need her star power to draw them to Jeld-Wen. I’d have sent Morgan to Chi-town, or DC (although Morgan teamed with a veteran attacking midfielder like Matheson could be as deadly as Morgan+ Sinclair, who is effectively an AM at Thorns).

    Aside from this, the NWSL allocation has felt fairly even. And pre-advantaged Thorns or not, I agree that “any team in this league can score against any other,” as one player has said. At least on a good day, that’s true, and some teams will need more good days than others. Most of the teams will need to be at their sharpest against the Thorns.

    The goals against the Spirit on 4 May — coming off a PK and a defensive error — were self-inflicted wounds, and not due to Morgan and/or Sinclair. Morgan was actually fairly well-contained, aside from the shot that deflected off post.

    Washington has yet to play a good attacking game, but are gradually gelling their defense and are solid in midfield with Lindsey and esp Matheson, who punches way above her weight. But those two cannot be everywhere, and the Spirit forward line needs to lean in and make better runs, if the ideal crosses aren’t coming due to the midfield hanging back too often to bolster defense.

    For this Spirit roster, the diamond just may not be working for them to create enough chances up front — at least not as seen so far, in the early season. Forwards should be scoring most goals for a side, not midfielders, even hardworking stars like DMath.

    USWNT keeper Ashlyn Harris is another jewel for the Spirit — her aerial beastliness kept the Spirit alive in the Flash game as well as gave them a chance vs Thorns. But bottom line is that Spirit side needs some time to develop a solid attacking game before they can play giant-killer to the Thorns juggernaut.

    • Anton

      Beating the dead horse again, but intrigued is the wrong word. LePeilbet being at the Seattle game basically confirmed what I suspected. It’s so blatantly obvious that the U.S. allocations were changed at the last minute. You can pretty much follow the trail.

      SEA: Solo, Rodriguez, LePeilbet
      PDX: Rapinoe, Buehler, Winters
      CHI: Morgan, Heath, Boxx

      Morgan (and/or her camp) wants the PNW and to play with Heath, so to keep her happy, they choose PDX because there was no way Hope/Alex were going to be on the same team and there was zero chance that Hope was losing Seattle. So it sends Winters to CHI and bumps Pinoe to SEA because if they put her in Chicago, she probably would have stayed with Lyon, which therefore bumped LePeilbet to CHI.

      Case cracked. I am now your host of the new hit TV show; CSI: The Equalizer.

      • Steglitz49

        The allocations may not have been perfect but what was the alternative?

        In a free-for-all, the Emir’s pockets are deeper than the whole NWSL together + he has a flair for PR. In case you had not noticed it, many of the men’s teams, who are now putting more effort into their ladies sides, are much wealthier than Lyon. Lyon will face Wolfsburg in the CL final. The Chairman of Wolfsburg is the CEO of VW (who own a whole string of brandnames). Barcelona Ladies just won the Spanish league in front of 30,000 spectators in Bilbao.

        Maybe the agents acting for some of the USAWNT players were more persuasive than they expected? Maybe the USSoccer folded too soon? FIFA did their utmost to ensure that the Olympic Gold came to USA so that a NWSL could get started but only the NWSL, not FIFA, could populate the NWSL with the stars that the league must have. Even so, we are waiting still for Ms Heath and Rapinoe.

        The NWSL could not have done without Alex Morgan (and Hope Solo for that matter). Alex plays in USA, not in Europe or Japan.

        • Anton

          1. There was no alternative, allocations were the right way to go. How it turned out is where the problem lies. I understand not everyone is going to be happy but come on. It’s way too obvious.

          2. Oh, so now we didn’t deserve the Olympic Gold and FIFA did everything to make sure we got it. LOL. If you haven’t realized Blatter and FIFA hate everything U.S. Soccer. Why we keep voting for him, I’ll never know. The only thing we got away with was Tobin’s handball in the final (which I readily admit was a very, very bad missed call). All the things that were called in the Canada game were legitimate rules violations, no matter how rarely they get called. The most serious one went uncalled, i.e. Tancredi testing the strength of Carli’s skull.

          3. Yes the league needed her, nobody’s disputing that. But to throw other players in limbo to make her happy isn’t right.

          • Steglitz49

            It seems that Blatter and FIFA dislike USA’s men’s soccer because the men have not delivered on their side of the bargain.

            On the other hand, Blatter and FIFA realized much earlier than UEFA, that to grow soccer you must grow the ladies’ side of the game. Blatter and FIFA are more than well aware of all the benefit and value that the USA has brought ladies football world-wide. They appreciate, that without the USA women’s soccer would not be where it is today, and only a healthy and vibrant NWSL can keep growing the ladies’ game.

            The only people who do not seem to care about the NWSL seems to be the American people. Others are hoping on tip-toe that it succeeds.

          • Anton

            You’re giving Blatter and FIFA far too much credit. Blatter never realized that he must grow women’s soccer. The only thing I’ve ever heard from him regarding women’s soccer was that he wanted them to wear tighter shorts, that’s it.

            He’s said that the U.S. has no top soccer league and that MLS is struggling, that’s all you need to know. The guy is clueless.

          • Steglitz49

            It could be argued that at least one American player heeded Blatter’s advice and even went one better when she appeared in body paint.

            Gold-Lena’s popularity in Germany, as Sol can confirm, rose when she declined to be folded out in Playboy. Instead she made videos about knitting and felting:

            http://www.magdalena-strickt.de/dvd-strickkurs.php

          • Anton

            I doubt Alex was heeding Sepp’s ‘advice’, seeing as how she was in middle school when he made those comments. Not to mention, Mitts was already doing photoshoots and such before Sepp said that anyways.

            He doesn’t care about soccer in the United States and women’s soccer in general. That is fact. All he cares about is $$$$$$$$$$ and making FIFA look like more of a joke on a daily basis.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe Mitt Romney could try to be head of FIFA? Otherwise, Norio Sasaki might not be a bad choice.

            I doubt that another European will get it this time round, and an American would be great. I could imagine Judge Alito. How about you?

          • Anton

            Unfortunately, his successor is likely going to be Platini, who’s probably the only person worse than him.

            I really don’t know who’d be a good candidate or anything, but if it’s Platini, it’s going to be more of the same.

          • Steglitz49

            Platini has been politicking like mad to get the post and he may well do, though I doubt it because the international community would demand a non-European this time. Japan and USA are obvious choices partly because South-America is seen as too corrupt and Africa has yet to get a figure of sufficient stature.

          • Christy

            Mitt Romney? Was thata joke? Sure lets set the women’s game back another 100 years, great plan! The man hates progressive women and alternative life styles, not the right man for a job where one gender has a many who live alternative lifestyles. I don;t even think he supports women as athletes. No thank you!

          • Steglitz49

            I only said he might want to throw his hat into the ring. I would prefer Judge Alito. Let’s start “AFFIFA”!

          • Christy

            I agree with you, suppose the answer is to keep doing what we are doing , the fans of this country and around the world that bombard US Soccer for access to the games, who spend the money on the mechandise and show up to the games selling out nearly all of them over the past year and since the conclusion of 2011 world cup. Momentum has never been this high and since 1999 (when I became a fan of the USWNT) The US is responsible for helping to liberate women players around the world. How? By showing the restraining men of these smaller countries that the womens game can make money. National teams get paid, their countries get paid and while it is far far faaaaaaar away from any kind of female world wide revolution it has done some great things as a result. Still in this counrty where miles a way from equality, US Soccer has taken the next step in supporting the women’s game buy taking the rains along with the Mexicanand canadian National teams to facilitate a professional league in this country. I think it says a lot that these people understand that this is wanted and needed and Let’s be honest with American football at the fore front of US Sports Mens soccer will now and all ways be crap. So put your money in the right place where the gold is and that iswith the ladies game that’s where the revenue is and now they need to work a hell of alot harder at getting the girls on TV, pressures on Foc Soccer because if they don’t get people interested in their channel, the ratings in 2015 will be terrible and set us back! In my opinon of course.

          • Anton

            I agree with the basis of your point. But I extremely disagree when you say that ‘men’s soccer will now and always be crap’. It’s not crap now so I’m not sure why you’d say that. Just because we’re not ranked #1 like the WNT doesn’t mean we suck.

            The revenue lies with the MNT, not the WNT, and it’s not even close to being close. While the WNT is far and away the most popular women’s side in the world, their popularity in the U.S. isn’t close to the popularity of the MNT (and Mexico’s MNT for that matter). For example, last May the MNT played Scotland on a Saturday night in Jacksonville and got 44,000+ fans. This past January, the WNT played Scotland on a Saturday night in Jacksonville and got 18,000+ fans.

          • Steglitz49

            This is a most fair point. All fanatics for the ladies’ game should take note. Thank you for making it.

            Men will pay good money to watch ordinary men play ordinary soccer while women will not pay cheap money to watch the world’s best women play soccer. This is the crux and Gordian knot that friends and supporters of women’s soccer must cut.

            The person that solves this paradox will join the marketers wall of fame next to Pete Rozelle, Paul Giorlami and Absolut Vodka. On this hangs all success of women’s soccer as an independent entity.

          • luke

            Your points are accurate, but I don’t understand why do you insist there is one main undefined problem, that some genius is going to solve some day and women’s football will live happily ever after. That he will come with magic scissors, cut, like you say, some Gordian knot and suddenly we’ll have 40.000 people in the stadiums on ladies matches.

            First of all, there is not only one diabolic problem to be solved with popularity of women’s game, but many smaller ones and each of them has to be solved separately, by different group of people and in different ways.
            Secondly, all of it won’t happen in one glorious moment and there won’t be any single Saviour of Women’s Football. It’s an evolution, not the revolution, and it’s happening right now by the work of people whose names we don’t even know.
            Finally, there is a big chance, that there will NEVER be as many fans on women’s matches as on men’s matches, that we’ll achieve some maximum point of popularity and sustainability and that’s it. Lower than in male sports, with not much room to improve but sustainable and giving millions of women on this planet the perspective to pursue their dreams, but not on highest financial level. Would you consider it to be a failure, because still “men pay better money to watch ordinary men play”? I wouldn’t.

          • Christy

            Good Call luke, Women pay to see women pay, as do men, its an evolution, couldn’t agree more. I can tell you I traveled to Chicago, Boca raton, Fl and Jacksonville, Fl this year to see the USWNT play. The stadiums were full of ppl of all demos wearing womens football merchandise and cheering as loud as they could for the team. It’s going to happen, it’s just going to take more time, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

          • Steglitz49

            There are more than enough people to fill the stands to overflowing for ladies’ matches, yet the grounds are only reasonably full for very special and important matches.

            We rave about the fabulous attendances at the NWSL matches where the median is 3,107. Vow! It is, you would type, better than in Europe. So what? Ladies’ soccer in Europe marches its own drum-beat, and special matches there now start getting goodly numbers too.

            Let’s hope that we get a ding-dong ladies’ CL final as a show-case for the ladies and that Euro-13 sets new records for the quality of the soccer and the attendance. Somehow ladies soccer has to get their 20-35 year old sisters to come to the ball-park. It does not matter what they do there. They can check their smart-phones or Pads or knit; whatever floats their boats, but they have to be in the stands.

            The USA is best placed to show the way. Go for it!

          • Christy

            Yes you are rigt if your looking at an over all. But that’s not what I’m doing I’m looking at sample size of market and demographics. The uswnt is more popular world wide than the usmnt , that is a fact. The transition of the market for womens soccer in the US is unbelievable, by that I mean women of all ages, men of all ages, children of all ages love them and want to see them. When people show up to uswnt games the crowd is theirs no matter where they are. When the men’s team plays here they are playing teams with older soccer history than the US so many of those fans are just as many coming to cheer their native countries on as their are USA fans. So you point about people in the stands is accurate. I still am not happy with our mnt product and my point is we will never have the athletes to compete in the top 10 on the men’s side because our Messi is playing American football somewhere. We are a decent squad, not exceptional and not elite by the worlds standards. I hope we can compete for a world cup title some day I really do!

          • Anton

            Not sure how you can say that the WNT is more popular worldwide, let alone say it’s a fact. How so? Enlighten me.

            That’s where we disagree, I do think we’ll get the athletes eventually to compete with the best. We’ve already got two players at Spurs, one at Roma and one that has just scored 30 goals and is about to make a big money move, that’s been unheard of in the past. Down the road, we’ve got a 17 year old going to Dortmund, a 16 year old going to Fiorentina, a 12 year old in Barca’s academy, two teenagers at Liverpool and so on. That’s only going to improve over time as more and more clubs are looking to the U.S. for their future talent. Why? Because we have it.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            Maybe what the NWSL lacks is glamour and an option to the big time.

            Instead it looks a bit like a finishing school for middle-class girls who want to play a bit more soccer before they settle down to being soccer-mums.

          • Steglitz49

            Why do you think that the second after Saki Kumagai slammed the last nail into the coffin in 2011, FIFA and Blatter have tried their utmost to help make ladies football tick in America? Because they understand the business issues and America’s key role in growing women’s soccer and thereby all soccer.

            UEFA is still in the hands of former male players and sports-officials, while FIFA has been in the hands of businessmen and marketers for a long time.

            Still, one has to give UEFA some credit. While the leagues were down in USA, they upped the ante a bit in Europe for women, so that now 1% of UEFA’s wealth is channeled to the ladies.

            UEFA’s biggest steal was to make the ladies CL glamorous by riding the wave after FIFA’s World Cup and staging the ladies CL final in the Munich Olympic stadium. Let’s trust that this years final also is a cracking game and that Stamford Bridge is reasonably full.

          • KT5000

            Well, I TOTALLY agree with you here. :-)

          • Don B.

            If you think FIFA gives a good damn about women’s soccer or the USWNT, I ask you to go view the videos and interviews from the Ballon d’Or festivities this past year. During the red carpet segment, the FIFA media person actually thought Alex Morgan was someone’s date. She had to explain to him why she was there.

            Of course, Blatter was only too eager to drool all over her when he wasn’t busy slobbering over Gerard Depardieu.

          • Steglitz49

            No-one really cares much about women’s soccer except a few women and the odd eccentric male of the species. Were it not for the USA’s enthusiasm for the sport, it would still be invisible.

            At the same time, it is hard to avoid the fact that it is during Blatter’s time that ladies football has developed. Make of that what you will.

        • Christy

          FIFA didn’t win that game the US team won it. They had no control over who won the Olympics and the implication is ridicules.

        • NYRick

          Steg, we all love you, but sorry… the last thing FIFA and Blatter want is for the US to win ANYTHING. Our US girls won the gold, don’t taint that in any way. They came through when they had to, and had more pressure on them to win than any other nation. That’s getting it done in my book.

      • NYRick

        Very funny. CSI: The Equalizer. Or maybe CSI: Portland. Since they’ve done every other city in the US with that show.

        You’re probably correct with your assessment or close to it, but at this point I don’t care anymore. As a SBFC fan, just send Press to Sky Blue when she returns to the US next year and all is forgiven for me.

        • Anton

          Seattle. At least I hope.

          But SEA still has to send ‘a future allocated U.S. player’ to Chicago for Winters. I still have no idea how that’s going to work.

          Winters isn’t likely to be paid for by the USSF next year (and A-Rod for that matter, who’s speculated to be the player), so who goes, Pinoe? That’s a massive rip off. Or is SEA given, say Press and forced to trade her to CHI? So confusing.

          • NYRick

            Nah, we want Press in NY/NJ. And maybe she can bring along her Swedish teammate, Yael Averbuch (a native Jersey girl) to Sky Blue too. We’ll team the two of them with KO and Rampone and then a really teach those Portland Thorns a lesson. LOL.

            But in the spirit of things and in lieu of your keen detective work cracking the NWSL allocation case, if Press doesn’t go to SBFC, then I wish her well in the soccer hotbed of Seattle for you.

          • Anton

            Thank you sir.

            But all this is moot anyways. We both know Press is going to Portland. Somehow, someway.

          • Christy

            Press in Portland lol, no not as long as Alex is there. They wont allocate 2 fwds to the same team from the US. Press would likely be sent to Seattle or SB. Arod probably wont be back, she doesn’t have the drive Rampone has. Its possible though, haven’t really heard but her USWNT career is over.

          • NYRick

            You see, you are correct on this (2 US forwards won’t play on the same team). But I say why the freakin not! If I’m Sermanni I would have loved that. Alex and Syd together on the same team or Alex and Press. If Alex and Press played their club soccer together in the US, their chemistry and talents would reach unfair levels on the international level. KO and Rampone are playing the backline together for Sky Blue. Why is that different? They were allocated for the reason of letting KO learn from Rampone and improve her game.

            As for what they will or won’t do during the allocation process, it is pretty evident regardless of what’s said on the surface that star players dictated and got the situations/teams they wanted. If AM wanted Press with her, and Press was playing in the NWSL this year and not Sweden, I guarantee you Press would be in a Thorns uniform. AM wanted Tobin with her. Tobin was far more needed by several other teams. Portland had a bunch of midfielders (albeit mediocre from the looks of it).

          • Christy

            Tobin had a say too Rick lol, the players chose their first choice and second choice locations. The reason hope and Alex wound up in different cities is because they’re two of the biggest names in Women’s soccer. You don’t want all your best eggs in one basket now do you? Alex may have asked tobin to play on the same squad with her but the reason Alex is in Portland is because the timbers owner wanted her there. That man understands what it takes to make it successful franchise. I hope other mls teams will decide to support the women’s professional league based on what he’s been able to accomplish! The majority of the allocations were set up so that one forward or attacking player, one midfielder and one defender would wind up on each team. Or in some cases a goalkeeper. The only reason Kelly and Christie wound up at sky-blue is because Kelly is listed as a forward. She’s being used primarily as a forward unless Skyblue is in need of the defense like it was in the last game.

          • Anton

            Really? I mean c’mon…. Really?

            ‘You don’t want all your best eggs in one basket’ – Agreed. But, how do you explain Alex/Sinclair then?

            ‘but the reason Alex is in Portland is because the timbers owner wanted her’ – Yeah, and so did 7 other owners.

            ‘That man understands what it takes to make it successful franchise.’ – No. No, he doesn’t. Up until the first 10 games this year, the Timbers have been hot garbage since they entered MLS.

            ‘based on what he’s been able to accomplish!’ – Like run a mediocre MLS team and a NWSL team that was gifted two of the top 5 players in the world? Real genius there.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Sinclair is Canadian. Each team were given two Canadians and two Mexican players. KC are doing very well out of their’s.

            Also, Ms Sinclair may not have been so high on many teams list of preferences and there may not have been a good match between her wishes and the teams, except for Portland.

          • KT5000

            really. coming on. really.

            maintaining a successful franchise is not quite the same thing as “buying” a successful team. you can’t blow your wad in the first few mls seasons to zip straight to the playoffs with your stellar roster. you invest in a facility that people love to come to, build slowly, and develop positive relationships with your fans. so yes, yes he does, in fact, understand what it takes to make a successful franchise.

            if it’s that easy, go ahead and start a team. soccer is dying for investors. also, you are dissing a team that doesn’t win enough for you, and a team that you think is going to win too much. pull yourself together, man!!

            and as steglitz49 says below, alex/sinclair were allocated by different federations who both wanted their players to be happy and successful. there’s no reason one should defer to the other if they’ve lined up their respective allocations in order to give their best players their top choices.

          • Anton

            I realize how MLS works and have no idea how to run a professional franchise. I like to think I know how, but I don’t. But that doesn’t neglect the fact that he’s made some really bad decisions when it comes to the Timbers (ex: dumping Kenny Cooper for basically nothing, then using that money to sign Kris Boyd, surrendering a 1st round pick in the process) but the hiring of Caleb Porter seems to finally be turning that club into the right direction. He also comes off as a prick more often then not when things don’t go his way (and sometimes when they do). Just don’t like the guy, never have, never will. What he did for that kid last Wednesday was awesome, but that doesn’t change my perception of him.

            If I hit Powerball, I will start a team. Until then, I’ll continue to be a high school burnout who thinks he knows everything. ;)

            The federations didn’t allocate the players, some third party did. Surely they allocated each country separately, but common sense says don’t put arguably the top 2 strikers in the world on the same team, no matter what nationality they are.

          • KT5000

            he did make some awful decisions, for sure. more than other owners? probably not. does it make him a wholesale dumb@ss? probably not. you don’t like him and that’s fair, but maybe you should have just lead with that; plain ol’ dislike doesn’t really have to be based on anything weighted with nuance or comparisons, so i wouldn’t have wasted my time! :-)

            not to belabor the point, but say you are a third party, and you have to turn to a federation and say, “well, we couldn’t give your best/most marketable player her top choice because we decided the wishes of [other federation's] best/most marketable player were more important, and they both picked the same location. sorry.” i mean, there are only EIGHT teams, and it’s the first season of a league they’re just hoping survives (sadly). it does seem to defy common sense in some ways, like you said, but it *is* able to be explained.

          • Anton

            True, I probably should have said I don’t like guy first, but based on my other posts on other articles, I thought that may have been already established. That post above was a response to another poster giving him credit for landing Morgan, Heath and Sinclair when he really had nothing to do with it (we think), just got a bit carried away with my MP hate.

            I completely understand that it was likely that both Alex and Sinc had PDX #1 and both deserved to their top choice, that has never been my issue. If they didn’t play the same position, I’d be less upset about it. But with only like 4-5 impact forwards available, putting two on one side is really hard for me to grasp. If they both refused to play anywhere other than Portland, then I’d be pretty disappointed, plenty of other players sacrificed. Nobody is bigger than the game/league.

          • Christy

            Your current product isn’t necessarily conducive of your ability to create an enviorment that makes women’s soccer successful , he has the facility and the resources
            To advertise in a city open to the women’s game that is all. He is a mls owner willing to take it on and this far it’s paying off and of course it helps he has the arguably most potent
            Allocations in Morgan and Sinclair . Sinclair is a Portland alum, that’s why she isthere, Morgan is there because he having the best enviorment to house the “face of us soccer” an he got what he asked for. I think it was the right decision . Womens soccer has a huge following and it’s growing but of course it doesnt compare to the men’s side yet, hopefully one day. This “experiement” with the Thorns is showing if mls gets involved can they make money. Let’s see. Advertisement is everything in sports, that and the product on the field of course.

          • Steglitz49

            The simplest explanation for why Ms Tobin is in Portland is that she put Portland as her #1 and Portland had her as their #2. The matching worked.

            Which MLS team can afford to support a ladies’ side? LA?

          • NYRick

            The three biggest names in women’s soccer are US players (AM, Abby and Hope). They are the 3 names that every US sports fan knows even if you don’t follow women’s soccer or even soccer in general. Any US sports fan who doesn’t follow women’s soccer doesn’t have a clue who Sinclair is. Don’t forget the league is trying to legitimatize the sport here, so the casual fan is their target too. The league knows all this going into the allocation process. Here’s how it shook out:

            Abby apparently bought a home in Portland last year, is not stupid and understood the soccer craze in the city and surely wanted to play there. She is the ONE who sacrificed and I give her massive credit, even if she did go back “home” to Rochester. Abby is the one, based on her status, who deserved the ultimate first choice over AM and Hope. But she conceded because the other two have some diva in them. If she was a diva about it, all hell would have broke loose because AM did not want to go back to Rochester (been there, done that) or Chicago. Hope still thinks she’s the biggest name in the sport and probably demanded she was only going to play in Seattle. That gave AM Portland. Not a bad option (Nike there, top soccer hotbed in the country, great MLS stadium and fan base).

            Sinclair IS the one who would have gone to Europe if she didn’t get Portland where she played her college soccer. She was the diva and the league wanted her talents of course to help prosper, so they had to team AM and Sinc together. So in turn “all eggs did go in one basket.”

          • stephy_paola

            I think the issue isn’t AM + Sinclair, its more like AM + Tobin Heath

          • Christy

            That shouldn’t be an issue either, not all teams were allocated 3 players but the larger markets were. As a general rule lets say they allocated players by position not name. If you go thru the original allocations where 3 players were sent they tried to do say 1 fwd 1 mid 1def or goal keeper or basically one at different areas of the field. All of the players were allowed to have input on where they wound up not to mention strategic placement based on market impact. If tobin and Alex both chose Portland why shouldn’t they both be allowed to go there, one is a fwd and the other a mid fullfling two different positions on the field which was the intention when the allocations started. There is no problem. What’s funny is if Cheney was sent to Portland we wouldn’t. E having this conversation. Equally as talented at the middle but less ties to Morgan. That’s ridicules ,if tobin and Alex decided to play together and they were allocated as such that’s their decision and nothing unfair was done to make it happen. If the concensus is tobin is so much better than the other middis that would be untrue at this moment. She has chemestry with Morgan , so do most of the players on the uswnt , so it seems it’s the association u all disapprove of not the allocated players and their positions.

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that your statement that “not all teams were allocated 3 players ” is to be economical with the actuality.

            Because one USA player changed her mind late, the USA had only 23 players to allocate, not 24 as planned. Thus one team went short.

            Subsequent events developed such as Ms Hope’s need for surgery and ARod being blessed, plus there were some injuries in training also. Somewhere along the line, Ms Rapinoe and Ms Heath took Julia Child literally and went to the source to learn to drive a 2CV.

            Amber Brooks, a draft pick, went to Bayern Munich. Maybe she will grab the bull by the horns and get some knitting lessons from Gold-Lena and polish her skiing with Rosi Mittermaier and Vikky Rebensburg, because the Bavarian kitchen should probably stay in Bavaria. Test-driving a BMW might be good fun even if she settles for a Skoda or Seat.

          • Steglitz49

            Is there a “PM”? In the setting of women, to many the PM will always be the late Margaret Thatcher, but in soccer maybe there is a female PM?

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe the Emir will bring them both to PSG? Then we will see them play together at club level.

            Benistiti is, however, more likely to go botanizing among high-school seniors and college players, though judging by signing Ms Heath, might we see more senior recruits?

          • stephy_paola

            I agree, ARod’s USWNT career is over. The NT has toooooooo many forwards that are way better than her.

          • Steglitz49

            ARod could go into coaching, like Zagalo, Cruijff and the Baron did. Alternatively, she could be the ultimate soccer mum, at least until Yuki Ogimi joins her on the side-lines …

          • Steglitz49

            Alex will be sent to LA to head up the California Franchise and Christen will be asked to do the same in the Bay Area but the Emir will scupper all those plans — or failing PSG maybe VW …

          • newsouth

            If Pail joins, they will go after Press. She’s played with them. Press goes to LA.. Morgan stays in Portland next to Nike. Also, MLS teams will demand a star striker. if portland had not been MLS, they wouldn’t have got two star forwards. it’s that simple

          • Steglitz49

            I could see Ms Press accepting a posting to LA. The crunch might be buying out her contract with Tyresö.

          • vert2013

            Averbuch still has another season in Sweden, she won’t be back until Summer 2015 at the earliest.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Averbuch plays in the football-capital — many say the sports-capital — of Sweden and her manager (head coach) is one of Sweden’s best and most loved players of his generation. The main sponsor of Gbg brought this gentleman out of retirement from coaching (overtones of the original manager of Potsdam coming back into the fray of this season).

            Ms Averbuch already has been selected for the NT squad. She might as well continue where she is appreciated.

          • vert2013

            You think she wouldn’t be appreciated here? Most of the NWSL games are higher attended that European league games. CL obviously draws more. Tyreso is the strongest team in Sweden and draws less than 3000 people a match and the PSG/OL match, the two strongest teams in D1 only drew 6500. We can talk about talent levels and financial backing as major differences between the 2 leagues, but the average attendance in NWSL is higher than European leagues.

            Plus Averbuch said in one of her W-Soccer chats earlier this year that she would like to come back.

          • Steglitz49

            You are right in principle. Attendances in Europe are generally lower than in the NWSL, partly because the conurbations are on the whole much smaller.

            Nevertheless, the game this w/e in Bilbao between Atletico Bilbao and Barcelona which decided the Spanish ladies league attracted 30,000 fans. Barcelona had to win, which they did 1-2; a draw would have been enough for Bilbao.

            It will be interesting to see the attendances for the next matches in the German D1 which are crucial for Frankfurt and Potsdam to get the coveted second CL spot.

            Once her contract is up in Gbg, Yael will consider her options, including a return to USA.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Press current Swedish team-mate is Meghan Klingenberg. Yael plays for Press’s old team Gbg, where Camille Levin also plays. One former Gbg player already is in the NWSL.

        • Steglitz49

          Should Ms Press return, she should go to KC.

          • vert2013

            KC is pretty stacked as it is. Sky Blue of Chicago for Press.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe that is why the young lady prefers to continue to explore Sweden?

          • stephy_paola

            KC has too much power right now, maybe Chicago, DC or SB

          • Steglitz49

            She is free to chose, is she not? The NWSL is not serfdom, is it? Maybe she likes living among a people that have always been free.

            If Christen continues to play well for Tyresö, they will make it worth her while staying with them, and as I typed elsewhere, the really wealthy clubs might make her an offer.

          • heremerawr

            Except KC already has a very good striker in Cuellar, who is young and improving rapidly. I suppose they could always make them a striking pair, but I still can’t help but feel as though Press could do better elsewhere. Unless she has family in KC area. Although going by that she’d probably want to be in Seattle or Portland, as they’re closest to California. Honestly I’m of the opinion that Seattle would be the best fit for her, although of course Press’s preferences should come first (unless it’s Portland lol). Of course, this is assuming she even decides to come to the NWSL next year.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Cuellar seems to be a star in making.

            BTW did you know that a fair number of American lasses of Philippine origin are into Philippine soccer. There was some cup in LA that the Philippines NT (or NT U-something or other) won — Viking cup?

          • newsouth

            LOL! You can’t score on them and hold possession. Now, you just overloaded their offense like Portland. Hand them the championship when the clog Sinclair in the mid-field and turn it into Morgan just trying to make runs. Then again, they could have a couple of phantom calls in the box against KC to insure Portland stays in the game.

      • Christy

        Actually, LeP’s significant other plays for Seattle, thats why she was at the game.

        • stephy_paola

          Who is LeP’s significant other?

          • Christy

            Unconfirmed, Bogus

          • stephy_paola

            of course they’re all unconfirmed lol … doesnt Abby’s significant other play for the WNY too?

          • Steglitz49

            I can see a future exam question: “Discuss the influence of the USA’s Supreme Court on soccer.”

          • stephy_paola

            Hahahahaha that would be awesome!

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Judge Alito as head of FIFA would be icing on the cake. SAFFIFAP.

          • Christych

            Lol well yes but to proper thing to do is to reply with unconfirmed because LeP didn’t personally tell me lol and yes she does play for WNY as well she’s injured atm

          • Steglitz49

            “allegedly” works quite well

    • vert2013

      Are you really not going to give Morgan her 1st choice though? Like it or not, she gave up a lot in support of this league. She could be making 3x as much money in Europe, and there were definitely interested teams. You want her to stay, you give her want she wants. Pretty obvious that she wanted Portland and I suspected wanted Heath there as well although Heath’s presence there could be written off as coincidence (I don’t buy it though).

      People like to say that the league would survive without Alex, but the attendance records speak against that. Each venue is getting 1000+ more fans when Alex is in town, Chicago literally doubled their attendance when the Thorns were in town. Maybe the league would survive without her, but teams would be struggling a lot more.

      • NYRick

        We’ve all talked about this subject over and over, but I just do have to address the one statement again: AM could be making 3x as much in Europe. Yes, probably true. And yes, the league certainly benefits from her presence in every match she plays in terms of attendance and exposure. All true.

        But why can’t people also understand that is and WAS in her SUPREME (and that must be emphasized) interests to play her club soccer in the US. Not just for present endorsements (she’s Nike’s prize female and will be for years), but for all future earnings (fashion, cosmetics, vitamins etc.). She of course would still be famous with the national team if she played in Europe, but the rabid young USWNT fan base would migrate to other players on the team quickly (ie LeRoux, Press, Mewis) and her popularity would diminish if she played in Europe. She or Nike doesn’t want that to happen. They have a decade long gold mine and are not going to blow that. So playing in Europe she makes maybe 350-500K for some team (maybe PSG). In the US, she’s probably making 200+K for NWSL plus endorsements and that number will skyrocket as the team moves towards WWC15 in the next two years. It’s a complete no-brainer for her and her handlers to stay in the US. Plus, she’s in the US, close to friends and family. Another huge bonus.

        I’m a big fan of AM. She is great for the sport and I’m glad that she’s playing here. But let’s not make it into this wonderful altruistic story that she’s doing it all for the love of US soccer. She’s an athlete who has ascended to the top of her profession, so she does deserve the money and a choice of her liking. But she isn’t Mother Teresa in this instance either.

        • Steglitz49

          Your point is well taken. Also, one doubts that any team in Europe really would want to pay more than about $250k per year on account of not wanting to cause friction among the ranks. You cannot have too big a disparity in salaries.

        • vert2013

          You really think she wouldn’t be able to do her endorsement obligations from Europe? She could do every single one of them from Europe. Plus with the amount of time off that they have in between games, she could easily come back and forth as needed for obligations that she couldn’t do from over there. You can do a photo shoot anywhere. No one can tell if the green screen is in France or in the US.

          Perfect example: She went to Chile in between the Chicago game and the Washington game last week. It’s 2013, it’s not like she has to get on a steamliner to get back to the states.

          • stephy_paola

            why did she go to chile?

          • NYRick

            You honestly think she could do her endorsement obligations in Europe and it would have the same impact for US sponsors?! She is famous in the US market. Not in Europe. Certainly not nearly the same way by any stretch. They don’t give a toss about her in Europe. She never even played professionally there. You would be better off doing European endorsements with Press.

            You are selling her popularity in Europe and worldwide way too large. This is still women’s soccer. Let’s be realistic. Here’s a case in point. I was watching a Pepsi commercial to the US market on Fox Soccer with a few of my friends (not soccer fans). In the commercial were Messi, Aguero and Wilshire. They heard of Messi but didn’t know what he looked like for sure. The other two could have been from Mars. And that’s men’s soccer featuring 3 of the biggest stars of the sport! AM’s bread is buttered in this country and her handlers would be the first to tell you that, and probably laugh you out of the room if you suggested she do all her promotions and endorsements in Europe. How many people do you think would show up for one of her children’s book signings in Europe? In the US, they are wrapped around the block.

          • vert2013

            That’s not what I’m saying, I’m saying she could do her photo shoots and ads in Europe and they can still advertise them here. The commercial she filmed in Chile last week is for Bridgestone to be shown here. Do you think that commercial with Messi, Aguero and Wilshire was filmed in the States? No, it doesn’t matter where the ads are produced, it matters where they’re shown.

            As for her book, do you really think they’d release it when she was unavailable? It’s not like she’d never be here. AM gained her fame and endorsements from NT play, not club. European club players have the entire summer off…ding ding ding that’s when you release the book.

          • NYRick

            I understood that. That she could of course film or produce any commercial from any segment of the world. But I’m talking visibility in the promotion aspect of it all. No one knows or cares that the commercial was filmed in Chile, but rest assured that Bridgestone wants her butt IN THE US making appearances on their behalf. She wouldn’t get the Bridgestone deal if she told them I can’t get out of my match with PSG to make that public appearance in Florida, etc. Unless you’re Brad Pitt or some big name celebrity, you have to jump for big sponsors when they want you. She’s not big enough for that. Not yet anyway. Playing in the states, and with the backing of the NWSL and the US soccer federation, they would grant leeway to their golden girl (and I say that respectfully and not in a nasty way) in any means possible to help promote women’s soccer in this country. Her visibility does that, so it’s a win for them. In Europe she would have roadblocks and hassles at many turns. Ask Christen Press about club team obligations in Europe. It nearly derailed her national team career.

            As for the Messi commercial, my point was to emphasize that even the most famous soccer players aren’t as famous as you think they are. Not in this country any way where the big money endorsements are. For her book, you may be right there, but isn’t it more all around convenient for her to be in this country doing such things like book signings and appearances year round?

            Lastly, you always say that she made her fame with the NT, not club. Absolutely correct. The US market. The US fans. The young soccer playing girls in the US. That’s why it does matter too where she plays her club soccer. She needs to be visible to the young girls in this country who dream of being her. That’s the concept of her whole children’s book series. To do anything different, would be to be a complete phony and a big lie.

          • vert2013

            I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree at this point. Most of her endorsements have limited public appearances, so that makes a very minimal impact. What public appearance would you do for Bridgestone? A NASCAR race?

            She got this big without club, I honestly don’t think it would make a huge difference where she played. Yeah maybe Leroux and Mewis get more fans but until they put up the stats for the NT that Alex does, she’ll still be the face of USSF. Look at Dempsey, he hasn’t played MLS in a few seasons and he’s still very much the male face of the NT.

          • NYRick

            OK on the agree to disagree part. I respect your opinion.

            The only final thing I’ll say about endorsements or PR in general about this all is the old romantic saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” Playing in Europe, which is the basis of our whole argument, would do that to her. She knows this quite well so you can take it to the bank that she’ll play her whole club career (as long as there is a league) in the states. So it’s all a moot point really. She isn’t going anywhere.

          • NYRick

            Dempsey’s popularity is so small and minor in relation to AM’s popularity that it isn’t even worth mentioning. Where on the mass popularity scale Dempsey may be a 4 or 5, AM is a 10. Most soccer fans I know think Dempsey is a wimp and drama queen. The fact that he’s the face of the MLS has been a misnomer. Beckham was the face of the MLS the last 5 years and the league is going to sorely miss his presence.

          • Steglitz49

            Dempsey is a boxer, surely, like in the painting “Dempsey and Firpo” by George Bellowes. Is the soccer player any relation?

          • Anton

            Are you sure you’re not confusing Clint Dempsey with someone else? He’s very popular among U.S. Soccer fans, probably more so than Alex. He’s not a wimp and drama queen, he’s the toughest SOB we’ve got. He also hasn’t been in MLS since 2007.

            It sounds like you’re explaining Landon Donovan, but I wouldn’t necessarily call him a wimp either, drama queen at times? Yes, but mostly in his younger years. He’s also probably more popular than Alex too. MLS is doing just fine without Beckham too I might add. LA is still averaging around 18,000-20,000 people a night.

          • NYRick

            Yep, that’s what happened. Wrote CD instead of LD. My bad. I really like CD as a player. Donovan’s hiatus was just irksome, and dare I say the stuff of a drama queen. He’s only 30 for crying out loud. When he’s 33 and completely washed up, he’ll regret that decision.

            And the MLS might feel Beckham’s loss in the next few years more than the present.

          • Don B.

            Take it for what it’s worth, but Twitter followers has become the new gauge of popularity (I know, but at least the numbers are there for the comparison). Using that, Dempsey has 210,730; Donovan has 895,156; and Morgan 1,166,693. What’s interesting is that Morgan is ranked 17th in the world, men OR women.

          • NYRick

            Don, the Twitter point is very interesting and telling. Especially AM’s really high number. But I honestly feel 500k-750k of that amount for Alex came very directly after the painted on SI bikini. That put her on a worldwide map far outside sports. That was a huge trivial sports story and the media really ran with it and AM capitalized on it with massive popularity.

          • Christy

            Alex had over 800,000 followers before she did the sports illustrated shoot.

          • NYRick

            She probably got half a mil right after the WC11 final against Japan, but in terms of the 800k before SI, I’m not disputing you but I’d like that fact checked. No way she had that many before SI.

          • Steglitz49

            At the time, the ladies WC-11 final broke all Twitter records but I have not seen a breakdown of the figures. I have always assumed that it was owed the the Japanese who stayed up all night to watch. Maybe it was the Kirin brewery celebrating their sales?

            Does anyone know?

          • Christy

            thats a dispute in general, I don’t know where to find the proof you want but when I started following her she had about 20,000 in 2010, post WWC she exceeded 500k within about 2 months and it increased on a steady basis until she finally surpassed Hope, over 800 i remember looking within a couple of weeks before the SI issue came out. I think she got a steady increase after the maxim top 100 or whatever that is lol.

          • NYRick

            I fully expect you to have two interns working round the clock shifts to get to the bottom of that 800K number, and when (and I mean precisely, date/time/minute) 800k did register.–)

            Also, you may be happy to know that Voldemort only has about 10K followers.

          • Steglitz49

            At the time, the WC-11 final broke all Twitter per second records. I presume, but do not know, that the men’s 2012 CL final set new records. Indeed, what is the most Twittered event today?

            It will be interesting to learn of any Twitter-comparison between the ladies’ and men’s CL final this year also including the FA cup final.

          • heremerawr

            I’d argue that the Twitter thing has more to do with the fact that AM is very interactive with fans via Twitter, which helps her attract more (the same could be said for the other USWNT members). I’m not sure Donovan even has a Twitter and I think its been months since Dempsey last updated his. I could have the two mixed up, of course, I don’t really follow Twitter in general.
            That also brings up another point of mine. AM, and the USWNT in general, are very socially active. I’m not quite sure the same can be said of the MNT players. I’m not really a fan, though, so of course I can’t be sure. But it just seems like AM DOES a lot more, which the regular soccer fan doesn’t really care about. They want to go to games to see a team win, usually. Yeah, dunno if that makes sense, but there’s my two cents.

          • NYRick

            I find Twitter to be the bane of society. It’s kind of funny because I have my own design and branding company and deal with it all the time, but I still think it is for the most part deplorable and egotistical. There is so much of social media that I love though, but Twitter is not one of them. For instance, talking with soccer fans like yourself on these boards. But Twitter is so annoying with its “followers.” Especially for athletes and entertainers when they pontificate about their views of the world. I’m a Man Utd. fan and I once checked Wayne Rooney’s twitter account for some soccer insight about an upcoming match with Chelsea. Instead I read several entries about him having to buy a baby gift for his sister in law. I laughed my butt off. And I personally love when they say something idiotic on Twitter that gets them in trouble. It’s usually well deserved.

            You are absolutely right about Twitter as it pertains to the USWNT. I think they are all battling each other to accumulate more followers. Let’s face it, their Twitter numbers are high because their fanbase is 10-14 year old girls who live on their cell phones and iPads and hang on every word they say. I think Don B mentioned that Alex is now 17th in the world rankings. Well, when those ahead of her are named Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kim K., Charlie Sheen and the like, I don’t view it as a big honor. If you’re a celeb and you do something noteworthy or something stupid, your account grows by 500K in a day.

          • heremerawr

            I can’t stand Twitter either and only hear about such things through the time sucking world of Tumblr. Cheers, mate.

          • Don B.

            Actually, what I was referring to with Alex’s twitter numbers is that she is 17th in the world for soccer players, male or female. I anyone actually looks at Morgan’s twitter, she doesn’t really interact with anyone other than teammates and family. She’ll tweet occasionally about something, but it’s usually game or soccer related. Just for laughs, Kobe Bryant recently joined twitter. The first person he chose to follow? Alex Morgan.

            For the USWNT numbers, the top five are Morgan 1,167,473, Solo 671,333, Wambach 241,560, Rapinoe 135,447 and Lloyd 89,572.

          • Steglitz49

            Do you have the Twitter numbers for a few other top lady soccer players from around the world?

            OK, they would have to adjusted for population or Twitter-rate of something. The square-root of the player’s number, perhaps?

          • Christy

            She will interact on rare occasion, birthday shout outs if she catches them, she used reply quite frequently but I can only imagine what kind of crap tweets she has to scroll through to find anything worth replying to. Personally I never really understood the excitement of a “retweet” um, ok…

          • Christy

            On a world wide scale the USWNT and Alex Morgan are more popular than the USMNT, Donovan, Dempsey doesn’t matter. Though I have a soft sport for Landon, even if he did flake of late. Alex Morgan has transcended into various demographics and markets, other athletes know who Alex is, Actors and Actresses know her etc and the team it’s self gathers men, women, and children and families as a whole. The American casual fan likely knows Alex Morgan, yet couldn’t name a single player on the men’s side. MLS games do well and are already established , you can’t consider the men’s game to the women’s game as apples to apples because the men’s game has been around a lot longer if the women’s league was as popular as the men’s is from the word go it would be a feat unheard of.

            However, if you were to say, take the fact the first women’s world cup was only 22 years ago and 8 years after its inaugural tourny the the women sold out the Rose Bowl and blew up TV ratings and you follow it’s steady ascension in such a short time, one could argue that at the rate of pace the women’s game has gained popularity it could in a very short time exceed the mens side in popularity in the next decade. The fact of the matter is the men’s side continues to lose fans because the US has a short attention span, the people continue to jump on the USWNT bandwagon because American likes a winner and the women are always relevant and always have a shot to win and do it in dramatic fashion. The argument is valid, you may not like it but the information is there, the proof as they say is in the pudding.

          • Anton

            I can almost guarantee that more casual soccer fans know Landon Donovan over Alex Morgan.

            How is the MNT ‘losing fans’ when they’ve averaged around 28,000 fans per game in their last 8 home games? Yes, U.S. fans love a winning team (hence the glory hunters that root for Spain), but we also have more national pride than anyone else, especially when it comes to sports.

            I’m not putting down the WNT at all, I love them just as much as I do the MNT. But like Ashlyn Harris, I’m a realist. The WNT is more successful than the MNT. More popular? Not a chance. As I said somewhere else in this mass of comments, the WNT isn’t even as popular as the Mexican national team here.

          • Christy

            Your assumptions are just that, your assuming that 28,000 ppl are there just to see the MNT and that’s just not so. Your throwing in the Mexican nation team in a country full of Mexican immigrants who out number the average American in soccer game attendance 2-1, I’ve been to the games. Your basing your opinion on seat sales not actualy fans of the usmnt. I’m with Don here popularity in this day and time is measured by social media and Alex has that by such a margin there’s no need to argue.

          • vert2013

            au contrare, I know many many more people that know who Dempsey is than Morgan, both in and out of soccer circles. I don’t think Dempsey is the face of MLS, or even that he’s all that well liked, but with Donovan taking his mental health break, Dempsey became the face of the MNT.

            I have a feeling this is also going to be become an agree to disagree topic.

          • NYRick

            You know what, I apologize. For some crazy reason I wrote Dempsey’s name, when in fact I meant Donovan. I just read it wrong and replied wrong. Dempsey is by no means a wimp and drama queen. Donovan in my opinion is. Sorry to Clint for that.

            No agree to disagree topic. CD is the face of US soccer right now, and I have no problem with that. He’s a hell of a player. But on the popularity scale, I still would rate Alex way ahead of him in that area only because the women’s team is so much more popular than the men’s team.

          • Anton

            Again, the WNT is NOT more popular than the MNT. Why do some still think this?

          • NYRick

            Ammmmmm.… because it is.

          • Christy

            lol, Rick i’m sorry this made me lol

          • heremerawr

            Really? In my case, people who don’t really keep up with soccer have heard of AM due to the Canada semi-final, but are unaware of Dempsey but maybe recognize Donovan because of the last WC game versus Algeria.
            However, I would say that people more familiar with soccer, i.e. a casual fan, tend know Donovan and Dempsey more often than Alex, simply because there’s generally more interest in the male side of sports for the regular fan.
            I actually had a discussion about just this with my RA last semester. He’s this big guy who’s really into wrestling and American football, and I was still able to carry a decent conversation with the USWNT and Alex Morgan, who he had heard of.
            Another exciting tale of mine, more along the lines of the second paragraph, involves a couple I met on a rafting trip in Colorado. They were big soccer fans who happened to love Chelsea and were completely disinterested/unaware of ANYONE on the USWNT.

          • Steglitz49

            “Ask Christen Press about club team obligations in Europe.” — club team obligations follow the FIFA principles. Those principles were put in place to protect small and poor countries against rapacious clubs who were refusing to release players for bona fide national duties.

            It seems a tad unsporting for the USAWNT to infringe the principles created to protect NTs. Simply not cricket.

          • NYRick

            I agree with you on that. I was simply making that point because if Alex played in Europe she may find herself unable to get free of club obligations in the same manner she can in the US for her endorsements and promotional opportunities.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe the answer is to get the salaries of lady footballers to a reasonable level so they can concentrate on the game during the season and do their PR work in the off-season.

          • heremerawr

            But then Alex Morgan would have too much free time… :P

          • Steglitz49

            I think Ms Morgan should join Ms Patrick in NASCAR and INDY racing. A fight between those two on the race track would have the media going crazy (please insert other descriptors).

        • Christy

          I agree with you Rick, with her endorsements and her pay from US Soccer and her preference to stay here, outside of the desire to live abroad (which I don’t believe she has any interest in based on past interviews) There is no draw to Europe. I will point out that she could not and would not make the money she is making here, trick is she has to do a lot more for it which has its benefits and draw backs. Example: Last year she made 70K from US Soccer, this was straight pay ,simply for playing matches as a starter and did not include bonuses for winning the gold medal at the Olympics and may or may not include the contract for the victory tour. The rumored multi 6 figure deal with Nike as well as a 6 figure deal with GNC not to mention the prewarp company , the monies to write this book series along with a set price for any private appearances which I have no clue what that is because if I did I’d scrounge up the cash and pay her to come see me! US Soccer basically built this league around the essence of Morgan and used her face to launch the league so imagine what incentives they paid her.
          Her along with Abby’s contracts from US Soccer will exceed double 6 figures plus (this includes the salary to play for club plus per game performance play for national team duties plus endorsements will exceed easily the 1 million mark in 2013, plus the money I will assume ESPN is going to dangle in front of her to get her into the coveted body issue in 2013 and whatever else comes her way as the year moves along.
          Basically, Alex is getting to stay in the US, play soccer, help establish a pro league (fingers crossed) and make the celebrity circuit (parties, appearances, photo shoots etc) Every 23 nearly 24 year old females dream. She is making more than Europe could ever pay her and she can stay home and help keep the USWNT in front of the public eye during this down time between big tourny’s.

          • NYRick

            Christy, you are preaching to the choir. Well said on all accounts.

            And to break it down more simply for anyone who doesn’t understand: SHE IS A BIG CELEBRITY IN THE US. She is a relative unknown in Europe. Pretty girl, great soccer player, yes. But that still makes her relatively unknown in Europe.

            Like Christy said, she has the life most 23/24 year old American girls would only dream of, and she doesn’t have to leave home too far to keep it. Throw in the fact she has looks which help her get on a host of talk/entertainment shows and in basically any party or event in the country and worldwide her schedule permits, and you have a very simple equation: SHE WOULD BE A COMPLETE AND UTTER FOOL TO EVER LEAVE THE US MARKET!!!!

            The real sick thing is that it is only going to get massively larger and crazier for her as the team moves towards WWC15. She is going to be rich beyond her wildest dreams and if she keeps her head on straight and doesn’t screw up or get overwhelmed by it all, she could wind up as the most famous and popular female athlete this country ever produced. Why would anyone in their right mind leave all that to play pro women’s soccer in Europe? Right now, she’s bigger than the sport. And she and her handlers know it. If they don’t, fire them immediately if not sooner.

          • Christy

            *raises a glass* here here! I’ll drink to that! Well put Rick!

          • NYRick

            Christy,

            I know you and Don B. going to hate me saying this, but there are only two things that can stop AM’s stratospheric ascent:

            1. AM herself. If it consumes her and it very well might, she’s only human and don’t forget an LA girl who girl up seeing hype and glitz in her area, she could crash hard. I don’t think that will happen, but a long injury, a personal problem could surface and every one handles things in their own way etc. This is the less likely scenario.

            2. Christen Press. There I said it. LOL. If Press becomes a forward starter on the national team, and returns to the US next year and excels in the NWSL too, and the Nike people will be looking for bridges to jump off of. This is not to say that AM will still not be the most famous soccer player, make a ton of money and all but it would cut into the piece of her pie. Right now she controls it all. Maybe her ego takes a hit if Press emerges as a star. Because (I know you hate me saying this ha ha), Press has the looks and talent too. And she’s extremely articulate and well educated too. Plus, the young fans seems to love her and will fully embrace her as the star of the team if that happens.

            You know how I feel, but I honestly believe that as a pure soccer observer that Press as a starter for the NT, playing with AM (which is a huge deal) would light it up. I mean score literally a goal a game, because she is more selfish and a more natural striker than Alex. The talent on this team would easily make that happen for her too. With that, comes the headlines. No more, “Morgan leads US…” Instead it becomes, “Press scores two to lead…” As much as this is probably your worst nightmare, it could very well happen. She’s got a way to go on the national team, but in reality Alex only has one incredible season under her belt too. Not like she’s been doing this for 5 straight years. I personally want to see them together and perform well. I think that’s the best scenario, with some Syd in the mix too.

            BTW, if you get a chance, check out two goals Press scored in her last game in Sweden online somewhere. Both came real late (one in stoppage) to win the game 2-0 and both were on the spectacular variety. Plus, I watched some highlights and she makes an incredible give and go play with Marta and Marta flubbed an easy goal by shooting a foot wide of the post to an empty net. She’s good Christy. I know that bugs you.:–)

          • kdm

            NYRick, I logged in just to reply to your latest comment and say I totally agree with Point 2. As it is right now, Alex is the face of US Soccer for the women’s game and it’s been passed on from Abby and from Mia beforehand. The goal was for Alex to lead the team, so to speak, just as Abby & Mia had done before but through Press into that equation and it messes things up a little bit.

            I really can’t form an opinion on Press until I’ve seen her perform in high pressure situations but, as you’ve rightly pointed out, the concern of having Press and Alex start together is how much leeway will Alex give for the betterment of the team. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think Alex is the type to put herself above the team but e.g. when the USWNT were qualifying for the Olympics and Pia asked Alex if she was okay with Syd going in before her, Alex replied “you won’t like my answer” or something to that effect. Press coming onto the scene will indeed cut into the piece of the pie that Alex currently holds the majority of and as previously stated here, Alex is a competitor, she might not give that easily.

            Anyways, I’m sure I’m rambling here and not making much sense but basically, I just wanted to say I agree with Point 2, NYRick.

          • Don B.

            Regarding Pia benching Alex and her reply, let’s look at what actually happened there. Pia herself has said that benching Alex for the Mexico game was by design and was meant to light a fire under her. When Pia was asked about Alex’s “You don’t want to know” reply to her “How do you feel about that” (staying on the bench), she said that Alex gave exactly the answer she wanted to hear. She was back in the next game against Costa Rica (with that brilliant off the outside of the left foot goal) and in the next game made her first start against Canada and the rest is history. Pia’s strategy worked.

            Is Alex selfish? Can she share? If serving up 21 assists last year is any indication, then she doesn’t seem to have a problem putting the team first.

          • kdm

            Thanks, I had a feeling I might’ve gotten the quote wrong but I wasn’t sure.

            Yes, she has 21 assists most of which were to Abby, her mentor and someone she gets along with very well. Like I said, I am in no way saying she’s selfish and I can’t give you cold hard facts but I just get the feeling that the two of them, Press and Morgan, might end up being a concern and not a potentially great thing for the USWNT. Maybe I’m way off base and will be proven wrong in the future but those are my thoughts.

          • Don B.

            There have been several discussions on the board here about selfishness, mostly directed at Press being the selfish one. The final diagnosis; who knows what will happen, if anything? We likely won’t find out until Abby gets her record and Tom puts Morgan and Press up top together for an extended number of games to develop chemistry and sort out each other’s style of play. Hopefully, and I think it will, everything will come together and we’ll see the most potent attack in the world. If we don’t, Tom has some tough decisions to make.

          • Christy

            Your not off base, Alex is a work horse and Press is a finesse finisher, you would think this would be a complementary relationship but their personalities obviously clash. Can they get over that? I don’t know but Alex is proven and Press is not, if the relationship doesn’t work Tom will look for another player to play up top with Alex. Does that mean Press doesn’t have a place on the squad? No, not at all, it just may not be as a FWD. Alex is the senior FWD out side of Abby as well as the Star and face of the USWNT so as long as she produces it’s going to be about who works best with Alex not the other way around. That doesn’t mean Alex is selfish (because facts are facts she is an assist machine) it means that just becasue 2 ppl both have qualities that will work in a relationship doesn’t mean they should get married and it doesn’t mean that they will work well together. Ppl are just different and when the relationship doesn’t work out who keeps the house? The one who moved in or the one who was already living there. Odds are the latter.

          • NYRick

            Hi, thanks for your insight. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. With Alex and Press, it might turn into a LeBron-Wade type of scenario. Can they both co-exist to form the super tandem no one can stop, or do they need two balls on the pitch? The difference with LeBron and Wade is that they both were good friends beforehand and forced the marriage to monopolize the league and their talents. With Alex and CP, I don’t think that’s the case. There is a past Pac-10 rivalry and both are the same age, both are from LA, and are probably sick of competing for stardom against each other since they were kids.

            If they are both team oriented and winners, which they are or they wouldn’t have both achieved what they have in their careers so far, then it will be the most exciting duo the sport has ever seen together. If both let their ego get in the way and close the other out (right now AM holds the hammer), then it’s a total disaster. This is also the type of thing that can split the fan base for the team. It’s real interesting, and hopefully a strong coach like TS can sort it out in the best interests of the team.

          • Don B.

            Why would I hate you? I know how you feel about this.

            Scenario number one. Injury or a personal tragedy could change anyone’s future. Regarding Hollywood glitz derailing her soccer career, I’m confident that isn’t going to happen. She was questioned about it once in a radio interview, and her disdain for the whole Hollywood party lifestyle was clearly evident.

            Scenario number two. What will be will be. If Press is the better player and representative of the USWNT, then it will become evident over time and more power to her; it’s all good for the USA. For now, she has a long way to go to fill that position, and a lot to prove. The true test of whether or not she captures the hearts and imaginations of soccer fans will come not with sheer numbers, but when everything is on the line, do or die, put it in the net or go home on the world stage with a shot at a gold medal on the line. If she can do that, then she’ll have a place at least equal to where Morgan sits now. Let’s remember that Syd had that chance as the next superstar supersub in the Olympics vs. Canada and was totally invisible, even though she was sent into the game with a mission to do what Alex had done so many times in the past. Prolific numbers against college teams, club teams and internationals like Guatemala or Scotland are all tine and good, but it’s what happens against the very best players the world has to offer like Germany, Sweden, and Japan that matters at the end of the day. Morgan has proven herself in that arena as well, and perhaps even more importantly, lifting the game of those around her to a higher level, and now it’s up to the others to do so as well. For non soccer fans only interested in the image of a sexy lady soccer player, that is something only testosterone can decide.

          • NYRick

            Don, I’m just teasing you. You know I’m a big fan of Alex. I wrote the comment more to tweak and have fun with our friend Christy, who has a strong disdain for Press.

            As I’ve said to you personally on these boards before, if all goes well for Alex in the coming years (health etc.) she has the potential to be the greatest and maybe the most famous female athlete this country ever produced. That’s saying a lot (BJ King, Chris Evert, the Williams sisters, Mia, the great US ice skaters and gymnasts and Olympic and track stars etc. etc.). She’s that good. And she possesses the rare “clutch” or big moment gene that only the truly great ones have. Plus, in this social media age we now live in, a person’s fame increases tenfold very rapidly. Forget Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes. The internet is forever. I honestly believe that because soccer has become the number one women’s sport in this country, the number one American female athlete of all time will emerge from that sport. It stands to reason that can Alex.

            But you have to admit that Press does possess an interesting piece to the Alex puzzle. Who knows how anything plays out in life, but if CP emerges as the top dog on the national team (and she certainly can, the scorers get the headlines in this sport), and Christen is getting better by the day and they are both roughly the same age, how will Alex handle it? She didn’t get to be her, by not being super competitive and wanting to be second fiddle to anyone (including Abby). I do totally agree with you that CP needs to do it on the big stage, like Alex, when the world is watching (like WWC15). If CP has the bigger WC performance and the US wins the WC, then the torch will be passed again. It’s just the way things work in the fickle world we live in. Personally, I just really want them both together as forwards on the national team. 90 minutes each. They would be special. I just know it. Hope TS does.

          • Christy

            I don’t have any “disdain” for Press, I just find her irrelevant at the moment. As Don pointed out so well, she hasn’t shown that she can perform at the national level in pressure situations, the pace and quality of play in a club is very different than at the national level and so help me god if someone tries to tell me otherwise… If club play was the same pace, power, and talent it would be equal to national team status and Europe would dominate women’s soccer because all of their players would be national level players and we know this is not even close to true so don’t waist your time and realize it! Club play helps grow your game, TRUE! it teaches you if your willing to learn, it slows things down and works on the details, that’s what the Elite of the Elite need to work on.

            I am certainly not saying Press doesn’t have potential she certainly does, however she certainly is NOT a more natural striker than Alex, Alex has the most natural shot and instincts on goal, presence of field and this innate ability to find seams in a defenses that no else can see. Not even to mention her ability to play herself into space and make sick trick shots into the net. She has the heart to put the team first and that quality that Abby has with the willingness to put herself on the line to get the win.This is a quality Alex has possessed since she came on the scene in 2010, I don’t see these qualities in Press.

            Can Alex share the work load? Of course she can, she always has and there are always 2 fwd’s Alex doesn’t expect to be the only scorer and she will assist if that is what is needed to win. Where Alex will have a problem is if Press’s selfishness cramps Alex’s style. If she is willing to play 50/50 ball then there is no reason she can’t start up top.

            When Syd came on the scene last year and scored 5 goals in the second half against a tired sub par team we beat 14-0 , ppl started the Syd is better than Alex song and then syd disappeared…. scoring a few more goals against sub par teams. This is my point with Press, when they’ve played poor competition she has been very good, but every game she was in where the game meant something, she was invisible. As I said a hand full of caps and goals against not good teams doesn’t show me anything and when people act like it does that is what aggravates me. Lets wait and see before we have a Press Parade though I’m certain she would love a parade for her.

            My concern is what will happen when Carli and Press are on the field together, pretty sure Carlos takes her out! just sayin.

          • NYRick

            Christy your rants are always entertaining. “Before we have a Press Parade though I’m certain she would love a parade for her.” Hysterical! Do I detect just a hint of disdain? LOL.

            I’m not disagreeing with you. First off, you play the game and understand these players (pace, instincts, heart etc.) on a level I don’t. So I greatly respect your opinion with your assessment of each. You pretty much call it as you see it.

            However, I’m going to stand by my assessment of Press. She’s the real deal and will prove it over time. I closely follow many sports and am usually a good judge when someone “has it” or not. She has it. It’s an intangible type of thing. By no means am I saying she’s Alex right now, but the margin might not be as wide as you or many might think. That pertains to Syd too. I think they are all supremely talented in their own way. I actually don’t buy “the level of competition” argument so far either. It’s kind of unfair because even Abby and Mia racked up plenty of goals against far inferior competition in their day and became famous. And I wouldn’t necessarily call China or Ireland powerhouses, and Alex has notched a bunch of goals against them too. This is not to say that AM doesn’t answer the bell against the best competition when everything is on the line. She obviously does, but in my opinion she had a pretty poor gold medal match against Japan at the Olympics. Setting up the first goal was a terrific play, but after that she played out of control and a bit nervous. So it happens to the best too and she isn’t golden in every key match. I think Abby, Hope and Pinoe were our best players at the Olympics.

            My opinion is that Alex is the best player in the sport right now. I know there are the Sinc and Marta supporters, but I just don’t see it. People in their court are pretty much Alex haters at this point. But Press has scored 6 goals in 7 matches playing completely out of position and not full games in many of the appearances. And never really on the pitch with Alex, which is a huge disadvantage to her. Now she’s teamed with Marta in Sweden and will learn a ton from her because she’s a smart, instinctful player. I still stand by the rationale that if she’s paired up top with Alex for a full 90 for 10 straight national team games, she might score 12-15 goals with relative ease. She is not the insane athlete Alex is, but she is a great athlete none the less too. As for speed, I think she can play the game fast or slow which is difficult, and she adapts pretty well to anyone on the pitch with her too. Does her game need improvement? Of course, but give her more caps and minutes and then less have a serious discussion.

            Trust me, she and Alex need to make it happen together for this team. It will be special, and we can all have a good laugh about it, or you can tell me about her pending parade that never happens.:–)

          • Christy

            As i said i am waiting to see. The question is chemestry and if these two can coexist. I covered that in another post below. :) we will see how she puts it together.

          • Christy

            As i said i am waiting to see. The question is chemestry and if these two can coexist. I covered that in another post below. :) we will see how she puts it together.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            I would rather see Alex and Syd together. I think they both have the speed and strength and they play off each other pretty well. Also Syd does one thing better than Alex, and that is heading the ball. I think the two of them would be more explosive than Alex and Press.

          • Steglitz49

            It depends …

            Ms Press provides a classic poacher-striker quality but if your game-plan is centered around Alex Morgan, then Sydney Leroux may be the better partner, not least if either Ms Heath or Rapinoux provide the long and cross-field passes, and you have Ms O’Hara chasing up the left wing. Lindsey Horan might actually be a better bet than Ms Press to play with Alex and Sydney.

            It is up to the manager how to deploy his enormous talent pool.

          • Christy

            Good points Steg.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Of course the game plan for the forward position will be centered around Alex. If she stays healthy and fit she will be on the NT for the next WC and Olympics. The question is if Abby will retire before hand, who will take up that second spot. I think it should be Syd. I think the coach senses this as well, that’s why he plays Press in the midfield.

          • Steglitz49

            With the strength in depth that USA has, does he need to?

            Abby will probably be a last 20-min sub in WC-15 if she is even selected. Ms Press could be Ms Morgan’s alter ego.

          • Christy

            Alex will be a 90 min player in crucial games, if there is a sub it will be for the second FWD, not Alex, Abby would be that set piece presence you might need at the end of the game if she sticks around.

          • Steglitz49

            If you wanted to rest Alex in a less crucial game or she got an injury in a group match, Christen could fill that spot — but so could others.

          • Christy

            She could, but I think if Press shows she has some value Tom would try a little harder to convert her to the mid field, they seem more prone to rotating Middis because they obviously tire faster. Stabilizing the midfield would increase our goal production of course and our FWD’s can stop tracing back deep mid and actually stay on the proper side of the 50.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken, though if the nucleus of the poodle is that Alex and Christen do not interact perfectly on the field, the USA with its strength in depth need not risk it.

            It is curious that midfield should be a weak spot for USA at present but there are 2 years in which to fix it, so all hope is not lost.

          • Christy

            I agree, I still think there is something missing with Press and Alex, Chemistry isn’t there AT ALL, its almost awkward. I think really thats why she’s at mid, gets her on the field where the teams success isn’t resting on Alex and Press connecting but either can score.

          • Christy

            they have played up top together at the youth level and they did that well so at the moment I agree. There are things about syds game that piss me off to no end but I love her personality so it’s hard for me to hate on her (it really does t stop me). My issue with Syd is that she slides for everything all the time , she would score more goals if she would stay upright, that and she runs like a dinosaur (sorry syd it’s true) a very fast dinosaur mind you. Her pace matches Morgan’s and she’s improved in her ability to create
            Plays, not greatly but some. Her heading is more articulated than Alex but Alex has won 2 crucial games with her head so what else can you say. Alex still posses that determination to get better all the time, not a
            Characteristic you sense with the other Fwds on the team. Alex and Abby’s ability to play each other in is something special I don’t know if we can replicate or improve on it. End of te day as I said, it’s who fits best with Morgan not te other way around.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Syd may be more rough around the edges, but you can’t question her grit and willingness to put herself out there. She has the heart and sometimes it is about who wants to get to that ball first. I think with time she and Alex can become the best duo out there.

          • heremerawr

            I actually think Syd may be faster than Alex. Alex just positions herself better for goals. I believe NYRick refers to it as “soccer IQ”. Alex knows where the right place at the right time is, while Syd doesn’t and is forced to use her pace and general athleticism to try and get out of the situation. That said, I am one of the lone fans who prefer Syd to Press, so I also feel Syd should be a starter and Press should be a super sub to try and poach goals late in the game. Or a midfielder. Although honestly I think Syd has a disposition better suited to the midfield, because she’s so fast and strong. Reminds me of HAO. Only downside to that is that I can’t imagine her tracking back to play defense the way, for example, Tobin does (which could be a good thing considering the hand ball Tobin should’ve given away in the OG final lol).

          • Christy

            Syd’s fitness is an issue and I think part of it is her running style. She doesn’t know how to spend her energy properly but that’s something you learn as a track runner. Not to mention her incessant sliding takes more energy than running.

            As far as Syd being faster than Alex, I don’t think so actually. Syd takes short quick steps, Alex strides with boosters attached. If you watch Alex run her pace is gradual until she turns it on, then out of the blue she like punches a instant gas pedal. The pace she makes up in a short time is really impressive but shes always running fast. Syd starts in high gear and stays there until she tires out. In a foot race Syd would probably lead for about 20 yards then Alex would hit the gas and cruise by. I think their speed in short distance is comparable tho. Ever heard the phrase, “great comin outta the gate, not much for stamina?”
            I would be curious to see them run a 40.

          • Steglitz49

            One part, possibly the key ingredient, of a goal-scorer is to be able to steal a yard when it matters. To drift off your marker or run around in an apparently aimless fashion, only to be in the key place at the right time. This stealing of half a yard is critical.

            Alex shares with Zlatan not only that she scores lots of goals but that she has vision and like him passes all the time. She is not just a simple striker. She is as electrifying as Cruijff was at his peak.

            Maybe Homare Sawa is the female analogy (though whether has Ms Sawa’s leadership qualities we have yet to learn).

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Regardless how fast or not she is compared to Alex, can we just agree that for now she is the closest to matching Alex in speed at the forward position. Without Syd willing to run down the ball in the Algarve final against Germany and crossing the ball, it being bounced off the defender right onto Alex’s feet, we wouldn’t be up 1-0 at that point. I don’t see Abby or Press doing what Syd did there. Girl has heart.

          • Christy

            Oh I agree 100% I was just drawing comparison of running style. That effort and cross against Germany was beautiful!c

          • Christy

            Oh and I didn’t say Alex only scores
            In key situations, that would be silly.

          • Steglitz49

            Careful, Christy, how you use “scores” …

          • heremerawr

            Haha I’ve read over that several times and just got that now. Well played, mate.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            If she’s the real deal, as you say, why wasn’t she picked to go to the WC11 and Olympics? Even Syd got onto the roster at the Olympics before her. It seems to me that Press doesn’t have the drive and the fire to be the best forward like Alex does. Alex wants to be the best player and is always striving to be. She’s the type of player that when everything is on the line, she wants that ball.. just like Abby and Mia. If Press wanted to up her profile and be seen more in the US, shouldn’t she be playing in the NWSL instead of in Sweden where no one here watches their games.

          • NYRick

            As to why she wasn’t picked for the WC11 or Olympics, this has been discussed numerous times by many on here. I don’t profess to have inside knowledge or anything, but just as a soccer observer of this roster, she was unfairly treated by Pia for whatever reasons (maybe they were good ones, who knows). Especially not being on the Olympic roster. She should have most certainly been capped probably two years ago. She had the biggest pedigree out of a major soccer college hotbed of just about any player, and should have been given a chance. Maybe it was her own doing as to why that didn’t happen. But there is something strange about it all. There is no way on the planet that ARod should have a forward roster spot on the Olympics before her. Or even Syd for that matter in my opinion who was given a chance before her. Could just be that Pia didn’t like her. It happens with players and coaches in all sports. Alex has said that her early Junior US coaches gave her conflicts and didn’t believe in her. The fact CP played in Sweden and Pia didn’t have any national team players (other than Krieger who was hurt anyway) from Europe may speak volumes too. Apparently, Press couldn’t make all the US camps during the year due to her club obligations is one explanation. Whatever, it’s really water under the bridge and done.

            She’s here now, and in my opinion the best PURE forward on the team. She will do amazing things as a forward starter on the national team if paired with Alex. Including grabbing the headlines as a goal scoring machine. Something I don’t think Alex will take kindly to. For that reason I don’t think AM will make it happen. There is something between them (not friends, bad chemistry etc.). AM holds all the cards and will dictate what will happen and maybe rightfully so. She’s the established star of the team. Alex is the best player in terms of drive, athleticism and skill. Christen is all finesse and a natural finisher who is completely ruthless when she gets goal scoring opportunities. I agree that she should be playing in the NWSL this year. Hopefully next year she’ll play here. It’s certainly in her best interests for her national team aspirations. We’ll see what happens.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            What are you considering to be a pure forward? Is it jumping higher than your opponents and heading the ball, is it making runs against the back line and anticipating a pass, is it running down balls and passing it to an on coming teammate? I haven’t seen any of these things from Press, but Alex does it time and time again and sometimes Syd too. To me Press seems like more fit in the midfield where she can dribble in and score from outside the box. I just don’t think she has the speed and strength to play along side Alex.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Press could have a role as a super-sub in the deeply talented USA pool. She could also provide the manager with alternatives during group matches (like Sasaki does with the Nadeshiko). The possibilities are legion if not endless. In short, Christen and Alex need not be on the field at the same time.

          • NYRick

            She needs to start. Period. It’s an injustice if she doesn’t. They made the same mistake with Alex for 2 years. Don’t do the same thing again. Talent is talent, and it’s ridiculously obvious.

          • Steglitz49

            Horses for courses, and all that. Who is in your starting line-up and who is on the substitute bench depends partly on the opposition and partly on who can play together effectively.

            Your point that Ms Press is a superb player is well taken but whether there is room for her as a starter on the USA team is a nice point.

            The USA has such strength in depth that whatever team the manager puts out, he can be criticized. As long as USA wins, he is OK. Today he must plan for all eventualities in 2 years time and, unlike many of the competitors, USA has no serious matches before the WC, just friendlies and an easy qualifying tournament.

          • NYRick

            You’re not a fan of Press, and that’s OK. CP is a pure forward in terms of being a natural poacher, having great anticipation (something Syd doesn’t have and never will), and being absolutely deadly when the opportunity presents itself. None of that can be taught, it’s innate. Throw in high skill, great soccer IQ, above average speed, and the right amount of selfishness and you have a pure forward/striker.

            You prefer Syd with Alex and that’s how it may shake out and you may be right. For me, Syd is very much like Alex in athletic ability and Press is the better forward complement for the team with her finesse skill set. The first four lines of your comments are kind of unfair towards Press. Every time Press gets praise, Alex fans (of which you are certainly a big one) take offense to it and view it as a threat to her status as team star. Look, I think Alex is the best player in the world, but understand that she only has one great year under her belt and she too needed a chance to show it. She absurdly had to sit behind ARod for nearly two years. Every great player needs a real chance first.

            But you don’t have to be an astute soccer observer to understand that Press simply knows how to put the ball in the net. No particular reason why, but she just does and it’s the rarest skill in the sport. That has nothing to do with 6 goals in 7 matches so far. I’m of the opinion that she’d score at a goal a match pace if she played 10 to 20 straight matches as a forward starter. Especially paired with Alex and all the opportunities she creates, and with the insane talent on this team.

            Also, while you’re stating all the things she can’t do, quite frankly, I haven’t seen anyone on the team the past few years make the type of blind back heel setup pass in the 18 yard box Press made to HAO in the Scotland game. If HAO puts it in it’s the FIFA goal of the year in women’s soccer. That is the skill and vision only a player of exceptional talent can make. I guess you also didn’t see the goal she headed in early in the year on a cross field pass from Tobin. A brilliant run and an even better finish. With Press, it is not athleticism. It’s finesse and soccer IQ. That’s her game and I think she’s as good if not better in those those two areas as anyone on the team. All I know is this, when a scoring opportuntity presents itself and the ball is on Press’s foot I’m thinking goal. Other than Alex, there is no one on this incredibly talented team that makes me feel that way.

            And please can everyone just stop with the level of competition she’s played against so far. Mia, Abby, Alex, Michelle Akers, Lilly, Foudy and the rest all built up incredible stats against ridiculously inferior competition the US women have played against over the years. There are only 3 teams in the world who can legimately beat the US team when it really matters (Japan and Germany). Sweden, Canada and France can give them a scare on occasion but that’s it. So let’s not minimize her goal totals. No one does that to Alex. Press has exceled on every level she’s played at, and as for playing in Sweden the fact that Marta plays there, on her team no less, tells me that league can’t be that bad. CP would be a leading scorer in the NWSL with ease on any of the teams. They would all kill to have her as a forward.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            To me, yes the job of a forward is to score goals, but it is also about hustling and involving your teammates. I did see the two goals from the Scotland game… one was a rebound ball and the other was from a sick ball from Tobin. I give her credit for scoring goals. But watch the game when she played forward against Netherlands. Most of the time it was Syd doing all the hard running and passing and Press just waiting for the ball to come to her. If she wants to play up top with Alex, she has to show a little more than just “poaching” the ball. The fact that Marta plays in Sweden has nothing to do with the US. Marta is a well known player around the world. Press on the other hand is not. If she wants to go to the next level and build on her success from the few caps she had for the NT, she needs to play here and be seen.

          • NYRick

            Most of the times in the women’s game, a “sick ball” like the one Tobin put into the box usually gets headed into the 10th row behind the net by the oncoming player. Take a look at the run, the anticipation and the finish. Yes great play by Tobin too. But If Alex did the same it would be all about her brilliance and hustle. Also on CP’s first goal of that game, scorers finish that. Most of the time players flub those opportunities. I don’t want to focus on any individual goal for her or anybody else but you bought those two up. If they are so easy why doesn’t Cheney or someone else net two as well in the same manner. You are minimizing what a true scorer does. Quite simply, they make things look routine. They are not.

            As for Press being well known, I think you are wrong about that. She is quite well know from her time in Europe, a Hermann award winner at Stanford, the Rookie of the Year in the WSL and the player who has everyone’s attention right now with the national team.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            If she has everyone’s attention, she certainly is not capitalizing on it, not for this year anyway. We’ll see how she fits in on the NT. I still think Alex/Syd at forward and Press in midfield is the better combo.

          • NYRick

            The scenario you mention too is interesting and has been bought up. I actually think that could work out best to employ the best talent on the pitch once Abby steps aside. CP does work the center and flanks of the field very well and could be effective as flanking mid. The problem then is what do you do with Pinoe and Heath? Actually those two have a hard time existing together on the field too. My dream front line in a 4-3-3 is (AM, Press and Syd as the forwards, Tobin, Mewis and Pinoe as the mids, and KO, Brunn, Krieger and Rampone in the back, with Hope as goalie (but I have no problem with Harris there either). If Rampone retires before WC, then Dunn should be worked into the back, or Engen. So many options and players with this team though.

            You can literally pick the names out of a hat and win a WC too. They are 2-3 deep with terrific players everywhere. They should probably put two US teams in any tournament (Call them US1 and US2). There is a good bet those two teams would make the final in just about any competition.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            I don’t think we can play 4-3-3 because we don’t have a strong CM player whocan win balls, hold it, and pass it to the appropriate teammate. Not to even mention play tough defense. Last year we had it right with playing either direct with a long ball over the top to Alex or Syd or play from the middle up with Tobin and Pinoe. My starting 11 would be Hope Kriegs KO Bue Engen Pinoe Press Cheny Mewis Alex and Syd.

          • Steglitz49

            Ladies cannot play 4-3-3 except against weak teams, owing to the size of the pitch. One day they may be able to. That is why attacking wing-backs are critical.

          • Christy

            Holy crap….ok here goes lol, There are flaws on both of your starting 11, Bue isn’t going to make it end of the day she is a decent CB but lacks the tracking skills of Broon and Engen so there are you future CB’s after Rampone retires with Krieger and O’hara RB, LB respectably. Heath must be on the field, the direction of the world is in technique, you are right Pinoe and Heath usually don’t play at the same time and I think it’s plausible to rotate starts with Pinoe Heath and Press on the wings and keep everyone happy but Tobin’s future i believe is AM which opens up the wings for press and pinoe full time (HAO subbing) with Cheney Holding. Syd is a better fit up top with the chemistry but she needs a LOT of improvement (running dinosaur please stop sliding every where and stay upright, you will score more goals this way) she has made some strides in her assist game and I think she gets it, feed Alex Morgan and then be where you need to be and she will feed you back, the last thing you want is to frustrate your work horse FWD by pairing her with a poacher, Alex isn’t going to spend her career feeding Press balls in, if press wants to play FWD she is going to have to learn how to be an assist machine as well as a goal scorer, its bad enough Carli doesn’t assist from the mid position we can’t afford that from a FWD as well it makes us predictable. Plus we need a fwd that scares the D with speed or else Alex will keep getting dbl and triple teamed then not only is she busting her a** to score and risking her body more than normal she is pushing to cross balls in. This was the problem early in the year with Abby having to spend too much time deep mid and she just doesn’t have it to get back FWD to help Alex which leaves her to create her own plays (something a great fwd does) but isn’t going to happen every time or even most times if the back line stays honest as they tend to do with Alex on the field. One of my fav goals of hers came against Colombia in Olympic qualifiers, Alex had decided she was going to score so she played the ball end line then played her self into the box and side kicked the ball into the net! sick goal!

            4-3-3 wont work with this squad, one player always winds up playing a shallow mid position to help with possession and at that point why bother with the 3 fwd front.

            Rick, your pushing your argument so hard you’ve created a mythical creature the Pressasaurus needs a lot of work and MUST become a complete player if she wants to have a successful long career with the NT, This is not disputable, it’s fact.

            I understand your dream pair is Alex and Press up top but the likelihood of that coexistence with success is not in your favor but that said, I think they should give it a try and see. We haven’t seen it, and it makes me curious as to why not. My guess is they don’t work well in practice together so we will have to see if that develops.

            You unfairly assume that because I don’t agree with your evaluation of Press that I don’t like her because of Alex and some kind of threat that’s ridicules. I will say that if I have to watch Alex baby her inside the box then this would piss me off to no end ,but if she is out there doing work feeding balls in to other players as often as shes taking shots then I am all for the pairing.

            This team is so rich at Mid and FWD we’re not desperate for goal scorers so the most complete players are going to get the most minutes because those are the players you want on the field when the games mean something.

            Typically Poachers work best in a single FWD formation because they just have to sit there and wait for the ball and the rest of the teams jobs is to drop the ball right in front of them so all they need is a nice finish.

          • NYRick

            I’m going to advance the Pressasaurus just a little farther. LOL. Actually I see that you are in your dinosaur mode with the reference of Syd as a running dinosaur, which is very funny when you do watch her. Couple of observations:

            1. This is my opinion of course, but the Alex-Press pairing won’t ever work not for chemistry or talent, or because Press is lazy, is an incomplete player, won’t service Alex, and just sits and waits for balls in the box etc., etc.

            It won’t work because Alex doesn’t want it to work or won’t let it work. It’s that simple and very evident. She has the hammer and deservedly so. She’s the star and CP is the insignificant upstart making some noise, but Press is a big threat to her, and Alex feels Syd isn’t. And by threat I mean someone who will take the headlines from her. You may laugh at that, but even though she’s established and the biggest name in the sport, it’s a very real thing. Alex didn’t get to be Alex by not having a massive ego. It comes with the territory. So AM will do everything in her power to foster that pairing with Syd when Abby steps aside. In addition, the last thing, and I mean the very last thing on earth that US soccer wants to see happen is for Alex NOT to be the star and headliner grabber of the team. I’m not talking like newsouth here because I think AM is awesome and have lauded her as much as anybody, but US Soccer needs AM to be the meal ticket and the face of the sport for financial and PR reasons. You’d have to be a fool not to understand that. With that, comes pressure on TS we don’t see in terms of who plays.

            2. You know I love you and respect your vast knowledge, but you mention often about “complete” players. I watch every game the national team plays and I see plenty of non complete players on the pitch. Pinoe is a complete player? She is ball hog with no defensive presence. Without a set piece, Abby is pretty much a liability on the field in terms of defending and is lazy running after balls and may be the slowest girl in the history of women’s soccer (granted she’s near the end of the line, but let’s be fair here). Tobin, who is really my favorite player, makes a ton of mistakes by holding the ball too long and taking on defenders with trickery. She’s getting better though and I believe she is the key to this team moving forward. KO, another of my favorites, until recently was continually caught out of position on counter attacks and is sloppy with the ball in her own 18 yard box. Cheney has become a flopper and might be the slowest girl on the pitch in the NWSL. Syd? You call it best (runs like a dinosaur, slides like a kid at a water park, and has no instinctive clue on the pitch and falls in and out of games. Point is, they all are pretty incomplete in their own way. Even Alex shoots too much at times and obviously has short fuse that’s going to get the team in trouble in a big match someday. Yet, Press is the ONE who needs the most improvement in her game. She’s the massive liability. Am I at least partially right here?

          • NYRick

            Just one thing to add. Do you know who I think is the most COMPLETE player on the national team: Krieger. And it isn’t even close. The girl doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

            Also, Carli shoots more than JR Smith. Just had to throw that in there. But I do like her nastiness out there. She puts in late challenges all the time, nearly cripples people and I’m sure doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over any of it. Something about that to really respect.

          • Steglitz49

            Defenders rarely get credit, though it could be argued that in the WC-11 both of the Nadeshiko’s central defenders left a lasting mark.

            Bobby Chartlon is more famous than his brother Jack, even though Jack became an outstanding national coach. Attackers are creative and sore; defenders stop.

          • Christy

            Smh there you go reading what you want to read again! I said the “most complete” players will get the most minutes when it counts. I specified press because she is the one you are shamelessly plugging, you praise her as if she’s single handedly won the world cup yet claim to be a fan of Morgan all while accusing her of personally holding press back. You have pointed out your opinion of flaws of other players yet don’t acknowledge that press is oozing with them and we’ve only seen her play with the nt a few times. You actually go as far as to praise her for them at times making it seem like a quirk. Truth is WE DON’T KNOW, whether or not she’s going to be good bad or anything at all for that matter and pretending like you do is in poor form for trying to be objective. My observations of press have been consistent and remain unchanged, still they are my personal assessments and I don’t expect ppl to listen to me, I actually don’t care, I just like to discuss the sport with intelligent conversation.
            Also I never said nor implied that other players on the team were 100% complete, if you like I can give you a run down of things each player needs to work on, including Alex. The concept I speak of being a complete player is possessing the necessary skills to perform any job needed at will and without premeditation when needed, to be able to think big picture in an intense situation and do what has to be done. Now whether or not these players perform the skills consistently , that is another story .Press has not prove that she posses these skills as a whole as of yet.
            Side point on your criticism of Alex’s temperament , mia had a foul temper on the field , when she felt she was wrongly fouled you knew it and she would call out anyone as quick or quicker than Alex and no one ever accused her of potentially putting the team at risk or of being a diva. Interesting. God I miss watching that woman play football!
            Side note 2, Alex isn’t allowing press to be up top with her, Alex feels threatened, really ? You have no basis for this assumption and a fan who knows Alex’s personality should know better.
            Rick I truly respect you and I love you I truly do but all I am asking for is a little objectivity. I can only say WAIT and see so many times.

          • NYRick

            Sorry to misinterpret what you meant by “complete.” Of course I realize Press has flaws too, but I thought you were highlighting only hers and not the other players. Also, I could care less about AM’s temperament, in that instance I was only pointing out a flaw. I do think she’s threatened a bit by CP and not Syd, but that’s just my opinion. I could be way off base on that, but I’ll stand by it.

            Also keep in mind that nearly everything on here, that just about any of us say is an assumption, or maybe in your case a closer observation. I’m not professing to be 100% correct on anything. I don’t know the parties personally, I’m just a fan and an observer of the game. As for Press, I’m going to take your advice and totally back off and wait and see. I do find that discussions concerning her, more than any player on the team, causes much vitriol in the fan base. She does draw the venom for some reason. So I’m really not going to even mention her name again.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Hey, you can talk about your player, it’s a free country after all. But don’t tear down Alex just to talk up Press. Calling her diva-ish, threatening, and egotistic is just way off base and unfounded. We should just appreciate what Alex has brought to the NT, what she’s done for women’s soccer in the US, what she’s trying to do for the NWSL, and what the team had accomplished last year. The whole dynamic of the team changed when Alex became a starter. Someone asked Pia what was different about this team from the year before (2011). She said Alex and Abby playing up top. Whether their success together in 2012 will continue in the next few years, we don’t know. Maybe the duo of Alex and Syd or Alex and Press will even be better. We don’t know. Until Tom puts together the team he will bring to the WC15 and Olympics we are all second guessing. And make no mistake, Tom is the one making the decisions about who plays and in what positions.

          • NYRick

            First of all, I wasn’t tearing down Alex. I was just presenting a possible scenario or making an assumption. Something you, I and everyone who throws a comment on here does. Other than Don B and maybe Christy, no one has talked on these boards more glowingly and been more complimentary of AM’s role in US soccer and her talents than me. You can look that up. I agree with you that the whole dynamic of the USWNT changed dramatically with her emergence. She is great for the sport.

            As for Press, I am completely going to stop talking about her. The mention of her upsets Alex fans (there’s where my “threat” theory arises from) and it really isn’t worth the discussion anymore. As Christy says, give it time and lets see.

          • Christy

            Discussion boards are all opinion Rick, no one minds discussing A certain player and they all are supposed to be looking over their shoulder a bit, it’s keeps the natives from becoming complacent , but remember team chemistry is the most important thing next to talent and passion for the game. And Tom already has the talent now he needs to find who has the best chemistry with each other on the field to make a more complete team , even if the players in it aren’t complete all the time. Right now like Alex said, Tom is seeing what he has and how to put them together and we will see how it shakes out. None of us are at practices and team meetings n such so we can only observe and create our opinions based on what we get to see. We just need to understand that he has a lot to do between now and 2015.
            I hope I didn’t upset you Rick, that wasn’t my intention. :) keep doin u!

          • NYRick

            I wasn’t offended.:–) It’s just healthy dialogue as far as I’m concerned, and the fun part of being a fan of any sport. I value your opinion and insight. A good majority of what we all say on here is just speculation, assumption and pure opinion.

            For Press, if I do slip up and mention her name on occasion it will simply be, “thou who thall not named” or maybe just Voldemort.

          • NYRick

            Here’s an interesting point to a lot of what we discussed in this thread. Last night I watched a bit of the Red Bull-Montreal game on TV. BTW, you should check out Henry’s bicycle kick goal online if you get a chance. Amazing, and one of the best goals you’ll ever see. But I want to bring up Henry to offer a comparison. Of course, we all know he is probably one of the greatest forwards/strikers to ever play the sport, especially in his heyday at Arsenal. As skilled and beautiful to watch as any pure striker.

            On the other side of last night’s game for Montreal was an old Italian striker, Marco di Viao. He’s a Serie A legend, scoring machine with about 150 career goals and at 36 he is wrapping up his career in the MLS this year. He plays a completely different game than Henry. He never holds the ball up, never plays anywhere near midfield and is a ridiculous hanger or poacher who sits high on the center back the whole match. He’ll literally go offsides 5-10 times a match. But he usually gets 1 or 2 opportunities where his run is correct and he’s home free. And when he is, he does the hardest thing to do in the sport: put the ball in the net. Is it pretty, is he complete? Absolutely not. But I’ll tell you what. He’s a fascinating player to watch and I found the most captivating and dangerous player on the pitch. And quite important to the end result. He scored one goal late and almost had the tying goal in stoppage.

            That’s the basis of my whole argument for Voldemort. Not that she plays the same way, but she has the one skill to do the most difficult thing in the sport, and it can’t be taught. And because of that, she can have plenty of other worts to her game. Chicharito for Man Utd. is much the same way.

          • heremerawr

            Haha since AM is called Baby Horse for the way she runs and her youth can we call Syd Chomper after the baby t-rex from Land Before Time? Or perhaps Sharptooth? LOL, hilarious. Between that, Press Parade, and the mythical Pressasaurus, can I vote Christy for Commentator of the Thread?

          • Christy

            I graciously accept your nomination ;)

          • Steglitz49

            I thought soccer was a team game.

          • Steglitz49

            Given that the ladies play on full-sized pitches, 4-3-3 only works against weak opposition. That is why attacking wing-backs like O’Hara are important — or Samishima and Kinga if you prefer established names.

            As for picking names out of a hat, soccer is a team game and USA has not won the WC since 1999 on home soil. We are not talking the dominance of the Norwegian ladies cross-country ski-team here.

          • stephy_paola

            I would play Engen before Dunn.

          • Steglitz49

            Why?

          • stephy_paola

            I meant i would play Engen before Dunn on a crucial match because she has more experience.

          • Steglitz49

            You have lost me. Ms Engen is 25 and has 7 appearances for the NT and Ms Dunn at 20 has played 4 times. Though the relative difference is almost double the absolute difference is 3, in other words, trivial.

            It is true that when at 20 Saki Kumagai played in the WC, she had only played 17 times for Japan, but she had the benefit to play alongside Ms Iwashimizu who at 24 had appeared 57 times for the Nadeshiko. Nevertheless, it was Iwashimizu that picked up the red card in the final. No prizes for who was involved from the USA’s side.

          • Christy

            Experience comes at different levels, Engen and Dunn and not really comparable, Dunn is more of a left or right back, Engen is a natural CB. Engen has been playing pro ball vs Dunn playing college, this is probably what was meant by experience, not NT appearance exp.

          • Steglitz49

            OK. Why do you think USA has an abundance of attacking players but defenders and defensive midfielders seem a bit thin on the ground? Or, is that jut an illusion?

          • stephy_paola

            Well Ms. Engen has more experience playing at the international level against/with great players in Liverpool. Dunn is an outstanding player but as we saw in the last game, she made a few mistakes. She should get more minutes playing in friendlies against top NT teams so she can get more comfortable on the pitch but as of RIGHT NOW i would not play her for an important game.

            (excuse my English)

          • Steglitz49

            Why do you think that USA appears to have a weakness in defense, not least defensive midfield. Just an illusion? Chance occurrence? Indicative of some underlying trend, such as not glamorous enough?

          • Steglitz49

            Scotland did not qualify for Euro-13 while Holland did. Maybe there is your answer?

            Marta was 18 when she went to play for Umeå where she spent 5 seasons.

            If Ms Press enjoys playing in Sweden, more power to her elbow. As Satchmo sang: “Life is a tree of peaches, and I am the one who reaches, for the ones with cream …”.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Press is 24yrs old. I don’t think she has time to give away 5 seasons to Sweden. Her time is now. US is the way to go.

          • Steglitz49

            Does anyone know how much Tyresö is paying Ms Press? Maybe $100k?

            A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. If the young lady enjoys her life in Sweden, why change? How long is her contract with Tyresö? Is it 2 seasons?

          • stephy_paola

            I heard that same saying yesterday at work from one of my Kurdish coworkers. Coincidence? i think NOT! is God trying to tell me something? lol

          • Steglitz49

            The Swedes say that you should not sell the skin before you have shot the bear but the English advise you not to count your chickens before they have hatched. I do not know what the Kurds say.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden defeated USA in the group game in WC-11. They were only beaten by Japan, the ultimate World Champions. In this year’s Algarve cup Sweden and USA tied.

            As for the quality of the Swedish league, both Swedish teams got to the QF of the CL, where Malmö lost against Lyon while Gbg, now without Christen, lost to Juivisy.

            The next World Cup is in 2 years’ time. “A week is a long time in politics” — and maybe also in sport.

          • heremerawr

            … And yet Syd scored 5 goals against a terrible team, and yet nothing is mentioned about her potential. Goals against okay teams are padding for stats, that’s about, and gauges for potential.

            Can Press play a high stakes game under pressure? Could Press have done what AM did, score a last minute goal in the semi-final of the Olympics, while thousands were in the stands and thousands more watched the game live? Syd couldn’t. Perhaps if Syd had been a starter that may have been different, but we’ll never know. Certainly she has not had the same impact as a super sub that AM has had.

            It’s not just about playing a team in a friendly, or a low stakes Olympic Qualifier where the opposing team is absolutely thrashed, and scoring. Does Press have what’s necessary to make her the great striker you’ve described? Maybe. The problem is that we don’t know and to dismiss such a valid point as actually being tested is ridiculous . I agree that Press is a talent but I’m not sure she’s better than Syd, a player I feel you undervalue, and I’m not sure Press is as amazing as you make her out to be.

            But what do I know? I’m just some college kid who burned out of soccer in high school and only became really interested in the USWNT during the recent Olympics. So I suppose take whatever I have to say with a grain of salt haha.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer is a team game. It was team effort that got both Japan and USA to the WC and OG finals.

            The USA is building a new team. Like the glorious “Boys of 82″ for whom Christen’s coach at Gbg played, the USA has players in all sections of the team. In the USA’s case, the list is endless, not surprising given the number of soccer-playing young ladies in USA, while Gbg had a competent goalie, an outstanding defender. a great midfielder and two fine strikers.

            Mr Sermanni’s added headache is the number of excellent players who play on the other side of the pond and the ocean, not just Ms Press though she is the most noticed at the moment. Let’s trust that he can find a place for all the talented lasses to make a great national team, not just a collection of brilliant individuals.

          • heremerawr

            You make a good point that harkens back to what Christy said about team chemistry. Press is showing great potential but if she — or anyone else — messes with the team chemistry than her best bet will probably be as a super sub. Although I’d argue the chemistry for the team is absurd as is considering how much time they spend together, especially in WC and OG years.

          • Steglitz49

            To manage the USAWNT must be a bit like running the Norwegian’s ladies cross-country ski team. You have an abundance of talent yet most of the slots are spoken for.

            Worse, were you not to bring home all the golds, your name risks being mud — and even if you do, people argue that you should have chosen X or Y instead because then it would have been a clean sweep of the other medals. In Val di Fiemme it was USA’s Randall and Diggins that nicked the only gold from the Norwegian lasses, though that probably did not register back home.

            But team spirit is A and O in soccer and all the great teams have it. Maybe that is why France do not hack it when the chips are down?

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. In 2011 playing for Magic Jack, Ms Press scored 8 goals in 17 matches. In 2012 playing for Göteborg, she scored 15 goals in 17 matches, not counting her goals when Gbg won the Swedish cup (beating her current club Tyresö) and the ladies CL, some of which were critical.

            The difference seems to have been Christen’s development during her time at Gbg. Their manager (head coach) was one of the great strikers of his generation, which might explain her improvement.

            It continues to go well for Ms Press in Sweden. Why should she come to the NWSL and play in Alex Morgan’s (not inconsiderable) shadow? Christen seems to thrive in Sweden and like it there. For all we know, the Emir or some other wealthy team might come knocking — after all Tyresö did.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            if playing in Sweden will help Tom Sermanni access her skills or increase her profile in the US, then good then. But I doubt that. There is no shadow to be play under Alex. She can create her own brand and followers by playing here and letting more US fans see her play. She either doesn’t have the fire or desire to showcase herself here. What is the point of finally being capped on the NT and getting a little notice, then hiding out in Sweden.

          • Steglitz49

            Marta “hid out” in Umeå for 5 years. Japan are the current world champions, yet Mrs Ogimi and Ms Kumagai and Iwabuchi play in Germany while Ohno and Otaki in France. Lotta Schelin is loved in Lyon and Kosse Asllani in PSG, Göransson in Germany and Jakobsson in Chelsea.

            The world is your oyster. Ms Press seems to be thriving in Sweden. She developed there and the Göteborgers loved her. Why change?

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Why change? Well, let’s see. Marta, Ogimi, Kumagai, Schelin, and the others you mentioned are well known, if not here (except Marta) then in their own countries. I’m not sure many women’s soccer fans in the US know who Press is yet. She wasn’t in the WC11 or the Olympics. Now that she is finally given a look by Tom it should encourage her to make a play in the US and step up to the next level and show her skills. Her people should know that her success on the international level starts and ends in the US, not Sweden.

          • Steglitz49

            Anyone who watched the 2011 World Cup final knows who Saki Kumagai is, unless they nodded off during the pso.

            Your point about Ms Press returning to USA is well taken, but what sort of contract does she have with Tyresö? When Lyon acquired Lotta Schelin they paid Gbg $250,000. Maybe Christen has to let her contract run its course, unless someone pays a transfer fee? In a bidding war, the wealthy clubs in Europe would win.

            Finally, Christen may enjoy Sweden. After all, it was Göteborg who gave her a chance and helped her develop. The natives are friendly, the weather is wonderful and the food is good. It is convenient to fly to USA with Icelandair.

          • heremerawr

            Press LOVES Sweden. She talks about it a lot in US Soccer interviews and on her blog, etc. I’m actually seriously torn on this issue. Press should play wherever she wants to ply her trade, and Sweden is what helped her up her game to the player she is today.

            HOWEVER, the highest pinnacle in the women’s game is the WNT, and I think the best way for Press to achieve a starting spot is to play in the NWSL, because one, TS and fans can easily observe her there, and two, the NWSL will probably be one of the most, if not the most, balanced league in the world. Is it fair? No, not really. But that’s how it’s probably going to shake out, and if Press wants to succeed internationally, she needs to recognize that.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden play a summer season and the CL is on a winter season. Thus, Tyresö’s CL campaign starts this fall and should they get to the final it will be May 2014. Depending on her contract, Ms Press could play in USA for the 2014 season but like Ms Rapinoe and Heath arrive late and she would leave in the middle of the Swedish league.

            The problem for Ms Press is that she is not a given starter for the USAWNT so exchanging a location where she enjoys life may not be so attractive.

            You say she loves Sweden. Maybe she has fallen in love in Sweden as well as with Sweden?

          • stephy_paola

            Cheers to that! Im more of a CP than AM fan lol

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that the “W” in “WWC15″ is redundant because the men play in even-numbered years and the ladies in odd-numbered years. I favour “L” for ladies but it seems that we are increasingly stuck with the pedestrian, some would say plebeian, “W”. Anyway, it is Euro-13 this year, which all that matters and that is worth fighting for and dying for.

          • KT5000

            Even if it’s pedestrian, the word “woman” is much more neutral than “lady”. The term “lady” comes with a lot of class history, as well as baggage about manners and presentation and behavior. Of course we can say we don’t *intend* it that way, but the word can’t be divorced from its etymology and usage history.

          • Steglitz49

            The Brits use the polite play and the Nordic countries in translation, so in Sweden it is Damallsvenskan and not Kvinnoallsvenskan. In USA it is the LPGA and not the WPGA, so there is a good precedent.

            They contest the Ladies final at Wimbledon, and Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have Ladies sides, though they are the Lionesses of Millwall and, of course, the Doncaster Belles. The USA Belles — that would be the day!

          • KT5000

            I can see how you prefer the term if you like it being analogous to other leagues. Nonetheless, I wasn’t saying there was no precedent for using the word “lady”, but offering a context in which “woman” might be a better choice. I certainly prefer it.

          • Steglitz49

            In the usual inconsistent use of language, though it is also the “gentlemen’s” final at Wimbledon, it is always called the “men’s”, presumably because it is easier on the tongue.

            Soccer in Britain always being a professional game, may explain why the term “gentlemen” was not used. It has long been quipped that while rugby is a game for thugs played by gentlemen, soccer is a game for gentlemen played by thugs.

            The international ski federation uses “ladies” while biathlon (ski-shooting) uses “women”. The reason may be that the ski-federation was founded before the war while the biathlon union well after the war.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            The same can be said about Press. I don’t know why for the life of me she is still playing in Sweden. She’s got the looks and skills to further her standing in the US. And don’t say it’s because Alex- oh – forbid it. This is a big country with many marketable sports stars. She will find some sponsors and gain a fan base. Like I said before, if she wants to step up to the next level and be the next star of US women’s soccer, she needs to play in our country.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Press cannot be the next star of US soccer.

            She is older than Ms Morgan and essentially plays in the same general position. Were she to play midfield, she is up against Ms Rapinoe and Heath.

            Ms Press left Göteborg for Tyresö for it would appear at least 3 reasons allegedly. Tyresö were to allow her more time off for US training camps, give her a second chance at the CL and pay her more than Gbg would. She gets to play with some awesome players in Tyresö and against both in the Swedish Ladies’ league and the CL.

            Lyon paid Lotta Schelin’s club $250,000 to get her. No doubt Tyresö’s contract has the relevant clauses in it. Even today, some of the Swedish clubs that developed Zlatan all those years ago get a fair whack when he is traded.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Well, I’m on the mindset that we can have many stars in women’s soccer in the US. Men’s basketball, baseball, football doesn’t just have one star. This new league hopefully is the start of building something big and sustaining, where we can have talented soccer players around the country showcase their skills. I know it’s a long way to go but we got to start somewhere. Hopefully one day our women soccer players will be just as well known around the world as the men are in other sports.

            Speaking of Press, if she likes to stay in Sweden and that’s what she wants, all power to her. Maybe she doesn’t want the attention and limelight she would get if she played in the NWSL. I don’t know. But I do know that the US market for sports is huge. US sports stars are known around the world. Even the leader of North Korea is a fan of Dennis Rodman and our basketball teams!! Press has the potential right now to help build the soccer in the US, to increase her profile, to get sponsors and endorsements which would pale in comparison to what she would get in Sweden, and maybe even play good soccer.

          • Steglitz49

            All those around the world who care about ladies’ football pray for the NWSL to succeed. Everyone appreciates the critical importance of the USA for the ladies game.

            If that requires many women stars, more power to their elbows. Ms Solo, Wambach and Morgan are well known around the world and Ms Heath and Rapinoe have sure been noticed. In Japan it is Becky and Bev. But, the more the merrier.

            A large number of women players got burnt when the previous US league folded. This (partly) explains why those abroad on decent contracts did not rush back to USA, not least when there was uncertainty around the NWSL. This could help explain why Ms Press took the Tyresö krona. How many excellent Americans play abroad? An awful lot. Amber Brooks, a draft pick, is in Bayern Munich.

            Finally, as I typed elsewhere, Tyresö is a well managed club and any contract they signed with Ms Press, not least when they accommodated her time-off wishes, likely has its financial i:s dotted and t:s crossed. Ms Press may simply not be free to come to the NWSL till her contract is out.

            It is difficult to see Ms Press getting even a fraction of the attention that Ms Morgan gets. The USAWNT has no serious matches before the WC in 2 years time. How can Ms Press become a star in USA given those odds? What sponsors and endorsements could she pick up?

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            It would be interesting to find out when she signed with Tyreso. Was it before she knew about the NWSL or later? It could be like you say she didn’t know if the league will survive. But I guess she just doesn’t want to participate in that. It’s interesting how she says she loves to be a part of US NT and put on that jersey to represent our country, but she goes mum about supporting the US league.

            Believe me, she will be noticed here if she plays on one of our teams as great as she is playing for Tyreso. Imagine if she becomes the scoring leader every week, you would see her star rise every single week. She would definitely get the attention from fans, media, and sponsors from whatever city she plays in. Too bad we won’t ever know cause she’s not here!! By the way, Kriegs and Ash came back home after their stint in Europe after they found out about NWSL. Tobin and Pinoe puts their support and will be here soon. Hopefully more and more US players will come home and help build this league.

          • Steglitz49

            On 6th Dec last year it was reported in the press that Ms Press was going to Tyresö (the club probably knew a day or two earlier). It was never reported that Christen was offered an Allocated slot, while a different USA player declined late to stay in Sweden so only 23 became “allocated”.

            Ashlyn Harris’s German club, Duisburg, is in financial dire straits. Duisburg, being secure from relegation, was happy to let Ashlyn leave before the season ended.

            Ali Krieger is unusual in that she has done the Triple — playing for Frankfurt she won the German league, cup and the Champions league in the same season.

            Ms Heath and Rapinoe took the €uro after they had become allocated players. They will be starting in the NWSL in about a month’s time. Amber Brooks is a draft pick. I have not heard anything about her plans.

            Like you I expect that Ms Press will return to her own country but if there is a financial buy-out clause in her contract, I cannot see the NWSL paying $100,000, let alone $250,000, to get her.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Ok, Dec 6th of 2012. It would be safe to say that she knew about the upcoming NWSL league. There have been talks about it even after the Olympic games. Still she went ahead and signed with Tyreso anyway. I don’t know if you need to be allocated or not to play in the league. Mewis was not allocated and yet she plays for KC. Well, whatever the case, she did what she did. Let’s see how well that works out for her.

          • Steglitz49

            What matters is whether Ms Press had been told that she would be an Allocated player or not, because those are paid by the federation and not the clubs, earn more and have more security.

            If she or her agent could not get confirmation, she can be forgiven for taking the firm offer. I have not seen a figure for Ms Press’s pay in Tyresö, but it can’t be too bad.

          • stephy_paola

            Brooks tweeted on 4/25/13

            “Extended my contract and will return to play for Bayern after summer break. Enjoying the soccer here and getting better everyday!”

          • Steglitz49

            Makes perfect sense. Let’s hope that BM continues to do well and Amber can grow and develop her skill set. Will the ladies get to go to Wembley and watch their men?

          • stephy_paola

            If i was her, i would hope so. She has it soooo good playing for BM … She posted pictures of her FRONT ROW for the BM vs Barca game

          • Steglitz49

            Do you think that BM’s ladies will go to London and first support the She-wolves in their CL bid and then on to Wembley to root for the BM men? Or, is Amber coming to USA to play already this month?

          • stephy_paola

            Well i would love to see her play on this side of the pond but then who would she play for?

  • Christy13

    The foul occurs in the 36th min, not the 43rd, FYI

    • Jennifer Gordon

      No the foul was in the 43rd minute. The clock on the stream is wrong.

      • Christy13

        way to go clock stream!

  • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

    Profiles in Consistency:
    “We (USWNT) do have a very good looking team, and as much as people don’t want to say that sex sells, it does. I’m just being a realist.”

    –Ashlyn Harris, Inked Magazine May 2013

    “Only in women’s soccer here in America do you have fans at home games who cheer for the away team. Hmm… #figureitout where’s the loyalty?”

    –Ashlyn Harris, Twitter May 5, 2013, about Alex Morgan fans at yesterday’s game

    • Christy Smith

      In the first she’s stating the obvious. In the second, she’s bemoaning the obvious. Consistent enough.

      • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

        I only quoted a snippet of the interview. It was more than stating the obvious; selling women’s soccer by using sex appeal was perfectly acceptable. The inconsistency is that once someone succeeds in doing this, she bemoans it.
        And I’m not going get into Harris using her looks to sell herself.

        • Christy Smith

          She says she’s “a realist,” not exactly a ringing endorsement of the concept. She is bemoaning DC fans rooting for the away team and cheering when she didn’t save the PK. Conflate the two if you like, but I see them as separate issues.

        • Steglitz49

          Selling ladies football through sex appeal brings in the middle-aged men in dirty raincoats. Is this why the age-group of women aged 20-35 are missing from the terraces? Their partners would be more interested in what goes on on the field than who is sitting next to them?

          • luke

            hahah, good one sir :)

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

            On a more serious note, the marketing of the ladies game must be solved, else it will wither on the vine and shrivel away into dust.

          • KT5000

            I propose that it’s more complicated than that, and I’d like to think that those men are the minority.

            Because of the ridiculous culture we live in, showing that professional women athletes are well-regarded for their sex appeal and femininity puts them in line with many young girls’ aspirational trajectories. In other words, “look, girls, you can follow your passion to play sports AND you don’t have to give up all the cookies you get for performing your gender correctly.” I was raised to be smart and well-rounded but the messages that I would be evaluated on my ability to conform to beauty standards, and be pleasing to men, were ever-present. Young women are navigating that space all. the. time.

          • Anton

            About 95% of those guys are single, live in their parents basement and have nothing else better to do than drool over someone they’ll never get.

            I went to one Sounders Women game last year because of Alex, Pinoe, Hope and Sydney and while I acknowledge that they’re all attractive women, I understand boundaries. You never know who you could be sitting around. Knowing my luck I’ll say something about Hope and her husband would be sitting behind me.

  • BootStud

    What is it with all the comments about the officiating? You sound like clowns stating that an obvious foul inside the box was outside, or it wasn’t a foul or the officials are intentionally helping a team out. It’s no wonder why we pay for tickets, sit in the stands and feel like we have every right to criticize. Why not? It’s easy. Give me a break. You get to a professional level in any sport, put yourself on the field and then have an opinion that matters. Maybe at that point you’d recognize that officials in every sport work their tail off before / during / after games to be as neutral as possible and officiate the game to the highest quality.

    • Anton

      Well I graduated from Barnum and Bailey’s clown college, so I’m legitimately a clown.

  • Gerson22

    This just in: star players get treated differently. Film at 11.

    Be thankful we have star players.

  • Steglitz49

    273 comments. Vow! Maybe we can get to 301?

  • newsouth

    It won’t work because Alex doesn’t want it to work or won’t let it work. It’s that simple and very evident. She has the hammer and deservedly so. She’s the star and CP is the insignificant upstart making some noise, but Press is a big threat to her, and Alex feels Syd isn’t. And by threat I mean someone who will take the headlines from her. You may laugh at that, but even though she’s established and the biggest name in the sport, it’s a very real thing. Alex didn’t get to be Alex by not having a massive ego. It comes with the territory. So AM will do everything in her power to foster that pairing with Syd when Abby steps aside. In addition, the last thing, and I mean the very last thing on earth that US soccer wants to see happen is for Alex NOT to be the star and headliner grabber of the team. I’m not talking like newsouth here because I think AM is awesome and have lauded her as much as anybody, but US Soccer needs AM to be the meal ticket and the face of the sport for financial and PR reasons. You’d have to be a fool not to understand that. With that, comes pressure on TS we don’t see in terms of who plays.*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

    alot of this makes sense. it’s more morgan’s fans than morgan. sydney and morgan are both direct forwards, and morgan is ahead of the curve vs sydney, so of course there is no threat. now, press is more of a free-styler like marta, and has succeeded at every level including the hermann over morgan in college and wps rookie of the year over morgan. get the picture. that would frighten the hell out of morgan fans. also, you can’t really compare press to morgan because of the style difference. what’s the difference? about 55 caps in morgans favor. that’s what separates her from press at the moment. the minute press gets comfortable on the international pitch, it will be on like popcorn again. and press has the skill sets to become the leading scorer on the national team. it’s just her game is more flexible. the conversion is better for 2 yrs from now going into the olympics. is press hungry? what kind of nonsense about her not wanting to be the best vs morgan? get REAL folks. morgan is good, but isn’t even the best player on portland’s roster. who can play forward or any point in the mid-field at will? SINCLAIR! some say Press was kept off the NT to let morgan develop. who really knows? USA is good at its’ idol making thing. you can see that on this board with Morgan, the best thing since bread and Press is a nothing.

    • stephy_paola

      A round of applause for you Sir/Ma’am.

    • Steglitz49

      In short, Ms Press will continue to play in Sweden where the spectators love her and she is not competing with someone else’s shadow.

      Provided that Christen continues to do well, even bigger clubs will come knocking. It may not be as glamorous as Paris, but Hoffenheim has deep pockets not to mention some teams better known world-wide.

      The late Brian Clough had the epithet “the greatest manager England never had” and, maybe, one day the analogous might be applied to Christen?

  • Baines3

    Personally, I have never seen or read anything from Morgan that really suggests of this massive ego. Yes, ego, is required for any sport, but she doesn’t come off as this maniacal woman that is trying to hinder Press. People need to stop assuming that they know everything about certain people. We don’t know if a certain someone has a massive ego and we won’t until we actually know that person. Also knowing someone doesn’t mean getting your autograph signed or getting a ‘selfie’ (or it doesn’t mean someone is a shitty person if they didn’t give you autograph out of the hundreds or thousands that were screaming for one). Let’s just see how the cards will lay and enjoy some football.
    I am a fan of most of the USWNT and hope that they all get some minutes or that TS puts out not necessarily the most talented players he has, but rather the best that work together for the WWC15. Yet this is still years away so people relax and enjoy the games until the time gets closer.

  • Steglitz49

    We need 6 more comments to break the magic 300 mark. Type away!

  • newsouth

    Ms Press cannot be the next star of US soccer.

    She is older than Ms Morgan and essentially plays in the same general position. Were she to play midfield, she is up against Ms Rapinoe and Heath.

    Ms Press left Göteborg for Tyresö for it would appear at least 3 reasons allegedly. Tyresö were to allow her more time off for US training camps, give her a second chance at the CL and pay her more than Gbg would. She gets to play with some awesome players in Tyresö and against both in the Swedish Ladies’ league and the CL.

    Lyon paid Lotta Schelin’s club $250,000 to get her. No doubt Tyresö’s contract has the relevant clauses in it. Even today, some of the Swedish clubs that developed Zlatan all those years ago get a fair whack when he is traded.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    You’re kidding about the older comment, aren’t you? Their DOBs are only 7 months apart. All sports in the USA have multiple stars, so why not womens’ soccer? Alex Morgan isn’t God, just a good soccer player. Press passed on 2 camps, trying to finish school, so that hurt her a bit. That’s one reason you saw Sydney and Morgan in camp before her. Now, once they became fixtures on the squad, Pia all but pulled the plug on Press. Also, Pia’s offense was built for hounds, as I’d say, direct forwards, who can run down balls. That’s not even close to Press’ game, but more suited for Sydney and Morgan or a Schelin of Sweden. That’s two things against Press when Pia was coach. Now, Press is probably a more flexible soccer than Morgan, can run a bit, come out of the mid-feild, turn on balls, turn and drive it straight up the gut, etc, just a package of things. Do you introduce her to the team, when they are building Morgan, since Press topped her for the Hermann and the WPS Rookie of the Year? Press 24 is shoot first, pass second at this stage of her career. That equals Gold Boot in the World Cup. That’s a killer if you are Morgan since they are in the same pier group. There’s no age spacing with those two like Abby 31 and Morgan 23. We;ll see how Sermanni handles this over the next two years. WC is still a ways off. I think he tried to deal with it early by putting Press in the mid-field like Portland, out of necessity, is doing with Sinclair, but Sinclair is even more flexible than Press and is just a better overall player than Press or Morgan.

    • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

      Umm, Press is older then Alex so she would have been called to camp at least a year before Alex did. Yet Pia chose Alex to go the the WC11. 2012 both Syd and Press came to camp and Pia picked Syd to be on the roster at the Olympics instead of Press who became an alternate. Now why do you think that is? Some people say Pia is bias toward Press. If she was, she wouldn’t even have to call her up to camp. Could it be that she sees something lacking in Press that we don’t see. She is the coach after all and she sees them in practices and drills. To be fair, I think Press had improved her game by playing in Sweden these last 2 yrs or so and she is getting a second look with Tom. But to put the blame on Morgan who she herself was fighting for a spot during 2010-2011 is unfair. Remember at that time Morgan was a bench player, coming into the game in the last 20 minutes or so. She did what any great player does, she made her mark. Should we fault her for that? I don’t think so. Maybe it was Abby who was adamant about who played with her up top. Remember she even said it took a long time to find someone like Alex to pair with.

      • newsouth

        Morgan was already established by the time of the Olympics and Press had zero caps. No coach in the world will pick Press over an established player. Even A-rod was picked over Press. Pia made Press an alternate to get the dogs off her back. Basically, people were asking, how the hell a hermann winner can’t get one cap? i just said, it is well documented that press turned down two camps at least for school reasons. i don’t think many players can turn down camp invites and recover under a coach. she sure didn’t with pia.

        she’s a more diverse player than morgan. any non-fanboy or girl will probably admit that, probably a more pure striker in the mold of marta, where as morgan is more of a scheline direct forward. that’s just who they are. morgan has a 55+ cap advantage over press, so don’t worry, morgan fans, press has a lot of catching up to do, and i mean a lot. but don’t be surprise, if she pops up during the WC and leads the team in goals.

        ————————————————————

        It is a good question whether Ms Sinclair is a finer player than Ms Morgan. I am not persuaded.********************************************************

        how your figure sinclair isn’t more complete than morgan? that portland team would be dead in the water, if sinclair had not move to mid-field. even coming from the field, she is dead even with morgan on goals. morgan isn’t the goddess who save soccer. there are some crazy good players out there. she benefits from playing striker on the most complete them in the world. all you had to do was watch the 3;3 germany friendly. you can’t just stop the forwards on the usa team, because the mid-fielders like pinoe and cheney can load up and score. you get a better idea on morgan on portland because shhe doesn’t have all that talent around her.

        • newsouth

          it may have been better to morgan in washington and see, if she could produce goals for a team like that. now, she’d have to carry that team, and they don’t have anything half as talented as sinclair to pair with.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Did you see the 1st half of the Algarve final vs Germany? I think that you can say Alex carried the day. Two goals, an almost assist to Box (great vision and pass by the way), coming back into the midfield and getting possession of the ball, at least 2 sick chest passes onto oncoming teammates. No Abby or Pinoe. By the way, Press was in that game. Invisible perhaps but she was there.

          • NYRick

            I saw the match. Alex was terrific and player of the tournament. Oddly, Pinoe was voted MVP of Algarve and didn’t even play in the final which was a complete joke.

            As for CP that match she played in the midfield, again out of position. What you may not realize is that since her talents and goal scoring ability are well known in Europe by the German players, they keyed on her a bit and jammed the area outside of the 18 yard box. Not her best game, you’re right, but her just being on the field opens things up more for Alex. That’s always been my point. I thought Syd played well in that game too. Put great players on the pitch and you can’t guard them all. It’s simple really.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            What Press needs to realize is that she may not get that forward spot on the NT. Seems like Tom prefers Syd up there. If she wants to become successful and an integral part of the team, she needs to find some way to adjust to playing midfield. Cheny did it (moving from forward to center mid), KO did it too (forward all her life but learned to play at left back). Great soccer players will find some way to adjust. We will see if Press has it in her to be great.

          • Steglitz49

            I think the lady has realized. Why else do you think she is playing in Sweden, where she is appreciated?

            Amber Brooks sees her immediate career in Bayern Munich.

          • NYRick

            Your point is valid. Adjustments on this team are necessary for nearly all of them if they want to make the starting 11. However, by definition that doesn’t necessarily mean a player is great or not if they don’t change positions and succeed. Some might not be able to do it. Where they are playing on the pitch might be the reason they are excelling and are comfortable.

            Was Alex not a great player in 2011. I say yes, absolutely. Even as a supersub. Fortunately for her they didn’t move her to flanking mid (a position she could also play) to get her on the field. She dominates at the forward position.

            Any US coach from here on (Pia, TS) has a difficult job putting an eleven on the pitch. The talent is ridiculously so good and will continue to be. The US could field 2 teams in every major international tournament and have a decent chance of both those teams making it to the final. Chemistry, changing positions will all play into it. As for who is the forward to pair with AM for WC15, Syd or Voldemort, that has been heavily debated. I think CP is the better fit and more complementary player to AM’s skill set, but we will all have to wait and see. For me, Syd and AM are similar players (speed and athleticism). CP is finesse and smarts and a rare ability that can’t be taught to find the net. I don’t think Tom favors one over the other right now. He’s not sure and is going to see how it plays out.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Yes, some might not be able to make those changes on the pitch. But what if the coach asks you to. What if Tom goes to Press and say you know, “I know you want to play forward but can you play in the midfield for this team”, what will be her response. I remember Pia asking KO to do the same, to play left back whereas KO was a forward all her life at Stanford. KO said she was unsure at first, but she would do it. She worked hard, watched the top defenders play, asked questions and studied how to play that position, and now she is one of our best left back defender. Nothing is given to you on the NT. You have to fight for it if you want to be on it. I think Press can do it if she wants. She has the ball skills to do it. And don’t worry about her not scoring any goals from that position. It hasn’t stopped Pinoe from scoring a lot of goals.

          • Steglitz49

            I can sort of see Ms Press converting herself into an attacking midfielder to get onto the USAWNT but it seems that USAWNT’s immediate problem is to fix their defensive side and not least the defensive or holding midfield?

            In addition, for Christen to get enough experience in midfield her club team have to be willing. They acquired a striker with a killer instinct and have plenty of talented midfielders already. It could be a hard sell.

          • newsouth

            The reason why Press isn’t starting is, Wambach has to get her record. How can you not this this? They’d run Sermanni out of the camps, if he tried to bench Wambach now. You will see a gradual shift of the guard over the next 2 years. Press playing mid-field was an attempt to get her on the field without causing problems with Abby chasing the record. if sermanni didn’t have that issue you might see press 70 mins, abby 20 mins.

          • NYRick

            This.

            Also Syd of course plays a role in the mix, but I see her behind AM and Voldemort and more as a supersub.

          • Don B.

            Horsefeathers. You seem to just throw any conspiracy that pops into your head out there hoping it will stick when it comes to Press not starting. Usually it’s the Nike/US Soccer alliance to keep Morgan in the forefront, and now it’s the Abby has to have her goals before Press will get her shot scenario.

            Let’s look at the facts:

            Netherlands – Press and Sid started at forward. Abby did not play.

            Germany – Abby started and scored a goal. Syd subbed in for her 80′. Press did not play.

            Algarve Cup Germany – Alex and Syd started at forward. Press started in midfield. Abby subbed in for Press 75′.

            Algarve Cup Sweden – Abby and Morgan start, Press in for O’Reilly 80′, Syd for Abby 72′.

            Algarve Cup China – Morgan and Syd started at forward. Press in midfield. Abby did not play.

            I’ll stop here, five games should be good enough to debunk this theory. In these five games, Abby did not play or was subbed in late in three of them. In games Abby did not start, Syd started. Press started one game at forward, as Morgan sat out until subbed in late.

            In two easy matches where Abby could have padded her stats, China and Netherlands, she did not start, but Press did, once at forward instead of Alex. When it was a choice between Press and Syd to start instead of Abby at forward, Syd got the call three times out of three.

          • NYRick

            Hey Don, these are excellent points you make when you analyze the scenario per the recent match, minutes played and opponent for all parties involved. I wasn’t looking at it like that until you detailed it in this manner.

            I don’t agree with Syd pairing with Alex instead of Abby (you know how I feel about that with CP). I’m not going to be a rah-rah fanboy in favor of CP about it since we all have agreed it needs to play out, and TS seems to be a smart coach who will get all of them the minutes to best help this team win the WC and Olympics through the next cycle. I just think that CP offers the best complement to AM’s skill set on the pitch. Alex (athleticism, speed, finisher, provider and clutch), and CP (finesse, above avg speed, clinical finisher and I think a player who can attack the middle of the pitch from the forward position (something AM or Syd doesn’t do). Syd is Alex lite, and maybe that’s being too complimentary to her. CP is a rover and will give the team more versatility and in my opinion really open the pitch up for Alex. Take a look at the Germany Algarve game. It seems CP didn’t do much, but the German team knows about her and clogged the front of the 18-yard box to stop her. If I’m Alex, I’m licking my chops over them worrying about CP. It’s pick your poison. Also, in fairness to Syd, she did play well in that game, maybe the best I’ve seen her.

            A couple of things I will agree with newsouth on though:

            1. Abby’s record plays a role and is a distraction and in my opinion holds back BOTH Syd and CP. Especially in an off year like this one.

            2. Nike does care very much about Alex and her status as the star of the team. You’re being a little one-sided to deny that.

            3. So does US Soccer. Hey, she’s earned it. But she is also their meal ticket for the next two cycles at least. They don’t want to mess with that in any manner. A star turn by CP does put a crimp in that. It would be naive to not think so. I know you’re too smart for that. As I’ve said numerous times, there is a place for both of them to be stars. CP will never achieve the profile Alex has anyway. It’s something beyond the scoresheet. But it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for both, and it would offer the most dynamic tandem the woman’s game has ever seen. I’ll stand by that, I don’t care who thinks otherwise. Rarely do two talents like the two of them have their careers coincide like this. I view it as fun.

          • Don B.

            Sorry if I wasn’t a little more clear on a couple of points. I often refer to some of newsouth’s posts as though everyone were aware of his history of postings about AM on other boards.

            Of course Nike and US Soccer are invested in Morgan, and they should be. She’s a goldmine, both for the financial good of the league and the USWNT and the image of women’s soccer in America. What I object to is the unfounded contention, and it is just that no matter how attractive it may sound, that she is only where she is because of a conspiracy by them to somehow allow her to score and assist in the numbers she has, at the expense of playing time by other quality players. I’m not a big fan of tin foil hat theories, and as a career marketing person, that is exactly what that is.

          • Steglitz49

            It would be good for the PR of the women’s game if Abby can break that record (meaningless though it is). It would give the marketers and PR-people something to work with over the lean 2 years till the World Cup kicks off.

            Is this fair to Ms Press? Probably not but the needs of the whole takes precedence. The NWSL has to succeed. There is no plan B (strictly speaking plan D because the NWSL is already C).

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Press has been starting, just not at the forward position. Seems like Tom is really pushing her to be a flank mid player. If that’s the way he sees it, nothing that you can whine, scream, and holler about will change that. You just hope that your fav player can do the job. She has to improve in that position and be the impact player like Pinoe and Tobin are or she will forever play in Sweden. Of course all this can change in these upcoming games against Canada and S. Korea. Maybe we will finally see that pairing with Alex that you and others so desperately want.

          • Steglitz49

            Tyresö, Christen’s current team, made a big fanfare at being able to sign her (they showed a photo of her playing for Stanford rather than Gbg, but that is PR for you) as a great forward and a key ingredient for their CL campaign.

            Tyresö lists 9 midfielders, 6 of whom are adult internationals, 2 are U-19 internationals and the 9th U-17. Thus, it is difficult to see Christen getting any midfield experience in Tyresö. Worse, they really need Christen in attack because last year’s top performer is in the blessed state (Christen is the 2nd oldest of their forwards).

            I really hope that this wonderful player, who grabbed the bull by the horns, gets to play for the NT in WC-15, but it is a long and hard road, that’s for sure.

          • NYRick

            Not really disagreeing with much you say here other than the fact that both Tobin and Pinoe are so hot and cold. Yes, both can be and have been impact players at times, but both have fallen in and out of games with little impact many times too. What you may not totally realize, and of course it has to play out with the proper opportunity with the national team for her, is that CP has the potential to be a bigger impact player than just about anyone on the team (including AM).

            The word “improve” is always thrown around and it’s mostly directed at CP only. One thing she doesn’t seem to have to improve on is the most important thing in the game: putting the ball in the net. Something all these elite US women players have a hard time doing at times. They all need to improve. No one frustrates me more than Pinoe on the pitch at times, yet people think she’s the cat’s meow. CP needs caps. A good 25 of so at least (mostly as a starter). As a midfielder she will find the net, as a forward on this team she will put up absolutely sick numbers. And she will do it against the best competition too. Then you’ll fully understand what many of us are talking about concerning her. All of it depends on what Tom thinks though. He’s the one who has to put her name in the lineup card. We’ll see.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            You bring up the work of Pinoe. Pinoe was the one who had the vision to see Alex up top and send her the ball in the WC11 final against Japan. Pinoe was the one who scored 2 goals against that amazing game with Canada in the Olympic semifinal and kept us in the game. And let’s not forget Pinoe with that brilliant long range pass to Abby in the quarterfinal against Brazil at the WC. Pinoe does stuff to the ball that Press can only dream of doing (crosses, sending balls into the box on corner pieces, penalty kicks). So as much as you need to see Press as the next best thing, don’t diminish other players’ hard work and achievements.

          • NYRick

            I wasn’t by any means comparing the two of them (Pinoe and CP). Two totally different players. I think Pinoe is one of the most talented players in the world. All I really said is that she is very frustrating a lot of times for me as a fan, and is always forgiven because she’s such a fan favorite. She plays little if any defense, hogs the ball a great deal and pretty much prohibits who I feel should be the natural playmaker of the team, Tobin, too much. They really can’t play together.

            Yes, all the plays you described about her above were brilliant. The pass to Abby in the WC quarterfinal vs. Brazil is in my opinion the greatest pass/assist in the history of US Soccer (mens or women’s), considering the situation, the event and the degree of difficulty. Without it, the US doesn’t even medal at WC11. Abby got the credit, but the play was made by Pinoe. And her game against Canada in the Olympics was nothing short of amazing. Aguably the greatest single game a US woman has played in a major tournament. Still think I don’t like or respect her? She’s just frustrating because she’s so hot and cold.

            But once again, this is another instance where CP is bought up for discussion and you want to criticize her for no reason. She certainly has her faults too. And maybe not being capped for so long before this year is some or much of her own doing. However, from what I see the girl can play. That’s all I’m saying. And she does the single hardest thing in the sport extremely well. For the thousand time, let’s all wait and see how it shakes out.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            Just out of curiosity, who would you put in to start in the midfield and where, assuming we keep to a 4-4-2 with Syd and Alex up top.

          • Steglitz49

            You would have to keep Amber Brooks in mind. If her career develops without injury set-backs she ought to be a shoe-in for WC-15.

            I would also keep an eye on Lauren Cheney because she seems to be regaining her old self, though I would prefer to look at those who are 21-22 today.

            One issue is whether you can have both Ms Rapinoe and Heath on the field at the same time. They could be alternates for each other.

          • NYRick

            LOL. You want to keep Syd and Alex up top. You know I think that should be Alex and Voldemort, but I’ll play along.

            GK: Hope
            Defenders: KO, Rampone, Brunn, Krieger
            Mids: Tobin, Cheney (as holding mid), Mewis (she’s going to be a big star and mainstay going forward), Pinoe
            Forwards: AM and Syd or CP (one would be super sub)

            That’s actually a pretty dynamite team. Everyone will criticize the midfield with the usual “we need Boxx to be the holding mid, the world will stop spinning on its axis if she’s not there for this team.” Look, Boxx has been a great player for this program, and with her health story as well I can’t tell you how much respect and admiration I have for her. But isn’t it time to transition now? She’s 35 now coming from another injury, going to be 38 if she stuck around for WC. Same can hold true for Rampone. If so, Engen can fill that role nicely.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            As hard as you try to push for Alex and Press up top. it hasn’t happened yet. We can read it two ways, one is that Tom is holding out (even though we play 8 games so far this year), or he just doesn’t think it is a good fit. Now he wants to put her on the field as a midfielder. But look at who is there. Pinoe and Tobin. As it stands today, I really don’t think Press is at the level to play the flank mid as those two. That is not to say she will not get there (that’s where my “improvements” for her comes from). She has 2 yrs to develop and grow in that position. So this is an wait and see game. Waiting and seeing if Press can step up. If she is as good a soccer player as you say she is, she will. And please note, I am only referring to the starters. Tom can always use her as a super sub for the forward or midfield positions.

          • NYRick

            If Tom asks Voldemort to play midfield (“it’s the only way I can get you on the field as a starter”) and she said no, she would be a complete fool and no one should have an ounce of sympathy for her. She could ride the pine her whole career for all I’d care. But I think she would answer to that an emphatic YES! “I’ll work by butt off and learn to be the best player at that position I can be, and help the team win. It would be an honor to do that Mr. Sermanni.”

            As you know, it is an incredible honor just to make the USWNT. To start on this team is the pinnacle of any of these girls’ profession. It’s what they’ll tell their grandchildren. All of them realize that. All of them want to start and will do anything or play anywhere just to get on the pitch or even be on the roster. Wouldn’t you? They are the biggest female sports stars in our country and it will always be that way.

            For KO it worked out great. I actually think she is more a natural left back than she was a forward anyway. And before she’s through I think she’ll be one of the dominant players at her position in the sport and in my opinion the next captain of this team. I honestly think Tom is going to work Voldemort (I need to refer to her as this since she does offend and is a dark evil threat for AM fans) in somewhere (as a rotating starting flank mid, forward starter or supersub late to get a goal). I go overboard with her. But she is a young, big time talent in my opinion. And you’re absolutely correct that although she may have improved her game playing in Sweden, next year she needs to be in NWSL if she has true aspirations making an impact with the national team.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point that “next year she needs to be in NWSL if she has true aspirations making an impact with the national team” is not without merit but it depends on her contract does it not? A player who plays abroad may simply not be free to move at will.

        • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

          By the time of the Olympics, yes Morgan became the starter in 2012. But the year before that 2011, she was not. She had to fight for a starting spot like everyone who comes into camp do. Going into camps for the NT is the most competitive thing you can do. You have to be the best of the best. I’m sure Alex and Press and others competed with the best of their abilities but Pia chose Alex. That’s the name of the game. You can’t be a sore loser and whine about why it wasn’t you. So Press did the next best thing for her. She went to Sweden and is getting successful over there.

          What dogs are on Pia’s back? If she was in fear of getting bitten, she would have put her on the roster over Arod. I find it interesting that Press you say, coming from an elite soccer school, Hermann winner, etc, etc and yet it was Morgan, a player from a not-so elite soccer school (Cal Berkeley) who got called up to play in the U20 world cup and score the decisive goal in the final and won the silver boot, who came off the bench in WC11 and score in the semi and final, and who headed the ball in the latest time and send us to the Olympic final. Those are her achievements so far. Can Press do the same, maybe. We will find out in 2015/16.

          • NYRick

            Man, you are really hard on Voldemort. She was a sore loser and whined and went to Sweden?! Really? You don’t know the inner reasons of why she went to Sweden or of why any coach (Pia or any one) choses one player over another. It could be a host of reasons aside from talent or persona. It could be that a coach doesn’t like said player for whatever reason.

            Also, hate to break it to you, but Cal-Berkley is a pretty elite school for academics and sports too. Sports star alums to name a few: Aaron Rodgers, Jason Kidd, Tony Gonzalez, Alex Morgan. Plus, the Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin is an incoming freshman. It’s a full throttle PAC12 program, just like Stanford. Not exactly a second tier program overall.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            I wasn’t saying that Press was the one whining. I was referring to people who whines over why Pia never capped her and then blames it on Morgan. Also I did not say Cal was not a good sporting school, I said an elite-soccer school. I think Morgan was the first Cal Berkeley player to be named as a Hermann finalists. I don’t even know if there are others beside her since then. Please don’t twist my words around.

          • NYRick

            You’re right. You did the say the whining part the way your stated. My bad. My apologies. As for Cal, I view it as just the fact that AM went there now puts it on the map as a soccer hotbed. I’m sure she could have gone anywhere, I don’t know her recruiting deal. But Cal-B is a major “sports” program all around. In terms of soccer, several MLS guys came out of there too. Whether they never had a Hermann finalist (how many schools do) is less important. Someone with the talent of AM coming out of high school (even though she was a late bloomer to the soccer scene) isn’t going to play at a rinky dink program.

          • http://twitter.com/epang0710 Elaine

            You’re cool, NYRick. I was just replying to another post who is not a fan of Alex and diminishes her achievements. Stats are facts and can not be disputed. Now moving forward, we will have to see who will emerge as we get closer and closer to the WC and Olympics.

            As for who is the best forward right now, I think you have to say Sinclair, Abby, Alex, Marta and I even throw in Lotta into the hat. But I do agree that Sinclair is the best complete forward playing today. She’s fast, skillful, great passer, great in the air. She and Abby are getting closer and closer to beating Mia’s scoring record. She certainly deserves and will get many applauses. But so will Alex. She brings excitement and energy to the game like no one else right now. She is not even 24 yrs old yet and she is on pace to maybe one day tying or surpassing their records. Only time will tell. She may falter and fade away or we are witnessing the beginnings of the great soccer player of all time. Also as great as Sinclair is, she is not one of us. She can never help us get that WC trophy or gold medal.

          • Steglitz49

            I thought that Ms Press went to Sweden because the USA’s pro-league folded. Any port in a storm and all that. In Christen’s case it turned into a pot of gold. I wonder who advised her? Does anyone know.

          • Steglitz49

            We might not.

    • Steglitz49

      Elaine’s points are well taken.

      The Ms Press you see today has had the benefit of coaching from a great striker. If Pia’s USAWNT had been knocked out at the QF stage in the WC as Japan did with Germany, and if Canada had beaten USA in the SF at Old Trafford, there would be some substance to the gripes.

      It is a good question whether Ms Sinclair is a finer player than Ms Morgan. I am not persuaded.

      I think Ms Press is managing her career well. She carries on in Sweden and if all goes well she will win more trophies and could be offered a contract by a wealthy team, or return to her own country.

    • NYRick

      Hey newsouth, I know you’re not a fan of AM to put it mildly, but I have to admit this statement is one of the most insight things I’ve read about Pia and her philosophy on forwards and how she coached:

      “Pia’s offense was built for hounds, as I’d say, direct forwards, who can run down balls. That’s not even close to Press’ game, but more suited for Sydney and Morgan or a Schelin of Sweden. That’s two things against Press when Pia was coach.”

      Also, didn’t realize the Voldemort passed up two camps for Pia for school reasons. That’s telling too. It is the strangest scenario that one of the most highly touted college stars (a prolific scorer no less) at the ultimate soccer hotbed and Herrmann winner gets no caps in a two year period directly out of school.

      The other very interesting thing you say that is 100% correct is that Abby is 31, Alex 22/23 when the teaming was formed. I often wonder if Abby was 24 and Alex was 22 in 2012 if Abby would have allowed it to happen. Basically giving a co-star turn to the other forward. The current forwards AM, Syd and Voldemort are all the same age range. That’s the big difference no one is tallking about and their friendships, probable sensitive egos (for all 3, it’s only natural and they’re all competitive) play a huge part in it. AM wants Syd as the pairing going forward. There is nothing anyone can say to me as an observer that will change my mind on that. Syd is no threat. They play a similar game and AM is far superior in my opinion. Voldemort on the other hand plays a finesse game, more flexible as you say. The better pairing for Alex. But it will never happen in a million years.

      • Steglitz49

        “Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn”. One of the greatest combine in soccer history was the Gre-No-Li line of Milan. They were all born in the month of October. Gren, Il Professore, in 1920; Nordahl, Il Cannoniere, in 1921; and Liedholm, Il Barone, in 1922.

        Of them, Nisse Liedholm stayed in Italy and became one of the most celebrated managers of his generation. Several of toady’s head coaches started their career under him. When he died, all Italian players wore black armbands. Gren and Nordahl used to vie for the goal-scoring record of each season but in Milan wearing the No 10 shirt, Gren became the great ebanbler. When Nordahl was asked how come he scored so many goals, he answered that it was no art when one had such an amazing provider of perfect passes as Gren.

        Personal chemistry, not age.

        • NYRick

          Steg, I enjoyed your little parable/analogy as always, but at the crux of my point was how age played a big role in the Alex/Abby relationship and Alex becoming a star. If Abby was the 24 year old hotshot and along comes Alex, I don’t think she’d be as welcoming. It’s human nature, stars don’t get to be stars without on-field ego. And we are not talking personal ego here, we are talking sports ego, which is very different. Everyone always chimes in about how dare you accuse so and so of having a big ego. Great real. Their persona on the field could be entirely different than their real life. But all champions and great players want to remain that. Regardless of who they are, and always view the touted upstarts as a threat. In every sport. Some will bring up Mia/Abby. Same thing. Mia was essentially done and Abby became her protege, because Mia was good with that at that stage in career. If Mia was 24 and Abby 22, Abby would have never seen the pitch and when she did, it would have only been in a complementary role.

          This all broke incredibly right for AM. Especially with Syd and Voldemort as her age peers. She got the first crack and to her credit (which can’t be understated), she took full advantage of the opportunity and has produced big time. Now she holds all the cards, and even whether it’s the said mentioned two, or any young upstarts behind her (Horan etc.), none has a chance to knock her off her mantle. And I mean ever. Even if they are better players, and I’m not suggesting they are. AM is too important to women’s soccer and it’s success. US Soccer and Nike and how those two are promoted to the benefit of the league and the public’s perception is in reality more important than the success of the national team or the players. Except one. A star. They have that in AM for the next 8-10 years. They will protect that by any means necessary. Scoff at that if you might, but it’s the truth.

          Alex is first in. I work in marketing and branding and there is always a simple theory: first in the market wins in any category. Second in might as well be sixth or seventh. Doesn’t matter. The battle is lost. Prime example is Voldemort/Alex. Same age, same pedigree, both great looking and articulate, both talented, but one got in the door first, and the other is essentially locked out now. If anyone thinks that any talented forward (the Dark Lord, AM, Syd or Horan) can’t light it up with the talent on this team they are pure mental. But that spot is taken already. For the next 8-10 years.

          • Steglitz49

            The gentleman does protest too much, methinks …

            You seem to have totally missed the point of my analogy.

          • NYRick

            I’m not protesting at all. I don’t make the decisions for this team and like everyone else have no control over that. I have no vested interest nor do I care as to whether Voldemort plays 90 minutes or none. I’m simply offering critique, like you and all other posters, on what I think is one of the most fascinating scenarios on the team construction going forward to WC15. First off, Abby needs to break the record so that BS is put aside, but you have 3 immensely talented forwards all the same age roughly (forget the problems with the holding mids, defense etc. for a second) and how that shakes out is really interesting.

            Also, in your return critique about the subject to me it usually involves 3 things: 1) I protest too much 2) Voldemort is only good because she now plays for an ex-Swedish striker who was great in his day. Look, it’s either your great or not. A coach can only help you so much at the elite level. For that matter, Pia was one of the most prolific forwards to ever play in the women’s game. Does she deserve all the credit for AM’s success? She wound up starting up at of necessity and overwhelming pressure to do so. Wasn’t Alex pretty darn good before she ever met Pia? You are not looking at CP’s past enough. The girl has been a prolific star scorer and highly heralded at every level she’s played at, way before she went to Sweden. 3) Voldemort should stay in Sweden to win CL trophies. If you said incredible money, I may buy that, but while it’s nice to win trophies it’s not the same in the women’s game as it is to the prestige of the men’s game. All the American girls dream of one thing when they are great soccer players: play and excel for the USWNT. I don’t know Voldemort, but I can guarantee you that’s what she primarily thinks about as her career is concerned. She would not have tried again with TS after being cast aside by Pia (for whatever reasons good or bad) if she did feel that way.

            BTW, I do greatly enjoy your parables, so please don’t take any offense to this. Keep them coming. Just wanted to clarify my position on this topic.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point was that age was an issue. This may well be so in the case of these 3 American ladies.

            My example was of three men born within 2 years who could work together for the whole team. Each one was fabulously talented, yet they all had in common that they thought the other two were better than themself.

            Objectively they are hard to separate. The Ultras contend that Gren was the greatest though the records favor Nordahl and Liedholm. Maybe that explains why the Ultras hold Gren in the highest regard? He made them great.

            Ms Press will weigh her options. Like most sane sports-people she would love to pull on the National kit and help to win the world cup. How she optimally achieves that is a nice point. She may have concluded that ploughing her own furrow and tilling her own field is optimal. Who can disagree?

  • Steglitz49

    Help! Jeff, please close this space. 345 comments is bizarre. Time to move on?

  • Steglitz49

    We stand at 368 comments. Another 8 and we will hit 376. Is it worth the effort? Will there be a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow?

  • Steglitz49

    We beat 376 comments by getting to 377. Vow!