Alex Morgan diagnosed with left MCL sprain

Jeff Kassouf August 7, 2013 173

Alex Morgan was stretchered off less than 10 minutes into Wednesday's game. (Photo Copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer)

Update, August 8, 4:55 PM EST: Alex Morgan has been diagnosed with a mild MCL sprain in her left knee, following MRI results, Portland Thorns FC confirmed. No ligaments were torn. She is expected to miss between 2-4 weeks.

“It’s a relief that there is no significant damage to my knee. I will do everything in my power between now and Aug. 24 in order to be available for the playoffs and to win the championship,” Morgan said.

Portland Timbers Director of Medicine Dr. Richard Edelson at Sports Medicine Oregon in Tigard, Ore., confirmed the diagnosis on Thursday afternoon.

It is a grade 1+ MCL sprain in her left knee after MRI results, sources tell Richard Farley.

The Thorns FC forward was stretchered off the field with a knee injury six minutes into Portland’s 2-1 loss to Boston on Wednesday.

The Portland Thorns forward went down after a collision with Breakers defender and former teammate Jazmyne Avant.

After six minutes on the ground, Morgan was stretchered off the turf at Dilboy Stadium and noticeably upset. The U.S. international was checked out by trainers on the sideline before being taken to the training room at Dilboy Stadium. Morgan emerged from the trainer’s room at halftime in a full leg brace but without crutches, according to our Meg Linehan, who was at the match.

Morgan also took to Twitter after the game, staying optimistic:

On Thursday, she tweeted further optimism:

Morgan leads Portland with eight goals this season. She also has tallied five assists.

The Breakers beat Portland on a late goal, but were still eliminated from the playoffs due to other results.

  • Ashley

    I think that picture says it all. She knows what an ACL tear feels like. How devastating for her.

  • chugwug

    So heartbreaking …Hope she gets better and is able to bounce back stronger than ever. She’s had her ACL torn before and I hope she doesn’t let this injury break her spirit. The only “good” thing (i say that loosely) is that this injury comes at a “down” time for the USWNT, so she can rehab and be ready for the world cup.

  • heremerawr

    Wait, is this a confirmed ACL tear? Holy crap.

    • Christy

      no, MRI is for tomorrow, initial sources are saying her ACL and PCL are ok, of course all is pending the MRI

    • chugwug

      not confirmed, they will have some tests tomorrow. Word out says that it actually may be just a sprain and not as serious as an ACL or MCL tear. I hope that’s the case

      • heremerawr

        Oh, well, I’d prefer her not injured at all, but geez, I think you and Ashley gave me several grey hairs from those statements. Excuse me while I go get checked in for a possible heart attack.

        • chugwug

          Sorry about that! I agree with you, i’d prefer no athlete would have to go thru an injury…but knowing some people who have had ACL tears, or even listening to other players who have had those injuries…some people just know when something isn’t right. But like everyone is saying, nothing is conclusive until she gets an MRI. However, the initial reaction to her injury, looked like she knew something was not right.

  • AshleyZ

    Now it doesn’t say ACL tear, all it says is “left knee injury” and equalizer’s twitter update says initial reports are encouraging. I think she’d be upset about any injury at this point, so I’m going to hope it’s not that serious and we shouldn’t jump to say that. Would she be walking on it if it was an ACL tear? I don’t think so, but…..
    Frankly I think Portland is screwed without her. I’m not even sure Sinclair and Heath can help them, with the kind of leadership the Thorns have been expected to deal with all season. Cone will manage to turn everything into a steaming pile. If they somehow beat the Flash into the playoffs (Sky Blue and Chicago are non-issues imo), I will eat my hat. I feel so bad for her, especially after the incredibly frustrating season she’s had. People can hate on her “attitude” or whatever, but this is a direct result of the coaching she’s received, as she has none of these issues with USWNT. She is the most talented striker in the ladies game today and I hope she gets better soon.

    • heremerawr

      I’m with you. Alex was the heart and soul of the Thorns team in my opinion, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I can’t see them winning without her, unless Sinclair and Heath decide to start playing out of their minds. Unfortunate, really, I know a lot of people disliked Portland but they don’t deserve to lose their big star a couple weeks before the playoffs.

      • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

        Thief big star. Don’t you mean the United States’ big star? I couldn’t care less about the Thorns (even with my favorite player) but the NT? Come on.

        • heremerawr

          Wait, what are you trying to say? Yeah, Alex is the US’s big star, but I was referring to the Thorns because we’re in the middle of the NWSL and the USWNT is in a down year. It’s a big loss for the USWNT too, but the Thorns are the ones who are immediately devastated. Could you please clarify, I feel like I’ve misunderstood your post.

          • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

            All I meant is that regardless of what city she plays for everyone should care that she got injured regardless if it takes her out for a year or for 5 minutes at the very end of a single game.

            Of course everyone should care what the health of a player regardless of who they do or don’t play for, but that’s a pretty big pipe dream.

            Perhaps my comment was out of line and if so I apologize. I assure you I wasn’t trying to make light of the situation for either Portland or Alex.

        • newsouth

          LOL! USA is loaded at forward. They will roll on without her if she has to sit. They did it without Wambach in 2008. And Sermanni’s squad has high powered forwards sitting in the wings.

          • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

            I’m not sure how that changes the fact she is the most dangerous striker today and one of the (many) stars of the US national team.

    • Christy

      When I tore mine 9 months ago, no standing and walking around wasn’t an option for the first week or so unassisted.

      • Lorehead

        Ouch. I’m sorry.

    • jeffkassouf

      Let’s be very clear that this space never said anything about an ACL tear, nor did our or my Twitter feed. We don’t speculate about serious stuff like that. “Left leg injury” is how we’ve reported it from the start, until we get told more specifics.

      • Lorehead

        In any case, I wish her a full and speedy recovery.

    • VaFan51

      As I sat there last night, fearing the worst and trolling for updates, it really began to sink into me just how important Alex is to this sport. She has so much passion and dynamism on the field — if you have been to a game in which she is playing, the energy in the crowd when she has the ball is a visceral thing. From all accounts, she is liked and respected by her teammates and she WANTS so much to represent her sport and her gender in a positive way. (I read reports last night that she was signing autographs after the game, crutches, brace, and all.)
      Whatever develops with this injury, I hope this “pause” gives us an increased appreciation for a very special American woman athlete.

      • NYRick

        Well said.

        There is nothing more exciting in the women’s game than her running full speed chasing down a long ball from the left side, with a defender a few feet behind her desperately trying to keep up. She then seems to turn on another gear, and in her unusual straight up running style makes the next touch to the ball. It usually is a hard touch and it goes so far forward you think no way she’s catching up to it. But she does. She always does. And the finish with the classic left footed well placed blast to the far corner eluding the goalie’s outstretched hand. A thing of rare beauty.

        Yes, everyone is replaceable. But some players symbolize so much more to their sport. Losing AM is comparable to basketball losing LeBron to injury. Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery and this not being a major injury.

        She’s needed. In so many ways for this sport.

        • Steglitz49

          Portland ought to be on the dog to Tyresö to arrange an emergency loan …

          Sadly, I fear that you may be right. Playing-wise someone may step into the breach, of course, but PR will lose dramatically and PR is critical for the NWSL for the next 2 years.

  • Christy

    I honestly am without my usual lengthy analysis because I was so distracted by trying to get information about Alex’s injury.

    This will be short..

    The thorns came out strong in the second half also accounting for the bulk of both the possession and scoring chances, Weimer got her first goal which was great!

    Long Heath, and Sinclair were almost invisible, (though sinc had a nice chance early) Shim was a ghost!

    Fatigue I think did them in, game was pretty clean, Alex’s injury came on some tight coverage and a unfortunate fall (yay turf) but I didn’t see anything foul worthy.

    4th game in what 10 days and they have another on Saturday! If Chicago draws or loses Portland secures a playoff spot with their loss today.

    Alex Morgan, Seeing that fall and her rolling around on the ground in pain like that ripped my heart right out! The updates kept rolling in about her still being with the trainer and that she wasn’t being ushered off to the hospital, then that she was beig carted out to the bench walking on her own without crutches with the full leg brace was encouraging, when I tore my ACL, I wasn’t about to be walking around or standing up for that matter brace or otherwise. Once the encouraging reports started coming in I could focus on the game again.

    the Portland D is spent, they are exhausted and any hopes of hosting a play off match went down with Morgan. Even if this is a hyper-extension or knee sprain as we all hope those reports are accurate, she still wont be ready until the finals at the earliest most likely and these guys wont make it to the finals without her and that is a fact!.
    Another poor coaching performance from CPC, fantastic efforts from Weimer in Morgans absence!
    Pretty much bet that Morgan’s season with the Thorns is done regardless of MRI results, she has NT camps coming up and prep for WC qualifiers, this is now a priority if given a clean bill of health!

    • snishy

      I’m going to reply too you since you kinda discussed what I want to talk about. I think the hardest thing for a Portland fan is lowering expectations. After this game, I think they’re sunk. They will get in the playoffs barring big surprises, but the semi-final will be it. What’s more annoying is that internal issues are the main reason for the the Thorn’s woes. Morgan’s injury all but assures they won’t make it past the semi’s.

      • Steglitz49

        Your point is well taken and Morgan’s injury is a great dampner. Let’s hope that it does not end her career (though, in the worst case scenario, she could take a leaf out of Brian Clough’s book — not all the leaves btw, that is not necessary and not recommended either).

        But, are you an American? Have you heard of the expression “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”? It is a good thing that Japan did not have you as coach in 2011 or Germany in 1954.

      • Lorehead

        It looks as if it’ll come down to beating FCKC on the road, probably without Alex Morgan (although I hope it’s not serious and they’re just taking every precaution). But with rest.

    • Davis

      I wasn’t able to see the game, so I can’t comment too much. From what I’ve heard it wasn’t pretty for the Thorns. I was honestly pretty optimistic about the this game and the rest of the season. Despite the loss to KC, I thought they were playing well. Then I heard about Morgan’s injury and all that optimism went out the window. I think this team is sunk without her.

    • Davis

      I wasn’t able to see the game, so I can’t comment too much. From what I’ve heard it wasn’t pretty for the Thorns. I was honestly pretty optimistic about the this game and the rest of the season. Despite the loss to KC, I thought they were playing well. Then I heard about Morgan’s injury and all that optimism went out the window. I think this team is sunk without her.

    • Silver Frost

      RE: WNT strikers. We have lots of world class strikers. One (Press) is playing in Sweden and has more goals than Marta.

      • heremerawr

        Bro, not cool. There is only one Alex Morgan. And also completely off topic.

        • Silver Frost

          Since when do people stay on point in these forums?

          • heremerawr

            Point taken. But c’mon, a story on Alex Morgan being injured really isn’t the place to bring up the Press debate.

          • Silver Frost

            Morgan will be fine. She’s hard as nails. She’ll be ready for WC qualifiers, if not Fall, then next Spring.

          • heremerawr

            I think you’re missing my point…

            But whatever, I hope you’re right and Alex recovers quickly. Worse come worse, we have plenty of talented strikers to step up in her absence while she recovers, if it truly is an ACL tear.

          • Steglitz49

            Surely that depends on the type and severity of the injury, does it not?

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            Let’s keep moving freely where the spirit moves us, roaming like tigers over large territories and not dig in one spot like domesticated dogs.

        • newsouth

          he is on topic. if a forward goes down, then one will replace until such forward returns. if she is injured, then the other names come up. it’s that simple. press will get the job done if she can’t comeback at the moment. guy is right. she is smoking sweden.

          • heremerawr

            Look. The post really wasn’t about who is taking over Alex’s spot, it was focusing on Alex’s injury and how even if it isn’t that bad, Alex’s club year is essentially over and she’ll need to focus on the NT. I don’t have a problem with Press stepping up to fill Alex’s shoes, but the blase manner in which you people are blowing off her injury only hours after it happened pisses me off a little. Press was completely irrelevant to the conversation and yet, as usual, she has to be brought up because God knows we haven’t talked about her enough. Sorry, rant over.

      • Christy

        Yeah what was your point exactly meaningless and poorly placed.

        • Silver Frost

          “…she has NT camps coming up and prep for WC qualifiers…” Seems quite on point. BTW, learn about punctuation.

          • heremerawr

            Making a passing mention of the NT does not automatically mean, oh, hey, let’s bring Press into the situation since she’s on the NT too! And c’mon, there are plenty of people on this site that don’t bother with punctuation, let’s not be a jerk about it.

      • Steglitz49

        Portland could always approach the good burghers of Tyresö and ask for Christen on a loan, with a view to a transfer if necessary.

    • Lorehead

      Since I haven’t been able to watch the game yet, I’ll just say that I don’t understand the strategy behind Cindy Parlow Cone’s substitutions. Playing Wetzel to shore up the defense, I can see why she thought she needed to, although it didn’t work. Obviously, replacing her injured striker with another striker was a forced move. But sending in a defender while trailing late in the game? Why?

    • Steglitz49

      “4th game in what 10 days and they have another on Saturday”. Your point is well taken. The NWSL is awfully compressed.

      The European leagues who play a summer season and qualified for Euro-13 — the 5 Nordic countries who all qualified, England and Russia — had to take a break for Euro-13. There are 12 teams in the leagues and they also play their domestic cup competitions.

  • nwslfan

    too many players go down w ACL. Morgan’s injury feels personal, somehow. She really has that star quality. Hoping for positive news. ACL can be unpredictable- I had acute agony, no weight bearing when I tore my ACL, but my niece had minimal pain and wasn’t sure she was actually hurt when she tore hers. BEST WISHES ALEX!

  • NYRick

    I just got home and didn’t see the game and this news greets me. How absolutely awful. I’m sick over it. What the eff happened?!

    • Christy

      Rick, I think turf played a little bit of a role, She was partially between two Boston defenders and she just fell awkwardly going for the ball.. Similar to what I had done . It was awful to see. She was walking unassisted with a full leg brace and trainers seem to think the acl and pcl are ok but no way to be sure until the MRI . She was on crutches signing autographs after the game. What a trooper!!

      • NYRick

        It’s really hard to look at the picture at the top of this article. Hate to see anybody have to suffer like that and have such fear in their face. Especially an athlete literally at the top of her profession, and a class act too might I add. We get on her a bit for some attitude at times (only on the poorly coached Thorns), but it’s only because she has set the bar so high and so early for herself on and off the pitch. Good sign is no crutches and actually walking a bit.

        I’m just really hoping for a knee sprain of some type and maybe a few weeks to a month off. How’s your injury doing BTW? Are you back playing again?

        • Christy

          It’s getting there, 9 months post and I am playing some bit not too hard. Brace and all! Yay!! It’s still a lot weaker than my right and kicking a ball left footed is quite comical honestly lol.. Thanks for asking.. I plan to go back to coaching in spring too.. Life returning to normal! :)
          And yes I agree on what u said above as well!

      • Lorehead

        I certainly hope it was just that, and not that and fearing she’d never be able to again.

  • Guest

    Not trying to start a turf debate here, but the NWSL seriously needs to consider better playing surfaces for Chicago, Boston and FCKC next season.

  • sepp b.

    artificial turf in NWSL, artificial turf in Canada 2015, artificial turf for everyone!

    • chugwug

      correct me if i’m wrong…but there are different qualities of turf? (ex: Jeld-Wen Field vs Dilboy)…Does anyone know what kind of turf is available in Canada, since it seems like the World Cup in 2015 is definitely going to be played on turf (which I think is tragic for elite athletes to be playing on not so optimal playing fields…i liken it to playing the NBA finals on asphalt basketball courts)

      • Anton

        Most of them are CFL venues, so they should have turf similar to Jeld-Wen or CenturyLink. I know BC Place and Olympic Stadium have the ‘softer’ turf. Not like the ones in this league where it’s like you’re playing on a mini golf course.

        I don’t know why turf is coming up anyways (but I’m not surprised that it is). Alex’s injury had nothing to do with the surface. She just landed awkwardly, it happens.

        • sepp b.

          landing akwardly on natural grass is safer than landing awkwardly on poor quality artificial turf

          • Anton

            Not really, there’s nothing to prove that. I can see if there’s seams or holes in the turf, but there wasn’t (or at least I don’t think there was).

            Sometimes you just land wrong and your knee gives out. This could have easily happened on grass, in fact, it does all the time.

          • Steglitz49

            Perception? Give a dog a bad name? First impression counts?

            It would be awfully difficult to prove that artificial surfaces are as good as grass. They are generally used where it is difficult, ie impossible, to have a quality grass field. All the (reasonably) well to do men’s teams play on natural grass (some surfaces is so-called reinforced grass). One presumes that there is a reason for that.

            In England the league runs competitions for the best groundsmen. The playing surfaces of the top clubs is like a billiards table.

          • sepp b.

            what proves that landing on softer surface is safer than landing on harder surface? common sense maybe?

      • Lorehead

        BC Place is a FIFA two-star recommended field, like Jeld-Wen. The other venues are not, but at least they should be upgraded to that level. No idea whether they will be.

    • Steglitz49

      The U-20 WC will be played next year in Canada. It acts like a dry run for the ladies’ WC, like the Confederation cup for the men just did in Brazil.

      We will learn two things at least from the U-20 WC. How many spectators will show up and how many young ladies will be stretchered off.

  • Anton

    You can’t jump to conclusions either way (whether she’s fine or seriously injured) until the MRI comes in. While her standing seems positive, remember Stu Holden got up and walked off without assistance (diagnosed originally with a sprained knee) during the Gold Cup and after the MRI, found he had a torn ACL. So you just don’t know until the MRI comes in.

  • Boston strong

    Okay, I was there and she was talking to HAO next me and said it isn’t a tear or anything really bad, worse case scenario it’s a sprain. She was on crutches and had the large brace but was putting some pressure on it towards the end of the game. I’m almost positive she won’t be out too long from NT duty if any at all.

    • Elaine

      Glad to hear that. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  • Steglitz49

    Though Portland lost to Boston, because DC managed to tie with Chicago, as I understand it the four play-off teams are now decided. Who plays who will depend on the remaining matches.

    Well done DC, though I have a soft spot for Chicago.

  • Ron Bishop

    Nobody likes to see an injury.
    Whatever the extent of her injury, Alex Morgan has access to the best sports medicine,physical therapy, and rehabilitation in the world. More so than most other NWSL players. She could be rehabbing on the pitches at Nike just like Wayne Rooney.
    As for the Portland Thorns, they’ll carry on and try to win the NWSL Championship. None of PTFC players, including Sinclair, Heath, Foxhaven, Shim, Wiemer, etc are going to a “pity party”. This is professional world class soccer and the players wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have the heart, dedication, creativity and self discipline to overcome adversity. This might make room for other PTFC players to step up their game.

    Slightly off topic –
    For this league to be as successful, as say MLS, the clubs need to bring out the passion in fans for their particular club. Not be seen as a “something for the ladies and girls” between WWCs, nor as a scrimmaging league for the chosen USWNT players. The league needs to stand on it’s own at some point.
    It needs supporters wanting their club to beat all the other clubs, no matter who is on the other team – preferably players considered the best. Supporters who want their club to churn out the best players who will challenge current players for positions on the national teams.

    • Steglitz49

      Your “slightly off topic” points are well taken. Are you sure you want to develop Ultras in America, Canada and Mexcico? (or, Ultrettes, given the age of some of them)

      • Lorehead

        Too late. We call them the Rose City Riveters.

        • Steglitz49

          One of the most impact posters ever made, close to that 1922 Crayfish poster.

          • Lorehead

            Had to Google that one. Yeah, that was clever. Also, its side actually won.

      • Ron Bishop

        There are numerous supporter groups less extreme than the Ultras – although there are some that have been disciplined by MLS. But the fans don’t even have to be a part of a supporter group.

        Just identifying the NWSL players on the team more as FCKC* players rather than “USWNT players (and others) who play against other USWNT players (and others) and fans turn out to watch “America’s Girls”. And when one of USWNT decides to retire, then some lucky player will be selected.” :)

        No – “our team” takes on all comers and doesn’t back down. “Our players” try to be the very best and win the league championship – and they want to challenge the current national team players for their spot on the national team.

        *I use FCKC as an example. Feel free to substitute PTFC, SBHC, etc

        At FCKC, I think the non-USWNT players (including the CANWNT players and MWNFT players) have become more a part of the local community than the allocated USWNT players.

        • luke

          1. they had very slim chances with AM, now they are gone
          2. ultras are not extreme, hools are extreme
          3. agreed with your vision, but observing the stadiums during matches I’m not sure things are going that way

          • Steglitz49

            The extreme extreme fans, often violent, are called hooligans and are generally considered to be an English invention that spread to the continent. In some continental countries the term has been phonetically respellt “huligan” with whatever plural ending that fits with the local lingo such as “huliganer” and “Huliganen” etc and so forth. Some claim that hooligans go back to the beginning of soccer, though most accept them as an invention of the past 40 years or so.

            Hools must be some strange local abbreviation. The Ultras are also extreme, though not usually quite as destructive. the term is commonly associated with Marseille and Ajax.

        • Steglitz49

          “I use FCKC as an example”. That is why I want to explore placing teams south of the Mason-Dixon line. KC and, even more, DC have shown the way. Let’s follow them.

          Your point about “our team” and “our girls” are well taken. When the previous US women’s soccer shebang collapsed, Marta wanted to return to Sweden but her old club Umeå had no money so she went to Tyresö instead. The match, when Tyresö visited Umeå, was the best attended by far during the whole season, only to be bested by the very final decider between Malmö & Tyresö. The city of Umeå came to see “their” girl play. Marta came to Umeå as an 18-year old, when Umeå was the team to beat, and played 5 seasons.

          As for CANWNT and MWNFT players, one is sadly left with the impression that the NWSL don’t give a damn about the M.

          • Lorehead

            There are some metro areas where that could make sense; DC/Northern Virginia is one, Raleigh (although there’s no MLS team there), perhaps Houston because of Texas A&M. But I’ve lived there, and the region’s not about to become the next Cascadia.

          • Steglitz49

            Your comment makes me think of the “Northern & Western” railroad immortalized by that B&W photographer (O S Nock?).

            Is it worth trying Nashville or Knoxville or Georgetown?

          • Lorehead

            No, I honestly don’t think so. (Although I’m not sure which Georgetown you mean.) The culture and the demographics are different.

          • Steglitz49

            The place where there is a big car plant. A Japanese one, who might be induced into sponsoring the visit of a Japanese team or two — planning for a future world club tournament. Isn’t there a BMW factory in Spartanburg (SC). That might fit with UNC and Duke?

          • Lorehead

            I really think lack of familiarity with this region of the United States is leading you astray here.

          • Ron Bishop

            Put a team in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Tar Heels are very strong in college soccer – mens and womens. They have the Railhawks in the NASL and not much else as far as summer pro sports (except NASCAR, perhaps)

          • Lorehead

            As I’ve said before, my first two picks in the absence of any other MLS partnerships would be Vancouver and the Bay Area. But Raleigh and Houston might be three and four.

          • Steglitz49

            Houston Aces have just lost their goalie. She has signed with one of the other French clubs (not Lyon or PSG). I interpret that as no team in Houston next year.

            If NWSL places an expansion team in Canada they are honor bound to offer one to Mexico. I am not sufficiently familiar with Mexican ladies soccer to know where would be a good place. To plan for such an expansion, some teams in the South are needed.

            A team reasonably placed between KC and DC would seem to be justified.

          • Lorehead

            That doesn’t make sense. Why would the Mexican soccer association even request a team of mostly norteamericanas to play in Mexico? Why would they ever expect that to work?

          • Steglitz49

            The NWSL is a joint venture between USA, Canada and Mexico, though judging dispassionately it seems that Australia gets more out of the NWSL than Mexico does, but it is a bit too far to place a team down under.

            As you contend, the Mexican assoc would probably decline to have an expansion team at this stage but I think they in return would demand that it be in a place that makes it easier to have a Mexican team next time round.

            As for Spartanburg, it was the SC, as in DC and KC, that attracted me. The She-wolves, who won the CL this year, essentially are VW’s team. Maybe an American BMW-sponsored ladies side would be just the ticket. Nicknamed the Spartans — Trojans already being taken (and might give the wrong image to boot).

          • Lorehead

            I’m pretty sure that, if I started telling you how your compatriots ought to be running the Damallsvenskan, I’d sound almost as well-informed. Just because I’ve never lived there and don’t get the culture.

          • Steglitz49

            It is quite easy to run a ladies’ soccer league. You just need someone who subsidies it and signs the checks. It can be a wealthy private individual, like that businessman in Japan, John Terry, the Emir or the owner of the Kopparberg drinks company. It can be a wealthy club, like for example Arsenal, Lyon, Bayern Munich or Barcelona, not to mention a whole host of other clubs. Local government step in and settle debts because it is seen as a good thing to have women play team sports (they settle 10-15 times bigger debts for the men’s teams, but that is another chapter). Finally, rarely, local fans club together and give generously as in Potsdam, Frankfurt and Tyresö.

            Sweden’s most successful ladies team has been Umeå. The city is about as far north on the earth as Fairbanks, Alaska. Piteå is a little bit further north than Umeå but it has not been quite as successful. Umeå’s most famous player is Marta though there have been a whole host of other lasses, and it was the team’s success that attracted the 18-year old Marta. The two teams in Stockholm were relegated last season

            Just like many of the early women’s teams in Sweden have gone to the wall, including at least one that Pia played for, so women’s soccer in Europe is changing rapidly. The path was set out by Lyon. The teams with the deepest pockets will be top in the CL. WC-15 might be the last WC where small countries will get a look-in.

            How this helps the NWSL, heaven only knows. If the NWSL can crack the nut and run financially solvent ladies’s soccer teams, the NWSL will have done the world a huge service. At least two coaches have been sacked, so there is hope.

            Most important is for Alex to get well.

          • Boston Red

            Your opening lines remind me of a joke:

            What’s the easiest way to become a millionaire?
            Start as a billionaire and then buy a sports team.

          • Steglitz49

            The version I was taught read: “How do you easiest make a small fortune? Start with a big one.”

            Germany made a loss on WC-11. Sweden made a loss on Euro-13. If the NWSL can find a path to profitability for women’s soccer, it will be great. Let’s hope they succeed — and export the solution to the ROW, the sooner the better.

          • KT5000

            While I would be thrilled to see the league take place in all three nations, I doubt the NWSL would be honor-bound to “offer” a team to Mexico. It seems the league was careful in their placement of teams. If a sufficiently promising organization makes a case in sufficiently promising Canadian location, why is it an insult to Mexico to have a team in Canada? Is it an insult to Canada and Mexico that all teams are in US cities currently? Certainly it’s understood that geography plays a part.

          • Lorehead

            On the one hand, that metro area is about half the size of the two smallest ones currently with a team. On the other, those are KC and Portland, the teams with the best attendance.

          • Steglitz49

            I am not persuaded by the so-called Research Triangle area. With two big college soccer teams, it is not dissimilar to the Bay Area with Stanford and Berkeley. The locals are used to going to the college games. Why bother paying to watch a pro-side?

            Your point about KC and Portland, to which I would add DC, is the sign. You need a place where people will focus on “their” girls. A city of 100,000 inhabitants can carry a team as long as there are some who will chip in. For a metro-area of 250,000 it should be a walk in the park.

          • Lorehead

            I think the marketing strategy would involve loading up on former Tar Heels and reminding everyone that these women are on Team America. Then, get soccer dads to bring their daughters.

            The thing is, if that works in Raleigh-Durham, it should also work in Houston, which is a much larger market and has more supporters of the men’s game who might cross over.

          • Steglitz49

            Go straight to Houston. The Houston Aces goalie just signed with one of the French D1 teams, so they are not totally devoid of talent already. Give them 3 allocated US players of quality and give them the two Mexican players they want.

            If Houston works, put a second team in TX either Dallas-Fort Worth or in Austin.

          • Steglitz49

            It might be cheaper and just as much fun to watch the current Tar Heels.

            It might have the added benefit of instilling in one’s daughter that if you practice and play well, a (partial) scholarship to a top university might be within her reach.

            The Tar Heels play on natural grass and the stadium seats 6,000 (!). Stanford also play on natural grass but their stadium only seats 2,000.

          • Lorehead

            Still, they’re literally the U-23s. If you love the players, you’ll still want to follow them (and America’s Olympic heroines!) as they go pro.

          • Lorehead

            You know what, maybe instead of Alex Morgan to jump-start a new franchise in Raleigh, we could give them Cindy Parlow Cone back. Anything for the good of the league.

          • Steglitz49

            Since as I typed I am not in favour of an expansion team in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (aka Research Triangle) you may send the lady wherever you prefer.

            I think that DC’s fans deserve Alex. Also, being in the nation’s capital, Alex would be readily available to meet with congressmen, senators and Supreme court judges, not to mention all the others involved in decision making. As far as women’s soccer is concerned, Alex is wasted in Portland.

          • Lorehead

            Thank you for the gift of letting us see ourselves as others see us, but that’s just not how it works here. Lobbying politicians is a multi-billion dollar industry, yet nothing ever gets done.

            So you’ll have to settle for Senator Ron Wyden.

          • Steglitz49

            He looks a bit cadaverous.

            As I remember it Judge Alito has at least one daughter while Sandra O’Connor had sons. Maybe Samuel Alito is our man?

          • Lorehead

            I’d rather not get into politics here, but that’s so far off, it’s ludicrous.

          • Steglitz49

            Sandra O’Connor was an outstanding justice and Samuel Alito wrote a marvellous sole dissenting opinion in a case. I got seriously worried when I found that Alito was the only justice sharing my views. I ought to have been relieved that someone was on my side, but I had not expected it to be him.

            Did you know that there is a small coffee-roastery in NJ called Ward Coffee who sell a “Judge Alito’s Blend”. It makes an excellent brew. They have a shop in Chatham close to the station. Be sure you get a bag when you alight on the train from Penn St or Hoboken. (It is truly his blend and worthy of a piece by one of Jeff’s stable of writers.)

            I want Alito to be the next head of FIFA. He may not know anything about soccer but he would clean out those stables.

          • Lorehead

            If that would get him off the High Court, I’m all for it. Hell, I’d even be willing to see Antonin Scalia become Pope.

          • Steglitz49

            He is an old Reagan nominee, is he not (like O’Connor was). I am still waiting for being on his side when he is a sole dissenter.

            I once woke up and found that only Breyer and Thomas shared my view on another case. Maybe Thomas could take charge of WC-15? Then we might get natural grass based on some arcane ruling that the Queen has a right to graze her sheep in Vancouver …

          • Lorehead

            Eh, Scalia and Thomas almost always agree, but your best bet is probably a case about whether our government can imprison you without trial.

          • Steglitz49

            The Breyer-Thomas was a case about restricting sales of violent video-games. The Alito case was about sale of videos showing cruelty to animals, as I remember it. I do not know if any cases of body-paint as a means of avoiding shirt-pulling in soccer have been heard.

          • Ron Bishop

            Cueller was used and very popular with FCKC fans. Noyola is being used more and more by Andonovski. She seems to figure into his plans. The MWNFT defender originally allocated to FCKC didn’t make the team, perhaps? Is Dominguez being utilized in Chicago?
            I think it’s up to the coaches how they use their players. That was a bit of controversy in Boston.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe it takes one to spot one?

  • NYRick

    Just a grade 1 sprain! Fantastic news!!

    The girl is literally made of titanium.

    • VaFan51

      Seriously, I may weep with joy. I cannot wait to see Alex play again.

      But, please, Alex — take some advice from someone whose only medical qualification is watching doctor shows on TV: Please take a month or two off. It’s not worth it to play on the KC turf. And take a load off in the Mexico-USWNT match. I will buy you a ticket to watch from the stands, if you’re short of cash.

      To mix my animal metaphors, there are much bigger fish to fry down the road and we need our Baby Horse at full gallop. (Sorry… )

    • Elaine

      Love to hear this great news! I think the fandom let out a collective sigh on this one. I know I did. Looks like from the Thorns website, she’s aiming to be back on 8/24 for the playoffs. Hope she’s not pushing herself too hard. But knowing how competitive she is, she will be itching to come back onto the pitch. The trainers and doctors must do their diligent jobs in handling this one.

      • NYRick

        Elaine, she just came probably within an eyelash of missing about 9 months to a year with a really tough recovery to boot. And since she had a previous ACL in HS, it could have been career ending even. There is no way the USSF or Sermanni should allow her to play on 8/24 even if she feels like she can and the docs give her an OK. Not for that team or that coach. An NWSL championship is just not worth it. If it was the Olympics or a WC, I can maybe see taking a bit of a chance, but even that would be risky for a player of this age and this talent. She is the most prized possession in the program, have they completely lost their minds?

        There is a saying in sports that simply goes, “You don’t mess with the franchise.” US women’s soccer came mighty close to losing the franchise yesterday. She and them need to thank their lucky stars and take a step back. A big part of her game is obviously speed and that powerful left leg. Just not worth a quick comeback.

        • Elaine

          I agree that this was a scare for everyone involved. I think she is being treated at the Timbers/Thorns facility but I would also hope that USSoccer’s doctors and trainers are keeping an eye on things too. No one should rush her out to play if she’s not 100%, including Alex herself. But like others have posted, the program will go on, with or without Alex. Of course with Alex, it makes things much more exciting and dynamic. But I agree with you. I would much rather have her available for the NT and the WC than for the NWSL playoffs.

          • NYRick

            I hear what you’re saying and agree. But the USSF is going to look awfully dumb and be highly criticized if anything leg related or even any injury happens to her on 8/24 in a match. It’s needless and stupid.

            Also, I feel she most certainly WILL PLAY on the 24th. The player always wants to play, and I know she feels she’s the star and it’s her obligation to the team etc. to play. My opinion is that they should hold her completely out till the NZ NT matches and have her strong for the late year camps. Like I said, she obviously could be replaced by any of the talented forwards behind her and the team would most likely be just as good. But she’s more important to US soccer in so many other PR ways than just scoring goals. If I was Sermanni, I would tackle her before she took the field on 8/24.

            She probably will score two goals, one in dramatic fashion to win the match. But it’s not worth it. I’ve seen this type of stuff play out before in other sports. Knee injuries, even sprains, are very tricky. And she was very, very lucky.

          • Steglitz49

            Do the USWNT even need her against NZ?

            It is high time to develop other poster-girls for the NWSL, even if they decline body-paint.

          • NYRick

            No, of course they don’t need her for NZ, but at least that’s over a month away. There’s probably only 3-4 teams in the world that the USWNT needs to be at full strength for anyway. And even their somewhat B team can beat those same 3-4 teams as well without much of a stretch.

            Also, I know you love to bring up the body-paint with her. But I equate Alex and Beckham similar in their fame. First off, both are terrific players. That is undeniable. But in my opinion, for both, 80% of the fame is attributed to their looks and off the field exploits and 20% due to their soccer ability. As with Becks, it can argued that his greatness as player (he’s arguably one of the greatest set piece takers the game has ever seen) is overshadowed by his looks, modeling and adverts. Same for Alex. As good as she is, people bring up the body-paint first (like you!), the 123rd minute goal somewhere way below. It’s just the way it is and to deny that is just being foolishly naive.

            Which leads me to an interesting point you raise, and one you’ve raised several times. “It’s high time to develop other poster girls for US soccer.” I’m a big Alex fan, but as this injury and dreaded bad scenario was unfolding I kind of thought the same thing. All the eggs (by Nike, by USSF, by NWSL) are placed in the basket of this ONE girl. And obviously everyone is human and fragile and prone to break for whatever reason and at any time.

            Ask yourself, why doesn’t Nike get Tobin Heath to do her little walkabout or trick shot stuff in a 30-second commercial? She’s very attractive and sick skilled. A B&W slow motion of Tobin doing that stuff with the “Just do it” and Nike logo at the end would make her famous and help further promote women’s soccer. As in, I didn’t think a girl could even do that blah blah blah. Or think how poorly someone as attractive, educated and with mega personality like O’Hara is marketed? The USSF needs to put this girl in front of a camera nationally, not in small goofy spots for the hardcore audience. She has the rare thing going for her of girls and guys love her. For many various reasons. Capitalize on that for crying out loud to help promote the sport as well.

            And then there is the girl in Sweden. Here’s what Addidas should do and be thinking…Alex is Nike’s girl, and they protect that by every means possible. Screw it Addidas says, we have CP. Arguably just as attractive (she may play to an even bigger Euro/S. Amer. audience too), even better educated, articulate (she even writes and gives a great interview) and oh by the way, the girl scores goals in bunches and is a present and maybe future big star! I fly my Addidas rep to Sweden and say this in no uncertain terms:

            1. We are offering you a mega mil deal to be our poster girl. You are our Alex. We even think you’re better.

            2. We are going to put your picture all over the globe as the “new” face of women’s soccer to counter Alex on Nike. Stranger things have worked to success and this isn’t a stretch by any means and so worth the risk for a Nike competitor.

            But…you are leaving Sweden today and you’ll get your 150k as an allocated US player and play in the NWSL for either the new Red Bull/SB NY team or the new LA team that will form next year. You will be the focal point and the marquee name everything gets built around. We will help make you rich for the rest as we trend to WC15 and you are our poster girl and next big thing.

            This is so a minor risk with a major reward for Addidas if she develops into a big US star (not far-fetched by any means). I challenge anyone on here to dispute this above scenario (Nike and USSF have no right legally to block it) and tell me it’s wrong or wouldn’t have a good chance to be a bonanza for Addidas.

          • Steglitz49

            “I equate Alex and Beckham”. Not fair to Alex. Beckham was sent off in WC-98 for a silly foul and England lost against Argentina. He actually got sent off at the tail end of his career playing for PSG against a team of no significance. He does, of course, have a film named after him, which made stars of Keira Kneightley and Parminder Nagra. He had the sense to marry Posh.

            Magdalena Neuner was offered to be folded out in Playboy. She declined — and her ratings went through the roof. No modern woman sports person has been as well managed as Gold-Lena. Like her illustrious idol, the other Magdalena, they were both loved by the people.

            Addidas would more likely care for a German lady, of whom there are an awful lot starting with Dzenifer Marozsan and Leona Meier, but they may prefer Kosse Asllani or Ada Hegerberg, or why not Alexia Putellas who burst on the scene in Euro-13, not to be forgotten in a hurry.

            Women soccer players are a local commodity, and the USA are well enough covered by Alex.

          • NYRick

            Disagree totally. Actually equating Becks with Alex is a little unfair to Becks being that he a one of the most famous athletes in the last 25 years worldwide. Regardless of his being sent off in the WC, he has played and starred for the biggest teams in football and on the biggest stages, least of which captaining the England squad too.

            As for the Addidas preferring to market the German girls over CP, I would think you may be very surprised if you took a male hetero poll on that and saw the results. Simply put, they are not in her league in any way shape or form. I do agree that Alexia is a potential star to market properly in Europe.

            As for the USA being covered. Alex in pain for over 6 minutes the other night on the ground tells otherwise. The US is a big place, women’s soccer is the number one played sport for young girls in this country and will only continue to skyrocket and there is plenty of room for several big stars in the sport in the US. Nike in my opinion is kind of blocking that. Other players, like Addidas, need only open their eyes to see the potential.

          • Steglitz49

            You make Beckham sound like Anna Kournikova, and the comparison is not without merit.

            Marketing women sports personalities seems decidedly local. I had expected to see more of Jessica Ennis or Jessica Rossi, but I have not. Lisa Nordén shot to fame in Sweden but I doubt she was much noticed elsewhere. Lotta Schelin is popular in France but she speaks fluent French and so can be interviewed and is appreciated by the natives.

            Ms Sharapova seems to have had better success in the marketing arena than either Venus or Serena. To each their own.

            In the USA I would try marketing soccer with Mrs Holiday. That should work a treat.

          • Elaine

            USSoccer will have no problem finding the “new” face of women’s soccer. They never had, although not at the extent and mega exposure that Alex has brought to the game. There was Hope before her, Mitts before Hope, and Mia way before any of them. As long as the US keep churning out talented players with the “looks” to appeal across the board, we are not in a shortage of potential “stars”. The only decision for USSoccer is who they want to promote.

          • Steglitz49

            I know it is a different sport, but whatever happened to Gabby Douglas aka the Flying Squirrel?

            Nike may own Alex, but whom do Addidas or Puma have on their female soccer books? And Umbro and any of the other makers? Or, do they simply not bother?

            The house of Chanel could always get into ladies’ sportswear. Jean-Paul Gaultier might be more appropriate on second thoughts.

          • NYRick

            You’re right, I think she is no shortage of potential stars, and that should be capitalized on right now. When we saw Alex go down the other night, that of course is our worst nightmare as US and NWSL fans. As great a front person she is, there has to be a plan B and plan C. There is plenty of room for it for women’s soccer, especially in the US.

            KO is so improperly marketed it actually makes me angry. She is one of the perfect choices. Sell the personality. It doesn’t have to be the best player or scorer. Good point on Christen too being in the spotlight. People have said that she is more of the introspective, shy type. She may not want all the attention, but I doubt it. Don’t forget she is very used to being a star at every level and people making a big deal out of her. I think she’s perfect in so many ways for the role, but of course it depends on the personality. That’s why Alex has been a great choice because she has embraced the responsibility. For some reason, I don’t see Lauren as a great front and center spokesperson or face of the team. Nothing to do with looks, I think she comes off more bland and lowkey. Alex, Press, KO, Tobin and I think even Tymrak as an up and comer, have a strange electricity about them. All to different degrees of course. And Abby and Hope are the old-school holdovers who still have their PR role too now.

            But the ultimate marketing miss is the Alex-Press pairing (not just on the pitch) but off of it as co-celebrities and faces of the team. This has nothing to do with me championing Press to start BTW. Guys will go ape shite for the two of them together as the team stars. I’m telling you. And believe it or not, you want guys, not just women to start following the women’s game more closely for any reason possible. They bring their friends, girlfriends etc. and will talk up credibility. That is how a grass roots movement takes force.

          • NYRick

            Just want to add Pinoe. Big personality, funky looks, style and a trend setter too. Terrific player obviously too. They need to further promote her as well.

            But I was just thinking of a national commercial for women’s soccer with just Alex and Christen together just talking about playing the game. Laughing, quick cut to some goal scoring etc. How they are teammates are gunning to win the WC together. Just wow!

            If I was a guy and never saw either of them before and never watched a women’s soccer match in my life and learned that both are stars of the USWNT and the new NWSL, I would say just one thing…HOLY CRAP.

            It’s amazing people haven’t figured this out and this is what to do. The popularity of the pro women’s game would grow tenfold overnight.

          • Steglitz49

            I contend that you are a bit out of touch, seeing that you want to add Pinoe.

            Pinoe is an excellent player but I have a hard time seeing the marketing manager of a US corporation sign her up for promotional work. In Europe, possibly (maybe in France where she has played) though I suspect those pesky Europeans would prefer a native of heir won country.

          • NYRick

            Why can’t Pinoe be added to the mix? How is that out of touch? She has a great appeal, style and personality and a huge US following. I just think there are a number of US players on the NT (KO, Press, Tobin, Carli) who don’t get their full due because all Nike wants to do is promote Alex. Even though she is a terrific choice to be the front person, other players have to be in place along with her. And as of two days ago as you can see, that could be a disaster waiting to happen.

          • Steglitz49

            It depends on whether you are you talking marketing, as in advertising and marketing, or highlighting a good player. Pinoe put in the cross that Abby headed in in the dying seconds against Brazil. It was awarded the Golden goal.

            Yet, of the 33.3% media votes for POTY, Pinoe reaped only 0.37%, the same figure as the invalid votes. Miyama got 1.2% so Pinoe is in good company even if considerably less. Those that benefitted most from the media were Sinclair, Lloyd, Abily, but most of all Alex because it lifted her into 3rd place. (Sinclair, Lloyd and Abily also benefitted, but Alex got to go to Zurich, lucky her.)

            The media votes divided a follows: Abby 8.06%, Lloyd 4.63%, Sinclair & Marta 4.17%, Alex 3.89%, Abily 2.50%, Fukumoto 2.04%, Sawa 1.94%, Miyama 1.20%, Pinoe 0.37%, and invalid 0.37%.

            Being the world’s greatest midfielder and an outstanding NT captain does not cut much ice with the media. Indeed, being Japanese is not a good idea. Worst seems to be Pinoe. She is invalid if not an invalid.

          • Elaine

            If you want to see what has been promoted so far by USSoccer, just go to their channel on YouTube and you will see numerous videos of different players. Even before the Olympics they had short “meet your women NT” videos and various interviews and clips by the players. They try to showcase everyone on the team, not just 1 or 2 personalities. Of course when people watch these videos, they come out with their favorites. And when you do things on the pitch in the spotlight of TV and the nation, whoever rises to the occasion will be the “it” girl. The audience and fans choose their “star”, really, not USSoccer or Nike or whoever else. They only try to build off what was already interest there. Right now it’s Alex. In WC15 and Oly16, whoever emerges with the talent, looks, and game-changing moment might be the next “star”.

          • NYRick

            You are correct to an extent, but big sponsors create stars, especially athletes, out of thin air all the time. And many haven’t won a thing in their lives. What exactly has Chris Paul won? Great point guard yes, but never out of the first round, but the guy does a lot of commercials. Just an abstract example, but hope you get my point. There are many others. Can you say Jeremy Lin?

            I think you may be under the assumption that Alex is a star from WC and the Olympics. That’s a very small part of her fame. And that’s taking nothing away from her ability on the soccer field. You and I know she’s a great player. But she is a Nike creation too, and her moves outside the pitch are very calculated now by handlers and sponsors. She was the chosen one, and that’s how it works. When they are done with her, it will be on to the next.

            My point as it pertains to US soccer, especially the USWNT, is that the wealth should be spread around (this is where Addidas, Puma, LaCoste etc. have a great opportunity) because the team has many attractive players and equally interesting personalities. That’s where the Nike roundblock comes in I feel. They promote with the USSF’s blessing and generally protect one singular investment with Alex. You’ll notice that Hope has been completely kicked to the curb now with them. And with that, everything rides on one person. That’s of course to the advantage of Nike right now, but it is to the overall detriment of US women’s soccer. Just a thought.

          • NYRick

            I also have an interesting thought to all this. Would if Alex was a backline defender and not the striker? Not the one scoring two goals and getting the headlines. That’s what really makes her a powder keg for Nike, the media and other sponsors. The great looking girl who IS the star scoring the goals for the NT. Also, there is a double standard for a female athlete in this regard too, all in her favor. A male star would never be marketed like Alex is.

            That’s why I think Addidas is really missing the boat with Press. She could do the same thing, and is an extremely low risk/high reward for them. It wouldn’t cost them much, and if she doesn’t pan out or become a big deal for the NT, no great loss. If she does, they have struck goal and stuck it to their friends at Nike. It’s a really interesting thing from a sports marketing standpoint.

          • Elaine

            Wouldn’t that be a conflict for USSoccer to have Nike as their sponsor but one of their players on the NT wearing an Adidas uniform? I don’t think it works that way. Maybe Adidas can sponsor her over at Tyreso. I don’t know which company sponsors her team. Like I said, if Adidas or any other company that wants a piece of women’s soccer here in the US, they should look to sponsoring the NWSL in the future.

          • Guest

            It seems on twitter that both HAO and Mewis are sponsored by Adidas. Also Nike recently did a clip for their training club app with Syd.

          • Elaine

            There was an article out about the different brands of cleats that players wore for the Olympics. Most of the team is represented by Nike. Cheney, Mitts, and Brunn are Under Armour athletes. HAO and Rampone wear Adidas cleats and Arod was the only player sponsored by Puma. So yes you are correct that players can have different sponsors on the NT and no conflict with Nike. Good to know, thanks.

          • NYRick

            If that’s the case, then I would take a big chance on Press if I’m Addidas or Puma. I don’t mean a casual shoe contract. Many fringe athletes get those for nominal fees. I’m talking an Alex-size commitment by them to Press to “take a chance” that:

            1. The sport continues to grow and it escalates in impact and interest to WC15, along with the NWSL growing to 12 teams with about 5-6 having MLS ties and better funding and attendance.

            2. Young American girls continue to obsess over the USWNT and continue to make the sport their sport of choice.

            3. Most importantly. The chance that Press emerges as the star. Somehow she starts, and she becomes the one with the 2-goal headlines when the team plays. And in the WC, she is the Gold Boot winner and leads to the team to the championship. Not totally likely, but not far fetched by any means.

            Sports marketing and sponsorships are all about hedging bets and taking risks. The best deals for the sponsors are the ones with low risk/high reward. The Mike Trouts, the Russell Westbrooks etc.

            That’s what Press is. A young star with the “potential” if the cards fall in place for her to really emerge. And I’m not saying this as a fan, I’m simply saying it as an observer of the personnel on this team.

          • Elaine

            Good points all around, Rick. What you pointed out is what everyone who loves women’s soccer want to see and happen in the US. Press, if she plays her card right, certainly has the potential to emerge as the next star.

          • Steglitz49

            I find it hard to believe that Christen Press, outstanding player that she is, can eclipse Alex Morgan, unless Alex is found to be doing drugs or worse.

            Possibly, if Tyresö can win the CL next year and provided that Christen plays a significant part in the final, people might notice.

            I contend that Christen’s big chance was to have stayed with Gbg. With Christen Gbg would have reached the SF and had they beaten Lyon, would have been in the Final. The She-wolves beat Lyon and thereby did the Treble; VW are building them a new stadium and training complex (apart from giving them the team their individual bonuses).

          • Elaine

            Alex’s starpower as the face of women’s soccer at this moment is certainly gigantic. The key phrase here is “at this moment.” There’s no denying that and it will continue on until WC15. But don’t forget, the US audience are pretty fickle with their stars, in sports or film or music. Who’s to say they won’t latch on to another player, especially one that helps bring the WC back to the US. Whoever rises to the occasion and has the appeal to wow the viewing audience, look for that player to be the next “star”. Press has a good shot, so does Syd. Also don’t count out Alex or Tobin or any of the young talent that TS puts on the roster. Like you say, there are no real eye catching tournament from now till the next WC to catch the people’s attention here. But come WC time, all eyes will be on the WNT.

            I know you put a lot of emphasis on the CL and that’s fine. But in all honesty, I don’t think the American audience cares or even knows about the CL, (other than the knowledgable fans on this site). Even if Press scores 30 goals, it will only show up as a blip here in the states, if you can even find that information online. Part of the problem is of course access to the games overseas. If the teams in Europe really want to reach the viewing audience here in America, they should look into setting up websites that aren’t geoblocked or get ESPN involved to air some games.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point that “even if Press scores 30 goals, it will only show up as a blip here in the States” is well taken and the one any marketing or brand manager in USA has to explain to his superiors if he wants to sign her and build her to a poster girl. Unless Christen makes it in America, she is worth precious little. 2015 is a long time away. Meanwhile, Mrs Holiday is a better option, though I imagine that whoever owns her hubby will sign her up if they have not already.

            The next star is probably someone who is a senior or junior in college because I presume that the Emir already has linked Lindsay Horan with a company. I would check out the Cardinals, Golden Bear’s, Tar Heels’ or Devil’s rosters, not waste time on a small club in Sweden.

            I doubt if Ms Press is much promoted in Sweden. This year it has all been Asllani, Schelin, Jakobsson, Göransson, Öqvist, etc, usw, and so forth.

            The big news else is that Ali Krieger is joining Tyresö. Ali, who with Gina Lewandowski, did the Treble once upon a time.

            I can’t explain how European clubs manage their streams. Maybe The Equalizer can find out and write a piece. European clubs are an odd mixture. A few belong to exceedingly wealthy men’s teams, others have very loyal and generous fans, while most have very poor finances indeed. Being visible in USA is not a priority for any of them; staying solvent is.

          • Steglitz49

            Earth to NYRick: come in, please. Puma and Adidas grew out of one structure.
            – Puma became glamorous and have been the sponsors of many of the World’s greatest athletes, including many soccer players. They now belong to Kering (formerly PPR) a French conglomerate, who also own Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
            – Adidas remain independent. They own Reebock, Rockport and 9% of Bayern Munich.
            – Neither of those would be interested in an American woman soccer-player plying her trade in Sweden. They have bigger fish to fry.

            Unfortunately for Christen Press, she is older than Alex Morgan. She is not young. There are literally half a dozen, if not more, ladies younger than her and equally as glamorous. Maybe had Christen kept faith with Gbg and they had beaten Lyon to play in the CL final, it would have been a different story. We will never know.

          • NYRick

            First off, Alex is only 6 mos. younger, no big deal. And at 24, neither are very old by any standard. Life or sports.

            Also, in terms of sponsor, I merely stated names like Puma and Addidas as placeholders or potential suitors. I don’t profess to know or care about their conglomerate mergers or things of that nature. They are sports related companies who have previously backed top athletes in nearly every sport, US or global. That’s why I mentioned them.

            For all I care it could be UNIQLO, who is Novak D.’s tennis sponsor looking to make an impact in soccer with a no-risk play. Or Tecchini of St. Laurent etc. Doesn’t matter who the sponsor was, just had to be a player looking to penetrate and take advantage of a new market and growing US sport with an attractive star female player on the rise.

            As for a half a dozen younger and more glamorous than Christen, I seriously challenge you to list them for me. Also, her CL results/team transfers would mean nothing in this regard either. I would position her as an AMERICAN STAR, nothing more, and insist she plays in the NWSL and hopefully develops into the one of the marquee stars for the national team. That’s all you have to do to be a star American player. Excel and gain fame from the NT and everything else falls into place. Ask Alex.

            As with anyone, everything is a risk and a somewhat longshot for any player’s stardom. Even Morgan. I guarantee you there were execs at Nike and the USSF who were crying themselves to sleep before her MRI. Anything can happen, and usually does. Christen is an excellent Plan B for an astute and advantageous sports sponsor. That’s all. Give me that at least.

          • Lorehead

            Adidas America and Nike, the team’s actual kit sponsor, are both located in Portland. She wouldn’t be more likely to get their sponsorship in Sweden or France.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen is a wonderful player. She scores goals like no tomorrow. But, she scores them in Sweden. She is neither an American star nor a Swedish one.

            Kosse Asllani is 6 months younger than Christen and plays for PSG to boot. Then you have Marzosan, Lotzen, Meier, Hegerberg, Putellas …

            Nothing of note involving the USWNT will happen for 2 years. Marketing managers are not going to rush into an empty year and sign someone up willy-nilly.

            Were TS to give Christen an Allocated slot next season, she will not play in the latter stages of the CL. It will cost US Soccer to buy out Christen’s contract. Fascinating options. Don’t count on it.

          • NYRick

            Steg, just have to answer you on this. I understand what you are saying and the 6 or so Euro girls you list are all good players and can be promoted in Europe to an extent I’m sure but…

            (this must be in caps, sorry):
            I’M ADVOCATING PROMOTING CHRISTEN STRICTLY AS AN AMERICAN STAR.

            Nothing more. I, and I’m sure the American sports public don’t give a toss about what she does for Tyreso or any CL exploits. Her chance of any fame only hinges on whether or not she STARS for the NT and helps win the WC in 15. And by star, I mean “Golden Boot” winner, maybe scoring the winning goal in the final etc. All speculative. All totally not likely in the present setup, but still possible with her ability and worth an above average risk for a sports equipment company. If Nike knew about what Alex would become in May 2011 and could see the future, they would have signed her to a Federer like deal then. Everything is speculation.

            Sports marketing and branding, I work in these fields, is based on “speculation” and hedging bets on athletes. If I had to pick one US player not named Alex, Abby or Hope who I would take a chance on for big stardom, it would Christen. Nothing to do with being a fan of hers, everything to do with evaluation of the player (her talent, her looks, is she articulate, does she have the personality to handle the big spotlight etc.). All of this would have to be carefully evaluated, but on the surface it would appear she would easily pass any litmus test. As both you and Elaine have pointed out though, nothing for any US player for stardom to fully emerge can really happen till WC15. But bets are placed from now to the start of WC15 on who the next big thing can be. In Europe, I’m sure they are talking Marozsan, Alexia and Asllani too. Those are good bets. But none of the 3 in my opinion anyway have Christen’s goal scoring talent, looks and education to rival her.

          • NYRick

            And just one thing about US soccer buying Christen’s allocation spot. All she would have to do is merely whisper that she wants that spot and to play in the NWSL and they will do for her in a heartbeat. They couldn’t possibly be that stupid.

          • NYRick

            That’s an interesting point you make with the Nike/Addidas conflict. I think a few Olympics back, Addidas was the uniform sponsor of the US Men’s B-Ball team. And obviously Michael Jordan was Nike’s biggest star. In fact, many feel Jordan made Nike the monster they are. Whatever millions they paid him, it wasn’t enough by a longshot. But what happened was that Jordan initially refused to wear the uniform with the Addidas logo (under Nike orders of course). Then he compromised and when the team won gold, Jordan had the American flag draped over the area where the Addidas logo was for photos and I believe the ceremony anthem.

            However, that was a different time and he was a most unusual iconic athlete who could get away with that.

          • Steglitz49

            You are not so far off as you may think. In the 1970s Adidas sponsored the Dutch national team and they played in orange shirts with three stripes on them. Johan Cruijff had a personal sponsorship with Puma. He covered up one of the stripes. If you look at photos from the 1974 WC you can see him in his 2-striped shirt, complete with captain’s arm-band, while the other Dutch sport 3 stripes.

            The mind boggles at the Dutch FA accommodating this. Granted that Cruijff was one of the greatest, if not the very best ever, player, but it seems quite odd with hindsight. The most likely explanation is that Adidas and Puma came to a private understanding (Jeff might know).

            Isn’t all the NWSL kit as well as the USWNT kit made by Nike? What is there left for another manufacturer? Boots? Seeing that you get a yellow card for taking your shirt off, sports bras are no longer an option for sponsors.

          • Elaine

            I’m not sure I quite agree with you about how Alex became a star. In my opinion her star rose after the WC11 performance in the final. Then she posed for the SI Swimsuit edition which got her more noticed (especially from the male audience). Her superstar status continue after the Oly12 due to her performance in the semis. After that she wrote a book, posed for ESPN magazine, and is seen everywhere that women’s soccer is advertised. So in essence, it’s because of her soccer achievements first that got her noticed before all the rest. But we can agree to disagree on this point.

            I get your point about having many US female soccer stars would only benefit the sport and USSoccer in the long run. I don’t think anyone can argue with that. I had one time posted that I believe as women soccer’s popularity rises around the world and especially here in the states, many players can become “stars” of the sport, just like there are many “stars” in basketball, football, baseball, etc. But the current situation we face is that women soccer is at an uphill battle both in terms of advertisement, sponsorship, and viewership in the US. As much as all of us want the USWNT to be front and center in the sports world, we have a long way to go. Did you know that Puma was once an official sponsor of the WPS with a seven-figure sum deal to provide equipment, kits, and advertising. But they dropped them once the league was no longer sustainable. I’m betting they must have lost some money on that deal. Maybe that is giving cold feet to the other companies like Adidas and LeCoste as you mentioned. Nike is involved in the WNT because it sponsors USSoccer. And I agree, USSoccer, along with Nike, should look to promote the other players on the NT besides Hope, Alex, and Abby. Maybe they will in the years to come, especially before, during, and after the WC15. If the US win it all, look for more “stars” to emerge.

          • NYRick

            You know, I hope you realize that this is all just good dialogue back and forth and I appreciate your knowledge and insight on a pretty interesting topic…the promotion and marketing of women players.

            In terms of Alex’s emergence, there is no doubt that the WC11 final was her coming out party. The American public wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a lineup before that. Then she super-advanced her status with the SI painted bikini. That was a risky move on her part, and to this day one that probably doesn’t give her the “sports merit credit” she deserves first and foremost. But that was a choice she made. From now till the duration of her career (and I hope it’s a long, healthy and prosperous one) there will be no move or goal she scores or decision she makes that will impact her career quite the same way. That put her on the map. In my opinion kind of for the wrong reasons, but so be it.

            From there, Nike saw the end game and finish line and made her the US soccer golden girl. And Nike pretty much has a lot of control with the USSF so they called the shots. Of course, she helped by being a scoring machine, but her looks are always front and center in all promotions off the pitch. As for Olympics 12, it can be argued that while Alex was very good, Abby, Pinoe, Carli and Hope were the true stars for the team winning gold. Alex did have the 123rd minute miracle (the girl does have a penchant for big moments), but she didn’t need it to further her fame at that point.

            It’s funny, when I view Alex I see her as the perfect storm for becoming a star. She emerged on the day of the biggest stage for her sport (and when the American public was tuning in. Before the final, they were barely paying attention). She was young and very attractive. She had this unusual knack of seizing the moment when everyone was watching and her timing coincided with the social media breakout, especially for the young soccer audience with Twitter and such. The girl has an angel overseeing her for sure. Even with this injury this week, it could have so easily gone the wrong way. A lot of athletes, Stu Holden after the Gold Cup, was walking around for the ceremony and next day it’s the ACL. Alex’s story is an amazing story and I’m grateful because I do think she’s special and enjoy watching her play. Hopefully, she opens the door for more players to follow. I think there will be plenty of room.

          • Steglitz49

            Should Tyresö with Christen or PSG with Tobin win the CL next year, there will be a second poster girl for the USA.

            It is interesting how many American lasses have done well in competitions that matter but no-one gives a monkey’s.

          • Steglitz49

            Although it is a good strategy to start develop reserves for Alex, the harsh reality is that Alex having become the superstar in USA for women’s soccer, who is there to compete for attention? Forget the American lasses playing their trade in Europe or Japan. They don’t cut any ice.

            Worse, because USWNT have no matches that count before WC-15, it is extra hard to proclaim someone as a real star as opposed to a well-weather friend. Had Tobin scored the goals instead of Carli at Wembley, something might have been built around her, though I doubt it partly on account of Alex saving the day in the SF with her head and partly because Alex’s handlers would have made sure.

            In short, no-one in USA cares about women in sports — unless it is Danica Patrick, and she stimulate as many negative as positive as negative rejoinders.

          • snishy

            Quick question Rick. Why would it look bad on USSF’s part? USSF isn’t going to tell her she can’t play if the docs up in Portland clear her. Wouldn’t the onus be on the Portland Timbers doctors and training/rehab staff? Either way, she should not play in the playoffs unless by some miracle they get to the final. Even then though, it’ll be KC’s turf and that’s too much of a risk. If that unlikely scenario happened, just put her on in the last 20-30 minutes IF they desperately need a goal and think they can’t do it without her. Otherwise, keep her out for as long as possible.

          • NYRick

            USSF along with Nike have EVERY right to tell her to take a good month or so off at least with this type of injury. Alex is famous from the USWNT, not the Portland Thorns. Her bread is buttered with the USWNT. That is the sponsor attraction to her as well.

            If they got to the final and played on the KC turf, that would be borderline asinine (hey that rthymns). Such a silly risk and she should be nowhere near the pitch for Mexico either.

            With knee sprains, you can get different degrees of swelling that pop up as well. First week, fine, than a little more force or pressure and problems could occur due to the muscle still being atrophied or fatigued. Her game is speed so it’s also going to be very interesting to see how tentative she will be when she gets back. That’s why to be placed in the NWSL playoffs in championship type games right off the bat she may push it a bit too far and too early.

          • snishy

            Alright, I see your point and I’m definitely agreeing with you that she’s a bigger star for the US team as far as the spotlight goes. It’s pretty obvious. I guess what I’m trying to say is that as of right now, it can be argued that the focus is on the NWSL and not the national team. Teams will do whatever they feel is in the best interest of winning the title and the national team isn’t really their concern now. My fear is that they will throw caution to the wind, especially with the ridiculous amount of pressure Portland and Alex have been handed. Cheers.

          • Elaine

            Ha, I would like to see TS try to CHASE Alex first before tackling her. I have a thought…if the Thorns play the Flash in the semis, let’s have Abby talk to Alex. Abby, above every other teammate, should be looking out for her protege. She could certainly persuade Alex to rest more and Alex seems to follow Abby’s orders. I can imagine the conversation going something like this: “Alex this is my last chance to win the WC, so_________…. (you fill in the blanks).

          • NYRick

            TS chasing Alex (and subsequently tackling her on the pitch) would be a great viral youtube video. Her Twitter account will probably jump about 500k with that. In fact, Sermanni would probably have close to 500k himself on Twitter if that scenario presented itself.

            As for Abby talking to her, I get the feeling that AM is too competitive and wouldn’t care what Abby thought in this instance. That’s why she should be under orders from the USSF that she can’t play for at the very least a month or more. It’s total in her best interests as well. Careers end with knee injuries, not bruised egos.

          • Steglitz49

            Cloughie would have echoed that, though he went on to be an outstanding club manager. His first team played at the quaintly named Baseball ground. The name was quite logical btw.

  • Christy

    Thank God! That is all I have to say! I mean we knew it wasn’t too serious based on her activity enterting the second half but knee injuries can be deceptive until an MRI, I passed all my stability tests but the MRI still showed a torn ACL, I was holding my breath that the trainers knew their stuff as you would expect from professional sports trainers! She could be ready for play offs but I’m suspect.. Will Morgan choose to rest further and let this season play out how it will or will she return for play offs to try to launch Portland into the final. For the NWSL, she really needs too play but for herself, I’d make my first appearance in DC against Mexico with the NT. But she is a competitor so I’m sure she will try to be ready for the semi!
    Really great news! :)

    • NYRick

      Hey, as soon as I heard the news I thought of how happy you’d be! Of all the scenarios, it couldn’t have really turned out any better.

      She should just bag the rest of the NWSL playoff thing though. We know she’ll try like hell to get back for that playoff game, but no way is it worth it. Just get yourself strong and don’t rush anything back. Not this year. She’ll be ready for that NT Mexico match most likely and probably the rest of any NT play this year. But Tom is going to be cautious with her, and rightfully so. I had a grade 1 sprain once and they are no picnic either. I estimate a good 4 weeks, sometimes more. But she should be cool. She had a good scare and the soccer gods looked out for her thankfully.

      But Christy this is for you…Hellaluya (or however it’s spelled)…the meal ticket is back!!!

      • kernel_thai

        I cant believe u didnt think of my happiness first!!!!!! Why does Christy deserve to be happy sooner than me????? ; )

        • NYRick

          kernel:

          “I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!”

          A round of drinks all around. A great day for US Soccer.

          • kernel_thai

            Awww, thanks.

    • Lorehead

      One reason I’m optimistic this league might actually take the long-term health of its athletes seriously is that it’s funded by the North American national teams. And their first priority is to have Alex Morgan healthy for her call-ups.

  • snishy

    Pretty stoked to hear her injury is not too serious! According to some tweets, there is a chance she could play in the playoffs. Is that really the best decision though? I understand that it’s the playoffs and she is quite important to the team’s run, but still. We don’t want a potential RG3 situation happening here.

  • Baines3
  • Jane

    What is it with the Dilboy turf? Bianca D’Agostino tore her ACL with the Breakers before the season started. Sydney Leroux tweeted horrible turf-burn pictures of her legs after a home game. It seems exceptionally bad there. Or maybe just exceptionally unlucky?

    On a side note, the Philly Eagles have 3 players who have torn their ACLs so far in the pre-season! Turf or conditioning?

    • snishy

      In this particular case, it’s hard to tell whether turf had a role or did she just fall awkwardly. You are right though, Dilboy seems to have the worst of the worst turf. Has there been any injuries at Chicago’s or KC’s fields that you know of? The only one I recall is Kelley O’Hara’s ankle sprain at the KC field.

      • Guest

        Said it above, so just repeating, but the NWSL seriously needs to consider better playing surfaces for Chicago, Boston, and FCKC. On top of Alex & D’Agostino at Dilboy, and O’hara at FCKC, Hemmings also tore her ACL & MCL at Chicago’s turf in July.

      • Elaine

        I wonder if the soccer cleats the players wear have anything to do with more injuries on turf. I don’t play soccer so I’m not sure what is the best suitable gear. You would think that since grass is a different surface than turf, the cleats should also be different. Maybe less digging into the surface so player’s feet don’t get caught in it which result in more leg injuries on turf. Just a thought.

        • stephy_paola

          There is different cleats for different surfaces including turf also for short grass, long grass, wet surface, etc.

          • Elaine

            Looking at the different outsoles for soccer cleats at worldsoccershop.com, it seems like the players should be using hard ground, multiground, or turf shoes. In looking at Alex’s cleats in the picture of this article, hers were more spiky, whereas the turf appropriate shoes have shorter stubs distributed throughout the soles (sample below). Don’t know if this would have made a difference in preventing her injury or not.

    • NYRick

      Yeah, the Eagles are dropping like flies. In fact, a bunch of NFL guys are dealing with ACLs at training camp this year. Nothing does in an NFL team’s season quicker than an ACL injury to a key player early on.

      I do hope the NWSL does address Dilboy, Chicago and the KC field for next year. Did KO’s injury get worse in Boston? Can’t remember if she even played there. It seemed like she had an ankle issue she was playing through one day, and the next it’s like she’s gone for the year. So want that girl back soon. Big SB and KO fan. I hope she’s ready for the playoffs and the final quarter of the NT season.

  • luke

    If I see Alex Morgan on the field in August I may murder someone.
    Seriously, PTFC trainers/USWNT trainers/jounalists and fans, please open your eyes widely and realize that this particular player you have under your care is bigger than your club/national team or country.
    Alex Morgan is global women’s sports prodigy, protect her by any means necessary.

    • NYRick

      Agree! If I see Alex on the pitch for that Portland playoff game I want to see Merritt Paulson do a perp walk.

    • Lorehead

      Let’s not try to make that decision for her doctors.

  • kernel_thai

    The problem is Morgan is always going at full speed if u get bumped out of balance any sort of fall can be dangerous. Personally, Id play it safe and keep her out until they play New Zealand. I guess if the Thorns make the final and everyone agrees 100% thats it ok then play her, but it has to be 100% If she’s not 100% for a final on Aug 31 I see no reason to risk her 3 days later against Mexico.

  • dt

    For the sake of the national team and her future with the Thorns, she should be shut down for the season.

  • Ubu-Roi

    I think all the players and especially the internationals look exhausted. This telescoped schedule might be fine for a tournament but not for an entire season, because it eliminates recovery time. Tired players cause and suffer progressively more injuries. All the manageable difficulties become serious problems: short rosters, high temp and humidity, turf, extensive travel. Chronic minor injuries become debilitating. DeVanna, Foord and Kreiger’s play for example seemed progressively more labored as the season progressed. Even Heath might have been better served by a week in Cabo pre NWSL. Chulupney would agree.