The Lowdown: Tales from the Women’s World Cup

Dan Lauletta July 8, 2015 289
Getty Images

Getty Images

Having recently returned from 10 days in Western Canada it was a rare weekend spent without much attention paid to NWSL activity. I did, however, enjoy talking soccer with a wide array of people who traveled to Edmonton and Vancouver for the back end of the World Cup. Managing to work NWSL into almost every conversation along the way, I learned that almost everyone has some level of awareness about the league. So why did people from all corners of the United States travel to Vancouver for the World Cup final—almost all of them having bought tickets in December and then hoped—when many of them won’t travel more than a few hours to watch NWSL?

The very unscientific evidence points to two main factors. The first is a local team to cheer for. Not much can be done about that. Yes, most established leagues claim fans from all over whether or not there are teams in the area, but that takes plenty of time to build. The second is the lack of accessibility through television. It seems that streaming matches on YouTube attracts the most passionate fans but is not necessarily the best conduit for bringing in new ones. (One group did tell me they had recently purchased an HDMI cable for the express purpose of watching the streamed NWSL matches on their television.) The league announced a deal with FOX a few hours before the United States-Germany semifinal, but the games are sporadic and not at all until July 22.

Not everyone was a stranger to NWSL, though. There was Red Stars season-ticket holder and Equalizer fan Kathy (if you’re reading and I have your name spelled wrong, please let us know) who I chatted with in my bleary state heading to the airport the morning after the final. And then came the random meet-up at the airport with Maggie Dziubek of the Red Stars supporters group Chicago Local 134.

At least in the short-term it appears some who watched the United States win the World Cup either at BC Place or elsewhere are going to be NWSL supporters. The Houston Dash, Seattle Reign, and Washington Spirit have already reported bumps in ticket sales. Whether these are just passersby just looking to say they were in the same building as Carli Lloyd or Hope Solo, or the start of a new, more vibrant fan base, remains to be seen.

The NWSL—right now—is in a position that neither of its predecessors enjoyed. In 2003 after unfortunate circumstances brought the World Cup to the United States from China, there was hope the event would give a boost to the league. But finances were so grim the board had no choice but to pull the plug less than a week before the tournament kicked off. Eight years later, WPS enjoyed a bump both in buzz and attendance immediately following the 2011 World Cup. But the league was already a wounded bird that could not be nursed back to life.

In the winter of 2001-2002, when things were very different for U.S. club soccer. WUSA was just out of its first season and Major League Soccer was on the brink of extinction. For one brief moment, an argument could be made that the women’s game was healthier than the men’s at the club level. But decisions made by both leagues set a course where WUSA was bankrupt two years later and MLS reached a boom era it enjoys today.

The takeaway should be that MLS almost literally grew its local fan bases from nothing to rabid in nearly every market. It was no easy task, and it will be that much more difficult for NWSL and its clubs to pull off. But if is going to happen, the future starts this week.

More World Cup thoughts

Four things I liked about the World Cup:

— One of the reasons I like sports so much is that it is one of the few avenues that blindly unites people from all walks of life under a common banner. This goes quadruple for the World Cup. So many different cultures convene on a few cities, all united behind the beautiful game. It is safe to say that on any other type of trip I would not have been in as many conversations with complete strangers, many of whom felt like old friends after only a few minutes. That may be a shortcoming on my part but I think it is also human nature.

— So often in women’s sports, the focus is on how the aesthetics should be more like the men. Often times it is a worthy end game. But the handling of the Laura Bassett own goal from the way her teammates and coach reacted, to how England coach Mark Sampson emotionally but articulately addressed every question over and over again, to the outpouring of support from around the world, offered at least one example of how the women’s side should be creating the precedent instead of striving for it. Bassett went out smiling when England beat Germany for third place, but the stoppage-time own goal is likely to stay with her for the rest of time. And don’t get me wrong—players should be criticized for poor performances or wrong mental decisions. But it can absolutely be done with a human touch.

— The FIFA volunteers, to a person, were extraordinary. They were friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to go above and beyond to be helpful. “How do you get to Point A?” “Would you like me to walk you there?” These are small things that make what can be a daunting experience much more comfortable. Any journalist debating whether to attend a future World Cup for fear of being in a foreign land, know that at least inside the walls of the stadiums, the FIFA volunteers will steer you in the right direction. The gentleman who checked me in, a German native living in Edmonton, offered a sightseeing suggestion, the name of which escapes me. The codicil was, “I would not go alone though, or if you do be sure to make some noise every now and again. You’ll want to keep the bears at a distance.” I appreciated the suggestion, but I passed.

— Teams tributes to injured teammates was touching. Colombia held up the jersey of Melissa Ortiz after scoring against Mexico. Ortiz was injured before the World Cup and left off the roster. When Kozue Ando injured her ankle in Japan’s opening game, her teammates placed a teddy bear on what would have been her seat on the bench. That was until the final when Ando returned from Japan after surgery to take her seat back. She did not walk out on crutches though. Instead, Erina Yamane carried her piggyback to and from the bench for both halves. On a slightly different note, Abby Wambach took a moment out of her long coveted World Cup celebration to acknowledge Crystal Dunn and others who did not make the final cut for the U.S. roster.

Three things I did not like about the World Cup:

— All of the talk about the sporting integrity of the draw. Yes I know it was FIFA rigged (volunteers good, officials bad) at least among the seeds, and yes that was a travesty. But the Germany-France quarterfinal was probably the best match of the tournament yet much of the social media discussion focused on what a shame it was to be happening in the quarterfinals. I didn’t think anything about the match was a shame once it started. And it’s not like it was impossible for a blind draw to have yielded the exact same result.

— I believe that the discussion of refereeing in soccer is more of a global epidemic than something limited to this World Cup. That said, all four teams took penalties in the semifinals and at best one of them was the correct call. And even that one was botched because if you’re calling that a penalty against Julie Johnston I don’t see how it is not a red card as well. Beyond that, Colombia may as well have been playing rugby for how many times they should have been called for hand balls in the box. The decision to limit the referees to women was always absurd, but I’m not sure the best men would have gotten it that much better. The world needs some ideas on how to rectify this. The Women’s World Cup was just the most recent example.

— The scheduling was a joke. Australia had to fly from Edmonton to Moncton to play Brazil in the round of 16 after Brazil played their last group match in Moncton. China played the United States in the quarterfinals with two extra days rest after the round of 16. Australia had the same luxury against Japan with that spread closer to two-and-a-half days (55 hours passed from the end of Australia’s match to the start of Japan’s). Remarkably, none of these produced wins for the more rested or lighter traveled teams, but it could have created quite a commotion if it had. And there really is just no reason to make such an inane schedule.

Week 12 Takeaways

Okay so I did watch a little…

Foord not enough: Caitlin Foord returned for Sky Blue only six days after Australia were eliminated from the World Cup. It was not enough to see the struggling club end its winless streak which is now at 10 games. Foord’s Australian teammate Sam Kerr had to wait for paperwork to clear and could not play. At some point Kerr could find herself in a three-woman front with Nadia Nadim and Kelley O’Hara. That would be something, but the likelihood is that it is too late for Sky Blue to salvage the season.

Blues break out: FC Kansas City have been desperate for the return of their national team players, but in the short-term, they got the best performance of their season from the B-team. Erika Tymrak, Liz Bogus, and Shea Groom all had superb matches in a 3-0 drubbing of the Spirit. And that Yael Averbuch free kick!

Reign gut out point: The Flash must be sick of the Reign by now. Last season, Western New York led all three matches late but came away with no wins. On opening weekend of this season, a young Flash team was run off the park, 5-1, and it could have been worse. Last Friday, the Flash dominated the match in every aspect but the score. The 1-1 draw left fans of both teams frustrated. Flash fans wanted three points. Reign fans wanted to know what happened. But credit to Laura Harvey’s side for somehow escaping with a point.

Free Kicks

Direct

— The Flash have signed Austrailan forward Michelle Heyman and waived Jordan Angeli. Angeli was on the disabled list and was not certain to play again this season. That injury was not related to the ACL tear that kept her away from the pitch for three full years. Expect many more players to be waived as the World Cup players return.

— Cami Levin was sent off Friday night and will miss Sky Blue’s return match against the Thorns on Saturday.

— Speaking of Sky Blue, their coach Jim Gabarra now holds the dubious distinction of having been through 10-match winless streaks with two different franchises. It happened with the Washington Freedom during the 2010 WPS season. That Freedom team wound up in the playoffs.

Indirect

— I would really like to see all the NWSL teams begin the 2016 season ticket push now that more eyes than ever will be watching. The scheduling mechanics may not be set and some teams will be in different venues. But it is a long offseason and getting a jump start on next Spring is a good idea.

— The switch of the final to October 1 is problematic for a few reasons. For starters it was not really announced other than to be buried in the FOX announcement. Playing the match on a Thursday night during the school year is hardly incentive for families to make much of an effort to attend. And there will be 18 days separating the semifinals from the final. That is four more than between the AFC and NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl. And since there will not be anything close to the same sort of buildup as there is to the Super Bowl, dropping the final on a random Thursday after two and a half weeks is just very counter-intuitive.

— My current 2016 U.S. Olympic roster. Some of this is based on what I know. Some of this is based on what I think.

GK: Ashlyn Harris, Hope Solo
D: Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Becky Sauerbrunn
M: Morgan Brian, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Kealia Ohai, Kelley O’Hara, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe
F: Crystal Dunn, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Christen Press

  • Jersey Shore Rises

    You last comment about the 2016 Olympic roster is going to cause a Sh!t storm here….. Not a matter of if, just when….

    • Steglitz49

      What did he inhale?

    • Tae

      It could look a lot worse than that though. It’s not out of the question folks will say later can we please just go with Lauletta’s line up.

      • Steglitz49

        Where did he get LePeilbet from? An attempt to keep up the average age of the team?

        HAO and CP seem a bit out of touch with the actuality if not reality.

        • Tae

          Yeah LePeilbet threw me for a loop, especially since when he says this is a mix of what he’s heard and what he thinks, you have to think this is something he heard.
          I don’t think Press is out of touch with reality at all. In fact I think she deserves a shot in OG. HAO, I don’t even know what to say, just, see it like a piece of tape stuck on the bottom of your shoe, annoying, but you can just ignore it and keep walking.
          But the bottom line is, I’ve said before, if we get Ohai along with Dunn that’s the best we can hope for.

          • Steglitz49

            As I typed elsewhere, anyone who already has an Olympic gold can be left behind (some have two). There is no need to be greedy. Let’s build the future now.

            The US has been the main driving force in WoSo. Let’s continue to lead from the front. Ask for 16 ladies teams, like the men, and voluntarily make it a (mainly) U23 side.

          • Tae

            You went from 27 age cap to 23 age cap. Whats next YSO sides for Algarve?
            I don’t mind LePeilbet as much as you do. I would have picked Kallmann but let’s be honest, that would be for Kassey’s development, not the best sub on the bench for a team seeking gold. Amy is a good sub to have on the bench, her experience playing any of the spots in the back line means more slots in MF and F.

          • Steglitz49

            For the seniors I allow 29 years + the odd person above 30 if absolutely needed. The key is not to have injuries to needed players. Kessler, Hansen, Folkesson, etc usw.

            I want the women’s olympic tournament to be like the men’s. To be 16 nations, not 12. To have it U23 + 3 senior players who must be >35 (from memory).

          • Tae

            I would prefer more than 3 over-age slots. Maybe like 6.

          • Steglitz49

            I simply copied the regulations for the boys. What is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. Goesslings need not apply.

          • Tae

            Goesslings, that might be the best of your greatest hits yet. I was thinking really hard to find a bird name I could toss in there but I came up empty.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you! How about albatross, like around one’s neck?

          • Guest

            Didn’t FIFA push for those regulations because they did not want the Olympics competing with the World Cup?

          • Steglitz49

            No. They date from the days of the Iron Curtain when the OG were still supposed to be amateur. Briefly, FIFA forced the OG to make it U23 to even out the field between the free west and communist countries. It may even have been U21. I can’t remember. Later the 3 players aged >35 were added. At least that is my memory.

        • Davis

          LePeilbet has been in excellent form in the NWSL this season. She’s one of the best players in the league right now. That’s probably why her name is there.

          Press definitely makes the Olympic squad. No chance she’s left off. She’ll light it up in Chicago for the rest of the NWSL season.

          • Steglitz49

            The players left behind have been lighting up Chicago jolly well. Which of those will sit now?

  • spiritfan00

    The Olympic roster will most likely be:

    GK: Ashlyn Harris, Hope Solo
    D: Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn + 2 spots
    M: Morgan Brian, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe + 1 spot
    F: Crystal Dunn, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Christen Press

    The debate should be around who those three extra spots go to.

    At least one defender will be a center back to backup Becky/Julie and at least one mid will be a center mid to replace Holiday.

    • John

      Lindsay Horan ahead of Dunn or Leroux.

      • FootballNowAndAlways

        She plays for PSG according to Wikipedia. It would be next to impossible for any woman not based in the country to get a call up with the current recruiting culture.

        • guest

          but didn’t Pinoe play for Lyon

          • Steglitz49

            and Tobin for PSG — but they both obeyed the dictat from above.

          • Guest

            Were they both directed to come back?

          • Steglitz49

            I don’t know for sure but one or both of the French coaches made some comment that it was not worth signing American players because they gave no long-term commitment. They were not as outspoken as the Bayern Munich staff who were critical of the USSF.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            Wasn’t Pinoe already capped by the NT before playing for Lyon? Don’t know for sure and I’m too bleary-eyed to do any research. But Christen Press did need to move from Sweden, bag and baggage, back to the U.S.A. to get her chance.

          • Steglitz49

            Strictly speaking not. Sermanni capped Christen based on her Göteborg year, before she kicked a ball for Tyresö. Christen played a whole season for Tyresö and on top of that was leant back to Tyresö for the last stages of the Champions League. Some players are more equal than others.

        • guest

          not only that but oylmpic qualifications are not on fifa breaks. so even if they wanted to call her up i doubt paris will let her go.

          • Steglitz49

            Why play matches outside of FIFA windows?

            FIFA won the turf-war. They will win the windows-war.

      • guest

        When Horan scores against a quality opponent for PSG and doesn’t choke like she did in the u20 world cup she can get a call up until then she won’t. Engen will take a spot on defense and arod up top. Crystal will take a spot unsure where they will place her so that leaves one spot and Wambach and Rampone have not said they are not participating yet so.. Paris won’t get a shot till the next world cup and the Olympics after that.

  • dw

    Some thoughts back to Dan, and the community:
    Is the inclusion of LeP what he knows or what he thinks? Because on the surface it sounds insane. Is it somehow tied to somehow the USSF “owes” the players something, akin to how Boxx and Chalupny were on the team? Do they “owe” LeP the same consideration. And why exactly would this compensation be due these players? Because at 33, and already with a gold, what is the purpose, except the belief that there is no deserving player 25 and under?
    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this about the end of FRA-GER, but the Thiney miss is perhaps the biggest example of how turf changed the WWC. Not to make excuses for her, but don’t we think that on grass that ball is MUCH easier to put into the goal?
    I’ve pointed this out elsewhere, but 18 PKs vs 4 in 2011. I believe a concerted effort to raise scoring, a la NWSL last year. Not only was officiating bad, but there was an organized effort to effect games. Note the presence of “makeup PKs” so as not to affect outcomes, only scorelines. Of course you have to convert, see Sasic, but the PKs were awarded evenly, one per side.

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      1. No, the USSF doesn’t owe the players anything. However, they still have “class above” status until after 2019. Therefore, there will be little consequence for their ageist behavior.

      2. No, the perpetual inability for Japan to finish is more of glaring example of effect of turf. They need to be quick and delicate to score their goals and deadening effect of grass would made their final balls more manageable. Thiney was way to open to account that to the field.

      3. I think the opposite was true. Due to the tournament expansion, I think the refs decided to eat their whistles. (Think about how much worse the Germany-Cote D’Ivoire game would have been if the refs gave CIV the yellow cards and possible red cards). I think there was an epidemic of overcompensation whenever clear/semi-clear scoring opportunity was afoot. If: A) the refs were willing to communicate with each other to get the call right B) the games met expectations (i.e. more blowouts) the refereeing would go less noticed.

      • dw

        So #3, even after accounting for the increase number of games, the amount of PK goals per game increased by a factor of 2.7x, and you somehow equate that to “eat their whistles.” That is amazing logic.

        • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

          These games could have used a LOT more fouls and yellow cards. When your stifling your instincts, you more likely to choke in pressure situations. I’m seeing human nature- your seeing a senseless conspiracy.

    • The U.S. doesn’t “owe” them anything, but name a better backup to the defensive line? LeP is obviously better than Engen, and she has been fantastic this year in NWSL. If she’s one of the best 5 defensive backs in the U.S., why not take her to Rio?

      • dw

        I yield. But is that really true? If she is in the top 5, sure I guess. Her lat big international tourney, Sweden exposed her as a weakness, and now at 33, she’s better now than she was then? And she’s been fantastic in the 2nd season, or when the USWNT players were on the field? And I’m dubious on “obviously better” than Engen. Possible, but short of obvious. If Engen gets back on the field, I’ll take the time to look at them both.

      • Steglitz49

        We do not replace a 27 year old with a 33 year old. That si 6 years (almost 25%) in the wrong direction. We replace her with a 21, max 23, year old. Basta.

  • Tae

    Anyone else concerned that we only have two center mids? That bothers me more than HAO or LePeilbet. In fact LePeilbet doesn’t even bother me, just surprised me is all. Is the plan to move JJ up when needed? Is that why LePeilbet is there? Or we just going back to 4-4-2?
    My Rose Lavelle hail mary was bobbled. You’ll all regret it.

    • AlexH

      If you re-purpose somebody like Tobin as a DM (which is my personal broken record) then you have 3.

      • Tae

        I’ve heard that suggested before but I’ve never seen her play that role. I would prefer a proper holding mid but that horse can’t take any more beating. I once thought Yael Averbuch might play that role for us. She was always that one player I didn’t necessarily think was good enough for USWNT and yet I was always rooting for her to find a spot. Not sure why. Maybe because she’s friends with Tobin.

      • Guest

        It would be a waste to play Tobin strictly as a DM. I wouldn’t be oppose to Brian and Tobin playing centrally in a 442 and have them play off one another with regards to who gets forward and when. I think they are both smart enough to get that right unlike the Lloyd Holiday combo we started the World cup with.

        • Well it doesn’t help when both your DMs want to play as AMs. If there is one thing people can’t deny it’s that Tobin is content to let others score the goals, and as such she probably wouldn’t drift to high up the pitch.

          • Guest

            I actually saw her get quite close to goal and make some good runs in the box in the last couple of games.

          • Ya, but those are clearly coached moves. She isn’t doing it because she thinks it’s a good idea. She is doing it because her coach told her to do it.

    • Guest

      They could move Tobin central if they wanted too but I do think they need to start looking for more central mids especially considering Lloyd looks to be playing forward for the foreseeable future. Would love to see Lavelle called up even if she does not play immediately. Moe and Tobin would be excellent influences on her.

      • Tobin might be able to play CM, but I think it’s better to keep her on one flank or the other and allow her to drift into the middle.

        I’d worry if you put it her explicitly in the middle her tendency to drift may become a problem instead of an asset.

        • Guest

          Tobin already drifts all over the field and likes to play centrally. She is also very good at supporting the ball handler and providing them with good outlets to pass to. She would also strengthen our possession in the center with her and Brian. What you would lose with moving her centrally would be some take on play as she couldn’t afford to be careless with the ball in the center of midfield. I would be more worried about her defense since I don’t think either her or Brian are the greatest tacklers in the world but they are both smart players.

    • mockmook

      4 of the 5 defenders can play CB (the exception is Klingenberg).

      • Tae

        If JJ moves up then what, LePeilbet starts? Or Krieger moves over and Dunn or LePeilbet starts at RB? It’d be insanity to move Becky out of CB. KO, dang, she’s a Hermann winning forward who shifts to LB and then shifts to RM and now she’s DM? She might be able to do it, but this is a mess. I mean we were complaining about this spot when we still had Holiday. Well we lost her and we didn’t add anybody there. Just, wow.

        • mockmook

          I never said the roster Dan put up made sense. I’m saying we could make it work.

          My roster would be completely different.

          • Tae

            Yeah I’m not blaming you, I’m just baffled and unhappy.

        • If JJ moves up, Lepeilbet starts next to Broon. Makes sense.

    • Steglitz49

      LePeilbet is 33. Look to the future, please. The next WC is in 4 years.

      • Tae

        Hey you don’t have to convince me about youngsters. I would take someone like Kallmann over LePeilbet. But I’m willing to settle for bronze with youngsters rather than gold with vets, and that’s not how USSF sees things. The thought behind LePeilbet is that she helps win right now.

        • Steglitz49

          There is no thought behind Le Peilbet. Just a knee-jerk distrust of the young. Garbage thinking, if you can call it thinking.

          Some of the teams in this WC were weakened by injuries and they did not have deep and broad talent pools to plumb. The US is the opposite. They are drowning in fine players.

          Even the WC squad was an insult. Why give free rides to has-beens?

          • Tae

            What did LePeilbet ever do to you, other than play poorly and get old?
            Would you feel better about her if the idea is she allows JJ to move to midfield? Because with Ellis’s distrust of youngsters it might be too big an ask of her to put JJ at DM in place of Holiday with a new face at CB. There’s only so much covering Becky can do.

          • Steglitz49

            Nothing. Some accuse her of losing the US the WC 4 years ago.

            I wield a time-axe. WC-15 is in the bag. We now focus on the next WC. We build the new team. No room for sentimentality.

            Commentators have screamed for the team to be rejuvenated. Replacing a 27 year old with a 33 is the opposite. 6 years the wrong way. We don’t do it. We replace the 27 year old with a 21 year old.

            We build the future.

  • AlexH

    Regarding the projected OG lineup- Does Dan have any advanced intelligence on whether we intend to run a 3-4-3? I cant imagine bringing 5 defenders, 7 Mids and, 4 attackers if it were any other type of formation?

  • GT

    I agree whole-heartedly with returning Crystal Dunn and Amy LePeiibet to the NT. They have been the NWSL’s offensive player and defensive player of the year respectively. i disagree with moving Kealia Ohai up yet. In my book she hasn’t earned it, although am a fan of hers and let’s see how the rest of the season plays out. I would stick with A-rod. I think her 2014 NWSL season combined with her great game against China has earned her the right to stay on the team.

    • Steglitz49

      Crystal Dunn is 23. I can only presume you desire LePeilbet, who is 33, back to keep the average age at 28.

      Seeing that the next World Cup is 4 years from now, may I suggest you look for a 25 year old instead?

      • GT

        The topic is the team for the Olympics in 2016. Right now Amy LePeilbet is playing world class soccer and presumably can maintain that level into next year. As such, she deserves to be on the team. The World Cup in four years is a whole different matter. Let’s discuss it in 2018. In general, however I support bringing in younger players and grooming them for the future.

        • Agree. The next World Cup is largely irrelevant at this point. Why would we be discussing roster moves 3+ years out?

        • Steglitz49

          I have nailed my colors to my mast. No-one over the age of 25 to be added to the NT roster. Noone.

  • GT

    By the way Dan, I don’t know if Gabarra reads your column, but if he does I’m sure he’s thrilled with you for pointing out his dubious distinction.

  • Miami66

    Houston Dash have to open up the upper deck for their next match, which means they could pass 10,000. Thorns might hit 20,000 for 7/22 as they’ve already reached 16,000. Seattle will have over 6,000 this weekend.

    Just wonder if it’ll continue for the remainder and then build for 2016.

    • Tae

      Wow that’s great news about Dash.

      • Miami66

        Yes, Brian Ching actually said they could hit 12,000. Boston’s game tomorrow night might be too soon for a bump, but maybe they’ll get a small one. No word on Sky Blue this weekend… 😉 I still can’t believe they’re in Piscataway. If they were in or near NYC they’d be getting a big bump also. Especially with a parade!

        • Tae

          What’s the reason for the upsurge in Dash attendance? Ching offer any thoughts?

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            Carli Lloyd?

          • Tae

            She’s not going to be there. Are the fans buying tix thinking she is? If it’s, fans are willing now to support Carli’s team even if she’s not there that’s great.

          • Pressured

            Well, they would get to see Ohai, Henderson, McD, and Axon, and that’s pretty darn great.

            And because it’s against Chicago, they could see Bernardo and Hoy.

          • Tae

            Don’t forget Ella You Broke My Nose But I Don’t Care Masar! Chicago means Sofia Huerta too, good viewing.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            And Colaprico. That dynamic young woman is slowly falling out of the mix because Chicago is making her play very deep. Too danged deep if you ask me. If they moved her to attacking mid, you would be treated to a regular expression of uncommon offensive talent week in week out.

          • Tae

            Wonder if Chicago will get a big boost from JJ. She’s got a spotlight on her right now.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            She started every match of the WC. That ought to count for something. And of course, there’s Christen who had the presence of mind to leave her mark on the world cup by scoring her team’s second goal in the competition. May those who have brushed aside your contribution never prosper, Christen Annemarie.

          • ForeverLOST108

            DiBernardo is playing AM for Chicago and she leads the league in assists, so it’s not like Chicago needs to move Colaprico up. Besides, they are tied for 1st in the league with a game in hand – a big reason for that is because where Colaprico is on the field currently.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            They could be simply responding to the fact that the hero of the final plays for their team, even if they know she is not going to be there.
            And I don’t think some fans know she won’t be there. But even then, am speculating that they might not care. They are just happy that she plays on their team and are glad to give their support.

          • Tae

            Well Carli’s performance certainly deserves that kind of boost. Good for her, good for Dash, good for Houston. Nice bonus too if Ohai gets the callup for OG. Though going forward Houston loses 4 starters to every NT match. That’s brutal. Poor Randy.

          • Miami66

            I think the three of them will be there Sunday, they just won’t be playing.

          • Tae

            Oic. Makes sense then, fans turning out to give Carli a raucous murican shoutout. Here is to hoping the players on the field put on a heck of a show to make them keep coming.

          • Steglitz49

            The fans will feel cheated if they don’t get the real McCoy.

            The damage will have been done and will be hard to repair. Once bitten, twice shy.

          • kernel_thai

            And here’s my unpopular opinion of the day…they should play. Yes I get they r tired and yes the media tour is probably just as exhausting as WC was and yes certainly no one wants to see anyone get injured…BUT…The US players have been gone since May 1 after playing three matches for their clubs. While most of the European teams r complaining that they didnt get players soon enough from there clubs and many carrying injuries, the US pretty much snatches them up whenever they like for as long as they like. They generally ignore the FIFA calendar and have designed the league rules to undermine any FIFA protection for the clubs. Now, with half the season gone and rosters littered with amateur players finally in the rear view mirror the clubs get to take advantage of the WC bump. Houston is home this weekend then doesnt come back until July 29. I dont think its asking too much for the US players to reward a big crowd by being available to play. Maybe they come in from the bench. Maybe they play a half. Then give them next week off from practice to finish their recovery. The NWSL is there to help the NT and it’s players. Id like to see the NT player help the league now.

          • Lorehead

            I realize the coaches don’t want to be told, “Make this change to your lineup, not to win the game, but for the money,” but the fans probably would appreciate seeing the players they came to see for at least a few minutes at the end.

          • Steglitz49

            They have to. It is their job.

          • Steglitz49

            They probably don’t know she won’t be there.

            The question is: why is she not there? I can’t see a valid reason.

          • Tae

            She is going to be there as it turns out, just not suiting up. That’s not much of a break at all, you’d think they’d be given a little time off to go home, sit in the old bedroom and stare at posters of N Sync and Mia, unwind.

          • Steglitz49

            No. Their day-job is to play for their NWSL team. They should go to work.

          • Tae

            They just played a tournament on turf in the summer heat. And the summer heat and turf combine to create a cauldron. Men’s clubs would not ask their players to play week in week out for a season anyway let alone play the week after a tournament like that. Just because ladies’ club sides don’t have the money to afford the depth to allow players to rest doesn’t mean its fair to ask them to put their bodies through that sort of injury risk elevating type of torture. They should have at least 2 weeks off.

          • Steglitz49

            The NWSL is played on turf in the summer. What else is new?

            The FA WSL returns to action this weekend. As far as I know (most of) the England players will play at least part of the matches.

            Today the Lionesses and their head coach Mark Sampson will be welcomed by FA President Prince William for a breakfast reception at Kensington Palace. Then follows a day of activities across the capital – including meeting supporters and a raft of media engagements.

            The PR wording has gone into overdrive. “The triumphant squad achieved the best ever result for an England senior football team on foreign soil.” (The 1966 WC was played in England)

            The FA will also shortly announce special plans for the Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 1 August to become a unique celebration of the best of the women’s game.

            The showpiece match between Chelsea Ladies and Notts County Ladies will be the first women’s final at the national stadium.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            There really shouldn’t be any delay in resuming NWSL duties. They just played 7 matches in four weeks, and none of them complained. Why can’t they go quickly back to playing 1 match a week?

    • GT

      My guess is that it will continue through the end of this year, but will subside somewhat for the early part of next year. Then hopefully it will be rejuvenated by the Olympics.

      • Miami66

        That could be key for them. Milking this WWC, Milking the Olympics next year, and hoping to build something that way for the future.

    • Steglitz49

      That is why FIFA was so keen on the US winning the World Cup.

      It will benefit WoSo all around the world if the NWSL grows and is established on a firm footing.

    • Jersey Shore Rises

      Latest ticket sales from the Dash say it will be 15K+…. They will be honoring the WC players but they will not be suiting up…

      Amazing to hear but I doubt those numbers will continue on past this month.

  • brdn08

    Amy Lepeilbet?!?!?? Absolutely not. One of the worse big game defenders of all time.

    • Tae

      She wouldn’t be my choice but we could do a lot worse than LePeilbet for that role.

      • brdn08

        I refer you to US vs. Sweden 2011. or US v. Canada 2012

        • Tae

          No I hear you, like I said she wouldn’t be my pick. But it’s not like JJ didn’t have horrendous mistakes in semis and final. It’s not like Krieger didn’t serve up a sweet assist to Miyama in 2011. And we’re fine with them. LePeilbet, she’s a vet with big tournament experience, has played with many members of the squad, has played LB CB and RB, and is in great form. I do think we could do worse. I’m not appalled by it like you are.

          • brdn08

            We’re just going to have to agree to disagree anybody that played defense in the 2012 Olympics not named Becky Sauerbrunn or Kelley O’Hara is not wanted.

  • maddoxhightower

    My Olympic Roster:

    GK: Solo, Naeher
    D: Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Kreiger, Klingenberg, Chups
    MF: Lloyd, Rapinoe, Heath, Brian, O’Hara, Ohai, HAO
    F: Morgan, Dunn, Leroux, Press

    • guest

      no way chalupney makes it.i say engen goes.

      • maddoxhightower

        Yeah. That’s about right.

  • eL cascador (RIP Cdr Wank)

    I kinda missed news from NWSL, they seem not to be highlighted much in the recent days here.
    Have Equalizer reported Brazilian Andressa Alves Da Silva breaking her contract to Boston Breakers yet?

    Are NWSL players allowed to do that during the course of the NWSL season?

  • guest

    That Olympic roster is incredibly unbalanced. Way too many wingers unless Pinoe or Heath move inside. Only Lloyd and Brian as center mids? And who knows what position Lloyd will play moving forward. That’s a list of 18 great players, but not 18 players that make a great team.

    • Keithustus

      Need fewer Fs and more MFs if Ellis uses only one true F as he last WWC games.

  • GT

    Are the American NT players playing this weekend? If not, all of these new fans are going to be mighty disappointed. That would be a bad first impression.

    • guest

      No, they are not playing. They will be at the matches, though.

      • GT

        Well that’s some consolation, but I think the fans are coming to see them play. For PR purposes they should probably suit up and at least make a cameo.

  • Tikitaka

    The tweaks I would make to this roster if I could would be replacing LeP with Dunn and then slotting in A-Rod up top.

  • FootballNowAndAlways

    When Huerta get a shot?

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      Post-Olympics most likely. The only I can see her get in before that is if two of these of 5 get hurt at the same time: Morgan, Leroux, Press, Lloyd. Rodriguez

      Even then there is Dunn, K. Mewis, and Ohai to compete with.

  • Lorehead
  • Katie Curtiss

    Crystal Dunn can play any position on the field, after all as a Tar Heel she won both Offensive and Defensive player of the year. She is freaking awesome and going on a goal scoring tear in the NWSL right now, 7 in the last 11. Whether Ohai has deserved it or not doesn’t matter, when she plays with Crystal Dunn magic happens (younger version of Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux when they play together). I don’t know where people are getting LeP being the best defensive player in the NWSL right now. She is a risk to play considering how physical she can play and the brute force she instills on her opponents.

    • Tae

      Even with her binge scoring right now I still like Dunn at RB. Physical man marking CB isn’t necessarily a bad pairing with a cerebral positional CB like Becky, I’ve always preferred that contrast there. Though like you say we don’t want a thug, especially if the PKs being handed out this WC is something that’s going to feature in WoSo going forward.

      • FootballNowAndAlways

        Truly PKs were handed out like party favors in this world cup. God help us.

        • Steglitz49

          It did help the US and Germany before that, not to speak of Canada.

      • Katie Curtiss

        your so comment is so true and I don’t disagree, I don’t think it really matters what position or where she plays on the field for the USWNT, she just needs to be on the team

  • dw

    I submit that Allie Long is almost a 1 for 1 swap for Holiday. Not quite as good obviously, but similar range of skills. Holiday much higher work rate.

    • Tae

      Not to keep flogging this horse, but we could have this though

      https://vine.co/v/M39DK9ljiIE

      • David K Anderson

        This, boys and girls, is the future… =P

      • Guest

        This play sort of reminds me of a young Tobin. A player who has the potential similar to Tobin and Moe should be a priority. 20 is not too young. If I remember correctly Tobin got her first cap at 20.

        • Tae

          She’s better now than Tobin was at that age. Not only is 20 not too young we should always have a teenager on the roster. Look at the Dutch with Miedema, that was a great investment for 2019. Sure Miedema did nothing but she wasn’t supposed to, it was all about 2019. Wish we could think like that.

          • Guest

            Well the Dutch are not expected to win every major tournament every cycle but there is wisdom to your words.

          • Tae

            I have every expectation that the Dutch will be WoSo powerhouses down the road. Dutch do development right.

          • Guest

            And time may prove you genius in regards to the Dutch. However, It will be difficult for any team to knock off the US if they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot. Our player pool is many times larger than any european country’s and soccer is actually one of the most popular sports for female athletes in the US.

          • Tae

            Organized soccer yeah and that does count most. But if you look at things like freestyling European and South American women dominate. And there is so much familiarity with the sport among females in Europe and SoAm that if interest were to be sparked you could see a quick climb to competitiveness. Infrastructure is also strong in Europe, all it takes is a bunch of men’s clubs that are far richer and better established than MLS clubs deciding to add a ladies side, not to mention there are fields everywhere.

          • Guest

            But to be fair interest in soccer is starting rise a lot in the United States. If interest ever starts to rival American Football the US could potentially begin to dominate the Men’s game as well. IMO players like Lady Andrade are overrated. For all of her fancy footwork she did not create a single threatening chance against us. I much prefer players like Zidane.

          • Tae

            I’d like to see interest in freestyling though. We overstress the team side of the sport at the expense of individual ability. Lady Andrade might not be a winner but we need more girls wanting to be able to play like her.
            Zidane wasn’t a real winner either. 1 WC, 1 Euro, 1 CL, for his ability, is grossly underperforming. He’s one of my all times faves but I’ve never considered him a footballer, he was an artist who used the sport as his medium. There were times when Zidane passed up an open net because it was more interesting to let the keeper back up.

          • Guest

            Freestyling is great for entertainment purposes and I never get tired of watching Ronaldinho. Organized football seems more the norm now. I really can’t remember any prominent freestylers on Germany of 2014 or Spain of 2010. I can’t think of any player on the USWNT who likes to freestyle other than Tobin and many around here hate when she loses the ball attempting something cool.

          • Tae

            Look up Sean Garnier on YouTube for men, Aylin Yaren for women. It’s not just freestylng, panna where kids just walk around the streets dribbling a ball and nutmeg people walking by, stuff like build ball skills in a way organized ball never could.

            Guys like Gotze and Iniesta can freestyle to boggle your mind.

          • Guest

            I wasn’t trying to imply that Gotze and Iniesta can’t just that their teams attack didn’t require it. I think it’s a lot more of a culture thing in South America and I am not at all confident it is required in modern football. Messi is a great dribbler but mainly uses ball control and strong cuts to beat defenders

          • Tae

            Messi is a great dribbler because he freestyled like crazy growing up. And Iniesta is able to play the role he does for club and country because he freestyled as a kid and developed his touch. And freestyling Tobin of course was always way ahead of her teammates in technical ability. Its something we should encourage in our youngsters. I just saw a kid the other day at Bruno’s Deli, he was standing in line juggling. I bought him a bbq tri-tip special sandwich and told him to keep on.

          • Guest

            I am not really arguing against it personally I think every single player on the WNT would be better served if they trained and drilled like Tobin. I am just rationalizing that it does not seem to make a huge difference in the game right now and that a lot of people dislike Tobin’s “overdribbling” especially if she loses possession. I don’t think anyone currently on the team is anywhere near as good a dribbler as Tobin except maybe Moe and Pinoe.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth.

          • Guest

            She does not appear to be that big. Can she handle the physical play of higher level soccer.

          • David K Anderson

            She’s small (5’4″)…but so is Vero. Klingenberg’s even smaller…and no doubting _her_ toughness.

            Lavelle will have to be tough and durable, though, to be sure. In her half-season in the NWSL, other teams dealt with Vero by fouling the crap out of her and hoping the MLS-style officiating (that is, allowance of very physical play) let them get away with it. Sometimes it worked…

      • Steglitz49

        It is a Cruyff turn isn’t it — or, am I turned around?

        • Tae

          It’s the Redondo.
          If you’re talking about the Cruyff burst, or the Ronaldo chop as the kids call it, that’s a sharp cutback without a nutmeg.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvcdsDlT1MI

          • Steglitz49

            Who was Redondo?

            I must confess that I know the Cruyff turn aka Cruyff dribble and there is another almost the same done in a line. There is a clip of Putellas doing it for Barca.

          • Tae

            Fernando Redondo, Real Madrid legend, the male Argentinian Moe Brian. He won ballon d’or as a holding mid which tells you everything you need to know.

            Cruyff originated so many sick moves. When you mentioned him in the context of a back heel I thought of that goal where he’s going at the keeper and then he suddenly does a 180 and jogs back to midfield and the keeper and defenders are still chasing him not even realizing he’d back heeled it into net already.

          • Steglitz49

            Funny. I don’t even remember Redondo at all! Strange.

            Cruyff was something else — but lacked that little extra perhaps, seeing how Holland lost the ’74 final froma winning and dominant position — a bit like Hungary 20 years earlier.

          • Tae

            Odd that you don’t remember Redondo. Did you take a break from football in the late 90s?
            I don’t think Cruyff lacked anything, just did not pan out for him. Running into the Kaiser in 74 didn’t help, and by 78 he was having serious issues with the Dutch federation. He has the consolation of knowing that only a handful of WC winners are higher in stature, and he’s as influential in the development of football as any of them. With the rise of Barca he could lay legitimate claim to being the most influential footballer of all time.

          • Steglitz49

            I agree with you. Both as player and as coach Cruyff changed the game. Pelé might have been a better player (more successful, at least) but he did no coaching. That was Zagalo.

            As both player and coach only Nils Liedholm (the Li in Grenoli) is at the same level as Cruyff. The number of people that Liedholm discovered and developed is truly amazing. When he died all Serie A players wore black armbands in his honor. (His nickname as player was the Baron.)

            The 1994 world cup was something else. The start of the rebuilding of soccer.

          • Tae

            I was never a huge fan of Pele. I look at clips of his days and I see no relevance to the modern game. It’s utterly astounding to me how much space is available and how little movement there is from the oppo he faced. If Pele played today, is he any better than an Alexis Sanchez?
            Have you read David Goldblatt’s The Ball is Round? I assume you have, but if not, you and that book are made for each other.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for the tip about the book. I think the expression comes from Sepp Herbereger, the coach who won in 1954.

            Some say that WW2 destroyed a golden age of soccer and that the strange attitudes of various national federations made WC 1950 and 54 a joke. I can’t tell if it is true but I understand their sentiments.

          • Tae

            Oh man if you haven’t read that book go to Amazon right now. That book was written for you.

          • Steglitz49

            OK.

    • mockmook

      Long is 27 years old — and not good enough to “waste” developing her for 2019.

      There are many more young, promising options: Huster, Lavelle, Nairn, DiBernardo, Sam Mewis, etc.

      • Tae

        I like the Long idea in that she’s ready to step in now in central MF where we have a depth of 2 players. It wouldn’t be about investing in development, it would be to fit an immediate need for OG 2016.

        • dw

          Also, if memory serves me correctly, “it takes 5-8 years to break into the senior squad”. We don’t just go throwing kids up in at the top. JJ being an exception. Long is the “right” age, not the “wrong” age. Hell, the author is talking about LeP???

          • Steglitz49

            LeP is 33. The same age as Carli.

            I want ot see mainly players aged 23 or even younger in Rio. By all means Carli, Alex and one other but let’s be reasonable.

          • dw

            Keep on dreamin’ Steg.

          • Steglitz49

            It is like being stuck in a time-warp. Groundhogday. Stop the US WoSo-world; I want to step off.

            Philipp Lahm retired from international football at 30. Lauren set a new standard for the ladies with 27. Now this writer wants to turn the clock back to 33! Good grief.

          • dw

            Wait till all the European countries adopt “American” soccer, played by exclusively >30 year old players. Then you too will be part of the WoSo time warp.

          • dw

            ..

          • The best player is the best player, regardless of age.

          • Steglitz49

            The Magic Dwarf led his country to the World Cup, along the way destroying Brazil on home turf. He will never claim to have been the best player in his position but he did his job. That is all we can ask.

            We must stop this nonsense. Is a whole generation of US women players going to stay locked out? What will that do to the motivation of others? Cut, cut cut!

          • Guest

            Strawman fallacy. Just because one player may be the best fit and not the best player does not mean the best players are not the best fit. The young players should not be gifted roster spots anymore than aging veterans.

          • Steglitz49

            The US are drowning in players. It is not like some of the countries where there are less registered players than in half of NJ or MA. Every spot is oversubscribed.

          • Guest

            I don’t disagree that the USWNT could compete with a U30 roster at every tournament. I just don’t like the precedent. If two players are close to equal skill with a big difference in age, sure, take the younger player. If the older player is clearly better it makes no sense to take the younger player. In the case of this past WC roster if we had cut Rampone, Chups, Wambach, HAO, Boxx and brought some young up and coming stars I think most would have felt comfortable with the roster and our chances going forward.

          • Steglitz49

            I obviously don’t agree. We use a harsh but objective age cut-off. We want a team in WC-19 where the majority of the players are aged 23-29 with maybe 1 or 2 aged >30.

            That means that from now on we add no player aged >25 and preferably only players aged 20-23. It is simple math, not rocket science.

          • Guest

            It’s okay that we don’t agree. I just happen to think women, at least at this moment in the sport, develop a lot later than the men. All of our youth went through the college system as oppose to young male players who are scouted by the best european clubs at 15 and 16 and play for their youth squads. Women don’t have that luxury and as a result don’t fully develop until around their mid 20’s. Moe is the exception not the rule.

          • Steglitz49

            Lauren has shown and lead the way. Let’s follow her lead.

            Since OG-12 commentators on the EQ have screamed for new young players. I am implementing their desire. The WC is in the bag. The American people know that it is the big one, the only one that matters.

            Now we build for 2019. The US has nothing to look forward to in 2017, unlike their sisters in Europe and Asia plus their qualifiers along the way. A young player in the US must not only understand that she does have a chance to play on the NT but also see that it happens. Else, she might as well go abroad and play.

          • Guest

            Well that is not a fair comparison Holiday has a husband in the NBA with a guaranteed 30 million dollar contract. Had she not, I doubt she would have retired at 27. 32 would be my guess.

          • Steglitz49

            I am not fair. Women in sports retire at 25 or 27 or whatever depending on their yen. It is a free country. I am just building for WC-19.

          • Guest

            Nonsense Serena Williams is still dominating women’s tennis at the very young age of 33.

          • ShoeFly1980

            Moe is the exception because she was in camp on and off. Unless you call them in, you won’t know.

        • mockmook

          For me, the immediate need of the OGs is to get our younger players international experience under immense pressure — let’s see who makes good, let’s see who cracks.

          And, with the right roster, we should still get the Gold.

          • Tae

            I’m totally with you there. I like youngsters for OG. It’s why I’m so desperate for Rose right now. She’s not as polished as Moe, she won’t be able to step in and perform at OG like Moe did in WC. But we need her badly in 2019 and kickstarting that is the very best roster decision we could make right now.
            I do disagree with you we could take a bunch of youngsters and expect to beat France or Germany in the OG. Could happen but we should have no such expectations. If we take youngsters it should be with the understanding we are seriously hurting our chances of gold.

        • mockmook

          Then why to you keep pushing for Lavelle?

          • David K Anderson

            Can’t answer for Tae, but I’m a big Lavelle supporter, too. From what I’ve seen of her, she’s our potential Vero: a natural playmaker with out-there technical gifts and excellent pitch vision.

            Bringing Rose along would also allow Moe Brian to continue to work into the role we saw in the last few WWC15 games. She was simply brilliant in a somewhat deeper-laying box-to-box role…some of the best connecting play I saw in the entire tournament. Rose Lavelle playing CAM just ahead of Brian? Deadly, at least potentially. Lavelle’s too green to just be plopped into the starting 11, but I’d love to see her in the Olympic 18.

          • Tae

            It’s a glaring positional need. Whether you rate Dunn and Ohai they are not immediate needs. I would take both Long and Rose and drop HAO and LePeilbet and hope we don’t need depth in the backline during the tournament. Krieger can do CB and Dunn RB and KO LB, maybe that’s enough.
            But I should note that I’m willing to settle for bronze with youngsters, and that’s not USSF’s view at all.

        • mockmook

          We only have a depth of 2 players because we haven’t been getting players like I listed the caps with the NT.

          • guest

            I agree that those players need caps but there is a chance that even if they get them this years they still may not be ready. But, they definitely need to log some serious minutes with the senior team so we can actually evaluate them.

          • Tae

            I hear you, this need didn’t happen overnight. But there is no one on the horizon who has Lavelle’s upside. She should be first in. And we need more than just her, even if we added Rose to OG we have a rotation of 2 at holding mid on a side that showed that a double pivot (or 4-2-3-1 if you prefer) is our best tactical shape.

        • David K Anderson

          Agreed. I know I tend to view things through rose (city) colored glasses when it comes to Thorns players, but I think she’s be valuable on the OG roster. Allie barely missed inclusion on the WWC15 roster, and she was being considered for a combination of versatility and scoring threat. Mind you, while Long can certainly play a deep, d-mid role, I’ve found it to be not the best use of her (at least it doesn’t work very well for the Thorns).

          • Tae

            Yeah I don’t know that Long will be as effective as Holiday in a deeper role. But I think she’s as close as we can get. She’s also a baller, a real competitor.

      • Steglitz49

        I agree. Lauren just retired at 27. No need to pick Long.

        • Tae

          You know at some point you have to play a match and try to win it. You can’t just develop forever.

          • Steglitz49

            I am planning for 2019.

            There is no Euro/AFC in 2017 for the US lasses. I don’t want the best players to go abroad because they lost faith. They must see that several new players get a chance in Rio.

            Thus at this stage only those aged 25 or less get tested and added. No exceptions.

  • john

    Topic #1-if you move Heath to the center, which you’ll recall Pia told us was her vision of the future, you can play Dunn at RM. Dunn gives the team more flank speed, she’s a better defensive player than Heath, and more versatile than HAO.
    Topic #2-as a replacement for Holiday I suggest looking at the Mewii. Not pure DMs, which we know Ellis doesn’t want. However, both can play there. Either provides the midfield height you got from Holiday. In the case of K she would offer depth at several positions, the importance of which grows with the smaller OG roster.
    Topic #3- of the 5 forwards not named Abby the best at holding up the ball, laying it off to others, etc is Arod. Plus we all just saw how her closing speed can disrupt opposing defenders. If you’re ever going to need those elements she should be on the Rio roster.

  • chive-on

    Does anyone know if the national teamers will be playing for their teams then this weekend? I would think at least the ladies that have been rested (Rodriguez, O’Reilly, Press, Naeher) and also the Canadians/Australians would be playing, but I’m not sure.
    Will be interesting to see who gets the call-up for the Olympics. LePeilbet sounds farfetched. Yes she’s been great for KC but…..she’s 33. I say Kallman or Dahlkemper are better CB choices.

  • mockmook

    My Olympic Roster:

    GK: Campbell, Harris

    D: Kallman, Krieger, Klingenberg, Dunn (MF/F), Johnston (MF), Huster (MF)

    MF: Brian, O’Hara (D/F), Heath, Lavelle, Lloyd (F), Nairn, Groom

    F: Press (MF), Ohai (MF), Huerta

    Coach: Andonovski

    We would have some veteran leadership on each line. Many of the players can play more than one line and multiple roles.

    I’d keep Lloyd on the team as a role model for the younger players — the de facto team captain.

    • Spirit00

      I mean this line up is just ridiculous. You’re leaving off Sauerbrunn and Morgan?

      • mockmook

        Sauerbrunn, definitely. This roster should be heavily tilted toward developing and evaluating younger players.

        But, you are right on Alex. 2016 is as good a time as any to see if Alex can regain her form. If she isn’t finishing in 2016, then it is time to move on to someone who will.

        • Sauerbrunn is the best player the U.S. has. Crazy to leave her off the roster, regardless of age.

          • Steglitz49

            There are a number of issues that collide here and there are no easy solutions.

            It looks like a whole generation of female players are going to be disenfranchized. Indeed, the WC squad contained sentimental dead wood. Horrible.

            At some point we must say stop. To the enraged: Can’t we have players over 30? the answer simply is: We won’t add players aged more than 25.

            We do not disregard age. We rejuvenate.

            I have been following the EQ for about 3 years now. Everyone screamed for young players to be given a chance. That means that when a 27 year old retires we do not replace her with a 33 year old but with a 23 year old.

          • mockmook

            Yeah, I was thinking of it more as “She has nothing to prove. Give the kids a chance.”

            I’ve already conceded my mistake: Sauerbrunn is in, Lloyd is out. “Jersey(whatever)” won’t be happy.

            But, as compensation for the switch, I’m allowed to put Sauerbrunn as DM. I know no one will squawk about that….

        • Tae

          They key word is developing. When developing you have vets out there with the kids so they can learn to play winning football. Especially your best veteran CB who can allow the mids and forwards to make mistakes while still advancing in the tournament and not overwhelming the lessons to be learned with the emotional cost of losing the match.

    • guest

      Fat chance with any roster that does not include Alex Morgan but I like it at least.

    • Davis

      Thank god you are not the USWNT coach.

      • mockmook

        May we see your brilliant roster? Or, is your brilliance to just drop 5 from the current roster?

        • Davis

          It would sure as hell include Morgan and Sauerbrunn.

          • Tae

            Seriously though. I’d lose anyone on the roster other than Moe or maybe Alex before I give up Becky. And Press over Morgan? How does that even compute? She’s not younger. There isn’t one single reason to make that swap unless you are Christen’s mother.

          • Guest

            Sure Alex and Brunn should be there but the rest of the roster looks pretty good no? At the very least to see what we have.

          • Tae

            Generally pretty good yeah. But I would take Hope.

          • mockmook

            I was thinking of it more as a last chance for Press to come up big in a major tournament before 2019.

            But, as I conceded above, Alex has something to prove, too. So, I should have included her.

            If neither produces in the OG, time to move on to other forwards.

          • Guest

            Are we even sure Press will receive any semblance of fair playing time at CF if we continue with Lloyd as a secondary striker.

          • mockmook

            Have faith in Andonovski!!!

            If JE is still coach, I don’t know what her philosophy will be for the OG — history suggests she would keep Press and Lloyd and the situation you describe will happen.

          • Tae

            I’m with you there, about Press. I do want to see her included. Other than Dunn, who didn’t even get her medal or bonus money, it’s Press who has most reason to feel hard done by. Hope she goes on a tear in the Olympics.

    • guest

      I may get killed for this but is it wrong for me to want to remove Lloyd from your roster and keep Brunn as the de facto team Captain. Maybe she will change but through all the years of Carli pouting and her me first attitude do we really her to be captain. Her work ethic is first rate but I for one have had enough Wambachs to last a lifetime.

      • mockmook

        Good point. I was just thinking of her work ethic.

        Since I’m letting you make that change, will you let me play Brunn as a DM?

        • guest

          Haha sure. Are we switching to a 3-5-2?

          • mockmook

            Of course 🙂

    • David K Anderson

      Love the inclusion of Rose Lavelle. Let’s start her accumulation of senior team experience in high pressure situations started early. I think I’d prefer Keelin Winters over Shea Groom (just as physical, less likely to get sent off). I also think I’d take Emily Menges over Tori Huster (not as positionally versatile, although she can swing between CB and FB, but way, way faster).

      • Steglitz49

        Winters is 26 and Groom is 22. I vote for Groom between those two. Likewise Menges gets my vote over Huster.

        • David K Anderson

          Groom’s also a dirty player. Yep…I went there. Not sure if I want her wearing the shirt if she doesn’t clean up her game.

    • KCFan

      So it’s safe again to pick rosters? Disclaimer: I know nothing so please don’t be angry at me for my picks.

      ……….Morgan…..
      Tymrak…Brian….KO
      ……….JJ…..Lloyd

      Kling..Brunn..Engen..Dunn
      …………..Naeher

      subs: Press for Morgan, Ohai for KO, Lavelle for Brian,
      Richmond for JJ, Huster for Lloyd, LePelbeit for Engen, and Harris for Naeher.

      • Steglitz49

        Whitney Engen is 27. We do not replace her with a 33 year old. We replace her with a 23 year old.

        • KCFan

          Don’t know too many young defenders, it’s not a glamorous position, so not many names floating about. Converting Leroux to a back seems a good idea, and there’s Stephanie Ochs (mid 20’s) at Houston, another converted forward. I’ll try to look for some more names that will be satisfactory to you.

          • Steglitz49

            This is simple math. The WC is in the bag. The people have shown that they understand that this is the big one.

            People on the EQ have screamed rejuvenate since OG-12. Now we do it. We rejuvenate. Only those aged 25 or less need apply.

          • AlexH

            Nope. The OG are full woso international tournament which means the best 11 need to go. Fortunately if you sweep out the fossils the 18 that remain are close to the best that we with maybe some room for a few switches or additions (although I am not holding my breath that the coach will cut any of her remainder so lets hope for retirements)

            As good as the ratings were for the WC final, interest in the Olympics is much bigger in the USA so they serve as an opportunity to cement newly won supporters and create new supporters as well. I’m pretty sure NBC will move heaven and earth to put the woso gold medal match on the big network in prime time and will advertise the heck out of it. This is a must win.

          • Steglitz49

            The WoSo matches will play second fiddle to the men’s U23 matches. We can expect the same type of scheduling for the OG as was for WC-14, ie one to suit European time zones. The ladies will get the American time zones by default. NBC need not do anything.

          • Guest

            Definitely in Europe but I am not so sure about ratings in the US. I doubt most Americans would rather watch the USM U23 team than the Women’s team the just won the WC.

          • Steglitz49

            Time will tell. FIFA does not care. They control both.

            Judging by Europe, even 3rd rate men’s matches are bigger draws than 1st rate women’s — and you pay more for the pain.

          • Guest

            I am not arguing that Men’s games will always be the superior draw around the world. But at the very least the WWC and OG serve to develop more interest in soccer in the US.

          • Steglitz49

            Surely, you must have learnt now, that the World Cup is the real McCoy and OG is WC-lite.

          • Tae

            The full USWNT is a lesser draw than USMNT having to abide by u-23 rules, playing against u-23 sides lacking the biggest names? That’s sad.

          • AlexH

            I don’t think that’s true if you can go by the TV ratings. I think the women will wind up being a bigger draw than the men if for not other reason than they will go further in the tournament.

          • Tae

            I’m as big a fan of soccer as any and I just can’t be bothered by men’s Olympics soccer. I watch the ladies though. The men’s side is saturated, it’s the women’s side where we’re left wanting more. I rate Algarve, or even USWNT friendlies, over men’s Olympics soccer.

          • Steglitz49

            We watch the ladies, but most soccer fans don’t.

          • Steglitz49

            It is not sad. It is reality.

            It is up to WoSo to sell themselves and build their business. They can start by being aware of PR and marketing.

            I am told that the U21 European Championship drew better viewing figures in Europe than the women’s world cup. I don’t know it it is true but it sounds plausible.

            I have not seen the world wide TV audience for the men’s Champions League final which was played during WC-15 but it may well be higher than the total for all the WC-15 matches.

            The sooner WoSo join reality, the happier they shall be.

          • Tae

            CL Final in 2013 drew 360 million total global tv audience and that was Bayern v Dortmund. Have not seen the numbers for 2015 but it featured Barcelona and you know who so you expect it was significantly higher. Juventus, the opponent, while it has lost its luster in recent years, is still way bigger a draw than Dortmund and probably not far behind Bayern.
            I remember back in 2002 the claim was made that 1.2 billion watched the final featuring the Real Madrid Galacticos with Zidane and Ronaldo (the real one) and Figo and Raul and Roberto Carlos. Hard to believe. Especially since the opponent was Leverkusen.

          • Steglitz49

            Thanks for the help. I seem to remember a Arsenal v Man Utd FA Cup final drawing a global audience of 350 million.

            A litmus test for WoSo will be the ladies FA cup final on August 1st, the first time at Wembley in its 40+ year history. With the success of the Lionesses, if they can’t get a decent crowd — hmmm?

          • AlexH

            Well you are right that the women will get prime American time zones by default that is all the more reason to put the best 11 on the field and win the tournament.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Thank you for recognizing that I am always right.

          • guest

            I may be wrong but I would assume that Men’s U23 will be a bigger draw everywhere except the US. I am guessing that the USWNT will still be a fairly big draw for US ratings.

          • Steglitz49

            That was my point. The men’s U23 will be scheduled to suit Europe. There will be no matches kicking off at 03:00 am. Those will be for the ladies.

          • Breakers fan

            The Breakers have 3 defenders I’d be quite happy to see on the NT – one of them played for your team last year. The other 2 are Julie King and Mollie Pathman. And I’m about to see them play again in about an hour.

          • mockmook

            Unfortunately, Ochs was injured (ACL?), out for the season.

            She is one of my favorite defenders — I hope she can fully recover and be considered for 2019.

      • Tae

        Lol you’ve moved Carli back to holding mid. She just can’t win.

        • Steglitz49

          She just did, didn’t she?

          • Tae

            Yeah, and she *still* got moved back to holding mid.

          • Steglitz49

            There are a lot of ignorant peasants in this world. Most have the sense not to type.

          • Guest

            I wanted to leave Carli off the team so maybe KCFan has more sense than I.

          • Tae

            You know what, I don’t know if I qualify as a Carli hater anymore.

          • Guest

            It has more to to with my opinion that it will easier to move forward with a more modern offense without her in it.

          • Tae

            No I hear you that’s why I became a Carli hater in the first place. I’ve said all along, I do not doubt her ability, but her fit. But as of right now, you cannot leave Carli off the roster. She is in, she starts, she is captain.
            Even without the epic performance, Holiday’s retirement argues for her inclusion. CAM might be Moe’s natural spot but we need her at holding mid. So Carli is the only CAM we have.
            The moving forward argument becomes more compelling after OG, but it can’t be used now.

          • Guest

            She would never be left off the roster but I can dream. People will be showing up and tuning in to watch her though. The best I can hope for is that she lays an egg at the Olympics but I doubt that will happen either especially if there are as many penalties as there were this WC and she is allowed to freelance. We could probably play a true DM if we wanted to as a holding mid. I would much rather play Brian as the CAM and my second choice would be Tobin. Also I don’t think she is really playing like a CAM. She is much close to a secondary striker who comes back to play defense. Guest

          • Tae

            Why would you want her to lay an egg? That’s cold man. I agree about Carli’s role in WC being withdrawn striker but she has experience operating in an attacking role from deep and she provided an extra man to link with the holding mids and the wingers. I don’t know how effectively we could have used a forward in that role. Press maybe.
            I don’t know that Moe will ever get to be CAM. She’s too valuable lying deeper. Its far more likely we get effective CAMs coming in than that we find another player like Moe who can serve in a holding capacity and act as metronome.

          • Guest

            I am being unnecessarily vindictive. Truthfully I want her and every other player to have a great tournament and then for her to retire. If she has a great tournament she may want to stick around for 2019. If she is the only 37 year old this time it may not be the worst thing in the world

          • Steglitz49

            As long as you win the World Cup, it does not matter what position you play, including the pine. When the team loses, it is frustrating.

          • Guest

            I like that philosophy. Maybe I should be giving Wambach more credit.

          • Steglitz49

            We first saw Abby playing WC-03 and shouted: vow! what a player. The only player of that era that made a bigger impact on my retina was Marta.

          • Steglitz49

            If I were Carli, I would not go to the Olympics as a player. Her Olympic record is stellar and she trumped that in this World Cup.

            Carli is at the very top of what is possible. her spiritual advisor should tell her to follow Lauren.

          • Steglitz49

            We go forward by not replacing 27 year olds with 33 year olds because that is 6 years in the wrong direction. Instead we replace them with 21 year olds (OK, 23 year old is OK too).

            They say that Germany were missing Kessler and Alushi. They are both 27. Well established stars but still 3 years shy of 30, the age at which Philipp Lahm retired from international work.

          • Steglitz49

            Noone qualifies as a Carli hater. That is old hat.

            I hope Carli gets the FIFA POTY award. It is hard to see who else can but judging by last year’s men’s winner, even players whose teams achieved nothing of note can — except Zlatan and he is in good company seeing that Cantona never did either.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth.

      • mockmook

        Pretty good team.

        People have already expressed their objections to you using Lloyd and LePeilbet, so I won’t bother.

        Richmond is on hiatus — not sure when (or if) she will come back.

    • AlexH

      It seems that your philosophy is that the OG isn’t a must win tournament and if that is true then your lineup is brilliant. If not, then this might be a good starting point after the OG victory tour.

      • mockmook

        Yes, I don’t think the OG is a must win.

        But, even with a mostly young team, I believe we would still have a very good chance of winning (if they are set up correctly).

        • AlexH

          I think it the OG must win but since you buttered me up with a 3-5-2 I’ll give Jill and Sunnil a call and tell them to do it your way.

    • guest

      Do you by any chance have a starting XI for this linup?

      • mockmook

        I’ve already conceded I should change a few players. But, either of these would work using the original roster:

        http://drawformation.com/post/559efa429fb32/sm-559efa429fb32.png

        http://drawformation.com/post/559efd69ca834/sm-559efd69ca834.png

        • Tae

          I don’t follow Thorns closely enough to know how they handle their 3 in the back but for my club Juventus our 3 man backline and our 4 man backline involve different personnel. We can do it because we’re a club without the roster restrictions of an NT. But I’m not sure it’s a good idea in international play.

          • mockmook

            I’d stick with one system, was merely showing that there is more than one way to play them.

          • Tae

            Would you ever do a 3 man backline for us though? I love the 3-5-2 but it’s telling that it’s the Italians who are bringing it back. I’m a firm believer that national sides must reflect national footballing culture to be successful, its what makes WC so compelling. And I don’t know that we produce the kinds of players you need for a 3-5-2, like savvy holding mids. Meanwhile we produce a surplus of wingers, and that position doesn’t even exist in a 3-5-2.

          • mockmook

            I think of it more as a back six, a 3-3-2-2 formation.

            The WBs and the DM will provide the necessary protection to allow only 3 on the back line.

          • Tae

            Hmm. Not how it’s done in Italy. I see that formation as being too vulnerable to a quick switch of side on a counter. Confusing, too; ordinarily the CB would play in front of the other backs and everything defensively will cue off that, but in your shape a lone holding mid provides the cue. That’s going to be confusing as h_ll especially to the wingbacks.

          • AlexH

            The beauty of the 3-5-2 is that it’s weaknesses lie in things you don’t see that much in woso. The long diagonal ball the quick change of field kick and most of all the low driven cross from the end line are rarely done well in woso. With three CB and three CMF the center is clogged and that’s all that matters.

          • Guest

            Germany is pretty good at getting low crosses from endline and fast talented wings can cause problems as well if the outside mids do not get back. Hazard destroyed Wigan’s 352.

          • Steglitz49

            The 3-5-2 naturally morphs into both 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 depending on whether more defense is needed or more attack.

            In reality it often ends up looking like 4-4-2 unless the other side is very weak.

          • Tae

            That’s the other thing. You can clog the middle without going to a 3-5-2, you can go to a 4-3-3 or one of its variations. You go to a 3-5-2 because you don’t want to lose the second forward, and so you opt to drop a defender and sacrifice width instead. This is actually why I have advocated a 3-5-2 in the past, because I think our national footballing culture benefits from a second forward, but I want 3 in central midfield.
            But since then I’ve been rethinking it because width is so important to us. I think on the whole it makes more sense to lose the second forward than to lose the width.

          • mockmook

            Not sure I follow. I’m just saying the back six are defensive minded.

            I’m not saying the back 3 take their cues from the other 3. The “forward” 3 just act as a protective layer to minimize attacks making it to the back line.

            I don’t see how this is different than other DMs sitting on top of any back line in any formation.

          • Tae

            So are you talking an ultra defensive 3-5-2 where two flat lines of 3 shift laterally to defend? Italian sides that fear relegation use that formation to grind out draws, but it results in a non-existent offense. Juve use 2 holding mids and a CAM, and the holding mids cover the flanks, and the CB comes out to meet the first attacker.
            The difference between this and the use of a DM is that all three backs stay narrow, versus a 4 in the back where a CB will shift over to cover for the fullback that pushed up. This is why you need two holding mids, to cover both flanks. We’re able to do this without getting stagnant because Pirlo can influence the match from deep.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex is right. Until women can hit hard accurate cross-filed, let alone angled cross-field, passes, they cannot switch play speedily from one side to the other.

            Men have been playing those for at least 75 years, ie since Nisse Liedholm made them his trademark and I doubt that he was the first. Obviously, the day will come when women can too.

            Low driven crosses in the penalty area are also rare. The Japanese use them for obvious reasons but the rest don’t seem to bother.

          • Tae

            Maybe you’re right about that, but you could flip that around and say that for that reason you don’t want to sacrifice wingers to go to a 3-5-2, because once you’ve chosen which side you’re attacking, you’re committed, and you want that extra flank attacker, especially since you’re also committing to two holding mids in that formation.
            Think about us in this wc, and then picture how it all looks if instead of Tobin + Kriegs on the right and Pinoe + Kling on the left, you have only Kriegs on the right and Kling on the left.

          • Steglitz49

            You have to play with the players you have, not the ones you would like to. Germany is a good example. Neid lost Kessler and Alushi, both only 27 years old, and Wensing. Alushi owing to a late withdrawal!

            Yet, Neid was unable to capitalize on all the fine players in Germany.

            Pia is an even worse example. It now has become known that she seems not to have bothered with the simplest personal relations with the coaches and assistants of the club teams in Sweden. Yes. She went to the matches and made notes, but that seems to have been all. Thus, she had no idea of whom was growing in the cellar when the injuries arose.

            Worse, when the injuries took their toll, Pia reverted to her old habits of dragging back the ancient of days. Allegedly, they cut the presentation of the WC squad short because she was being grilled on why not this or why not that young player.

            Swedes in general seem to be of the opinion that this WC was going to be hard anyway, so why not take as many youngsters as possible and grow them, give them experience, excite them, make them feel wanted, and thereby build for 2017 and 2019.

            As it is, one of the clubs whose player was disdainfully passed over is refusing to release her for the U19 Euros about to start. They are making a point to the federation. Let’s hope they relent now that they have made their point,

          • Tae

            I totally agree with playing a formation and style that suits the players we have. That’s why I’m inclining to the view that the 3-5-2 wouldn’t suit us. About Neid, I made the point earlier that she and Ellis were always going to be subject to heavy criticism and second guessing because of the depth they have. I do like how many of the players from the 2012 U-20 final, like Wensing Leupolz Pedermann and Maroszan figured for Neid. We only used JJ and Moe, and that only due to injuries and card accumulations. Ellis is being seen as having crushed Neid but I think Neid is better.

          • mockmook

            When defending, yes.

            When attacking, the WBs will be expected to join (that’s why I want “tireless” players there). Even the DM might “sneak attack” if the opposition is concentrating on locking down the wings.

          • Tae

            I feel it’s too defensive a footing for us and would slow down our attack too much. We just saw how well we do with a high press involving wingers and fullbacks, with the double pivot to shield a backline that’s pushed its fullbacks forward. We’re only committing four defenders deep in that setup vs the six you’re contemplating, and the 4 man backline allows JJ to sweep side to side.

          • Steglitz49

            5-2 is how the US beat Japan this time round and last time it was 2-2, so why do you want to play 2-2 instead of 5-2? It smells of treason.

          • David K Anderson

            The Thorns base their 3-in-the-back system on a big, athletic CB (Kat Williamson) and, in the most recent iteration, two very pacy fullbacks (Emily Menges and surprising amateur Alyssa Kleiner). Menges also plays CB in a conventional 4-player back line, and plays sort of a hybrid role in the 3, not going forward as aggressively as she might if she were playing FB in, say, a 4-2-3-1. Kleiner doesn’t thrive as well in that role, but is decent (Riley’s also played Rachel Van Hollebeke there, and obviously Rachel stays home on the back line most of the time). When the Thorns switched to 4-in-the-back, Kleiner ranged forward more than Menges (and made a peach of a long cross assist to Sinead Farrelly for the winning goal).

            It’s worked pretty well (the Thorns’ problems in the table result from terrible finishing, for the most part), but I expect a move back to more conventional formations in the back. The Thorns will suddenly have a lot of depth in defensive positions when all the internationals are back and fit (Catley, Wilkinson, Kyle, and new addition Polkinghorne). I expect a lot of 4-2-3-1 and/or diamond midfields.

          • Steglitz49

            Don’t worry; be happy. The play-off slots are far from decided.

            Remember, Japan clawed their way all the way to the world cup final in a most minimalist style, not least in the semi-final where fortune smiled on the Nadeshiko rather than the Lionesses.

          • Tae

            How do you feel about the 3-5-2 vs a 4-man backline for Thorns?
            In particular how well do you think it fares vs a Seattle style 4-3-3?

        • Guest

          If we are trying to weed out potential future national team players why not start all of the young players except maybe a veteran CB. Brian and O’hara have nothing to prove. Obviously Brian will still need minutes though.

          • mockmook

            I want it all — I want to develop/evaluate new players, and I want the team to win the Gold Medal. So, I would play some veterans.

          • Guest

            Who would be your bench replacement for O’hara in the 352?

          • mockmook

            Klingenberg

    • guest

      You don’t break up a winning formula. You’re out of your mind!

  • worldcup

    agree with your roster minus lepelbeit.

  • Jersey Shore Rises

    Awesome interview with my Jersey Girl Carli Lloyd in which she comments about why it is so important that the USWNT players continue to play for the NWSL and build up attendance….. She also implied she will be playing Sunday…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a0zmJpY0OI

    Go Dash…

    • Tae

      We’re talking like 15-30 minutes right? I think Steg is crazy demanding that the NTers lace em up and get right back to it. We’re toying with injury risk here, men would never be asked to play for their club the week after a tournament like that.

      • Jersey Shore Rises

        Normally I agree with Steg but in this case I think the 15-30 mins is probably right if they play at all. Only guarantee is of course the WC players will be on the field for pregame ceremonies.

        • Steglitz49

          My proposal was that they need only play for 15-20 min but the longer the better. It is PR, not soccer.

      • AlexH

        I don’t think Carli is at risk of injury as she has had a full week off and the women don’t suffer from fixture congestion like the men do so their isn’t that much cumulative wear and tear. That said, she probably should take a day off anyway just because she will not have practiced for the week and probably wouldn’t help the team much because of that.

      • Steglitz49

        I only asked for what you type: 15 min but preferably a bit more. PR. Selling the product: the NWSL has the best players in the world and WoSo in general.

        • Tae

          Ok I get you. I fully understand the marketing value here. But I wonder how disruptive this will be to NWSL sides when teams are clawing to make playoffs, having to use substitutions and allot time for victory laps instead of a coherent gameplan.

          • Steglitz49

            It does not matter. The spectators have come to see queens, not carthorses.

          • Tae

            At some point NWSL has to market the NWSL, not “that league where the NTers play.” If you ask me the NTers are not that much better, or even better at all, than a whole ton of non-NT NWSL players, not just the stars like Kim Little and Nadia Nadim, but there are a lot of players like Mathias who are worth watching. I hear what you’re saying and we do have to acknowledge reality right now, but there’s a bit of a tension there, if you overmarket the NTers you’re selling your other players short and implying to the consumers that that’s the only thing worth watching in NWSL.

          • Steglitz49

            The headache for the US is that in the Big 4 sports, north-America calls the shots and Johnny Foreigner stands on the outside looking in, hoping to be invited (ie drafted) to play and get a share of the lolly. Think Swedish and Finish ice-hockey players.

            Soccer is the opposite. The game has belonged to the world for over a century. The WC, the Champions League and other cups like the FA cup and Nestlé cup are the real McCoys.

            Thus, no longer can 30 odd NA teams invite some foreign players to join, at best constituting 30% of the players. In soccer there is ONE team once for all that can compete.

            Worse, the rich clubs of Europe got stung. Once bitten, twice shy. Thus, Katie Stengel gets to play for Bayern Munich. Her contribution: she does not enter the draft.