Rodriguez goal lifts Kansas City to second NWSL title

Dan Lauletta October 1, 2015 477
are heading back to the NWSL Championship. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

FC Kansas City beat the Seattle Reign 1-0 to win their second straight NWSL Championship. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

PORTLAND, OR — Amy Rodriguez’s 78th minute goal carried FC Kansas City to a 1-0 victory over Seattle Reign FC and their second consecutive NWSL Championship.  The match was played before an NWSL Championship record 13,264 at Providence Park in Portland.  A year ago the Blues upset the Reign 2-1 at Starfire Stadium in Seattle.

[MORE: Complete coverage of the 2015 NWSL Championship ]

The match turned in an instant when Kendall Fletcher came off injured after getting tangled up with Erika Tymrak in the Reign penalty box.  Elli Reed came on, and on FC Kansas City’s first attacking sequence after the substitution, Heather O’Reilly swapped to the left side and made a run up the flank where she had space to fire a cross to the top of the six.  Rodriguez got Hope Solo moving the wrong way and finished her header for her third goal of the playoffs and third of the last two finals.

The Reign’s best chance came in the 63rd minute when Megan Rapinoe blasted a shot off the post.  The match closed out the club career of Lauren Holiday who will retire after the United States national team victory tour.

  • RM27Fan

    Congratulations Lauren Holiday. What a way to go out.

    • mockmook

      Scared the heck out of me when she went down — she played a great game

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  • mockmook

    A-Rod must be the MVP of the game, right?

    • Steglitz49

      HAO provided the pass, like at Old Trafford 3 years ago.

      • mockmook

        Earned her spot on the OG16 squad?

        • Steglitz49

          Probably. Though as already holding a OG gold as well as a WC, JE is free not to take her.

    • Ethan

      MVP of the match maybe. I honestly thought Tymrak was KC’s best offensive player on the night though.

    • GT

      She came on like gang-busters at the end of the season.

  • Steglitz49

    This is what it is all about: winning when it counts.

  • guest

    Heartbreak for Seattle. Deserved win for KC. Next season, FCKC now with 2 back to back titles, perhaps should be considered to have some kind of special arrangement to play at Sporting Park full time.

    • Steglitz49

      If KC is not in the next final it could be played in KC. If KC is in it but Seattle not, try Seattle. If it is yet another repeat, try either Houston or DC.

      • mockmook

        No, no, no — this time they need to name the venue at the beginning of the season.

        • Steglitz49

          Neutral ground?

          • mockmook

            Only by luck and the odds

          • Steglitz49

            Since 1923 the men’s FA cup final has always been played at Wembley (except when it was rebuilt, obviously) but Wembley is not a club ground. This year they played the ladies FA cup final there. It took 44 years.

            The men’s FA cup semifinals used to be played on neutral grounds in the midlands or north but these days they are played at Wembley too.

            The French system for the ladies cup is that you play it at last season’s winner except when they are in the final, in which case you play at the losing finalist’s ground, and if it is a repeat it goes elsewhere — which is where I got my idea.

          • Jonathan Fulton

            Vlatko should be USWNT coach … period

          • Steglitz49

            I second that — but first JE has to lose two big championships or retire voluntarily.

          • My2cents

            I am surprised that since Paulsen decided to go after an existing NWSL coach, why didn’t he consider Vlatko. Then again maybe he did and just got turned down.

          • JL

            Vlatko is also the coach of the Missouri Comets, which is owned by the same group that owns FCKC. I highly doubt he goes anywhere in the near future.

          • My2cents

            That will all depend on how much time is needed to start promoting the championship game for a particular location, especially if they want to make it a big extravaganza each year. May require a lot longer then a couple weeks or even a couple of months. May have learned a lesson about waiting too long to announce Portland.

          • David K Anderson

            It turned out pretty neutral for this one. Cheers for either team were pretty even in volume from where I was sitting. The assumption that the crowd would be largely for FCKC because of the Cascadia rivalry were (as I expected they might be) mistaken.

          • Steglitz49

            I second playing it in Portland for the foreseeable future — except when Portland i in the final, when either DC or Houston will do.

      • Borgata

        Won’t they just pick a site before the season starts?

        • Steglitz49

          With Portland the NWSL has introduced the concept of neutral ground.

          How you determine that is an interesting question. It could always be the same place (like Wembley for the FA cup final) or a location to be neutral depending on the teams in the final.

          • Borgata

            I based my assumption off the way the NFL does it, so whatever that’s worth.

          • Steglitz49

            My proposal was based on the system the French use for their ladies cup final.

            It is a handsome trophy indeed, as you would expect from France, probably the most handsome of the ladies cups, though the Spanish and FA cup are fine specimens too. The Swedish ladies cup is a bit odd looking.

          • Timber Dave

            The Portland choice was announced while Portland still had a shot at the playoffs (and therefore the final), so the choice of place wasn’t made to make it neutral; it was probably done to get a large crowd. The decision might have even been made much earlier, like early in the year, and only announced later. But in any case it was still possible at the time for the Thorns to play the final at home.

          • Steglitz49

            If you want a large crowd, then you have to play in Portland forever come hell or high water.

          • David K Anderson

            Crowd ended up being a little over 13,000. Not bad at all, given the stupid scheduling (which probably cost 3-4k). Sure, it would have been 21,144 if the Thorns had made it there, but I’m still pretty happy with the turnout.

  • mockmook
  • Steglitz49

    The key play was the pass to HAO. HAO got tons of time to set up an accurate cross to ARod. Almost a repeat of the OG-12 SF. Been there, done that, got a trophy!

    • guest

      Holiday>HAO>AROD>2xChamps!

      • Steglitz49

        Does that spell Harrods? I can’t make it into Bergdorf-Goodman.

    • Timber Dave

      It was also a key play when the Seattle defender, Elli Reed, blew making an interception of the pass. Had she been better at keeping Holiday covered, Seattle might have been able to prevent the goal. Nice work by Holiday and A-Rod to capitalize on the mistake.

      • mockmook

        No kudos to HAO?

    • rkmid71

      I’m with you on that. I’ve been looking for a video to see it again, but my recollection was Holiday’s pass was unpredictable, she was looking one way which was crowded yet knew or anticipated HAO was on the other wing with space. And HAO was in the right spot to receive the pass and delivered a perfect cross with perfect timing and ARod had a great finish. That is teamwork and chemistry. But the key was the pass. I was impressed with HAO in that game and Holiday among others — Holiday looked so comfortable and effective in AM.

      • guest

        Holiday is comfortable and effective in AM role. Wish USWNT had allowed Holiday more opportunities to play the AM role.

        • rkmid71

          Me too. She’s one veteran that I was hoping wouldn’t retire for awhile yet on the USWNT. Especially now that they have a player like Brian who can and will get her the ball. I was even imagining a scenario where Holiday and Brian could swap spots on occasion. Oh well … c’est la vie. I think our forwards would have loved it.

  • Ron Bishop

    Should’ve been a PK when Tymrak was taken down in the penalty area.

    Solid defense, nice HAO cross, and a great A-Rod finish – FCKC stepped up for the big one.

    Back to back. It’s a bad ass fact!

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe ARod should also retire and cash in when her shares are riding high? A true giant-killer.

      • guest

        I think I read some where that she may be looking to spend more time with family and retire early similar to Holiday, and so my thoughts are that she’ll retire after next year’s Olympics.

        • guest

          arod just moved ahead of leroux for the olympic roster spot.

          • Steglitz49

            You’ve got to score them when they count. Ask Thiney or Sasic.

            Is ARod America’s answer to Helmut Rahn?

          • Whoa

            Leroux getting cut? Imagine?

    • guest

      agree the ref missed the PK call when Fletcher took Tymrak down in the box.
      TV replay seemed to show clear take down in the box, but always easier to see calls via TV replays vs the real time call by ref. in the end FCKC scored and won the match so ref missed call did not determine the game

    • Lord Otter-Blotter

      Seemed like the soccer gods were watching that, knocked Fletcher out of the game the next time she got beat, and made her replacement give up a goal shortly after coming on.

  • Elaine

    This was such an intense game. Once again Harvey comes up short against Adonovski. I would say both teams did not execute offensively as well as they could. When given that one chance on a miss touch by Reed, HAO capitalize with a beautiful cross right on the mark for a short unmarked Arod. PK not called earlier against Seattle would’ve gotten FCKC 2 goals. A small dynasty is brewing in Kansas City with back to back titles. Well maybe next year someone other than Seattle can take them on.

    • Steglitz49

      Three teams have won the ladies Champions League back to back: first Umeå, then Lyon and Wolfsburg. Frankfurt has won it 4 times and Potsdam twice but not back to back.

      Umeå has played in 3 other finals, while FF, Potsdam and Lyon have twice lost in the final.

      KC is up there with the great teams of Europe.

      • Sincerely

        I genuinely believe we could beat any European team. I do not think European teams have an edge on our top ranked US teams.

        • Steglitz49

          Lyon as Champions League winner went to Japan and won that Intercontinental Club Championship. The next two years Wolfsburg could (would) not travel and Chelsea and Arsenal stepped up to the plate for UEFA. They did not win.

          You may well be right that KC could beat the Champions League winner but I would not count my chickens before they are hatched. So far the NWSL has not bothered to show up.

          • My2cents

            It is just a matter of time before they do start playing, by then things could change drastically for the NWSL, especially if they gain a stronger position financially. More money in the coffers, means more money for the players. That will mean more of the top players in the world will want to come here and play, not only for the money, but for the overall competitiveness the NWSL will provide.

          • Steglitz49

            Unless you are going to alter the team salary ceiling or introduce some excemptions for foreign players, the players will follow the money.

            Indeed, even if they did allow higher salaries for foreigners, one wonders how NWSL teams would stack up against the wealthy men’s clubs in Europe who now seem to be prepared to spend on their ladies, not just chuck them a bone or two.

          • My2cents

            Same applies for the NWSL, if the money is there, so will the amount of money be increased to pay the players. While in Europe WOSO is a charity case for the big men’s soccer clubs. It is about making money here. The more attendance, TV, corporate sponsorships the more money there is to be made. As top players gain more notoriety, endorsement opportunities open up for them to further supplement their income.
            What is encouraging is that more and more MLS team owners are showing an interest. The nice thing is they want be taking on a NWSL team as a charity case. It is all about making a profit for them. Portland and Houston are showing how it can be done, and I would expect Orlando City to do well next season as well. Should more MLS owners want an expansion team, the more money the league will make overall.

            At some point, especially for any of the American players that are playing in Europe or elsewhere for the money, it may, at some point, be to their advantage to return and play in the NWSL, especially if the league becomes the stepping stone to the NT. Maybe, even take less then what they might get overseas, especially if they do have aspirations of wanting to play for the WNT. The big money is being made by the National team players, not what they receive from US Soccer, but from endorsements as well. Of course, more for some, then others.

        • mockmook

          KC could beat any club team and almost any NT.

          • Steglitz49

            Seattle were favorites going into this match. Heck they were favorites last year too.

        • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

          I have seen two Frauen-Bundeliga games and Bayern Munich is a well oiled machine. Lyon has now officially made France a one team league. Also Chelsea and Manchester City play with a ton of joie de vie.

          I don’t worry about FCKC, Seattle, Portland, but Chicago is on down is where I worry.

          • Steglitz49

            FF vs Bayern will be awseome. Wolfsburg are not too bad either. PSG seem the big dunces. All that lolly and nothing to show for it.

          • john

            Just curious who Bayern’s opponents were. I know you follow that league and are aware it lacks parity. Were you able to see Bayern in a competitive match?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Their opponents were Wolfsburg and Turbine Potsdam. Wolfsburg was reasonably competitive and Potsdam had their moments. The DFB streams one game a week on their website, and the Wolfsburg vs. Freiburg steam just started.

          • john

            Thanks! Yeah, you’d get a good sense of what’s what from those games. And great fun to watch no doubt. Appreciate the links info.

          • Breakers fan

            Hey Dog, – is there a way to watch Frauen-Bundeliga games on-line or (unlikely) on TV? Let me know if you’d be so kind, please. Thanks!

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Julia Simic just scored the opening goal for Wolfburg in the 45th minute. The rest of the game is here:

            http://tv.dfb.de/video/frauen-bundesliga-vfl-wolfsburg-vs-sc-freiburg-live/12100/

          • Breakers fan

            Definitely want to see this, and future games of Bayern Munich at least. That link unfortunately somehow didn’t work but thanks for your effort. If you can find one that does work it would be greatly appreciated, or I can look around for one.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            I have this game on my Tumblr page.

            http://canada2015mykits.tumblr.com/post/130352554330/frauen-bundesliga-vfl-wolfsburg-vs-sc-freiburg

            Here is the Bayern – Wolfsburg game:

            http://canada2015mykits.tumblr.com/post/128860963055/frauen-bundesliga-fc-bayern-munich-vs-vfl

            This where you one would get the games of the week and highlights of the other games:

            http://tv.dfb.de/

            The reason link did not work was probably because you arrived too late to the livestream.

          • Breakers fan

            A multitude of thanks! Now if you really want a clutch let me know…;-)

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS GAME! (unless you already picked up the link)
            I’ll post it on my Tunblr page in an hour or you go directly to DFB site.

          • Steglitz49

            I think one game is on ARD or ZDF each week plus the DFB does and that some teams stream themselves. TomF might know for sure.

    • Timber Dave

      There’s a small dynasty in Seattle too, what with the back-to-back Supporters’ Shields. I actually have more respect for that since it’s based on a season’s worth of games instead of a two-game win streak in the playoffs. But I realize the “championship” is this game, not the SS.

      • Steglitz49

        Have you ever heard of the Stanley Cup, World Series or Superbowl?

      • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

        The NWSL plays unbalanced schedule. You can claim as much assurance of that crown as if it were an even round-robin.

        • Ethan

          Well, each team played every other team three times in 2014. Plus, the Reign’s point margin this season suggests they would have still won the Shield even if the season was more evenly scheduled.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            But “suggest” is all that uneven gives you, which validates a playoff format. Unless the season is all home and away in 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. games, the standard isn’t ideal.

    • HOFCToDi

      Heather O’Reilly with yet another game winning cross.

      youtube.com/watch?v=8TTVF3_3JBU

    • Rdalford

      FCKC small dynasty? Holiday retirement (and perhaps also Bucz) leaves some large gap(s). Will be interesting to see how FCKC adjusts and what off season moves trades/draft picks etc they make to address replacements.

      • Dillon77

        Would be very tough to replace both of them as those are two very strong links right up the middle. BTW, if Bucz does retire, it will coincide with her fellow Fighting Irish DM, Shannon Boxx. On the other hand, there could be another Irish replacement coming in the draft — Cari Roccaro, who is equally at home at DM or center back.

        • JL

          Cari Roccaro will be long gone by the time KC gets to make their first selection.

        • Steglitz49

          Pick the Flores twins when they are ripe for the plucking.

      • Elaine

        It would be a challenge for Andonovski to fill their shoes, I agree.

        • mockmook

          And, he looks terrible in heels…

  • brdn08

    How about Laddish and and especially Bucz!!! FCKC cut the head off the snake and the body died! Great marking with physical challenges and they suffocated Kim Little. Rebecca Sauerbrunn was surprisingly outspoken this week and I loved every minute of it. Of course, we knew what she would do on the pitch. Congrats to FCKC and what a proper ending to a great footballer’s club career. You’re an amazing soccer player Lauren Holiday but even a better person!!

    • Dillon77

      Bucz and Laddish were both excellent…not at all surprising for Bucz who has been playing steadily for years. A shame she never got a call up the USWNT, but she’s got a stellar record to point to if she chooses to retire (hope not).

  • Youthmoving

    Mandy Laddish and Erika Tymrak call ups soon?

    • Steglitz49

      Laddish maybe. Tymrak, I doubt.

      • HOFCToDi

        The USWNT already has plenty of flank midfield options:

        O’Reilly
        Rapinoe
        Heath
        O’Hara
        Dunn
        Ohai

    • Borgata

      Tymrak looked disruptive, but can she finish? Only had 4 goals this season.

      • ForeverLOST108

        Tymrak can absolutely finish with the best of them. She’s scored some fantastic goals in her NWSL career. I personally think that this season she focused on the defensive side of her game much more and it restricted her. I’ve never seen Tymrak play as disciplined as she has this season. I think she still has growth to her game – look at how long it took Rapinoe to play better defensively.

    • mockmook

      Laddish had a lot of turnovers in this game. Tymrak still needs to put more effort on defending.

      But, they both deserve a look on the NT.

      • Guest

        Really? I thought she shone brighter than Buz, was ball winning consistently, and turning and passing out of pressure well (against Jess Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe, and Kim Little, at that).

        • mockmook

          Maybe, but she was also turning the ball over in VERY dangerous places.

      • Steglitz49

        If what you type is your honest opinion then the conclusion is that they don’t.

        • mockmook

          No shame in not having a great game against the best team in the league in your first pro championship for Laddish.

          I don’t worry too much about Tymrak’s defending because KC doesn’t worry about it — I think she is better suited to be a Forward anyway.

          • Steglitz49

            I did support (sort of) Laddish candidature. I think that the NT train has left Tymrak on the platform.

            Whether Kristie Mewis can haul herself back into the NT is a more interesting question. She is trying her damndest and I hope it pays off for her.

    • HOFCToDi

      Mandy Laddish was a member of the 2012 U-20 USWNT that won the gold medal in Japan, although she was a reserve. Three other players from that aforementioned team are currently on the Senior USWNT roster:

      fifa.com/tournaments/archive/u20womensworldcup/japan2012/matches/round=258193/match=300200423/report.html

      • Steglitz49

        Are you arguing for or against Laddish?

        • HOFCToDi

          For.

          Laddish has experienced a U-20 USWNT championship. International experience at the highest level.

          The 2008 U-20 USWNT has produced some interesting names:

          fifa.com/tournaments/archive/u20womensworldcup/chile2008/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/report.html

          • Steglitz49

            As a 23 year old, Mandy ought to be at her peak in WC-19. Nevertheless, your comment, that 3 other of her U20 colleagues already are on the NT roster, could be interpreted that you think her chances are gone. Which way are you batting?

          • HOFCToDi

            Champions breed champions.

            It’s time for Jill Ellis to stop messing around with Boxx and Holiday on the Victory Tour and to start auditions for the future replacements.

          • Steglitz49

            It is high time for Jill to sit down with Vlatko over a beer or something stronger and reinforce mutual prejudices on how you get the job done. Sasaki could join them but he doesn’t speak English, I am told.

          • HOFCToDi

            You do realize that FC Kansas City was the all-American team.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FC_Kansas_City#Current_squad

          • Steglitz49

            I think that was my point.

          • HOFCToDi

            In the last friendly match against Haiti, Jill Ellis switched the tactical formation to a 4-2-3-1. At least Jill Ellis is starting to adapt to the modern era.

            The main issue with Jill Ellis is the lack of auditions for the defensive/holding midfield position.

    • mockmook
      • Steglitz49

        Mustn’t gloat! — but it is great to win.

      • HOFCToDi

        Junior,

        It’s time for your cold shower.

        • Steglitz49

          Only one bare navel on show. Doesn’t count. By track-n-field standards, they are decently attired.

      • brdn08

        I support this post 100%

      • guest

        Based on internet evidence Tymrak would seem to be okay with Blatter’s infamous woso suggestion. She does favor the shorts and sports bra look.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to FCKC, an outstanding team and organization. Gutted for my team but I believe we’ll be back stronger than ever. I wanted this win for badly for all the players who have been with the club since year 1. It’s going to be a long off season for the Reign. Solo says she has watched the 2011 WC final over 50 times. I wonder how many times she’ll watch tonight’s film.

    FCKC made the most of their opportunities. As someone said a few weeks ago, Reign plays beautiful soccer and FCKC plays winning soccer. A statement never more true that tonight. Not one of our big time players showed up and the most potent offensive in the league was held back. Proof positive that defense wins championships.

    It’s going to be a long off season and many questions will be asked. How do you even qualify what it takes to be one game better? You can’s say we need better forwards, midfielders, or backline or GK. They’ve been so dominant. Practically flawless all season. Where do you change to be literally ONE game better?

    • mockmook

      As they said in the press conference, they just need to take more shots and not be so concerned with playing pretty (I’m paraphrasing).

      • They to 14 shots last year (3x as many as KC). How many do they need to win?

        • Steglitz49

          More than enough?

        • HOFCToDi

          Obviously the right one.

        • mockmook

          If Rapinoe’s toe had been angled 0.003 degrees differently, the game probably goes to OT.

      • Breakers fan

        Tell this to the K. Mewis critics…

        • HOFCToDi

          If you’re gonna shoot, try to get it on frame.

          Kristie Mewis – SOG% 40%

          ussoccer.app.box.com/s/l1z0zv3w41m3vdaezh28kju65dyrjzq3

          • Breakers fan

            I knew I could count on the stat man for a pure, simple number.

          • mockmook

            You do realize he wasn’t quoting that stat as a compliment, right? And, I’m with him on this.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes I did realize that, and like you guys I too would have hoped it would have been at least a little higher. However I don’t think that number tells us all that much in terms of evaluating her entire performance for the season. I think in the big picture it’s superficial. To make a really effective analysis one would look at each shot, each situation. Think of Harvey’s wish that more shots were taken by her team. Mewis was going for it, she had an attacking, goal-scoring mindset, which overall I like. And consider that a rocket shot that is very close to, but not “on frame” is, in my opinion a better shot than a weaker shot right at the keeper, for the former would have scored had it been slightly different while the latter had no chance but looks better to some in the stats dept. Mewis had some of those. I don’t like some stats for these reasons – they have an appearance of saying a lot when sometimes I don’t think they really do.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Still better than Carli “I never miss” Lloyd at 27%.

    • Ethan

      I know it’s the second time that the Reign have lost the NWSL final, but they never looked like they were going to win this match. The US absolutely bossed the first half of the 2011 WC final and led twice going into less than 10 more minutes of game time. I don’t think this loss can be as devastating as that one was.

      • Guest

        We created nothing of note in either the first or second half except Pinoe’s shot off the post but I always thought someone would pull through. A Little magic or a Rapinoe wonder goal. You could see the frustration on the faces of the Reign throughout the match and that for me is poor mentality. You have to stay loose even if the movement isn’t what you would like it to be. They didn’t play well but I didn’t think FCKC played particularly well either. All it takes is one moment.

    • Miki

      I’ve had this lingering thought in my mind as well. “How do you be one game better?”. Roster? Defense- who do you take out of there? They’ve been solid, but it’s just that one defensive lapse that gets them at times. Midfield- moving along. Forwards- maybe just that one extra spark is needed? In place of Mathias perhaps? (I do like her and very much appreciate her work rate, but on the offensive side of things, the end product just isn’t there at times. I wouldn’t mind seeing her as a late game sub to wear out the opposing team’s defense though.) Is it a formation change? Adapted style of play? I guess we’ll find out next year. It’s frustrating to me, that it all comes down to this one (unnecessary) game, where KC is best on the day.

      • Guest

        My focus narrowed in on the forwards as well. Although they haven’t seen significant minutes for me to judge properly, Dallstream and Foxhoven seem unnecessary. We have two first round draft picks. We could trade them and use our picks to get some more forward firepower. I would like to keep Merrit and Veje as option of the bench. And on that note, the rest of the team never seems to be able to find Veje on the pitch. She makes the run, but they don’t read them. Maybe it’s a lack of playing time together but it is an issue. I really like her style of play but it seems she’s often on an island.

        GK – Hope is still the best in the world and clearly all in for the team. Love the partnership and mentor-mentee relationship she was with Kop and assuming all goes well Hope will be at Rio in 2016 and we will need Kop to be solid in goal once again for part of the season.

        Defenders – someone to replace Steph Cox (crying just thinking about it) She has been such a force over the years and a fantastic presence. I love our centerbacks so they’re good for me. Kendall as right back is still solid. No need to break something that works.

        Midfield – moving on immediately. Probably the greatest is woso club history. That said if Kim Little decides to move on from the club (doubtful as Harvey said she is motivated by challenges and I think she will stay until they take the national title) we will be hard pressed to find someone of half her quality.

        • mockmook

          FCKC’s defense made Little look almost ordinary — I think that means they needed a tactical adjustment — I can’t believe she is almost ordinary.

        • Miki

          As for the forward line- I like Gemma Davison. She used to play for Laura at Arsenal, and she’s currently on Chelsea. It’s only her first season there so I’m not sure the odds are too high that Laura picks her up, but I really wouldn’t mind seeing it happening. The FAWSL season just ended unfortunately in case you haven’t seen her play yet, but she’s extremely talented and seems a great fit in the Reign system. She loves to run at players and has tons of flair, and recently she’s added final product to it. Today she had a goal and an assist, and the previous games she had 2 assists. Again, those assists coming from taking players on 1v1. She’s good 1v1, is speedy, can assist and occasionally score, earns corners – she’d be a perfect fit I think. And her and Kim were a very good partnership together at Arsenal as well, assuming Kim stays. And if she doesn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if Laura tries to bring in Jordan Nobbs from Arsenal. The highlights from the previous game are here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUqffc0XkbU and the highlights from today’s game (that won them the title) should be up soon. http://fyfawsl.tumblr.com/downloads has downloads for games and the WSL review show as well.

    • STT

      Maybe thinking “Be one game better” isn’t the way to think – Seattle could have let five wins from the regular seasons be draws and they’d still be in the playoffs. So they could have been four games worse and still won the title. The way to think is more “Peak at the right time”. Not that Seattle slumped in their last game, just that KC found a way to peak in the last month and carry that through the playoffs. Seattle is so good, they don’t know how to kick it to a higher gear, so they don’t know how to adapt to the higher pressure of the final (and to going behind a goal).

  • Guest

    The curse of the NWSL shield strikes again. How many more years will it take before it is acknowledged far and wide?

    • Steglitz49

      A curse for the losers; glory for the back to back winners.

      • Guest

        If whoever wins the next shield loses the final, teams need to start playing for second lol.

        • Steglitz49

          It would be simpler to junk the play-off and have a challenge cup. That way winning the basic series would not be devalued.

        • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

          Worked for Chicago..oh,wait.

          • Steglitz49

            They did not have ARod!

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Neither did Portland. They somehow won with that albatross Alex Morgan.

          • Steglitz49

            I thought it was Tobin who did the damage.

          • RM27Fan

            If memory serves Portland had to still score another two goals after Tobin scored and came out injured in the Semifinal. She did crack the game winning free kick in the final though.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Oh! She did damage, alright!

            https://youtu.be/bhfDHxrUFRA

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Thanks for finding it.

            Tobin and Miyama: freekickers supreme (though Miyama is sharper on the pks).

          • HOFCToDi

            They did have Abby Erceg.

    • mockmook

      3.7 years

  • Ethan

    Congratulations to FC Kansas City! A very well-deserved win. Apart from Rapinoe’s rocket and her later shot in the box, Seattle really didn’t create anything of note.

  • Ethan

    I know it was a great cross by O’Reilly and a decent header by Rodriguez. However, did anyone else think Solo looked quite suspect on the goal? Rodriguez’s header just ended up so central, and I’m wondering if Solo was too easily wrong-footed. Regardless though, FCKC pulled off a very professional, deserved win.

    • mockmook

      I think she just couldn’t react fast enough to a ball that could have gone in any direction — it ended up going on the ground as it went by, she couldn’t get down fast enough.

    • RM27Fan

      It is always tough when a keeper has to come back against their momentum and from that close there is very little if any time for a keeper to react. I think Solo thought the ball was going far post though and realized her mistake too late. The biggest reason crosses are so effective at creating goals is because it forces keepers to reset themselves with little to no time to react. I do think she could have done a little better though

    • HOFCToDi

      Huh?

      How about the two centerbacks falling asleep on the job?

      • Ethan

        I know that. Seattle’s defense definitely messed up there. I just was wondering about something that I knew people would probably disagree about.

        • HOFCToDi

          It was the Abby Erceg special, ball watching at its finest.

      • john

        How about no pressure on Holiday, the failed interception, uncontested cross, poor read by Solo? No goal is scored or prevented singularly.

    • brdn08

      The pipes don’t seem so far apart until you’re stuck between them. Part of what makes Hope so special is that she’s so decisive. In this case it worked against her. ARod really didn’t hit it well it sort of just dribbled across the line and that helped as

    • Guest

      It was a perfectly placed header back where it came from. I watched it a few times and get why she was going the way she was. Three Seattle defenders went up with Arod but she still got to the ball.

      That being said imho she was wrong footed, but no one is going to criticize herself more than Solo. As she has said she always believes she could have done better.She’ll be reliving this one for a while.

      0-2 in club finals. ouch. While her former backup has three club titles.

      • Guest

        yeah Hope is going to lose sleep over this loss but it won’t be about Barnhart. She has the Golden Gloves, olympic medals, three world cup medals, and a bunch of other achievements from her college years (Hermann nomination being the most prestigious). Barnie has three club titles (an amazing feat and nothing to be discounted) but she never started in a major tournament and that was directly due to having the misfortune of playing behind Solo. Barnie is probably laughing right now but Solo has the nicer trophy case and I think she’d trade for those accomplishments any day.

        • Another guest

          I’ve always wondered how much of Barnhart never being able to surpass Solo on the NT was due to Solo’s personality rather than skill. Yes, she is more athletic than Barnhart and always has been but at that level it can come down to intangibles. Solo’s got that attitude that makes you go ‘yep, that’s who I want guarding the goal’ Angerer and Scurry had it too.

          • newsouth

            sponsorship.

          • One of a Kind

            The same Hope Solo that’s lost literally all her sponsors in the last 18 months except Nike, who didn’t air not one single promotion with Solo in it during the 2015 WWC? The same Hope Solo that was questioned for criticizing Chastain for pretty much no reason IN 2012 DURING the 2012 Olympics? Your theory makes PERFECT sense!

          • Steglitz49

            The OG-12 final. But for Hope and the ref, Japan would have won.

          • Steglitz49

            The OG-12 final says it all.

    • Ethan

      I get all of your responses, but I’m just wondering why she has to get caught in a position where strikers can put the ball against her momentum. I know goalkeepers like to cover the near post first in these situations, but a cross/shot ending up in goal from there is so unlikely. I feel like this is a situation where a less experienced goalkeeper might have done better; he or she might not have bothered covering the near post so much and wouldn’t have been caught out momentum wise. Then again, in that situation, Rodriguez might have just placed the header better. I’m not really as critical of Solo in this situation as I seem; I just end up with these types of thoughts sometimes.

      • Guest

        I definitely understand your response. It’s a tough goal to swallow. She prepared for one thing and got the other. I had to give rueful chuckle because Solo said before the match “Arod has my number”. If she had a goal tonight, I would have expected it from her feet. That being said, it’s easy after the goal was score to say Solo made a poor call but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on this one because she is so positionally sound. It’d be nice to have a GK or GK coach on staff for the equalizer to break things like this down.

      • RM27Fan

        I just watched it a couple more times and it seems like Solo continues to the middle of the net instead of stopping right in front of Arod and playing her more square. Maybe she didn’t get over fast enough and her continued movement was compensation? I am not a expert in goal keeping technique but it seems like her feet were not set to make a save in the moment Arod made contact with the ball. Still, I think it is hard to fault the keeper in this scenario unless the shot is shanked or right at Solo, it is going to end up in the back of the net

      • NYRick

        The only real fault you can give Hope on that play is anticipation. Something she is often very good at. When you see HAO running in alone from the flank you have to know her tendency (99% of the time) which is a quick cross to the center of the box. With that, Hope has to come out to meet that cross or simply be aware of the on-rushing ARod. Either way, it’s a bang-bang do or die play. ARod made it, Hope didn’t. Game, set and match in a game that was going to be decided by one goal.

        • Steglitz49

          Had Hope come out, it could have been a near post goal aka goal-keeper’s error.

        • Ethan

          If she’s expecting a cross to the center of the box, why is she still shuffling as the cross comes in, and why is she positioned towards one side of the goal? I’m just curious; I’m not really being all that critical.

      • Calci0

        To be fair, you can critique just about each and every goal a GK gives up. I trust Solo’s decisions 99%.

        • Ethan

          Well, I don’t critique each and every goal a GK gives up. In my opinion, Solo had no chance on DeVanna’s goal and Ogimi’s goal, and I’m not going to fault her on Johnston’s own goal. (These are only three of hundreds of examples.) However, Solo’s play on Rodriguez’s goal is just a little suspect to me.

      • Breakers fan

        I’ve never been a goalkeeper but my analysis would be that she moved to her left to try to square up with ARod and I think she did square up with her well, but then as you say there was some momentum in that direction. Then I think the header, and its very short path to the goal, just happened so quickly that it wasn’t really humanly possible for Hope to react back the other way to stop it, even though it wasn’t that far from her. You’d have to be in Hope’s shoes there to know how fast that all happens.

        I think if you want to fault her at all, which I don’t really do here, you’d say that maybe she could have, brilliantly, anticipated that the odds were going to be that a subsequent header of a cross to the center would go, be headed, back towards the near post because the person (ARod) heading the ball would be facing that way, towards the near post and so it’s simply easier to head a ball forward, towards the near post, rather than a twisting motion heading it backwards towards the far post, though great headers of the ball can do that too of course. If Hope had “cheated” a little near post, by thinking this way, would ARod have seen her there and then altered the direction of her header? No way to know but maybe not, if ARod is not a great header of the ball – but I have no idea if she is, maybe she is good enough at heading the ball that she would have then tried to go far post.

        • Ethan

          If I want to fault her, I’d question why she’s not positioned more centrally in the goal once Rodriguez meets the ball. O’Reilly was very, very unlikely to try to go for goal, and O’Reilly in that kind of position doesn’t mishit a cross that will lead the ball to head towards goal. So, Solo doesn’t have to cover her near post, and she can station closer to the middle of the goal. As a result, when Rodriguez meets the ball, Solo will not be a position where momentum can be used against here. If Rodriguez still heads the ball the way she did, it’s a routine save for Solo. Of course, the question is whether Rodriguez would have headed the ball differently.

          I don’t think it was a huge gaffe from Solo, and I think Seattle’s defense was far more at fault. However, no further viewing of the goal has convinced me that Solo couldn’t have done better.

          • mockmook

            There was no “ideal” place for Solo. No matter where she stood, unless A-Rod hit it right at her, the ball was going in.

          • Ethan

            I simply can’t agree with that. Agree to disagree.

          • Breakers fan

            Good point about the odds being very against O’Reilly taking a shot there. Watching it a few more times I’d say yes, considering the whole situation, it could have been save-able had she acted quickly and positioned herself more smartly, but that thinking had to happen fast and as it turned out she was about a foot off in her estimation and her momentum going the other way cost her. I agree with you – not a huge gaffe. Pausing the play in the highlights above at the 7 second mark when the ball is in the air, almost to ARod, Solo is where the header was ultimately struck, (just to the near post side of the middle of the goal) but she then went right to the middle and ARod headed it back to where Solo had just been. I would bet a lot of goalies would have missed there. After the header was made there was little time to react. The save would have occurred almost purely by her positioning and balance at the point of the header. She would have had to have been just at the right spot and not leaning the other way.

          • Ethan

            I’m not sure if I completely agree, but you’ve made your point well. I know they’re not completely the same situations, but I’ve seen Cech make huge off-balance saves against Andy Cole and Chicharito. (I’ve also seen him make huge gaffes.) Hope Solo was able to brilliantly stop Ogimi’s header in the 2012 Olympics final because she positioned herself well to start with. She had very little time to react on that header.

      • skybolt

        IMO, it was definitely a gaff on Solo’s part. She over-thought the situation and tried to cover her flank as if Christine Sinclair was heading the ball. A-Rod is not known for her headers, and from what I’ve seen in the women’s game, almost 90% of players will just head the ball right down the middle at the goalkeeper (nothing fancy). Solo should’ve kept her ground and it would’ve been a fairly easy save.

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe ARod and Miyama should sit down by the pool with a Cosmopolitand or Apple Sour and exchange notes on how to beat Hope — and have their skill put down to Hope’s errors.

          It does not matter. Winning is all that matters.

    • Another guest

      I think she could have done a bit and I do mean a bit better but it probably still would have gone in. I’d still take Hope ten times out of ten when the game is on the line over any active keeper.

      • Ethan

        In an international match, I’d take Hope ten times out of ten when the game is on the line; I honestly don’t know for a club match though.

  • Guest

    Elli Reed’s poor interception was the start of the goal sequence. How much do you think Kendall Fletcher is kicking herself for the poor challenge that resulted in her injury? She might have prevented it.

  • guest

    So with Holiday retiring, who is going to replace her on FCKC for that central attacking midfield spot. I believe Kim Little is free to go from Seattle. Perhaps, she can sign for Kansas City and win that elusive title. Man, that would make FCKC a really scary team.

    • Guest

      i doubt she plays for anyone but Harvey. Harvey said on a SaH podcast that Kim is motivated by challenges not money. She might not feel her job is complete until she wins a title with the Reign.

  • Reality

    Congratulations to Lauren Holiday on her championship final year. FCKC will miss her services as will the USNWT. Andonovski has demonstrated how to put together an outstanding championship team. The defense has been particularly superior with Sauerbrunn as the linchpin. It will be interesting to see what Harvey does next year for Seattle to raise their game.

  • john

    It is interesting to note that Harvey who hails from a knockout cup culture has not yet gotten her squad to handle the win or else nature of the American playoffs. The preparation and mentality is similar.

    • Steglitz49

      European countries as a rule do not have play-offs. They have their leagues and cups. Not quite the same thing.

      Harvey was at Arsenal, the one men’s team in England who put money their ladies way unlike Man Utd who closed them down. For that reason Arsenal dominated WoSo in England and is the only English WoSo team to have won the ladies Champions League (but I think that was before Harvey’s days at Arsenal Ladies).

      • john

        Cup and playoffs =win or go home. It’s the same conditions and it begs the question why isn’t Harvey better at it.

        • Steglitz49

          She is good at basic series play in the US and in the UK it is hard to form an opinion because Arsenal outgunned [groan, groan] the opposition. Today the FAWSL and their cups are much more even than in Harvey’s day.

          The NWSL play-off is not the same as the Cups because in the NWSL play-off you select the 4 teams that have done well in the basic series of 3 matches between teams and then they have a do or die contest. are

          • guest

            From one perspective, I look at the regular season as like the groups stages in a tournament, and then the playoffs as like the knock out rounds. Winning the shield is like topping the group stages, but the ultimate goal is winning the playoffs, where it’s like advancing the knock out rounds and winning a tournament final.

          • Steglitz49

            That is why the shiled is not worth a pitcher of warm spit.

            It is to some extent a question of education in the timehonored traditions of soccer but it is hard to make a 4-team play-off do anything but make the basic series meaningless.

            In the 1981 Canada Cup, the Soviet Union destoryed Canada in the final 8-1. That was a Canada with Gretzky, Lafleur, Trottier and Bossy,etc. In the basic series Canada beat the USSR 7-3 but who remembers that today? — except Canadians trying to salvage some pride.

  • john

    Interested what folks think of this idea- Seattle should trade Solo now. She has high value, will miss time for Rio, and Reign currently have an adequate replacement. WNY, Sky Blue, Chicago, and possibly Washington would all be possible trade partners. Brilliant or bloody daft?

    • Calci0

      If they can get an creative attacker in return.

      • john

        Do any of these clubs have a player you’d want for Seattle in that role?

        • Calci0

          For WNY one of the young speedy attackers would work. Fields, Spencer or Williams, whichever Harvey thought would best fit her system. Sky Blue, Kerr or Hayes and their low draft pick. Would the Red Stars who might be looking for a GK take Solo and draft picks, and let Press go? I don’t know if they’d let Hoy or Huerta go, as they might be looking to build around them. Matheson from Washington but they already have Harris….. Again the key would be if Harvey can envision a role for them. But I do think they need to add some speed, or dynamic creativity up top.

          • Reality

            Harvey has developed an excellent mid-field which accounts for most of the offense but has neglected the forward line in designing a more complete team. In 2014, Kawasumi shouldered the burden of duties and Leroux did not appear to fit in properly. This year Yanez had to carry the team at forward. None of the above players were particularly outstanding and as a result, the attack IMO, while productive could have been more versatile for Seattle. Rapinoe was played at forward but she is more valuable in the mid-field position. The acquisition of a first class forward would amplfy the excellence of the mid-field but if Seattle tried to obtain one in the NWSL (Morgan, Press, Rodriguez, or even Dunn), they would have to give up comparable quality such as Little or Solo. Since Harvey will never let go of Little, your suggestion of Solo is a possibility. CRS is in need of a GK and the trade you suggested for Press and some draft picks might work if Dames thought that Solo would serve his building plans. Press would certainly thrive at Seattle with their mid-field. On the other hand, Harvey might look overseas for a first class forward where there are a number of possibilities all of which involve money.

          • john

            Washington might not have Harris, which is why I included them. Imo many of those you mentioned would be a bad deal for Seattle if it’s a straight swap. Solo is worth some combination of two-players, picks, or one of each. Harvey could sweeten the pot with a player she feels she doesn’t particularly need/want. Foxhoven?

    • One of a Kind

      There’s no way Solo would willingly leave Seattle. That’s her hometown and makes playing in the NWSL more convenient for her than most. I’d expect a Carli-like reaction to being traded amplified 100 times.

      • john

        Yes, she’d probably go ape. However, that is the lot of the pro athlete. Move or drop out. Team histories are full of incidents where a club held on to a player too long. As I mentioned it is a smart time to shop Solo.

        • One of a Kind

          I think there’s several USWNT players that SHOULD be on the block, but due to reactions to trades like the Carli/Leroux incident, clubs may be scared to deal big name players for awhile. Trades and relocation are a part of sports, but woso isn’t like many sports…

          • john

            Different mostly in it’s youth I’d say. However, as NWSL passes (please no surprises) the magic third season mark it is clearly time for every gm to start lokking down the road. I agree Solo isn’t the only NTer to be considered. Given the situation she was foremost in my mind.
            There is going to be big turnover in 2016 imo and folks need to plan for it. In addition to each team needing to act USSF needs to get proactive. It is highly likely that most NT players that the American public know will be gone from NWSL by the end of 2016. It is time to tell fans who the next group will be and where to see them play.

          • One of a Kind

            Same. I’m expecting a slew of retirements after Rio if the USWNT is triumphant. Fans will finally get what we want, which is an influx of newish faces, but it may be down to circumstance. GMs do need to prepare for this paradigm shift and perhaps be a little risky in their team building. WNY took the 1st lunge, now we’ll see if anyone tries anything similar. Furthermore, so much more needs to be done towards the league’s branding. When these players leave, the league will be scrambling to piece together the leftovers.

            Solo’s charges predictably came back up, so that could SERIOUSLY implicate the Expansion Draft and WNT going forward. That legal case could drag through Rio, which I believe wouldn’t allow her to leave the country. Talk about a plot twist!

          • Steglitz49

            Legal charges preventing a sportsperson when America’s honor is at stake? Pull the other one.

            Petter Northug is the obvious model for USSoccer.

          • Steglitz49

            American WoSo is an upper middle-class endeavor. Such behavior is par for the course.

            Hope is a rare exception to that cohort. LH knows that were she trade Hope, Hope would simply resign and walk away.

    • HOFCToDi

      Rory Dames values the collegiate draft probably more so than any other coach in the NWSL.

  • NYRick

    Congrats to KC with their back to back titles. On a day filled with such tragedy in America and of course most focused in the state of Oregon, kudos to the fans in the stands, especially residents of the state, who were surely there with very heavy hearts. But the beauty of sports is that it offers us a healthy distraction, albeit even for just two hours sometimes.

    As for the match, I thought it was well played and an exciting nail bitter by the two premiere teams in the sport. I watch the two and think that either can beat the USWNT outright a good 7 out 10 times. Some other thoughts:

    – Still don’t get the officiating in WoSo. Go watch the 37th minute and tell me how Winters doesn’t get a yellow for that takedown on Tymrak outside the box. That is a big call not to make because a yellow would force a smart and important Reign player like Winters to be more tentative. Also, the challenge on Fishlock by Buz was extremely dangerous, although Fishlock was a bit reckless as well. On replay, that could be a straight red by a competent official on Buz. Also in the second half, I thought the takedown on Tymrak in the box was a PK.

    – Game decided as always by two top teams…in the midfield. Sorry Reign fans, your vaunted midfield was outplayed, and Vlatko outcoached Harvey.

    – Really impressed with Laddish. Thought she was very active. And one of my favorites Tymrak had a very good match. Would like to see both of these players get an NT look. Then again, I really just want to see Vlatko take the reigns of the NT. They would be unbeatable for years.

    – Nice cross by HAO and cool finish by ARod for the winner. Thought Hope played it a little weak, but none the less, it was a big time goal in that spot.

    – On Kim Little. This is going to make some Reign fans heads explode, but for two straight NWSL finals she did not play well. If it was a US player, they would be labeled as choke artists. She always gets a pass, and sometimes when many are calling you the best player in the sport, you shouldn’t get a pass when you fail on the big stage.

    – Brunn is just incredible. And nice to see Holiday go out on top.

    • Steglitz49

      Kim Little did not play well for Scotland in the play-offs to reach WC-15. Scotland was roundly beaten by Holland.

    • Calci0

      Well last year for some reason, it seemed like she wasn’t playing her normal role, and was laying deeper than normal. This year, she seemed to be playing in her normal spot, but wasn’t able to create enough space like she has so many times throughout the season to make something happen. I was looking for one of her free kicks to cause Barnhart some trouble but it never really happened. Saubrunn had a smart Yellow on her takedown of Little, because that could have been the one!

      • JL

        It was a foul by Sauerbrunn, but not yellow worthy IMO.

        • Calci0

          That was worth a Yellow, she knew that if she let Little continue, it was going to produce a 1 v 1 with the keeper, as she was already beat on the play.

          • Steglitz49

            If you believe your interpretation, it would be a red card. Ask Iwahimizu.

          • Calci0

            Well I do think that would have been harsh, and I’ve seen many times in a situation like that where a Yellow is given. So I still feel it’s the right call.

    • Miki

      On Kim- I suggest you watch last year’s final over again. She had 4 shots, 3 of them on goal, and played the cross to Naho in which she missed on an open net. She did her usual, beat players with her footwork, and certainly did not “choke”. This year, her teammate’s were not doing her any justice. Her role is to create and set up others, and they simply weren’t getting in good positions for her to do so. Your input seems narrow-minded and based off a small sample size; I suggest you watch games from her time at Arsenal. Many, many decisive moments from her in Cup finals and what not winning multiple trophies for them.

      • NYRick

        I am by no means suggesting that Little is not a fabulous player. Maybe one of the 5 to 10 best WoSo players I’ve ever seen. Her vision and skill set is off the charts as we are all aware. I’ve seen a good many of her Reign matches, but not her time at Arsenal which I’m sure was equally superb.

        The point was regarding performance in the NWSL finals, which unfortunately in the US is strictly measured on results. Not good passes or plays that weren’t converted. There is really only one American player in the world and really all of WoSo who can get away with that and that’s A. Morgan. No one else. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you are not American. Because as I’ve said, American sports are measured how you do in the biggest matches. Take Carli. She in my opinion is the Eli Manning of her sport. Good player, at times she can even be dominant, but her biggest moments have come on the biggest stages. Take Press. Extremely dominant player but for US fans, and many on this board, she simply has to score at the very least 2 goals from the midfield position for the NT every match or she doesn’t deserve to be out there. Heaven forbid if when she got a rare start at forward and didn’t score at least a goal (which BTW doesn’t happen often). Elite sports is a results business and American fans are the harshest critics. Probably due to the fact that all US sports have the championships decided by season ending playoffs, not regular season records.

        • anotherguest

          Eli manning is not a good comparison to Carli. Looking at his stats last year and his start this year tell us that his high interception rate was mostly due to the types of throws Eli was asked to make over the first 11 years of his career. He has been far more consistently good over the course of the last season and the first three games this season. He has always possessed the skills of a top NFL quarterback and he will never be his brother. But contrary to what some Giants fans believe he shows up in a lot more games than just the Superbowl. He was outstanding over the course of the entire 2011 season.

          • NYRick

            Eli has won 2 SB MVP trophies. I believe in his 11 years as a pro, he has been to only one Pro Bowl. Even in his terrific 2011 season, I don’t believe he even cracked the top 5 for MVP voting. And he has come no where near that any other regular season. After the 2011 season, it was fair to put him in the top 5 to top 8 of all QBs in the sport, but really for the course of his career it can easily be argued that he’s been more in the range of top 12-15 QBs in the sport. This while being in the top 3 of highest paid QBs his entire time.

            I say all this as an Eli fan and one who has seen every one of his NFL games. His two biggest moments of his life came in those two SBs. I think though the greatest game he ever played was in the NFC 2011 title game against SF. I have never a QB take a worse beating and hang tough to win a game on sheer guts and guile. He is a winner. Much like Carli. But not the premiere players in their sport.

          • anotherguest

            Eli is never going to top Payton, Rodgers, Brady for MVP and quite honestly that is a ridiculous way to judge how a player performed relative to his situation over the course of the season. The Giants finished 9-7 so of course he was not close in the MVP contest. But Eli carried that team until the running game and pass rush pick it up near the end of the season and into the playoffs.

          • NYRick

            I hear what you are saying but those guys in the first sentence are simply better and more talented than him. The Giants have had pretty good talent for the duration of Eli’s career. I was at two home playoff games that Eli was also pretty horrific (05 vs. Carolina and 08 vs Philly). He’s good and you can win with him, but he is on the next tier of QBs in my opinion any way you slice it.

          • anotherguest

            I agree that all those quarterbacks are better. You can add Brees to that list too. I consider Eli in the next tier with Ben, Rivers, and a few others. I just don’t like the argument that he only shows up in big games and think that quite a few of his interceptions were the direct result of an archaic offense that relied on a strong running game and play action passing.

          • NYRick

            The perception on Eli is that he is a dumb bumpkin and he is the farthest thing from that. Personally, I would put Ben, Brees, Rivers and Romo in front of him too. Most would also put Wilson in front as well. But he is still quite good and certainly someone you can win it all with. He has proven that.

          • Calci0

            Whoa!!!!! Different teams run different offenses, and play in different conditions (as you alluded to). But Ben and Eli both have 2 rings, and yet, you’d continue to slide him down the list. As a 49er fan, I don’t know that Montana or Young would equal Bree’s numbers if the were put in the exact same position, but I’m still taking both of them over Brees.

          • anotherguest

            Well referring again to the article I think Gilbride’s offense had a lot to do with many of Eli’s poor numbers. But they do agree with you that they are the better quarterbacks over the course of their careers. Talent wise, I think he is right there with Rivers, Ben, and Romo. Eli may give off the aw shucks impression but he is smart and a hard worker. He also has many of the skill of a top quarterback.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Ben is by far the best player in the league. However, since the media doesn’t criticize coaches (they second guess, which is not the same thing), he’s had to suffer having is talent be completely mismanaged by his idiot coach Tomlin.

          • Calci0

            As a 49er fan, I remember that game for different reasons!!!

          • NYRick

            Incredible game! The fumbled punt won the game for the Giants.

          • Calci0

            punt(s). 😉

        • anotherguest

          If you want an article about how Gilbride’s offense negatively impacted Eli’s stats here is a good one from football outsiders.

          http://www.footballoutsiders.com/film-room/2014/film-room-eli-manning

          • NYRick

            Well let’s not get started on Kildrive. You are not going to get an argument with me on that and I don’t need an article. Also, keep in mind that Eli plays most of his games in the Northeast and never had the luxury of playing in a dome like Brees, his brother, Romo, Stafford or Luck or he would have put up incredible numbers. He can throw the deep ball with anybody.

          • anotherguest

            The more important part of the article was that it showed the passing charts of some of Brady and Rodgers who many regard as some the Elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Look at the difference in the areas of the field they target the most.

          • NYRick

            OK, I’ll check it out, thanks. Eli has never had a great TE either. Maybe Shockey early in his first couple of years. And Eli can say one thing that really no one is ever going to be able to say: “I took on the great Tom Brady in two SBs and beat him twice, and both times he had the better team.”

        • Miki

          I understand what you’ve just said and the “American way” so to say. I get it all comes down to the result etc. etc., What I didn’t get was your assessment of Little in the past two NWSL finals and saying she played poorly or could be labelled as a choke. Whether my backing-up contradicts the way people think in the U.S. or not, I believe her performance should not be thrown out the window simply because the result didn’t go Seattle’s way, because she did not in fact play poorly I think.

          • NYRick

            I think either I wrote it wrong or you may have misinterpreted. “Choking” is just a common phrase for a top tier American athlete (like Little) who fails to win the big one. I think it is often unfair and I don’t agree with it at all times. But the big players have to take the most heat when they get to the title match and their team (could often have nothing to do with them) fails to win. With Little, she gets a pass because she is not American. If she was a US NT player the critique would be harsh. Just check out the things said about NT players when they fail or perceive to have failed.

            Like I said, Little is really tremendous. She is someone who I would pay to see play. You can’t give anyone a bigger compliment. I was rooting for her yesterday.

          • Lord Otter-Blotter

            I’d define “choking” as failing to perform, rather than failing to win. I wasn’t watching closely enough to see quite why Little got so… er, so little done last night, so I couldn’t say if she choked or if she was just that well-defended. The latter seems more likely, though.

          • NYRick

            Vlatko is a great coach and adheres to the strategy of not letting the star beat you. They game planed beautifully to minimize Little. It was obvious. And it should be obvious that she is the engine that makes everything go for that team.

          • Calci0

            You could say the Reign/Harvey did the same as Holiday didn’t beat them.

          • Miki

            I see what you mean. And yes, USWNT players get the most flack because really, they’ve got the most fans/support, hence more criticism. Your initial comment made it seem like you yourself were thinking that way, which is what I didn’t agree with and the mindset I don’t support. But yes, I do understand what you’ve explained in regards to effortless, ‘straight-to-conclusions’ judgement of a player’s performance by some.

          • mockmook

            Please, DON’T see what he means when he’s back-pedaling — he damn well knows that choking means playing poorly to 99.9% of the people on this planet (including NYRick).

          • NYRick

            Little is the star of stars. She gets much of the credit when things go right for that team, and subsequently takes much of the blame when things go wrong. In championship games that gets magnified. Whether she choked or not is pure speculation. Sometimes a great coach understands how to defend and minimize a great player. Plus, KC is the only NWSL team that can match Seattle in the middle of the pitch. That had a lot to do with it.

          • Miki

            I’d disagree. She doesn’t take much of the blame/get criticized when things don’t go her team’s way because she does make an impact every match, whether the result shows or not, and people recognize that. The only match I’ve seen her actually criticized for is the 2nd WC qualifying match against Holland. She supposedly had an uncharacteristic, off game. If you want to label that as “choking”, go ahead. But that’s been one exception/instance – I haven’t seen anyone else saying she had choked or had an off-night in the final or the previous final. Everyone, as far as I know has said that KC defended her very well, with many players getting behind the ball and around her. The rest of the team wasn’t of much help either; Seattle as a whole didn’t have their best game. Which again, goes back to the opponent being of equal level, so it was a tighter match.

  • pontificate onwards

    This offseason will be great. Coaching changes, expansion and collegiate drafts, retirements, etc. Much for us to discuss.

  • NYRick

    Thoughts on the initial US player allocation 3 years ago for the NWSL. KC actually lucking out really out of their minds getting Brunn. Holiday was their first pick obviously, but really as we all know fully well (or at least should), Brunn is the best player on the NT. Really the best defender in the sport. Three years ago all the talk was where Alex, or Abby or Carli or Hope would go. Well, point is that the best player on the team went to KC (and really she was a second fiddle choice).

    Brunn is the real cornerstone to the KC dynasty. Throw in an unknown coach that no one was even willing to try to figure out or remember his name 3 years ago and you have a winning program and culture.

    • Steglitz49

      KC traded for ARod for season 2. Can’t remember what they gave up. Once ARod arrived KC won back to back.

      AROd is Queen by that logic.

      • we was robbed

        Renae Cuellar. I believe that’s what’s called a steal of a deal.

        • Steglitz49

          Vow! (Are you sure? I thought Cuellar left mid season.)

          Some coach, that Vlatko.

          • One of a Kind

            They gave up K. Mewis, who was then traded to Boston as part of the infamous Leroux deal without kicking a ball in a Reign uniform.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. That fits.

    • Calci0

      While Brunn is the rock; as Steg stated, Rodriguez, has been just as important. But you are spot on, they hit the jackpot grabbing an elite CB.

      • HOFCToDi

        It’s actually more than that. A team needs a quality centerback tandem and Amy LePeilbet is a solid compliment to Sauerbrunn.

        • mockmook

          Only this year.

          Phillips and Sesselmann in previous years.

          • HOFCToDi

            Julie Johnston has to suffer with Abby “roaring tire fire” Erceg, to put things in perspective.

          • Steglitz49

            Builds character. Sharpens reflexes. Teaches you to avoid red cards.

          • HOFCToDi

            Some players deserve a better fate.

    • skybolt

      With the success of A-Rod and HAO in the NWSL, I have a hard time believing Ellis will leave either of those 2 players off the 18-person squad (whether it makes sense or not). That means the only way Dunn is getting on this team is if both Rampone and Wambach retire. I think Wambach may be done after this year, but if Johnston or Sauerbrun are moved to the DM position, the team may decide to keep Rampone for one more tournament. The other option may result in keeping Leroux on the alternate squad due to her recent injuries. It’ll be interesting to see who the alternates would be since both Klingenberg and Press were first choice players to make the squad after the Olympics last time. I’m not holding my breath for players like Tymrak or Ohai making the 18-person squad, but being an alternate is not bad option either.

      • Calci0

        Unless Leroux doesn’t round back into form, I don’t see how her recovery plays a roll in a tourney 10 months away. And with her NT resume, I don’t see how you keep Leroux at home…..

        • skybolt

          If I was making the decision I’d have absolutely no problem choosing a healthy Leroux over someone who averaged 1 goal per 4 starts with the NT as a forward over several years (A-Rod). However, A-Rod’s clinical finishing in the NWSL will likely earn her a spot with the NT once again. If that’s the case, then Dunn would either replace Leroux at forward, HAO in midfield or Rampone in defense (which is unlikely).

          • Steglitz49

            Dunn can replace Leroux without hassle.

          • skybolt

            The biggest problem for Leroux at this point is Lloyd. With Wambach fading, Leroux would’ve been the likely successor for set plays, due to her physicality and decent heading ability. However, Carli has pretty much monopolized that role now.

          • Steglitz49

            Syd’s problem is that she is not playing well enough while Crystal is.

          • HOFCToDi

            Sydney Leroux is recovering from ankle surgery. The last six friendlies should determine the fate of Rodriguez, Press, Leroux.

          • NYRick

            As much as it kills you, Press is an iron-clad lock for the OG16 team if healthy. I agree with you that I would not take ARod and would give the nod to Syd over her. Dunn should be a lock but you never know.

          • HOFCToDi

            With Jill Ellis as head coach, I would not put any guarantees on Rodriguez or Press.

          • NYRick

            Press is a certainty. If Abby hopefully retires, ARod may be a certainty. I wouldn’t take her, I think her NT record speaks for itself. Syd I wouldn’t give up on.

          • HOFCToDi

            Let’s see which of the “bubble” players “show up” against Brazil before making guarantees. France only beat Brazil 2-1 in a recent friendly, a match in which all the goals were scored on set pieces.

          • NYRick

            Press is not a bubble player. Bubble players are HAO, ARod, Syd in my opinion. Once again, I respect you don’t want her on the team but only expressing some reality to you. She wasn’t benched at the WC. Morgan had to play and Abby had to get in every match even as a sub. Carli was a midfield mess the first 4 matches and had to be moved closer to goal or benched. They moved her closer to goal and Press was the victim of that. You may respectfully disagree.

          • Calci0

            Again a heathy Leroux “in my opinion” is as much a lock as Press. Nothing tells me that when she heathy she isn’t the same player with one of the best goals per game avg in the history of the NT. She’s one of the few that have scored in the Olympics. And was even seeing time back in 2011.

          • HOFCToDi

            Sydney Leroux was also the youngest player on the USWNT roster during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

          • HOFCToDi

            I base my assumption by the actions of the USWNT coaching staff throughout the course of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            I base my assumption by the actions of the USWNT coaching staff by the recent tactical formation switch. Looks like Jill Ellis is starting to take pointers from FC Kansas City women’s soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski.

          • NYRick

            Well that’s fair. We may disagree on this, but I honestly think personnel decisions on the USWNT are based far more on things beyond just playing ability. If not, Abby and Rampone would have retired by now. HAO would have been told that 3 OG gold medals are enough and ARod would be no where near the NT based on her past record (mostly as a forward starter) with the team. It doesn’t work that way.

            Once again we may disagree and I respect your viewpoint. But no one is going to tell me that Alex Morgan or Carli Lloyd is a better striker than Christen Press. It is simply a sports argument. Brady or Rodgers? Curry or Paul? Ovetkin or Crosby? I would be curious if you asked (and they gave a truly off the record honest answer) Vero, Necib or Little who they would want playing striker with them (and they could only choice one) Morgan or Press? I feel pretty confident the consensus would be Press. You can’t always go by the US team and their political coaching decisions. Quite frankly, ask yourself why Lloyd is scoring so many goals again now. I’ll give you one simple answer, no Abby. If Abby was getting 90 still, Lloyd would be off the score sheet. She is bossing the team much like Abby has done for years, and the younger forwards like Morgan, Press and Syd cower to their presence. They are treated like freshman on a HS team with Lloyd being the senior captain. Abby showed her the blueprint. Same with Rampone. No way she should still be on the NT. You honestly think there aren’t better CBs in the NWSL than Rampone right now? Most of us can name 3 or 4 easily.

          • Calci0

            Well Vero would say Press, but I think it is pure speculation to say the other two would echo that. And has Vero even played with Morgan?!? If not, that’s a biased pick.

          • NYRick

            Vero has played with Morgan at Portland, no? And yes that is speculation, but I was just throwing that thought out there, which is an interesting one. Actually all 3 (Vero, Little and Necib) are Euro motion-based, ball on the ground players and Press’s game suits them to a T. It’s like asking Tom Brady if he would take another tight end over Gronk.

          • mockmook

            So you picked the most biased group towards Press’ style — awesome!!!

          • NYRick

            I picked the 3 best midfielders in the world. Want to give me 3 others who are better and would be a better judge of forward talent to play with?

          • guest

            Vero’s style of play is complemented by Press so I am not surprised that she thinks highly of Press’ game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Little worked better with Morgan because they are both lethal on the counter. Not sure about Necib but I don’t think she is as good a midfielder as the other two. I think Henry is France’s best midfielder.

          • NYRick

            Press can work a counter equally as well as Morgan. Go watch the video of the goal she scored with Marta in the CL semi. Maybe the best end to end goal you will ever see from two players in a WoSo match.

          • guest

            I didn’t say Press was bad just that I think Morgan is the better player for stretching the field and counter-attacking. Press scored some great goals this year from counter-attacks.

          • NYRick

            In 2012 I would agree with you. Right now, I think Press is just as fast and just as worrisome for defenders. Watch an early CRS match against the Reign where she literally ran by Lou Barnes (a top defender) like she was standing still for the winning goal on Hope in the final minutes.

          • Guest

            We are probably going to disagree about Morgan’s performance at the the World Cup but I thought she did an excellent job of pulling defenses out of shape and drawing double teams. These are very important things that lead to goals. Maybe Press could have done a better job. Unfortunately she didn’t get the chance and I have not seen her have the same effect on defenses. This does not mean that I don’t think she would have scored more goals or played good if given more minutes at the WC. I just would prefer Morgan to be my starter if I had to chose one for one game against Germany. You have a point about finishing though because honestly if Arod could finish like Press or Morgan at the international level she would be the best forward. She is the best at holding up play makes excellent runs and plays of others runs very well.

          • guest

            I though Morgan looked great at the WC and in her last few games with the Thorns I have faith her finishing will come back. If not there are others who can take her place. But to this point I don’t think any other forward has definitely outperformed Morgan.

          • NYRick

            Necib is the most talented sees the pitch as well as anyone.

          • guest

            Henry is Les Bleus Engine many of their attacks start with a pass or excellent defensive play from her. She is a world class midfielder with a ton of range on her passes and shots. There is not a single player on the France that I consider more crucial to their team’s success.

          • mockmook

            And, you’re arguing as if they have endorsed your position, when it is pure speculation by you.

          • NYRick

            No I’m not. That’s speculation on your part. I said nothing about them endorsing my position. Talent likes to play with talent. I picked the most creative midfielders in the sport and said in my opinion I think they may all side with Press as the striker they most would want to play with. I could of course be wrong on that.

          • HOFCToDi

            Vero and Little don’t play for the USWNT. That’s the beauty of international soccer, each country has their own stars.

          • HOFCToDi

            Nevermind that Jill Ellis picked Kelley O’Hara as the first substitute off the bench against Germany in the semifinals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

          • NYRick

            Press is a forward. Her absurd talent even put her on the field on a powerhouse team like the US as a midfield starter. And for the record, they would have won the tournament with her as a midfield starter too. To think otherwise is pure speculation. The US only needed one goal to win any of the games with their defense.

          • Calci0

            Hey now, don’t slight Tony G!!!!!!

          • HOFCToDi

            Abby is done. Abby does not concern me.

            Rampone will most likely battle Engen for the third and final centerback slot, if past history dictates only three centerbacks allotted towards an eighteen player Olympic roster:

            ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/14/19/26/pia-names-the-olympic-team

            O’Reilly or Rodriguez or Press or Leroux or some combination thereof. Someone will most likely will have to accept an alternate slot. Performance in the last set of friendlies will most likely determine the fate of the aforementioned players.

          • NYRick

            That’s your opinion. If Press isn’t a lock on the 18, the evaluation process is insanely jaded. At this point I really could care less one way or another, but just stating pure logic. How do you keep a first 11 NWSL player off the roster? And that’s just for this past year? Press has one problem. She is too damn nice. That is her downfall on the NT. No other player is as disrespected for her talent as she on that team. Plus, she is durable as all hell and never complains and is versatile to play various positions. A coach’s dream, but unfortunately for her she is “second in” by the laws of marketing. Alex beat her to the punch for the attractive forward striker and will never lose that position. Perception over reality as the old Rolling Stone ads used to say.

          • HOFCToDi

            Neither Press nor Leroux have the track record of Alex Morgan against top competition.

            Four teams have qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games: Germany, France, Brazil, Columbia

            Christen Press – Goals Scored
            Germany – 0
            France – 1
            Brazil – 0
            Columbia – 0

            Sydney Leroux – Goals Scored
            Germany – 0
            France – 1
            Brazil – 2
            Columbia – 0

            Alex Morgan played the full ninety against Haiti in the last friendly. Looks like Jill Ellis wants Alex Morgan fit and in form for the 2016 calendar year.

          • NYRick

            Agree. But with all stats, we need to compare apples to apples for once. You have to play against top competition for starters. And Morgan gets to play against the top teams. You honestly think Press wouldn’t score playing 90 as a forward for the US consistently against really anybody. Seriously?

            Alex is perceived by the USSF to be a marketing bonanza. She will never be displaced as long as she wants to play. If she wanted to play till 35 and beyond like Abby, they would pencil her in as the starter. There is no doubt in my mind on that.

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan started against Germany and Japan in the semifinals and final, respectively of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Recovering from a bone bruise in her left knee and requiring arthroscopic surgery in her right knee, Jill Ellis started Alex Morgan over every other striker on the USWNT roster. A fully fit and in form Alex Morgan is a lock as the starting striker on the USWNT.

            Christen Press started as a forward against Sweden in the Group Stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup after starting against Australia in the Group Stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USWNT coaching staff may have reviewed the game tape and did not like the performance from Christen Press in the Sweden match.

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/64/72/20/eng_19_0612_usa-swe_tacticalstartlist.pdf

            You still don’t get it. It’s not what you think, it’s what the USWNT coaching staff thinks. Furthermore, Christen Press started as the left flank attacking midfielder in the first friendly against Haiti, her last appearance with the USWNT.

            You keep repeating the same script over and over and over and over and over with Christen Press. You have beaten this dead horse since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            I have another cause to champion. Sauerbrunn as the starting left centerback, Johnston as the starting right centerback, Rampone to be frozen out completely, Jill Ellis to get off her lazy ass and start calling up defensive/holding midfielders to audition versus Brazil and opponents yet to be determined in future friendlies.

          • mockmook

            Someone who “could care less”? You obsessively spill a ton of pixels on Press and where she ends up.

          • NYRick

            And you tend to spill a ton of pixels minimizing her.

          • mockmook

            Sitting on the bench isn’t being benched? Good grief!!!!

          • NYRick

            Please stop with the nonsense. If we were going by true benching at the WC, what in the world was Holiday and Lloyd still doing on the pitch after game 4? Morgan had to play. Absolutely had to for reasons beyond the pitch and Abby had to politically get in every match and burn one forward sub. Are you telling me that wasn’t true? Did you watch the same tournament as me?

          • Guest

            Lloyd and Holiday couldn’t both be benched. The only other CM that could play meaningful minutes was Moe. I do agree that they absolutely deserved to be benched after those games though. They were the biggest reasons for the anemic offense and the defensive breakdowns.

          • NYRick

            And Press fell on the sword for both. That’s my point. I wish people would just point out the politics on this team once in awhile and admit the possibility that very much exists.

          • Guest

            Well sure, with the midfield in shambles Morgan Brian and Tobin Heath were tasked with making it functional in a very short amount of time. Tobin Heath filled a completely different role in the midfield to the one that Press was playing. Instead of being asked to score goals Heath was used to advanced the ball effectively and break defensed down with her passing as was shown in the final and semifinal. But honestly I think the position Press should actually be competing for is the one that Lloyd currently occupies. I think Press would be an outstanding withdrawn striker. I would prefer the wings to fit the mold of Rapinoe, Heath, and Dunn before playing Press out wide. Also I think Press is wasted if she is not placed more centrally around the box. I think she would score a ton of goals if Alex is drawing a lot of attention in front of her.

          • NYRick

            Agree with everything you say here. As for Press more centrally in the box, it is difficult to get goals in the box for any of the forwards with Carli on the pitch. She will literally plow over a teammate who has a better shot. Especially with no Abby on the pitch. If Abby was on the pitch, Carli would be reduced to a little mouse. She is afraid of Abby, but walks all over the other forwards. It’s a sorority with the seniority going to the seniors. The freshman/sophmores have to clean the bathrooms and do the dirty work in the house.

          • Guest

            I am not a big Carli fan. However, I must acknowledge that she has played significantly better in the withdrawn striker role over the last 6 games. She is also taking significantly fewer bad shots when compared to earlier in her career. It does seem that the biggest reason for all the goals lately is that she is the main target on all set pieces with Abby pretty much done. I am a little worried that JE has not given any other player time in Carli’s withdrawn striker role. What is the plan if she gets injured before or during the OG next year and Morgan does not find her finish or is also injured?

          • Calci0

            Not to slight Lloyd. But how much can we pull from these VT games, in respect to tactics.

          • mockmook

            I think regardless of the level of the opponent, if you are taking fewer wild shots, that’s a positive.

          • Guest

            I cannot recall any outrageously bad decisions where Carli shot in lieu of a better pass in the final or semifinal of the WC. But I agree with mockmook that regardless of the opponent, playing the right way is a positive for any player.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press was benched.

            B E N C H E D

            B
            E
            N
            C
            H
            E
            D

          • Calci0

            You mean she hasn’t been player period. Leroux has already shown she belongs, and when healthy has earned her playing time…..

          • NYRick

            Staying healthy and fit is a big part of elite sports. Ask Derrick Rose. It’s really been my argument for the past 3 years with Alex. With the US talent in the program, the position should not be continually held for her in my opinion, but it is for reasons that go beyond the playing pitch.

          • Calci0

            No where am I claiming it should be held, but at the same time she shouldn’t be left behind because of it.

          • NYRick

            I don’t think she should be left behind, but she shouldn’t be the preordained starter. After one injury year, yes. After the good part of nearly 3, no way. It is for non-soccer reasons and no one, regardless of their argument, will ever convince me otherwise. She is one of the most famous US female athletes ever, and that counts for a lot in a money hungry program like the USWNT.

          • NYRick

            Sorry I thought you meant Morgan. I guess you meant Syd. My opinion is that Syd should be on the OG team before ARod and Abby needs to retire. Dunn should be there as a flank and the 3 big gun forwards should be Press, Morgan and Syd.

          • Calci0

            All three need to earn their time up front. And bias aside, against any WOSO team, I feel confident with any pairing getting the job done with the right tactics.

          • NYRick

            I really don’t want to get into this, but I don’t think Alex has to “earn” her time any more. Not after 2012. As long as Dawn Scott says she is physically able, she starts the big matches at forward. I don’t think that’s very fair, but what do I know.

          • Calci0

            To a point, you may be correct. Which is why, as hard as it may be; Leroux, and Press need to score big against top teams.

            Case in point: Also please don’t take this as me elevating one over the other. But I just want to point out how little respect Leroux gets for her End of 2013 into 2014 season while Morgan was away. She may not have scored against Germany, or Sweden. But she has tallies against Brazil, Japan, France, NZ, and multiple against Canada.

            As unfair as it may be to both players, they both need multiple goals this WC to unseat the established stars, and for whatever reason that didn’t happen. The AC should be another big opportunity!!!

          • NYRick

            In short, Alex doesn’t have to score. Just be dangerous. Press and Syd have to score or they won’t get two consecutive starts. And I agree with you that Syd has a great strike ratio on the NT and has produced against good teams. Carli and Abby hogging the 18 have always been the problem for these two in my opinion.

          • NYRick

            Agreed. Carli becoming a forward is bad news for Syd.

          • HOFCToDi

            Leroux is a striker. Morgan is a striker.

            In the last two friendly matches against Haiti, Jill Ellis switched the tactical formation to a 4-2-3-1. At least Jill Ellis is starting to adapt to the modern era.

            youtube.com/watch?v=mde_5iYfEAI

            8:06 Tactical Formation

            Carli Lloyd is now the central attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1 tactical formation.

          • mockmook

            Some players actually move around on the pitch instead of staying planted by the graphic of a Tactical Formation — Lloyd is a striker, too.

          • Calci0

            Leroux = The least respected player on the team……..

          • NYRick

            I am going to agree with you a bit on that statement.

            But I think she also gives off an air of entitlement for a young player on the team which has turned off some. I respect that you are a fan of hers and I can be totally wrong on that, but I think that perception may be there.

          • Calci0

            I can see how some of her comments might rub some the wrong way. But as a teammate, I don’t think she more than fits in. And reading up on her background, and how hard she has had to work to get where she is, I don’t see how she gives off a sense of entitlement. Again, her personality may clash with some fans, but I don’t think it’s indicative of her.

          • NYRick

            I like her in interviews. She is modest and very personable. I’m talking more specifically about maybe forcing the trade to the Reign, then asking out to be in KC with her husband. An understandable thought for her, but you really shouldn’t do that. Not when you are on one of the top teams. It just doesn’t look good, and is the stuff really entitled stars force upon their teams.

          • Calci0

            Eh, she’s young, and family is just really important to her I guess. She “asked” the question, and it backfired on her. But entitlement to me would be her demanding the trade. Publicly men’s sports players request trades, and they get denied, and still get the opportunity to show up and perform. I can’t say, I’d have done what she did, but I can understand the reasoning.

          • Guest

            Leroux making a big stink over where she got traded is unacceptable for a professional athlete. It gave off an impression of entitlement every bit as strong as Abby and her I don’t have to play for my club thing. No player in professional sports has a say in where they are traded to unless it is written down in their contracts.

          • Calci0

            She ASKED not demanded, a trade. And every player should have that option, just like a team has the option of trading you or releasing you out-right. Again would I have done the same thing, possibly not. But she wanted to be near her husband, and inquired if that was possible. And said, if not, she’d gladly stay with the Reign. I think she is professional enough that if she had returned, she would have still given 101%. Harvey thought otherwise and traded her all the way across the country. Farther away from her family and friends. Harvey is the coach, but I don’t think I’d have handled it the same way.

          • Guest

            I have no problem with her asking for a trade. My issues with Leroux start and end with her reaction to being traded to WNY and her comments following the news. She was unhappy that she wasn’t traded to the place she wanted and made some unprofessional comments about Harvey and the Reign. Again, unless it is specifically stated otherwise in her contract, she does not get to ask for a trade and then complain when she is not traded to her preferred destination.

          • Calci0

            I guess we just see it differently. I don’t see players as cattle. They have rights. And I’ll go out on a limb and say she politely asked to be traded for a legitimate reason. And followed that up with, if it can’t be accommodated, then I’d gladly serve the rest of my contract out with the Reign. Again would I have made the comments she made? Probably not. But to “her” she felt betrayed (and possibly Harvey felt the same?!?). But if you think about it from her side, she feels as if she was punished for asking to be close to her husband. I think many an NFL coach would have said, nope, we can’t move you. And that would have been the end of it….. If she said I’d like to see if there is an opportunity to play for FCKC so I can be with my husband, and if not, please allow me to continue working hard for the Reign, and the response was, OK, We’ll look into it. And then the next thing you know she’s off to WNY. I can see how that might be upsetting. If she was told yep FCKC or we’ll keep you, and then they send her across the country, that might be the reason for her contention. I wasn’t in the room so I can’t say either way. But it was an emotional event for her, and maybe she let her emotions do too much talking. With the Reign though, I don’t think you can point to a single time she didn’t represent them well.

          • Guest

            I do think players have rights and that Leroux had a right to be upset with the way things turned out. I do not approve with the way she handled the situation and the aftermath. In all other professional sports you can request to be traded and even request teams on the top of your list. Unless there is specific language in a players contract the team has no obligation to honor those types of requests. I don’t think I ever made any statement alluding to Leroux not representing the Reign well when she was a part of the team. Only distain for her remarks following the trade. I understand emotions may have influenced her reaction but it is really something that she should have kept to herself and not aired publicly. Maybe I was a little harsh comparing her to Wambach but I stand by my disapproval of her reaction.

          • Calci0

            Like I said, I don’t know that I would have handled the situation the same way that she did, and obviously you feel the same way. But we both probably have different personalities than she does, and maybe she wears her emotions or her sleeves?!? And again, I think we are on the same page with how we “would” have reacted, but if it truly happened to either one of us, maybe we have a change of opinion?!? I mean think about all of a sudden having you entire life uprooted and moved to pretty much the exact opposite side of the country, even further from friends and family. Sitting at the comfort of my keyboard, I can say I’d be more tactful. But if I actually had to go through it…..

          • Steglitz49

            In the men’s game you can ask to be transfer listed but it means you forgo your cut of the transfer fee, usually 5% at least.

            It does not end there because if you are not traded then you are where you are and if the coach then does not pick you, you lose the match fees.

            I suspect that in the men’s game Syd might well have been sold — but to the highest bidder.

          • HOFCToDi

            Taking into account Brian, Dunn, Johnston; Leroux is currently the fourth youngest player on the USWNT roster.

          • NYRick

            Age on the US team is better judged in “cycle age.” If Syd is 25 and someone else is 26 or even 28, they for me are in the same cycle age. Syd is not playing on this team beyond 2019. Neither is Morgan. Neither is Press, and the jury is out on Dunn too if she can physically hold up.

          • mockmook

            Yeah, the sad case of Milbrett shows that little players like Dunn can’t have long careers…

          • HOFCToDi

            What?

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team#10_most_capped_players

          • mockmook

            Please look up “sarcasm”.

          • HOFCToDi

            I apologize.

            The Christen Press banter is once again reaching its usual absurdity.

          • NYRick

            I didn’t say she couldn’t have a long career. I have no way of knowing that. But she is a very physical player for her size and has been injury prone, even in her early 20s when she should be most durable.

          • Steglitz49

            Though I have mentioned Crystal’s lack of height as a reason for her not being selected by JE (the other being her injury), nevertheless I must take issue with your statement.

            Aya Miyama and Nahomi Kawasumi are both 5’2″. Does one measly little inch make that much difference? 61″ vs 62″, not 6″ vs 7″.

          • Guest

            Besides that fact that I think both Miyama and Naho are both much more complete players than Dunn I think the lack of hight for Dunn should only affect her ability to effectively play a lone striker role. She is simply too small to be a traditional target striker and would likely get eaten alive by defenders like Nilla Fischer in that role.

          • Steglitz49

            Agreed.

            Had Crystal played last season like she has done this season, she would have been in the WC squad, maybe at the expense of ARod or Christen.

          • Steglitz49

            US WoSo, at least at NT level, is a white woman’s game. ARod is the token hispanic on account of her name.

          • HOFCToDi

            With regards to the Olympic roster, Pia only brought three centerbacks, three fullbacks, two goalkeepers to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. I anticipate the same aforementioned positional distribution going forward.

            ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/14/19/26/pia-names-the-olympic-team

          • HOFCToDi

            The forward and midfield distribution will depend on the tactical formation that Jill Ellis will eventually settle upon. If Jill Ellis sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation, the need for more than two strikers is questionable.

            As a footnote, four alternates were named to the 2012 Summer Olympics squad.

          • Steglitz49

            HAO punched her card in this final. The mistress of fine crosses at critical points in key matches.

        • Steglitz49

          You replace Syd with Crystal Dunn.

          • Calci0

            You take both. But I for sure don’t leave someone with Leroux’s known performance at home. I know she is a goal scorer at the NT level. And heck I know she can score in the Oly’s because she has. If she isn’t a starter, but one goes down, I for sure want her filling that spot!

      • Steglitz49

        Tymrak has no likely role in the NT. Ohai may have.

      • NYRick

        I agree with your logical thinking on how the roster may shake out. Here is how I would see it as a coach (if I’m being truly fair to the program).

        Having ARod, HAO or Rampone on the roster currently and most especially by Aug 2016 will not be the difference of winning the gold medal for the US. Anything short of gold is a complete waste for the US team anyway at this point (if they are going there with the idea of truly winning the gold). My feeling on that, and I think you have also echoed this is that there really should be no pressure for the team to win gold at the OG. Not after the big hoopla of this year’s WC win. They will retain their #1 ranking anyway for a good couple of years at least and probably beyond to 2019. So with that it is the perfect place to integrate 4-5 newbie talents onto the roster. We both know that there isn’t a fart in windstorm chance of succeeding or happening with that. Even the shill mouthpieces like Foudy have begun the “not enough time” echo for the roster transition at OG16. And of course there is the charade of this extending tomato can tour against mostly teenage teams and to appease the last hurrah vets for a last ditch payday. Having said all that (phew, sorry for the long winded version here), all 3 (ARod, HAO and Rampone) each have 3 golds in their closet already. Do they really need a 4th?? How effin selfish to they really have to be? In fact, no one bothers me more than Rampone in this instance, and this Brunn move to DM seems like another move to get her on the OG roster as you say. There are better, younger choices in the NWSL if that was the case anyway and everyone knows it…including Supermom, superwomen, greatest female athlete of all time (in her own mind) Rampone.

        Syd’s problem is not Dunn, it’s one Carli Lloyd. The thing Syd has going for her is massive social media popularity with the kid and teen fans. USSF understands that and will grant her a spot. She’s Morgan running mate on the team too so that counts for a lot as well. Syd has a very good record with the NT but she is at best 4th or 5th on the forward totem pole if you include Carli in the mix, least of all her old mentor and pseudo BBF Abby (who will take a roster spot from her if she so desires). The Press haters will say her spot is in jeopardy but they are simply being haters and moronic, so I pay them no heed.

        • skybolt

          Replacing reserve players at best with potential future starters would probably result in a very minute decrease in our chances of winning the Olympics. For instance, if we took out A-Rod, Rampone, HAO and Wambach from the 2015 WC squad and replaced them with decent talent from the NWSL, we’re still winning the WC. I know A-Rod provided some pressure against China, but let’s be honest, China had zero chance of defeating the US in that match, since they had absolutely zero offense. As you stated, we need future starters on this Olympic squad just so they can get their feet wet in a major tournament before they are called to lead this team in 2019. I still remember how nervous KO was in the 2011 WC, but her participation in that tournament helped spark a much more confident player the following year at the Olympics and the 2015 WC. She even stated that she was super nervous as she shank’d her only shot at the 2011 WC.

      • Breakers fan

        Not sure how it happens but I’d be really surprised if Crystal is left off the Olympic team, even if no injuries to others occur. Shocked and dismayed, I would be. Let’s see how it shakes out over the next 8 months – a lot can happen in that period of time. But I see from where you come and you may be right, though I would consider that a major error by Ellis.

        Of course they contributed in a big way to the success of the team, but I think ARod and HAO should also count their lucky stars, in a sense, that they are on that team. These final two performances have helped their chances going forward maybe in a significant way.

        • Steglitz49

          Dunn will not be left off but either Syd or Christen or both could be gone.

          The women’s OG will be played in the US time-zone. America’s matches will be timed to suit US audiences. Losing to Norway in 2000 probably did not make great waves being in the wrong time zone and the Williams sisters made up for but losing in Rio will not be overlooked.

  • john

    Kudos to the KC ownership group. I have to admit I had no idea who they were and just looked it up. It’s really important we don’t stop appreciating the contributions and achievements of these less glamorous owners. Remember it’s a two/three team league with only MLS sister sides.

  • guest

    Did any of our prognosticators get this one right?

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  • One of a Kind

    And people said Tymrak doesn’t deserve another NT call-up! Congrats to FCKC! Tremendous heart showed by Holiday and the fact that she finished the game is a testament to her character. I’d like to see her retire after this match because it makes the script a lot sweeter IMO, but I wouldn’t mind if she played in a couple more friendlies. Left me alone, I wouldn’t have her retire at all, but that’s unfortunately not an option.

    What about A-Rod!? Amazingly clutch at club level. Why can’t she do this on the NT though? I’d take her over Leroux on the Olympic squad in a heartbeat. However, Hope Solo HAS to do better on that goal. Symbolic how she listed 19 reasons why her team would win the title, but a slight misjudgment on her part let that goal in. It’d be unfair to blame the loss totally on her though.

    The atmosphere seemed lively so I’d say the Portland/predetermined site experiment was a huge success; hopefully SRFC fans don’t use that as an excuse for their team losing. Now we wait for the viewership numbers to come in today…

    • rkmid71

      I think this is a case where you mainly have to give credit to the other team. There wasn’t a major gaffe.

  • FootballNowAndAlways

    How many shutouts does Solo have on the NT? 10000? How many did she have this year in the NWSL? I think it was 2 or so. Has anybody stopped to consider that playing in the NWSL might be more challenging than playing against national teams, some of which field mainly teenagers or amateurs who play for love and the occasional travel allowance?

    There was nothing beguiling about that goal. Routine cross it was and the subsequent header should have been caught by Solo. Her reflexes failed her in attempting to save a shot that was essentially directed right at her. She was in error, period. Any other goalkeeper in the league would have been blamed for it.

    Amy Rodriguez does have Solo and Seattle’s number. Has burned them in two finals now. This year, KC beat Seattle twice by 1-0. Rodriguez was the scorer on both occasions and Solo was the net minder on both occasions.

    A-Rod looks awesome in the KC kit – solidly built, young and athletic-looking as hell in spite of her pregnancy and childbirth. Her agent better get to work. Yesterday’s performance should provide plenty of grist for his/her promotional mill.

    Since HOFCToDi gives so much credence to playoff performance, I wonder if he/she is now willing to recognize A-Rod’s prowess. You’ve got to admit, she owned these playoffs.

    13000 people to watch a women’s soccer final? 15 – 20 years ago, the USMNT was struggling to attract that many people to matches against marquee opponents.

    • HOFCToDi

      With regard to Amy Rodriguez, I admit she is a fabulous club performer for FC Kansas City. I responded to the topic of NWSL performance vis-à-vis USWNT in another thread:

      “If club stats were so important, Amy Rodriguez would have been the leader in goals scored during 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Knockout Stage for the USWNT based upon her 2014 NWSL Season.”

      NWSL performance opens the door to the USWNT. However, a NWSL player must prove themselves all over again at the USWNT level. NWSL performance does not always transfer to USWNT performance.

      I personally value performance at the most important international events:

      FIFA Women’s World Cup
      FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualification
      Summer Olympic Games
      Summer Olympic Games Qualification

      I would expect that there is no greater pressure to perform than the Knockout Stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and/or the Summer Olympic Games.

      • FootballNowAndAlways

        So how do you rate Kim Little, given that she’s had a relatively modest international career?

        • HOFCToDi

          Kim Little is a fabulous club performer for Seattle Reign FC, no doubt about it. I can’t comment about her performance with Scotland since I’ve have not seen her play this year internationally.

          • Steglitz49

            Scotland failed to qualify for both Euro-13 and WC-15 (and WC-11) so there is your answer.

          • HOFCToDi

            What about Euro-17 so far?

          • Miki

            In their recent, opening Euro qualifier match, she scored a hat-trick. I wasn’t able to watch the match but from what others said (including the Scotland coach & players), Scotland looked nervous and unsettled and didn’t exactly play well, but Little was the difference. They won 3-0.

          • HOFCToDi

            Thanks for the update.

          • Lord Otter-Blotter

            Against a Slovenia team ranked in the 50s or so, iirc. Hopefully Little and the gang can play better when they need to.

          • Miki

            Indeed. She deserves to play on the big-stage. Know Scotland are really going all out in Euro qualifying and want to break that barrier. And other than that recent hat-trick, she’s scored 5 times against Netherlands (including a hat-trick back in March this year), couple goals against Spain, England, Switzerland, and South Korea, and a goal against the U.S. – so she can/does step up against better teams as well. But even with her individual brilliance, it’ll come down to the team itself vs. better teams, in which they’ll all need to step up.

          • Steglitz49

            Little was criticized after the play-offs. The Scotch papers essentially felt that she was more committed to Seattle and her budding broadcasting career than the NT. That criticism was fair imho. She looked uninvolved and lacked sharpness, even a bit podgy.

          • Miki

            Why would she be less than committed to her own country? “Podgy”? Signeul was saying the exact opposite actually, saying she was fitter than ever since coming back. If you do think she lacked sharpness and all that, it could be because she wasn’t with a club at the time. She wanted to purely focus on WC qualifying, so she spent the whole offseason only with her national team. Hence why your claims that she was more committed to Seattle lack even less sense. I’d love to see a source. And “budding broadcast career”? What made up story are you trying to go on about this time?

          • Steglitz49

            Little has been much sharper during these Euro-17 qualifiers than she was in the play-off against Holland. That may speak to your point or that the Dutch were much better than the Scotch. I suspect that the criticism and the boredom of missing out on the WC helped sharpen her a bit too.

            During the final day of the FAWSL last year, Little was a talking person on the touch line. She did similar duty during last year’s Conti cup final. Little is glamorous to a fault and well spoken. She has to nurse that opening because now that the English NT is riding high, the network may find other talking heads.

          • Miki

            Her along with Scotland have only played one match in this qualifying campaign so far. And that match taking place during the international break between the NWSL semfinal and final – midseason. So yes, she was/is sharp. The qualifiers against Holland were a couple months after the NWSL season, and since she wasn’t with a club, she may have lost some match fitness, hence looking less sharp to you. But involved, podgy, and not committed? Really. And I would not define that as a “budding broadcast career”. As I’ve already said, she wasn’t with a club during the offseason, so when not with Scotland, she was with her family. She was probably asked if she’d like to, and said why not and did so. I wouldn’t look too far into the meaning of it…

          • Lord Otter-Blotter

            They didn’t miss the WC by a wide margin, though. They were second in their group in qualification, and got into a playoff for the final WC spot which wound up going to the Netherlands (to whom they lost 4-1 in the semis — the 1 came from Little).

      • AlexH

        My personal opinion on the club vs. country performance of many of the players is that you just can’t tell by the last 365 days. The first part of the last 364 was devoted to “Finding a role for Abby” and the second part was JE groping for a formation that pulled our central midfield together.

        It’s looking like JE now has a system and will hopefully ditch Abby so I think that A-rod, Press, Tymrak and the entire gang of “great with the club” should get another look.

        • HOFCToDi

          I am bitterly disappointed with Jill Ellis. Crystal Dunn was the only player called up to the USWNT for the friendlies against Haiti.

          What’s the point of playing Shannon Boxx, as was the case in the second half of the second friendly against Haiti, when Jill Ellis needs to find replacements for Boxx and Holiday?
          Abby is done. Whether Abby admits it, that’s a whole nother story.

          Rampone looks done. Do you seriously expect a 41 year old player to survive the heat and humidity of Brazil? Does Jill Ellis even consider the Brazilian climate with regard to player personnel selections? I hope Jill Ellis is not that short sighted. I’m talking about you Christie.

          • AlexH

            I think Rampone needs to go as well but not necessarily because of the Brazilian climate.

            It all depends where the games will be played. If they play in Manaus, Recife and Natal again that would be an issue but if they games are played around Rio then not so much because it will be Winter. The average high in Rio in August is 78F.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christie Rampone will be 41 years old next year. Is Jill Ellis subsidized by the AARP faction of the USWNT?

        • Steglitz49

          Tymrak, I doubt. ARod ought to be safe. Christen is borderline but probably in though far from sure.

    • AlexH

      I think the reason that Solo underperforms with her club is that she just doesn’t give a rats backside. In her defense she does show up unlike, say, Ali Krieger.

      • HOFCToDi

        Yet another poster taking a pot shot at Ali Krieger, not that I’m a Washington Spirit fan.

        Steg, time for you to chime in once again with your daily Krieger rant.

        • AlexH

          Who says I’m taking a shot at Ali Krieger? I don’t blame her for not showing up given that the purpose of the NWSL is to be training cones for the national team players. Ali’s only fault was that her absence made this reality plain for all to see.

          • HOFCToDi

            In that regard, Abby takes the cake:

            “I don’t need no stinking NWSL”

          • Steglitz49

            That there is another traitress does not diminish the other.

          • AlexH

            Neither are traitors but rather deserters. However, it isn’t even deserting if the high command gives you leave to go.

          • Steglitz49

            You’ve lost me but if it floats your boat keep humming that tune in your private chamber.

          • AlexH

            What I do in my private chamber is none of your damn business but trust me when I tell you that even if it was your damn business how I floated my boat you really wouldn’t want to know.

          • Steglitz49

            The high command gave Christen leave to attend her sisters wedding. It was a friendly and Christen was forfeiting her match fee — and risking her NT career.

            In the other case, what was the coach to say? I can only assume that his jaw dropped. Now, can you imagine such a strong character even making such a request to Laurent Blanc in the SF of the Champions League or King Eric to SAF or Mueller to Guardiola? I can’t.

            The one that failed the fans was JE because she could simply never have plaid her again.

          • HOFCToDi

            Those who defected to Europe will most likely never see the light of day:

            Horan
            Stengel

            They sold their soul for the “Euro”.

          • Steglitz49

            Katie Stengel won the DFB league in her first season with Bayern Munich. Bayern are playing Champions League for the first time this season. Katie plays in the U23 for what it is worth — not a lot, I suspect.

            Horan was well compensated by PSG for giving up her UNC spot. She had been injured before going to PSG and keeps getting injured. That alone I expect to keep her out of the NT. Horan has better make hay while the sun shines.

            Time will tell but it is so competitive to get into the NT and the coach seems to hang on to them for too long (unlike Pia who cleared out the stables), that players can be forgiven for using the boots to travel the world.

            Yanez and Moros had a great time in Japan.

          • HOFCToDi

            Yet neither have not been called up to the USWNT by current head coach Jill Ellis.

          • Steglitz49

            I typed that I was dubious Horan’s chances. I feel the same about Katie’s. It is not a surprise that they chose to play abroad.

            It is worth being mindful how young the players were that Pia brought into the NT. They were young.

          • HOFCToDi

            Pia took risks while Jill Ellis may be the most risk averse coach in USWNT history.

            Ugh!

          • Steglitz49

            JE may well have completed Pia’s legacy. That is the way the cookie crumbles. Time will tell if JE can accumulate a good record as a coach. Remember, Sylvia Neid started great but two lost WCs later, a faded star.

          • Steglitz49

            She deserves blame. Loyalty and respect. Her actions spoke louder than words what she thought of the fans. Without fans, we don’t have a sport.

        • FootballNowAndAlways

          Compared to the paid attack dog, hack job you’ve been doing on Press, you’ve got nerve talking about people taking pot shots.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Even I have had to speak in Christen’s defense because of this boor.

          • HOFCToDi

            Take a seat on the bench.

          • Steglitz49

            As Lord Chief Justice or as Lord High Executioner?

          • HOFCToDi

            Upon orders from Jill Ellis.

            I wonder how long Press will stay in “Le Chateau Bow Wow”?

          • AlexH

            Wait. HOTFC…… is getting PAID to attack Christen Press? How can I get me a piece of that action?

          • HOFCToDi

            Paid for by the Carli Lloyd defense fund.

            Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe approve this message.

          • HOFCToDi

            Plenty of bulletin board material now updated within this thread.

            Enjoy.

          • HOFCToDi

            That was warranted due to the NYRick’s incessant smear campaign of Carli Lloyd since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Unlike NYRick, at least I posted the statistical analysis between Lloyd and Press in my defense.

          • NYRick

            Incessant smear campaign?? I simply don’t like her game. That’s my opinion and my prerogative as a fan. Nothing personal against her, she is obviously a hard determined worker and a person of seemingly high character and achievement. Kudos to her for her accolades.

            But with Press you are taking it to silly levels. You post all these crazy stats and videos and maybe you should really watch some of her highlight videos are better form your opinion of her as a player. I mean for crying out loud the girl has 25 goals in 52 caps playings as a non-forward (her natural position) most of her NT time. She scored 10 goals in 11 NWSL matches, all “statistically” against the top keepers in the league, and most late in matches to help her team secure points. I get your devotion to Huerta but you really weaken any argument you make thinking she is in Press’s class (at least now) as a player.

            With your insistence on continually posting Press stats, please by all means dig up some on Morgan for the past couple of years for club and country. Morgan for me is much like Victor Cruz of the Giants. Living off one great season and was a media sensation. Both very good players but not top of their profession by any means and untouchable. Also please dig up Carli’s stats at this past WC the first 4 matches (where most sane coaches would have benched her), or her shot to goal ratio for Houston or the NT. How about some turnover stats for forwards/midfielders on the US team. Dig those up for us the past 3 years. I think you may be startled to find out some really telling negative info on other US players other than Press.

          • HOFCToDi

            First, I don’t give a crap whether you don’t like Carli Lloyd’s game. Keep that to yourself instead of incessantly spewing your garbage on internet message boards on a weekly basis.

            NWSL performance does not always correlate to USWNT performance as evident by Amy Rodriguez’s 2014 NWSL Season and 2014 NWSL Playoffs. All that matters is the individual performance on the USWNT.

            How about this, you do some research for a change. The USWNT faced Brazil, France, Japan in the quarterfinals, semifinals, final of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USWNT faced China, Germany, Japan in the quarterfinals, semifinals, final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Brazil, Columbia, France, Germany already have qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. With all the aforementioned teams listed, post all the goals scored by Leroux, Morgan, Press by country (Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, Columbia, China). One other factor you yet to consider, Leroux and Morgan are both younger than Press.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            Your advocacy for Huerta in place of Press, as well as your past dismissive remarks about A-Rod’s prowess (which her club performance has revealed to be considerable), prove you have no idea what you are talking about. This latest disquisition against Press is simply another of your desperate bids for attention. It’s detestable really.

          • HOFCToDi

            You don’t have a clue what you are talking about since the discussion is Lloyd versus Press with regard to the USWNT. Too bad you can’t distinguish between club performance and national team performance.

            As for Press with the Chicago Red Stars, I would trade Press for the first or second overall pick since the Chicago Red Stars are more than one player away from the NWSL title. It’s not my fault you don’t understand the concept of building towards the future.

          • guest

            you should know by now that he doesn’t like to post all the relevant facts during a discussion. he likes to pick and choose a couple facts that support his weak propaganda.

          • mockmook

            “she is obviously a hard determined worker and a person of seemingly high character and achievement.”

            Then, below, you call her a ball hog and talk about how she will push teammates out of the way to get her shots. I dare say, if we looked through ALL your prior comments, I’m sure you have thrown in there a “selfish” or two.

          • NYRick

            Yes she is a ball hog and selfish as a player in my opinion. I’m sure I said that. Are you disagreeing with me on that? I’m sure many others have echoed similar comments about Carli’s game on here. And that has nothing to do with being a hard worker and determined. She is determined to get on the score sheet every match. I’ll give her that and she shoots far more than any other player. That is fact. And she has plowed over a teammate or two in the box for a shot (when a teammate had a better scoring opportunity). Also fact.

          • mockmook

            Doesn’t sound like the traits of a “person of seemingly high character”.

          • NYRick

            High character from the standpoint of a leader, a winner, a quality individual. A person who believes in themselves. A person who steps up in big spots. That’s all high character in my book. I just simply don’t like her overall game. Nothing personal.

          • HOFCToDi

            Carli Lloyd is so selfish that Carli Lloyd completed nearly twice as many passes as Christen Press during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament.

            2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament
            Passing Statistics

            Lloyd – 165/35 for 82.5%
            Press – 74/22 for 77.1%

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press is nothing more than a selfish shot hog. Christen Press is determined to get on the score sheet every match. Christen Press took more shots per minute during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup than Carli Lloyd.

            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Statistics
            Carli Lloyd – SOG% 52.9 (9/17)
            Carli Lloyd – SH% 23.5 (4/17)
            Christen Press – SOG% 28.6 (2/7)
            Christen Press – SH% 14.3 (1/7)
            Carli Lloyd – one shot per 37.1 minute
            Christen Press – one shot per 25.6 minute

          • Steglitz49

            Fascinating statistics.

            Still. Let’s look on the bright side of life. The US won and Christen got a winner’s medal too.

          • HOFCToDi

            Of course, NYRick will once again gloss over those statistics because you can’t reason with message board jihadists.

            Did you review the passing statistics, as welll?

          • HOFCToDi

            During the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the last five shot attempts for Christen Press:

            5 Shot Attempts/0 Shots on Goal

            Folding under pressure?

          • Steglitz49

            I used to take issue with NYRick about Christen back in her Tyresö days, as did others to be fair. One commentator did a similar analysis for Christen at Tyresö: her goals came against the weaker teams.

            Nevertheless, I am glad that Christen got something more out of her soccer than the Swedish Cup with Göteborg. It remains her only club team trophy. Christen grew enormously as a player at Gbg, which she these days acknowledges presumably taking the advice of her agent. I contend that had she stayed at Gbg she would have become an even better player and the way she left the club was symptomatic.

            Still. Christen got her WC. Not many players can say that.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press is “Queen of Tomato Can Alley”, feasting upon the “International Little Sisters of the Poor”.

          • Steglitz49

            If Aya Miyama had Christen’s looks, Aya would be the most famous WoSo player on earth after Marta.

          • guest

            sydney leroux’s uswnt major championship stats

            2012 Summer Olympics 1 goals 0 assists
            2015 World Cup 0 goals 1 assists

            leroux has proved that she is now the “second greatest striker in the us.” she has nothing left to prove or earn. she is a lock for the 2016 olympics.

          • HOFCToDi

            If it wasn’t for Leroux, Press would not have scored in the group stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup goal.

            youtube.com/watch?v=6YfouCE8-54

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150608-wntvaus

            If it wasn’t for Leroux, Press would not have scored in the semifinals of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament.

            youtube.com/watch?v=LAaH20T8dWs

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-concacaf-womens-championship/141024-wntvmex

            Seems as if Press needs Leroux a lot more than Leroux needs Press.

          • Guest

            Alex Morgan can do everything done by Leroux on the goal and she can do it more often and better Leroux has not scored since October of last year.

          • HOFCToDi

            Oh really?

            ussoccer.com/matches/wnt/2015/150517-wnt-v-mex

            How many goals did Christen Press score in calendar year 2015 for the USWNT prior to the Victory Tour “Tomato Can” Celebration?

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team#2015

          • Guest

            I stand corrected. Wikipedia has not updated her goal total than. So she scored two goals against Mexico who is every bit a tomato can as Costa Rica and Haiti. Australia is still a better goal than any Leroux has scored in over a year. Take your hate elsewhere troll. Leroux’s game has gone downhill Miki’s analysis of her decline and relative ineffectiveness as the other nations improve is about as spot on as it gets.

          • HOFCToDi

            You seem to forget who assisted the goal scored by Christen Press during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150608-wntvaus

            Sydney Leroux underwent ankle surgery subsequent to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

          • Guest

            I did not forget. I simply opined that if Morgan was healthy she is perfectly capable of making that same play from august 2014 to august 2015 Leroux has scored 4 goals. Press has scored 12 or 9 if you want to discount the VT games. One in the WC group stage and one in the Algarve Cup Final against France. Based on the last years performance why would any rational person chose Leroux over Press as their striker?

          • HOFCToDi

            What’s so great about the goal scoring production of Christen Press in calendar year 2015 for the USWNT?

            From 8 February 2015 thru 5 July 2015, the number of goals scored by the following USWNT players:

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team#2015

            Wambach – 6
            Press – 2

            USWNT Calendar Year 2015
            Minutes Played
            Leroux – 468
            Press – 1097

            Ever wonder the reason why Sydney Leroux underwent ankle surgery was to perhaps play pain free?

          • Guest

            I realize that Leroux has been injured. That is why I stopped at August 2015 and started at August 2014 and discounted the Victory Tour Goals. I have not even brought up until this point that Leroux was never forced to play out of position. If you don’t think playing flank affects goal production compare Press’ numbers to Megan Rapinoe’s goals to game ratio. The best wing in WoSo cannot get close to the top strikers in terms of goals to games ratio.

          • HOFCToDi

            Rapinoe is a better flank midfielder than Press. Heath is a better flank midfielder than Press. Why Heath did not start the first two games of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup opposite of Rapinoe is unfathomable.

            O’Reilly is a better flank midfielder than Press, even though it seems O’Reilly has landed in Jill Ellis doghouse for some reason. Dunn looks better as a flank midfielder than Press.

          • Guest

            You would have to ask Jill Ellis but I agree with everything you have said in this comment.

          • HOFCToDi

            We can agree to disagree about the Leroux versus Press debate and let the issue resolve itself most likely after the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

            Note the squad size for the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament was 20.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_CONCACAF_Women%27s_Olympic_Qualifying_Tournament_squads

          • HOFCToDi

            The discussion is not about Alex Morgan since I already have Alex Morgan listed as first on the USWNT striker depth chart. The debate is about Leroux versus Press.
            You can have that debate with NYRick since NYRick believes that Christen Press should start over Alex Morgan.

          • Guest

            It was in response to the assertion that Press could not score a goal like that without Leroux. I disagree. Alex is better at that type assist than Leroux ever will be.

          • HOFCToDi

            The Leroux versus Press debate goes further than goals scored. It also about assists, the result of an accurate pass with the precise texture, unimpeded by the opposition in any way or form. Team players who actually pass the ball.

            Caveat emptor on how assists are tabulated:

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assist_(football)

          • HOFCToDi

            Let’s review the “Big Picture”. 18 players are allotted for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. I already have the following players earmarked for the USWNT roster:

            Striker (9) – Morgan
            Left Flank Midfielder (11) – Rapinoe
            Right Flank Midfielder (7) – Heath
            Central Attacking Midfielder (10) – Lloyd
            Central Midfielder (8) – Brian
            Defensive Midfielder (6) – ????
            Right Full Back (2) – Krieger
            Left Full Back (3) – Klingenberg
            Centerback (4) – Sauerbrunn
            Centerback (5) – Johnston
            Goalkeeper (1) – Solo

            In essence, the starting XI minus Holiday for the USWNT against Germany and Japan in the semifinals and final, respectively of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            The debate is about the backup positions and the positional distribution:

            Backup Striker – Leroux vs Press vs Rodriguez
            Backup Flank Midfielders – O’Reilly, Dunn
            Backup Defensive Midfielder – ????
            Backup Fullback – O’Hara
            Backup Centerback – Engen vs Rampone
            Backup Goalkeeper – Harris vs Naeher

          • Guest

            I don’t disagree at all with your starting XI. I even support the consensus that moving Heath to holding mid is a stupid decision. I would just prefer Press as the backup to Morgan or Lloyd if she needs to come off.

          • HOFCToDi

            At least we agree upon the best position for Tobin Heath.

            Jill Ellis needs to stop procrastinating and start auditioning defensive midfielders pronto. I don’t care if Jill Ellis has to call up half dozen to evaluate during practice and intrasquad scrimmage prior to the Brazil friendlies.

            I would venture the remaining Victory Tour matches will resolve the backup positions going forward.

          • HOFCToDi

            I would rather see Morgan Brian moved into Lloyd’s back up position. Thus, the need for two defensive midfielders are required to replace Holiday (starter) and Boxx (backup).

          • Guest

            There is no current replacement for her DM spot but I wouldn’t mind seeing her play CAM

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis is the problem. Maybe if Jill Ellis got off her lazy ass and start doing her job instead of coddling the AARP faction (Rampone, Boxx, Wambach) of the USWNT during the Victory Tour, the defensive midfield void would be resolved.

            Plenty of defensive midfield options available from the NWSL, to name a few:

            Buczkowski
            Winters
            Laddish
            Killion
            Colaprico

          • Guest

            I like those names I think Killion and Colaprico still need some more development though. Colaprico will definitely be an undersized DM.

          • HOFCToDi

            Keelin Winters to Australian Westfield W-League:

            w-league.com.au/article/keelin-winters-re-signs-with-western-sydney-wanderers-for-westfield-w-league-201516-season/1fch8rftjwdw41ugdtyfq16oca

          • Guest

            I like Winters a lot. My only concern is if she is going to be around for the next cycle. Winters is a very good DM and will be very good at OG 16.

          • HOFCToDi

            My immediate concern is the final roster for the 2016 Summer Olympics. I’ll worry about calendar year 2017 in calendar year 2017.

          • HOFCToDi

            Michelle Betos to Australian Westfield W-League:

            w-league.com.au/article/sydney-fc-sign-usa-goalkeeper-michelle-betos-for-201516-w-league/avpcbz0zw0v018gcn0rtwcgqr

          • HOFCToDi

            Rotting at home for the entire fall will not have with a player’s development. Either the players get called up to the USWNT or the players need to find employment with the Australian Westfield W-League.

          • Steglitz49

            Krieger should not be in. If she can’t be bothered to play for her club in the NWSL semi-final, she should be out of the NT forever.

          • HOFCToDi

            Your complaints have fallen on deaf ears, namely Jill Ellis.

            Ali Krieger, at the age of 31, is on the “AARP payment plan”.

          • Guest

            With regards to your point about assists. Unless either is putting up Morgan like assist numbers I don’t see why this number should be used in an argument for either player. Neither are stellar creators. Both are poachers who score goals. I don’t have any hard numbers for their assist totals over the last years so I really can’t comment there.

          • HOFCToDi

            Am I suppose to be impressed by the fact that Christen Press scored one goal while Sydney Leroux scored two goals for the USWNT in the ten games prior to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup during calendar year 2015?

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team#2015

            Am I suppose to be impressed by the fact that Christen Press scored two goals while Sydney Leroux scored one goal during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Tournament?

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-concacaf-womens-championship#tab-5

          • HOFCToDi

            The selfish Christen Press:

            How does Christen Press get an assist? By shooting not passing.

            USA – Heather O’Reilly (Christen Press) 59

            ussoccer.com/matches/wnt/2015/150816-wnt-v-crc

            USA – Heather O’Reilly, 60th minute: Lori Chalupny got forward to play Christen Press into the right side of the Costa Rica penalty area. Press brought down the chipped pass, swiveled 180 degrees and sent a beautiful curling chip shot off the cross bar that fell to Heather O’Reilly who was crashing the back post. With the net wide open, O’Reilly had time to collect before smashing the ball home for the second multi-goal game of her career. USA 6, CRC 0

            ussoccer.com/stories/2015/08/16/15/55/150816-wnt-v-crc-gamestory

            Christen Press is nothing more than a selfish shot hog.

          • Steglitz49

            Is it an assist if it comes of the woodwork? That does not make sense. It is a new ball.

          • HOFCToDi

            The whole point of the aforementioned post was intent. Christen Press never intended to pass the ball. Christen Press is nothing more than a selfish shot hog.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assist_(football)

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for the history of the assist. Yet another American contribution to soccer together with the PSO and the now defunct Golden Goal, which FIFA tried for 10-12 years.

          • HOFCToDi

            In soccer, there are starters and there are reserves.

            In soccer, there are Chiefs and there are Indians. The Chiefs wear the captain arm bands and the Indians better fall in line.

          • Steglitz49

            Indded. Helmut Rahn did the damage but Fritz Walter was captain. Nordahl and Gren were outstanding players but Liedholm was the captain — and as a coach went on to be the greatest of the three Grenoli in the opinion of many, in spite of all the records Gre and No of the Grenoli held.

          • HOFCToDi

            Julie Johnston has scored one less goal than Christen Press this year:

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/stats

            Even Julie Johnston registered an assist during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

            youtube.com/watch?v=574_eSxXrXc

            I’m still looking from that assist from Christen Press during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. I still can’t find one.

          • HOFCToDi

            Another fascinating statistic:

            In calendar year 2015, 10 USWNT matches prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Christen Press only scored one goal.

          • HOFCToDi

            Another fascinating statistic:

            From February 8, 2015 thru July 5, 2015, the number of goals scored by the following USWNT players:

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team#2015

            Wambach – 6
            Press – 2

          • NYRick

            Carli Lloyd was absymal the first 4 matches of the WC and should have been benched if anything is based on performance. Anyone with a pair of eyes could have seen that. Regarding shots per minute for Lloyd, the reason that number is off base is basically she was invisible and a liability every time she touched the ball the first 4 matches. Go rewatch her performances. Sabermetrics is such utter nonsense a good percentage of time in sports.

            BTW what were Alex’s complete stats at the WC in terms of shots etc. That is just merely explained that she was dangerous or she stretched defenses. Much like a LDV yet one gets the lion’s credit and the other is merely erratic.

            You say who plays is up to the coaches. Duh. That’s not the point of a message board in terms of player debate. Most people don’t regard Ellis as a top coach and evaluator of talent. You yourself are constantly screaming about cutting older vets and bringing up younger talent (that will never come by the way with her at the helm). The US team is a popular sorority, has been for years. You position yourself as an authority on the history of the team yet you don’t fully realize this. You put Alex (like the sheep viewpoint) at the top of the forward depth chart. I don’t. No big. I don’t see it, but I understand why. I also ask myself why she is pretty much average in club soccer and the answer is plain. She is not surrounded by the same talent and can’t carry a team on her own. That is proven fact over the course of her career. If she was average looking she would be replaced by either Press, ARod, Syd etc. She makes too much money for the team off the pitch in a sport that is starving for publicity. Especially once a big event like the WC is over.

          • HOFCToDi

            Blah! Blah! Blah! The same pathetic diatribe for nearly the past three months.

            The Press Gang needs a scapegoat for the failures of Christen Press. Losers are those who blame others for their shortcomings.

            The correct player was benched and that player was Christen Press, especially after starting the first two games of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            The USWNT beat Germany and Japan during the semifinals and final, respectively of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup without the presence of Christen Press on the pitch.

            Christen Press is expendable as proven by the results without the services of Christen Press:
            USA 2 Germany 0
            USA 5 Japan 2

          • HOFCToDi
          • guest

            remember lloyd played primarily as a midfielder and press played primarily as a forward during the world cup. so it would seem to make sense that a forward would have more “shots per minute” than a midfielder.

          • HOFCToDi

            Pass the ball Christen, Pass the ball Christen

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150630-wnt-v-ger

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150630-wnt-v-ger

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150630-wnt-v-ger

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150630-wnt-v-ger

          • unbelievable

            Wow! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You don’t think you might take the Press thing a little overboard?

      • Steglitz49

        Hope is the real McCoy — and not coy about it either.
        The other should not be mentioned in polite company.

      • Calci0

        Underperforms?!? The Reign gave up the least amount of goals in 2014by a large margin. And were 2nd in 2015. So it’s not as if Solo is giving up 4-0 losses. You name me a recent top flight GK, and I’ll show you a highlight of them getting scored on. It happens….. 1-0 isn’t underperforming.

    • Lord Otter-Blotter

      We heard about A-Rod’s “floppy foot” from the commentators… perhaps she’s got a floppy neck as well and caused Hope’s error?

  • One of a Kind

    167k viewers for the 2015 NWSL Final on FS1, UP from the 156k that watched the 2014 NWSL Final on ESPN2 in August on an NFL-less Sunday afternoon.

    The move to Thursday was a success from an attendance standpoint and to an extent, a television standpoint. 167k may not sound like a lot, but the latest USWNT match against Haiti only drew 173k on ESPN2 last month. 167k is more than I expected and I’d like to think the league is very happy with that number!

    • another guest

      what is the source for the TV viewership info?

      • One of a Kind

        http://sportstvratings.com/ravens-steelers-miami-cincinnati-lead-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-thursday-october-1-2015/3637/ (Thursday’s)

        sportstvratings.com is an AMAZING site for those interested in sports ratings, since they cover the viewership for literally every cable sporting event unlike the “top 100” found on tvbythenumbers. They’ve been doing so for almost a year now.

        I got the 156k number from @DasGherkin on Twitter.

        It’s also interesting that the NWSL final was the most watched program on FS1 during the whole day. Hmmmm!

        • Craigaroo

          I quickly compared with previous Thursday. Highest rated FS1 program was 1 hour NASCAR program which drew about 205K, so a little higher. But nothing else was over about 100K. The baseball game only drew about 62K

          • Steglitz49

            Fascinating.

            I wonder what the TV ratings in England were for the last day of the FAWSL? Both Chelsea and Man City had new record attendances. To be fair, there was a lot of competiton on the small screens.

    • Steglitz49

      Great news. Thanks for digging it out for us.

      • One of a Kind

        Cooler heads prevailed and the move to Thursday night was actually the right thing to do, for this year at least. I hate to toot my own horn, but I did stand behind this move more than most on here since it was announced.

        I’m just glad it all worked out though! The hashtag “#NWSLChampionship” was even trending on Twitter I think. Great news indeed!

        • Steglitz49

          I was in favor too though not as voiciferous as you.

          I would just as soon the final is always in Portland except when Portland is playing, obviously.

          • One of a Kind

            I’d have it rotate between MLS clubs affiliated with NWSL teams and maybe even MLS markets that have an affection for the sport. Going to somewhere like Toyota Stadium in Frisco (Dallas) for the final would be the wrong thing to do.

          • Steglitz49

            i would rotate it between Portland, Houston and DC provided that they all have standard sized soccer pitches, preferably without grid-iron markings.

          • HOFCToDi

            New alternative.

            orlandocitysc.com/stadium

            Looks nice.

            All natural grass playing surface. Abby can graze there.

          • Steglitz49

            Fair enough once they are on board and we know they have loyal fans.

  • SportsRockR

    Amy Rodriguez deserves a spot on that Olympic Team…She may not have finished her shorts during the WC, but she helped create opportunities for her and the team…so the forward spots go to ARod and Alex Morgan, and…if not Dunn, then Press.