The Lowdown: O’Reilly brought new dimension to FCKC

Dan Lauletta October 6, 2015 231
Vlatko Andonovski and Lauren Holiday are two-time NWSL champions (Photo:  FC Kansas City)

Vlatko Andonovski and Lauren Holiday are two-time NWSL champions (Photo: FC Kansas City)

Picture it: Buffalo Wild Wings in Tukwila, Washington, a few hours after FC Kansas City surprised Seattle Reign FC to win the 2014 NWSL Championship. The brain trust of the new champions was basking in the glow of their first title. But they were hardly satisfied. The conversation quickly turned to the 2015 season.

It had been two very successful seasons in Kansas City. There were playoff berths both years and very nearly a regular season Shield in 2013. The club played the most possession-oriented, attractive soccer in the league. And they won the 2014 championship even after losing defensive midfield stalwart Desiree Scott to a controversial transfer to Notts County. But head coach Vlatko Andonovski felt the team could make better use of the wide areas rather than attacking mostly up the middle.

“Last year after the championship game, we were sitting in the restaurant and we decided that we wanted Heather O’Reilly on the team,” Andonovski said. “I have the GM here,” – putting his arm on Huw Williams’ shoulder. “I’m so glad that we have such a great GM, Huw Williams.”

Of course deciding your team would be better off with Heather O’Reilly is one thing. Making it happen, and then making good on the reality of it, are entirely different.

As for the trade, Williams contacted the Breakers right away. It would not have been a surprise had the Breakers answered with a flat no. Instead they made an initial offer—one that was way too steep for Williams’ liking. “Very hard,” Williams said of the negotiation. “You’re never going to get a quality player easily.”

Nearly two months after the chat in Buffalo Wild Wings, on October 27, Williams and Breakers general manager Lee Billiard agreed on terms. O’Reilly would go to Kansas City. In exchange the Blues shipped defender Kassey Kallman and midfielder/forward Morgan Marlborough to Boston. Williams called them, “two players we didn’t want to give up.”

“We felt last year that we had a hole on that side,” Williams said, referencing the right side, opposite Erika Tymrak. “We needed to get a little bit more width to get a little more space for Lauren Holiday, get a little more space for Erika Tymrak and open up that relationship between Holiday and A-Rod (Amy Rodriguez) even more.”

[MORE:  Complete 2015 NWSL Chamionship Coverage ]

The deal looked good on paper except that O’Reilly was a near-lock to make the United States World Cup team. And no one knew for sure how much those players would be around the league. At worst it would not be until after the World Cup. At best, a smattering of matches before and the weeks afterward. Williams and Andonovski were undeterred by O’Reilly’s potential absences.

“We had a pretty good idea what the schedule was going to be like,” Andonovski said. “But we were willing to take a chance because we were pretty sure that once we got everyone back and got them back into the system that we were going to be able to win some games.”

O’Reilly originally went to Boston in 2012 when her husband began attending business school at Harvard. Though that WPS season never happened, O’Reilly was allocated back to the Breakers for the start of NWSL and stayed there for two seasons before the trade to FC Kansas City.

“We now live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina so for me it was just about asking the question of what is the best soccer environment for me. What is the best place that is going to help me grow as a player and be the absolute best player I can be? I’m know that I’m 30-years old, but I’m so eager to get better every single day.”

O’Reilly was the most significant, but not the only, move FC Kansas City made during the offseason. The club also lost Nikki Philips and Jenna Richmond with Phillips getting pregnant and Richmond taking the season off to get married. Amy LePeilbet, acquired before 2014, was deemed fully healthy and ready to take Phillips’s central defense role full time. In separate trades the club traded Merritt Mathias and acquired Rebecca Moros who took over at left back. To replace Richmond, Andonovski utilized a combination of second-year midfielder Mandy Laddish and free agent signing Yael Averbuch.

“I have always admired FC Kansas City,” Averbuch said after celebrating her third professional title in five seasons in the United States. “I was playing in Sweden during the first year of the league and we would watch the games on the Internet late at night. I always liked how FC Kansas City played. As an East Coast person I never really imagined myself going there. But the longer the league went on the more positive things I had heard about the club and the organization as a whole and the respect they showed for the players. And just the style and brand of soccer they play. I felt like it was a very good fit for them.”

Averbuch was in talks with a few different teams before landing in Kansas City. She turned out to be an important addition. Averbuch filled a variety of roles from being Becky Sauerbrunn’s World Cup replacement to Jen Buczkowski’s defensive midfield partner to, like in the final, a player off the bench to help salt away a match.

“It was a little bit tough,” she admitted. “But I’ve learned a ton this season. From what maybe from the outside looked like a little bit of a roller coaster ride, I feel like was a really positive step in my career. And I was happy to be able to help the team in a moment of need.”

Lining up in central defense was not only unfamiliar territory for the 28-year old but she was trying to fill in for the player considered the best in the world at the position. “It was something I didn’t even believe I could do myself but Vlatko believed in me so I said, ‘Okay I trust you.’ I learned a lot from Vlatko. He was a center back himself so his training for the defenders is some of the best training I have ever done in my life.”

Andonovski throwing his confidence behind Averbuch was similar to when he moved rookies Kallman and Richmond into starting roles early in 2014.

“They knew that I trusted them,” he said after the 2014 final. “I told Jenna, ‘Regardless of what happens whether you score or not, whether you play good or not, I trust you and you’re going to be in that position.’”

That trust paid off not only with a title, but Kallman developed enough to where the Breakers were willing to accept her as part of the O’Reilly trade.

Amy Rodriguez has scored all three of FC Kansas City's goals in their two trips to the final (Photo Copyright Patti Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Amy Rodriguez has scored all three of FC Kansas City’s goals in their two trips to the final (Photo Copyright Patti Giobetti for The Equalizer)

On Andonovski, Averbuch said, “Vlatko’s not only extremely smart and smart about the game and managing people, he’s also very even tempered and fun loving which I think are extremely important things in this league. We all come from winning programs as youth players and in college and it’s hard to play in a league where every team is so equal. So I think it’s really important that Vlatko keeps it even keel throughout the season emotionally, but also just believes strongly in a style of play that the team continuously talks about and stays faithful to. Especialy as an older player, to play in a system where I believe in the style and know every day that when I show up at training I not only believe in what we’re doing but I enjoy it, it makes it fun.”

O’Reilly concurred on the system, which she was excited about jumping into as soon as she heard about the trade. “I was excited to join Vlatko’s style of play. I think it was really helpful to my game in terms of possession oriented attack and then springing players forward. I think I was just excited because I knew that coaching staff was top notch. I think Vlatko is one of the best coaches there is out there in the women’s game.”

***

The even keel Andonovski showed held up through the 2015 season even as FC Kansas City arrived at the midway point with more losses than wins. The World Cup players were still two games—at least—from returning to action. A lesser side may have unraveled.

“We did start a little bit slow,” Andonovski said. “We were 3-5-2 right in the middle of the season with 11 points and we got criticized. We got questioned by the media.”

[LAULETTA:  Holiday makes tactical sendoff in NWSL finale  |  What we learned ]

The 2013 Coach of the Year believed two things carried the team through. “One, there’s belief. We never stopped believing. The second thing, the family environment that we have. Everything we did, we did together. I knew that sooner to later we were going to click, we were going to gel together, and we were going to make it happen.”

Leigh Ann Brown played every minute of the season (most of them as Leigh Ann Robinson before marrying Dan Brown after the semifinal) and had a bird’s eye view as the team began playing well together only to see personnel changes that brought struggle.

“I think in general Vlatko has always joked that we have a lackadaisical demeanor,” Brown said. “We joke around and stuff. In training we just had to make sure when they left and came back that we kept consistent. That is one of the struggles when you lose four of your best players, to keep everybody hyped up and working hard. You know you can’t replace them but to try and bring everybody in to create that is a struggle. And it was for us this year and you saw it on the field a little bit which is very frustrating.”

Andonovski had said he was comfortable with O’Reilly immediately, but that it was after the third game of the season—a 1-0 win over the Reign—when she really began to click. That was also the last game before the U.S. players left to begin final World Cup preparation.

“The third game, right before they left, is when we started clicking,” Andonovski said. “And then they left. And when they came back again it took us about three games to get back on track.”

Getting back on track is an understatement. FC Kansas City did not lose a game after July 29 when a late, Carli Lloyd golazo beat them 3-2. The next match, on August 1, they rallied twice to draw 2-2 in Chicago. That was last time the Blues trailed in a match this season. In fact they conceded only two more goals—both against Sky Blue in the mostly inconsequential season finale.

“When the time was right,” Brown said, “we were starting to finally, cohesively all build together.”

***

That cohesion paid off with a second straight championship after the 1-0 victory over the Reign. And it was O’Reilly who provided the signature moment when she chose the perfect time to switch to the left side where she played middle woman between Holiday and Rodriguez. Taking Holiday’s outlet after the just-inserted Elli Reed failed to knock it down, O’Reilly burst toward the end line and fired a perfect cross that Rodriguez was able to finish.

For two years now the Reign have been the best team in the regular season only to fall short to FC Kansas City in the NWSL Championship. The Reign said after last week’s final that they would not let it define them. But in a rare break from the mutual respect shown between the teams, Rodriguez said: “In my opinion, it kind of angered us to hear them say ‘we won the league’ and they kept boasting quite a bit about it. I remember thinking well it comes down to this game. The best team in this league is going to be proven by this game. I wish we had a better record. I wish we would have done better in the season. Credit to them, they had an excellent season. They did so well and took care of business when they needed to. But I knew it came down to this game. I think we all knew that and wanted to prove that we were the better team.”

The 2016 version of FC Kansas City figures to look decidedly different than this one. Holiday is retiring and there could be several other retirements to follow as well. The U.S. players will be heading to the Olymics during the season. On the flipside, Phillips and Richmond could be back and the club owns four of the first 16 picks in the draft (adjusting for an impending expansion announcement.)

For now, Andonovski said of O’Reilly, his first target last offseason, “I am very happy to have her on the team.” And you can bet that somewhere in the afterglow of Thursday’s championship, the blue print for 2016 was being drawn up.

  • STT

    ARod off the mark with her comments. FCKC may have strategized for the postseasons better, and were certainly the better team on the field last Thursday, but I don’t care what silverware you have, you don’t point at a 2.2PPG-over-two-seasons team and say you’re better than they are. Smarter, maybe, but not better.

    • Ethan

      I completely agree. I’ve said this before on this site; FCKC’s next goal has to be to win the Shield. They’ve shown they can win the Championship, but they haven’t shown enough consistency over an entire season to win the regular season title.

      • guest

        In case you haven’t noticed, nobody in America gives a monkey’s about winning the shield. All of our sports are centered around playoffs, culminating in a championship game. Maybe it’s because we’re a meritocracy where teams, just like people, have to prove their worth, in this case by playing a championship game. So please drop this nonsense about shields.

        • Steglitz49

          Hear hear!

          Start a challenge cup in parallel, instead.

          • Ethan

            Which is what I’m okay with if playoffs are eliminated. The guest you’ve responded to seems to like or is at least okay with playoffs.

        • Ethan

          And I don’t give a care about winning a championship when it’s really a cup competition. Meritocracy? So, being the best team in the league over two seasons with the most points by a wide margin isn’t proving your worth. FCKC proved their worth by winning the playoffs, which is the equivalent of the FA Cup or some other cup competition. Seattle Reign proved their worth by winning two straight Shields, the equivalent of the FAWSL title, the Premier League title, the Bundesliga title, the Li Liga title, etc. Look, it’s great that FCKC has won two straight Championship titles. They’ve proven their worth when it matters. However, they haven’t proven their worth over an entire season. They had the 2013 Shield in the bag, and they completely lost it at the end with poor results. If we’re really a meritocracy, then FCKC hasn’t proven their worth more than Seattle. In other words, I’m not dropping this nonsense about shields. League titles mean so much more to me. There is only one cup competition that I’d even remotely want the team I support to win over a league title, and that competition is not even available for non-European clubs.

          • Steglitz49

            The English lasses also have the Conti cup which is competed for by the teams in the FAWSL 1 & 2. Even that the FA has managed to be seen as not a play-off!

        • Ethan

          Plus, I have noticed nobody in America cares about winning the shield. That’s my problem with American sports; I absolutely hate that. A meritocracy is where the best teams over an entire season may not get appropriately rewarded? The playoff system doesn’t really sound like a complete meritocracy to me.

          • HOFCToDi

            MLB – Playoffs
            NFL – Playoffs
            NBA – Playoffs
            NHL – Playoffs
            MLS – Playoffs

          • STT

            What part of Ethan’s comment is that even attempting to refute?

          • HOFCToDi

            Statement of fact. Shall we go one step further:

            UEFA Champions League

          • STT

            Statements of fact only help when put in context. Simply pointing out how many leagues/competitions use playoffs doesn’t address any of the concerns Ethan raised.

          • HOFCToDi

            MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL were established in the United States before MLS let alone NWSL. The sports culture in the United States has established a playoff system decades prior to the MLS and NWSL.

          • STT

            And that’s fine. I don’t think anywhere here was arguing against the fact that American fans are used to playoffs and generally like them. All of the arguments being raised here are the the playoff winners aren’t often the best team in the league, and the not insignificant number of fans who thus don’t like playoffs. (For full disclosure, I’m on the fence myself – if you have a team that’s clearly dominant and then happens to lose one game at the wrong time, I don’t think it fair to say they’re no longer the best team around, but I love playoffs for the drama and especially in years when there isn’t a clear frontrunner.)

          • Steglitz49

            Don’t dispute with him because it only encourages him.

          • Guest

            In Hockey and Basketball the champion needs to win a total of 16 games agains the best teams from the regular season. Baseball teams need to win 11 times. The postseason for other sports can be just as grueling if not more so in the case of Ice Hockey than the regular season is. I understand you may not enjoy other american sports and the playoff model but the idea that it is rewarding mediocrity is one I find obscured. The playoff systems that can support seven game series are in my opinion the best ways to determine a league champion.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer does not have a post-season.

          • Guest

            For soccer, I don’t think a postseason works. Maybe if they gave both teams a home game and the winner advanced on aggregate. It still would not be ideal and a Cup and shield model would likely still be better.

          • Steglitz49

            In the German ladies league the top two play an extra match, I think.

            Most European leagues have a charity/community shield or super-cup to kick off the new season where the winner of the league plays the winner of the cup and the money goes to charity.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            They had a post-season. It was called the European Cup. Until money the powers that be wanted more money, so they made it into the Champions League.

          • Steglitz49

            Que?

          • Ethan

            Alright, fair enough. I don’t care to follow hockey or basketball; so, I apologize for not knowing the full facts. That’s not the case for the NWSL though. Each season has had at least 20 games. That’s enough for me.

          • Guest

            I do agree that it does not work nearly as well for Soccer and American football where it seems to be more like playing the lottery and there is always an any given Sunday feeling to those games.

          • Guesting

            Yeah, soccer and American football playoffs are structured so if you “lose one your done.” Other sports like hockey, baseball, basketball, softball, etc. doesn’t punish a team for one bad game.

          • Steglitz49

            The term is “knock-out” competition.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            The Stanley Cup was the equivalent of the FA Cup before teams outside of the NHL stopped competing sometime in the 20’s.

            The World Series used to be just the Community Shield game played at the end the year. The National League was the Premiership equivalent. The American League was the Championship equivalent.

            The NFL used to be determined like domestic league soccer, but expansion + weather concerns + brutality of the sport allowed the play-off system to evolve.

            The NBA was basically filler entertainment for hockey arena owners. So they had to make the most fiscally responsible decision to be a dual regional sport from the beginning. Hence, playoffs were always required.

            Outside of domestic league games, EVERY OTHER SOCCER COMPETITION IS A PLAYOFF.

            Playoffs are the best way to determine the champion if the competitive environment in uneven- which the NWSL happens to be.

          • Ethan

            Okay, then make the NWSL even each season. (Do you honestly think Seattle still wouldn’t have been the champion in an even competitive environment?) The NWSL was pretty much even in 2014 though; each team played every other team 3 times. Yet, FCKC still got all the plaudits while Seattle dominated the league.

            I know that soccer competitions outside of domestic league games are playoffs. I constantly bring up the fact that I want a cup competition alongside the NWSL so that the league champion is actually the best team over a season. That’s how it works over in Europe.

            Thanks for the history lesson. I’m sorry if I come across as harsh, but I just dislike playoffs determining league champions. I will admit that I just don’t like traditional American sports either. So, maybe my viewpoint is overly biased.

          • guest

            keep in mind that that there just aren’t enough teams yet in the nwsl to do a real playoff. when there are enough teams, seattle will probably have home field advantage through three playoff games for winning the shield and they would play against the lower ranked teams too.

          • Ethan

            I guess, but for a playoff system to really at least somewhat fairly crown a league champion, the matches should be two-legged series, including the final. (Maybe the final should have even more legs.) However, that’s just not practical because football requires more recovery and rest than basketball and baseball.

          • guest

            yea, two legged series could be a good idea too.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken but I take issue with your statement that “Outside of domestic league games, EVERY OTHER SOCCER COMPETITION IS A PLAYOFF” because they are KNOCK-OUT competitions and NOT play-offs.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Steglitz49: “SIX”
            ADWAC: “HALF-DOZEN”

          • Steglitz49

            please explain how the humble Aardvark features in this?
            or
            do you mean that Aflac duck?

          • mockmook

            If you are so enamored of cumulative results, then why isn’t the results of all games ever played in the NWSL the metric?

            In the NWSL’s history, both SRFC and FCKC have won 36 games each.

            But, head-to-head, KC has won 7 (including two Finals) and Seattle has only won 2.

            SCOREBOARD FCKC!!!!

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Essentially, if FCKC was in an American must-win league that NBA and MLB are, the NHL sort of is, and NFL isn’t (but ties are very rare), they would probably have the points that go along with their play.

            FCKC is like Real Madrid. They are the one and true holy terror of the league, but a lot of times a lack of lucidity in their finishing cost them points.

          • Ethan

            Right. I’m more interested in total points within one season. We all know Seattle had a bad first season.

            Yes, KC has the better head-to-head. Teams have bogey teams. Chelsea under Mourinho do horribly at Newcastle. That doesn’t mean Newcastle is a better team.

          • mockmook

            Why only one season?

        • STT

          In case you haven’t noticed, the introduction of the Shield concept in America came from THE FANS when MLS didn’t initially recognize the regular season champion at all. Not to mention that the MLS Shield now means even more, since it helps qualify for the CCL. So you can’t bury your head in the sand and pretend the Shield doesn’t mean anything to American fans.

          I will admit that American WoSo fans seem to be less receptive to the Shield than American BroSo fans, but that doesn’t change the fact that winning the regular season DOES mean something to American fans. (Heck, you could even go before the MLS Shield and point out the President’s Trophy in the NHL!)

          • HOFCToDi

            The President’s Trophy in the NHL is considered a jinx unless you are the Chicago Blackhawks.

          • STT

            Jinx or not, it shows that recognizing the best team over the regular season is important.

            Also, the “jinx” only exists in the modern era. From 27-85, the regular season champion won the vast majority of the finals.

          • HOFCToDi

            We live in the modern era.

          • STT

            My point was that there’s nothing stopping the regular season champion returning to the previous form aside from chance. And that believing in “jinxes” is completely asinine.

          • Steglitz49

            I have not heard about the President’s trophy before this. I know that Borje Salming never won the Stanley Cup but that Stefan Persson and Anders Kallur won 4 Stanley Cups and played in a 5th final and that Håkan Loob led the Flames to their Stanley cup.

          • HOFCToDi

            There is a President’s Trophy banner from the 2012-13 NHL Season hanging from the rafters at the United Center.

          • Steglitz49

            Allegedly, when Mats Näslund was introduced to the Canadiens their captain quipped that the crowd should not worry because the rest of the player was coming next day by express delivery.

          • kernel_thai

            I have to agree…if I were to rank the NWSL teams Id still put Seattle as the top team

          • D23

            I’m not convinced. This is the second year in a row that Seattle have failed to produce when under pressure with everything on the line. They failed to score a goal this year. For the second year straight, in my opinion, Seattle has been outcoached. I can’t say a team is the best if when they don’t produce in the big game with the pressure on. But I do understand how people could disagree.

          • Ethan

            And I can’t say FCKC is the best if they haven’t won the Shield in the NWSL’s 3-year history.

          • Miki

            Outcoached? This year? You could say so. But two years in a row outcoached, including last year? Seattle outshot KC 14-5. Nearly 3x more shots; including a missed open header. Last year simply came down to inablity to capitalize.

          • guest

            The President’s Trophy?? Have you ever heard the term “warm bucket of spit?

      • STT

        To be fair to KC, they are rather consistent, and a talented consistent – three playoff appearances, and none of those appearances questionable. No other team can say that. KC can easily argue that, over the entire course of NWSL history, they’ve been the best team.

        However, KC’s consistency works against them somewhat in a direct comparison to Seattle – the Reign 1.0 were ditched after the first season and replaced with Reign 2.0, and that second iteration is clearly a better team than KC is.

        • Ethan

          True, FCKC is consistent in getting to the playoffs each year, and over the existence of the NWSL, they have been the best team. However, the reason they’ve never won the Shield is because they aren’t consistent over an entire season. In 2013, they notably dropped in form at the end, and in 2014 and 2015, their end-of-season form got them into the playoffs.

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        • mockmook

          If they are clearly better, shouldn’t they have won at least one Final?

          • ladywing

            By that logic, shouldn’t FCKC have one at least one Shield? Been the highest scoring team for a season?

          • mockmook

            No.

          • ladywing

            No, or no logic?

    • ladywing

      If the expansion happens then all of the NWSL teams are going to look different next year, some more than others. I don’t envy the coache’s the choices they will be forced to make. If it doesn’t come next year it will come the year after.
      They will still be my team whatever they look like.

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear! Must stay loyal to the team — except if you are an Nt player who has a wedding to go to. Then, stuff the team.

        • Jon Forsythe

          I’m sick of the comments critiquing Krieger for going to her FATHER’s wedding where she was the MAID OF HONOR. It’s wasn’t some wedding of a friend or a cousin, but her father’s. Also, the wedding date was made probably months in advance. And I think the day of the wedding was made a Sunday, which I think many of us would think would be fine had the semifinals been on Saturdays instead of Sundays. Have a semifinal on Saturday, quickly get on a plane, be there for a wedding the next day. Soccer is one thing but family is forever. AND one person a team does not make; it’s not Ali’s fault that they failed to beat Seattle.

          • Steglitz49

            It happens to be her job. She is a professional soccer player and earning a lot of money doing it. Please don’t make excuses.

          • STT

            Professionals in all other sports often miss games for similar events, so quit with your which hunt.

          • Steglitz49

            Please give some examples that are true comparisons. The top men’s soccer leagues top teams and not playing in a semi-final. I guess it must have happened.

          • Guest

            Stars do not miss games for events like Weddings in men’s sports. They know how important they are to their teams and the fans that support them. The only exceptions I can find are birth of a child or death of a loved one. In many of those cases the stars still find a way to play. Eden Hazard played a game this year after the birth of his child resulted in him staying up all night the night before a game.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Noone would criticize for the reasons that you give. But that is not what happened here.

          • Vladlagg

            Adrian Peterson of the MN Vikings played the day after his infant son was murdered.

          • STT

            I’ve heard many times of baseball and basketball players missing a game or two for the birth of a child. Not a wedding, but I didn’t specify “wedding” earlier, just “similar event”.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Noone would question that . But it is not what happened here. Whether you specified it or not that was the implication.

            It is not like this woman is one of the serfs earning 6,000 rowing the galley. She is an NT player earning a queen’s ransom.

          • Borgata

            Steglitz needs to let go of the Krieger thing, but Brett Favre played the day after his father died.

          • Jon Forsythe

            She earns a lot of money for being on the NT, not the Spirit. And if you’d miss the wedding of a parent for work, that says a lot about your priorities.

          • Steglitz49

            You could that the view that it would teach the parent not to arrange a wedding that interfered with his daughter’s duty.

          • My2cents

            Of course, another question to be asked is, how many marriages has her father had. If it has been a common occurrence, let’s say the 3, 4, etc., would that change ones priorities?

          • Steglitz49

            We will never know the whole story. Facts speak louder than words.

            I had heard that social media had a sort of vote about the matter at the time and that male voters voted 95:5 one way but female voters voted 25:75 the other way. (There is no prize for guessing which way.)

          • Guesting

            I take it the men voted that she should have made the play-off the priority. And you wonder why men sometimes get called chauvinists.

          • Steglitz49

            Most men work for a living and do not have the luxury of a well-paid hobby.

            I can only presume that to the men loyalty to her work colleagues trumped a lesser obligation. I contend that if it had been the death of a close relative or the birth of a child (unlikely in this case, granted) there would have been no difference in the patterns.

            No doubt you can square the voting pattern with women not bothering to support their sisters, who want to play soccer.

          • guesting

            My, my, that really is a chauvinistic remark…”luxury of a well-paid hobby”.

          • mockmook

            As I commented at the time, the wedding is a moment in time, the marriage is (we hope) eternal.

            Given that, is it really that important to be there for that “snapshot” of time? Isn’t it more important to be involved in their lives for the long haul?

            Also, she is potentially dismissing the importance of winning a Championship to her teammates’ lives. Aren’t they “family”, too?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            It isn’t as much as the team being a “family” as much you directly and indirectly compromised the financial security of coworkers in an already difficult employment environment. There is probably extra bonus money in participating in what essentially overtime in the NWSL. And there is also, having the stage of playoff and championship game asa showcase to their talent to European, Australian, and/or national teams.

            Also, if you didn’t have much of a chance to make to another team, wouldn’t the satisfaction of contributing to a championship team compensate for the financial hardship your experiencing for following your passion?

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

            Maybe she saw her team-mates as galley slaves to row the good ship along, while she was parading on the quarter-deck, or as peons when she is on the veranda sipping mint julips?

    • Steglitz49

      ARod is right. In a play-off system, the winner of the play-off is champ. In

      1981 the USSR destroyed Canada 8-1 in the Canada Cup final. A Canada with Gretzky, Lafleur, Trottier, Bossy etc. Who cares or remembers that Canada won the basic series game 7-3 — except nerds and Canadians wanting to rescue some fake glory.

      KC won. They beat Seattle. KC is better when it counts.

      Chelsea Ladies, oth, were able to do the Double. That is the difference between a soccer culture and a failure culture.

      • STT

        I never said KC weren’t champs. But with a playoff system, you don’t always get the best team as the champs. I stand by my claim that, whoever won the title, Seattle has consistently been the better team than KC, no matter what ARod thinks.

        • Steglitz49

          Either have a league of home and away matches coupled with a domestic cup or have a play-off. If you chose the play-off, which is the American preference, please don’t whine and winge. If you chose the league and cup, don’t complain if you never do the Double. It is meant to be hard.

          • STT

            I don’t even know what part of my comment that was a response to. You always spin off tangents.

          • Steglitz49

            You typed that — “in a playoff system, you don’t always get the best team as champs” — which is utter gibberish because the winner by definition is the Champ, is it not?

            In WC-15 Japan won all their matches until the final while the US did not (they drew with Sweden). Does that make America suddenly not the best as Champs?

          • STT

            “Winner” and “champ” are fine and equal, but that’s not what I was arguing against – neither title guarantees that the team winning it was actually the most qualified, most talented team. What you get in any knockout competition is the winning team won a small handful of games at the right time, no matter how much they suck overall. That’s why the phrases “backing in to the playoffs” and “sneaking in to the playoffs” exist – teams can get into the playoffs even if the bigger picture would suggest they shouldn’t. But once you’re in the playoffs, all bets are off – just win two games! Even sucky teams can somehow scrape together two wins in a row when needed.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe that is why soccer does not as a rule do play-offs?

            The Spanish ladies cup is a knock-out competition between the top 8 teams (the league is unusually large with 16 teams) but the Spanish FA PR has made it a competition co-equal with the league and they get a great silver cup to hold aloft.

          • goose and gander

            Don’t respond, it only encourages him.

          • Steglitz49

            Touché! Nils Holgersson.

          • HOFCToDi

            The FIFA World Cup essentially employs a playoff system:

            Group Stage – regular season
            Knockout Stage – playoffs

          • Steglitz49

            The knock-out stage is exactly what you write: the knock-out stage.

          • HOFCToDi

            The knockout stage is typically where the Swedish Senior Women’s National Team exit the Summer Olympics.

          • Steglitz49

            I doubt they will even get to Rio.

          • HOFCToDi

            How the mighty have fallen. Once an European power now reduced to second rate status in their own continent.

          • Steglitz49

            Norway was always the Nordic power what with their World Cup and Olympic Gold, plus other good finishes.

            I expect Norway to go to Rio. Failing them Holland.

          • HOFCToDi

            Must be Ada who is now better than Lotta.

          • Steglitz49

            … and Maren Mjelde, she of the fabulous freekick.

          • HOFCToDi

            Norway was completely outplayed by Germany.

          • JL

            If you’re referring to their match in the WC, I disagree. Germany did outplay Norway in the first half, but Norway were the better team once they replaced Ims with Gulbrandsen.

          • HOFCToDi

            In the end it does not matter, both teams came away empty handed on the medal front.

          • Steglitz49

            The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

            I saw it as a symbolic result because when Norway won the world cup, Pellerud coached the Norwegian team as he did in this WC while Neid played on the losing German side.

          • JL

            Except Norway was crap for almost a decade once their talisman Hege Riise tore her ACL and never returned to her prime. During that time period, Sweden was the better team.

          • Steglitz49

            The record books don’t lie. Norway 1 WC and 1 OG gold. Sweden 1 WC 2nd and 1 3rd — i think Norway have some of those too.

          • Ethan

            Right, but in a World Cup, teams don’t play all other teams in the group stages.

            I think quite a few people don’t think the US is the best team. Germany, Japan, and France are probably seen as better by those individuals. Either way, World Cup performance is only one criteria (albeit a big one) that is used in the ranking system.

      • ladywing

        Would you please quit posting “That is the difference between a soccer culture and a failure culture.”
        We heard you before. I do however, agree we should have the season winner, and then something like a “Cup” playoff” to be held at a neutral venue.

        • kettle

          You are the last person who should be complaining about repetitive posts.

          • ladywing

            You don’t need to change you name.biknow a fan when I see one.

    • Rdalford

      FCKC is better in the Championship match(s) – where the NWSL Championship is determined. FCKC is 2 X Champions and FCKC is also the only team to make the playoffs in all 3 NWSL seasons. In american sports leagues doing well enough in the regular season to make the playoffs then performing well under the win or go home pressure of the playoffs is needed to win championships. Both Seattle and FCKC are very good soccer teams but so far FCKC has been more adept at winning NWSL Championships.

      • STT

        I never said KC weren’t champs. But when you have a playoff system, you don’t always get the best team as champs – in fact, you rarely do. The skills needed to win a playoff series are different than those that would, in a general sense, win you the most total games – whatever sport you play. I say the former set of skills is more strategy, the latter is more raw talent. Hence I stand by my claim that Seattle’s 2.2PPG over the past two seasons make them a much better team than KC, who “only” got 1.7PPG (still a great number, but also far and away below 2.2PPG).

        • Rdalford

          one could argue that teams that master both set of skills (win consistently enough in regular season to make playoffs) and (perform well under of pressure of win or go home playoffs and win the final game) ala FCKC are at least more adept at winning championships – and as we both note are recognized as the NWSL Champions.

          suspect that Seattle players and coach will eventually manage to win regular season shield and also win the championship but they have not done so yet.

          painful as it may be for a great team to get close twice to winning the championship but fall short twice – currently that is the record that Seattle has achieved.

          • Steglitz49

            To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “To lose one championship is unfortunate; to lose two seems like carelessness.”

          • My2cents

            In the game of soccer, maybe more then any other sport, you can be the better team, totally control possession and be completely lopsided on shots on goal, and still lose the game. Watched a college, game where that happened. The team that won managed to get one shot off that found the back of the net, and to make things worse, it was an own goal. Sometimes you can just get lucky!

          • Steglitz49

            Like Chelsea men beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Drogba in our hearts forever. Or that match Man Utd beat Bayern in 1999 or 2000 with the Babyfaced Assassin up to his usual trick.

          • HOFCToDi

            Diego Milito

            uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000032/match=2000488/postmatch/report/index.html

          • Ethan

            Yeah, but FCKC has never won the Shield. If Andonovski was in charge of Chelsea and had that record, he’d be fired no matter how many cups he’s won.

          • JL

            Their best shot was in the first season, and until the final moments of their season finale, they had one hand on the shield. But like so many of their games that year, they gave up a late goal to lose to Chicago and hand the shield to WNY.

          • Ethan

            Yeah, but I remember that they were already heading that way in the two or so games prior. They do better in the games before that match, and they could still have had the Shield even with a loss.

          • mockmook

            But, I thought one game (in this case the last game vs CRS) wasn’t supposed to define a team — they were CLEARLY the better team than WNY, right?

          • Ethan

            It wasn’t just the last game. FCKC had poor results throughout the whole back end of the first season. However, if you think it was just the final game, than yes you’re right. One game isn’t supposed to define a team.

          • Ethan

            On second thought, I guess you already implied the point I made. I just remember poor results right before the final match as well.

          • guest

            But there is no shield in the NWSL. The only shield is in your head. The best team in the NWSL is determined by a play-off system and KC won that playoff. Anyone who claims otherwise cannot deal with the fact that their team lost, and there is term for that, it’s called a sore loser. People who claim Seattle are the best are just sore losers.

          • Ethan

            Like STT, I’m not a Seattle fan. Playoffs determining the best team in a league just doesn’t make sense to me. Greece won Euro 2004; Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013. Chelsea, the team I support, won the Champions League in 2012. In single-elimination tournaments/playoffs, teams that aren’t the best often end up winning.

          • Steglitz49

            The third most watched team sporting even around the globe is the men’s FA cup final. The second most is the men’s Champions League final. The very most is the World cup final. The Superbowl may be 4th.

            On the distaff side, I assume that the WC final is top. The TV audiences for the others are probably small.

            As for people trotting along, the 2012 ladies Champions League final had just over 50,000 in the stand and this years FA cup final was 30,000 but I think the record for WC is still the Rose Bowl in 1999.

          • Rdalford

            with the NWSL Shield – and a couple of $$ – you can buy a beer to cry in.
            All the NWSL teams play under the same set of rules where finishing among the top teams qualifies a team to participate in the “win or go home” playoffs and a team must win all their playoff matches and in particular the final match to earn the NWSL Championship.
            FCKC has won the NWSL Championship twice.
            If the NWSL rules were different (as they are in many european soccer leagues) then all the NWSL teams would have to compete under the different rules and teams might place higher emphasis on whatever (i.e. winning regular season etc) was required to win under those different rules.
            None of us knows who would win under different rules, but I suspect that Andonovski and FCKC could adapt. Under the existing NWSL rules FCKC has won the championship twice.

          • Ethan

            First place allows you to host the semifinals while playing against the team in fourth. I’m pretty sure any team would want that. Considering that, I don’t think FCKC would be top of the league at the end of the season if the NWSL was like the European leagues. However, I get what you’re saying.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! Verily anf forsooth. Hound’s tooth.

          • Steglitz49

            Vlatko has done that which is required: won the championship back to back. Harvey hasn’t.

            Winning the FA women’s cup back to back would have your job safe as would winning the league without the cup. You probably would get away with just winning the Conti cup.

            I suspect that if KC has a by their standards mediocre season next year, Vlatko may resign as head coach.

        • Steglitz49

          PPG? Points, goals and assists are whole and indivisible and they are few in numbers in an NWSL match. Thus you can’t do means and decimals. They are meaningless.

          Nevertheless, 1.7 rounds to 2 and 2.2 rounds to 2. Thus there is no difference between the teams.

          • Ethan

            The second paragraph has got to be one of the worst comments you’ve made.

          • JL

            Oh, please. He’s said much dumber things before.

          • Ethan

            Okay, maybe not worst. It just didn’t make sense to me at all.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer points, goals and assists are whole numbers (integers). Thus, when you round STT’s numbers to the nearest whole number they both become 2, that is the same. SPQR, QED and all that.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth.

    • wosofan

      Ha, ha, ha. You can have your 5 goals against those Flash rookies in your 2015 home opener. And celebrate those big stats against Houston, sure.

      Then watch the game tape of the past 6 meetings between Seattle and KC when both were at full strength. In the one match that FCKC was outplayed (the 2014 Final), Seattle still lost. Seattle’s 3-2 home victory in early 2014 was largely the product of two big errors by Huw Williams’ daughter, who then promptly retired when Kallman returned from injury.

      And consider that Seattle has never had defenders of the class of Sauerbrunn or Robinson (a player who always frustrates Rapinoe, by the way). Consider that Little has never gotten the better of Jen Buzckowski. And the NWSL version of Solo has nothing on Barnhart. And ARod cannot stop scoring against Seattle. And Seattle failed to score a goal against KC in 2015 (shut out in KC in April, shut out in Portland).

      • STT

        Joke’s on you since I don’t “have” any of those goals – Seattle isn’t my team. Chicago, Houston, and DC are my teams. If you’ve followed my comments over time at all, you’d remember that I was absolutely throttling Seattle for being “too good” on several earlier articles, since 2.2PPG over two whole seasons shatters NWSL’s attempt at parity and makes the league boring.

        The rest of your post only proves that Seattle has a bad matchup against KC – it completely ignores the fact that Seattle has a much better matchup against the ENTIRE rest of the league than KC does. KC is Seattle’s foil – that doesn’t mean KC is the better team in the big picture. As much as I hate Seattle, I think it’s dumb for people to ignore how disgustingly good they’ve been. KC doesn’t hold a candle to that.

        • Steglitz49

          You can only have one team. Confess! Which is it? DC, Houston or Chicago?

          • STT

            If you think people can only have one team, you’re delusional.

          • Steglitz49

            Having your cake and eating it is like not playing in your semi-final. Some get away with it.

      • JL

        Seattle beat KC 2-1 in the second meeting between the two sides, so they have in fact scored on KC in 2015. KC, however, remains one of two teams Seattle has failed to record a shutout against (the other team being WNY).

      • Ethan

        Jose Mourinho has never beaten Newcastle at St. James Park. Does that mean Newcastle are a better team than Chelsea? Heck, even with Chelsea’s horrific start to the season, they’re still not a worse team than Newcastle. Your argument just says that teams have certain bogey teams. I think you see that across all sports.

      • Miki

        Sauerbrunn is another level. Compared to anyone. But Barnes, Cox, Fletcher, and Corsie are right on par with Robinson. And Little HAS gotten the better of Buczkowski. A few times actually…perhaps you should look past just the stats and maybe analyze game footage as well?

    • AlexH

      Better, smarter, potato, potAHto, FCKC has those cheap AYSO medals and dorky NWSL trophy and Seattle doesn’t.

  • FCKCEvans

    I wasn’t in support of the HAO move when it happened but obviously proven wrong. With expansion though…if rules stay the same i’d imagine we lose HAO. Because we would be silly not to protect Brunn and Arod and will have to leave one National Teamer exposed. Holiday is retiring and Barhart I presume will lose her allocation. Tough to give up Kallman and Marlborough especially if we only get one year at of HAO. That’s expansion though I guess.

    • Steglitz49

      Let both ARod and HAO have their freedom. Why protect them?

      There is much to be said for the European soccer way where you pay a transfer fee and the player gets 5% unless s/he has asked to be transfer-listed in which case they get zero.

  • HOFCToDi

    Heather O’Reilly still delivers those crosses:

    youtube.com/watch?v=8TTVF3_3JBU

    No matter how short the target is:

    youtube.com/watch?v=3-18zayLNgA

    • Steglitz49

      The cross at Old Trafford is truly amazing. They are all dog tired. HAO chases the ball down and hits it directly (knowing that time is running out) and it lands perfectly for Alex to head home.

      It is up there with Maruyama’s goal in 2011 that sank Germany.

      • HOFCToDi

        Megan Rapinoe “at the death”.

        youtube.com/watch?v=cvGfV6qCiOI

        • Steglitz49

          That is not quite the same. The Brazilian trying to play the clock out in the cornerflag screwed up so it comes of an unforced error. Also Pinoe is moving forward at a steady pace and has time to put in a great cross. In my opinion HAO’s was tiny bit better — and Alex’s goal is (much) more famous.

          • HOFCToDi

            You will go to any extreme to marginalize any American performance.

          • Steglitz49

            The Brazilian player screwed up but the Brazilian team as a whole was at fault because they needed to send a player down to support her.

          • HOFCToDi

            Blah Blah Blah

            Just pure bull on your part.

          • Steglitz49

            It is strange that in the final it was Japan who came twice from behind to level the scores and then the US completely collapsed in the pso in spite of the advantage of shooting first.

            I agree with Calci0’s observation earlier.

          • HOFCToDi

            Has Sweden won a FIFA Women’s World Cup title? I am still looking and can’t find any. Heck, Sweden failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden failed to qualify for the 2010 world cup too.

            Sweden lost the 2003 final (in the US) to Germany on a golden goal (remember those?). It is the most watched event on Swedish TV ever of any sort. Half (50%) the country was glued to the TV sets. I think Japan in 2011 comes second with 37% watching in the middle of the night. If you consider the time, the Japanese figure is even more amazing.

            The second best is WC/11 where they came 3rd having defeated France playing with only 10 on the pitch.

          • HOFCToDi

            CR7 >>>>>>>> Zlatan

            Portugal advanced, Sweden sent home.

            End of Story

          • Steglitz49

            Kin Eric never played in the world cup either but he made Man Utd what it is today.

          • HOFCToDi

            The rot in Swedish futbol is reaching epidemic proportions.

          • Steglitz49

            A lot of commentators would agree with your statement, including even the most biased — provided you are talking about the men’s game.

          • HOFCToDi

            Nope. Both genders.

          • Steglitz49

            Sexes, you mean sexes, I presume.

          • HOFCToDi

            Male and Female.

            Failure to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be a disgrace for Swedish Women’s Futbol.

          • Steglitz49

            Drawing with Nigeria in WC-15 was — and led to them having to do this play-off against Holland, Norway and the Cuckoo-clox.

          • HOFCToDi

            Has Sweden even won a medal in women’s association football during the Summer Olympic Games. I am still looking ….. 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Women%27s_tournament

            The European teams failed to medal, how fitting especially on English soil.

          • HOFCToDi

            I am talking about Gold.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA tested the Golden Goal from 1996 to about 2008. It was gone by 2011.

          • Calci0

            Don’t know about that. It did make Morgan a household name. But Wambach’s header with about 0 time remaining is just as famous. Especially with Ian Darke’s commentary!

          • mockmook

            I think Wambach’s is more famous, more exciting — without that, the USA is out — Morgan’s wasn’t do or die.

          • AlexH

            The great thing about the WNT is that they have ton’s of pivotal moments and they rise to the occasion far more often than not. They are an object lesson in how to compete which is why they have earned the respect of the American sporting culture that doesn’t care very much about soccer and women’s sports in general.

          • Steglitz49

            Though I agree in principle with your comment, I am not persuaded that the bit about “respect from the American sporting culture” is true. The ladies may have earned it but it has yet to be paid out.

          • HOFCToDi

            The quality of the cross from Megan Rapinoe with literally seconds remaining demonstrates performance under pressure.

          • Steglitz49

            I’ll buy that.

        • Ron Bishop

          Still gives me chills!

  • wosofan

    Great, in depth piece by Mr. Lauletta. Kudos to him and the Equalizer for their coverage of the NWSL this past year. The women’s game in the U.S. is lucky to have the Equalizer.

  • wosofan

    Will be fascinating to see how they go about replacing Holiday and Buczkowski. For the latter, I think they should trade to acquire Tori Huster, a player with athleticism and an engine.

    • HOFCToDi

      Buczkowski deserves a call up to the USWNT. Sauerbrunn needs to remain at the centerback position. Rampone needs to be booted off the USWNT roster.

      • mockmook

        Deserves, yes. But pointless to bring her into the USWNT this late in her career.

        • HOFCToDi

          Not pointless.

          If Buczkowski is needed for one major tournament, it’s not pointless.

          • mockmook

            The USA can win any tournament without her (see Algarve and WWC 2015).

          • Steglitz49

            Pointing out his errors is like shooting fish in a barrel.

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis has yet to find an adequate replacement for Lauren Holiday.

          • Steglitz49

            Till the FVT is over, her hands are tied.

          • HOFCToDi

            You don’t know what you are talking about, as usual.

            equalizersoccer.com/2015/08/07/jill-ellis-uswnt-coach-extension-rio-2016-olympics/

            Gulati emphasized that Ellis “can bring in whoever she would like” for the victory tour, and she may have to in order to evaluate new players – financial implications of victory tour bonuses for World Cup players notwithstanding.

          • Steglitz49

            He says one thing publicly and gives instructions in private. Nothing new there.

          • HOFCToDi

            If I want an opinion from a novice, I will call on you.

          • mockmook

            Which is why she should be playing/developing players who will be in their prime for WWC 2019.

          • HOFCToDi

            Crystal Dunn has been the only call-up to the USWNT since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            Three months have passed since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Jill has yet find an adequate replacements for Holiday, Boxx, Chalupny never mind audition new players for the aforementioned roles.

            2 defensive/holding midfielders
            1 fullback

            18 player Olympic roster plus 4 alternates

            equalizersoccer.com/2015/08/07/jill-ellis-uswnt-coach-extension-rio-2016-olympics/

            Gulati emphasized that Ellis “can bring in whoever she would like” for the victory tour, and she may have to in order to evaluate new players – financial implications of victory tour bonuses for World Cup players notwithstanding.

          • mockmook

            Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just write, “We are in agreement”?

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis is running out of options for the remainder of the year to replace two defensive/holding midfielders.

            On loan to the Australian Westfield W-League:
            Killion, Sarah
            Nairn, Christine
            Winters, Keelin

          • mockmook

            Bring in Westphal and Lavelle as potential DMs, and also try JJ (and Huster) for the DM spots.

          • HOFCToDi

            Julie Foudy queried Jill Ellis about the defensive midfield position. Julie Johnston will remain at the centerback position.

            youtube.com/watch?v=mde_5iYfEAI

            37:48

            As for the rest, if not called up for the Brazilian friendlies, forget about uncapped players.

          • mockmook

            That’s Foudy saying that she (Foudy) would not want to put JJ at DM — Foudy didn’t say what JE’s response was.

          • HOFCToDi

            That’s not how I interpret the response nor has Julie Johnston played in a defensive midfield role during the Victory Tour.

          • HOFCToDi

            If Tom Sermanni was the head coach. However since Jill Ellis is the head coach, I don’t envision the USWNT calling up collegiate players against Brazil.

          • Steglitz49

            If Kristie Mewis continues to play well for Bayern Munich, it will be hard to overlook her.

          • AlexH

            I think the OG is important enough in woso (and certainly for the US sports fan) that the team should focus on picking the 18 players that have the best chance of winning now. I have no idea if Bucski is one of those but I do believe that there is plenty of time to prepare some younger players for WC 2019 after the WNT brings home the gold.

          • mockmook

            She’s ready:

            http://drawformation.com/post/5615b11a7efe0/sm-5615b11a7efe0.png

            Perhaps the best team to field for OG16.

          • Steglitz49

            No Christen Press?

            Krieger not to be on the field in an NT jersey.

    • mockmook

      Is it certain that Buz is done?

      • Rdalford

        Equalizer/Lauletta reported (see the … day after notebook article) that Buczkowski had not yet made a final decision on 2016 season

        ” …Jen Buczkowski hinted before the season that this would be her last, but in the championship celebration she indicated that no final decisions had been made. ”

        as a fan (who would like to see quality players like Buczkowski continue to play) I hope that she makes a decision to continue with FCKC. FCKC is already losing Holiday, who will clearly be difficult to replace, and may lose other players due to expansion. I trust coach Andonovski and the system/style that FCKC plays but I would expect there to be a few rough spots as FCKC rebuilds/adjusts to post Holiday (and potentially post Buczkowski etc) team.

        • Steglitz49

          Jen is 30. High time to concentrate on her assistant coach job at ND (if she still is doing that) and build her second career,

          • Rdalford

            Buczkowski can/will make whatever choice she wants and I am glad that at least there will be a 4th year of NWSL so she and other woso players have the option to continue playing. From perspective of a fan, I hope she continues to play with FCKC. Although she may be 30 she is still one of the most effective central defensive midfielders.

          • Steglitz49

            Time waits for no wo/man.

          • AlexH

            An Olympic gold medal does wonders to jump start a career in coaching. I think given our sudden lack of central midfielders proven solid player like Jen could be very useful because she can free up Morgan Brian to express herself and keep Carli focused on winning games rather than being distracted with pesky details like playing defense.

          • Steglitz49

            If JE has promised Jen a spot in Rio, then she must keep playing. But if not, then Jen should hang up her boots and move on.

    • mockmook

      I wonder where Westphal will go in the draft — probably before KC has a whack.

  • guest

    The title of the article should be “New player on right wing produces same result.” The fact is, she really didn’t make a difference in their season and anybody could have made that cross for the winning goal given that she was unmarked. Hao’s biggest contribution is her hustle, but Ohai can match her work rate, in addition to having her best years still in front of her.

    • AlexH

      That’s not entirely fair because she was the one who was there and delivered. Lots of people blow it in the big game when it counts and HAO delivers consistently. That said she probably needs to retire from the national team as others in her position seem to have surpassed her.

      • HOFCToDi

        Let’s see who Jill Ellis invites to the annual USWNT winter training camp normally held in January. The typical number of USWNT players varies from 28 to 30.

    • curious

      However, the professional coach and 2x champion wanted HAO not Ohai. Significant?

      • mockmook

        Perhaps he already dismissed it as an unrealistic goal — too costly.

    • ladywing

      Games between such evenly matched teams are like shooting craps. Sometimes you win and sometime you lose. Mathematical probability says each game, each time has an equal chance of prevailing. The odds for each game do not change. And the goal game from the left where SRFC just had a player taken out injured. What are the odds?

      • guest

        Although many people may think the teams are fairly evenly matched, in the head to head matches between Seattle and FCKC, FCKC has won 7 (including 2 finals) matches while Seattle has only won 2.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you.

        • Miki

          – With the majority of FCKC’s wins coming in 2013. More accurately, from 2014, the record has been 3 FCKC wins, 2 Seattle wins, 2 draws.

          • ladywing

            Do you ever wonder who you are posting to when the names are grey and the information is wrong?

          • Steglitz49

            In the dark all cats are grey

          • Steglitz49

            Why that artificial limitation?

            If you were to say, that the USWNT have won all WC since 2011, you may be technically correct but the statement would be meaningless and you would make yourself a laughing stock and held up to public ridicule

          • Miki

            Like I said – it’s more accurate. As you know the 2013 team is very different to the 2014 & 2015 teams as the major turnover of the roster significantly improved the team. Not only in terms of personnel, but achieving the aimed style of play, depth, venue, team dynamics, etc.

          • Steglitz49

            We know Seattle had a lousy first season. Only DC’s was worse. The difference was that the fans remained loyal in DC while in Seattle they only showed up once Pinoe came back from Lyon and Hope from her operation. ARod never did play for them.

            In a funny sort of way, Seattle let Pinoe play in the Champions League final (which Lyon lost) while Fishlock reported to duty bin Seattle before the Champions League final, which Frankfurt won!

    • Miki

      I agree that she did not have an impact to the extent of “adding a new dimension” to the team and pretending as if she was vital solely because of that single play.

    • dw

      Hmm. Not sure. HAO can consistently expose defenses down the right on the club level, even if her effectiveness at the international level is diminished. Even though her speed and power have dropped off, her workrate, hustle, and professional demeanor remain the same. If she could pass that attitude onto a younger player like, well a younger player that doesn’t have the attitude: “I’m going to run at you, and if you stop me, I’m going to run at you again, and again, until the final whistle blows.” Not sure how I ended up being a HAO apologist, but hey, other NT’ers are staying home, and HAO is out there giving all she has. I think this is a definite distinction between club and country. HAO can give defenders fits at the NWSL level for a few more years yet, even.

      • AlexH

        At this stage of her career her WNT future comes down to chemistry and rolls. HAO probably is not going to win very many games for the WNT but she certainly isn’t going to lose one by letting our opponents maraud down her flank, and that is very valuable when a team has players that can win games. However now that the roster has to be trimmed to 18 my guess is that JE will goe with a more complete player and leave HAO off.

  • AlexH

    Given that it is a slow woso news day I’ll put forth a tactical quandary to the peanut gallery.

    My U-13 girls team is down to 12 effective players this weekend after my left back got hurt. I run a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield and I am torn between moving my AM (who is an excellent defender) into the back four and moving a not too good outside midfielder into the AM role OR to run a 3-4-3 and leave my midfield intact, put on an added attacker and just tell my defenders and middies to just dump the ball long to the front 3 and hope for the best…..Thoughts.

    • mockmook

      Can one of your Forwards fill in adequately in the back? If yes, leave the MF intact, throw any warm body into that vacated Forward position.

      • AlexH

        Unfortunately not. Thanks for all of your advice though. It has given me some stuff to think about.

        • Steglitz49

          How did the match go?

    • mockmook

      Another option — shouldn’t be too disruptive — and, as FCKC can tell you, “Defense wins Championships”:

      Keep the 4-4-2 Diamond

      Put your DM on the back line.

      Put your AM at DM/DLP.

      Put your best passing/possession Forward at AM.

      Stick Jane Schmane at Forward

    • Steglitz49

      Wonderful. Marvelous. This is what the comments field is truly for. Wish more would write about teams, however young, that they are involved with.

      • AlexH

        Thanks.

  • Bulkon Capital

    ARod will probably retire after Olympics. Bucz may go too. FCKC needs to do some scouting.

  • smallchief

    O’Reilly has made a strong case over the last couple of months that she still belongs on the National Team as a starter at the right midfielder spot.