Going for Gold: USWNT players prepare for Olympics in NWSL

Eric Scatamacchia May 19, 2016 421
Portland Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg has had a strong start to her 2016 NWSL season. (Photo: NWSL)

Portland Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg has had a strong start to her 2016 NWSL season. (Photo: NWSL)

There are less than 80 days until the women’s Olympic soccer tournament kicks off in Brazil. Although the U.S. national team has not been together over the past month, national teamers have been busy with their respective NWSL clubs as the 2016 season has kicked off.

Five weeks into the season, some players have thrived, some have struggled and others have suffered injuries that have taken them off the field.

Tobin Heath was playing some of the best soccer of her career in the early spring with the national team and she has continued that form with the Portland Thorns. She leads the NWSL in assists with four and was named the Player of the Month for April. Heath is surrounded by a lot of talent in Portland and has used that to her advantage, providing great distribution from her outside midfield position.

While Heath is essentially a lock to make the Olympic roster, her current play suggests she could be one of the best players for the U.S. this summer.

{The Lowdown: The legacy of Jen Buczkowski}

Heath’s teammate in Portland, Lindsey Horan, has enjoyed a successful beginning to her NWSL career. After three years in France, Horan returned stateside in 2016 to play in the NWSL. Through five games, she has played every minute for the Thorns and has scored two goals.

Horan has continued to play in the central midfield, similar to where she has played with the national team. This bodes well for Jill Ellis and company as Horan grows more comfortable in that position.

Staying with the Portland Thorns, Meghan Klingenberg and rookie Emily Sonnett have been busy in their new home, as each has played every minute so far this season.

In Chicago, Christen Press is tied for the league-lead in goals with three. She has been a consistent threat in front of goal for the Red Stars. She has twice as many shots on goal as the next closet player (Press has 18; Alex Morgan is next with 9). Press will need to continue her strong play with the national team as the U.S. boasts a bevy of attacking options.

Red Stars defender Julie Johnston has missed two games after re-aggravating a groin injury. However, Chicago has been able to maintain an impressive defensive record thanks in large part to goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Naeher has recorded a clean sheet in four of five matches this season and is second in the league in saves with 20.

Both Naeher and Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris have been making strong cases for the backup goalkeeper position at the Olympics. Harris is third in the league in saves with 19.

Alex Morgan has two goals and an assist in five games for the Pride. She is second in the league in shots and shots on goal. Most importantly, Morgan has stayed healthy and played every minute for Orlando.

{Curren: NWSL Week in Review: Our kingdom for some goals}

Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger have been major contributors to the best team in the NWSL. Dunn has struggled converting her own scoring chances with just four shots on goal. However, she has not let that affect the rest of her game as she has three assists. Krieger has one of the goals of the season thus far and has been a big part of Washington’s defense that has allowed just one goal.

In Houston, both Morgan Brian and Carli Lloyd have missed matches already. Brian has played in three games. She has started the last two games for the Dash, but has not played a full 90 minutes. Lloyd suffered an MCL sprain in late April and should return to the pitch soon. Both Brian and Lloyd figure to be healthy for the Olympics.

Lloyd’s co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn has played every minute for defending champion FC Kansas City, but the team has not won yet and recorded just one clean sheet from five matches.

The national team will convene on May 27 in Denver, Colo. for training camp before its two matches against Japan at the beginning of June. Following those matches, players will return to their NWSL teams before an Olympic training.

  • Gary Diver

    It seems odd to have this article just one day after the “Rampone Returns to USWWNT” article which is still hotly discussed. It doesn’t make much sense to be hopping back and forth with comments on essentially the same topic.

    • guest

      This article seems to be intended to start discussion or arguments about whether USWNT players are using NWSL to prep for OG so cue up the USWNT doesn’t care about NWSL comments

      • Gary Diver

        We may not like the current structure between USWNT and NWSL, but it is what it is and whining about it will change nothing before OG. It would be like asking Noah to rebuild the Ark the day before the rains started. Let’s go forward with the ship we have!

        • Guesting

          On the surface, the NWSL owners seem to be taking it all in stride, but I can’t help but think that they are mad as hell about how the USWNT arbitrarily decides when and where they schedule camps and friendlies. it clearly is creating problems and is having a disruptive effect on the teams. If it continues in this manor, and starts to have an effect on attendance, someone like Paulson, with the strong support of other owners, may no longer be willing to keep quiet. With the addition of more MLS clubs picking up teams, it might be best that the league starts to separate itself from US Soccer. The sooner the league can move away from US Soccer’s allocation process and any financial dependency, the better off they will be.

          • Gary Diver

            The next two years should be much smoother going between USWNT and NWSL.

          • Steglitz49

            If you believe that, you believe anything.

      • Andy

        To be fair, it seems more that USSF doesn’t care about NWSL than USWNT players.

  • #1Fan

    interesting read imo . So Press has 3/18 . Pretty poor conversion rate. Morgan 2/9 and Dunn 0/4. I stand by my points on the other thread re Strikers and real finishers. Morgan aside …

    • Gary Diver

      Yesterday I posted a very interesting podcast from BBC giving an overview of the new world of WoSo. (I posted it a few minutes before USSF announced Ellis’ May camp roster and my post got lost in cyberspace.)

      “Women’s Football: A Whole New Ball Game”

      BBC podcast hosted by Sarah Mulkerrins posted May 18.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programme

      “We look at the runaway success of the game in the United States after their team’s World Cup triumph. We go to Nigeria to look at the problems faced by women footballers there. We examine the science and the statistics behind the game: can women play football just like men? Should they get the same pay? With massive television audiences from America to Australia and from Germany to Japan it looks like the women’s sport is finally finding its place in the world. So is this a whole new ball game?”

      Two relevant points:
      1. Modern soccer game is based on passing. This indicates that Jill Ellis is correct in her attempt to improve the technical and cerebral aspects of the USWNT game.

      2. The quality of women’s soccer is improving. Scientific studies are showing that there is convergence occurring between the men’s and women’s game. The number of passes and percentage of successful passes in women’s soccer has risen significantly in recent years.

      • Tom F

        I think the technical part is just a wee bit overrated in the women’s game at this moment. There’s a new era of American dominance based on the mass popularity that soccer has become females in this country. Except for the pro club part, women are treated as equal(especially with Title Xi). The active playing ratio is 58/42%. Europe & South Americans suffer cause the boys play soccer compared to girls as much as 8 to 1. The women players are basicly treated as 2nd rate citizens in terms of how much money are spend on their programs.

        • Gary Diver

          The BBC podcast points out that there are now some serious scientific/statistical studies of soccer. As I mentioned earlier, passing is a very important aspect of the modern game. If one looks at game statistics, men pass much more than women do and have a higher completion rate. But women are closing the gap.

          The lack of resources spent on the women’s game worldwide is also addressed in the podcast when they looked at the situation in Nigeria. In most countries of the world, soccer is more than a sport, it is a defining component of culture. And yet in most countries, resources for women’s soccer is next to nothing. That says that the power structure in those countries do not respect or value women. It is interesting that in Europe there are recently more resources allocated to women’s soccer but part of the improved focus on European women’s soccer comes from political pressure. If the soccer power structure elite does not begin to treat women more fairly, politicians in Europe have threaten to deal with the equality issue themselves.

          • mockmook

            I don’t know if a country views women playing sports as inappropriate as equating to they don’t respect women in general.

            I’m sure many in those countries view their approach as protecting women.

          • Gary Diver

            Did you listen to the Nigerian women interviewed by the BBC? They seem to view the lack of resources is connected to a lack of respect. In most countries, women have zero leverage on what fraction of the soccer investment in their countries goes to women’s soccer. There were some interesting reports during the WC about soccer-crazy Brazil. It is amazing that the Brazilian public hardly knows about or cares about Marta. What does this say about Brazilian society?

            It is not an accident who gets recognition/coverage and who gets support/investments. Men make those decisions for “their women”. Even in the Premier League in England we see paternalistic behavior governing decisions. The wealthiest team, Manchester United, is the only team not supporting a women’s team. Everybody expects Manchester to soon get onboard, but nobody can understand why they have to be dragged to do the right thing.

          • Steglitz49

            Man Utd are owned by Americans.

          • Gary Diver

            The argument of “protecting women” is a tricky one. It was the argument used to separate men and women after supper in 19th century upper middle-class homes. The argument also was used to deny American women access to certain activities and buildings thought to be too crude and too immoral for their sensitivities. And don’t forget that the “protecting women” argument was used to deny women the right to vote right up until 1920 and to prevent women to serve in the arms services on an equal basis with men.

          • Riveter

            US women feel they are not respected by USSF, hence the lawsuit over pay.

          • Gary Diver

            There are conflicts in many other countries in how women soccer players are treated and supported by their societies. In a lot of countries, women are told bluntly that their places of accomplishment are in the kitchen and in the bedroom.

        • Steglitz49

          315m will dominate. The question is only, where is the cut-off? at 15m inhabitants?

          As for Europe, now that the rich men’s clubs — except Man Utd and Real Madrid — are pumping money into the ladies game, times are a’changing. Most of them are doing because of political pressure behind the scenes.

          • Tom F

            but it’s not really helping. Germany’s been up there in the women’s game and they got the 85 mil. pop. to compete. But they’ve haven’t beaten the US since 2003. They play a way superior ‘tactical’ game than the US, but they’ve lacked in producing world class CB’s & even fwds. Why they’ve haven’t been able to produce more athletic caliber players is I take it is they just can’t get enough females to participate in the game as to why they can’t match us. And so it is possibly with the rest of the world,
            The previous weakness the US had was not having a steady pro league and keeping the NT into a good ole club with players past their prime like the Abster. But both problems have been solved. Now the only way to match tthe US will be by a stronger, more physical presence, which i got the feeling both Australia & Canada are attempting to do. Got the feeling both those countries will be stronger than any Euro side in Rio

          • guest

            The biggest take-away from the USA-Germany SBC game is that the Germans are just too slow. That’s not necessarily the case for the Canadians or Australians but they are boths still dwarfed in overall talent.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken. I too expect the US to dominate at least till beyond WC-23 if not beyond WC-31.

            It is easy to forget that after their fabulous feat in the men’s WC in 1954, it took Germany’s men 20 years to win the next — on home soil. Then it was 16 years and then another 24 years.

            Japan had its Golden Generation and one wonders whether like Busby with his babes, Japan can build another stunning generation? I suspect that size and weight will be against them.

            Meanwhile, it looks as if the FA will make England the home of club WoSo. I hope they succeed.

            Australia gets a free ride by playing in the NWSL — eat your hearts out Mexicans. The NWSL also helps Canada but like Mexico they are cofounders of the NWSL.

            Euro-17 may give us a sign of where WoSo stands but I suspect the next watershed will be WC-19.

          • Gary Diver

            A number of people are expecting Australia and Canada to be the darlings of OG16. Canada is a strange case. Hockey is the national sport and although their women’s hockey team competes with the US women’s hockey team for all important tournament titles, it is the Canadian women’s soccer team that has won the hearts of Canadians. Can’t explain it other than Canadians see Christine Sinclair as a living icon of the country.

      • Steglitz49

        You must separate WoSo into before Marta and after Marta and also before the Golden Generation and after.

        Maybe WC-11 is the biggest divider though some might argue that the rise of Lyon through the spending by a not so rich men’s team also got the ball rolling.

      • brdn08

        Yeah but most woso players struggle with a first touch and basic dribbling.

        • Gary Diver

          I think the use of science will improve this aspect of WoSo.

          • Steglitz49

            To be a great soccer player you need at least 3 attributes. Ball skills, acceleration and vision (awareness). “You pass to score goals” is one motto.

            Marta in her prime was something else. She still is though time has taken its toll.

            The Nadeshiko of 2011 had this in spades. At the same time, I suspect size matters and just like the male Japan NT, Korean &/or China, have had trivial impact in BroSo, the size and weight handicap may mean curtains for the Nadeshiko.

          • Gary Diver

            How about soccer IQ? One of things that impresses me about Mallory Pugh is her vision and soccer IQ. She seems to know what she wants to do with the ball before she should be able to know. It is though her brain is unconsciously playing a chess match on the soccer field and she is thinking two or three moves ahead of everybody else.

          • Steglitz49

            I called it “vision (awareness)” but there are other ways to describe it.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            Magnus Pyke agrees.

      • Lord Otter-Blotter

        Here’s a working version of that link for those interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03vj48x

    • newsouth

      100% of morgan’s reps are at forward. what’s your point? between club and nt, the other two play multiple positions.

      • #1Fan

        all good. we had a discussion yday about this. on the WNT there is only one out and out fwd. the rest are more hybrid types, that’s all. I was wondering where all the out and out strikers are in the US Womens game ? has the emphasis on technique somehow overlooked finishing? It was intended to start discussion, not arguments 😉

        • Gary Diver

          One aspect of this involves formations. If a coach is using a single forward formation, she/he needs only one forward. If you don’t play, you sit the bench like the backup keepers. Who wants to play a position where you can’t play unless you are best player on the team?

          • #1Fan

            most squads are not so singular . Yes they have a preferred formation, but they have players that can fill it. Its a good debate.

          • Gary Diver

            I have a 10-year old nephew who is playing hockey in Western New York. He has been a forward and has played extensively during the past couple of year. But one of his friend is the team goalie and my nephew now wants to be a goalie. The problem is (in addition to the expensive equipment) that his friend is the number one goalie and plays all of the games while my nephew plays the bench. That is not quite true. My nephew has played one game as goalie and all the other games as forward, but this experience supports my view that some positions you better be best on the team or you sit on the bench. With three forwards and one goalie, it is clear which position has more opportunities to play.

          • #1Fan

            I don’t really understand the point you are making as it relates to soccer. In every sport once you get to the National tam, the best person plays. That does not stop every club player putting in performances to be the best at that position.

          • Gary Diver

            The point is if you want to be a forward or a defender you will get more opportunities to play than if you want to be a goalie. There is a tendency in soccer, just like hockey, to play your number one goalie as much as possible. It is the position with the least amount of replacements. Look at NWSL play. Other than Portland and Sky Blue and injured-plagued Boston, all other teams have used just one goalie for all five games. If you are a goalie, but better be the best goalie on the team or you won’t likely play. That is not true for any of the other positions.

          • Ethan

            True. Add in the fact that goalkeeper isn’t really a physically draining position, and being a back-up goalkeeper is not the most glamorous job at all. Plus, in the US, there are no cup competitions that allow reserves to get more playing time.

          • Andrew Alberico

            The single forward formation is an abomination. The US should play a 4-4-2 with Alex and Christian at forward, Pugh and Dunn on the wings midfield. And Klingenberg should be a stay-at-home on the back line. If she stays where she belongs that strengthens the defense. Pugh and Dunn provide all the offense on the sides necessary. One reason Alex has not scored on the US team is the ridiculous one forward formation. Maybe Barcelona should copy Jill Ellis and take Messi and Neymar off the front line and leave Suarez there by himself.

          • Gary Diver

            There are people here who argue that “attackers should attack and defenders should defend”. I’ve wondered if it is counterproductive to use the OBs as attackers in that it will tire them out and reduced their effectiveness defending.

          • Reality

            The single forward formation currently favored by Ellis is curious insofar as she always plays Morgan there and wastes the talents of the other forwards by playing them out of position or using them as substitutes. Having two forwards in amongst the opponent’s back line who are interacting to find openings would IMO be more effective in scoring goals.

        • mockmook

          Just because a player is versatile doesn’t mean she can’t be a dominant striker.

          • #1Fan

            do not disagree on the womens side at all.

        • Steglitz49

          ever heard of “Total Football”?

    • Bruce

      I haven’t done the math, but it seems to me that the vast majority of Press’s shots are ones she fabricates on her own. She took eight shots in the last game and my recollection is that one (maybe two) were assisted. Comparing conversion rates of assisted and unassisted shots is an apples and oranges thing.

    • F0OtballNowAndAlways

      The trouble with completion percentages in soccer is the goalkeeper factor. Two players might be 4/20 and therefore converting at the rate of 20%, but can they really be adjudged as having comparable shooting abilities if one player directed her shots at more capable goalkeepers than the other player?

      This is in contrast to a sport like basketball where players shoot balls at unguarded targets. As long as the shot is true, it scores. In soccer however, a player might hit the purest and most ferocious shot possible in one instance and be denied by an outstanding goalkeeper, while scoring on more or less an identical shot against a less adequate goalkeeper on a separate occasion.

    • Breakers fan

      Do strikers roam America who are as yet undiscovered who are superior to the 3 you name? My approach is to acknowledge what I know about the nature of the game at this level, sample sizes, and these players.

      • #1Fan

        here is my view from what I see. I watch a lot of youth soccer and I see very few talented scorers. By that I mean kids who project to score goals at a high level. The emphasis on technique has led kids to focus on ball rolls , step overs and the like to the exclusion of other fundamentals. I think there is a real lack of scoring instinct in the womens game in the US . Period. I also think that there are so many poor goalkeepers at youth levels that bad shots often go in. as you get to higher levels, this gets exposed somewhat.
        Anyways, just my view.

        • Breakers fan

          Thanks. I realized I was a little harsh and defensive in my first posting and misinterpreted your post to some extent. I do, however, defend Morgan, Press and Dunn as being very good scorers. Sure they could be better but that’s a pretty throwaway criticism, one that almost always goes without saying. And maybe they’re not the best scorers in women’s history but all 3 are very, very good, in my opinion. The best in the country right now.

          I very much respect your knowledge of today’s youth landscape and read with great interest your observations of it. What you wrote here is very interesting and it has the ring of truth to it. When you see these elite youth teams practice, how much time do they spend with their forwards just taking multiple shots at goal from distance off of a moving ball with a keeper in net? That should happen every practice and not just for 3 minutes.

          • #1Fan

            the practices are really not set up to sharpen scoring and scorers. Without giving to much detail, my daughter is a YNT forward. She has solid tools and is blessed with speed. To sharpen her finishing, she has to do extra work. usually with me or her coach and usually with a male goalkeeper. She will work on finishing and shooting fundamentals. She used to be able to run thru most teams and finish a very low pct. She still needs to get a lot better, but without extra work she would be pretty bad. If you go to high level practices, you will see passing patterns, scrimmages etc but not enough position specific stuff for goal scorers. Also at the youth level with girls, speed kills. you can create so much and yet not really develop much else. This truth hold a long long way in the womens game if you have elite speed. The pressure to win, stunts the incentive to actually develop anything else.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks for that glimpse into what is happening. I admire how you take the extra time to work with your daughter on what you see is a weakness in the system. Hopefully there will be an awakening that forwards especially need to work more on shooting and finishing-specific drills.

          • #1Fan

            I wish. problem is that the product is so diluted now that poor players still score a lot of goals. at youth level.

          • mockmook

            I know this isn’t exactly the topic, but doesn’t the USWNT spend a lot of time in small sided drills where they take tons of shots? It seems that way from the team videos.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, I’ve seen those videos too, – good memory by you there – so it seems like at the Senior level they’ve figured out that you need to practice shots often in game-like conditions.

          • #1Fan

            btw . I Also think that the players you name are good. my comments relate more to the cupboard being bare than them being bad.

  • Steve

    Dunn is being more of a team player this year. Which is what people wanted. Her first two games she wasn’t play CF because of Stengel. Jim benched Stengel and moved Crystal back to the middle. Which has helped her generate more shots.

    • Frozen Blue

      I have a feeling that Ellis asked Dunn to address and improve certain parts of her game that didn’t involve scoring and she seems to be accomplishing this.

      • Steglitz49

        Wise lady.

    • Guest1

      I think it’s harsh compare her to Morgan and Press.. who have had years of being a forward. Has Alex ever played any position but forward? A player still learning the position.

      • #1Fan

        Not really comparing. I was making the point yday that the USWNT set up seem to be converting CAM types to play fwd.

        • Guest

          I think that comparison applies to Dunn who seems to play a little like a false 9 at times. Morgan and Press seem mor like true 9s to mee that play better with a forward partner due to their size.

          • Steglitz49

            Size matters. Ms Dunn is short even by Japanese standards. It is easy to shine surrounded by top players. Harder to do with journeywomen.

          • john

            I’ve been at Spirit practice sessions and stood on the sidelines like a youth game. Dunn might be short, but there is nothing small about her. She has a low center of gravity, can jump with anyone, and tremendous leg strength. Imo her injuries (other than hamstring) are the injuries of any dribbler.

          • Steglitz49

            No doubt.

            Nevertheless. it is far from clear why the US need select short players when there are plenty tall ones.

            Crystal is 5’1″ and the average height of an American lass her age is 5’4″ if not 5’5″. Alex and Christen Annemarie are 5’7″.

            The Nadeshiko, who won WC-11, averaged 5’4″, which is 2″ taller than the average height of Japanese ladies their age. Aya Miyama and Naho Kawasumi are 5’2″ while Mana Iwabuchi is 5’1″.

            Nevertheless, it is often proclaimed that Japan giving away so much in size (height and weight) leaves them at a disadvantage and this will impact their future chances on the world stage. The team of the last 7-8 years or so are known as Golden Generation for a reason.

          • Breakers fan

            Do you also write letters every day to Barcelona and Argentina to drop Messi, gracing them of your landmark discovery that shorter players are always inferior to taller ones?

          • Guest

            There are not many players like Messi, Aguero and Hazard. I don’t think players should be dismissed only on size concerns but being smaller does brings challenges to those players.

          • Breakers fan

            Sure. And I would contend that there are not many women players right now like Crystal Dunn. The proof is in the pudding. Most of soccer occurs, it seems to me, at the height of 3-4 feet and down, with most of that at about 1 foot and down.

        • Bruce

          Or forwards to play CMs. It’s almost Klinsmann-esque.

      • Steglitz49

        Dunn is better than Christen Annemarie.

        • Disagree.

        • brdn08

          agree completely

          • Ubu-Roi

            And at her age and versitility, with a much higher upside.

          • brdn08

            Her speed is just something you can’t prepare for as an opponent.

        • F0OtballNowAndAlways

          I beg to differ. Current form suggest Christen Annemarie is the best forward in the country, bar none.

          • Steglitz49

            then let’s hope she will get a chance to prove it

          • rkmid71

            Not likely barring some unforseen circumstance. I don’t agree with the above notion that players taking more shots are by definition superior. Some players take shots from 40 yds, or other low percentage chances which the defense willing concedes (i.e. effectively just a turnover). That is not a superior player. It seems like the top forwards usually get about 50% of their shots on goal and convert about 20-25%.

          • Breakers fan

            Agree – about more shots taken doesn’t = a better player. One has to look at each instance and then “judge” it. Every one is different. I do like, however, players (who are naturally good, powerful shooters) who pull the trigger if the situation is one where a goal is reasonably possible. I get irked by excessive fiddling in order to get *maybe* a better shot. It seems to me that rarely does one result, when earlier a decent opportunity to take a shot existed.

          • rkmid71

            Good, powerful … and preferably accurate about 50% of the time. Forwards obviously are looking to score first. Watching Messi, Neymar and Suarez play together and the balance they’ve struck amongst themselves between shooting, scoring, passing/assisting seems close to the ideal. It’s relatively easy for a team/defenders to shutdown a selfish, ballhog shooter no matter how good they are. Not so easy if a team’s leading forward is just as willing to pass to an open teammate if that’s what the defense gives them. But I also agree with Steg’s notion that in WoSo, the long shots payoff more often than in BroSo simply because the goalie’s aren’t as good and/or tall.

          • Breakers fan

            Good post, thanks. Yes, accuracy is very important. And I should watch Barcelona play more.

            My only issue with the shots-on-goal statistic is that I don’t think it’s quite nuanced enough. I’ve written this before. A laser of a shot that has a goalie beaten but misses by, say 3 inches, or hits the post and goes out, gets zero points, but a dribbler or mis-hit slow floater right at the keeper gets 100 out of 100 points in this statistic. That gargantuan discrepancy between those 2 kinds of shots doesn’t strike me as the best way of measuring how good of a shot was taken.

          • What’s changed?

            Stats suggest she’s inefficient, which in international play against quality opposition is not a good thing. Coupled with her history of not scoring (in her limited time) against top tier sides it is hard to see her as the pick.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Nonsense. If you give her the same chances as people she is outperforming have received, she would score loads of goals. Since you admit her minutes (at forward) have been limited, there is no need to mention that. Your heroes you presumably feel do well against top tier sides struggle to impress in the NWSL. Press dominates her opponents in the league and makes them look like children.

            Shots made vs shots taken comparisons are wrongheaded. They claim that a player who takes 2 shots and makes 1 (50%) is more “efficient” than a player who takes 20 and makes 4 (20%). I say rubbish. The players who take more shots are clearly superior players. The players who take a few shots do so only because they lack the skill to get themselves in position to take more shots, and their shooting ratios would be even lower if they could take more shots.

          • I shoot therefore I’m great

            Kristie Mewis must be a superior player then.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            “The players who take a few shots do so only because they lack the skill to get themselves in position to take more shots, and their shooting ratios would be even lower if they could take more shots.”

            First you have to take the shot from a position on the field that makes it a viable proposition, moron.

      • Frozen Blue

        I also feel like people forget Dunn is about the same age as Morgan was when she was in her first World Cup where she was a sub for most of the tournament after which she had years of “apprenticeship” under Abby that helped improve her game. Neither Dunn or Press has had such. Even Abby had time and help developing under Mia. This kind of system of “master and apprentice” has worked very well for the US national team for years and I am disappointed that it’s so much more cutthroat now where there isn’t room for this anymore.

  • Tom F

    I felt that the WC was essentially won cause the US had the best back line in the tourney in Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg & Solo. Based on how they look in early season NWSL play, got to wonder if both Canada & Australia have catched up?

    CA ———Belanger, Buchannen, Zardowski, Chapman & Labbe

    AU———Foord, Kennedy, Alleway, Cately & Williams

    • Guest

      I’ll say catching up but i’m not sure about better. Sauerbrunn’s drop in form has been the most noticeable and JJ has been injured but Klingenberg and O’hara have been good while Krieger has been down right dominant on the defensive side. The US is deeper and better at almost every other position compared to those teams though so while I wouldn’t bet against either team being competitive, I would still expect them to lose the vast majority of the time

      • Gary Diver

        Sauerbrunn had some bad moments during the SBC games. How has she played in the first five NWSL games? Just as people were claiming that she was the greatest defender in the world, nobody wants to believe that she is over the hill. That would be sad for all concerned.

        • brdn08

          She still is the best defender in all of WOSO.

        • Guest

          She made a few mistakes and yet the WNT has still only allowed 1 goal this year.

          She had a few slip ups recently but that is why she has teammates on the field. Not everyone can always be perfect through every play. And in regard to the greatest defender in the world, I doubt that Houghton, Buchanan, Renard and the other candidates have never made a mistake. In fact, I can remember a few for each one of them actually.

          Not to mention, the games where these ‘mistakes’ occurred were against the top teams in the world. Obviously, there are going to be some occasions when someone on these teams are able to get in on goal or break through. It is not as though them getting a shot on goal is the end of the world.

        • Lord Otter-Blotter

          Think I’ve seen a mistake or two, but nothing too significant. Can’t really hold much against her anyway, working with an otherwise entirely new back line.

    • Volley

      I’ll be surprised if Foord is in the backline for the Matildas.

      • mockmook

        Why?

        • Nicole C.

          She alternated between left and right wing for OGQ.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            They were without Sam Kerr for the qualifying tournament so I’m not sure she’ll stay there.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      I wouldn’t say they are as good as the US back line. While I think Canada could look a lot stronger with Zadorsky in for Sesselmann, I still have doubts as I don’t think Chapman is that great at international level and I’m still unsure on Labbe. Australia’s backline is decent too, but Alleway and Kennedy aren’t top quality centre backs, they are good but not that good.

      If anyone has a backline comparable to the US its France, shame their goalkeeper is awful.

      • Tom F

        got to give part credit to Labbe & Zadorski for only letting 1 goal in 5 games in for the Spirit(the EQ experts refuse to give Megan Oyster any laurels!). CA could bring their quick footed, 17 year old, Rose, at left fb(instead of Chapman); she did an excellent job defending against the speedster, Van Santern, in the recent vs Netherlands friendly.
        Kennedy played strong defense at the WC, she took over Polkinhorne’s spot after AU first loss vs the US. Alleway is improving and she’s doing a yeoman’s job at the Pride, considering that the team’s fb’s have a licence to move up field and leave her defending by herself.
        Just watched Lyon vs Montepelier Cup finals, Lyon and superstars(with that back line of Bremer, M’Bock, Renard & Majri) might be the only team in the world that could beat the USWNT!. Oddly enough they didn’t want to bring Necib in until the 75th minute and Henry wasn’t playing well at all. But just wait till next year when they get Marozsan among others………….

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          The Lyon-Montpellier was a well fought final, and won by a spectacular goal. Lyon’s side is crazy strong although I feel Bremer and Majri are both better going forwards and preffered the system they used to use with 3 at the back (M’Bock, Renard and Kumagai, with Bremer and Majri as wing backs/wide mids), I guess they dropped that so they could get Thomis on the field though. Be interesting to see how they line up for the Champions League final, I can’t imagine Necib will be on the bench after that match!

          • guest

            Majri is a wing playing outside back.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Yeah, Bremer is also not a natural full back, Lyon just pack as many attacking players on the pitch as they can for the most part.

        • guest

          remember lyon want to bring some uswnt players over next year. so with kelly o’hara starting, marozsan might be sitting on the bench as a sub.

      • mockmook

        Chapman has been excellent for the Dash. I think that is comparable (or sometimes better) than the international level.

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          Well we might have to disagree here, since I’d say top international sides are quite a bit stronger than NWSL sides.

      • guest

        Mbock really impressed me at SBC. Their whole line did a great job of controlling the speed of Morgan and Pugh for most of the game.

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          She’s a very promising player. Probably the best young centre back in the world who isn’t called Kadeisha Buchanan.

  • Paul Klee

    Seems this is an incomplete article. He left out some players KO being the most obvious omission. I wonder what his basis for calling someone a national teamer would be?

    • Alex P

      I’d say he singled out players who you either have to talk about (captains and big names) or those who have been impressive. KO hasn’t impressed me in this NWSL run unless you count her ability to foul her competitors.

      • Paul Klee

        Could be but seems to me he just ran out of steam no mention of Seattle, Western New York and Sky Blue. Solo is perhaps the second biggest name yet no mention. Did I leave any one out….. 😉

  • AlexH

    It’s nice to see the NWSL serving its intended purpose: To function as training cones for the WNT players. Hopefully the league will catch on with enough people to stand on its own right.

    • Bruce

      Can’t agree with this enough. I really want to buy in to the league, but it’s almost impossible to get excited about the teams when it’s so clear that the players and coaches are not.

      • Andy

        How you can claim that the NWSL coaches are not excited about the NWSL is baffling to me. Including the players in that comment is only slightly better as only some of the USWNT have shown any hint of not caring about NWSL. The only group that has shown they don’t care is USSF. USSF is the one scheduling call-ups outsided FIFA windows etc.

        • Bruce

          My point is this: the success of ALL professional sports leagues is a function of harnessing star power and the stars of the NWSL are clearly not focused on league play.

          Bryan and others are resting for the NT. Press and Dunn and others use their NWSL time to learn a new positions for the NT. Lloyd and Rapinoe won’t return to the NWSL since playing could jeopardize their place on the NT. Morgan and Waumbach pretty much blew off the 2015 NWSL season for the NT.

          Beyond that, it’s obvious that USSF mandates are effecting player usage and game outcome. I don’t blame coaches for being frustrated. You can see it in their pressers.

          With most star-quality players either resting or being played out of position, who should the average fan get excited about watching this weekend?

          More importantly if no one gets excited about the NWSL during WC and OG years, how can the league survive?

          • Ando91881

            I don’t understand why there are 2 matches versus Japan in early June instead of just 1. 1 match is enough. Then have the players go right back to the their NWSL teams. Also, only have 1 match in July before The Olympics.

          • Gary Diver

            In the scheme of WoSo, winning the OG gold medal is more important to USSF than a smooth and successful NWSL season.

            There will be two Friendlies in July: one around July 10 and the second around July 24 at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. Typically Friendlies are in pairs with the same team but that arrangement would not be favorable to the July camp. In terms of preparation, it makes sense to have two separated Friendlies in July.

            Ellis’ job is to bring home a gold medal. Two Friendlies in June will give her more opportunities to try different options (especially since Lloyd is not playing) and to do extensive performance comparisons. Of the 25 players in camp plus Lloyd, 18 will be on OG16 roster, 4 will be alternates (not a great honor), and everybody else will be greatly disappointed. I am sure Ellis wants to feel she gave everybody a fair shot to be one of the chosen.

          • Bruce

            Back to the OP’s point: there will be no NWSL after OG16 if they don’t start treating the league like a business.

            USSF & NWSL management completely whiffed at the chance of building a fan base off of the hype of last year’s World Cup run. It doesn’t look like anything has changed.

          • Joey

            How much time do they need together? We pretty much know who is going play and who isn’t. Ellis doesn’t try stuff, she plays same line up and same players every game.

          • Kyle

            What the heck do we need 11 vs 11 practice? I know Tobin Heath is going beat Heather O’Reilly in practice. This point in both their careers Tobin is simply a better player. You can make this same case for other starters vs reserves. We have had plenty friendlies and camps to tune stuff. It’s unbelievable that this HC is making some players think they got a shot.

          • Gary Diver

            I assume Ellis wants to simulate real game dynamics with full teams. Remember that only 18 players are going to suit up for each game. To a lot of players these 11 vs 11 scrimmages will be very important to their future.

          • Breakers fan

            And also, the competition they face in these practices is of course top-notch. Better than they’d face in virtually all friendlies, so as far as tuning up the squad for the Olympics they can be valuable. I’m disappointed that bad some more new blood wasn’t brought in – that really could have amped up the competition level.

          • Maybe it’s more to keep the consistency and familiarity with each other on the NT after playing with other players for the past month and a half?

          • CED

            Why do people not understand this is mickey mouse league and the way schedule works it will always be that in 2 of every 4 years. Every Wcup/OG year WNT is going to have players miss a month or more of season for pre Wcup camp like 2015 and 2016. Then miss games like in June in friendlies. If they have a VT they are going to miss games again. 2 of 4 years your supposed most marketable players will miss 1/2 the season. NT players show their disdain for the league on the behavior of people like Krieger missing a semi for a wedding and their purposeful slow return to their clubs in 2015, expect the same in 2016. They NT players aren’t paid by their clubs so they don’t care and the clubs have no sway over them b/v they don;t pay them…ie..Krieger last year.

          • Bruce

            Am I “people”?

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

          • Breakers fan

            I get your point and the facts are indisputable in terms of the mathematics of it all, but I would dispute your comment that “they (NT players) don’t care about their clubs”. Of course I’m not inside their heads, nor have I been granted any confidential personal interviews, so I don’t *really* know exactly how they feel, but my sense, and for me it’s pretty clear and strong, from watching them play, reading their comments about the League and just knowing the nature of top-flight athletes — and add in to that the pride they, maybe secretly take, I’m almost certain, in trying to best their fellow NT players in their head-to-head competitions, and I come to the conclusion that they do very much care about their club teams and club play. Do they care about them as much as they care about NT play? No way, but I think it’s something they also do really get into.

          • Guest

            It makes sense for most of them to care more about the team that is paying them to play. I feel uneasy with the claim that off of the NT players don’t care as well. Tobin in particular seems to care a whole lot and while she might be the most visible I’m sure there are others as well.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, I understand that and no doubt every one of us would feel the same. I think probably every one of the NT players cares a lot about her club. Just watch the way they play, look at the emotion shown – Alex Morgan, Christen Press, (I could go on and name other players). Consider the one most accused of not caring – Ali Krieger, in the Tobin Heath meltdown penalty scenario. You don’t act like that if you don’t care.

          • kernel_thai

            It isnt a Mickey Mouse league but I agree with ur points. The problem is the owners r toothless beggars who r lucky Gulati doesnt make them march naked around the pitch before every match just to embarrass them further. This has gone beyong letting the foxes in the hen house…the USSF expects the chickens to wait on the foxes hand and foot before they eat them.

          • guest

            The owners are realists. Who other than Paulson and I guess Orlando can afford to pay the USWNT salaries. I can’t wait for the day(hopefully) that the league is independent from the federation but that day is still a long way off.

          • Lorehead

            This year, the league scheduled around the international breaks, and the USWNT players are expected to miss less than a quarter of the season, not half.

          • guest

            I thought it was around 5-6 games total that isn’t half but it’s a little over a quarter.

          • Lorehead

            Mark Parsons thinks it’ll be five out of twenty.

          • Ando91881

            I wouldn’t say they completely whiffed at the chance of building a fan base. Attendance did increase somewhat at games in August of 2015. Attendance is slightly up this season, and will end the year just barely ahead of last season’s average. Local news media is a huge problem. But I agree that they need to treat the NWSL more like a business and not schedule as many USWNT friendlies during the NWSL season.

          • guest

            the uswnt players won’t be happy about that. they want as many uswnt friendlies as possible. preferably against tomato cans so that they get their game day bonus and match winning bonus. the uswnt also wants to try to out-revenue
            the usmnt.

          • another guest

            Given that USWNT player bonus for winning a friendly is only $1350 (and $0 if not a win) not sure it has much impact.

          • Steglitz49

            Win 5 matches and you earn about as much as the lowest paid in the NWSL. Win 6 and you are ahead.

          • Ashley C

            As I said in my post above – it’ll be interesting to see what happens after Rio. Especially with Lyon hinting at American players coming. And I’d trust PSG or other clubs like Bayern, Wolfsburg, clubs in Sweden, etc having interest too. Winning OG should help but if they don’t organize and garner more fan support it’s meaningless. If they don’t win OG it could be even more detrimental to the future of the NWSL.

          • Bruce

            Agreed. All the eggs for WoSo in the US have been placed in the Olympic basket.

          • Steglitz49

            There is not enough money in Sweden. Playing in Sweden would be charity.

            Avaldsnes in Norway, where Short and Franch went to rebuild their careers, might spring for some.

            The rich clubs seem more interested in college seniors than established players.

          • Breakers fan

            What could, should have been done, by the USSF and NWSL management, after last year’s WC win, that wasn’t, to help gain greater fan support for the NWSL?
            note: I’m certainly not defending anyone here. I’m genuinely curious to hear your thoughts about this.

          • kernel_thai

            In Houston u had 13,000 fans in the seats which is about twice what their next best attendance is and u had Lloyd, Brian and Klingenberg asking to play in that match. That USSoccer said no to even a limited appearance shows u exactly how much they care about the league..

          • Bruce

            Like the NWSL, I haven’t got a formal marketing plan for the league, but here are some obvious wins they gave away (brain dump ahead)…

            1. Integrate the NWSL into the Victory Tour – After the WC, the Victory Tour sucked all of the air out of the room and the teams were totally left out of the hype. The USSF should have had a plan to promote the teams (doubleheaders would have been easy) during the season. They could have easily funded friendlies including local market teams after the season was completed using the same model. As it was, the tour was a huge win for USWNT that actually diverted attention away from the league.

            2. Market WC Stars in Local Markets – After the WC, the USSF had the opportunity to leverage the brand of 7-10 of the most popular women in professional sports and did nothing. I live near Chicago, and expected to see a media blitz around Julie Johnston. After the final she was among the top marketable athletes in the US. There was nothing. Instead, the Red Stars decided to market things like a cooking show from Jen Hoy. Nothing against her, but c’mon man.

            3. Negotiate better press coverage for the NWSL – The same organization that promotes the NT is in charge of MSL and NWSL marketing. They made the USSF good money in television rights with the world cup and friendlies, but threw away the opportunity to get league coverage (at least syndicated recaps) inclued as part of the deal. That the league receives absolutely no coverage on ESPNFC, ESPN-W and Fox Soccer is unforgivable.

            4. Use Stars and the Victory Tour to Grow Social Media – Just about every popular NT player has a twitter, instagram and/or snapchat account. Where were the protions during the WC and during the tour to drive followers that could help build local team awareness? Think of an in-game promotion like “follow Hope Solo on Instagram and message #GoUSWNT to her to qualify for an official game-worn jersey”. Just another example of how the USSF fails to promote its stars for the good of the league.

            5. Generate Star-Focused Content that Can Be Repurposed at the Club Level – There are a thousand things to throw in this bucket. Besides the “23 stories” promotion that got traction last year, I can’t point to any content that came out of USSF that could be repurposed for the benefit of the clubs. For example, as the coach of a girls soccer team, it strikes me as ludicrous that the Red Stars can’t get CP, JJ or AN on film going over basic soccer skills that can be CRS branded and send to local leagues. I would promote that type of content to my team in a second (instead of YouTube videos of some dude named Brad), but there is no centralized effort from the league to make that happen.

            It drives me nuts that the NWSL has been *gifted* a significant number of the most popular and marketable women athletes in the country and does nothing to use them to build awareness.

          • Breakers fan

            Powerful. Thank you. Very good insight and suggestions.I wish the powers-that-be would read this and then decide to be smart and act on your suggestions.

          • Bruce

            But we are only trolls in an obscure comment section.

          • Andy

            Good stuff there.

          • CED

            May 3oth thru June 10th is an official FIFA window, Normal to play 2 games in designated windows. Japan is not going to come to US for 1 game, so they played 2 vs US. US and Canada could have set up a deal switching opponents Japan and Brazil. But Canada is playing 2 vs Brazil in the same window. US payed Brazil twice last fall so maybe it was not in the cards. US and Canada don’t seem to coordinate and think they should. It’s much more of a trek to get opponents than European clubs who have a bunch of teams readily available in close proximity.

          • another guest

            re 2 matches
            the 2 matches with Japan are within the FIFA international match calendar window (setup by FIFA for 2 intl matches) and when the NWSL has no matches scheduled.
            the USWNT players are missing 1 weekend of NWSL matches in May because USWNT coach chose to schedule a week long camp in May – not because of the 2 matches with Japan.
            The USWNT has a long history of scheduling some camps outside of FIFA calendar windows (and one can argue that the extra time the USWNT players spend together in camp etc is one reason they often have a prepration advantage). Many (most) of the national teams who have qualified for OG will also have extended pre OG prep camps (some of them outside of FIFA window) but since some of those leagues have ended their seasons the NT players will be able to participate in the camps without impacting their club teams.

          • Steglitz49

            Japan would probably not bother to come unless they could get two matches. I wonder if they will be playing Canada as well?

          • guest

            Brian, Lloyd, and Rapinoe are all currently injured or recovering from injury. Brian and Lloyd are rehabbing with their club. Rapinoe has been as well and has been at every home game for the Reign so far.

          • Bruce

            And like I said ” Lloyd and Rapinoe won’t return to the NWSL since playing could jeopardize their place on the NT”.

          • Ethan

            Okay, I know that I just said in a recent comment that I probably focused too much on my interpretation of your original comment with regards to the players’ decisions. However, I still have to say that I’m glad that Rapinoe hasn’t returned to the NWSL, and I don’t think her not returning has to do with not wanting to jeopardize her place on the NT. She tore her ACL in early December; that’s only roughly 5.5 months ago. I’m not exactly Lloyd’s biggest fan, and I have to say that her not returning to the NWSL is completely understandable as well. Her injury occurred roughly four weeks ago; so, it’s understandable that she hasn’t fully recovered yet given the original recovery timeline.

          • mockmook

            I don’t think Morgan blew off the NWSL season — seemed injuries kept her down.

          • Bruce

            Played 22 out of 26 games for the NT.

          • Ethan

            And she played most of those matches when she was pretty much 100% healthy. She apparently wasn’t 100% healthy during her WWC stretch, but frankly, I don’t think she can be blamed for playing slightly injured during a WWC championship run. Lastly, Morgan could have quite easily taken the end of the NWSL season completely off. She didn’t though.

          • Bruce

            Go look at the USWNT schedule for 2015. They played consistently from February through December and Morgan was in almost every match. To say that she couldn’t have laced up for NWSL play is disingenuous.

            I’m not trying to put Morgan (or any of the NT players) down. They’ve got to do right by themselves. It’s just another example of how the shortsightedness of the USSF systematically undermines the competitiveness, popularity and viability of the NWSL.

          • Ethan

            Okay, I’ll do an analysis. Morgan played for the USWNT pretty consistently from the France game up to the NWSL season, and she played the first NWSL match. However, she had bone bruise issues, and as a precautionary measure, she sat out the pre-WWC NWSL matches. It has to be noted that she also sat out the USWNT matches right before the WWC, and she got limited minutes against Australia and Sweden. So, it actually must have been a somewhat serious issue for her to miss significant game time in the first two WWC matches. After the WWC, Morgan then underwent a surgery that ruled her out of the post-WWC NWSL matches. (This is where other people have an issue with Morgan. They feel that she should have not played so many minutes in the WWC and/or she should have played through her injury until the end of the NWSL season. I personally don’t really see the issue because I feel that a lot of players would push themselves to play in a World Cup if they were healthy enough (not 100% though) to perform at an appropriate level. Then, after the World Cup, they would resolve their injury issues to prevent possible further aggravation.) Once Morgan recovered from her surgery, she played the last twenty or so minutes against Sky Blue, and she played the full 90 against the Washington Spirit and WNY Flash. After the NWSL season, she played throughout the Victory Tour for the USWNT because she was pretty much 100% healthy.

            To put it in not so many words, the only way that Morgan could have “laced up for [more] NWSL play” is if she didn’t get the surgery after the WWC or if she completely skipped the WWC/played a lot fewer minutes to quicken the recovery process. So, for me, it isn’t disingenuous to say that Morgan didn’t bail out on NWSL play in 2015.

          • Bruce

            Good response.

          • Terry Lash

            Your analysis, and some of your purported factual statements, seems way, way off the mark to me.

          • Steglitz49

            He seems on the money, to be fair.

          • NYRick

            This is a sad but true analysis. The fanbase needs to be more male driven as well. It can’t just be young soccer playing girls and their parents, which is a good percentage of what it is. And team rivalries need to be established. The main US stars need to be booed when they are the opponents, not worshipped. It’s a joke really. I realize that NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL comparisons are fruitless and difficult, but Tom Brady is basically hated when he enters a NY stadium, regardless of his national fame. And the examples are endless for other big stars. Opposing fans (say a Portland v Orlando) match need to give Morgan a hard time every time she touches the ball. Not citing her necessarily, but I mean every star. Press needs to be booed on the road, so does Lloyd etc. All in the spirit of your home team, nothing too nasty.

            Until that shift takes place, the league will remain fringe, a two year on/two year off model as you suggest and really always be on the onset of a collapse. They need (desperately need) some type of male audience for the sport. I don’t think they will ever get it.

          • Bruce

            There is a lot of talk in the press currently about how the WNBA has failed to grow for 20 years precisely because they have been unwilling to promote rivalries in that way. Whitewashing a player’s public image is just bad business.

          • Andy

            I disagree that US stars need to be booed, but agree that the focus should switch to supporting your team over NT. I respect Alex Morgan’s skill, so I won’t boo her. But I hope she loses!

            Your point about the fanbase demographic is spot on.

          • NYRick

            By booing I mean friendly razzing, that’s all. As it currently stands, the kids/fans start screaming when Morgan touches the ball and starts running (even when she is on the opposite side) of your hometown club team. It’s part of an evolution to grow the sport beyond a fringe. I personally don’t think it will ever happen. I just don’t think the fanbase will ever be sophisticated enough (too young really) to make that jump. That’s not to say that you become a jerk when you get older as a fan, but it’s passion for the home team club jersey. Not the NT star you want an autograph from.

          • mockmook

            There’s nothing inherently “sophisticated” about rooting against the NT “heroes”.

            That is just the state of things at this moment: The players are much more known for their NT play (and maybe will always be). Players on the Yankees or Jets (and their opponents) likely never played for their country in anything as prestigious as a WC.

          • rkmid71

            They won’t get it unless the USWNT players and the USSF treat the league, clubs and their fans with more respect and the effort and care and sacrifice they put into winning is just as much as NT games. Also, finding ways to improve the product on the field and the fan experience would help — but somewhat chicken and egg because they need to find a way to pay more to the non NT players (thus keeping better players in the league longer). As Steg says, like BroSo, “WoSo in the US needs to become a club game onto which the NT is bolted on as a superstructure”.But that can’t happen until the fan base increases. I’m looking for intensity, that the players care about the result and are giving their very best, that the quality of play is high and the players and the club are invested in getting better all the time, etc. The league can’t be training cones for the NT players, whose performance in the league doesn’t matter for NT selection. And great performance in the league should be more of a pathway to the NT — fans like to see their top players have the opportunity on the int’l stage. Most of the NT games anyway are a cakewalk anyway. I’d like to see some NT versus NWSL team games — with the NWSL teams keeping their NT players for those games. Otherwise, it’ll just remain fringe as you say.

          • Breakers fan

            Somehow I think it has to transpire that fans in local areas grow to become excited about, become fans of *their team*. Fans through thick and thin, not fair-weather fans. Just like what happens in every other more popular sport. The normal becoming-a-fan process takes some time. I have become that about the Breakers, as I know virtually everyone here has about his/her team, so we know it’s possible to start caring about, liking whoever is on your team, regardless if you have 0, 1 or 5 NT players. It’s a common phenomenon across all the other sports, so humans are “susceptible” to it. You start to go to games, maybe you read their social media postings, and you start to have an affection for who you have on your team, period. Portland has many thousands of fans like this, of course. It can happen, it is happening, and my hope is that it’s something that is incubating now and will yield far greater numbers in the future. It seems absolutely necessary for the League to survive and thrive.

          • NYRick

            Good post. I think a lot of what Bruce is saying though makes sense. Wambach pulling her stunt last year to avoid playing in the NWSL and rest up for the WC was disgraceful and set a horrible example. Can you imagine Dempsey or Michael Bradley doing something like that? And you can’t tell me that all Lloyd is thinking about is the OG. She will walk on eggshells till August to be on that team. That’s her money and that’s when the sponsors will be watching. She knows that fully. Why rehab in the NWSL or in the highly competitive US camps where players are going all out for a glimmer of a hope to even be an OG alternate? That is an environment to easily get hurt in, let alone nurse an injury for another two months. So she is definitely milking it, as is Brian I think too. As is JJ. The NT is their bread and butter now. They fully understand that. The NWSL is really an in-season practice team/league for about 25-30 players with a shot for the NT roster. That will never change.

          • Breakers fan

            I’d say each individual on the NT is different. One can’t generalize about their attitudes and approach to their clubs and NWSL play. I didn’t see Lloyd play for Houston before her injury to say whether she was going 100% or not. Whether is was obvious that she was not doing some things on the field that she would normally do with the NT. The Abby example I fully agree with. Morgan Brian did come back and play, where I would have predicted that with a hamstring injury and a camp rapidly approaching that she wouldn’t have. JJ — you’ve watched the CRS games – do you feel she’s not going all out? I know she was against the Breakers – she was a main reason, I felt, CRS won that game. Anyway, all I can really offer is my gut feeling and it is that the NT do give their all to their club when they are with them. Not sure we can ask any more than that. But I need to repeat that I’m not an expert on this. I don’t know if they give 100% all of the time. I haven’t observed each one carefully for her team.

          • Breakers fan

            One other key thing to consider is “how injuries occur, what does and does not increase the likelihood of them happening?” For this, it seems to me, is the crux of this debate about whether NT players care about, give their all to their NWSL teams. It’d be interesting to hear the science about this, if it exists. My guess is that it may be more likely you’ll get an injury if you are half-assing it on the field. This kind of thing is probably known and players probably know it. I think it’s true from my experience of playing sports. Granted there are some situations that, if you really want to avoid an injury your best bet is to avoid it altogether and it’d be interesting to do a study of NWSL play to see how often one can say an NT player did that – just didn’t go for a ball when she would have were it NT play. But on the whole I think it’s true that your best bet to not get hurt is to play all out. I think your body is stronger when you do that.

        • Ashley C

          Just because coaches and some players are excited doesn’t mean it’s translating well to the development of the league as a whole. I think the NWSL is definitely getting better in this 4th year but yes – the way the USSF and Ellis treats the league doesn’t necessarily make me hopeful in the long-term just yet tbh. Especially after Rio is over and there isn’t really a big tournament for a little while. What happens after that will be interesting. Especially with the depth players that may very well go to Lyon or other clubs in Europe for at the very least more money.

          • Gary Diver

            Next year will be interesting and the European leagues are interesting. If a player wants to develop her talent and become the best player possible I can’t see going to Europe as the way to do it. Look at Division 1 Féminine. It is a joke league. There are two superstar teams, 3 or 4 so-so teams and the rest are tomato cans. Lyon this year has scored 114 goals and given up 3 goals. And that includes playing PSG.

          • Steglitz49

            A certain Marta went to Umeå as an 18 year old. At that time Umeå was one if not the WoSo club to play for. The burghers of Umeå still regard Marta as “their” girl in spite of her being 30 now.

            It is hard to advice a USWNT player today. Judging by the past few seasons, the rich clubs have targeted college seniors (see elsewhere for reasons). They are likely to continue that strategy.

            Of the top USWNT players, whom a rich team might be interested, I doubt that they would move to a European club.

            The FAWSL with its FA cup at Wembley and the Conti cup may offer the most attractive alternative. Hispanic American lasses might try Spain but who would that be?

          • Terry Lash

            There is nothing wrong with US players going to Europe to play instead of playing on an NWSL team.

          • Bruce

            The NWSL is fragile, under-marketed and will be two years away from any media coverage after the OG. An exodus of brand name players would be the end of it.

          • Ando91881

            I agree with you.

            You should take a look at the pitiful attendance at NPF softball games (they have 5 or 6 teams in their league). Softball has been out of the Olympics since 2008. They have nothing – no Olympics until maybe 2024. Nothing but terrible attendance at their games. I am surprised the Chicago Bandits are still around.

          • guest

            Casual fans pay to see the NT players, not the Ohais and Nairns of the league. A mass Europe movement would kill the league from an economic standpoint.

          • Ando91881

            Not just casual fans. Pretty much all of the fans – even the girls at the games who play soccer. Heck, The Equalizer only has 3,000 Facebook likes. That tells you how few people are dedicated, serious fans who are highly knowledgeable about this league.

          • kernel_thai

            Which is why it takes time. This league will be a success when Houston fans go to cheer Ohai because she plays for them and boo Morgan because she doesnt. The fact that tonight if u counted there would be more Morgan jerseys among the faithful than ones bearing the #7 is an unfortunate but needed stage in the evolution of this league.

          • Terry Lash

            There will not be a “mass” exodus of USWNT players to Europe, as you and Bruce state is a threat. Only a few NT players have been rumored to be interested. Further, as we have already seen recently some top players in Europe want to play in the NWSL. As many have observed some players on the USWNT greatly improved playing in Europe. Others should take that opportunity, too. As Steglitz49 has observed, soccer is an international sport. We should embrace this fact and support US players, whether they are on the NT, or not to play on good European or non-European teams. NWSL should also support stars from other countries to play in the US.

          • guest

            they will probably just sit on the bench for one of the three-team euro league teams to collect the league title trophy and hopefully the champions league trophy. better to sit on the bench and collect a trophy then to play for a less than top team and risk not getting a trophy. the modern footballer.

          • Steglitz49

            Twente were the giant killers this time round while KIF-Örebro and LSK almost managed it.

            Avaldsnes has money and a new coach in Colin Bell. Maybe worth giving him a bell (groan groan).

            Better number one in Gaul than number two in Rome.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. It is the world’s game and players must feel free to play wherever it lists them.

          • Steglitz49

            So far European clubs have preferred to sign college seniors. The experiments with Pinoe and Tobin seem to have left their impressions, coupled with the Amber Brooks debacle.

            It will be interesting to see what happens in 2017 and 2018 but if I were a USWNT player, I would not hold my breath.

          • rkmid71

            Certainly hasn’t worked out as hoped for Amber Brooks since she returned to US from BM. I think she’s 25. But I guess anything was worth the gamble for a shot at WNT. Maybe like others, she was just unlucky with her timing given the VPS and one wonders what would have happened had she stayed in Germany. And Boxx was selected for WWC 2015 as backup DM?

          • Steglitz49

            Amber could, like Gina, have stayed in Germany and taken her chances but she chose to return.

            The leadership of Bayern Munich took the unusual step of publicly criticizing USSF for putting too much pressure on the US players. They noted that soccer is the world’s game and unfair restrictions should not be put in the paths of players to move freely.

            A bit before, the coaches of Lyon and PSG had made some similar observation along the lines that they had concluded that signing USWNT players or such that thought they were in with a chance was not worthwhile because they were not committed to the club so the club got no longterm benefit, no return on their investment.

            I suspect that is the reason why the rich clubs in Europe have gone for US college seniors, rather than established players.

  • guest

    The two goalkeepers mentioned should be competing to figure out who goes one-two instead of who gets to sit on the bench while a lesser goalkeeper gets undeserved minutes and who gets a paid trip to Rio.

    • Steglitz49

      Stop inhaling.

      • guest

        Ah, does it hurt your feelings to be reminded that Solo is no longer a top class goalkeeper? She’s shown herself to be painfully mediocre over the last few months but somehow there are still people that blindly believe her to be one of the best. She should have followed her buddy Abby out the door last year but now we’re going to enter a cycle where Solo is the out of date veteran who needs to be let go but won’t because of her “history”

        • Steglitz49

          Hope seems to be WoSo’s answer to Federica Pelligrini.

          • sudeep das

            Well said. Hope Solo is the best ever. Her focus alone sets her apart from the rest.

  • Ando91881
    • Ando91881

      Commercial for Kellogg’s cereal.

      I have come to the conclusion that Chicago news media and sports media is mostly aimed at people who have dropped out of high school.

    • kernel_thai

      It’s amazing more sponsors arent jumping all over this. Gorgeous, all American girl, clean image, marrying an NFL player who also has a clean image, seems good on camera.

      • Ando91881

        Heather Mitts married an NFL player who briefly played for the Philadelphia Eagles. She never reached any kind of popularity on the level of Lindsey Vonn or a tennis player. She remained unknown – being attractive and straight did not help. Imagine how difficult it would be for a female athlete who is single and/or lesbian.

        • Breakers fan

          Right. That example shows how hard it is, or was, and is now perhaps slowly becoming easier, for a USWNT player to get endorsements.

          • Ando91881

            Not just USWNT players. It is team sports vs. individual sports. Lindsey Vonn, Danica Patrick, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova make millions of dollars from endorsements.

            Heather Mitts remains unknown for her career. Candace Parker has to play overseas in the winter to make $400,000 per year, and she doesn’t get the endorsements that the first group gets.

          • Breakers fan

            Great point – a big difference between team sports and individual ones.

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. But. Ladies who do individual sports also make maximum use of the feminine.

            The skishooters (biathletes) wear funky earrings (usually sponsored) and seem to repair their make-up as soon as the race is over. It is a totally different world. In spite of all the ski disciplines competing in what the Norwegian ladies call “condom-suits” which make them look robotic.

          • Laugh-in

            I’m crying on my keyboard now over the injustice of 400 g’s a year.

          • Breakers fan

            I wonder what % of that she gets from her overseas play? I see your point of course, but I assume you see his also. Sharapova can make that by getting to…..speculating here….the semis, maybe the final, of 1 major tournament, or 1 big endorsement?

          • Steglitz49

            Sharapova is blonde and white. It helps. Ask Kristi Yamaguchi if you don’t believe me.

          • Ando91881

            Lebron James makes 36 million per year if you combine his salary and endorsements. Basically, he makes 75 times as much as her in a year.

          • Steglitz49

            Sharapova should have read her emails, should she not?

          • Steglitz49

            There is a lightyear between Vonn and Mitts in achievement. Even Alex and Abby do not match Vonn, only Marta among WoSo possibly.

          • Breakers fan

            Absolutely, about Mitts vs. Vonn. But someone like Mitts in another sport even at her level of accomplishment, which was good – no glory playing defender though. — probably would have gotten more endorsements. Not sure she got any.

            Should add that she is getting broadcasting work now, so is making some extra money.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer does not require expensive equipment. Granted the boots cost money but what else costs?

            Thus endorsement money is hard to come by in soccer. Among the men, Ronaldo and Messi hover it between them. Zlatan has hardly any endorsement income, likewise the German MNT players. A bit yes but not a lot.

            Alpine skiing not only has tons of expensive equipment, the stuff changes each year just like other fashion stuff. The prize money in the three ski disciplines are the same between the men and the women, though the men seem to get better marketing deals. There have even been arguments about the women not wearing the approved underwear!

          • Ando91881

            Breakers fan, are you male or female?

          • Breakers fan

            male. You?

          • Ando91881

            Male. Just trying to get a sense of the comments section for The Equalizer. Seems like the vast majority of people who comment are male.

            But when something is posted by The Equalizer on Facebook, the vast majority of the “likes” come from female names.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree – about the makeup here. Happy always to hear when women comment, wish it were more often, but grateful for those who do!

          • Ando91881

            They “like” the status updates on Facebook – they just don’t comment here.

          • I couldn’t tell either, (which is a good thing) because it means you leave the male/female bias that comes out a lot, out of your comments, which I appreciate.

        • Steglitz49

          Lindsey Vonn is a megastar in her sport. None of the current crop can match her status. She is one of the greatest alpine skiers of all time, male or female.

          When Lindsey broke Annemarie Moser-Proell’s downhill record this year, Annemarie was there to congratulate her. Lindsey probably will not reach Stenmark’s record but he too has attended some of her races this season and praised her in his trademark taciturn way.

      • Breakers fan

        Maybe it just takes some time? As I wrote after going to the Colombia friendly in Connecticut, I went by the merchandise table and JJ’s jersey was 1 of only 4 that were available. The other 3 are obvious. So, whoever makes decisions about that have noticed her budding popularity among the fan base.

        • Two if by Night

          She won’t be popular if her nagging injury keeps her from Rio.

          • Breakers fan

            What is her injury? I should know, but don’t. Has she missed some CRS games? Another thing I should know.

          • guest

            JJ missed the last two games with a groin injury.

          • Gary Diver

            If a player is too injured to play NWSL, she shouldn’t play USWNT Friendly games.

            The late OG is a problem for USWNT players. Any player with a lingering injury will have little opportunity to rest and completely heal that injury.

      • Gary Diver

        I would argue that this shows the “soccer-as-a-business” model is not completely rational nor wise in terms of self-interest. Everybody claims that it is a no-brainer for sponsors to jump onboard with USWNT and their players to take advantage of their current popularity. But for some reason, the male brainiacs making the decisions don’t seem too smart.

        Women make most of the family purchase decisions in America and target marketing of women, by women, and for women should be a no-brainer. It reminds me of the issue with Manchester United being both the wealthiest and the last team in the Premier League to support a women’s team. The problem seems partly that the men who make the marketing decisions do not feel comfortable marketing women in areas, such as sports, that traditionally have been seen as macho. Traditions, even those against self-interest, are difficult to overcome.

        One of the virtues of the TV series Mad Men is to show that the marketing brainiacs on the top floors do not always get things right. In fact, these people often make stupid decisions in terms of their self-interest.

        • Steglitz49

          Man Utd closed down its women’s team about 10 years ago against strong protests. There was no John Terry in Man Utd, unlike for the Chelsea lasses, whom he rescued from extinction.

          Given that the US team sports scene is dominated by grid-iron, basket, baseball and hockey, where does WoSo fit in? Although icehockey is played in some European countries and a few more try their hand at basket, in essence in all four the domestic north-American leagues are the world championships.

          • Gary Diver

            All is lost only when the people give up hope.

          • Steglitz49

            In 1893 the women of New Zealand got the vote but I think the state of Wyoming granted women the vote earlier. Finland was the first European country to grant women voting but at the time it was a Grand-duchy of Russia so it may have been part of stopping Russification. In Sweden it was 1921 and in France 1944 or 46.

          • Gary Diver

            In connection with the WoSo situation, it is truly amazing the contortions people went through to rationale why women should not vote. Everything from “women don’t really want to vote” to “politics is unbecoming of the fair sex”. In politics, where you stand depends on where you’ve been sitting.

          • Steglitz49

            The reason women were sidelined from pro-soccer in the 1920s was that they threatened the livelihood of the male players. The women players were playing for less money than the men thereby undercutting their earnings.

            The associations did not ban women from playing they only stopped women sharing facilities with men — ie stadiums.

          • Gary Diver

            “The associations did not ban women from playing they only stopped women sharing facilities with men — ie stadiums.”

            Reminds me of US Prohibition during the 1920s. “It wasn’t illegal to drink alcohol during Prohibition. The 18th Amendment only forbade the “manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors”—not their consumption.”

        • Boss Hog

          I love the game but cmon. No one cares. It’s a futures bet or a sense of doing the right thing that keeps it going. Outside the USA it is so low on the priority list in terms of where to spend. We care but for me as a relatively neutral observer, remove the national pride part of it and you have very little left. It’s why NT players get 300 k + and the rest nothing. In woso it’s more about are you on the NT or not as the determinant. So let’s not bash clubs for not jumping on board. There is little current financial reason to do so. We all know money drives most things. The wnt fight for pay is another example of how this works.

          • Gary Diver

            Nobody cared about Listerine until a marketeer came up with the idea of promoting it for a problem that didn’t exist: halitosis. The world that you think is natural is really created by outside forces. Witness Donald Trump – possibly the first social media president. People want what they are taught to want.

  • sudeep das

    Pipe-dream : USWNT playing Press, Morgan & Dunn upfront backed by Lloyd & Pugh in front of Heath, Horan & Brian defended by Sauerbrunn & Johnston in a 2-3-2-3 formation. With Solo as the custodian this team can operate on a mantra of outscoring any opponent by at least a couple of goals.
    I know I’ll draw a lot of flak but just can’t help dreaming about the attacking possibilities of this lineup.

    • Steglitz49

      A front line of Alex, Lindsey and Crystal seems more probable with Christen Annemarie as supersub.

      • sudeep das

        Well that’s what’s been happening till now – Press coming on as a game changer.
        Anyway with this defense first tendency of the US backed by defense wins championships mentality we will never see that all out attack happen, in spite of, possessing such a formidable offensive prowess.

        • Steglitz49

          Christen Annemarie can come on to replace any of those 3.

    • mockmook

      I like how you are thinking, but none of the players in your back three are suitable to be WBs.

    • guest

      Well, with Solo’s current form they’d surely be picking the ball out of their net a few times. Have to hope the attack works.

  • guest

    Nadeshiko roster for friendlies announced. No Miyama

    https://twitter.com/Ndsk_Foot/status/733610107888488448

    • Steglitz49

      Thank you. Well spotted.

      The two Ayas — Sameshima as well as Miyama — are absent, as is Iwashimizu and Naho. Are we seeing a changing of the guard?

      • sudeep das

        More like taking off players bearing the scar of that final. Young ones will carry no baggage.

        • Steglitz49

          Miyama will be 34 in WC-19 and Iwashimizu and Naho 33.

          • JL

            You just made the point. Japan was the second oldest team in the WC and their awful performances in Olympic qualifying prove that they are in need of a rejuvenation with the old guard being slowly replaced by the next generation.

          • Steglitz49

            But for the injuries among their players now aged 20-24, the team would have been rejuvenated. The US has so many girls for each positions, that a few of them being sidelined by injuries don’t matter. That is not the case for the ROW.

            The oddity in WoSo is that it took the USWNT 16 years to win the WC again. Now they look to dominate for the next 16 years at least.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        Yes. Apparently the only one of those players who is still in contention is Miyama, who is missing out through not being fully fit.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you. I interpreted her absence that she had fallen on her sword after the debacle in qualifying.

          Sweden oth went through to Rio on a howler by a Dutch defender.

    • brdn08

      This won’t be pretty. The only world class player they had was Miyama. These games should not be close.

      • guest

        It was time for a change. Their team couldn’t never keep up with he US on a physical level and the gap was only getting bigger. If they don’t have the ability to beat the US pressure they get smoked(assuming decent US finishing).

        • brdn08

          I never assume the US will finish. Clinical finish just hasn’t arrived in woso yet. There are no Ronaldo’s in the women’s game. The US will run Japan into the ground.

      • Steglitz49

        I suspect that the Japanese know that and don’t expect a kind of 8-1 in 1981.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        Saki Kumagai?

    • Breakers fan

      I assume that a lot of these are young players who were top players in Japan’s national youth system. I know that at the U-17 level Japan did quite well, winning some tournaments. Not sure how their U-20 teams have fared. My suspicion is that there is a lot of talent here, so I wouldn’t instantly assume we’re going to trounce this team.
      Does anyone here have any observational familiarity with any of these “unknown” players?

      • Steglitz49

        Yokoyama is the highest profile from her goal about 5 years ago. Injury sidelined her — as a number of other young players.

        • Breakers fan

          Thank you. Just looked her up – 23 year old striker. Maybe she’s totally recovered from her injury now?

          • Steglitz49

            search for yokoyama maradona goal or words to that effect

          • Breakers fan

            Oh yeah! I’ve seen that goal before. The Japanese really have a nice, soft, nimble touch on the ball. More so, generally, than American players. What great ball control and dribbling on that goal.

      • Gary Diver

        Japanese U20 team is playing US U20 team in Papua New Guinea on May 27.

        • Steglitz49

          Are they headhunting players from that game for the seniors?

          • Gary Diver

            Ashley Sanchez is on the team and without Pugh, she may get to shine.

        • Breakers fan

          Hope that game is being streamed but I doubt it will be. Would be fun to see it. If you find out that it is could you please let us know? I can try and find out too.

          • Gary Diver

            I would love to watch the game. Currently USSF does not list any broadcasting of the game. There is about a 12 hour time difference between US East Coast and PNG time.

            Obviously no Mallory Pugh, but Ashley Sanchez is on the U20 team and they leave either today or tomorrow for their 1 1/2 week training camp in Papua New Guinea where they will play two games against Japanese U20 and PNG U20.

            Here is an interesting video of the U20 reaction to winning the CONCACAF tournament.
            http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2016/01/07/17/18/151221-u20wnt-reacts-to-winning-2015-concacaf-championship

    • Gary Diver

      Who will be the Japanese coach?

  • Gary Diver

    If you go to the Wikipedia page for the Japanese Women’s National Soccer Team it appears that there has been a large number of call-ups during the past two years.

    Can anyone familiar with the Japanese national team answer the following questions?

    1. How many of the WC15 players are on this roster?

    2. How many of the Japanese Friendly roster have less than 20 caps?

  • #1Fan

    http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer-articles/u20-wc-to-leave-mark-on-2016-college-season_aid39222
    I find this very interesting.
    1. this sums up the USSF attitude. We can ALWYS prepare players better than anyone else. I disagree
    2. Most international games are easier than College games (or in the pro case NWSL games are harder than most Intl games)
    3. it is an honor to play for your country in an Intl of any kind, but the sacrifices these kids make to play are huge.

    • rkmid71

      I saw that article too. Agree with all your points. Somewhat related, I think DiCicco’s approach is better. Keeping the players in a competitive environment, training every day. Also, I’m not surprised that in some cases, those players could not even earn a starting spot on their college team or were not “playing as much as I thought I would because my coach is playing someone else in my position”. As has been pointed out on TDS, the YNT scouting and selection process has serious gaps and flaws (maybe the Girls DA will help) and players are missed. And some players id’d early don’t develop much while others develop later — though once you’re in the system you get selected over and over regardless.The college or club coach will play the best players (in their opinion) regardless what the pedigree says — of course that’s what “they had to do” if they want to have the best team possible and have a meritocracy. US Soccer is not the sole determinant of “talent” – college and club coaches make up their own mind. As has been said many times, even in the NFL and major professional sports where millions are invested in player evaluation, they get it wrong all the time. US Soccer needs to show more humility.

    • Breakers fan

      Great article on the U-20 World Cup/upcoming college season situation. Thanks for posting. For one, I learned the answer to a personal curiosity I had: why Michelle Xiao isnt on the roster – she along with 3 other Stanford Cardinal decided to forego the World Cup and play for Stanford.

      • Steglitz49

        Shades of Christen Annemarie?

        • Breakers fan

          I don’t know C.P.’s U-20 World Cup situation. Did she do the same – was invited but said no to stay and play for the Cardinal?

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. Alex Morgan and Syd Leroux were the stars of that tournament, with Eugenie leSommer 3rd.

            In fairness to Christen Annemarie, Stanford is stricter than Berkeley on the academic side. Alex probably would not have been available if she had been at Stanford but she was not.

          • Breakers fan

            Never knew that. I knew about Alex and Syd going and doing well, but I didn’t know that Press was invited but elected not to go. You wonder if that, in some crazy, stupid way hurt her NT situation for a while.

          • Steglitz49

            I think it did but Stanford is strict on the academic side even for the ladies. I am not sure that Christen Annemarie could have graduated if she had gone to that U20.

            At the same time, I think Alex playing for the U20 meant that she was not considered seriously for the Hermann trophy having been away too much from college games. I doubt that Alex cares these days but it must grate.

          • HOFCToDi

            Why would Alex Morgan care?

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971331

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971734

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#972143

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#976021

            Always Alex Morgan, Never Christen Press.

          • Reality

            “You wonder if that, in some crazy, stupid way hurt her NT situation for a while.”

            Uh, try 3 years and still counting. Press didn’t come up through the NT system and had to break in from the outside. While she was included in the 2008 U20 player pool, I can find no evidence that she was invited onto the team. When Sundhage consulted DiCicco in 2010 as to which forwards he would recommend for the NT, he chose Morgan even though Press won the Hermann Trophy that year and broke many Stanford records which still hold today. Press did compete in U23 from 2009-2010 where she had 6 apps and 4 goals, but Ellis told her that there was no room for her on the NT which is when she went to Sweden.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks for that. It didn’t strike me as quite right that I had never heard before that she had turned down a U-20 World Cup invitation to stay at Stanford. Sounds like you’re not 100% sure about it either, but one thinks that in doing research about it that that would have come up – that she actually turned down an invite. My guess, like yours, is that she wasn’t invited, though had been in the player pool prior to that. Though this water went under the bridge 8 years ago it’s too bad they didn’t think she was good enough for the team at that time. I have to think she was.
            Gotta wonder if DiCicco recommended *only* Morgan. He probably recommended Syd too, but it sounds like since he wasn’t as familiar with Press — you wonder how big a role he played in not picking her for the U-20 WC roster — he didnt recommend her. She has fought an uphill battle for a long time. Makes you admire her strength of character to see how positive she stays.

          • Reality

            Her positive attitude and strength of character are qualities that I admire most about her…of course, it is also a joy to watch her play. I don’t know if you read this recent interview, but it reveals a lot of what we are talking about…

            http://americansoccernow.com/articles/christen-press-on-rio-i-m-so-excited-and-motivated

          • Breakers fan

            Had not seen that before, so thanks for the link. Great stuff.

            An aside: I was surprised, a bit, to see that she had at least one moment of being “over the top angry” on the field. Did you happen to see that? If so, what were the circumstances, if you could tell? I like how she is embracing the role of being team captain.

          • Reality

            Press actually had a moment in the recent game against FCKC where she barely missed the winning goal and threw her head back with her hands over her face. I’m sure she was disappointed and conceivably angry.

            As regards her new role as CRS captain, I think it will provide a real chance for her to grow as a team leader which will also assist her on the NT. She has stated in interviews that she is not the “rah rah” type, but rather likes to lead by example. We’ll see how that develops over the course of the season.

          • Breakers fan

            I’ve never really seen her be very demonstrative like that. Maybe that was the moment of anger, or, I think more likely it was one that maybe wasn’t shown on camera – just guessing. Interesting in the interview too was how she said she’s come to kind of enjoy both of her midfield/flank roles for club and country and how Jill has given her freedom to come to the middle when she is positioned on the flank. Smart and good of Jill.

          • Reality

            Press was very kind to Ellis in the interview considering how poorly Ellis managed Press during the WC. Ellis should be giving her the freedom to play in her natural position at forward. However, DiCicco’s critical recommendation to Ellis is still bearing consequences.

            Press is trying to make the most out of any opportunity that is provided to her and I’m sure she will continue to demonstrate her excellence despite the handicaps she has been subjected to on the NT.

            I don’t think that Ellis has ever forgiven Press for defeating UCLA with her goal scoring in 2009 and 2010. 🙂

            http://www.gostanford.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=30600&ATCLID=208077329

            http://www.gostanford.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=208163651&DB_OEM_ID=30600

          • Breakers fan

            It’s a tangled web. You really, really hope that Ellis isn’t letting those college experiences affect her, but only she knows. She could look at them as signs of who to play “Look at what she did to me. Now she’s on my team. I can inflict her on others!”

            Moving on, as Press always does, it seems things are looking rosier for her. A nice Cardinal red rose, with a Bruin blue sky up above.

          • Reality

            I was partially joking, hence the :), but one should never underestimate how petty human nature can be…just look at some of the trollish comments here at EQ.

          • Breakers fan

            No, no need to explain. I’ve wondered about that – how Press did vs. UCLA. Now I know. One doesn’t know the depth of Ellis’s Bruin pride and how that might affect her. Just gotta hope and believe a NT head coach can rise above such ancient history.

          • Lorehead

            In reality, it was Ellis who gave Press her shot on the U-23s and called her into her NT training camp. She missed out on the 2011 WC, but became an alternate for the 2012 Olympics.

            Basically, every story about how somebody was out to get Christen Press because they were so jealous of her is hogwash.

          • Breakers fan

            That’s good extra information. Limited spots on any NT but I don’t know….after her Stanford career, with that wondrous amount of goals, I think she should have gotten the call earlier. Just my personal opinion.

          • HOFCToDi

            Wondrous amount of goals, huh?

            Stanford
            Press, Christen – 98 Apps, 95 Starts, 71 goals

            Florida
            Jordan, Savannah – 71 Apps, 70 Starts, 65 goals

          • Breakers fan

            Both are wondrous. Are you saying you DON’T think getting a goal in about 73% of your games is really, really good? Plus, the Pac-12 is better than the SEC in soccer. Still, thanks for Jordan’s stats – they’re better than I thought.

          • HOFCToDi

            FIFA Top Ten Ranked Teams
            Goals Scored
            Alex Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 30
            Christen Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988) – 3
            Crystal Dunn (DOB 03 Jul 1992) – 2
            Lindsey Horan (DOB 26 May 1994) – 1

            Time for the USWNT to move on from CP12 to CD16.

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989)
            USWNT (first capped 31 Mar 2010)
            2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – 5 goals
            2016 SheBelieves Cup – 2 goal(s)

            Crystal Dunn (DOB 03 Jul 1992)
            USWNT (first capped 13 Feb 2013)
            2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – 6 goals
            2016 SheBelieves Cup – 1 goal(s)

            Christen Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988)
            USWNT (first capped 09 Feb 2013)
            2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – 2 goals
            2016 SheBelieves Cup – 0 goal(s)

            Time for the USWNT to move on from CP12 to CD16.

          • HOFCToDi

            I have yet to witness one poster on this message board banging the drum for Savannah Jordan. Maybe I should start which includes booting Christen Press out the door.

          • Steglitz49

            Isn’t Savannah Jordan injured and unlikely to be back to her old self? or am I mixing her up with Smmer Green? Salad Days, eh?

          • HOFCToDi

            Summer Green is recovering from a torn ACL.

            goheels.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=210517788

          • Steglitz49

            Thanks for clearing that up and keeping me right.

          • NYRick

            For someone who closely follows the sport to suggest that there may not be a hint of politics on the US roster is really a bit naive. I respect your viewpoint though. You just don’t believe it to be possible. I know we’ve been down the road many times, so let’s leave it at that. I will add that I’m sure Press did some things to hinder her chances on her own at that time, but her omission till age 24 on this team does raise eyebrows.

          • Lorehead

            All I’m saying is that this particular story is not true. Jill Ellis did not try to keep Christen Press off the team because Press went to Stanford.

          • NYRick

            I never said that. It seems Ellis was more in her court and DiCicco was the roadblock. But who knows? As I’ve mentioned, Press had something to do with it as well. I think she may have misread the tea leaves as to her status/perception to the powers that be at age 20 or so. This is a highly competitive team obviously and it’s hard to argue picking a talent like Morgan before her. I just think that Press should have been there as well with her. But it should be noted that Press’s game may have also improved dramatically in Europe as well with technical skills and overall soccer IQ that she maybe wasn’t getting as a high scoring college forward.

          • Breakers fan

            I will add only, for what it’s worth, that I saw her at Stanford, because, painfully, they, and she having a starring role, beat Boston College twice. I watched those game on the internet. So I can tell you that even then she was quite good. Her goal totals tell that already. Not to say she didn’t improve in Europe additionally, though, as you say.

          • Lorehead

            One version of the story is that Press decided to sit the U-20s out, as apparently a number of Stanford girls did. Their coach might’ve encouraged them. If so, DiCicco wouldn’t have had anything to do with cutting her.

            But one thing we can be sure of is that Jill Ellis, contrary to the conspiracy theory, was never out to get her, and in fact tried to recruit her for UCLA and then called her up to the U-20s, U-23s and the senior team.

          • Reality

            Putting aside your allegations of “conspiracy theories”, and “hogwash” and “the Press Gang” for a moment, let me give you my “opinion” as to what has happened to Press.

            When the WPS folded in 2011, Ellis had told Press, in effect, that she wasn’t ready for the Senior NT! This was after Press won the Hermann Trophy in 2010 and ROY at magicjack. With no opportunity to play Stateside, she decided to go to Sweden early in 2012 where she played her first game for Goteborg in March. Sundhage did throw her a few crumbs by naming her an alternate for OG2012, but Sermanni was the one who finally called her up to the Senior team in 2013. Once Ellis took over in 2014, she consistently misused Press since the Veteran Retention Program had to be implemented for WC2015. Press’s excellent record of 33 goals in 66 games has been achieved despite being played her out of position, used mainly as a substitute, and given comparatively little time on the pitch. Ellis to wastes her talent and her mismanagement of Press during the WC2015 was particularly noteworthy.

            I think that Press represents a paradigm for the manner in which the USWNT handles seniority, celebrity, talent and performance. Because she did not come up in the U__ system, she has been neglected and misused by the NT throughout much of her career despite her obviously superior qualifications.

          • Lorehead

            I think the strongest part of that take on things is when you say that Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux both made it onto the senior team because they had been on the U-20s, and Christen Press needed to wait for a forward ahead of her to get pregnant before she got her shot. That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Press personally: it’s the seniority system in action. Nor does there seem to be systematic bias against Stanford: Kelley O’Hara is one of several Stanford alumnae who made it.

            I think the weakest part of what you write is putting the blame for Pia Sundhage’s roster decisions on Jill Ellis, who at that time was her assistant.

          • Reality

            Ellis was the one who actually gave Press the bad news so the question becomes was Ellis merely a surrogate for Sundhage or were they both of the same opinion re: Press. However, it is really immaterial at this point since the time wasted can never be recovered. I am focused on what Ellis will do for OG2016. Injuries and retirements have forced her to make changes in the roster. How that will actually translate as far as lineups and strategy remains to be seen. I hope that Rampone and O’Reilly will be given an honorable sendoff prior to OG since they have certainly had more than their share of glory. Then there is the question of whether Rapinoe and Lloyd will be fit to play. How this will force Ellis to utilize the current players in their prime and the new young ones will be of greatest interest.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex and Syd are younger than Christen. KO is a couple of months older than Christen.

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan is younger than Christen Press. Crystal Dunn is younger than Christen Press. Mallory Pugh is younger than Christen Press.

            Flash forward to calendar year 2017, Ashley Sanchez is younger than Christen Press.

          • NYRick

            Press was making fairly good progress in becoming a star in the early part of 2015 leading up to the WC. In fact many predicated she would be the breakout star of the WC and become a household name in the US during the tournament, even being strangely played out of position. What Ellis did to her during that 7-game period in Canada was something that really no player could recover from. If it was me, (and I’m by no means as positive, focused and forgiving as Press seems to be), I would take a grudge against Ellis to the grave with me. It was truly that costly. Especially for someone who was passed over early on (when it can be argued as strange to say the least), but then worked so hard to become a starter.

            I’ve got a very funny feeling though that Press is going to bail out Ellis big time come August at the OG. Just a hunch but it would be justice to see her get a really big goal or two at the OG.

          • Reality

            I share your hope that Press will have the kind of OG2016 that was anticipated for her at WC2015. But in order for that to occur, Press will have to actually be given a real opportunity to play…

          • NYRick

            Opportunity? You mean the 5 injuries needed to those Ellis has above her on the NT roster food chain to play CF at OG?

          • Steglitz49

            Christen Annemarie improved her game considerably playing in Göteborg, something which she eventually owed up to (but managed to post a picture of Copenhagen and not Göteborg, but never mind).

            It was Tom Sermanni who gave Christen her first cap and when JE added Tony Gustavsson to her coaching staff, Christen’s position on the NT was strengthened.

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis was officially appointed head coach of the USWNT on 16 May 2014

            Christen Press started 11 of the first 12 matches for the USWNT in calendar year 2015.

            Christen Press was provided the opportunity as a starter with the USWNT and Jill Ellis has moved on.

          • Lorehead

            I agree that Christen Press got her starts. You do have a way of leaving out important context, such as Alex Morgan’s injury.

          • HOFCToDi

            Which one?

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press has proven to be an international fraud.

            List of individual international awards for Christen Press:

            Best Player
            Algarve Cup – Nope

            Golden Ball, Golden Boot
            SheBelieves Cup – Nope

            Golden Ball, Golden Boot
            CONCACAF Women’s Championship – Nope
            CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – Nope

            Golden Ball, Silver Ball, Bronze Ball
            FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Nope
            FIFA Women’s World Cup – Nope

            Golden Boot, Silver Boot, Bronze Boot
            FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Nope
            FIFA Women’s World Cup – Nope

            Christen Press has never been named to the ten player shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award.

          • NYRick

            DiCiccio is a dick. You can tell during his telecasts that it really irks him to praise Press in any way. He goes completely gaga and overboard and full of excuses at all times for #13 though. And his Carli praise is borderline insane as well.

            It’s interesting to note that his moniker here at the EQ, the infamous and really quite rude Linkmaster is also a nasty Press nemesis. Always to really sick levels too.

          • NYRick

            And to add: No Tony “you did not invent the sport of WoSo” which I think he basically thinks. You had a ridiculously stacked team in an era of even more absurd dominance and advantage for the US women on the international stage.

          • David K Anderson

            DiCicco also had that howler about Tobin Heath not being “a take-on player.” That’s the sort of bone-deep-ignorant statement you expect out of some “generic sports guy” play-by-play announcer covering the sport. He’s a tool.

          • Guest

            Well it seems many of the WoSo commentators idea of take on players is a player who beats their mark to end line to serve in a cross. DiCicco however made many other ridiculous comments over the course of the WC though so I tended to mute the broadcasts. The only commentator that I actually like is Aly Wagner

          • kernel_thai

            As much criticism as TD gets he is one of the few commentators who doesnt seem concerned about disagreeing with decisions both on and off the field. With pretty much everyone else afraid to lose access DiCicco seem pretty sure that he would be doing a better job and isnt afraid to point it out.

          • Guest

            I can’t say I think that he would do a better job and found myself disagreeing with his analysis frequently. Which isn’t to say that I always agree with Foudy, Markgraf, Wagner and others either. I’m still trying to figure out how Holiday and Lloyd escaped any criticism for their performances in the first 4 games of the WC.

          • NYRick

            It’s easy. Scapegoat Press for their problems. Which is precisely what happened. One if not both Lloyd or Holiday should have been removed from the starting lineup. The team would have won without either really. Someone was going to step up and help beat Germany who was badly wounded when they got to the US semi. And Japan was really lucky and over their head and didn’t show for the first 25-30 minutes of the final.

          • Reality

            DiCicco does seem to thrive on the nostalgia of his coaching days.

          • NYRick

            He’s like the Dana Carvey Grumpy Ole Man character. “In my day, the squad traveled by horse and carriage. With Mia always in the front taking the reins. Through rain and howling wind we’d make it cross-country for every friendly. Not like this pampered private jet prima donnas on this current team.”

          • Reality

            lol, Good one!

          • JL

            My dog is giving me an evil eye right now because I woke her up laughing at that, Rick.

          • Breakers fan

            I haven’t seen that movie, but that was good.

            That said, I do enjoy hearing an inside view about the ’99’er days

          • Guest

            It’s funny because during the WC I thought DiCicco was a Press supporter. By comparison I remember him being a very harsh critic of Tobin and a few others. Lloyd and Holiday’s poor performances were apparently missed by everyone.

          • kernel_thai

            Oddly tho he had a lot of positive things to say about O’Hara during WC including mentioning she was a big goal scorer for his U20 team so apparently he has no hard feelings there.

          • Guest

            DiCicco mostly spoke highly of any player he coached at youth level from what I can remember of the WC.

          • Steglitz49

            Ingrid Wells is mentioned in the report. She played with Press, Averbusch and Levin in Göteborg, then for a season in the NWSL and then in Japan. Of the Gbg Four, Christen Annemarie was the only to play in WC-15.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen Annemarie joined Göteborg in 2012, not 2010. She went to Sweden because the league collapsed. At the time she was with MagicJack and doing well for herself.

          • Ethan

            One thing to note though is that Kelley O’Hara had a lot of US U-20 WNT appearances.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. KO got the Hermann trophy. An expert need to explain the finer points of the Hermann doctrine and dogma. Suffice it to say that Alex Morgan is a megastar and Syd is expecting.

          • Gary Diver

            An aside: A lot of people have written off Syndey Leroux’s future with USWNT. Maybe she can come back playing a position other than forward. She just turned 26 and she has a reputation of being a hard worker. We will see if we will see Syd again.

          • Steglitz49

            ARod came back but why would Syd bother? She has a WC winner medal to go with her OG gold. What is left to win? High time to do something else, like Gold-Lena, who retired at 25.

          • Lorehead

            No, she did not. As far as I can tell, the Press Gang made up this story and Steglitz keeps believing it even though it isn’t true. The Stanford player who was offered a spot on the 2008 U-20s but turned it down to stay in school was Teresa Noyola, not Christen Press. Press later played for the U-23s.

            Tony DiCicco’s technical report recapping the 2008 U-20 WWC is well worth reading for many reasons. But it also has assessments of who was cut, when and why. Relevant here, though: Christen Press was never called in.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks for the definitive info and the link. Looks like pretty fascinating reading..will respond after reading it, if I have something worth adding.

          • Steglitz49

            A couple of players are not identified. They are marked with a set of Xs. I guess it is known who they were.

          • JL

            DiCicco doesn’t specify which two players he cut from consideration after U-20 qualifying, but if anyone hasn’t figured it out, they were Kelley O’Hara and Casey Nogueira. O’Hara over chemistry concerns and Nogueira because he thought she wasn’t playing up to her potential.

          • Reality

            One gets the impression that DiCicco is not enthusiastic about Stanford players. One even hears it now in his game commentary for the NT.

          • Breakers fan

            Hunh…2 Stanford players and then he doesn’t recommend Press to Jill Ellis. Makes you wonder what he thought of Foudy, if one wants to get all DiCicco-Stanford-grudge theory about this. So, as far as we know, these 3 negative moves by DiCicco — the fact that they all involve Stanford players – are completely coincidental and not indicative of any Stanford bias he may have, correct? I’m not trying to start any rumors – honestly.

            OOps – CASEY Nogueira — sorry, UNC there. Was thinking of another Stanford player – either Nogueira or Noyola. Apologies

          • JL

            Nogueira went to UNC, not Stanford.

          • Breakers fan

            yep, addded that a second later in my edit. Didn’t Stanford have a Nogueira too? Thanks.

          • JL

            That was Mariah Nogueira, who played one season in Boston and two in Seattle before retiring after last season.

          • Breakers fan

            DiCicco has no strong UCLA connection does he? (not trying to be paranoid here) I haven’t noticed any strong anti-Stanford bias in his commentating but then again I don’t listen super carefully for that.

          • JL

            I don’t think he has any real connection to any school, to be honest. His biases don’t seem to be based on which college a player attended.

          • JL

            If you look at that final U-20 squad, it’s not just one or two schools dominating. There’s a lot of diversity.

          • Lorehead

            In fact, he says he promised the U of Portland that he’d call up no more than two of their players. So there was apparently a deal worked out between him and some of the coaches.

          • Breakers fan

            Intriguing…. I don’t completely get the U Portland thing. Were they so good then that maybe they could have expected to get MORE than 2 players called in, but DiCicco, wanting to spread the wealth, so to speak, amongst more universities alerted them to expect no more than 2 call-ups from their team?

          • Lorehead

            They did get three players called in, and apparently DiCicco then made a promise that he wouldn’t do that again.

          • kernel_thai

            DiCicco went to Springfield which u should be pretty familiar with

          • Breakers fan

            Wow. Thanks! Didn’t even know they had a college there until now. Just looked him up and saw that he grew up in Connecticut.

          • kernel_thai

            If u look at the original 2008 U20 camp roster (linked in another post) which Ellis came up with, the most striking thing other than her not picking Morgan who played in her own conference, was where the hell was UNC? There isnt a single UNC player on that roster even tho DiCicco ended up taking two to the WC and cut a third. UNC couldnt have been too bad that year as they ended up winning the College Cup.

          • Breakers fan

            I wonder if UVA people, traditionally, have a tender affection for fellow ACC’ers – Chapel Hill’s Tar Heels?

            Just sayin’.

          • Steglitz49

            As regards the DiCicco report, seeing that the team won the U20 world cup, there was no need to write anything or justify anything because the team won the biggest competition there is.

            Such a report is possibly only needed when you lose but then you are expected to fall on your sword and tender your resignation. Anyway, who cares about the excuses of a loser?

          • Breakers fan

            First thing that comes to mind with her are her great ball-juggling videos with Tobin Heath. For what they are, those are great.

          • JL

            And he ended up being right about Nogueira. She had a tremendous amount of technical ability, but she never had the work ethic to make the jump to the next level.

          • Does make you wonder what went on with KO. Was it one single incident with the team? A lot of that team was/is her good friends are far as one can tell from the outside.

          • Breakers fan

            yeah, “chemistry” issues with KO seems a bit odd to me too. Would be interesting to have heard DiCicco elaborate more about that.

          • Lorehead

            He had even harsher words about Teresa Noyola of Stanford, saying that he questioned her integrity for backing out at the last minute. I’m not very interested in decade-old gossip about women who were teenagers at the time.

          • kernel_thai

            Press was called in on the original Jill Ellis camp roster before Ellis bailed on the team to take a better gig…um…big surprise there. The rumor on Press was she didnt take part in the U20s to concentrate on her academics.

          • Lorehead

            I’m not sure what you’re thinking of, but she was not on the first U-20 camp roster of the 2008 cycle.

          • kernel_thai

            Boy that was hard to find…u owe me half an hour of my life back http://www.bceagles.com/news/2008/1/16/Gina_DiMartino_and_Hannah_Cerrone_Invited_to_Train_with_US_Under_20_Women_s_National_Team.aspx

            Hope the link works. I know this because its one of the great soccer ironies that Ellis coaching at UCLA didnt notice Morgan playing at Cal

          • Lorehead

            Okay, thanks. That didn’t make it into DiCicco’s report because it was just before he took over, and I wasn’t aware of it. So it seems that Ellis called her into a camp in January, and then either she quit or DiCicco didn’t call her back.

          • kernel_thai

            As I said the rumor with Press was she wanted to concentrate on her academics. I guess she only knows for sure but O’Hara was actually their leading scorer when she left the team so I think TD chemistry issue with her was more of a commitment issue.

          • Breakers fan

            Pardon my ignorance — who left which team? Press left Stanford, or the U-20s or O’Hara left the U-20s?

            Related: about the rumor with Press – “she wanted to concentrate on her academics”, so she …………………..
            did what?

            When I read “chemistry” about KO I assumed he meant “on the field” chemistry, as in he didn’t think her style meshed well with the others he had chosen. But you see it differently?

          • kernel_thai

            Stanford is certainly a challenging school and Press was a Freshman at the time so I could certainly understand not wanting to put even more on her plate by trying to make the U20 WC team.

            O’Hara left the U20 team after they qualified out of CONCACAF. It might have been her departure that opened the door for Morgan who was added to the roster after another forward dropped out.

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you. Interesting that it may have been Press herself who chose to withdraw herself from the U-20 picture. That seems plausible. Sounds like it’s just rumor, but the fact that you’ve heard it said before makes one wonder if it has basis in reality. If she did it, it’s honorable and we hope it had no effect on her future with the team, but one doesn’t know.

            The word “chemistry” with respect to the reason why DiCicco cut KO remains mysterious, but it’s just a historical curiosity at this point.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex was a Freshman too at Berkeley.

          • Steglitz49

            Pia discovered that KO’s natural position is at left back. Pia converted KO to a left back. For some peculiar reason, club team coaches have continued to play KO in attack. (KO can play either side.)

            I wonder if that could have been the route of the problem. With the attackers he had, there was no place for KO in the team and he did not go the Pia route.

          • Lorehead

            And DiCicco says explicitly that was what was going on with Noyola and that some unnamed coaches were telling their players to play in the College Cup instead.

          • kernel_thai

            Well all the Stanford players dropped out that time too. Report gives u an interesting insight into DiCicco. Love the part where a player had her bf, dog and parents in her room…shocking

          • Breakers fan

            You seem to be implying that KO was showing DiCicco clear signs that Stanford’s quest for the College Cup victory meant more to her than the U-20 team – am I reading you correctly?

          • kernel_thai

            Well she left the team in July after CONCACAF. Kind of late in the game to think she just didnt like it after 7 months and before school started so hard to blame class work.

          • Breakers fan

            Ok. I didn’t have the timetable clear or correct in my head. She left the U-20 team a month or two before the college season even started…..not that that doesn’t mean the 2 are necessarily unrelated, however.

            I may have mis-read Lorehead’s earlier post which I took to mean that DiCicco cut KO. That she didn’t leave voluntarily. Is that your understanding as well?

          • kernel_thai

            Some day when ur bored u should read the report. DiCicco seemed really big on team building and team chemistry so if O’Hara was vacillating on her commitment to his team as the college season approached I could see him writing it off as chemistry. The player he seemed most discontented with was likely Nogueira whose lack of work ethic despite her talent was legendary. As to O’Hara I dont remember the exact word DiCicco used in his report and his stories on the matter have changed over the years. If u look on Wikipedia they say O’Hara left the team to help Stanford try and win the college cup.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks. I didn’t follow the scene that closely back then, though I did watch the college season and college cup that year. I just didn’t know about all the U-20 team stuff, so it’s interesting to hear about it. I’ll read the report sometime. Whatever the case it hasn’t been very clear sailing for either of those Stanford stars since then, though O’Hara had the mitigating aspect of her injury for a while, but even since becoming healthy she’s been in and out of the starting lineup.

          • Steglitz49

            Both KO and Christen Annemarie got the Hermann trophy. Alex didn’t.

            The usual explanation for Alex’s failure is that because she played for the U20s she did not play enough college games. At the time it was unclear what if any the future of WoSo was in the US so a girl can be forgiven for going after the Hermann trophy. Alex gambled the other way and has reaped the benefits in buckets.

          • Lorehead

            Eventually, yes. One possible explanation for that would be that the Stanford coach was pressuring them to play for the NCAA title instead of internationally, and “academics” were a more acceptable excuse. Press herself has said she was trying hard to get called up her senior year and it was frustrating when she never was.

          • kernel_thai

            And that’s exactly the problem with what’s going on this year. History shows us that USSF remembers this stuff and it can effect ur future chances or at least delay them. It great to say it’s up to the kids whether they red shirt or not but u have to wonder. And yeah, Stanford thought they had the team that could win it all in 2008 but in the end UNC won it even tho Kling and Washington were with the 20s and Norguiera could have been as well.

          • Lorehead

            DiCicco complained in the same report that there’s too much automatic promotion of women from each youth team to the next. Beyond that, does US Soccer really remember this stuff? Press had to wait four years, but then Ellis called her back in when she became coach again, and Ellis had been trying to recruit Press to play for her since Press was a high schooler in SoCal and Ellis was coach at UCLA.

          • Steglitz49

            Tom Sermanni gave Christen Annemarie her first cap. It was based on her performance for Göteborg because the NT match was before she had kicked a ball for Tyresö.

            Christen’s problem in the NT was the match in 2014 against Japan, the one with Miyama’s Roberto-Carlos freekick, where Christen did not play well. The USWNT did not cover itself in glory in that Algarve cup — they were missing Alex to injury and Lauren Holiday because her hubby had an operation.

          • HOFCToDi

            So what?

            Christen Press was a flop at the 2013 Algarve Cup. Christen Press was a flop at the 2014 Algarve Cup. Tom Sermanni was the head coach during that time frame.

          • HOFCToDi

            When Tom Sermanni was fired, the USWNT should have pulled the plug on Christen Press after failing to deliver at the 2014 Algarve Cup in the absence of Alex Morgan.

          • Steglitz49

            I was a bit surprised that that did not happen.

            I expect she was seen as a natural understudy for Alex Morgan. Also, Christen Annemarie is never injured and always decently attired.

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan is younger than Christen Press. The understudy to Alex Morgan currently resides in the collegiate ranks.

          • Steglitz49

            She had better not be too young because Alex is likely to do an ARod or Gold-Lena (though the latter was not married and only tied the knot a couple days/weeks before she was due).

          • HOFCToDi

            A slew of prospects in the upcoming senior class:

            Savannah Jordan
            Rachel Hill
            Arielle Ship
            Murielle Tiernan
            Tyler Lussi
            Casie Ramsier
            McKenzie Meehan
            Simone Kolander
            Tabby Tindell
            Hayley Dowd
            Margaret Purce

          • #1Fan

            you hit on a great point. USSF can “afford” to hold a grudge. A more competitive landscape would not allow this. Its why we have so many debates because in reality, the difference between these players is partly style based and popularity. In reality, there are so many permutations that would still be successful. Coaching in the USA is about not F’ing it up as opposed so going out there and having to get personnel and tactics spot on because the alternative is losing.

          • Breakers fan

            Love that you found it in the B.C. news archive.

          • kernel_thai

            There has been a rumored connection between Ellis and Foley so it is never too surprising when BC players turn up on Ellis short lists.

          • Breakers fan

            Seems like an odd connection – is there any intersection in their personal histories? Any explainable basis for this rumor?
            If there is a connection it’s not a very strong one – no BC players are in the picture at the moment. They’re some of the only players to get released from the picture, though.

          • kernel_thai

            DiCicco got the job in the end of January so his report doesnt include anything Ellis did before leaving the position to be Sundhages OG assistant.

          • Lorehead

            As you point out, Ellis did call up Press for a training camp in January ’08, and we don’t know why she never came back. So it is possible that she told DiCicco she wanted to stay with Stanford, or that DiCicco didn’t want to call up too many players from the same team. out of fear their coach would stop cooperating. We do know that both happened with other players that year.

          • kernel_thai

            Well I guess the two possibilities r DiCicco asked her in February and she begged off or that Ellis didnt give her good reprts during the transition and DiCicco never asked. I would guess the former. The point is that Press begged off so early that it doesnt seem related to any move by the Stanford players/coach to keep their team together.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks. But at this time Press “begging off”………is that rumor or fact? Or almost-certainly-fact?

          • Steglitz49

            I always thought that the issue was the academic rules at Stanford, not what their soccer coach thought or did not think. No sane coach will stand between a player and her chance to represent the nation. Only a dingbat.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

  • Couple of interesting observations on this weeks NWSL injury report since a preview isn’t out yet.. Is Sam Kerr available? Is Jess Fishlock available? Neither Seattle or Sky Blue had anyone listed, unless my link was just broken.

    Also, I see the Flash just waived Lady Andrade. That is surprising to me. Sky Blue, make a move.

    • Breakers fan

      Would be interesting to hear the Lady Andrade backstory for this year. My guess is that she just wasn’t into it. Has she been with the team all year?

      • I think so. I know she was in Rochester when the USWNT played Colombia, but was left off the Colombian roster due to being outspoken about their pay. I kind of have a feeling it’s a relationship issue between her and Paul Riley. I too am interested to find out what happened.

        • Breakers fan

          I don’t want to editorialize about subjects I know little to nothing about but she strikes me as a very strong personality who could easily have relationship issues with the head coach if things aren’t going her way. I’ll leave the speculation at that because I don’t know what happened here, but your guess does seem possibly correct. Did she get much playing time over the first 5 games?

          • I don’t know that she got any playing time. Maybe some in the first couple of games, but not that I can recall. You are correct, it does us no good to speculate about relationship issues but it would not surprise me either.

      • Gary Diver

        She is only 24 but seems to always have a chip on her shoulder. Is that an unfair assessment? How has she played for WNY? I get the sense she has been a disappointment.

        Here is an interesting “get to know Lady Andrade” article:
        http://heavy.com/sports/2015/06/lady-andrade-punch-video-suspension-colombia-world-cup-abby-wambach-age-bio-stats/

    • Rdalford

      Andrade was not getting any playing time with WNY. Players (at all levels) need to be playing on regular basis so not a surprise (to me) to see Andrade move on and (hopefully) find a situation where she can start/play more.
      WNY article quotes Riley
      “It’s important for Lady at this point in her career that she is on the field and developing as a professional,” said WNY Flash head coach Paul Riley. “She showed some great moments while she was here, but I think for her continued growth, she needs to be a consistent starter. We certainly wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

      • Is she not good enough to get playing time? That is my question mainly. I understand that players need the time, I just would have guessed she would be playing at WNY because I thought she was a high quality player.

        • guest

          Lots of talent and good footwork but in my opinion not a very cerebral player. She doesn’t always know what to do when she doesn’t have the ball and even sometimes when she does. She was ineffective in all but one of her starts for WNY last year

        • Craigaroo

          Interesting news, interesting comments. I’m surprised yet somehow not surprised. She can be a fun player to watch so I hope she turns up somewhere in the league

    • guest

      I don’t think that injury report is 100% accurate or up to date. Particularly considering the league broke the news about Melis suffering the same fate as Fishlock in their game preview but that isn’t shown on the the injury report.

      • Huh. So broken leg for Melis? Haven’t seen anything yet. Typical NWSL. Honestly when people on here or other forums complain about the USWNT players not taking the NWSL seriously, I kind of laugh because the league itself makes it hard to take serious a lot times. Down to tiny things like a half updated injury report.

        • mockmook

          They publish the report even when only some teams have submitted their data.

          But, I do believe that all teams are represented by the time the first game of the week kicks off — and, if you look now, all teams are accounted for: Both Fishlock and Kerr are out.

  • Craigaroo

    Since I don’t see anywhere else to put it (and I know all of you just can’t wait…) here’s expected win percentages (and expected “FIFA game result” for those of you familiar with their table) for matchday 6; ratings based on xG analysis by Chad Murphy; homefield advantage = 50 rating points:

    Houston 2057 coin toss Orlando 2106
    WNY 2127 (.80) over Sky Blue 1854
    Washington 2137 (.53) AT Portland 2070
    Boston 1836 (.56) KC 1848
    Chicago 2020 (.63) AT Seattle 1878

    So far, using current ratings, there have been no upsets where the rating difference was more than 100 points. Sooner or later there will be, but for now the biggest upset is Sky Blue (1854) 2-1 over Seattle (1878) at Seattle, but it’s a rating difference of only 74 points including the homefield advantage

    Well, perhaps, we can count Chicago (2020) over WNY (2127) as a 100 point upset, but since Chicago was home, the adjusted rating difference was only 57 points.

    There’ve been some bigger “upset ties”. Such as KC (1848) vs Portland (2070) – 272 point difference; 322 without the homefield adjustment; and Houston (2057) tie with Sky blue (1854) – 253 point difference with the homefield, 203 without.
    – also posted at BigSoccer

    • guest

      Are your Elo ratings adjusted each week for the new xG for and xG against totals?

      • Craigaroo

        this rating incorporates Chad Murphy’s xG charts for games through last weekend (all games this season in other words). I also totally recalculated the ratings after last week’s results – as opposed to beginning with the ratings after the 4th week and “adding” on the 5th week’s results in the traditional or original Elo method. Thus, you may notice that two teams who played each other in week 5 may both gain points (or both may lose points) based on other results. This actually occurred with a couple teams. This wouldn’t happen in the traditional Elo method.

        • mockmook

          If I’m understanding you correctly, you are using results of subsequent games to “predict” what should have happened in the early games (or more precisely, the “assumed” relative strength of the two teams when that encounter occurred).

          Something seems amiss 🙂

          • Craigaroo

            This is a good question & I wish I could give it the explanation it deserves. Let me say first that, though I am not a mathematician, I am fairly confident that all the computer ratings you hear of in sports, like the ones used in college football to select the teams for the BCS bowl games or which the NCAA basketball committee uses to help determine the basketball tournament bracket, rating systems by guys you may have heard of like Jeff Sagarin or Kenneth Massey, almost invariably use methods which are similar in this regard, although of course they use much more sophisticated algorithms than my elementary one.
            ¶ In other words, they use techniques which involve (at least implicitly) feedback; they get a preliminary result, which is then information that they feedback into the calculations to get new results; “looping back” you might say in a recursive manner.
            ¶ One reason they might do this is given by the problem of, trying to predict the outcome of games based on extremely limited sample sizes. You can easily imagine the difficulty of accurately predicting the results of the 2nd or 3rd games in the season after only one or two games. If we did that in classic Elo style, we’d have wildly inaccurate ratings after the first or second round of games, which we then permanently enshrine in the ratings as subsequent ratings are calculated as additions or subtractions to them, but it will take a long time for them to have their footprint erased.
            ¶ So most, if not all, sophisticated sports rating systems involved “retrodiction” as well as prediction. The goal is to use the data from all the available games to arrive at ratings which “explain” or accurately “predict” the results of games previously played (hence “retrodiction”) . Come to think of it, that’s just plain science, isn’t it? — Coming up with a model which “predicts” or accounts for the known facts, as well as predicting the discovery of future ones.
            ¶ I wish I could explain better but hope this helps. At some point, I may discuss further here or at BigSoccer, where some of us discuss these things from time to time. (in the past there have been discussions in the college forum regarding the use of RPI in determining the tournament bracket) (I will try at least to bring up example of African teams, notoriously underrated in FIFA’s ratings, in the World Cup)

          • mockmook

            Thanks for the thorough reply. I think I have the gist of it — well, as much of the gist as I’m willing to cogitate on.

            Just seems “un-American” to be “predicting” past results using future games 🙂

          • Craigaroo

            Maybe President Trump can start deporting the Sagarins and Masseys, those pinko eggheads polluting the essential purity of our American sports!

          • Steglitz49

            Stop inhaling.
            Confirm the Supreme Court judge.
            Chop! Chop!!

          • Gary Diver

            American politics is insane. People are closely watching the polls and if it looks like Clinton will beat Trump, the Republican Conservatives will do the most incredible flip and demand that Obama’s moderate Supreme Court nominee be quickly approved. The polls among conservatives are already moving in that direction compared with two months ago. It would be head shaking if the Republicans demanded confirmation hearings for the judge after the November election if Trump loses.

          • mockmook

            No Obama nominee is a moderate. None of them believe the Constitution says what it means — they just make it up as they go.

          • Gary Diver

            It is funny how conservatives are two-faced about the Second Amendment. The Founding Father intented it to cover militia and the amendment explicitly refers to militia and not to private ownership of guns. If the Founding Fathers were concerned about private ownership they would have stated the amendment in terms of private ownership. but they definitely did not. Conservatives have no problem with the “elastic interpretation” applied to the Second Amendment, but they do have a problem with almost every other elastic interpretation of the Constitution.

            Where you stand politically depends on where you have been sitting.

            Out of curiosity do you support the Supreme Court abolishing segregation in schools or do you think states should have the right to segregate?

            Do you support civil right laws and voting rights laws?

            Do you support Title IX? What would women soccer in America, even at high school and college level, look like today without Title?

          • mockmook

            Re-read the Second Amendment.

          • Gary Diver

            Maybe you should read it, you don’t seem to remember correctly.

            “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

            The amendment is explicitly written in terms of providing for a militia and only for providing for a militia. There is absolutely nothing in this amendment that does not deal with a militia.

            As a strict constructionist, do you realize that arms in 1790s were muskets? Interpreting the Second Amendment in any other way is a form of elastic interpretation. Do you think machine guns and tanks should be protected by the Second Amendment?

            Can you can explain something for me? Conservatives constantly argue that the Second Amendment is needed to protect individual freedoms against government tyranny. Doesn’t this imply that if people feel the government is infringing against their rights, they can take up arms against the government?

            In any country of the world, taking up arms against your government it is a form of treason. Currently the penalty for treason is “the Criminal Justice Act 1990, which abolished the death penalty, setting the punishment for treason at life imprisonment, with parole in not less than forty years.” So take up arms against the government with your Second Amendment guns and you are facing 40 years in prison. And that’s the law.

            Actually conservatives should be happy with Donald Trump. He believes the more weapons in the world the better. His solution for North Korea’s nuclear weapons is for all countries in the area to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Isn’t the American solution to conflict arming the “good guys”. But this is counter to the past 30 years of attempting to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world to reduce the possibility of an accidentally nuclear war.

          • mockmook

            You’re wrong.

          • Gary Diver

            Do you have a different version of the Second Amendment that isn’t based on providing for the militia?

          • mockmook

            You aren’t reading it correctly. You are assuming words that aren’t there.

            Regardless, the Second Amendment isn’t a about a right given to us, it is an acknowledgement of our inherent right to self defense. Even without a Second Amendment, we have a right to bear arms.

          • Craigaroo

            My answers aren’t always as brief as they should be. But I mentioned the example of Africa in the World Cup. We’re accustomed by now to having a team like Nigeria, or Cameroon last year, seem to play much better than their ratings would suggest. The problem stems, of course, from the woefully few times African teams ever play teams outside their confederation. Practically never except the World Cup and Olympics.No rating system can adequately solve the problem of such a limited sample size, but the problem is compounded when there is no “feedback” or “looping back”. Nigeria or Cameroon come along to the World Cup, play quite respectably, and their ratings get some boost from it. But what about the African teams they played in the qualifying road to get there? Maybe they are better than the current ratings give them credit for. We’ve adjusted Nigeria and Cameroon’s rating, perhaps, but if it indicates they were better than their initial (pre-World Cup) ratings were, then maybe these other African teams they played along the way had a tougher “strength-of-schedule” than the old ratings gave them credit for. A recursive, a “looping back” technique at least has the possibility of doing something about it, taking , for example, Nigeria and Cameroon’s newer higher ratings and using them to recalculate the ratings of other African teams they played along the way.

          • mockmook

            Again, thanks for the replies and for this most apropos example.

    • Breakers fan

      Interesting to see these and to see, week to week, if his numbers turn out to be good predictors. From what you wrote he’s done a good job so far, though you do note several big upset ties. Thanks for posting them.