NWSL Week In Review: Where do non-playoff teams go from here?

Ray Curren September 27, 2016 119
Houston and Boston are among the teams whose seasons ended this week. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Houston and Boston are among the teams whose seasons ended this week. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Sadly, the close of the regular season means that we say goodbye to 60 percent of the NWSL’s teams until the spring. But before they walk out the 2016 door, it gives us a chance to assess what they need to do before 2017 gets here in a few months. It does not appear that we’ll have expansion for next season (but likely will in 2018), so the draft picks these teams have “earned” (for those who haven’t traded them) should be used wisely.

Quickly, in reverse order of standings:

Boston

The Breakers have seemed to get worse every season in NWSL, so their needs are pretty much everywhere at the moment. Hopefully, they’ll add Canadian Kadeisha Buchanan through the draft. Boston couldn’t score this year, but also gave up 47 goals, 17 more than anyone else in the league. After that, holes are still everywhere. Matt Beard was obviously dealt a terrible hand, but even his moves – like bringing in goalkeeper Libby Stout – didn’t seem to work well. Unless they somehow get another allocation from the U.S. women’s national team, it’s hard to see where players that will make them significantly improved will come from. But we shall see.

Orlando

The Orlando Pride, led by Alex Morgan, had a decent 2016, but must address needs in 2017. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

The Orlando Pride, led by Alex Morgan, had a decent 2016, but must address needs in 2017. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

I still consider the Pride’s inaugural season a modest success. They knew they were sacrificing on the field to get Alex Morgan and it showed, particularly at the end of the season. Next season, moving into a new stadium, I’m sure they want to compete on the field more. They don’t have a first-round draft pick (traded to Western New York), so they’ll have to get creative. If Lisa De Vanna stays in 2017, she should be able to help Morgan (if she doesn’t take big bucks from Lyon in France), but they were just outclassed in the midfield all season and like Boston, it’s not that easy to just go out and find really good players with the rules on internationals and salaries they can offer. I’m sure Tom Sermanni has some plans.

Houston

Even with the resurgence at the end of the season, the Dash are still probably the biggest disappointment this year, although much of it might have been due to injuries to Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian. On paper, the Dash are probably a playoff team next season right now, but can they keep the band together and happy? You never know, and Rachel Daly might be fielding an offer or two from Europe as well with the 2017 Euros beckoning. The Dash also don’t have a draft pick, having traded theirs to Seattle.

Sky Blue

There is plenty of optimism for Sky Blue, at least on the field, at least if Leah Galton and Sam Kerr can return. They did a great job in the draft last season, and could be right in the playoffs if they can get a player (probably a defender) or two to help them out. There’s no indication that Christie Rampone is ready to retire, but after playing every minute in 2016, can she do it again at the age of 42 (?!?) next year. While attendance improved a bit toward the end of the season, Sky Blue would seem to benefit from a long-speculated move somewhere.

[MORE: Tasha Kai undergoes successful surgery on left ankle]

Kansas City

We expected the two-time defending champs to drop a bit, but it wasn’t until a few games in when you could see just how much they were missing from the past two championship teams. Like we’ve talked about before, it’s just not easy to replace standout players in the NWSL, but FCKC could welcome back Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez next season. Neither of those, though, will fill the hole left by Lauren Holiday and we’ll see what FCKC can do about that. Their poor attendance is also a concern for a team as successful as they’ve been. Even with all their problems, they still almost finished .500, giving up only 20 goals — tied for second-best in the league.

Seattle

While it’s hard to figure out exactly what went wrong with the Reign this season (last season’s NWSL Shield winners), they did score 11 fewer goals than last season and it was worse when they were really struggling back in the spring. They just couldn’t get enough production out of people like Beverly Yanez, who was fantastic and prolific in 2015. Kim Little, by her extremely high standards, was not as dominant in 2016, either, and Manon Melis being injured for a stretch really hurt. It remains to seen whether Hope Solo returns next season, and the Reign hope to do better in the draft than they did last year, also.

What else did we learn as the fourth NWSL regular season is officially over? Some thoughts:

SATURDAY

Orlando 1:2 Kansas City

What Went Down: Another pretty gutty effort by FCKC, who got down a goal and fought back in the heat of Orlando, even though they game meant nothing except pride (no pun intended). In the end, even with the two in the second half here, Kansas City only scored 18 goals all season (and only conceded 20), which means that if reinforcements come in as expected, they might be back in the title race in 2017.

Lisa De Vanna never got into the flow in Orlando, but with a full season should be effective. Sermanni’s other Australians never seemed to return from the Olympics in the same form that they left — and Steph Catley was injured — so that might help the cause, too. Just as they did in this match, they just lost the midfield way too many times.

Player of the Game: Heather O’Reilly – Obviously, O’Reilly played as she has her entire career: at full-speed. And it was only fitting that she was allowed to take the winning penalty and converted it.

Under the Radar: Becky Sauerbrunn – Sauerbrunn’s form for FCKC this season was not as exceptional as it had been the last couple of seasons, but she was excellent in this match, and after a hectic couple of seasons, should be fine once 2017 begins.

Inside The Numbers: 10 – Number of goals Kansas City scored this season not by Shea Groom, including the two here. FCKC will definitely benefit to have some kind of complement for Groom.

Up next: Orlando – SEASON OVER; Kansas City – SEASON OVER

Boston 0:4 Western New York

What Went Down: The Flash gave Seattle no hope of maybe sneaking in the back door to the playoffs as they scored just two minutes in and rolled to an easy victory and what would have been an unlikely playoff berth a few months ago. Western New York out-shot Boston by a ridiculous 16-2 margin in the first half and that was pretty much that. It’s amazing how many shots the Flash have gotten off this season, which is probably why they’ve scored so many goals. Hmmm.

It’s definitely back to the drawing board for the Breakers, but they just need more quality on the field. They had a sellout crowd, though, even as poor as they’ve played this season.

Player of the Game: Lynn Williams/Jess McDonald – Unfortunately in the end, this duo may cancel each other out in the NWSL MVP race, but together they’ve been close to unstoppable for the league this season. Saturday, they combined for 13 shots, seven on goal, with each scoring once.

Under the Radar: Samantha Mewis – Mewis got a goal in front of her hometown crowd (including her sister, obviously) and seemed to be a perfect fit for Paul Riley and his system all season: physical, good in the air, has great size. She’ll be key in any hopes the Flash have for an upset of the Thorns on Sunday.

Inside the Numbers: 17 – Number of goals that Western New York scored against Boston in four meetings this season. Boston scored 14 in the entire 20-game campaign. The unbalanced “rivalry” schedule certainly played out in the Flash’s benefit this season.

Up next: Boston – SEASON OVER; Western New York – at Portland (Sun.)

Chicago 3:1 Washington

What Went Down: It was an odd situation for the Spirit, who would win the NWSL Shield with a victory, but was also possibly going to have to play the Red Stars in a game that means much more next week, so do you show your entire hand? Either way, Chicago had to gain a little confidence in not only winning this match, but pretty much dominating, at least the first hour until Crystal Dunn started to get loose. It’s kind of a glass half empty/full thing, if you’re with the Spirit, the game was just a glorified scrimmage, but if you’re the Red Stars, it showed you can beat Washington. I guess we’ll find out Friday.

Player of the Game: Sofia Huerta – Why I’m not coaching at that level, part 654: There’s no way I thought that moving Huerta into the midfield would have helped her form, but I was dead wrong, Huerta has thrived in an attacking mid role. She is very strong on the ball and very difficult to stop running at defenders as she showed in this match. I’m not sure how many new players Jill Ellis wants to bring into U.S. camp, but her name should be coming up.

Under the Radar: Vanessa DiBernardo – DiBernardo is not a player that always stands out, but when she is getting the ball in good positions, her passing is among the best in the world. It’s definitely something to watch Friday; if DiBernardo is getting a lot of the ball with no pressure on her, it’s bad news for the Spirit.

Inside the Numbers: 8 – Number of shots by Crystal Dunn. Especially in the second half, Dunn was outstanding and won a few battles against Dani Colaprico, which is another battle to watch on Friday night.

Up next: Chicago – at Washington (Fri.); Washington – vs. Chicago (Fri.)

SUNDAY

Sky Blue 1:3 Portland

What Went Down: If there was any doubt that Sky Blue would be motivated, Tasha Kai scored just six minutes in and almost doubled the lead through Sam Kerr a few minutes later. But Allie Long scored a somewhat controversial goal (she looked offside on a Tobin Heath free kick) to even the match and then the Thorns showed their quality in the second half, eventually taking the lead through Lindsey Horan and finishing the job of winning the NWSL Shield when Long scored her second.

The Thorns had trouble with the Flash just a couple of weeks ago, and would like to start better than they did in this one. There’s plenty of optimism for Sky Blue going forward, but we’ll have to see who they add in the next few months.

Player of the Game: Allie Long – While she has moved around since moving to the USWNT, Long has always been at her best in the NWSL when playing in a more advanced position, or at least given the freedom to get into the box as she did here. Unfortunately, Carli Lloyd already does that for the national team, but Long might be able to fill that role eventually.

Under the Radar: Emily Sonnett – Sonnett has had some growing pains in learning to play at the NWSL level, but her talent was on full display Sunday as she kept Kerr in check and helped hold Sky Blue to just six shots total on the evening.

Inside the Numbers: 10 – Number of assists for Tobin Heath this season after picking one up on Long’s first goal. Is it enough for her to win MVP of the league? She’s probably not the favorite, but you can certainly make a decent case for her.

Up next: Sky Blue – SEASON OVER; Portland – vs. Western New York (Sun.)

Houston 2:3 Seattle

What Went Down: The final game of the 2016 regular season might have been the wildest as the Reign looked completely disinterested for most of the first half, at one point allowing Carli Lloyd to have 87 touches (estimated) in the box before she scored the second Dash goal to give them a 2-0 lead. In fact, Houston should have been up 4- or 5-0 with the chances they were getting.

But improbably, Seattle – which also had nothing to play for – came all the way back in the second half starting with a Manon Melis goal that came off a defensive mistake, and then Houston, not for the first time in the last couple seasons, fell apart completely. The end result saw Kim Little finally get loose to tie the match and Beverly Yanez (off a wonderful cross from Carson Pickett, who had a very difficult rookie season) won it in the 82nd minute. Houston has a lot of soul-searching to do in this offseason.

Player of the Game: Manon Melis – Things might have been different for the Reign had Melis been able to play the entire season because she has been excellent in the last couple of months, finishing the season with another solid performance here.

Under the Radar: Kim Little – It was not an MVP season for Little this time around, but she had a great second half and should use the disappointment for motivation next season.

Inside the Numbers: 0 – Number of times before Sunday a team in the NWSL had come back from a two-goal deficit in the regular season to win. The streak finally came to a crashing halt in the final game of 2016.

Up next: Houston – SEASON OVER;  Seattle – SEASON OVER

  • V

    Boston should find players that care. Pathetic effort every year. Get rid of everyone and have open tryouts. They don’t even try.

    • guest

      Agree, they don’t even look like they’re making a serious effort out there. For one thing,their passing is just awful.

    • Constant Weeder

      It’s hard to maintain morale with a record like theirs. It will be interesting to see what kind of roster beard assembles, now that he has the chance.

      • mockmook

        If Beard is given the chance. Unfortunately, with NWSL budgets, it’s probably very hard to get a quality coach.

        • Constant Weeder

          Are you saying he’ll be fired?

          • mockmook

            Should be. But, they may not be able to do better.

    • Kyle

      Agree. It seemed that some players should went though the motions. Next year will be judging time for Beard. If he can;t get time playing with heart and soul, win some guys it will be back to England for him. But for now I reserve my judgment.

    • southbayfan

      That is Boston’s biggest challenge. Creating an organization where players care.

  • SBFan

    Does anyone know if Lindzi Cutshall and/ or Katy Freels will be back for Sky Blue next year? That will go a long way to strengthen the defense and the midfield.

    • Rufan

      I always assumed that Freels retired in all but name, her husband is a doctor and live in Salem Alabama. I don’t know about Cutshall.
      Rampone will not be allocated next year and one or both of her knees are in bad shape; I was told she was practicing only one day a week with SB this season.

      • Observed

        If Cutshall has a decent job somewhere, why would she give THAT up? For $6.4k?

        • JL

          No one makes 6.4k in a season. The minimum salary this season is 7.2k, and it’ll likely increase next season.

          • Observed

            That makes me feel better.

    • BCAD

      Cutshall is currently pregnant so I guess it depends if she decides to come back and play.

  • tickyboxes

    Regarding Seattle:
    Having watched the season it’s clear what went wrong. The team came into the campaign with a hole at the outside back spot left vacant by the retirement of Steph Cox, and another due to the injury to Megan Rapinoe. This got compounded before the season with the medical complications keeping Antonia Goransson in Sweden, and early on with the broken legs suffered by Jess Fishlock and Manon Melis.
    Carson Pickett had a look early as a starter, but wasn’t quite ready for the task; and in the absence of Fishlock, Kim Little played much farther back than usual, resulting in less of her flash around the goal. The depth players on the roster did yeoman duty, but Kirsten Dallstream and Lindsey Elston simply aren’t adequate replacements for Melis and Fishlock.
    When Jess and Manon returned, things started getting better, when Kawasumi-san and Utsugi-san joined from Japan, there was suddenly more skill and depth; and by the time Megan Rapinoe returned, the Reign had the comparative luxury of bringing Pinoe or Naho on as a substitute and giving Merritt Mathias a longer look at outside back [where she *still* managed to be offsides at critical junctures, but less frequently than when she was playing up top].
    I’d expect that Seattle has seen the final playing time from Hope Solo. For better or for worse, I don’t think the team will miss the distractions which seemed to follow her around, and lose very little at all handing the starter’s role to Haley Kopmeyer. I think Kop is potentially more sound technically than Solo, and doesn’t have the inclination to “happy feet” which Hope often had, and has at least three-quarters of a solid back line in front of her. Given the termination of Solo’s US contract, she won’t be an allocated player next season, and is probably too expensive to fill a roster postion.
    Looking ahead, Keelin Winters’ spot will be a big one to fill. I think she was an undervalued cog in the defensive midfield role, tying the back line to the attack and empowering Fishlock to play more box-to-box and Little to create in the attack.
    If she’s back (and I think it’s a big if), Mathias may be able to contribute here, and her physical nature will lessen the impact of the Captain’s retirement. With a year of experience each, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Elston or Havana Solaun get long looks in holding midfield either.

    • Observed

      Harvey will be busy in the offseason with trades. They won’t miss Solo. I expect this team to be in the playoffs next year.

    • Steglitz49

      Given that Scotland qualified for their first major tournament, can we expect any of the Scotch lasses to play in Seattle next year? They will be absent for the Euro-17 window.

  • obo

    > The Breakers have seemed to get worse every season in NWSL.

    Except in attendance, where they’re the only team other than Portland to increase their median attendance by more than 1,000 YoY, every year. Their median attendance increase this year was second only to Portland, and their mean increase was 3rd to Portland and WNY.

    They finished the season outdrawing holders FCKC and playoff-bound Chicago (and also SBFC, but so do the top 5 NCAA teams), and with a higher median than the Spirit by about 210.

  • mockmook

    Doesn’t Boston have something like 7 draft picks?

    The odds say they will get 2 or 3 starters out of that. And, if they pick right, probably more. That should be enough to make them competitive, mid pack in 2017 (assuming a slew of their current “good” players don’t bail).

    • Rdalford

      Boston currently has nine 2017 draft picks – 1st overall, four 2nd round (11,12,15,16), and two each in third (21,28) and fourth (31,38) rounds

      My memory is you were among the people who previously predicted Boston – after Boston trades (Zerbonni and Farrelly), 2016 draft (Westphal etc) and new coach (Beard) – would improve for 2016 season.

      Personally, I will be believe that Boston is “competitive, mid pack” only once they demonstrate actual ability to win multiple competitive games and achieve that mid pack level. Do not have confidence that current Boston GM or coach will be the ones to engineer (thru draft, trades or coaching) that improvement.

      • mockmook

        Don’t remind me!!!!!!

        I picked Boston 3rd (argh!!!!!!).

        Worst set of predictions EVER!!!!!

        But, how was I to know that Beard would still have complete disorganization of his back line 20 games into the season?

        How, Jerry? How?????

        • Rdalford

          For what it is worth, we attend some Boston matches so we were also hoping that Boston would have improved in 2016.
          Unfortunately it was fairly clear even in pre-season (loss to FSU etc and constant yelled instructions from Beard on sideline) that whatever system Beard was trying to put in place was not being effectively communicated thru coaching.

          • kernel_thai

            I wasnt expecting Boston to be much better but what I was expecting was a better defensive team that lost because they couldnt score. Beard pretty much threw everything into a defensive rebuild and they still gave up a ton of goals. Very frustrating.

          • Breakers fan

            Engen is overrated in my view. Or: She didn’t play up to her previously-demonstrated abilities. Watch her on the goals given up during the year. She made some good plays at times and I know she’s a good athlete but I question whether her heart was fully into the season, especially post-OG. I would often go back to review goals and she was, it seemed, getting beat, not making an NT-worthy play, regularly. Plus all the games she missed. Combine that with Pathman retiring, an overall weak midfield, Julie King – one of the better backs – missing several games, Westphal often sitting on the bench — an enigma wrapped inside a conundrum — and you get what you see they got. Beard contributed to that so I don’t care what his intentions were, they didn’t work and we lost the best keeper in the nation in the process.

          • DNG

            I don’t know if this was completely to blame for Boston’s troubles but I’ve been looking at their results over the course of the season. While their start to the season was bad they weren’t conceding tons of goals like they were at the end of the year. In 6 of their first 8 games they held their opponents to 1 goal or less. In their next 12 games they only did that twice. The reason I separated the season into those two chunks was because the week of match 9, where they lost 3-0 to Chicago, McCall Zerboni requested a trade and was traded to WNY. I’d have to go over all of many Boston’s games to be sure but at first glance it seems like Boston may have traded a player they couldn’t replace.

          • DNG

            It seems Beard actually agrees with me about Zerboni. He gave a good interview. Here’s the article.

            http://www.thebentmusket.com/2016/9/28/13077380/matt-beard-reflects-boston-breakers-2016-nwsl-hints-plans-2017

          • Breakers fan

            Zerboni’s a solid midfielder but her presence, in my opinion, wouldn’t have altered their final record much if at all. What were they with her and without her in terms of win-loss? I know about goal differential but I attribute that also to other factors I named – Pathman retiring factor #1, Engen not being good in the center, the whole team morale deteriorating towards the end, King missing some time. I watched McCall play and thought she was pretty good, better than some who came after her, but I didn’t think she was great. Didn’t score, not sure if she had an assist or many great passes to create chances. I don’t see her as quite the lynchpin that you do, but your observation I think is a good one and was a factor.

          • DNG

            Zerboni is not a player who is going to score and assist a lot. That wasn’t her role. She’s a similar player to Amber Brooks in that what she’s good at is breaking up attacks. In possession she’s an average player but a player who can shield the back line and clean up things in front of the defense is critical for many teams. Defense is really a team endeavor anyway. The midfield is a key part of team defense. The USWNT for example does not have a great defensive back line. Becky’s good but I think the rest of the players are average defensively. The real reason the USWNT’s defense was so good in the WC a year ago was because of how well Brian, Rapinoe, Heath, and Holiday played in front of that back line who cleaned up pretty much everything that got through. I have been very critical about Beard playing a high line against Houston and WNY but I don’t think that completely covers the poor defensive record in all cases.

          • mockmook

            Hey, how about the Dash send you Carli Lloyd in exchange for 2 or 3 of your draft picks?

          • Breakers fan

            She’d be worth picks #1, 11, 12, 13 and 14. But can we please keep our 3rd and 4th round picks?

          • mockmook

            You can’t be serious!!!

            No, really, what picks do you think would make a fair trade? Or, are you firmly anti-Lloyd?

          • Breakers fan

            Yeah, that was a total joke, with its leading edge towards past horrendous Breakers moves involving getting rid of draft picks.

            I’m not firmly anti-Lloyd in every way but I personally wouldn’t even give up a Breakers 2nd round pick for her in next year’s draft.

          • mockmook

            Any fave for tonite’s game? I’ve got CRS 2- WAS 1

          • Breakers fan

            I’ll predict Wash 3-2.

          • Breakers fan

            I actually thought, assumed your question was a complete joke, one designed just to annoy me and/or make me laugh, but now I’m thinking you were serious. Were you? For me with Lloyd I have a bias towards youth I guess. I don’t want Lloyd at this point of her career, especially with her being a player who, by being gone a lot, does nothing for your team. A rookie would be present, able to help.

          • mockmook

            Well, it was a half joke — but it is a conceivable deal — Beard is saying he is open to trades for some of his picks.

          • Breakers fan

            ……and that comment burned me up. He then went on to speak a lot about international searches. I think he and Billiard, Brits, underestimate the abilities of young Americans. That and they feel overwhelmed by the college landscape. What they need to do is simply sit down and start watching college games, like it or not — it’s their job. I do it and I’m not getting paid. Seems ludicrous to me that they may not be doing it. The season’s over, what else is a better way to spend their time in trying to improve the team?

          • mockmook

            Did you see the parts where he said “I didn’t know this”, “I didn’t know that” — really surprised me (unless he is just exaggerating).

          • Breakers fan

            Refesh my memory, please – what was he referring to in those comments? Was it mainly about “American culture” – which is an excessively vague term to me.

          • mockmook

            For me, it was the statements regarding not knowing they had such a short preseason, not knowing that he would have so little help, etc. Structural things of the NWSL.

          • Breakers fan

            Oh right, yes, that was odd. To me those issues seem a bit besides the point. Each team was dealt the same hand in this regard. My question about him is: Do the players respect and love him? Do they want to play their hearts out for him? Are they praying he returns? If I’m the owner I go and find out the answers to these questions before deciding who my coach is for next year.

          • Breakers fan

            The “I had so little help” thing smacked a bit too much of self-pity to me, too much “it’s not my fault!” implied for my liking.

          • Breakers fan

            If we lose Westphal, due to her simply being unhappy here, I’m gonna be pissed off in a large way.

          • Breakers fan

            Thankfully he calmed it down a bit but only in the last few games. He may have been given instructions to keep quiet and let the players focus. I know the guy gave it a good shot, really tried, but the gameday stuff was in my view horribly misguided and …..I don’t know. Someone needs to be able to assess “the state of the franchise” *accurately*. How are the players feeling about things? About the coaches? About returning? If there are things they don’t like those should be voiced. What would you like to see changed? Without players you, obviously, go nowhere, and who is eager to return? And for those who aren’t, what can be done to change your attitude? This is the kind of thing that needs to be done. You can’t just go on some feeling of “Let’s give him another year. He inherited a tough situation.” You need to dig deeper than that.

          • southbayfan

            Agreed. Boston has deep problems. The best move a Boston player can make at the moment is to leave Boston.

  • mockmook

    And, I don’t think Boston can pass on Jordan.

    She will be one of a very few effective (Sinclair?) post-up Forwards in WoSo.

    • DNG

      Sinclair isn’t really a back to goal forward if that is what you mean by post up. She’s more of a drop into the hole and create when she isn’t finishing them herself forward. She is also good at going wide to link up. Horan by comparison is a back to goal forward.

  • John

    Well if any NWSL team is looking for a new manager, there’s a English gentleman from the West Midlands who has recently left a top role. Carries a bit of baggage though…..:)

    • mockmook

      Do you mean East Midlands?

      • John

        He was born in Dudley which is in the West Midlands.

        • mockmook

          Ahh, thought you meant Nigel Pearson (who appears to be on the way out the door).

          Hey, as long as Allardyce knows how to coach I’d take him!!! Don’t think anyone will be offering bribes to get into the NWSL. 🙂

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      David Cameron grew up in Berkshire, not the West Midlands.

      • John

        Well the word Berk and David Cameron do go hand in hand 🙂

  • HOFCToDi

    Soccer week in review.

    If you thought the USSF was screwed up, the FA tops the list:

    theguardian.com/football/2016/sep/27/sam-allardyce-leaves-england-manager-role-fa

  • Ethan

    Orlando’s midfield wasn’t great for a lot of the season, but their defense (mainly their center backs) was just as poor over the course of the season.

    “Sermanni’s other Australians never seemed to return from the Olympics in the same form that they left…” You’re right here; I don’t remember Alleway making any glaring errors in the few minutes that she played when she got back.

    Full credit to Lloyd for her composure on her goal. However, that goal reminds me a lot of Rodriguez’s goal against Switzerland, and that whole play stressed me out up to the point of her finish.

    • DNG

      On the Lloyd bit, probably because I think a better, faster goalkeeper takes that ball right off Lloyd’s boot. At least that’s what I was thinking until she completely turned Kopmeyer. Catley was never the same after the WC last year either. She missed all of the games after the WC for Portland with injury. She just may be one of those players not suited for a match ever 3 days for 2 weeks plus.

      • Ethan

        1) Kopmeyer was slow and maybe could have been more aggressive, but I was really just saying how similar Lloyd’s goal was to that Rodriguez goal against Switzerland.
        2) I really missed Catley in the last games for Orlando. I don’t know if Catley is a player who struggles with two games a week for an extended time. (Whenever I read passages like the one I quoted in my original comment, I wonder how many writers/posters on this site are aware of the number of glaring mistakes Alleway made in the first half of the season. It was as frustrating as what it’s like to watch Gary Cahill play these days.)

  • Lorehead

    And now we are able to evaluate our preseason predictions. I will be scoring by the residual sum of squares, so lower is better. For instance, I predicted that the Reign would come in second, and they came in fifth, so I was off by 3 places, so I dock myself 3² points, or 9. Getting the entire table right would be worth a pristine score of 0.

    For fun, I’ve included all the predictions from the comments, including my own, except for those who didn’t even leave a pseudonym. I wouldn’t read too much into them.

    God’s Predictions:
    1. Thorns
    2. Spirit
    3. Red Stars
    4. Flash
    5. Reign
    6. FCKC
    7. Sky Blue
    8. Dash
    9. Pride
    10. Breakers
    Error: 0

    And the predictions, worst to best:

    Mockmook’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Spirit (0)
    3. Breakers (+7)
    4. Dash (+4)
    5. Thorns (-4)
    6. FCKC (0)
    7. Red Stars (-4)
    8. Pride (+1)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Flash (-6)
    Error: 154

    FawcettFan14’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Spirit (0)
    3. Dash (+5)
    4. FCKC (+2)
    5. Flash (-1)
    6. Thorns (-5)
    7. Red Stars (-4)
    8. Pride (+1)
    9. Breakers (+1)
    10. Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 98

    SMT0414’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Thorns (-2)
    4. Dash (+4)
    5. Spirit (-3)
    6. Pride (+3)
    7. FCKC (-1)
    8. Breakers (+2)
    9. Flash (-5)
    10. Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 94

    Lorehead’s Predictions:
    1. Thorns (0)
    2. Reign (+3)
    3. Red Stars (0)
    4. Pride (+4)
    5. FCKC (+1)
    6. Flash (-2)
    7. Dash (+1)
    8. Sky Blue (-1)
    9. Spirit (-7)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 81

    Whitld’s Predictions
    1. Thorns (0)
    2. Reign (+3)
    3. Pride (+6)
    4. Red Stars (-1)
    5. Spirit (-3)
    6. Dash (+2)
    7. FCKC (-1)
    8. Flash (-4)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 80

    Nicole C.’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Spirit (-1)
    4. Dash (+4)
    5. Thorns (-4)
    6. Pride (+3)
    7. FCKC (-1)
    8. Flash (-4)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Boston (0)
    Error: 80

    Craigaroo’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Spirit (-1)
    4. Thorns (-3)
    5. Dash (+3)
    6. FCKC (0)
    7. Breakers (+3)
    8. Pride (+1)
    9. Flash (-5)
    10. Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 80

    MurderOnZidane’sFloor’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Spirit (-1)
    4. Thorns (-3)
    5. Dash (+3)
    6. FCKC (0)
    7. Pride (+2)
    8. Breakers (+2)
    9. Flash (-5)
    10, Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 78

    JJ’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Dash (+5)
    4. Thorns (-3)
    5. Spirit (-3)
    6. Flash (-2)
    7. Pride (+2)
    8. FCKC (-2)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 76

    Kieran Thievan’s Predictions (Staff Writer)
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Spirit (0)
    3. Red Stars (0)
    4. Dash (+3)
    5. Thorns (-4)
    6. FCKC (0)
    7. Pride (+2)
    8. Flash (-4)
    9. Breakers (+1)
    10. Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 71

    Jessica Knowles’ Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Spirit (-1)
    4. Dash (+3)
    5. Thorns (-4)
    6. FCKC (0)
    7. Pride (+2)
    8. Flash (-4)
    9, Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 67

    Smallchief’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Thorns (-2)
    4. Spirit (-2)
    5. FCKC (+1)
    6. Pride (+3)
    7. Dash (+1)
    8. Flash (-4)
    9. Breakers (+1)
    10.Sky Blue.(-3)
    Error: 62

    Miki’s Predictions:
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Red Stars (+1)
    3. Thorns (-2)
    4. FCKC (+2)
    5. Spirit (-3)
    6. Dash (+2)
    7. Flash (-3)
    8. Pride (+1)
    9. Breakers (+1)
    10. Sky Blue (-3)
    Error: 58

    Ray Curren’s Predictions (Staff Writer):
    1. Reign (+4)
    2. Thorns (-1)
    3. Red Stars (0)
    4. FCKC (+2)
    5. Dash (+3)
    6. Spirit (-4)
    7. Pride (+2)
    8. Flash (-2)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 58

    Dan Lauletta’s Predictions (Staff Writer):
    1. Spirit (+1)
    2. Reign (+3)
    3. Red Stars (0)
    4. Dash (+4)
    5. Thorns (-4)
    6. Flash (-2)
    7. FCKC (-1)
    8. Pride (+1)
    9. Sky Blue (-2)
    10. Breakers (0)
    Error: 52

    So, Dan Lauletta really does know more than any of us. Miki was the commenter who did the best. I would have looked pretty smart, getting three exactly right, except for my one big screw-up: predicting that the Spirit would finish ninth. I wrote that they have a “very thin roster,” that their best player would miss much of the season, and that the Thorns had poached their coach. “Last year, they were Cinderella, but this year, the numbers say 12 o’clock.” Whoops! I’ll also have to eat my words about the Flash.

    The most consistently overrated team was the Reign. Almost everyone picked them to finish first, and the rest to finish second. The most consistently underrated was the Flash: not a single person thought they would make the playoffs.

    • guest

      Why did you square everything instead of just using absolute value?

      • Lorehead

        I could have used absolute value and ranked myself at the top of the amateur division, with 19 points to Dan Lauletta’s 18. But I decided RSS was the better error estimate to use before I started, and I wasn’t going to change my methodology after the data came in just to make myself look better.

        • guest

          It just seems to me that the error calculated for getting a team 6 or 7 places wrong is disproportionately higher compared to the the lower ones due to the use of an exponent. In a hypothetical situation where someone got the table exactly right other than Boston and Portland’s positions(they had them switched in this scenario), their error would 162. I don’t know that I think the hypothetical score is really representative of the error overall and I the disproportion only gets bigger with the use of higher numbers(more teams). Just something to think about.

          • Lorehead

            It’s a reasonable suggestion. Like I said, I wouldn’t take the numbers too seriously. I might use sum of absolute residuals if I do this again.

        • guest

          Let’s use Mockmook’s predictions as an example and compare it with my hypothetical. Mockmook’s score using your method results in a total error of 154. They hypothetical comes out to 162. If we calculate error using absolute values the results tell us a completely different story. They hypothetical comes out to 18 and Mockmook’s come out to 32. 18 places off I think would actually be the best or close to it compared to the others using absolute values.

          • Lorehead

            All true. It basically comes down to: is making one howling error a lot worse than making a couple of small errors? Lauletta still wins, either way, but I did pretty well except for where I put the Spirit.

    • smallchief

      Interesting….The “experts” won the contest.

      I’m still puzzled at Seattle’s under-performance. I come up with no Cox, no Rapinoe for nearly all the season, and the formidable four — Winters, Yanez, Fishlock, and Little — all slowed down a step. .

      • Lorehead

        I think that means we have to drop the scare quotes now.

    • mockmook

      Hey, I got two 0’s !!!!

      That was as good or better than anyone else’s except, ugh, Lorehead 🙂

    • Ethan

      Your place doesn’t change, but you should have Pride (+5) and Error:90 in your predictions.

      • Lorehead

        You’re right. Corrected, and thank you.

    • mockmook

      Using “perfection” as the guide (most 0’s).

      Then most 1’s, then 2’s, etc.

      Worst to best:

      SMT0414’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Thorns (-2)
      4. Dash (+4)
      5. Spirit (-3)
      6. Pride (+3)
      7. FCKC (-1)
      8. Breakers (+2)
      9. Flash (-5)
      10. Sky Blue (-3)
      2 Ones

      Miki’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Thorns (-2)
      4. FCKC (+2)
      5. Spirit (-3)
      6. Dash (+2)
      7. Flash (-3)
      8. Pride (+1)
      9. Breakers (+1)
      10. Sky Blue (-3)
      3 Ones

      Smallchief’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Thorns (-2)
      4. Spirit (-2)
      5. FCKC (+1)
      6. Pride (+3)
      7. Dash (+1)
      8. Flash (-4)
      9. Breakers (+1)
      10.Sky Blue.(-3)
      4 Ones

      JJ’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Dash (+5)
      4. Thorns (-3)
      5. Spirit (-3)
      6. Flash (-2)
      7. Pride (+2)
      8. FCKC (-2)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Breakers (0)
      1 Zeroes, 1 Ones

      MurderOnZidane’sFloor’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Spirit (-1)
      4. Thorns (-3)
      5. Dash (+3)
      6. FCKC (0)
      7. Pride (+2)
      8. Breakers (+2)
      9. Flash (-5)
      10, Sky Blue (-3)
      1 Zeroes, 2 Ones

      Craigaroo’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Spirit (-1)
      4. Thorns (-3)
      5. Dash (+3)
      6. FCKC (0)
      7. Breakers (+3)
      8. Pride (+1)
      9. Flash (-5)
      10. Sky Blue (-3)
      1 Zeroes, 3 Ones, 0 Twos

      FawcettFan14’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Spirit (0)
      3. Dash (+5)
      4. FCKC (+2)
      5. Flash (-1)
      6. Thorns (-5)
      7. Red Stars (-4)
      8. Pride (+1)
      9. Breakers (+1)
      10. Sky Blue (-3)
      1 Zeroes, 3 Ones, 1 Twos, 1 Threes, 2 Fours

      Nicole C.’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Spirit (-1)
      4. Dash (+4)
      5. Thorns (-4)
      6. Pride (+3)
      7. FCKC (-1)
      8. Flash (-4)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Boston (0)
      1 Zeroes, 3 Ones, 1 Twos, 1 Threes, 4 Fours

      Mockmook’s Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Spirit (0)
      3. Breakers (+7)
      4. Dash (+4)
      5. Thorns (-4)
      6. FCKC (0)
      7. Red Stars (-4)
      8. Pride (+1)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Flash (-6)
      2 Zeroes, 1 Ones, 1 Twos

      Ray Curren’s Predictions (Staff Writer):
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Thorns (-1)
      3. Red Stars (0)
      4. FCKC (+2)
      5. Dash (+3)
      6. Spirit (-4)
      7. Pride (+2)
      8. Flash (-2)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Breakers (0)
      2 Zeroes, 1 Ones, 4 Twos

      Jessica Knowles’ Predictions:
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Red Stars (+1)
      3. Spirit (-1)
      4. Dash (+3)
      5. Thorns (-4)
      6. FCKC (0)
      7. Pride (+2)
      8. Flash (-4)
      9, Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Breakers (0)
      2 Zeroes, 2 Ones, 2 Twos, 1 Threes

      Whitld’s Predictions
      1. Thorns (0)
      2. Reign (+3)
      3. Pride (+6)
      4. Red Stars (-1)
      5. Spirit (-3)
      6. Dash (+2)
      7. FCKC (-1)
      8. Flash (-4)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Breakers (0)
      2 Zeroes, 2 Ones, 2 Twos, 2 Threes

      Dan Lauletta’s Predictions (Staff Writer):
      1. Spirit (+1)
      2. Reign (+3)
      3. Red Stars (0)
      4. Dash (+4)
      5. Thorns (-4)
      6. Flash (-2)
      7. FCKC (-1)
      8. Pride (+1)
      9. Sky Blue (-2)
      10. Breakers (0)
      2 Zeroes, 3 Ones

      Kieran Thievan’s Predictions (Staff Writer)
      1. Reign (+4)
      2. Spirit (0)
      3. Red Stars (0)
      4. Dash (+3)
      5. Thorns (-4)
      6. FCKC (0)
      7. Pride (+2)
      8. Flash (-4)
      9. Breakers (+1)
      10. Sky Blue (-3)
      3 Zeroes, 1 Ones

      Lorehead’s Predictions:
      1. Thorns (0)
      2. Reign (+3)
      3. Red Stars (0)
      4. Pride (+5)
      5. FCKC (+1)
      6. Flash (-2)
      7. Dash (+1)
      8. Sky Blue (-1)
      9. Spirit (-7)
      10. Breakers (0)
      3 Zeroes, 3 Ones

      • JL

        For what it’s worth, this was my preseason prediction:

        Seattle
        KC (don’t laugh)
        Houston
        WNY
        Orlando
        Chicago
        Portland
        Washington
        Boston
        SkyBlue

        Yeah…… I didn’t do so hot.

    • mockmook

      BTW, every person had the expansion clubs (Dash and Pride) rated higher than they finished.

    • HOFCToDi

      Moral of the story, mockmook is a moron.

      • Lorehead

        I asked people not to do that.

      • mockmook

        Let’s see.

        I had the guts to make a prediction and you didn’t — so you missed every pick.

        This is my shocked face…

    • mockmook

      OK, you posted the worst, now how about a prominent post extolling my mastery of the DOTY sooth-saying?

      I and MurderOnZidanesFloor (sorta) were the only one(s) to call Barnes for DOTY 2016.

      http://equalizersoccer.com/2016/04/15/equalizer-soccers-2016-nwsl-predictions/#comment-2626005302

      Help a brother out!!! 🙂

      • Lorehead

        Congratulations!

  • john

    Given Boston arguably needs improvement everywhere I’m not sure Buchanan is the best long term choice. Still not convinced she can eliminate the rough edges from her game. Also, isn’t Buchanan due to be considered subsidized (or whatever it’s called now) .

    • Steglitz49

      Boston has to decide which weakness is most critical to fix and rank them in order of importance — and then fix them.

  • Steglitz49

    Back to the drawing-board?

  • Forgedias

    Well lets look at the coming draft. The bottom teams will be focusing on that now. Someone posted this draft order, I don’t know if its correct or not, but its something to go on.

    1. Breakers
    2. Flash
    3. Reign
    4. Sky Blue
    5. FCKC
    6. Reign
    7. Flash
    8. Red Stars
    9. Spirit
    10. Sky Blue

    Its odd that Portland, Houston, Orlando do not have any draft picks in the first round but lets look at the potential players coming into the draft which I agree with a lot of pundits that this is looking like the best draft in history.

    Kadeisha Buchanan, Probably the presumptive number one pick, some would argue that Savannah Jordan should be number one but either or would be the top pick. They are both the best player in their position. Buchanan has won 3 years running best defensive player for the Big12 and will almost assuredly win it 4 years running. I don’t think there is any question since her team is top 10 defensively and offensively in the last few years now. Buchanan has played in World Cups and Olympics and has won best young player at the most recent World Cup. She is quite frankly a stud as a defender. She intimidates other forwards when they go up against her and she is very physical. There are some that say she is a liability back there because of that physicality, but is that really a liability when your a team like Boston that has allowed over 40 goals? Probably not, in fact she will most definitely reduce the number of goals allowed if Boston were to draft her. Its whether Boston wants to draft the best forward in the draft in Jordan which goes to this.

    Savannah Jordan. Averaging over 20 goals a season in college. And not just scoring against minnows, she scores against the better teams out there. Which proves she has pedigree to be a clutch performer at a senior level. The only caveat is that she hasn’t been given that opportunity yet. Jordan plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Florida sometimes playing in a 4-4-2. In either case she is the featured forward on her team and it really does show that she carries her team. The issue with Boston is they have needs everywhere. Scoring, midfield and defense. For Boston either path is probably a good choice since they should be getting a franchise player. It all depends if they want to reduce the amount of goals they give up or focus on scoring.

    The Flash are in a good position. They probably don’t need to draft a forward since they already have 2 forwards with 10 goals or more this season. If Buchanan drops to them, I’m pretty sure she will be picked up by WNY. Paired with Abby Dahlkemper and their back line would look scary good.

    The Reign have an interesting quandry. Its no surprise they could use more help from the outside back position but they could always use more midfield help I guess since 2 good midfielders would be up for drafting. Rose Lavelle and Morgan Andrews could potentially be picked up here. Lavelle doesn’t pick up a lot of points but she is exactly what the Reign like having on their roster. A midfielder with technical ability, the ability to use her vision to create and hold the ball. Morgan Andrews is a more attacking focused player. Depending on who is more valued then I could see either taken here. The Reign also have another draft pick at 6th spot. And here is the interesting pick. I think they need to take Ashley Lawrence. She to me was the best player at the Olympics. She destroyed Brazil in the Bronze medal match and can play either wing. She is left footed which makes her even more valuable and can shoot from either foot. Plus in the Olympics she was constantly dribbling at defenders. She did it against Brazil and in her game against Australia she and Catley faced off and she dribbled right at her. She is exactly the type of player that the Reign really need. She would fill a massive hole on the wing for them.

    Skyblue have a bunch of needs. Scoring, midfield and defensively. If either Rose Lavelle or Morgan Andrews falls to them, then they should draft either player. I don’t think there is any other better choice. The 4th pick would allow them to draft anyone.

    Kansas City is drafting 5th. They only allowed 20 goals but only scored 19 goals. They will get Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux back from pregnancy so scoring shouldn’t be an issue especially with Shea Groom’s break out season. They probably should be going midfield or defense with their draft pick. If both Rose Lavelle and Morgan Andrews are gone by this point. Then maybe drafting defense would be better for them. They also tend to draft home town players so they could surprise us here.

    So already we can see the draft order can be very interesting. And we are not even talking about potential allocation of Buchanan or Lawrence that could happen. Canada might even wait until they get drafted and then allocate them to the teams that drafted them since they would preserve payroll for those teams.

    • mockmook

      Do we even know if Buchanan and Lawrence will come into the NWSL?

      Breakers should go with Jordan — I think good CBs are easier to find.

      The Reign need a top striker — but, maybe take Lavelle and put Little up top. Arielle Ship from Cal might work, or maybe Wilkinson?

      SBFC badly needs a CAM — must take Lavelle if she is available. Maybe Dougherty Howard from Florida (and perhaps move Rocky up to CAM).

      FCKC needs a CAM too.

      • Forgedias

        There is that, who knows if Buchanan or Lawrence get a 6 figure offer from Europe, then they should take it.

        About finding good center backs, well there are a lot of good center backs out there but there are very few elite center backs that can intimidate other forwards that Buchanan does. She is very good at it. She can man mark against the fastest forwards. She has very good foot work for a back. She is fast and she is supremely athletic. She can out leap any player on the pitch. There just isn’t that many backs with her combination of abilities. So yes I think there will be some teams in Europe interested in her.

        We’ll have to find out if she declares for the NWSL draft, that is when we will know. As for Canadian allocation, Canada waited for Sabrina D’Angelo to be drafted before allocating her and that is what I am thinking will happen here. Its basically Canada wanting to find teams interested in their players and then rewarding them by taking them off their pay roll by allocating them.

        Reign rely on not their forwards to score but their midfield to do much of the work. They need the forward to play their system and that is hold up and allow the midfield to join in on the attack. They got that in Yanez. Could they get another forward, sure but I think they could always use more midfielders. Lavelle would be perfect for them which is why I think they will draft her and then at 6th draft Lawrence if she declares for the NWSL draft. They badly need an outside back who is left footed. And guess what Ashley Lawrence is, she is a left footed back that can play either left or right wing. And she is a possession back. She can dribble, use either foot and has blazing speed. I think a lot of people have her under rated, she is going to go in the first round. She is that good.

        I agree with you about Skyblue, They need scoring and defense help as well. So I have no clue who they will draft. Its totally up in the air with them.

        Kansas City does their own thing. First you need to look for is, is that player a local player, if she checks the box, then expect her to be drafted by KC. The reason why they do this is because they want to build their teams through the draft and going local really helps players wanting to stay with the team long term. Its a massive reason for their success. They don’t necessary draft the best player or their needed player. They really focus on local players and develop them for the long term. And why should they change? They have won 2 championships. They don’t need to change the formula. This year they had a lot of things go wrong for them. Both their top forwards went on pregnancy leave, their MVP midfielder Lauren Holiday retired. They lost their center back to retirement as well. Yet they held teams to 20 goals scored against them. Which is still amazing. I still think it will be either a midfielder or defender but I don’t know which since KC is so hard to predict.

        • Steglitz49

          Daphne Corboz plays for Man City. She has a place at Med School (Rutgers).

          Other Americans who went to Europe from college, are back in the NWSL such as Katie Stengel and Chioma Ubagugu.

          • Forgedias

            I hope someone can correct me if I am wrong here. I don’t think Daphne Corboz ever declared for the NWSL draft. There is a loop hole in the draft that if a player doesn’t declare for the draft, then no team has any rights to her so she can play one season overseas and then come back and sign with any team she desires. Players like Stengel used that loop hole.

          • guest

            Daphne Corboz was third round (22 overall) pick by Sky Blue in the 2015 NWSL draft. When a player is drafted by NWSL team the NWSL team retains NWSL rights to that player (if they made a valid contract offer) up to the start of the next season (i.e. March of year following the draft year season). Once the next season begins the previously drafted (but not signed) player may be signed thru NWSL Discovery process. Next season was 2016 for Corboz, so she could be claimed thru NWSL Discovery process anytime after March 2016.

            If a player did not declare for NWSL draft, they are prohibited from playing in NWSL for that season (i.e. don’t declare in 2015 then can not play in 2015 NWSL season) but can be claimed thru NWSL Discovery process starting after the end of that season (i.e. after end of 2015 season in Oct 2015).

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Clear.

            Daphne can play the same card as Ali Riley and Karen Bardsley before her, in that she can opt to play for a country other than the USA. tbh, Chioma could also do that but has not done so (yet).

        • #1Fan

          Buchanan has lots of plus qualities, but is very reckless. Uses speed t o out run poor positioning. I dont agree that she can mark the best forwards. Their movement and positioning has given her trouble. I will take positioning and game reading/ communication on a CB over pace any day. I am not convinced Lawrence is top class either. but not seen enough of her yet.

          • DNG

            I think it depends on how a team choses to defend as well. I don’t think you should play a high line with slow defenders. Even if they read the game very well they will still have trouble defending talented attackers 1v1 in space. Germany likes to hold a high line but their CB pair at the WC was simply too slow to stop Morgan who repeatedly blew past them.

            On another subject did you read about what Matt Beard said in an interview about the contrasts between youth football in England and the United States. Top English clubs are beginning to train girls at U-9, U-11, and U-13.

            https://twitter.com/JohnDHalloran/status/781497286773780480

          • #1Fan

            i did not, but makes sense. in England all these teams are attached to serious Mens Clubs. Most have TV $$ . If they choose to go big in WoSo they will be formidable. Unlike the USA where U9 is basically a rec sport, these kids will get top instruction and exposure to top pros and coaches. The US model is a College model. The UK model is a pro model. Only the better kids enter and the get real focused attention. in teh US , almost anyone can enter, but then it becomes about $$ and who “sees” you. Ability can be overlooked for a long time

          • mockmook

            Jeez Matt — you were surprised by an awful lot.

            Aren’t those things a coach should ask about and research before taking a job?

          • Forgedias

            Did you not see Ashley Lawrence at the Olympics? She was one of the best players in that tournament. She destroyed Brazil with her speed and help set up the first goal. At that level, she is legit when you play at the Olympics.

            Maybe its because she is Canadian. Fine she is Canadian but Lawrence and Buchanan are elite players.

            Now onto Buchanan. I don’t understand why people are calling her reckless and she isn’t possible to fix since she is only 20 years old. Hello, she is far better then most center backs in the NWSL right now. She dominates forwards that try to beat her and she is scary good on the defensive side.

            You might not like her, fine a lot of people don’t like her and don’t want to give her the credit that she has earned. The rest of the World know how good she is. Your opinion and the others that share it, are not shared by the teams that will be drafting her if she declares for the draft.

          • #1Fan

            I guess I’m not allowed to have an objective opinion. Like has zero to do with it. I am not impressed by intl play that much. Brazil are slow and old. Let’s see if Lawrence can dominate college soccer. On Buchanan you are a selective reader. I said she has plus points. Like Lawrence most of them are physical. She needs to learn to rely on that less and make better decisions to become top class. Like or not like is irrelevant

          • Forgedias

            You have a problem with 2 Canadian players who play for the full national team who play for one of the better sides in women’s college. Who both have picked up tons of accolades and you still disagree with the pundits out there?

            You may have an opinion but its very biased and not understandable. You don’t give enough good reasons to mark these players down. No I do get where your going about giving those small platitudes about Buchanan having some qualities. But you disagree that she is elite. She is elite, If you can’t see that, then you are being biased.

            And the issue with Lawrence, she was one of the best players at the Olympics. If you don’t regard international play as much of an influence, then what else? NWSL? They actually have to prove themselves there? You know Canada beat the full national teams of Australia, Germany and France with Buchanan and Lawrence on the pitch.

            I don’t know what else they have to do not to prove they are elite. As for Brazil being slow and old, wasn’t that the case for the United States? But they have elite players right? You see I don’t get why your hammering on those 2 players who made up the Canadian squad that sent 9 players 23 and under to the Olympics and came out with a Bronze medal who by the way included Buchanan and Lawrence. Give them the credit they deserve.

            This irrational hate for Canada is unbelievable. They actually build their squad the way I want the United States to do yet can’t because they have to always have a winning team on the pitch. Yet they don’t get any due for the amazing young team they have building. Take a good look at that team. That is what the USWNT should be doing for their future.

          • guest

            Buchanan certainly didn’t look elite during the Olympics. When faced with some adversity I thought she handled it terribly. She could have easily given up 2 more penalties than the one she did. She has lots of talent but being a great defender requires more. She needs to read the game well enough so that she is not forced to make risky last second tackles. She probably should have been sent off for her foul on Le Sommer in the match that sent France home for DOGSO.

          • Forgedias

            She was fine for the most part. The German game was the big let down for her and the France game she should of gotten the yellow but then again Le Sommer was diving all match long in the box. The ref wasn’t calling any penalties because of that so part of the blame rests on her.

            She had a rough Olympics but she still played against Australia when Canada was down to 10 men for 70 minutes, she played against Germany when her partner Shelina Zadorsky had to serve a red card suspension and a 21 year old college player Rebecca Quinn was her partner and Canada won that game. She played against France that dominated possession against Canada and even though she could of been carded in that game, still man marked players and kept them off the score sheet.

            She still had a dominant performance when you start removing all the excess theatrics that people are focusing on like her physical play and her yellow cards. She shuts down forwards, she intimidates them from making bad decisions and that is what you want an elite center back to do.

            All of you are focusing on those few mistakes, but she has had to deal with new partners for key games like Germany, had to play a man down against Australia when they lost Zadorsky and Quinn was subbed in that game as well. Yet she shut Australia down as well. And you can’t say Australia doesn’t have quality attacking talent. They are loaded with great forwards, yet they couldn’t breach the defense and get quality shots on goal. Their best shot was a post hit.

            Again, you guys are not giving her the credit that she deserves. She is elite and one of the best center backs in the World. And she is only 20.

          • guest

            What a bunch of BS. These were big matches that she made big mistakes in. The Le Sommer foul happened in the 10th minute. If you watch the entire play she got completely faked out by Le Sommer’s run. It was a clear foul to everyone but the officials apparently. It should have been a penalty and at least a yellow. That changes the circumstances of the entire match because of a Buchanan blunder.

          • #1Fan

            i asses players based on what I see. How you spin MANY PLUS QUALITIES into small platitudes. Or assessing 2 players into HATE FOR CANADA is beyond irrational. I am not from the USA nor do I support them. So please, whatever your feelings are, thats fine. But I’m entitled to mine. Where did I say the US have elite players? You are way off base on this one. Not your views on the players..those are yours to have, but on al the assumptions you have made.

          • #1Fan

            btw, not considering a player TOP TOP CLASS is not marking them down. Both are good, i don’t consider either elite. Deal with it.

          • Steglitz49

            When Canada beat Germany, Buchannan was not on the pitch. Buchanan played in the SF, where she caused the penalty from which Germany took their 1-0 lead.

          • Steglitz49

            I can’t remember Canada playing Brazil at the Olympics? You must mean another team like Australia or Germany.

            I agree that Ashley Lawrence is the real McCoy.

        • JL

          Canada didn’t allocate D’Angelo until this season. She wasn’t even in the mix until LeBlanc retired and McLeod told the coaching staff to call her in.

        • mockmook

          Players may declare for the draft just to keep all their options open.

        • Steglitz49

          The problem for Buchanan in selling herself to the wealthy teams is that she did not play in the group match when Canada beat Germany while in the SF, she conceded the penalty from off which Germany took the lead 1-0.

          Buchanan has played enough international matches by now that she ought to have learnt to rein in her recklessness. That recklessness sits ill with a big contract.

      • Steglitz49

        Kim Little and the other Scotch lass will be in Euro-17 next year, as will many other players from countries that qualified.

      • #1Fan

        not convinced Lawrence is top class.

        • Steglitz49

          Started all or nearly all the matches for Canada in Rio, I believe.

          • #1Fan

            and that means? Top class is not a term I bandy about and award to any Intl starter on any team.

          • Steglitz49

            There are precious few top class WoSo players. That is why WoSo trails BroSo so much in the popularity stakes and viewing figures.

            Some teams and players catch the imagination of the common people, like the Nadeshiko did in 2011 and Marta has since 2003.

            When WoSo gets a player like Zlatan then we know WoSo has arrived. It was a relief for the NWSL that the great man prefered Man Utd over the MLS.

          • #1Fan

            i agree on the top class part

    • HOFCToDi

      The Houston Dash are screwed.

      nwslsoccer.com/history/2017-nwsl-college-draft-order

      Without a first round draft pick, second round draft pick, third round draft pick; the Houston Dash will essentially return the same roster. As for non-allocated internationals on the Houston Dash roster:

      Brush – AUS
      Williams – AUS
      Andressa – BRA
      Poliana – BRA
      Daly – ENG
      O’Sullivan – IRL

      • Steglitz49

        Interesting. Maybe worth their while to go back to the Japanese and continentla European wells? Their first Irish experiment was good for PR but they soon let her go after they had milked the PR angle dry.

  • Ethan

    Fun fact: After Lloyd’s and Press’ penalties after the Olympics, Orlando was the only NWSL team not awarded a penalty during the season.

  • HOFCToDi

    Below is the list of current picks for the 2017 NWSL College Draft

    nwslsoccer.com/history/2017-nwsl-college-draft-order

    • another guest

      None of the links in “HOFCToDi” post appear to show current (as of end of 2016 NWSL season) 2017 draft order

      My understanding of 2017 draft order

      NWSL 2017 draft First round:
      1. Breakers
      2. Flash (from Orlando)
      3. Reign (from Houston)
      4. Sky Blue
      5. FCKC
      6. Reign
      7. Flash
      8. Red Stars
      9. Spirit
      10. Sky Blue (from Portland)

      NWSL 2017 draft Second round:
      11. Breakers
      12. Breakers
      13. FCKC
      14. Thorns
      15. Breakers
      16. Breakers
      17. FCKC
      18. Flash
      19. Spirit
      20. Thorns

      NWSL 2017 draft Third round:
      21. Breakers
      22. Pride
      23. Sky Blue
      24. Sky Blue
      25. FCKC
      26. Reign
      27. Thorns
      28. Breakers
      29. Spirit
      30. Sky Blue

      NWSL 2017 draft Fourth round:
      31. Breakers
      32. Pride
      33. Dash
      34. Sky Blue
      35. FCKC
      36. Reign
      37. FCKC
      38. Breakers
      39. Red Stars
      40. Thorns

      • mockmook

        THANKS!!!

        (assuming this is accurate)

        Did you compile this yourself?

        • another guest

          borrowed it : ) from posting over on big soccer forum

          still trying to crawl through trade info stuff to verify accuracy

  • dw

    I waiting for someone to come forth and say “you know what, the hell with the NWSL stars”. Someone like a Keelin Winters, who is probably retiring partly or mostly due to the wage issues.

    She has to put up with Pinoe and Hope, playing half the games, constantly making spectacles of themselves, making 10x, 20x or more than non-allocated players and complaining about it….

    Someone will eventually break the code of silence. I also have hopes for a USWNT player to do the same. Stories of Abby always drunk and/or high, all the stuff that they probably covered up about Hope or others. (Like Hope’s mouth ever shuts, or her drama level is ever down from “11”, would lead me to believe that there are countless episodes that don’t make it to the light of day). I had hopes that Lauren Holiday would be the one, but my hopes for her are now exclusively that she gets to be a healthy mom for a healthy child.

    Note that the is a number of books being “written” by NWSL stars. I suspect that they suspect that there is a reasonable chance of not playing again after these next couple games, so look for Pinoe and Morgan’s books at a website near you before Christmas. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but there is a chance, and if it were me exerting control of allocations and call ups, it would happen.

    If the labor deal does not go the WNT’s way, I would expect VPS to go, and all of the complainants’ phones to go silent, as well as Press’. Either Heath or JJ would be Captain going forward, who could have ever imagined…

    • Steglitz49

      Alex Morgan has already written books. I don’t know if they have sold very well. I guess like Kristi Yamaguchi, she will plot a path forward with her hubby. It is not as if she is wanting for cash.

      Whether ARod, HAO or Lauren Holiday will write books, I have not the foggiest. Probably not.

      WoSo has bigger issues than book deals, as illustrated by the Chelsea Ladies vs Shewolves match in London.