Lyon remain dogged in pursuit of Alex Morgan

Kieran Theivam November 10, 2016 119
Alex Morgan remains a target of Lyon. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Alex Morgan remains a target of Lyon. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas sparked rumors of a United States national team player heading to France next season once again Wednesday night after declaring on French television: “I can assure you that there will be an American in Lyon next season.”

The outspoken Frenchman, who has openly touted Alex Morgan on his Twitter account at various times this year, is known to be a fan of players representing the U.S, both for their ability on the pitch, and the added interest they would generate for his team.

Megan Rapinoe had two spells with the club in 2013 and 2014, winning a league title and playing in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final. Goalkeeper Hope Solo, whose future remains unknown currently, also had a short spell with the French champions in 2005.

Now, the Lyon President has sparked rumors once again that a U.S star will be heading to France next year, after appearing on French TV channel Canal Plus Sport during his side’s 8-0 Champions League win over FC Zurich.

According to French newspaper L’equipe, when asked about Alex Morgan, Aulas responded: “She’s an exceptional player. It was very difficult to bring her before, because the relationship with the U.S team was complicated, but things are changing. We try.”

He also hinted that “one or two compatriots could be heading to France,” before concluding: “I can assure you that there will be an American in Lyon next season.

“The absence of international competition in the summer of 2018 should, in fact, make things easier.”

Aulas has previously stated that U.S. players would soon join Lyon. Morgan told ESPN’s Julie Foudy that there was nothing to the rumors.

EQZ founder Jeff Kassouf first pointed out the disturbing trend of Aulas’ disturbing trend of tweets:

  • Steglitz49

    “The outspoken Frenchman” is an unecessarily derogatory way to describe a gentleman who has had a big influence for the good of all WoSo.

    Jean-Michel Aulas put money into Lyon’s ladies side. A big step was acquiring Lotta Schelin from Göteborg in 2008 for a large transfer fee and paying her top Euros. Lyon has spent money wisely and come to dominate French WoSo and be one of the big WoSo clubs on the international scene. In spite of a cramped timeable, Lyon travelled to Japan for the inaugural International Ladies’ Club Championship, which Lyon won.

    Jean-Michel Aulas has also been active in the corridors of UEFA to raise the position of the ladies game.

    • Ethan

      “Outspoken” is not a derogatory term.

      • Steglitz49

        You know what I mean so don’t be pathetic.

  • kernel_thai

    Rumors in France r that this is close to a done deal.

    • Steglitz49

      Based on the Bomb in Brasilia, it ought to be Crystal Dunn though Alex did score the 1-1 equalizer which must be counted her for merit.

      • wolf

        I expect that that is who it will be.

        • Steglitz49

          Whom would you sink your fangs into, Wolf?

          • wolf

            If I am unable to acquire the services of Ms Morgan, then I would look next at Ms Dunn or Ms Press. Crystal is unattached so would probably be the easiest to sign.

          • Steglitz49

            He wants a star.

            Technically, if you are Mrs Carrasco can you still be Ms Morgan? She has kept her stage name “Alex Morgan” for sure.

    • guest

      i thought alex morgan left portland for orlando so she could be with her husband? orlando gave up quite a bit for a one year rental.

  • FawcettFan14

    Will U.S. Soccer punish players who go abroad? I remember a few years ago the message was “Want to play on the national team? Come home. Play in NWSL.” But maybe not. If anything, there might be a financial incentive for a few players to leave. If a USWNT star gets signed by a foreign team, that team will pick up her salary. It allows USSF to pick up the tab for a new player in the pool. Still, for marketing purposes they can’t be happy about losing marquee players.

    • Steglitz49

      Tobin went to PSG and Pinoe to Lyon in the inaugural year of the NWSL. Neither suffered and Tobin learnt to take monster freekicks.

      • newsouth

        those two are secondary stars. obviously, they are going after a primary name. aulas is a clown. he could spend that money on developing french girls instead of hiring another one-dimensional well fed american player.

        • DNG

          Pinoe is not a secondary star. She’s as much a star as any other WoSo player not named Morgan. Neither Heath or Rapinoe are one dimentional players. I agree that OL should be developing more french nationals instead of always trying to import more players

          • Calci0

            I agree, Rapinoe, is far from a secondary star. Facial recognition alone, she is one of the more well known players.

          • newsouth

            ok, that’s my bad. she served one ball to wambach and became a legend while riding the bench in france. she’s such a star i forgot she even played soccer this season.

          • mockmook

            Yet, you want the “gassed” Morgan.

          • CED

            She’s on the downside of her career.

          • DNG

            I agree Rapinoe’s time on the NT is likely close to over if the writing isn’t on the wall already. I just wanted to point out that she has been one of the games stars for a while and, when fit, far from a one dimensional player. OL should not pursue Rapinoe. I don’t really think they should pursue Morgan from a soccer perspective. Hegerberg is already a more well rounded forward.

          • Som Termanni

            > OL should be developing more French nationals

            To Aulas, signing stars like Alex Morgan is how he develops more French nationals, by selling the club’s image to kids and prominent youth players and getting them into OL’s club structure.

            He’s been open and frank about Morgan being part of his marketing plan for the club; he knows they don’t need Morgan, and he knows he can develop talent, but he needs to raise the profile of the women’s game (and specifically OL) in France. French nationals don’t do that—American superstars with global name recognition and fans can do that. It’s all about demonstrating that OL is, by his own measure at least, the best supported club where all the good players in the world want to play.

            Morgan could show up and play 5 minutes a game and do nothing else and he’d probably be perfectly happy and pay Morgan at least equal to her USSF salary and bonuses just for the right to spam “Alex Morgan plays at the best club in the best stadium in Europe” at everyone on Twitter, instead of spamming “Come play at the best club in the best stadium in Europe” at Alex Morgan.

          • newsouth

            are we talking a fully gassed running downhill morgain in 2011-12 or the current vapor version running uphill in 2016? spend wisely on american stars. i’d go for pugh instead.

          • DNG

            Point taken. I don’t know enough about the women’s soccer culture in France to really offer an informed opinion on whether having her play for OL would generate more interest. I suppose it’s worth a shot if OL can get her in any case. If Morgan can help generate sustained interest in OL Feminin the investment will be with it.

          • Paul Klee

            Do you think Alex Morgan has the same fan demographic (crazy high percentage of young girls) in Europe or maybe draw more young adult football fans who previously have ignored the Women’s game?

        • Steglitz49

          It depends how you define a primary star. The game has only a couple of mega-stars to wit Marta and Alex. After the U20 WC and Euro-17, we may want to add a couple.

          As for Jean-Michel Aulas, as I wrote elsewhere, he has done a lot for and continues to contribute to WoSo. Lyon has had a good run and even bothered to play in the International Women’s Club Championship.

      • guest

        and megan rapinoe learned how to sit on the bench.

        • Steglitz49

          She played in the Champion League final.

    • Rdalford

      The existing CBA/MOU has financial terms that provided financial incentive (NWSL pay and full amount of annual salary for tier 1 or tier 2 USWNT players) for 2 year commitment to play in NWSL for USWNT players on contract. However the CBA/MOU also had financial terms (no NWSL pay and potential reduction in base tier pay – up to 25% reduction if foreign team refused to release player for all USWNT call-ups) that allowed playing for foreign team. MOU also had options for how the 2 yr NWSL commitment could be met. Net results, financial incentives worked to bring on contract uswnt players back.

      Players who were signed to full USWNT contracts (Engen, Press, Horan etc) before they made decision to return were financially rewarded (NWSL pay plus full USWNT base contract tier salary). However, for the players who where not yet on USWNT contract (Brooks etc) and who choose to come back and play in NWSL in hopes of getting call-ups and earning USWNT contract, the decision to come back without first getting USWNT contract has mostly not (yet?) worked out.

      Not clear (yet) what terms/financial incentives might be in new CBA related to play in NWSL vs play for foreign team.
      The existing CBA/MOU expires at end of 2016, and even if players and USSF agree to extend financial terms of MOU into 2017 while negotiating new CBA most USWNT players have fulfilled the 2 year NWSL commitment in the existing CBA/MOU so even an MOU extension would/could still have new/different financial terms and incentives that impact players decisions re playing in NWSL and/or playing for foreign team.

      Given the speculation and rumors about multiple USWNT players and the unknowns re USWNT new CBA financial terms/incentives – does seem likely that at least some USWNT players might be testing the market for offers from foreign teams.

      • Steglitz49

        I suspect offers to USWNT can be expected to be adjusted downwards in the light of the Bomb in Brasilia.

        As I typed before, college seniors might be a better buy.

        • CED

          Again you show you have no clue. By that stupid logic since France didn’t win Euros teams wanted and paid less for Pogba..Oh wait they didn’t!

          • Steglitz49

            BroSo is not WoSo.

          • CED

            You’re typical and expected stupid logic was shown again

    • guest

      does the foreign club reimburse the ussf for the uswnt salary? that would seem doubtful. if not, i don’t see why the ussf would pay players to play in a leauge other than the one the ussf invested in.

      • guest

        would make more sense for the ussf to switch to a pay to play model if uswnt players will be allowed to play in foreign leagues whenever they want instead of keeping the uswnt players salaried. that would make more sense for alot of reasons.

  • Silver Frost

    Any guesses? I’d say Kling.

    • Steglitz49

      As in Kajsa Kling?

  • atalba

    I don’t see how a league with one team that wins 9-0 regularly is good for the individual player. Particularly not losing. Sure, they can lose on a bad day, but they need to lose on a good day. Competition. PSG is not enough to balance this out. Seems like this is FRAWNT’s problem to a tee – competition.

    • Steglitz49

      PSG has had the money but their coach was comme ci comme ca. Montpellier, Juvisy and St Etienne are trying. Other male clubs can spend if they like. They don’t.

  • truf

    it will be Dunn.

  • atalba

    Alex Morgan

  • mockmook
    • mockmook

      Absolutely LOVE this 3-4-3 line-up/formation

      • Som Termanni

        Would have loved to see Menges get a shot at CB. Despite the scoreline, Long is not cutting it tonight. The post saved a header from someone Long declined to mark, and we’re barely 15′ in.

        • Ethan

          Well, I imagine that goal makes you feel sick.

          • Som Termanni

            It does, but I’m sure the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Century also knew exactly what she was doing, and it was everyone else’s fault.

          • mockmook

            Relax. Long is still figuring things out at CB

          • Steglitz49

            Why waste time on that? Why not simply try some CBs? Asinine.

          • SpiritFan80

            Can you imagine France’s speed against this 3-back? Long will get humiliated. I think she’s a good player but the CB experiment can be done now. Esp when there are actual defenders that can be better. Harris made a bonehead mistake, I will admit that. Foudy said on the broadcast “She didn’t trust her defenders, that’s why she came out for the ball. ” I don’t blame her for not trusting the defense, esp Long, as she has made quite a few mistakes. Understandable when playing a new position. I’m all for trying new things and now is the time for that. When it doesn’t work why keep forcing it?

          • Steglitz49

            France?
            Or, were you ironic? What has France achieved? 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. RIP.

          • SpiritFan80

            I guess I was a little vague there. I was specifically talking about a few of the French team’s forwards. France has underachieved at major tournaments but they have some great players. They have given the US problems against the traditional 4 def line. Put them up against this 3 back in the She Believes Cup and I think Long as CB would be a disaster. I hope that the 3 back experiment is just getting the team used to it now when they play against a team that wants to bunker and won’t be employed in many matches.

          • Steglitz49

            My position is clear and does not change. With so many young ladies playing soccer in the US, its WNT should not be converting superannuated neverweres. They should pick from real CBs, of whom there are a fair sprinkling.

          • DNG

            I was critical of D’Angelo’s mistake in the NWSL final. This was so much worse. I don’t know what Harris was thinking but she was’t even close. I’m not excusing the defensive error but this was very poor keeping and a gift.

          • Steglitz49

            The US could always give Madalyn Schifflin, that goalie, who played last season for Avaldsnes, a chance. Maybe there is a college junior or sophomore who can do the needful?

      • Som Termanni

        Sauerbrunn is carrying this defense, and it’s ugly. US could have easily given up 3 goals by now.

        • sudeep das

          They should have scored at least a couple more excluding that missed penalty. As long as they are outscoring comfortably a few goals conceded won’t matter – therein lies the beauty of this game.

          • Steglitz49

            That is also the problem. Against Sweden they got lucky through an ignorant and incompetent ref crew but it was not enough in the end.

            The mind boggles at what might have happened had they faced Germany or Canada in Brazil, let alone Brazil themselves?

          • sudeep das

            Against Germany and Brazil the USWNT would always have a chance as both these teams play a very open attacking game. Canada will be more defensive comparatively.
            However Sweden seem to have cracked the US offensive code. They have remained undefeated in their last four games under Pia winning two out of those matches (including Rio tie breaker)!!! In fact they have played the best defensively against US compared to any other team conceding only two goals in this period. I was a bit surprised at their more open play against the Germans in Rio gold medal match.

          • Steglitz49

            The final was decided on an own goal.

            The odd bit about the final was that Blackstenius did not start.

      • rkmid71

        A big difference for me with this group is much faster speed of play and immediate pressure on the ball when they lose it. It’s too fast for Romania.Also noticed lot of interchanging positions amongst players.

        • Steglitz49

          Romania did not qualify for Euro-17. It was Amanda DaCosta’s Portugal who pipped them to the last berth.

          • rkmid71

            Yes Romania. Nevertheless, this is what I want to see. I would take that starting lineup against any team. She should keep looking at players though. They’ll have plenty more games to work out the kinks, especially defensively. And reduce the sloppiness, improve the organization to protect more against counters. They were relentless for 90 minutes and even composed when Romania had many players in the box. Lots of movement, interchanging. If this is the new direction and mode of operation, I’m on board. Those players played with a sense of purpose and it looked like they were having fun while working their rear off. Mistakes didn’t bother them. Over time, there will be fewer mistakes.

        • atalba

          Add: technical ability to control the ball.

      • DNG

        You know I pushed for this formation but I actually wasn’t a huge fan of how Ellis lined them up. With Sullivan being the only holder with Brian pushing up there was a lot of open space in the center of the park I think a good team with good forwards would easily exploit with quick counters up the gut. Romania was able to puncture the defense too easily a couple of times with some good long balls. I think they need to keep Brian back more in early possession phase to provide another passing outlet and to cover some of those spaces in central midfield. She can push up into the attack once the ball is with the forwards in the attacking third.

    • Som Termanni
      • Som Termanni

        Halftime USA/RUS:

        Shots: 11/2
        Shots on Goal: 8/1
        Saves: 0/3
        Corner Kicks: 4/0
        Fouls: 5/6
        Offside: 4/0

        Subs:
        Mewis IN, Ohai OUT; McDonald IN, Williams OUT; Morgan IN, Press OUT; Johnston IN, Sauerbrunn OUT; Horan IN, Brian OUT

        • Som Termanni

          ROU, even. Blame Putin.

        • Som Termanni

          61′: O’Hara IN, Sullivan OUT

          • Som Termanni

            This sub also ends the Allie Long experiment for the night. Long moves to mid. Backline is Johnston, Short, O’Hara.

          • Som Termanni

            Long immediately draws a foul in the box, gifting a PK to the USA, who gives it to Morgan, who kicks it into the keeper for a save.

          • Som Termanni
          • DNG

            This really isn’t a good penalty. I think the last three penalties from Morgan I’ve seen have been saved.

          • atalba

            Good speed, great bend, but not high, low or side netting. Easy save,

          • DNG

            The strike was solid but it was too central and at the easiest hight for the keeper to reach. I’d would have put Brian(she was off at this point I think) or Horan on the spot.

          • Steglitz49

            Unlike Miyama, Alex can neither diguise what she is doing nor sell a dummy, but then Miyama was the greatest penalty- and freekick-taker of them all.

          • Steglitz49

            Why does she take penalties?

          • rkmid71

            You have to take some penalties to get better at taking penalties. Practice is one thing. Games are another. Let her keep taking them. Press too. There are no important games for awhile. She and Press will get better. That’s why Lloyd should never have been taking all the penalties previously.

        • mockmook

          Press pulled for not scoring a double-hat-trick…

          • rkmid71

            Those players were pulled because JE liked what she saw. It was time to evaluate others.

          • mockmook

            C’mon, you can’t have taken my comment literally.

          • rkmid71

            No, but thought it couldn’t hurt to throw that comment out there as I did believe the players subbed had some of strongest games. Though Brunn I wasn’t sure about. That one square pass giveaway was a nightmare. Though she did well to recover and prevent a chance on goal if I recall correctly..

      • guest

        the uswnt fans were probably disappointed they didn’t get to see megan rapinoe’s national anthem performance.

    • Som Termanni
    • Som Termanni

      Reported attendance was 16,425. The last WNT friendly at Avaya, vs. Ireland in May ’15 (on a Sunday), drew a capacity attendance of 18,000.

      • guest

        us soccer marketing/ads etc have been focused on USMNT v Mex match to be played Friday – first round of 2018 WC qualification.
        not much of a marketing/ad push for the USWNT v ROM friendly

        • Steglitz49

          The number of Americans of irish descent probably outnumber those of Romanian by 10 to 1, if not 100 to 1.

  • Ethan

    Can we officially drop the idea that Ellis has to start Morgan for non-football reasons?

    Yay, Ohai!! Cool to see Press get a start.

  • guest

    good idea. try to buy another title. these two-team euro leagues never change.

  • Som Termanni

    Crystal Dunn confirmed to Julie Foudy at USA v ROU that she is looking overseas. https://twitter.com/HerPitch/status/796933952456060933

    • Steglitz49

      “apparently” — sounds a bit as reliable as an exit poll to me

  • Ando91881

    NWSL wants A. Morgan and C. Dunn to both go to Europe next season so Chicago can boost its own home game attendance with its own star goal scorer. That is the market that needs to grow its average to 3,500 per home game. Make her the draw. CRS will be one of the top teams next season. Up until now, A. Morgan or H. Solo visiting your stadium was the box office draw. But eventually the training wheels have to come off. You have to allow C. Press to be the box office draw at CRS home games.

    • Steglitz49

      Tobin might draw more and there is still Carli.

      • Ando91881

        And Donald Trump as well.

        • Steglitz49

          Condi Rice for the Supreme Court?

    • guest

      Foudy reported tonight that Alex Morgan said she was not going to Europe

      • Steglitz49

        Makes sense and not altogether surprising.

    • annie

      Why is this contingent on Morgan and Dunn going abroad, exactly? That makes no sense at all.

      • Guest

        this is equalizer. EVERYTHING comes back to Christen Press and conspiracies for and against Christen Press.

  • atalba

    Speed of play, speed, technical ability, pressure defense, strength on 50/50s. This is the American way. Add Andi Sullivan to the middle and you can then add accuracy of passing, high soccer IQ, and leadership. She looked fantastic. The entire squad played competitively to the end (even though it was a bit sloppy).

    Julie Johnston didn’t get the memo on connection rate, but she looked better back in the middle. Jess McDonald looked out of place. I hope she gets more time to settle in.

    Allie Long was out of position. I’d put that goal on her, but she looked good both halves. Casey Short is in a groove and doing a great job.

    • Steglitz49

      The good burghers, all 2958 of them, of Avaldsnes will be pleased that “their” Casey “is in a groove and doing a great job”. That will warm the cockels of their hearts as they go into winter in Westlandet.

    • rkmid71

      Nice summary. I would just add the team play was much improved. The way they worked together both attacking and defending. If they stay the course with this approach (which I hope they will), the sloppiness and organization will improve game by game. I wonder about non friendlies with only 3 subs, whether that high intensity can be sustained for 90 min. I suspect it would have to be moderated somewhat — that’s why we need to be able to possess to control tempo.

  • Steglitz49

    It does the USWNT credit that they play these weaker teams. I don’t know what the US gets out of it but the other team learns, which is good for all WoSo.

    It is one reason why I am against exclusive clubs like the SheBelievesCup. WoSo is the world’s game and it should be inclusive.

  • Ashley C

    Aulas tweeted Buchanan too. Hope he doesn’t bother her like he’s been doing with Morgan.

    • Steglitz49

      Buchanan is Canadian, not American.

      Given how much Jean-Michel Aulas has done for WoSo, Kadeisha could put up with the odd tweet or 22.