Theivam: Morgan showing why move to Lyon was right

Kieran Theivam April 1, 2017 160
Alex Morgan move to Lyon has turned out to be the right one. (photo courtesy Olympique Lyonnais)

Alex Morgan move to Lyon has turned out to be the right one. (photo courtesy Olympique Lyonnais)

“I’ve decided to take a huge risk and bet on myself.”

Those were the words of Alex Morgan five days before Christmas when it was announced she had signed for UEFA Women’s Champions League holders Olympique Lyonnais, and after a stop-start opening to her career in France, she has definitively found her feet.

This week the U.S international helped her side through to the semi-finals of the UEFA competition after a hard fought and tightly contested quarter-final with German giants, Wolfsburg. The two legs were played like a basketball match, end to end with quick transition, something we are probably more used to seeing in an NWSL match.

Morgan herself admitted that the game felt “very fast,” but revealed that this wasn’t a surprise based on what she has experienced in training during her short time in France.

“In training every day, the speed is very high and the tempo is very high. Playing with players like (Dszenifer) Marozsan and Camille Abily, those are players who want to be playing one-two touch, so it’s exciting and it’s kind of expanding my style of play personally.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot in my short time here, and I’m having a lot of fun with the players here.”

Those quotes essentially support why Morgan was keen to make this move to Lyon. Yes, the goals she’s scored have come against the likes of Rodez and Albi, amateur teams that won’t really test Morgan or her teammates. But the two legs against Wolfsburg alone, plus the physical challenge that awaits Morgan by Manchester City Women, who happen to have three of the back four that shut out the U.S. at the She Believes Cup, are exactly the challenges Morgan was seeking out.

{UWCL: Morgan, Lyon through to semis | Lloyd, Man City advance}

It’s not just in the attacking areas that Morgan is sure to be challenged and develop, but her time in Lyon is seeing her tasked with defensive duties too. Anyone who watched the games with Wolfsburg will have seen Morgan on the left-side of a front three, coming close on multiple occasions to grabbing her first Champions League goal. But they will also have seen her on the edge of her own penalty area, supporting left-back Amel Majri in defense.

Wolfsburg full-back and Germany international Anna Blässe was a constant menace to Lyon on the right-hand side in both games, getting forward at any opportunity to support her attacking players. But Blässe wasn’t always able to impact the attack as much as she may have liked because Morgan was there to hustle, tackle and attempt to break up play, and she didn’t do a bad job of it either.

She admitted post-match, that it was something she was willing to do for the good of the team.

“Yeah I’m not used to that and obviously, I want to save my energy for the attack, but obviously I want to do what’s called upon me,” she said.

“If I have to defend and track back on the outside back, then that’s what I need to do, and I had a player in Blässe that wanted to go forward every opportunity she could. I needed to track her, and she needed to track me. It’s a different position to me, but I am learning and I feel for me it’s taking advantage of those chances I have on goal because they might not come as often.”

Some might argue that Morgan’s role isn’t to defend and it’s taking away her attacking threat – far from it.

Morgan had chances in both legs to score playing wide left, and but for a few inches, an effort that struck the post in the first leg would have been a deserved goal. Her work rate has been without question and has won her plenty of plaudits, but now she has some time away from the club after being selected by Jill Ellis for the upcoming friendlies against Russia.

There is little doubt that Morgan’s stint in Europe, however long it might be, will benefit the national team, exposing her to a different style and different roles and responsibilities. Importantly, she’s also training daily with a large portion of the French Women’s National Team at Lyon – 11 players were called up to their most recent squad. That can only benefit and is essentially like being in a national camp daily.

The small bits of French she is picking up is helping her communicate with her teammates, she says, and now she can look forward to a some time back in the U.S, where there is sure to be some banter with Manchester City’s Carli Lloyd, who Morgan will face on the weekend of April 22/23 and April 29/30.

“Carli signed a little bit later than I did, so I didn’t even think it could be a possibility that I could be playing a U.S teammate in the Champions League. To go and play in Manchester will be great, because I haven’t been able to do that since London 2012.”

Looking at how Morgan has performed thus far, the ‘huge risk’ she took moving to Europe, seems to be paying off.

  • expert

    Alex Morgan is clutch, while Christen Press crumbles under pressure.

    • Guest

      Nyrick, reality and new south made me actively dislike Press. Sad because she seems nice enough

      • newsouth

        this is absurd. i can’t make you dislike anyone. baby horse, fc parlor tricks heath, dinky virginia with gifted hermann awards and even the brute wambach have their fanboys and detectors. i guess they are on your hit list b/c of me too.

        http://49.media.tumblr.com/2c0f79e1a00cdc8bb541771c36fbd675/tumblr_o1d0w6kc3f1v57eh8o4_250.gif

        • Anon

          Press must be so disappointed her gf isn’t playing against Russia

        • HOFCToDi

          Christen Press is a LOSER!

          Madeline DiRado is a WINNER!

          static1.businessinsider.com/image/57b32605ce38f239008b6fc0/maya-dirado-swimming.jpg

          • Steglitz49

            What have you against Simone Manuel?

      • Don B.

        Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one you hit is the one that yelps.

      • guest

        I don’t dislike her but they used to be extremely annoying. Rick used to post more than StegPerv. Glad that is over.

    • guest

      but morgan has below average technical skill

      • NYPrick

        Press is better educated and prettier

        • okay…

          lol. As someone who grew up in the bay area, Berkeley is every bit as tough as Stanford. Tougher, in many ways, with big classes, a large competitive foreign contingent, and less grade inflation. Alex has an economics degree. Press did communications. The name of the school doesn’t indicate much of anything imo and Alex was recruited by Stanford as well. Recruited athletes don’t need to be mensa types at Stanford anyway.

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan’s economics degree has been put to good use. Alex Morgan is laughing all the way to the bank at Olympique Lyonnais Féminin.

          • guest

            which is still legit chump change compared to what Nike and her sponsors pay her. Same goes for a few of these NT athletes. press might be one of them.

          • HOFCToDi

            Nationwide is on your side.

            nationwide.com/about-us/060315-alex-morgan.jsp

            More Alex Morgan, less Pay-a-ton Manning.

          • Steglitz49

            Old news. Almost 2 years past its sell-by date.

          • anon

            She just bought a house in Manhattan Beach so Press isn’t doing that badly despite the world conspiracy against her.

          • Steglitz49

            Nike can cover their bases by sponsoring Alex, Carli and Crystal plus a little something to ARod and Syd celebrating motherhood and covering the hispanic angle. The rest are of no significance.

        • Steglitz49

          Alex is married, though.

          • guest

            tbh press could probably get married next week if she wanted to. me thinks there are other factors at play. like tobin heath or something.

          • Steglitz49

            Last May, Kim Kulig married the former soccer player Melanie Soyah. Lisa Dahlkvist, slayer of Hope, is married to a female of the species and they have a baby together, likewise Hedvig Lindhal, goalkeeper of note on the Glorious 12th.

            No doubt Christen can, as you note, marry when she feels like. I guess she has not yet met anyone she considers worth tying the knot with.

          • kernel_thai

            Correction: Jill Ellis is both the Slayer of Hope and the Keeper of Hope’s Eternal Flame.

          • guesting123

            Both Press and Heath seem to march to the beat of their own drum… I wouldn’t be surprised if legal marriage wasn’t of great importance to them. It’s not like they need a partner’s money (both have their own money and have very wealthy families).

          • Steglitz49

            The obvious and simplest explanation is that neither Tobin nor Christen has met anyone that they want to tie a knot with.

            When they do it will probably be like the measles: worse the older you are.

  • guest

    yes it was a huge risk choosing to go to the best team in the world.

    • kernel_thai

      While I agree the title is meh the risk was going from big fish USNT/Orlando to whatever role they gave her in Lyon. A lot of players with Morgan’s star power wouldn’t have put themselves in that position. Sure the money was obscene on the woman’s side but u still have to able to curb ur ego and try and fit in. The thing to remember is Lloyd also talked to Lyon and didn’t go there. My guess on the is they weren’t willing to guarantee Lloyd 90 minutes at the #10.

      • guest

        did lyon change their formation in the wolfsburg games from a two front to a three front?

        • kernel_thai

          Lyon has been playing a 3back but went back to a 4back against Wolfsburg. This formation change caused a little shifting up top.

  • kernel_thai

    Morgan was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. If she went there and scored a bunch of goals everyone scoffs at how week D1 is top to bottom. If she doesn’t then everyone says she isn’t technical enough for European football. Im just happy she is having fun which she didn’t seem to be in either Portland or Orlando. I hope she stays for another year and gets as much out of it as she can. Maybe the bit of European tradecraft she picks up at Lyon prolongs her career as her speed declines.

    • DNG

      The top of D1 is pretty strong. I think it’s a good thing that Morgan went over to France and honestly I don’t really care about her goal totals. Will she come back a better all around player is really the only thing I care about. So far I’m not so sure but hopefully she proves me wrong.

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    • Katie Curtiss

      supposedly Alex’s contract with Lyon is for 6 years but with the stipulation that after Lyon’s season is finished each year that she would rejoin Orlando to finish out the NWSL season

      • Steglitz49

        Years? Months, surely?

      • kernel_thai

        The impression I got was Morgan signed a 6 month contract which they both sides agreed to revisit at the end of the season for the possibility of a full season in Lyon 2017-18. I doubt it goes beyond that because the current CBA restricts USWNT contract player from playing outside the country in a WC year. While the contract has expired I doubt Morgan would make a commitment that went against the spirit of that deal until a new CBA is signed and its restriction r known.

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  • HOFCToDi

    Want to have a long career in soccer? Play in goal or central defence

    espnfc.com/blog/tactics-and-analysis/67/post/3056495/soccer-age-curves-show-goalkeepers-and-central-defenders-peak-latest

    • Steglitz49

      Homare Sawa? Marta? Miyama?

  • Reality

    As a fan, I like Morgan, but as regards EQ articles, this is quite a puff piece. Is Kieran Theivam a publicity agent for her?

    • DNG

      Even if I don’t agree with the overall assessment on Morgan especially the way I think she’s be championed for what were essentially solid but not special performances, I don’t have a problem with Kieran’s article. In the service of the sport I’d rather him write positive pieces that try and bring positive attention to the sport rather than negative ones or even worse than either, no coverage and no articles.

      • Som Termanni

        Kieran writes like Morgan didn’t play as much, or more, defense than offense when she returned to Orlando last season after the OG. It’s what she does when she either can’t produce (Orlando) or isn’t required to do so (some WNT lineups, OL).

        • DNG

          Morgan always works hard in the defensive phase of the match, she just has a different role when she is leading the line vs playing on the flank. On the flank she needs to track the OB if they go where as she’s mostly pressuring defenders on the front line.

          • Som Termanni

            I don’t recall her playing flank at Orlando (maybe in a couple matches where maybe de Vanna was front, but otherwise not), but she was running back on defense when nobody could get the ball out of mid to her and opponents were running around the Pride backline with impunity.

            The only way she could get touches in that stretch with Orlando was by dispossessing opposing players. That’s not hyperbole; she led both teams in dispossessions vs. Sky Blue and had 0 shots. She was playing more defense than Orlando’s defenders but was also the primary scoring threat.

          • DNG

            She didn’t play the flank on Orlando and even if she helped track back I don’t think it was anywhere to the same extent that she had to do it when Wolfsburg had Lyon under pressure. 0 shots against SBFC for a starting CF is a problem. Orlando was not so bad that she should have been held to 0 shots unless they were playing a player down.

      • Reality

        Good sports journalism is not a dichotomy of positive v. negative, but rather a balance in terms of presenting the many facets of a story. This article had more the flavor of a fanzine. But in the partisan environment that now exists in so many aspects of our daily life, perhaps this type of writing has now become normative.

        • DNG

          Okay, then what facets of the story do you think were missed that should have been touched on. This article, to me at least, seemed more like a check in than a detailed recount of her entire experience in Lyon to this point. Again, I don’t really have an issue with the tone of the article.

          • Reality

            I would have preferred less editorializing by Theivam on how wonderful it all has been and more quotations from Morgan describing the challenges she has had to face in adapting to a new team, a different style of play and the French culture. This would have imo better described how she has dealt with the “huge risk” she has taken and made for a more professional article focused on her rather than the author’s opinion of her.

          • DNG

            Theivam does not live in Lyon and probably had a very limited amount of time to interview her. From the quotes that were in the article it sounds like the interview took place either immediately after the match in Lyon or close to it so the question were mostly centered around that match. Would a more detailed account of Morgan’s time in Lyon been ideal? Yes, but I think it’s likely that he just didn’t have enough time with her to ask her all of those question.

          • Reality

            My point is…less of him and more of her.

          • Bruce

            He has a talent for spinning a little bit of information into a lot of words. I was thinking the same this week when he converted the following 2 sentences from the NWSL press release into about 500 words in an article.

            “The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will also be available for live and on-demand streaming via the Lifetime iOS and Android apps and online at MyLifetime.com. In addition, international fans outside of the United States can watch live and on-demand streaming of the Game of the Week via NWSLsoccer.com.”

            http://www.womenssoccerzone.com/international-fans-will-see-nwsl-season/

          • Reality

            I suppose one could consider that a talent of sorts.

          • Reality

            P.S. He had enough material for a podcast over at the Women’s Soccer Zone…

            http://www.womenssoccerzone.com/podcast-womens-soccer-zone-episode-45/

          • DNG

            I’ll listen to it and get back to you but I assume the podcast is going to be a lot more of Theivam than Morgan.

          • Reality

            You could be right. 🙂

          • DNG

            Having listened to the interview. It was about 5 minutes long and most of it related to her play against Wolfsburg.

          • guest

            She’s done like 10 different interviews on the “risks” and “struggles” of going to Lyon. During the Wolfsburg game there was like a 5 minute interview with her just talking about it. She talked about what was demanded her on the field exclusively and not much off the field.

            This is the equalizer. Theivam said he caught up with her for like 4 minutes after the second leg WOB game in his podcast. He can’t have her detail every problem shes encountered in the last 3 months. This is the equalizer. Stop being so high matinence you’re not gonna find any hard hitting articles here.

          • Reality

            If you read my initial comment, it was concerned more about the tone of the article. DNG changed the subject to the topics covered. It is unfortunately prevalent in some journalism today to either take a storm and drang approach when you seek to diminish and a lollipops and rainbow narrative when you wish to support. This article falls into the latter category.

            Good interviewers ask well constructed questions designed to elicit meaningful responses and then get out of the way and let the subject do the talking. This article was mostly about the author’s opinion of Morgan which was almost entirely slanted toward how wonderful she is and how marvelous her experience has been. The fact that he uses a photo of Morgan as his Profile Picture in Twitter should tell you something. While EQ is not a front line sports blog, it has an important role to play in WOSO and has had many fine and balanced articles in the past which have done it credit. This was not one of them.

          • DNG

            I think the topics cover are closely tied with the overall tone of this article. People thought she played well against Wolfsburg(including the writer of the article) so it’s not surprising to me that the tone is mostly positive. There is just not going to be any definitive proof which everyone agrees on that Morgans move to Europe paid off since we all have different opinions on what that means. That’s why I don’t have an issue with the author interpreting what he thinks that means. When it comes to overall analysis of play I think the author needs give their opinion.

          • Reality

            “I think the topics cover are closely tied with the overall tone of this article.” Indeed they are…the title of the article is “Theivam: Morgan showing why move to Lyon was right.” The author spent his time doing exactly that with little mention of any difficulties in the challenges of transition or adjustment. As far as the matches with Wolfsburg, judging by his narrative, one would have to conclude that Morgan was the star of the games with little attempt to put her role in perspective in regard to her team mates or the opposition. Morgan did a better job in her comments then Theivan did in giving a balanced context. It’s clear he is a Morgan fan, but when doing his job as a reporter, he also needs to be able to provide some insight into the problems, pitfalls and challenges of his subject…not just lollipops and rainbows. While I always respect your comments and good judgement here at EQ, I think we just have a difference in perception in this case.

          • Steglitz49

            The EQ is an American forum. Which American apart from Alex Morgan was playing? Kadeisha Buchanan is Canadian.

    • Because…?

      If it was not, would Morgan interview with her again?

      • Reality

        One of the vocations I had over the years was hosting a interview show on radio. One can be respectful and fair yet still pose questions designed to explore issues more deeply. It’s a matter of individual style but also journalistic integrity. Most people had no problem at all with my style. The ones that wanted puff pieces from me didn’t get them. I only had one who refused a subsequent interview and that was fine with me.

        • Steglitz49

          What in-depth question do you want to ask Alex Morgan that has not been asked already?

  • Bruce
    • Calci0

      Odd, but understandable I guess. I wonder of this is how all the NCAA teams operate playing against NWSL teams, but it’s just not reported?!?

      • Bruce

        I’ve been to a few CRS preseason games where subs in/out have been used freely by college teams. In a preseason match, I’d expect an NWSL team to make 5-10 subs to get a good look at the full roster. Not sure what SBFC is doing here.

        • DNG

          I’m assuming that UNC is using subs as a way to rest players so they can keep up their high tempo game. NWSL sub rules most likely means that one a sub is subbed they can’t come back into the match.

          • Bruce

            That’s been my experience. Through 70-odd minutes, SBFC has made 8 subs, as one would expect.

            The most interesting thing about the game updates for me today is that Sky Blue are referring to themselves as NJ. maybe the club is considering a rebrand?

          • Steglitz49

            Why not? They are based in NJ and play in the stadium that belongs to Rutgers, the state university of NJ. They play on natural grass too.

    • Katie Curtiss

      UNC making open subs throughout the match isn’t anything new, regardless of any game they are playing. It a strategy that Anson Dorrance has always used when coaching his team. Anson uses the open subs as a way to keep all of his players fresh and ready for the attack

      • Steglitz49

        If the rules allow it he must exploit it just like Petter Northug never went into the lead and pulled because he knew he could rely on his blistering sprint even after 50 km. They would be fools not too.

      • Bruce

        Totally aware of this. Struck me as odd that SBFC would feel compelled to mention. Seems like I’ve created a tempest in the proverbial teapot.

    • john

      Dorrance pulls this at every preseason NWSL match. This what he and Gabarra got into it about last week. Regardless of what agreement the NWSL coach thinks is in place Dorrance tries to use his NCAA rules. It would seem UNC gets more exposure out of this than NWSL. I’m surprised the pro coaches don’t just freeze Dorrance out until he actually agrees to follow the agreement.

      • mockmook

        What was the agreement before the match?

        So you have link on Gabarra vs Anson?

  • Reality

    It is quite hilarious that even though this article was a gush about Morgan with no mention of Press, most of the comments have been made by the Press Haters. These handful of Press Haters who infest EQ are apparently fearful that if the Morgan Press pairing was implemented that Morgan would somehow be diminished. This insecurity leads them to their trollish behavior and juvenile slanders about Press.

    I have always maintained that the optimum forward combination for the NT would be Morgan and Press. It is absolutely incredible that this has never been given a real trial.

    Although there are a variety of reasons why Morgan went to Lyon among them being money and glory, I would hope that her primary motivation is to gain the experience and skills in Europe that Press has already obtained there which would make the two of them a even more deadly duo for the NT

    • Steglitz49

      Look upon it as a preemptive strike.

  • Bill

    One thing I have noticed about Morgan’s move is that if you read the recent comments from her French and German teammates; she is clearly respected as a player for the work she puts in and liked for being humble and gracious to teammates. That’s not easy for there is every reason to be jealous and or say nothing. And the first weeks were standoffish as per Morgan and player interviews. Those are notes that are earned.

    Adapting and contributing under pressure and in a very different kind of experience is a trait of winners.

    I doubt she can become a different player and learn that many new skills and she will likely be on the back nine of her career in 2019, but Morgan has helped build women’s soccer and the USA very well. For that any fan of soccer in America should be thankful.

    • Reality

      I agree that Morgan will not transform herself into a different player. But perhaps what she can accomplish is to compensate for her gradual loss of speed which has been a primary asset by learning new skills in ball handling, passing and field awareness which Ellis is presumably trying to implement with the NT. Morgan spent her formative years in soccer enmeshed in the American “muscle and wheels” style. She can extend her career by learning some new skills in this European exposure.

      • Bill

        Hope so. I think we spend a lot of time analyzing the weaknesses and motives of 17-30 year olds doing things we cant do in front of crowds and pressure that would have us paralyzed and sometimes with teammates and coaches we could not stand and did not make us look good or feel good.

        They do. We talk.

        Its fun to pick apart what could be better. But its often not analysis, its emoting. All these players have things they do well and things they improve and many many are not in positions or with players that set them up to show their best.

        At the end of the day, they, not us,move soccer forward. They represent our country in front of the world as boors or with grace.

        Sorry for the rant. Some times i read threads and cant figure out if many of the posters are for or against the game or the people playing

        • Reality

          No apologies necessary. I often wonder the same thing myself. To me soccer is a true team game where each player can have a critical role at any given moment. When they are all operating together in an organic synchrony, it is a joy to watch. We should appreciate their talent, skill and dedication particularly with the women who are comparatively under appreciated and compensated.

          • Steglitz49

            Like the Golden Generation in 2011 and the Swedes on the Glorious 12th.

            The harsh reality is that in any one generation there are only a few players that are truly memorable because of their footballing skills. Many of those are American, partly because America is so good at WoSo and partly because of the PR-machines and suits on Madison Ave.

        • Calci0

          Really well stated. I was just thinking about the overall negative vibe I *sometimes* get reading the comments here.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.

          • #1Fan

            I dont think any of us dont understand that. Its a forum. People are here to discuss and express views. Those views and opinions are often exaggerated or titled for emphasis or to get a reaction.

            I disagree about moving soccer forward. The fans move soccer forward. The money and attention they give the sport moves it forward. Without fans, the game is dead.

            We are all entitled to our opinions and views even if some are outlandish. Some is analysis. In fact Quite a lot of the comments on here are analysis from people who clearly know the game pretty well.

          • Bill

            With all due respect, I know of no popular American sport which did not have anchor stars to draw in “casual fans” who then may turn into major and knowledgeable fans. Parents are never enough to financially turn a sport into a major sport. Nor are super fans. Unlike other nations kids have many other sports they could play. It’s a risk country with a lot of kids who have no easy access to anything beyond a backboard and a diamond. And families who watch only the major sports of the country. I wish it were different but many many people are drawn to Americans doing well in the world. I don’t care how it happens, I am rooting for the sport in America. For right now absent a lot more good coaches at the lower levels, I think the u fortunate American star system is where we are. Who would you rather represent …and draw more into the sport? A soccer theorist, a super fan or a winning player? I wish someday it’s a wonderful team playing unselfish beautiful soccer. But until then why put down what we do have? Isolated examples of pretty good players surrounded by pretty mediocre leaders.
            Next, while I see you engaged in analysis with a few posters, a lot of others “analysis” seems based on the idea that someone else is better, some other formation is better and some other position is better.

          • #1Fan

            You opened with American sport. Maybe thats the issue. Soccer is a global sport and to date America has not been truly relevant. Whether we like it or not, the Mens game drives revenue.

            Star marketing may elevate the Womens game in the USA to a point, but there were no bigger starts than Hamm, Wambach, Marta et al and the game/league failed a few times.Even with the star system, its the fans that make the difference. Morgan is relevant because fans have made her so.

            To be honest I dont understand the rest of your post. Many other countries who play soccer have access to other sports. I dont get your point.

          • Bill

            Sorry for not being articulate enough. To me the key words are “access to major sports”.

            Here in America I define a major sport as having the following characteristics:

            1) In many densely populated regions (eg: American football in western PA and Ohio, in Texas, in the SEC country/ basketball in NYC and Chicago/ baseball in the Midwest and South) coaching and multiple club and school teams from very early age have coaches and often multiple coaches per team. And referees and Umpires. YMCA’s and municipal leagues make playing and learning easy. Playing fields are plentiful

            2)For “stars” , and cherished teams local newspaper and cable coverage starts in high school ( ever go to a football game in Texas on a Friday night? Ever notice who walks through the halls as the kings of a NYC public school?

            3) Access to emulate ( good and bad) professional stars and plays and teams via TV and endless sports TV is ubiquitous.

            4) Reminders of the economic benefits of being a star in a major sport in every media possible are everywhere.

            5) The Major sports in North America have decades of players and teams and lore to emulate

            6) The Major Sports in North America did produce great league commissioners at vital times in their growth ( Landis, Rozelle, Stern) and had great owners in the mix. and they produced legendary teachers and innovators ( Connie Mack, George Halas, Lombardi, Wooden, McGraw, Walsh, Krezewski, Knight, Belichek). Name a great American league commissioner or owner in American soccer?

            7) The major sports have examples of teams who played the game the right way ( Spurs, UCLA, Celtics, Bulls, Patriots, Bears, Indiana U, 27 Yankees, 98 Yankees, 61 Dodgers, 69 Mets, Reds in the 70’s, Green Bay in the 60’s, Pittsburgh in the 70’s)

            8) The draw to parents, grandparents, and kids of the major sports sucks attention from other sports.

            And when Boxing and Horse Racing were major American sports the same 8 factors were present.

            Are such phenomenon present in other nations around any sport but soccer?

            Next, oddly, that “attention” drain is not as present for girls and women in the USA. It would not be unnatural, that relative to the total population of sports interested girls, that soccer has a bigger slice than it would within the population of sports interested boys. So while there is truth in the idea that being an American major sport requires a men’s team and stars as a draw…there is also truth in the idea that female soccer in the USA may be more evolved if we can keep it going for another decade.

            Now, Babe Ruth.s real personna in the internet age would have made Carli Lloyds self absorbtion and focus on home runs look angelic and her chalk on the blackboard personality is a heroic backstory to girls compared to the womanizing contantly drunk irresponsibility of the Babe. Lets not even mention Ty Cobb who was an unbearable teammate and racist and often fought and put down his own teammates compared to the worst star turn of any recent American women’s soccer player.

            As people under pressure to perform and under constant scrutiny the women’s game has been lucky. There are no Ray Rice’s, or Rae Carruth’s, or Johnny Manziel’s, or Lamar Odoms, or Pete Roses, or, or, or, in the American Womens soccer sport so far. Nor cheaters, nor short cut takers.

            Thats why i think the slurs on their personalities or the magical attributions of personal lives that may not be there and are private anyway are very undeserved compared to the normal range of flawed sports personalities.

            Hope all that answers where I was coming from.

            Thanks for the good conversation

          • Bill

            #1 Fan.

            I replied to your post hours ago but somehow Equalizer decided to review it? I have no idea why. It was clean, non personal and respectful. Hope it comes through. Just know I engaged as respectfully as you did

          • ARED

            I think to be fair it is both: You need players to be committed, talented, and entertaining on some level, and you need fans who are willing to go out of their way in a world full of entertainment to appreciate and support that (with time and money) or it would be anchored to be a small sport.

            I respect athletes dedicated to any sport, but I do think the fans – or perhaps the connection to the fans -is what drives the sport forward at least in regard to status, sales, and sustainability. Many Olympic sports have brilliant athletes, but are stuck as a “once in four years” sport. The quality or heart of the athlete alone cannot always change this.

          • ARED

            For “analysis”, I agree in general and think we can always try to bring light to the positive and avoid too much negativity, but I think sometimes more negative (or I’d say critical) analysis is helpful or needed to hold those in powerful positions to a high standard, or to at least be a questioning observer instead of simply accepting the status quo –because to be blunt, in WoSo the status quo has often been pretty grim, especially for “off the field” subjects (FIFA, Federations, Managers, Referees, Stadiums, Facilities, Clinging to old “stars”, Fluff-press, etc).

            In almost any sport a move which looks so bad and brings such poor results as the US formation/personal changes would rightfully be questioned strongly. As would ridiculous moves like starting Wambach at the 2015 WC. It does not move the sport forward to ignore glaring errors which actually prevent progress in the sport. Again, Ellis (and Gulati) are in powerful positions, and to accept “we just came into camp” may be ok for a few days or weeks, or even months, or may be ok for a team like Mexico or even England, but I don’t think it does any favors to the USWNT or to WoSo in general to ignore such big concerns blindly and always pretend everything is great just b/c people have good intentions, or are trying hard. Sometimes the emperor is great and we should say so, and sometimes they have no clothes, and we should say that too. (And much of the time, it’s a mixed bag, and so we need long posts to address it all…lol). ; )

          • Bill

            Yes ARED. Pretty much exactly what I tried to say in a post that is somehow pending.

            Every major sport had some great coaches/managers/GM’s and Commissioners at critical junctures of their development.

            To me the analysis and impatience needs to be placed there.

          • HOFCToDi

            Jurgen Klinsmann was suppose to revolutionize soccer in the USA. After five years, Jurgen Klinsmann failed miserably as head coach and technical director of US Soccer.

          • John

            It’s going to take 20 years or more to revolutionise soccer in America. Klinsmann should never have been the technical director of US Soccer. What had he done to justify it?

            Gulati would have been better off hiring Rodolfo Borrell who has coached the youth academies at Barcelona, Liverpool and Man City as Technical Director.

          • Steglitz49

            The Retrospectoscope is a fine invention.

          • John

            Anyone who knows anything about soccer knew Klinsmann would crash and burn with the US. He is not responsible for the youth development in German soccer. He was not even the tactical mastermind behind their run to the semis in 2006. That was Jogi Loew.

            As a Liverpool fan, I breathed a sigh of relief that he did not get the job at Anfield. He was given the keys to the Bundesliga when he got the Bayern job and he messed that up.

          • DNG

            I think Liverpool did excellent getting Klopp. I do agree with you on Klinsmann in general with regards to setting up soccer development in the US but he really wasn’t that bad at identifying good players. The US just doesn’t have many great players and Klinnsman is a poor tactician who couldn’t really get anything right on match day.

          • Steglitz49

            I have made the point about Jogi Loew vs JK many a time on the EQ over the years. Thanks for reinforcing it.

            At the same time, picking JK seemed like a possible move at the time. He lives in the US and he is a (relatively) big name in world soccer. The experiment did not work out. Now try someone else.

          • ARED

            While I did not like the decision at all, it was a fine enough experiment to try -but only for 4 years! They resigned him before seeing how the 2014 WC went, which was a big mistake and very unusual in the world of football.

            The other thing is to only use JK as manager, or else as the technical director, not both. I agree with DNG’s point below that JK wasn’t so bad at finding some good players to add to the group, he just couldn’t manage them once he had them -and clung to a few while forsaking a few others, including Donovan which I believe was a massive mistake.

          • AlexH

            It may take 20 years to revolutionize soccer in America but that is completely different from saying that we cant have more successful national team programs right now. Our women are inches from the pinnacle and our men can raise their game to the point where advancing to the WC second round becomes a given rather than an aspiration.
            The first step is for the suits to get out of the players’s way by reducing the number of 5 year plans and other sundry schemes to “revolutionize soccer in America.”

          • ARED

            I agree, yet I see so few Americans who seem to have this viewpoint -partially b/c the media always sells the opposite idea I suppose.

            The USA was only one goal-line handball of beating Germany to make the WC semifinal in 2002. Then, 12 years later Jurgen Klinsmann tries to tell everyone how impressive it was that he took that team to the second round, barely, and by playing mostly an ultra-defensive style, all while leaving one of his top-2 players at home?

            Sorry, that is not the right mindset -and the sooner Americans start to realize they actually are already good enough to be proud of themselves and their own identity the better. There are still many poor US coaches/directors throughout the system so there are reasons to be doubtful at times. But I wouldn’t assume anyone with a foreign passport is automatically smarter or a better manager than any American -even if that’s the accepted belief.

          • HOFCToDi

            The status quo ceased to exist on the men’s side after five years of Jurgen Klinsmann.

          • ARED

            Exactly -finally, after a long time of critics of JK in the USA being told “shush, he’s European -we need him to teach us how to play this sport…” even though his results struggled and not too many Europeans would want him managing their team, we see the status quo has changed.

            I’m suggesting that in WoSo and the USWNT management could both use a few shakes ups as well, or at least acceptance of criticism…..

          • Steglitz49

            We do not yet know how JE’s experimenting will work out. That proof is WC-19.

            Sweden played badly in WC-15 and they played even worse in the group games of OG-16 but still managed the Olympic silver, losing on an own goal 1-2 in the final.

            Maybe the time Alex, Carli, Crystal and Savannah put in in Europe will stand them in good stead in 2019 even if both Alex and Carli may be playing 2nd half subs by then.

          • ARED

            Right, it’s possible she’ll have the team play modestly well and get lucky to win as in 2015, or play modestly well and lose as in 2016. Either way the USWNT will make a lot of money, be in the QFs of major tournaments, and remain popular to its loyal fans.

            But I’m suggesting that a change could lead to the team playing very well, and winning with a little less luck, and maybe winning over new fans at a faster rate due to more exciting, impressive, and entertaining soccer.

            And I believe I could make a convincing argument against every single starting 11 Jill Ellis has ever listed, so I’m not sure the quality or club performance of her players will have any more impact than it has in the past.

          • HOFCToDi

            “America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.”

            The star system is bunk. Press, Rodriguez, Wambach were all benched in favor of Morgan Brian in the semifinals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

          • Bill

            I did not say there was a star system. Dont believe in conspiracy theory.

            i said American sports become major sports when there are stars to market and great managers and great leaders at the top of the sport.

            I dont like it. id love to see a great sophisticated game played by 11 great players, But to get to that day I fear we have the game that reflects both our national psyche on one hand and the mediocrity at the top.

            Fortunately we have some very good players who are doing the best they can.

          • #1Fan

            Very well put and the third paragraph is spot on

          • HOFCToDi

            Soccer is a niche sport in the USA.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_leagues_by_revenue

            The sports cable television ratings for 24 March 2017:

            sportstvratings.com/wisconsin-florida-south-carolina-baylor-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-friday-march-24-2017/7836/

            24 March 2017
            USMNT, FS1 – 579,000 viewers

            The sports cable television ratings for 07 March 2017:

            sportstvratings.com/wwe-smackdown-st-marys-gonzaga-sportscenter-top-cable-sports-ish-tv-ratings-for-tuesday-march-7-2017/7711/

            07 March 2017
            USWNT, FS1 – 279,000 viewers

            The sports cable television ratings for 07 March 2017:

            sportstvratings.com/cavs-celtics-rockets-clippers-pardon-the-interruption-top-cable-sports-tv-ratings-for-wednesday-march-1-2017/7663/

            01 March 2017
            USWNT, FS1 – 310,000 viewers

          • Steglitz49

            More Americans probably watch the WC in Figure Skating than WoSo. It is probably so for the ROW too.

            More American girls probably know who Evgenia Medvedeva is than Alex Morgan or Carli Lloyd.

          • Lorehead

            You’re underestimating the audience by not adding together the English and Spanish broadcasts.

            According to your own links, the top two sporting events on TV were the NCAA basketball tournament. But the next two were the Mexican World Cup qualifier in Spanish and the US World Cup qualifier in English. Both miss the bilingual audience, though. The USMNT English and Spanish broadcasts together had 970K viewers, and the Mexican WCQ had 986K.

            Your links really show that big games for the US and Mexico are very popular and make a lot of money. Are they as big as the NFL? No, not even close. But two different matches both getting nearly a million viewers is pretty big.

          • HOFCToDi

            Your comment strictly reflects viewership on the men’s side. Now compare viewership between MLS and Liga MX.

          • Lorehead

            You’re moving goalposts. You started out saying, “Soccer is a niche sport in the USA,” not, “Other leagues are more popular in the US than its own domestic one.”

          • HOFCToDi

            Cry me a river.

          • Lorehead

            That response makes no sense.

          • HOFCToDi

            The hype machine was a full week of advertisements on FS1 for MLS Cup Final broadcast on Fox.

            TV Ratings Saturday

            tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-saturday-december-10-2016/

            The American public cares more about Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Reindeer than MLS Cup Final, the “Super Bowl of North American Soccer”.

          • HOFCToDi

            MLS fails to make positive impression on TV ratings

            worldsoccertalk.com/2016/05/26/mls-fails-make-positive-impression-tv-ratings-big-soccer-weekend/

          • Steglitz49

            His point overall is fair, though: for all their vaunted popularity, not a lot of people watch the USWNT on the little screen.

          • Steglitz49

            The Big 3 broadcasters do not like soccer because much less opportunity for adverts and no technical time-outs /time-outs on the floor.

            The drink-break in hot weather may be the start of a 4 quarters soccer to accommodate the US broadcasters. All FIFA needs to do is make that break part of the game.

            HOFCToDi is on the money. The USWNT just had its worst major tournaments ever. No medal in OG for the first time ever — 4 golds & 1 silver — and last in their precious SBC. At least the Algarve was out of sight out of mind. How can you build anything on this?

            More Americans probably watch the WC in Figure Skating than WoSo. It is probably so for the ROW too.

          • CED

            Please stop talking about stuff you know nothing about, which is usually everything. Sports on tv are not run by the “3 big broadcasters”(there are actual 4 not 3/, Sports programs is actually changed over decades to be dominated by cable tv, besides football(NFL). MLS, NBA, NHL, etc…are 95% on cable networks. NBA puts on 1 game a week of the 75+/week on ABC…a broadcast network. NHL puts 1 game week on NBC and they only do it the second 1/2 of the season, MLS is virtually never on broadcast tv and 1 EPL game a week is shown on NBC. It’s not b/c of advertisements, it’s b/c of ratings. What is an okay viewer number on a sports channel FS1, FS2, NBCSN, etc…is a whole different thing than broadcast tv. This works for all shows, such as prime time. What gets a tv show renewed on cable for prime time is often much less than any of the 4 major networks.

          • Steglitz49

            Oh, silly me. Had I not put in a “3” I would have been OK.

            The Big 4 sports — we can agree on 4, can’t we? — though I would say 3.3 sports because the NHL is rather recherché and survives on the box because of its wealthy white male BMW-driving audience — all have in common tons of ad breaks.

            Ads pay for US sport — in reality male sport apart from the odd female tennis player and figure skater. The bigger the audience, the more you can charge for the ads — like the Super Bowl and the FA Cup final.

            I have been to one baseball game: the Atlanta Braves. I have never been again. The ad-breaks made it worse than watching paint dry.

            Already for the 1994 WC, the US asked for it to be played in 4 quarters. FIFA refused. FIFA was right in standing firm. The FA profits as much as FIFA from this because of what can be charged for the FA Cup final (male). The women’s may well get there one of these days too.

            If HOFCToDi’s figures are correct, then WoSo is even more of a minority sport in broadcasting in the US than it is in Europe, hard as that may seem.

          • CED

            Please shut up you know nothing on the topic. You haven’t a clue on the demographics of hockey. The entire post is utter nonsense and ignorance y inferiority complex ridden Swede who knows nothing on any topic.

          • Steglitz49

            Borje Salming is king!
            Hakan Loob rules OK in Calgary.
            Persson and Kallur were the greatest.

          • Steglitz49

            Wrong. The men’s money is moving WoSo forward as witness NWSL expansion by MLS and the teams left in the ladies Champions League.

          • HOFCToDi

            If the USA was a bona fide soccer power, it would have taken care of business weeks ago.

            What was the fate of the Luiz Felipe Scolari after the embarrassment on home soil in the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup?

        • HOFCToDi

          If the USA was a bona fide soccer power, Jill Ellis would have been fired weeks ago. Sunil Gulati did not learn his lesson with Jurgen Klinsmann.

          The SBI Show: Episode 224

          sbisoccer.com/2015/07/episode-talking-more

          https://soundcloud.com/sbipodcast/the-sbi-show-episode-224

          • John

            Ellis should have been gone after the Olympics. That she has survived after two flop tournaments hints at influential friends (i.e. April Heinrichs) that are covering her back.

          • HOFCToDi

            April Heinrichs should have been fired for the U-17 USWNT and U-20 USWNT debacles in calendar year 2016.

          • John

            Absolutely. She’s proving to be a disaster as Technical Director. The whole lot need to go. And I throw Sunil in as well.

      • Steglitz49

        What would your advise be to Evgenia Medvedeva?

        What would you have told the 24 year old (sic) Magdalena Neuner when she announced that she was retiring because she could not motivate herself any longer? Lauren Holiday at least carried on till 27.

      • AlexH

        Morgan doesn’t need to transform herself. She is pretty damned awesome as she is. She needs to get her shooting touch back up to where it was before. Also, she and all of the other national team stars need to be in a position where they are having a quality of life that as independent from US soccer as possible so they can negotiate from a position of strength with the FED.

        • Steglitz49

          Hear hear!

        • Reality

          Not to worry..Morgan won’t transform herself. But I’d like to think that the reason she went to Lyon, besides money and glory, was to pick up some extra skills to make her more competitive in the future. She has implied as much herself.

          As regards “quality of life” issues for the NT players, it is a bit late for them to negotiate from a position of strength for this CBA. They depend upon their status as NT players to maintain this “quality of life”. Any benefits they obtain outside of their NT status is dependent upon same. So there is no independence for them outside of the NT to maintain this “quality of life” unless they accumulate sufficient years on the team to build up a nest egg and some degree of fame. However, this is the very reason why there is so little opportunity to attain the NT unless the contracted players retire for some reason. So the current CBA negotiations represent a conflict between the self interests of both parties versus the long term health of WOSO in the U.S.

          • Steglitz49

            One suspects that the USSF holds more and higher trump than the Players. Time is on USSF’s side too, probably.

          • AlexH

            You are right about the lack of independence from the USSF for the current CBA, but every little added revenue stream away from the federation helps.

          • Steglitz49

            It seems to me that you are looking through a glass darkly. In 2013, when the NWSL was set up, players like Alex, Carli, HAO, Abby and Lauren and others put their shoulders to the wheel and knuckled under, while a couple of their colleagues swanned off to Lyon and PSG.

            Today, the crème de la crème of the USWNT are playing for the wealthy clubs in Europe or have called it a day. They have earned that right, don’t owe the NWSL anything and have their independent revenue stream.

            The also-rans spent the winter break either playing in Australia or at home by the hearth knitting socks or worse.

    • Steglitz49

      Hear hear!

  • guest

    Morgan is allegedly staying in Lyon and possibly not coming back to Orlando. Maybe problems with her husband or something? Very odd rumor but these things strangely end up being true (like the Marta to NWSL rumor).

    • guest123

      I always thought it was interesting she married so young to her only ever boyfriend. Especially given the massive spotlight and celebrity she gained almost overnight. Kudos to them if htey can make it work but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t. Young marriages actually have a high failure rate.

      • mockmook

        “married so young”

        ??????

        • guest

          24 is pretty young to be married in LA/NY/SF. I get that you are an ultraconservative, possibly from Utah or something, so you may have another perspective.

          • mockmook

            “24 is pretty young to be married in LA/NY/SF”

            The country (and the world) is bigger than LA/NY/SF

            Those are the places that are out of the mainstream — dare I say, they are ultra-“liberal”

          • Lorehead

            Both of you are out of touch. The median age of marriage is only 28 for women in New York and 25 for men in Utah.

            For the record, though, blue America is the mainstream.

          • mockmook

            How does that conflict with what I said?

          • Lorehead

            My post is not very long. Please read it to the end?

          • Steglitz49

            Trump is mainstream because he trumped the blue one.

          • mockmook
          • mockmook
          • Lorehead

            I don’t really want to get into a “My tribe’s bigger than your tribe” argument here, and it treally comes down to how broadly you define your tribe. But you yourself don’t think the hyperpartisan news you watch are the mainstream media. (You should stop listening to hyper-partisan propaganda. It’s driving you crazy.) You don’t think your low opinion of Muslims, Mexicans or gay people is mainstream. You often complain that mainstream America looks down on you, and you care very much what it thinks of you.

            When I say you can be out of touch sometimes, I’m thinking of things like your rant about how Barack Obama (who you actually call Obongo, because that’s so mainstream of you) was evil and everybody “saw through” him, while in the real world, he was more popular than Reagan. I give you credit for going outside your bubble and talking to people like me, which is more than most people on either the right or the left do these days.

            I do appreciate your links; the first one says that self-identified conservatives are about a third of the country and that a lot of blue America does not call themselves liberals. The second says that there were three million more blue voters than red voters in the last election, but because the voting rules overrepresent old rural white people, team Red won. Rules are rules, I guess, but that doesn’t make a minority temporarily in power the mainstream of society. The blue counties have more people and account for two-thirds of America’s economy and an even larger share of its cultural output.

          • mockmook

            Well thanks for turning a civil discussion into more ad hominems — “liberals” never disappoint.

          • Lorehead

            A civil discussion about whose tribe counts as the mainstream.

          • mockmook

            And, BTW, she was 25 when married — “facts are stubborn things”, but you probably don’t use them…

    • guest

      if true, that will go down ias the worst trade in nwsl history.

    • Steglitz49

      Why are you starting this rumour? Why be mean?

      HAO and Carli play in England. Do you claim that they have they partner issues too? I have never heard of it.

  • John

    Listen is she ends up winning the Champions League with Lyon and improving her general play, then it is a few months well spent for her.

    • Steglitz49

      Alex may come to love France and stay there like Gina Lewandowski in Germany and Marta becoming a Swedish citizen.

  • AlexH

    The less dependent players are on the US Soccer Fed for their daily living the better for all concerned. If woso grows in Europe to the point where soccer clubs are willing to pay to win then lots of US players will have the opportunity to play in Europe and force the US to get it’s act together. I have no problems with the USA becoming the Brazil of woso when it comes to supplying players to Europe.

    • Steglitz49

      When Pernille Harder moved from Linköping to Wolfsburg she increased her salary 5-fold.

      There are lots of cheap players in Europe, not to mention Africa.

      The risk is that American players will be labelled as FETA. Tough cheese.

      • AlexH

        It comes down to how good the average young American player is relative to their Euro counterparts. If they are good enough then clubs that want to win will pay for them. It all depends on how badly European clubs want their ladies to win.

        • Steglitz49

          The USWNT has not exactly covered itself in glory of late. Neither of the Canadians Buchanan and Lawrence entered the draft. Instead they went to Lyon and PSG.

          Savannah Jordan plays for Glasgow but was drafted by Portland, which seems to be where she wanted to be. Of those that were bested on the Glorious 12th, Alex is with Lyon, Carli with Man City and Crystal with Chelsea. HAO plays for the Gunners.

          European clubs may well pick up more college seniors as time goes bye. China seems to be hoovering up assorted players.

  • Steglitz49

    Hot off the presses, allegedly Zlatan will leave Man Utd and move to LA Galaxy. His salary will be $7 million a year minimum.

    • ARED

      Really? In the past he’d be more of a NY player, but Galaxy seem to have lost the edge a bit when it comes to shrewd management. Zlatan could work pretty well though, to be fair, better than De Jong and Jones at least…..