Preseason Roundup: NWSL finish weekend undefeated

The Equalizer Staff April 2, 2017 107

It was another busy weekend in the NWSL preseason, with eight teams playing matches on Saturday. Most of the teams played in contests against collegiate teams while the final round of the Thorns Spring Invitational tournament concluded. Several NWSL newcomers got another chance to make a case for themselves while many international players, including those for the U.S. and Canada, were away on national team duty ahead of next week’s friendlies.

The Boston Breakers, who were scheduled to take on the UConn Huskies, had to cancel their match after a winter storm brought snow and ice to the area the night before. Here’s a quick recap of Saturday’s preseason competition that did take place.

Orlando Pride 3, Florida State 0

Highlights courtesy of Orlando Pride

Despite not getting on the scoresheet for herself, defender Toni Pressley did tally two assists in the Orlando Pride’s 3-0 win over her alma mater, Florida State. The win was the Pride’s fourth consecutive win in as many matches this preseason and the first preseason match in which head coach Tom Sermanni did not roll out a different second-half lineup.

“I was pleased by the performance today. [FSU] put us under a bit of pressure and gave us a slightly different challenge than the games we’ve had so far,” Sermanni said.  “I think we saw improvement today in our general match fitness. A little bit of improvement today on our ball movement, which was better than it’s been, and we put players in there for longer today than we had been. We’re starting to see players getting close to that match fitness level that we require.”

The Seminoles’ pressure kept the Pride off the board for most of the first half, but that all changed in the 35th minute when Jasmyne Spencer collected a cross from Pressley inside the box before putting it past FSU’s keeper. Draftee Danica Evans scored the Pride’s second goal 10 minutes later, heading in Kristen Edmond’s cross just before the first-half whistle.

Pressley got her second assist of the day in the 71st minute, playing the ball through the Seminole defense for Chioma Ubogagu, who was able to run on the ball and put it past the goalkeeper for the last goal of the match.

The Pride wrap up the 2017 in a closed-door match against the U.S. U-23 women’s national team on Friday, April 7.

Orlando Lineup: Aubrey Bledsoe (Kopale 80’); Camila (Jamia Fields 63’), Laura Alleway (Cami Levin 73’), Alanna Kennedy (Dani Weatherholt 63’), Toni Pressley; Nickolette Driesse (Maddy Evans 46’), Kristen Edmonds, Monica (Jordan O’Brien 73’); Chioma Ubogagu (Christina Burkenroad 73’), Danica Evans (Sarah Hagen 63’), Jasmyne Spencer (Carol Rodrigues 73’)

North Carolina Courage 3, Wake Forest 1

The North Carolina Courage found its second win of its inaugural preseason after defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 3-1 on Saturday. Paul Riley’s side seemed to struggle against the collegiate team a bit, going into the second half trailing, 0-1.

However, the Courage would score three unanswered goals in the second half to secure the win. Brazilian international Debinha, originally signed by the now-defunct Western New York Flash in January, leveled the score early in the second half. Then Jessica McDonald, who scored a brace in the Courage’s 3-0 win over Tennessee last weekend, scored the go-ahead goal, out-jumping the competition to head in a corner kick.

The Courage’s other Brazilian international off-season acquisition, Rosana, scored her first goal of the preseason to close out scoring for the day. Courtney Niemiec sent in a cross from the left corner and found an unmarked Rosana, allowing the midfielder to easily get her head on the ball for the final score in the contest.

The Courage have a quick turnaround in preseason action, next taking on the Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday, April 5 at WakeMed Soccer Park.

FC Kansas City 2, Nebraska 1

Nebraska may have gotten on the board first, but a brace from Shea Groom saw FC Kansas City remain undefeated in 2017 preseason action. Groom played in the front three with Sydney Leroux, and the two created a number of opportunities for FCKC throughout the day, helping the Blues out shoot Nebraska 15-6.

“It was great preparation for us,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski after the match. “Nebraska was organized and quick…we were forced to figure out a way and we were forced to play quick, to be clinical, to be technical on every touch and when we were not, we got punished. That’s how we got scored on.”

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Faith Carter scored the opening goal for the Cornhuskers in the 28th minute, but it would take the Blues less than 10 minutes to even the score. From over 30 yards out, Alexa Newfield chipped the ball over Nebraska’s back line, where Groom ran onto it, dribbled past the goalkeeper and put FCKC on the board. Groom completed her brace and scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute after converting a penalty kick awarded for a handball in the box.

FCKC concludes its 2017 preseason schedule on Monday, April 10 against the Kansas Jayhawks.

FCKC First-Half Lineup: Nicole Barnhart; Christina Gibbons, Brianne Reed, Sydney Miramontez, Brittany Taylor; Alexa Newfield, Lo’eau LaBonta, Katie Bowen; Sydney Leroux, Maegan Kelly, Shea Groom

FCKC Second-Half Lineup: Nicole Barnhart; Christina Gibbons, Brianne Reed (Patterson 76’), Sydney Miramontez, Brittany Taylor (Rashida Beal 62’); Alexa Newfield (Stiever 62’), Erika Tymrak, Katie Bowen; Sydney Leroux, Caroline Flynn, Shea Groom

Sky Blue FC 1, UNC 0

An early first-half goal by 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year Raquel Rodriguez was the difference maker in Sky Blue’s contest against NCAA powerhouse North Carolina. Sky Blue faced a different kind of test from other teams, as they followed NWSL single-substitution rules while Anson Dorrance’s side followed open substitution rules. That meant the pros faced a collegiate side that had more rest and fresher legs at the end of the contest.

With Kelley O’Hara being gone to USWNT camp, head coach Christy Holly switched from the 4-3-3 formation used in last weekend’s win against St. John’s University to a 4-5-1 with Maya Hayes as the lone striker up top.

Although Hayes would not find her way onto the scoresheet for the second consecutive week, she did record the assist on Rodriguez’s goal. Leah Galton generated the goal-scoring play,  using her speed to move the ball down the left flank before serving it into the box. Hayes briefly collected the ball before tapping it over to Rodriguez at the top of the 18, and Rodriguez one-touched a rocket into the side netting to score her first goal of the 2017 preseason.

After much strong back-and-forth between the two sides, Sky Blue was gifted another scoring opportunity in the 86th minute when Madison Tiernan, taken by Holly in the third round of the 2017 NWSL draft, was taken down in the box. Sam Kerr, who joined the team for training earlier in the week, stepped to the spot to take the resulting penalty kick. Tar Heel goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak made a diving one-handed save of Kerr’s shot, preventing the Australian international from scoring the insurance goal.

“It was fantastic to get in this game against UNC today,” Holly said. “Under the guidance of Anson Dorrance, they have a very good technical and tactical understanding of the game, and they presented us with a number of challenges. Playing this match serves as great preparation for our NWSL season.”

Sky Blue continues its preseason with an April 4 closed-door match against the Boston Breakers. They play their 2017 preseason finale on Sunday, April 9 against Penn State.

Sky Blue FC Lineup: Caroline Casey; Kayla Mills, Christie Rampone (Domi Richardson 69’), Mandy Freeman, Erica Skroski (Erin Simon 62’); Sarah Killion (Catrina Atanda 70’), Raquel Rodriguez (Nikki Stanton 70’), Daphne Corboz (Danielle Schulmann 69’), Taylor Lytle (Madison Tiernan 62’), Leah Galton (Madison Meehan 70’), Maya Hayes (Sam Kerr 55’)

Washington Spirit 4, Duke 3

2017-04-01 Spirit v Duke-56-X3

(photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Before Saturday’s contest against Duke, the Spirit hadn’t allowed any goals in the preseason. That quickly changed as the Blue Devils scored three goals in the first half to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room. Washington, however, scored two unanswered goals in the second half to earn the 4-3 victory.

Duke definitely challenged the Spirit more on both sides of the ball than its two previous preseason opponents did. The sides split possession about equally with very few quality chances generated by either in the first 20 minutes of play.

Washington forward Katie Stengel opened scoring in the 23rd minute after Arielle Ship found her on the left side and Stengel’s far post shot went beyond the reach of Blue Devils keeper Brooke Heinsohn.

Duke nearly equalized three minutes later after Olivia Erlbeck evaded a couple of Spirit defenders. Estelle Johnson, who wore the captain’s armband in Shelina Zadorsky’s absence, make a last second clear to keep the chance from materializing.

The Spirit would have a couple of nervy moments in the first half due in part to changing the formation from the 3-5-2 they used in the previous preseason matches to the 4-4-3 that the team utilized in all but one contest last year as well as rotating personnel.

Postgame head coach Jim Gabarra said he was thankful for the lessons the game gave his side in the first half.

“ I think it was really in the first half disappointing because they didn’t really play the way we had trained,” he said. “Some of it was due to the newness of the system, the newness of the players and having a large number of those players that need to learn but they need to go through this exercise so it’s good that we didn’t make those mistakes and have those learnings without really getting punished for it so. You know you make mistakes in this league and you’re going to give up goals.”

A minute after Johnson denied the Blue Devils, however, Imani Dorsey punched home a second chance opportunity to tie the game a 1-1.

In the 37th minute, rookie Meggie Dougherty Howard gave the Spirit back the lead when her shot from the top of the box found the back of the net.

The Spirit’s lead would be short lived however as Duke would score twice in the next seven minutes. In the 41st minute, forward Kayla McCoy, who missed much of the 2016 campaign with an achilles injury, scored off a header just seconds after coming into the match. Dorsey struck again in the 44th minute with a long distance shot for Duke’s third goal.

Notably, both McCoy and Dorsey are familiar to the Spirit organization as both players suited up for the Spirit Reserves side last summer along with two of their other Duke teammates.

Washington dominated much more of the possession in the second half after subbing Tori Huster and Joanna Lohman into the game for Dougherty Howard and Line Sigvardsen Jensen. Huster especially, helped the Spirit control the tempo of the game.

In the 52nd minute, the Spirit knotted the game at three when Lohman found Cheyna Williams in the middle of the box.  Williams then sent a low driven shot into the right corner of the goal.

Stengel also rounded out the scoring in the 59th minute when a ball that Franny Ordega attempted to shoot hit off a Duke defender and the Wake Forest product fired a shot from just outside the box.

Once again, the young talent the Spirit brought showed some promise. Ship who assisted Stengel’s first goal was dangerous in stretches. Dougherty Howard maintained possession well in her 45 minutes of play.  In addition to scoring the game’s second goal, the Florida product also played a fantastic through ball despite pressure to Stengel. Stengel was unable to capitalize however, due to pressure. Undrafted roster invitee Crystal Thomas proved too much for Duke’s left back to handle several times after she entered the game in the 70 minute.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway of this weekend’s contest is just how important Huster is to the team. Her contributions aren’t the type you immediately notice while on the pitch but her absence in the first half was definitely noticeable.

The Spirit close out the 2017 preseason on Saturday, April 8 against Virginia.

Washington Spirit Lineup: 2- Arielle Ship (40- Gloria Douglas 81’), 5-Whitney Church, 6-Kassey Kallman, 7-Line Sigvardsen Jensen (23- Tori Huster, 46’), 12-Katie Stengel (37-Crystal Thomas 70’), 16-Cameron Castleberry (32- Lauren Lazo 77’), 19-Kristie Mewis (9- Havana Solaun 65’), 20-Cheyna Williams, 21-DiDi Haracic, 24-Estelle Johnson, 29-Meggie Dougherty Howard (15- Joanna Lohman 46’)

Duke University Lineup: 2-Chelsea Burns (4-Ashton Miller 60’ (12-Kayla McCoy 83’)), 3-Imani Dorsey, 4-Ashton Miller (23-Emma Carlson 46’ (14- Mary Love Taylor 83’)), 9-Kat McDonald (21- Anna Munro 41’ (9- Kat McDonald 46’ (21- Anna Munro 77’))), 11-Olivia Erlbeck (12-Kayla McCoy 37’ (11- Olivia Erlbeck 46’ (15- Emily Wilson 87’))), 17- Ella Stevens, 19- Schuyler DeBree, 20- Mia Gyau, 22-Malinda Allen, 24- Morgan Reid, 26- Brooke Heinsohn

Chicago Red Stars 0, U.S. U-23 WNT 0

The senior national team training this weekend affected NWSL and U-23 rosters alike for the final day of Portland’s preseason tournament.  The first match of the day’s double-headers saw Chicago Red Stars draw 0-0 against the U.S. U-23 women’s national team.

The NWSL side once again tested Taylor Comeau as an outside back and Morgan Proffitt in the midfield (who was replaced by Mary Luba at half).  Coach Rory Dames noted the learning curve that Comeau faces while being tested with the defensive position.  On Proffitt, Dames stated, “[This week] was more about putting her in and seeing what she’s comfortable with.” This sentiment aligns with Proffitt’s positional changes—playing at 6, 8 and 10 spots—throughout the preseason games.

On the U-23 side of the match, Savannah McCaskill, Mallory Eubanks and Ashley Sanchez contributed to the offensive pressure. Sophia Smith, who was a presence in the Wednesday match against the Thorns, was called into senior camp earlier in the week.

The Chicago Red Stars will next take on Notre Dame on Thursday, April 6 in their preseason finale, while the U-23’s will travel to Orlando to take on the Pride on Friday, April 7.

Chicago Lineup: Michele Dalton; Arin Gilliland, Samantha Johnson, Sarah Gorden, Taylor Comeau; Morgan Proffitt (Mary Luba 46′), Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo (C), Alyssa Mautz (Brittany Ratcliffe 46′); Cara Walls (Simone Kolander 46′), Stephanie McCaffrey (Summer Green 75′)

U.S. U-23 WNT Lineup: Bella Geist (Casey Murphy 65′); Alanna Cook, Kaleigh Riehl, Gabrielle Seiler, Alexis Warner; Tierna Davidson, Brianna Pinto, Sandra Yu, Mallory Eubanks, Ashley Sanchez, Savannah McCaskill (C)

Portland Thorns 1, Houston Dash 1

The Portland Thorns took on the Houston Dash in the second of the April 1 doubleheaders.  The intensity of the match was unaffected by its “preseason” status and altered rosters.  The final score was 1-1.

Mallory Weber, Kelli Hubly, and Ashley Herndon contributed to a threatening Thorns attack, but Mana Shim would have the sole goal for the home team.

The Dash struggled to maintain effective possession in the face of Portland’s pressure, but equalized in the second half. The tying goal came from Rachel Daly, who put a screaming shot from the outside the 18 into the back of the net.

Going forward Dash Coach Randy Waldrum referenced taking the attack to the next level as well as continuing work on “defensive consistency as a team.” Defensive work was a focal point coming into the tournament.

The match is the final contest in Portland’s preseason, whereas the Dash take on Texas A&M on Thursday, April 6.

Portland Lineup: Britt Eckerstrom; Meghan Cox, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Kendall Johnson (Ellie Boon 62′); Mana Shim, Kelli Hubly, Celeste Boureille, Ashley Herndon (Meg Morris 75′); Nadia Nadim (Fitzgerald 66′), Mallory Weber

Houston Lineup: Lydia Williams; Poliana (Janine Van Wyk 90′), Cari Roccaro, Cami Privett, Bruna Benites; Amber Brooks ©, Andressa (Caity Heap 90′), Denise O’Sullivan; Stephanie Ochs, Rachel Daly, Melissa Henderson (Claire Falknor 69′)

  • FawcettFan14

    I wish Mana Shim was 5 inches taller and a little quicker. She has great technical skills and a better football brain than many players on the senior USWNT. Sadly her stature and lack of foot speed will prevent her from breaking into Jill’s plans.

    • Steglitz49

      No doubt many a Japanese WoSo player wishes that she was 5 inches taller. Nevertheless they were the “Golden Generation”. With such extra height, maybe they would have been the Platina generation?

  • Som Termanni

    Any news on the injury that required Poliana to be stretchered off after taking a shot to the ribcage?

    • Arcie Tillydee

      Haven’t heard anything. That looked nasty in person…very likely she cracked a rib. Hard-hit cross that hit her at point-blank range…

  • guest

    Rachel Daly scored a rocket. Stengel/Cheyna Williams might rise now that Dunn is gone.

  • Bruce

    Props to the EQ for live-tweeting last night’s Chicago game and provisong context in their recap. Fans would have no idea what’s going on with CRS without you.

    Dont want to go there again, but Arnin needs to know that the Red Stars only provided fIve tweets to cover on-field action last night, and their recap article is little more than single sentence rewordings of those tweets (plus a few of yours).

    Thanks again, Dan and crew.

    • Bruce

      I feel Brian’s pain (click to view replies).

      Amazing that CRS didn’t even have a front office rep in Portland to report on the tournament. Hell, you could likely get a flier to provide insight/content for the cost of a ticket.

      https://twitter.com/chicagoredstars/status/848347548192563204

      • mockmook

        Brian??????

        • Bruce

          Not me. Not a friend. Just some guy who cares.

          • mockmook

            Duh — I didn’t look at the replies — now I get it…

  • Constant Weeder

    Anyone know what’s going on with Thorns draftee Caroline Flynn, who apparently played the second half for FCKC against her alma mater Nebraska? Presumably an as yet unannounced trade, but I’m curious what the Thorns got for her. Or was she waived?

    • Bruce

      Weird. She got 30 minutes for the Thorns just last week against the U23s.

      • Constant Weeder

        She was on the Thorns roster page last night (Saturday) but she and Lussi are both gone this morning. Now if Jordan decides to stay in Scotland, the Thorns draft will be nearly a total whiff.

        • DNG

          Just a guess but they probably made their cuts after the last preseason match. They have 19 rostered players now which leaves one slot open I think for the Australian international Sykes. It’s going to be really difficult to break into the Thorns roster for players that aren’t high draft picks. Hard to know anything about Lussi since she is still in school.

          • Constant Weeder

            But they could fill Sykes’s slot with another player (a trialist?) until she arrives in June.

          • DNG

            Maybe the other players asked if, they weren’t being considered anymore, if they could try out for other teams.

          • Bruce

            Reasonable. If FCKC essentially picked up Flynn off of the waiver wire, then they themselves would have had to make a cut to stay under the 25 limit.

            They were carrying 4 GKs on the roster last week, so likely one of the two trialists was given papers: Kaela Little or Danielle Rice

          • Bruce

            Current roster is at 25. Need to cut to 20 before opening day.

        • Steglitz49

          Savannah was an investment. Portland will be OK with her presenting herself in 2019.

    • mockmook

      With the FCKC roster, I can’t imagine they would trade anything for an unproven player like Flynn.

      If it was a trade, it must have been bigger than this.

      BTW:

      Dear NWSL, FCKC, PTFC, etc,

      HOW CAN YOU LET PLAYERS MOVE FROM TEAM TO TEAM WITHOUT SOME SORT OF ANNOUNCEMENT?

      • Bruce

        Speaking of FCKC, undrafted Sydney Miramontez went 90 minutes at CB yesterday. Still has my vote for the one woman who wasn’t drafted this year who will become an impact player in the League.

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  • Bruce

    CRS played their traditional 442 (diamond) last night. And started like this:

    After 20 minutes, midfield players rotated: Proffitt to 10, Colaprico to 6 and Dibernardo to LW.

    https://twitter.com/TheRedSaid/status/848329560034693120

    • mockmook

      Was Gilliland actually on the left?

      • Bruce

        Yea. They’ve done that twice now when playing Comeau at RB.

        FWIW – Short wasn’t with the team in both occasions.

        • mockmook

          Thanks!!!

          Yeah, I remember back in the day (2015) that Gilliland used to start at LB

  • WoSoFan

    That was actually Kristen Hamilton who sent the cross in for Rosana’s goal.

    • JL

      Hamilton did something good for once? Shocker.

      • Steglitz49

        Kristen, not Emma.

  • anton

    The Wake Forest Defense did a great job marking the fleet footed Courage in the First Half and were able to shut down McDonald and company. The Courage’s possession seemed to get interrupted quite often by the Deacs Brigade. But in the second half the Carolina side seemed to find the weakness through the Air! Wake played a smart game and at times caused the Courage backline to make mistakes. Where the Deacs capitalized on a nice shot from the wing.
    The Courage were without Mewis, D’Angelo, Williams and Erceg but in this observants mind the other Pro’s should have dominated this match. Maddie Huster, Ally Haran and Lindsay Preston were equally up to the challenge and played better than their opponents.

    • Dilusional

      I predict Duke will beat Carolina this Tuesday! They laid 3 goals on Washington and were beating the Spirit at halftime!

  • Gary Diver

    NWSL Underwhelming

    Yes, no NWSL team lost against U23 and college teams, but the scores don’t indicate that the professional teams overwhelmed the college teams playing during their spring practice period.

    • DNG

      Not true. The Thorns lost to the U-23 not that it matters much. They weren’t trying to get a result and I doubt the other NWSL teams cared much about the results either.

      • Gary Diver

        True, but I was just responding to the article headline which only dealt with the weekend results.

      • Gary Diver

        “I doubt the other NWSL teams cared much about the results either.”

        Were the NWSL teams using maximum substitutions? Were they starting players on the bubble to see if they deserve to be on the roster and/or have more time on the field?

        The Duke/Washington Spirit game did look like a basketball game in terms of the substitutions – there was over a dozen.

        • DNG

          As long as they aren’t treating the match like a hockey game and doing shift changes to keep players fresh, I don’t have a problem with lots of subs.

        • Bruce

          CRS played that game without 5 starters and was clearly testing out new positions for players (Comeau and Proffitt) while at the same time trying to make final roster decisions.

          Getting a W was pretty low on the priority list, I think.

        • Arcie Tillydee

          Definitely what the Thorns were doing: lots of trialists and deep roster players, etc. In the final game, versus the Dash, there were only three “expected starters” used all game. Pretty much the same versus the U23s.

          There are a couple spots in the 11 up for grabs (but only a couple). A couple of the trialists (Herndon and Hubly) made very good impressions, and Mallory Weber really looks to be aiming at making a case for more minutes. She’s obviously worked on a number of things over the winter, and was really impressive in all three pre-season games.

          • mockmook

            Remarkable that a player like Hubly could fly under the radar and go undrafted.

          • guest2

            Having watched Weber a lot last year I have to say I’m pretty impress with how she has progressed. She’s still pretty raw but I wasn’t expecting her to progress on the ball the way it looks like she has. Shades of Tobin when she’s facing up on the wing. Her work rate was still top notch of course and her runs up front looked pretty good too. I wonder if she’ll be the first sub on for Nadia this year. Boureille seems like a solid CM too who may be able to keep Lindsey up top during the Euros. Herndon and Hubly and other players like really ramp up the need to expand rosters along with expansion teams. 23 player roster is going to be a must soon.

    • Silver Frost

      The takeaway from the U23/Thorns game is Sophia Smith at 16 yrs of age going to WNT camp. Will Ellis mess her up like she’s doing with Pugh, et al., by playing her out of position? Things change so fast now, Pugh isn’t the kid on the team anymore.

      • Gary Diver

        So at 18/19, Mallory Pugh is not longer seen as USWNT’s future? Everything Ellis touches ends up worse. I cannot think of a single player that has developed and gotten better under Ellis (unless one wants to make an argument for Dunn).

        • mockmook

          I have to agree with #1 Fan, the USWNT is not for development.

          JE’s job is to find the right pieces and fit them together — her failures there are enough, no reason to pile on more.

          • Gary Diver

            BUT one can find evidence that several players’ development have been retarded under Ellis. Obviously playing players out of position cannot help players develop a better skill set or be a better team player. And Morgan Brian is not the player she was two years ago and she is only 24 years old. I could find other examples, but in deference to you I will not “pile on”.

          • Steglitz49

            Moe Brian has suffered from injuries and she got engaged earlier this year. Success came early to Moe and she may well have trouble motivating herself, not least if injuries recur. Her fiancé earns decent money.

          • guest

            Her fiance is a former USL footballer I think Brian earned more than him.

          • Steglitz49

            So the two Morgans can found a club: the WWEMTTH — wives who earn more than their hubbies. Yeehaw; seasaw!

          • #1Fan

            i dont think its development that is retarded. i think its confidence and team cohesion.

            Players perform best when their minds are free of thoughts and natural ability/ reactions take over. When you are overthinking a position/role its easy to freeze.

            Personally, I dont think much development goes on in games.

            On Brian, lets put injuries to one side. I think she is the same player, I just dont think the role she is being asked to play highlights her strengths.

          • DNG

            I do think the team has been trying to get Brian to be more influential in the attacking 3rd and attempting to find ways to free her. Current shape issues aside think she’ll come good once they move on from Lloyd. I don’t think anyone in central midfield is going to look great in a 2 player double pivot. Brian is a pretty decent defender of space too.

          • Steglitz49

            Next year, when Carli no longer is the POTY and a new CBA may be in place, JE ought to have room to manoeuvre.

            I suspect that Moe will continue to coast and heal her injuries — who wants to walk up the isle in a leg-cast?

  • Silver Frost

    Sermanni must thank the soccer gods for having Rachel Daly on his roster. Interestingly, she scored her volley from the same spot as Shim in the first half.

    • Bruce

      ’twas a right strike.

    • Terry Lash

      Waldrum.

      • mockmook

        Heh, I read right thru that and didn’t notice.

    • guest

      Daly was not included in the England WNT roster for UEFA women’s EUROs that was announced today. So Houston coach Waldrum may be thanking the English WNT coach as well as soccer gods. Houston now has Daly all season.

      • Steglitz49

        Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Carly Telford (Notts County).

        Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Liverpool).

        Midfielders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal).

        Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Ellen White (Birmingham City).

        The names were unveiled after that The FA launched its “Gameplan for Growth”, a drive to double participation and the fanbase in the ladies’ game. I will try to find out how much The FA is investing in that venture.

        • Steglitz49

          England kick-off their Group D vs Scotland in Utrecht on July 19th, then Spain in Breda on July 23rd and Portugal in Tilburg on July 27th.

          Playing Spain in Breda is a bit symbolic because Velazquez’s painting “Las Lanzas” is strictly speaking named “The Surrender of Breda”.

    • Gary Diver

      So Mark Sampson doesn’t like or appreciate Rachel Daly?

      • Steglitz49

        Mark Sampson has done more than OK so far. He took the position that both Herdman and Harvey disdained. Herdman at least has delivered the goods.

      • guest

        England WNT coach Sampson has called Daly into a few camps and given her a few caps (some at OB) in England WNT matches but did not include Daly when announcing Eng WNT roster for EUROs.

        Not sure there is any reason to speculate or try to imply a personal reason (” … doesn’t like or appreciate …”) when coach makes roster selections. Selecting the players is part of the coaches job.

    • Arcie Tillydee

      Shouldn’t really have been on the field (deliberately left her foot in, Shea-Groom-style, on a grounded Britt Eckerstrom while already on a yellow…but whatevs…pre-season). Beautiful strike (which I had a great view of in-person).

  • Gary Diver

    U23/Chicago Red Stars

    Did anybody watch the U23/Chicago Red Stars match? If so, did any players on either side stand out? I was surprised Summer Green was not given more playing time.

  • Limited time tactics

    That 4-4-3 Washington used won’t be viable after the preseason.

    • mockmook

      ??????

    • #1Fan

      an extra player always helps

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        Maybe someone felt so sorry for the Spirit with their offseason fire sale that they decided to let them put an extra player on the field.

  • Bruce

    Less than two weeks until opening day and the league hasn’t said one word of substance about the following since the Feb 3 A+E partnership announcement:

    Allocated Players
    Roster Rules, Salary Cap & Competition Calendar
    Team Kits (wow)
    New Website
    Mobile App (and associated device support)
    Streaming Model (ppv, linked to cable account, free)
    New Commissioner

    On the bright side, NWSL Media seems to have finally filled its openings for GM, digital marketing and software development positions, as those listings were taken off line this week.

    The Jeff Plush era cannot end too soon.

    • Gary Diver

      Did you mean commissioner when you listed GM?

      Was NWSL publicly advertising, like on their website, for the GM position?

    • Constant Weeder

      Allocated players: It’s my impression that since the 2016 draft there are only subsidized players, at least from USSF, no more allocations. It’s up to the teams to wheel and deal for the rights to the subsidized players.

      Team kits, I assume, will be rolled out on opening day. After all, fans have to have some reason to watch the game ;>).

      The website has a newish look, nothing dramatic except for the splash home screen. The problem is the lack of information about the topics you list.

      All that said, there’s no excuse for the abysmal lack of communication/publicity from the league. I don’t have cable TV, and I’m concerned about whether I’ll be able to watch away games, and how much it will cost.

      • Bruce

        I don’t have cable either.

      • Terry Lash

        Me neither but my Sling account gives me Lifetime.

        • Bruce

          Unfortunately, that’s not a slam dunk when it comes to streaming content access.

          I got Sling for the Olympics. It did not appear on the list of approved cable providers when I tried to use the NBC app or website to watch content. I was limited to only being able to watch live events on NBC channels.

          • Terry Lash

            If you have the right Sling package (which I have using Roku), there should not be a problem watching a live stream of the weekly game without a cable subscription, but I don’t know about watching a stream later after the game is over. Hopefully, A&E/Lifetime/NWSL will clarify all of this soon.

          • Bruce

            I’m hoping for the best. NBC did allow access to Olympics streams and playback for Sony VUE customers (competitor of Sling). Pricing is about the same.

            Given how rushed this all is, it’s a good bet that this will be pretty green when it does rollout. Tempering my expectations.

  • Bruce

    Twenty days until CRS’s home opener and they appear to have sold fewer than 200 tickets so far for their match against FCKC.

    That’s 1% of Toyota Park’s capacity.

    http://www1.ticketmaster.com/chicago-red-stars-vs-fc-kansas-bridgeview-illinois-04-22-2017/event/04005268D2513405?artistid=1306195&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=11

    • DNG

      Is the park located in a difficult to reach location?

      • Bruce

        It’s pretty inconveniemt on the sw side of the city, but that’s not the main problem. The Fire draw12-15k per match, for refetence.

        I responded to Lorehead at length about the stadium site on Friday or Saturday. if you click on my name you can find that in my profile.

        • I’d say 12k is generous for the Fire. Bastian may be upping their attendance going forward, but I had season tickets to the Fire when I lived in Chicago, and 8k would be more of my guess or weekly attendance.

          • guest

            Chicago Fire attendance average 15K in 2016
            Chicago Fire attendance average 16K in 2015

          • Arcie Tillydee

            So…about 1k-2k less than Thorns FC.

    • Steglitz49

      What is the rival attraction?

      Those are not even EU numbers but the numbers of poorly attended EU WoSo teams.

  • Bruce

    CRS ROSTER BATTLES
    Based on player comments, it seems that the team will again carry a roster of 19 this year. All players that finished the 2016 season on the Red Stars squad have been in camp. Final cuts must be made by April 10.

    My take: after three preseason games, it looks like there are three main battles for roster spots going on.

    1. Taylor Comeau over Sarah Gorden – With no extended USWNT call-ups this year and a 3-back option available, it doesn’t look like the team needs a 4th CB. Plus, Proffitt can play CB in a pinch. The emergence of Comeau as an option at OB bumps Gorden off the roster.

    2. Alyssa Mautz over Brittany Ratcliffe & Courtney Raertzman – Ratcliffe has gotten a fair amount of time to try to unseat Alyssa Mautz as a flank player, but hasn’t seemed to show enough to unseat one of CRS most energetic players. The addition of Proffitt to the midfield and keeping Comeau as a utility player means the midfield is overstaffed, so Raetzman also loses a spot.

    3. Summer Green & Simone Kolander over Cara Walls – Summer Green gives CRS a physical presence and 2nd skilled player on the front line that the team has been missing. She easily wins a roster spot. Simone Kolander edges out Walls for the final slot as she matches her hold-up and aerial games while bringing additional dimensions to the forward position.

    FINAL ROSTER PROJECTION
    Goalkeepers (2): Michele Dalton, Alyssa Naeher

    Defenders (5): Arin Gilliland, Samantha Johnson, Julie Ertz, Katie Naughton, Casey Short

    Midfielders (7): Danielle Colaprico, Taylor Comeau, Vanessa DiBernardo, Morgan Proffitt, Sofia Huerta, Alyssa Mautz, Mary Luba,

    Forwards (5): Summer Green, Jennifer Hoy, Simone Kolander, Stephanie McCaffrey, Christen Press

    OUT FROM LAST YEAR
    Gorden, Raetzman, Walls

    NEW THIS YEAR
    Proffitt, Green, Kolander

    INVITEES MISSING OUT
    Ratcliffe, Jackie Altschuld, Janelle Flaws, Lauren Kaskie,

    WILDCARD
    Ratcliffe makes the roster at the expense of Kolander.

    • TsovLoj

      As someone who saw her play in Portland, I vote Comeau. To this day I’m not sure why Riley chose to sign whoever that amateur forward was instead at the end of that season (I can’t even remember her name, but she’s gone now).

      • Bruce

        You can tell that Dames is a big fan. There was a quote from him earlier this week to the effect that he thinks she has the skill set to be a force at OB, but just needs to get her mental game more in order.

    • mockmook

      Is Luba such a sure thing? I can see going with Ratcliffe over her.

      • Bruce

        I’m pretty sure that she’s second on the depth chart at CAM for any lineup with Press up top. She’s that good IMHO.

    • Tom F

      based that so many of the Red Stars played ball over at the W-League, and almost dominated their Aussie teams/counterparts, I really think they’re got the best squad in the league right now. Naughton & Mautz were nice surprises. Next to Fishlock, Huerta & DiBernardion were the best attacking mids around. Both Hoy & Gilliand had a pair of braces in one game/ Only time will tell, but with the added experience of the W’League, the Red Stars will be in great shape coming out of the starting block

      • Steglitz49

        Maybe the NWSL and W-L can organize some Championettes League between them?

        • Tom F

          not if they got the same players!

          • Steglitz49

            Civil war, indeed. We can agree that the NWSL needs some Champions League or domestic Cup to complement it.

            By all means let players swan off down under to Australia but in a way they condemn themselves now that the top brass sign to play in old Europe. Officers and crew. FIETA!

    • guest

      extra wildcard, both Ratcliffe and Kolander make 20 person CRS roster

      • Bruce

        It’s going to be a painful cut process for this team. A few potential NWSL starters are going to get left out.

        Sarah Gorden said this week in a video that only 19 would be on the roster.

        • Steglitz49

          No gain without pain but rather the other player’s pain in this case.

    • I would be more surprised to see Walls not make it than Gorden. Given the fact that Walls started quite a few important games last year. But I agree, Summer Green seems like she’s going to play a big role with the team this year. Glad to see her getting back to form.

    • Gary Diver

      I am interested in the Mary Luba and Summer Green stories. Mary Luba seems to be an perennial underdog. She was on the Chicago Red Stars Reserves team in 2015 and was given a full contract just before the last game of the 2015 season. Wasn’t Summer Green hyped as a youth USWNT player and then disappeared off the radar?

      Anything interesting to report on these two players?

      • Steglitz49

        Summer Green sustained a bad injury. I can’t remember the details but it was more than your average ACL-tear. Like for Kim Kulig, that injury may have rung down the curtain on her WoSo career.

      • Bruce

        CRS actually published a player profile on Green last Friday. Color me shocked.

        http://chicagoredstars.com/an-inside-look-summer-green/

      • Bruce

        Luba was on the roster last year, but was basically stuck behind the DiBernardo/Press lock on the 10 position.

        I’m thinking that and number of factors will contribute to her emergence as a contributor to CRS. Dame’s increased willingness to play DiB on the wing, commitment to keep Press up top and occasional use of a 3-back all play to Luba’s favor.

        Had CRS been able to upgrade the Left Flank position significantly (Vasconcelos was the hope), I’d doubt that Luba’s standing would have changed much from last year to this one.

  • Ashley C

    Reign vs UCLA might be fun but would have been more interesting if Fleming and Pugh were there.

  • guest

    U-23 WNT makes some additional roster adjustments for camp/games in Florida this week per us soccer YNT twitter
    OUT – Isom (BYU), Pelayo (Florida), Seiler (Florida)
    IN – Taylor Otto (UNC), Malia Berkely (FSU), Ani Sarkisian (Mich)

    • mockmook

      Unless there were injuries, that seems like some strange moves.

  • AlexH

    Well I should hope that professionals could beat amateurs on a very regular basis.

  • Dilusional

    Perhaps the biggest takeaway of this weekend’s contest is just how important Huster is to the team. Her contributions aren’t the type you immediately notice while on the pitch but her absence in the first half was definitely noticeable.
    I’m sure glad the USWNT hasn’t noticed Huster, they may come to find out she can help them.
    Experience in the 3-5-2 formation and the sole reason WS made it to the NWSL finals! Tough,Gritty, Sneaky possession type team player who only wants to Win!

    • Steglitz49

      A redhead. Maybe just ginger or even strawberry blonde but the USWNT needs a redhead. Haven’t had one since Chalups called it a day.