The Lowdown: My 2017 NWSL preseason predictions

Dan Lauletta April 11, 2017 301
Which team will be celebrating the way the Flash did in 2016? (photo by Patricia GGiobetti for The Equalizer)

Which team will be celebrating the way the Flash did in 2016?
(photo by Patricia GGiobetti for The Equalizer)

It’s the final Tuesday before the opening of the regular season, which means it is time for my annual NWSL predictions. In other words, it’s time to subject myself to a summer of ridicule when things ultimately play out the complete opposite of how I see them today. A few of my colleagues have also been brave enough to offer their picks which are included below.

Keep in mind, these are just predictions. Why did I pick your favorite team to finish last? Well, someone is going to be last come September 30, right? These represent neither personal feelings toward any team or player nor any particularly rooting interest.

That said, I’m happy to engage anyone whether you agree or disagree. I can be found on Twitter @thedanlauletta. I will reply to any respectful tweets throughout the day.

Here goes.

1. Chicago Red Stars – The only team left still working on the vision laid out from the league’s launch will get a full season of Christen Press and have enough weapons and discipline to hit the top of the table. Rory Dames has at least one player on each line who is in the discussion for best in the league, and Casey Short has spent a good part of the off-season training with the national team. Most importantly, the addition of Stephanie McCaffrey late last season and the coming of age of Sofia Huerta have the Red Stars more versatile then ever up top and poised to make the final jump.

2. North Carolina Courage – The Courage—then the Western New York Flash—may have arrived early when they won the 2016 NWSL Championship, but make no mistake about it, this was always a club on the rise. The addition of Debinha and Rosana to bolster the midfield and Yuri Kawamura on defense could make the Courage even more formidable than the Flash were. It all has to click of course, and the Jessica McDoald/Lynn Williams duo up top will be hard-pressed to repeat their offensive output from a season ago. The defending champion rarely gets any leeway in terms of where they finish the following season. But whether or not the Courage win it all, I expect them to continue developing and for Sam Mewis to turn in a Best XI caliber season.

3. Portland Thorns FC – A year after lighting up the off-season with a slew of high-profile acquisitions, the Thorns mostly stood pat. It’s hard to blame them following a Shield-winning season that saw the team play as hard as it did beautiful. If there are any concerns, it is a lack of team speed, which was an area that cost them in a semifinal loss to the Flash, and that Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan are opening the season nursing injuries that cost them last week’s national team camp. The big picture though is that there is no reason the Thorns shouldn’t be right back in the Shield race.

4. FC Kansas City – For all of the Blues’ struggles last season it should be noted they still surrendered only 20 goals over 20 games, and more often than not, stuck to the script. The issue was scoring goals, and that is an issue that should get cleared up with the return of Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux after both missed last season for maternity leave (Leroux has yet to appear in a regular season match for FC Kansas City.) The additional personnel may force Vlatko Andonovski to alter his formation, but if he can convey his message, there is no reason it won’t be four playoff bids in five seasons.

Will Marta have any trophies to celebrate in Orlando?

Will Marta have any trophies to celebrate in Orlando?

5. Orlando Pride – Marta, Marta, Marta. The last time Marta played regularly on these shores, she was the dominant player in the league at all three stops. That won’t likely be the case in NWSL, but the five-time World Player of the Year should be able to score goals and deliver points for the Pride. The club also quietly got better beyond Marta, and the back line should be able to stay intact a year after its Olympic-driven disintegration led to a second-half free fall. Alex Morgan should be back in June, and the presence of Marta should take some pressure off and free her up to be an impact player the rest of the way. The Pride have mortgaged a lot of their future for the current roster—they are currently traded completely out of the 2018 draft—but making a run at the playoffs is certainly not out of the question.

6. Sky Blue FC – There are a lot of ifs with this club, not the least of which is, if all of the ifs return with positive answers, the finish could easily find itself in the playoffs. It appears 1st round picks Kayla Mills and Mandy Freeman will be asked to help keep things tight in the back where 41-year old Christie Rampone will again be asked to direct things. Daphne Corboz was brought in to add some creativity to the midfield. Sam Kerr appears to be healthy and a full season paired with Leah Galton could be a sight to behold. The age-old question about where to play Kelley O’Hara could finally be a case of where she is best suited rather than where she is most needed.

7. Seattle Reign FC – The post-Kim Little era begins with more questions than answers and also includes the retirement of Keelin Winters and departure of Kendall Fletcher. Those are six massive shoes to fill, and while Laura Harvey has done a nice job of recreating the club, it could be a few changes too many in a league that is getting more competitive every season. Success will depend on how quickly players like New Zealander Rebekah Stott and rookie Maddie Bauer jell in back and whether Bev Yanez can rediscover her goal-scoring touch. A resurgence from Megan Rapinoe would be welcome as well.

8. Washington Spirit – The team that wowed us with their passing game in 2016 has been torn apart, but in its wake is a sneaky good roster that has a chance to surprise some people. The greatest concern looks to be in the goal-scoring department, where Francisca Ordega and Cheyna Williams will be asked to carry a greater load on a more consistent basis. Crystal Dunn did not score as often in 2016 but may have been the most complete player in NWSL and will be impossible to replace. The back line, even without Ali Krieger, should be solid. A drop off is inevitable, but a mid-table finish is not out of the question and the future could be bright as well.

9. Boston Breakers – After two consecutive last-place finishes, the Breakers had a busy off-season and will no doubt be better and more exciting in 2017. Rose Lavelle has been a delight for the national team and will be a focal point of an offense that now includes Rosie White to supplement Natasha Dowie. The Breakers also made three other 1st round picks and acquired Megan Oyster from the Spirit to anchor the back line. Oyster—capped for the first time last week—will be a key to the squad. If she can thrive and lead the back line, the Breakers have a chance to win some matches. But if the defensive unit breaks down, it could be another long season in Boston. Betting on better play and better results, but not much progress in terms of the table.

10. Houston Dash – Last season was not often pretty in Houston, especially when Kealia Ohai was not scoring. Before Ohai went on her tear, the Dash went 567 minutes and six full games without scoring a single goal. They lost all six, 1-0. Later in the season when Ohai and the offense got rolling, the defense failed to live up to its end of the bargain. The Dash remade the defense over the winter but will be without Carli Lloyd (on short-term contract with Manchester City) into June. They don’t look like a basement club on paper, but the vibe suggests they may not have found the right mix just yet.

Playoffs: I’ll take the Courage to beat the Thorns again though in a manner not likely as dramatic as last year, and after fighting and clawing to get into the playoffs, FC Kansas City run out of answers against the Red Stars who turn the tables from the 2015 semifinal. In the final a disciplined Red Stars side keeps the Courage at bay to become the first NWSL club to lift both trophies in the same season.

Most Valuable Player: Christen Press is the best natural goal scorer in NWSL, and with more weapons around her and fewer international interruptions, she will make a run at becoming the first player to hit 20 goals in U.S. WoSoPro since Marta with the 2010 FC Gold Pride. The offensive explosion will land her have her being fitted for the golden boot with room to spare and keep alive the NWSL’s perfect record of having the Boot winner also named MVP.

Golden Boot: See above

My thoughts on attendance

During the regular season I normally run a weekly attendance table here and fully intend to do so again. Few things bring soccer fans’ temperatures to a boil quite like a discussion about attendance. And everyone wants to know, will attendance be up or down across the board in 2017? There are a few factors to take note of.

First, the Courage replaced the Flash who were up in 2016 but still lagged behind the average (even the average removing the Thorns.) It is tough to say just how vibrant the fan base will be in North Carolina, but ownership is fully committed, the team is exciting, and I expect them to draw better than the Flash of the last three seasons.

Second, the addition of two additional home games per team will boost the totals but is likely to be a drain on the average. That’s because fans, groups, or families that plan one or two outings a year will now be averaged in over 12 games instead of 10. In short, every ticket is now worth about .083 to the average attendance whereas last season each ticket was worth .100. I’m not suggesting this is a bad idea. In fact the season eventually needs to be even longer. But in the short term there could be a small drag on the averages.

The Orlando Pride set a single game attendance record in their home opener. They have set a goal to break it when they play at Orlando City Stadium for the first time.

The Orlando Pride set a single game attendance record in their home opener. They have set a goal to break it when they play at Orlando City Stadium for the first time.

Other factors: The reduction in midweek dates to one for every team is a huge boost as is the absence of a lengthy break. On the flipside those breaks were for the World Cup and Olympics which drove more eyes to the sport. The 2015 World Cup bounce was something of an anomaly but in terms of building a brand, playing straight through the summer is the best avenue. (looking ahead the 2019 World Cup ends June 30 which will leave plenty of time for any bump to really take hold on the season)

I think the Pride will see numbers go up slightly in their new digs.

I think the Spirit will be down following the Anthem fiasco that the club has yet to adequately address. The mass exodus of regular players did not help either.

I think the hard push for 4 p.m. EDT Lifetime broadcasts, plus backup games most weeks, will also be a drag on attendance (again, doesn’t necessarily mean it was the wrong decision). Teams, especially, fledgling ones, thrive on consistency, and the youth soccer market is tough to attract at that hour.

I think Portland will continue to amaze us all and see their average go up again.

When we do this the first week of October, I expect mostly encouraging attendance figures.

Staff predictions

From those who dared to put themselves out there…

Ray Curren

If there’s one thing we’ve figured out about the NWSL, it is – like MLS – preseason predictions largely do nothing but open yourself up to ridicule later. For instance, even with the altering lens of hindsight, there are few that admit they had Western New York (now North Carolina Courage) making the playoffs last season, let alone winning the NWSL title.

And there are question marks just about everywhere, from the health of players like Tobin Heath and Morgan Brian, to the return of Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez, to Rose Lavelle injecting real live optimism into Boston. But we can always throw darts at a board and see where they come out, can’t we? And a couple might hit their mark:

1. Chicago Red Stars — A vote for the Red Stars is a vote for consistency, as Chicago is virtually unchanged from the squad that finished third last season. In the end, that seems a bit disappointing, as was its extra time defeat to Washington in the semifinals. The core of their team was amazingly stable with Casey Short, Arin Gilliland, Vanessa DiBernardo, Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta starting all 20 regular season matches. That might actually be a source of concern as injury luck is not guaranteed over a long season, certainly not two seasons in a row. But Julie Ertz (nee Johnston), Christen Press, and Alyssa Naeher should now be able to join in the consistency after being away for the Olympics last season, and being able to field the same squad with quality players at just about every position should push them to the top of the table over the long haul.

2. North Carolina Courage — They may have surprised everyone last season, but they won’t this season. However, I don’t believe their success was a fluke, and those with the national team don’t either, as Lynn Williams and Samantha Mewis have become national team regulars, while Jessica McDonald and Jaelene Hinkle have also seen their names called more often than before. Like Chicago, Paul Riley has found success with hard-working players that he can consistently place on the team sheet, like Abby Dahlkemper (who has also been in USWNT camps), Abby Erceg, and McCall Zerboni. Other than a new state and facility, Riley has brought on added assistant coaches, a couple of Brazilian players, and second overall pick Ashley Hatch. Too much tinkering? We shall find out.

3. Portland Thorns FC — The Thorns still probably have the most overall talent in NWSL, but can only play 11 of them at a time, and only seven or so in attacking positions, so we’ll have to see what Mark Parsons conjures up for lineups with (hopefully) no national team call-ups forthcoming that will force players to miss games. Already, Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan are a bit banged up and with Michelle Betos gone, Adrianna Franch has had her preseason troubles. They’re surely be in a playoff spot by season’s end, but handing them the NWSL Shield for a second straight year may be a bit premature.

If healthy, Sam Kerr could put her name in the MVP hat. (photo courtesy of Sky Blue)

If healthy, Sam Kerr could put her name in the MVP hat. (photo courtesy of Sky Blue)

4. Sky Blue FC — Sky Blue stumbled a bit to the finish line last season, but was only six points out of a playoff berth at the end, and Sam Kerr started only 6 games (scoring 5 times). Kerr, still just 23, has the potential to be a league MVP if she can stay healthy for an entire season, and Sky Blue has some dangerous pieces around her in Leah Galton and Kelley O’Hara (who looks set to move permanently to a more advanced role this season). Raquel Rodriguez is back in the middle, while first-round pick Kayla Mills does the same in the back next to the ageless Christie Rampone. If rookie (and Canadian international) Kailen Sheridan can do the same in goal, there’s no reason to think that Sky Blue can’t qualify for the playoffs. Hopefully, that will get some people to Yurcak Field as well.

5. Houston Dash — The Dash finally seemed to get going toward the end of last season, but it’s been a largely disappointing existence for Randy Waldrum and crew in NWSL thus far as they are still in search of their first playoff berth. There should be no problem scoring goals, led by in form Janine Beckie, Kealia Ohai, and Rachel Daly (who did not make the England squad for this summer’s Euros). If they can get Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian out there with them, that might be an unmatched top five attacking force in NWSL. But it mysteriously only led to eighth place last season and an historic goal drought which still hasn’t been explained. They have tried to sure up the defensive end, but we’ll see how much shortly.

6. FC Kansas City — No one, not even Vlatko Andonovski, knows how Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez will rebound from an entire year off, but the early signs have been positive. FCKC still managed one of the top defensive squads in NWSL without them (Nicole Barnhart probably should have won Goalkeeper of the Year), but couldn’t score. It will be interesting to see what Andonovski does with Shea Groom, whom he called a future USWNT player last season. Groom managed 8 goals, but did not have a single assist. With Christina Gibbons around, FCKC has a little more flexibility in the back, setting up a potential 3-back with Gibbons, Yael Averbuch, and Brittany Taylor, which might lead to more offense for the likes of Leroux and Rodriguez? But time will tell.

7. Orlando Pride — Marta will apparently play a full season, which is huge for the Pride, who managed just 20 goals in 2016. They’ve also added Ali Krieger and will play in a new stadium, but Orlando is still suffering a bit from the price it had to pay to acquire Alex Morgan last season (and being an expansion team), as their depth just doesn’t quite add up to the teams in front of them here. With the right help, Marta will flourish in NWSL, as she has everywhere else. But, especially until Morgan arrives (which probably won’t be until late June), I’m not sure where that help is going to come from.

8. Seattle Reign FC — Laura Harvey has proven to be not only one of the best coaches in NWSL, but one of the top women’s coaches in the world with her success both in England and the United States. But I’m just not convinced this group of players as they’re currently constructed is a playoff team. Megan Rapinoe is the only allocated USWNT player, but Kim Little’s departure will be the biggest loss. It’s easy to forget that if you had to pick the best player over the first three seasons of NWSL, it would probably be Little, who was utterly dominant in her first two seasons in Seattle. Jess Fishlock is back as is Beverly Yanez and some other members of the supporting cast, but their leading goal scorer from last season (Manon Melis) and Keelin Winters are also elsewhere. Barring some crazy Harvey moves (don’t put it past her), there just doesn’t seem to be enough to bring the Reign into the top half of the competitive table.

9. Boston Breakers — The Rose Lavelle train has already left the Back Bay station if you missed it, but there are a few others you might be able to catch, namely Natasha Dowie’s. Dowie quietly (mostly because the Breakers were in dead last) led Boston in scoring with 3 goals in just 7 games. With a full season and the likes of rookies Lavelle, Morgan Andrews, and Midge Purce around her, the Breakers might be able to score some goals. Can they keep balls out of their own net, though? Well, that’s going to be the question that will indicate whether the Breakers become only slightly improved or whether Matt Beard may be in for some Coach of the Year consideration by season’s end. But there are still plenty of question marks to be answered, starting with goalkeeper, before visions of that can dance in the heads of long suffering Breakers fans.

10. Washington Spirit — Gutted doesn’t quite do justice to what has happened to the Spirit roster since it was seconds away from capturing the NWSL title just six months ago. Consider that, at best, 4 starters (Shelina Zadorsky, Whitney Church, Tori Huster, and Francisca Ordega) from the 2016 title game will suit up for the Spirit in their opener on Saturday, and they are now the only team in NWSL without an allocated USWNT player. There are some underrated players on the roster from Katie Stengel, Ordega, and Havana Solaun, to even Kristie Mewis, who finds herself again on a team that appears headed for the bottom half of the league. But, on paper at least, it’s hard to see the Spirit anywhere but last when all is said and done at the end of the summer.

Playoffs: Sky Blue over Portland for NWSL title
MVP: Christen Press
Golden Boot: Christen Press

Meg Linehan

1. Chicago
2. Portland
3. North Carolina
4. Orlando
5. Sky Blue
6. Seattle
7. Boston
8. KC
9. Houston
10. Washington

Final: Chicago over North Carolina
Golden Boot: Marta
MVP: Tobin Heath
Rookie: (you did not ask, I do not care) ROSE LAVELLE

Harjeet Johal

1. Orlando Pride
2. FC Kansas City
3. Portland Thorns FC
4. Chicago Red Stars
5. Houston Dash
6. Seattle Reign FC
7. Sky Blue FC
8. Boston Breakers
9. North Carolina Courage
10. Washington Spirit

NWSL Championship: Orlando Pride over Portland Thorns FC
NWSL MVP: Nadia Nadim
NWSL Golden Boot: Marta

  • Ted Williams

    need an edit on the headline

  • Ted Williams

    Thanks for the predictions, always gutsy to put yourself out there. Let’s get season 5 started #GoBlues #InVlatkoWeTrust #QU3ST

  • Ron Rocha

    We may be depending a great deal on all of you to provide the season info as it appears, so far any way, that other than lifetime we will be unable to see it for ourselves. I know… Smart A** (Donkey)

  • guest

    I am so sick of Christen Press hype.

    • guest

      Is it hype when multiple people who cover women’s soccer for a living all think she is the best natural goal scorer in the NWSL? When does hype just become… reality? Doesn’t mean other players aren’t good too, but she is an excellent, no doubt. I’d want her on my team.

      • guest

        Yeah it’s hype. She gets hyped every year, for every tournament, and is a bust every single time.

        • guest

          She has the exact same scoring rate as Alex Morgan for the USWNT and was on pace for a like 20 goal season last year in the NWSL if she played the whole season. That’s not hype that’s reality.

          • Steglitz49

            I just saw a pig fly by on the 32 floor

          • HOFCToDi

            Bull crap.

            #ChristenChasingObscurity

            USWNT Career
            FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents
            USWNT Goals Scored
            Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 34
            Leroux (DOB 07 May 1990) – 8
            Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988) – 3

            Christen Press is the quintessential international FRAUD.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            85 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • JL

            I can’t stand when someone argues that since a player scored a few goals in a few games, they would have kept up that pace for the entire season. Just about every player has periods of time in a season where they don’t score. Even when Little was setting records in 2014, she had a stretch of almost 2 months where she didn’t score. It’s not unreasonable to think the same thing could have happened to Press had she played all season.

          • I do see your point, but Press has shown in NWSL that she scores very regularly, every season. She was what, 3 or 4 goals behind the boot winner (Williams) last season with 6ish less games? Her league form is consistently pretty dang good.

          • Steglitz49

            Hit the crossbar instead of just rolling it into the back of the net when it mattered.

          • That doesn’t change the fact she scores a lot of goals in club play.

          • Steglitz49

            The Ms score goals that matter.

          • guest

            The point is not the total number of goals. The point is she’s good at scoring. Reason people extrapolate to a season is it’s easier to compare.

            If you want to use straight numbers though, she scored 8 goals last year while missing games for the NT, and the Golden Boot was 11 goals. That puts her in the very upper echelon of goal scorers in the NWSL. Point still stands. She might not be your favorite forward, or who you’d start for the NT, but can’t possibly argue she’s not a darn good goal scorer.

          • HOFCToDi

            2014 NWSL Season
            Penalty Kicks Converted
            Kim Little – 6
            Amy Rodriguez – 0

            Kim Little’s goal totals for the 2014 NWSL Season were vastly inflated by penalty kicks converted.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. It is traditional in soccer to write 21(4) or 17(2) meaning that respectively they scored 21 and 17 goals, 4 and 2 coming from penalties.

          • guest

            Theory: Steglitz and HOFCToDi are the same person. HOF seems to tend to go on a commenting tear, and then 20 minutes later Steg comes along and comments. Need time to log back and log in? HOF is the id and Steg is the pseudo-intellectual.

          • Steglitz49

            Your theory is obviously wrong as even someone with only formal capacity can work out.

            For example, HOF regularly forgets to mention Simone Manuel and Maya DiRado but goes on and on about the third Cardinal. There are no doubt better examples,

          • guest

            Yes, there are of course planned differences between the accounts as part of their overall different and highly stylized personas. But hard to argue that you are not all one account run by the same person, plus guest comments here and there.

          • Steglitz49

            Steglitz has never hidden under “guest”. What you see is what you get.

            I can’t speak for HOF. In München stehts ein Hofbräuhaus.

          • HOFCToDi

            Incorrect.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily, verily.

        • Guest

          They’re talking about NWSL here. Not tournaments. She has been a lead scorer every year. Why wouldn’t they think highly of her for this NWSL season?

          • HOFCToDi

            Bull crap.

            Christen Press did not play during the 2013 NWSL Season.

          • guest

            OH TRICKY YOU GOT HIM THERE. SHE DIDNT PLAY. CONSPIRACY. PRESSERATI.

            She scores lots of goals in the NWSL. 8 last season even though she didn’t play the full season – the golden boot winner scored 11. If you want to dispute the fact that she scores lots of goals, bring some facts to the table. For reference, Alex Morgan scored…. 4 goals in 2016.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press and international stardom do not equate.

            Stardom was already anointed at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

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

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

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

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

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971522

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971369

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971353

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971345

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971339

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971335

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

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#972005

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971526

          • guest

            “Alex Morgan” and “best player in the world” are spelled differently.

            Her picture also does not appear on any of the below websites. FACT.

            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com
            dailypuppy.com

          • HOFCToDi

            US Soccer Female Player of the Year

            http://www.ussoccer.com/about/history/awards/player-of-the-year

            The U.S. Soccer Player of the Year award is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States.

            By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

            http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

          • guest

            no one is talking about alex morgan, who btw has been a much better international player.

          • guest

            Really? Because she and Press have roughly the same rate of goals scored per 90 minutes 🙂

          • guest

            Press scores against Thailand and romania. I’m not sayign Alex is in great form these days because she isn’t, but she has done a lot more on the big stage.

          • Steglitz49

            Too true.

          • Guest

            Incorrect.

            Christen Press did not not play during the 2013 NWSL season

        • Guest

          The NWSL isn’t a tournament. It is a league that she has consistently lead in for scoring. Why would they predict any different happening this year?

          • HOFCToDi

            Incorrect.

            Christen Press did not lead the league in goals scored during the 2013 NWSL Season. As a matter of fact, Christen Press was not even in the league during the 2013 NWSL Season. Christen Press did not lead the league in goals scored during the 2014 NWSL Season.

            nwsl.app.box.com/s/iqm8z8pxuk38srl3gxr5yishehdtoer4

          • Guest

            Incorrect.

            Christen Press did lead the league in goals during the 2013 NWSL season.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen Press played in Sweden for Tyresö during 2013.

            She continued playing for them in 2014 including the 2014 Champions League final, after which Tyresö went bankrupt, but Christen was not bothered because she had a berth in the NWSL

          • Lorehead

            She actually posted to her blog that she wanted to stay in Sweden and was in tears over it.

          • Steglitz49

            She got to be world champion. Not many young ladies get that. Worth sacrificing for, would you not say?

            Also, she used a picture of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, as an illustration of Sweden. I doubt that many Americans would enjoy a picture of Vancouver standing in for Seattle or Toronto for Chicago or Ottawa for DC.

          • HOFCToDi

            Planet Imbecile requests your return.

          • Guest

            Alex Morgan = international FRAUD

            7 years
            2 Summer Olympic Games
            0 Bronze Medals

            Alex Morgan goals vs. Madagascar in the 57th minute: 0

            Selfish Shot Hog
            Prima Dona
            Fergilicious

          • HOFCToDi

            Your transport to Planet Imbecile awaits.

          • guest

            when has she led in scoring? Fanfiction time?

          • Guest

            She has been among the leaders the past seasons and had best goals per minutes ratio???

          • HOFCToDi

            Correct. Fanfaction time.

            2014 NWSL Season
            Minutes Played, Goals Scored, Goals Per Minute
            Rodriguez – 1808, 13, 139
            Press – 1080, 5, 216

            nwsl.app.box.com/s/iqm8z8pxuk38srl3gxr5yishehdtoer4

            Note: Penalty Kicks not included

          • Lorehead

            You’re responding to a trollbot.

            But, fine, for the record, Christen Press didn’t even arrive in the league until halfway through the 2014 season, after the Champions’ League final. Her goalscoring rate per game and per minute were fantastic once she did get here. And before that, she won the golden boot in the league she did play in.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen was 2nd in the Damallsvenskan’s goalscoring league in her 2012 season. She was only bested by Anja Mittag by a couple of goals but Christen played for Göteborg which finished not as high as Anja’s team.

            Nobody doubts Christen’s goalscoring ability in general. It is her misses in particular that stand out, including “disappearing” in the 2014 Champions League Final.

    • paddywhack

      Isn’t she like 30 or something. Maybe she’ll retire soon.

      • guest

        No she’s going to have her break out tournament at the next world cup, you just wait and see.

        • HOFCToDi

          Bull crap.

          The same prediction was spewed for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

          • guest

            Alex Morgan

            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2013 – 0 GOALS
            .
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2014 – 0 GOALS
            .
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2015 – 0 GOALS
            .
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2016 – 0 GOALS

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press
            2016 Rio Olympics
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 6, Shots on Goal 1
            Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

            Christen Press is the quintessential international FRAUD.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            85 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • HODCToDi

            Alex Morgan

            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2013 – 0 GOALS
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2014 – 0 GOALS
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2015 – 0 GOALS
            NWSL PLAYOFFS 2016 – 0 GOALS

            Alex Morgan is the quintessential domestic FRAUD.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            2 teams
            2 different hair colors

            party hats
            cranberry juice
            white tip reef sharks
            tissue box

          • HOFCToDi

            Olympic Gold Medals
            Lloyd, Carli – 2
            Leroux, Sydney – 1
            Morgan, Alex – 1
            Press, Christen – 0

            http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

          • TROLLFCToDi

            Stanford Diplomas

            Lloyd, Carli – 0
            Morgan, Alex – 0
            Press, Christen – 1

            http://cdn3-www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/gallery/30-impossibly-cute-puppies/impossibly-cute-puppy-21.jpg

          • HOFCToDi

            Olympic Gold Medals
            Rodriguez, Amy – 2
            Press, Christen – 0

            http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

          • guest

            Dogs named after Game of Thrones characters:

            Rodriguez, Amy – 0
            Press, Christen – 1

            http://ell.h-cdn.co/assets/16/20/980×490/landscape-1463606615-maxresdefault.jpg

          • Steglitz49

            The currently best know female Cardinal athletes are Ledecky, Manuel and DiRado. They were all outstanding in Rio.

          • guest

            Who cares? Athletes can walk into those schools and it’s not like she majored in engineering. She was a communications major. At leats alex managed an econ degree (berkeley is tougher to graduate from IMO)

          • guest

            I rly hope you read the rest of this thread and HOF’s comments and understand what is happening here… and that it has nothing to do with Stanford/degrees/A.Rod/logic.

          • Lorehead
          • HOFCToDi

            Speaking of Stanford graduates …………………………………………

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8vBJeUSkBw

            At least one Stanford graduate came home with at least one gold medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

          • HOFCToDi

            Puppies for Pressie Pooh?

            foxsports.com/soccer/story/u-s-fans-look-to-cheer-up-christen-press-with-pictures-of-dogs-081316

          • guest

            don’t forget champions league playoffs- 0 goals.

      • guest

        remember. christen press never get’s hurt. press’s age is 28 but her body is closer to 23. on the other hand. alex morgan get’s injured frequently. morgan’s body is closer to 35 in age.

    • HOFCToDi

      Affirmative.

      Amy Rodriquez delivers in the NWSL Playoffs unlike Christen Press:

      NWSL Playoffs
      Rodriquez, Amy – 4 games, 6 goals
      Williams, Lynn – 2 games, 3 goals
      Press – 2 games, 1 goals

      • guest

        Alex Morgan
        NWSL PLAYOFFS 2013 – 0 GOALS
        NWSL PLAYOFFS 2014 – 0 GOALS
        NWSL PLAYOFFS 2015 – 0 GOALS
        NWSL PLAYOFFS 2016 – 0 GOALS

        • Steglitz49

          Tobin Heath did the damage with her Aya Miyama-Roberto Carlos free kick.

        • guest

          ouch!! that’s gotta hurt.

        • Lorehead

          And none of them have ever scored in the Women’s Euro. Or the Women’s Asian Cup. Or, in fact, the championships of six whole continents.

        • Lorehead

          Also, to be serious for a moment, in the twenty minutes of the 2013 playoffs that Alex Morgan was on the field, she did get an assist.

      • Guest

        ALex morgan is an INTERNATIONAL FRAUD

        Goals in 79th minute against Anarctica in 2012: 0

        • HOFCToDi

          Poor Pressie Pooh! No international awards for you!

          • Guest

            Poor Morgan poo! No Boston Breakers contract for you!

          • HOFCToDi

            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            16 Jun 2015
            USA 1 NGA 0
            Minutes Played 0

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/00/60/eng_31_0616_nga-usa_fulltime.pdf

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            30 Jun 2015
            USA 2 GER 0
            Minutes Played 0

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/52/49/eng_49_0630_usa-ger_fulltime.pdf

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            05 Jul 2015
            USA 5 JPN 2
            Minutes Played 0

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/66/12/93/eng_52_0705_usa-jpn_fulltime.pdf

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            21 Oct 2015
            USA 1 BRA 1
            Minutes Played 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24140

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            25 Oct 2015
            USA 3 BRA 1
            Minutes Played 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24141

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Nevermind Christen Press started eleven of the first twelve matches for the USWNT in calendar year 2015.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2015-lineups

            http://media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/3/2933/ROFLMAO.png

        • HOFCToDi

          Alex Morgan Named 2012 Female Athlete of the Year

          ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/17/14/00/morgan-wins-2012-female-aoty-award

  • Steglitz49

    MVP could well be Marta, which would be fitting because of the M. I doubt that Marat could be Goal-Scoring Queen. GSQ — there is a new ab for you.

  • Rdalford

    Appreciate Dan and other writers putting out predictions.
    Gives all of us a reason to comment

    However, Rat Curren – ???
    “With Christina Gibbons around, FCKC has a little more flexibility in the back, setting up a potential 3-back with Gibbons, Yael Averbuch, and Brittany Taylor, …”

    Becky Sauerbrunn still plays for FCKC
    so no backline for FCKC will not include Sauerbrunn.

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe she is retiring.

    • mockmook

      Even if they didn’t have Brunn, that is an “unusual” group for a back three.

  • guest

    Looks like Ray forgot about Sauerbrunn with that 3-back projection for FCKC. Harjeet on the Marta hype train. This will be a great season of NWSL soccer – finally feels like we have a well-balanced slate of teams, all with exciting talent and a chance to compete.

    • Steglitz49

      Marta is Marta. She will pull the punters in. Hopefully we will have an M&M like LASol did all those years ago.

    • I just don’t see where Marta’s service will come from. Not a very balanced midfield in Orlando.

      • Steglitz49

        Marta will service herself. She will provide ball for Alex, just like Aya Miyama did for Marta at LASol.

        • That’ll be great midway through June. Can they keep up before then?

          • Steglitz49

            It depends on when Alex shows up. The ladies Champions League final is on June 1st but there is no guarantee that Lyon will get there.

  • thisguy

    I can see press winning the golden boot but I don’t see the red stars pulling off a league win. Press just isn’t a championship player and their offense is pretty reliant on her.. She never has been. Sorry.

    • I definitely don’t think their offense will be as reliant on her this season. She’ll be their leading scorer no doubt, but Green, Huerta, McCaffery should help a ton with the scoring load. At least in theory.

    • mockmook

      Elway wasn’t a championship QB, until he was.

      Mickelson wasn’t a championship golfer, until he was.

      Sergio wasn’t a championship golfer, until he was.

      etc.

      • Steglitz49

        Elway was bested by Douglas. Douglas may be forgiven for not getting quite the hype that the white guy got.

        • Lorehead

          Steglitz, stop baiting people. Mockmook, you’re not going to bite on something that obvious?

          • JL

            Don’t waste your time with Steg. Just block him. It will be better for your sanity.

          • Steglitz49

            You must lead a boring life.

        • HOFCToDi

          Douglas?

          Douglas Lee “Doug” Williams to be exact.

          Stick to what you know best, undermine the pestilence better known as “Press Gang Troll Brigade”.

          • Steglitz49

            You knew who I meant. That is what matters.

            BTW, Williams set all sorts of records in that Super Bowl. He might as well have played on the dark side of the moon.

      • HOFCToDi
    • HOFCToDi

      Correct.

      NWSL Playoffs
      Rodriguez, Amy – 4 games, 6 goals
      Williams, Lynn – 2 games, 3 goals
      Press – 2 games, 1 goals

  • WoSoFan

    Wow, Harjeet is really down on the defending champs!

    • Steglitz49

      Why not? The USWNT got turfed out of the OG without a medal of any hue.

      • WoSoFan

        Your obsession with bringing up the USA’s exit from the Olympics all the time is obnoxious. It has no bearing on this discussion about the NWSL. Knock it off.

        • Steglitz49

          It has everything to do with your comment of your annoyance with Harjeet was that she was “really down on the defending champs!”

          The defending OG champs — champs of 2004, 2008 and 2012 — were dumped out without a medal. Previously the US had golds and one solitary silver medal.

          • WoSoFan

            My comment had nothing to do with the USWNT. It’s about Harjeet’s ranking of the NC Courage/WNY Flash.

          • Steglitz49

            Harjeet is a female of the species. They are traditionally deadlier than the male.

          • Happy

            This is a BS thing to write, song aside. If you said something like this around my girlfriend, you’d be picking yourself off the ground. I’m an infantry Marine, but I probably wouldn’t get to you first.

          • Steglitz49

            WoSoFan has sharpened the cards. Instead of leaving his male noun so everyone can see, he has changed it to her name. At least Pontius Pilate stood what he had written.

            The phrase is the title of at least one book. The expression derives from the study of spiders and insects.

          • Happy

            Not even a little bit interested in the titles of books or the lyrics of songs. You called someone out based on sex. Unacceptable.

          • Steglitz49

            Why don’t you go after that cheater who changed the pronoun when s/he was called out. That is the person who made a sexist remark.

            S/he had Harjeet down as a male — and then did not apologize.

            S/he must be your target, not the person who takes them to task. WoSo needs to weed those lowlifes out.

          • mockmook

            “I probably wouldn’t get to you first.”

            Wouldn’t that prove his point?

          • Lorehead

            Footnote: the saying is from a 1911 poem by Rudyard Kipling. Several songs have lifted it from him.

          • Steglitz49

            Don’t sharpen the cards, you coward. Stand for what you write. Put back the male noun you used. Lowlife.

          • WoSoFan

            I edited that immediately after the initial post, before your reply even showed up. Chill out.

          • Steglitz49

            Stand for what you have written. If you play cards you know that a card you have put down stays down.

            The sooner you apply Healey’s First Law of Politics the better for yourself.

          • mockmook

            And, the “noun” is completely irrelevant — but that is S49, endless non sequiturs posing as thought.

          • Steglitz49

            WoSoFan revealed that s/he was an ignorant peasant. When that ignoramus-status was pointed out, s/he changed his statement — cheating iows.

            Can we trust anything that eminates from WoSoFan’s keyboard?

          • guest

            Right, you perhaps will note the difference between league championships, which happen in back-to-back years with rosters that are largely the same, and tournaments that happen 4 years apart with completely different rosters.

          • Steglitz49

            KC rules OK but everyone fawns over Seattle, not least their coach, who have twice been bested — and by the same team to boot. Oscar Wilde lives!

  • Has it been confirmed that Marta will be with the Pride when they open up this weekend? Is she in Orlando yet?

    • Guesting

      Right now I don’t believe she is listed on the active roster for Orlando?

      • Lorehead

        She is officially listed as out-of-market. Lauletta says she’ll be here, but Orlando’s season begins Saturday.

        • I hope she plays in the opener.

          • Lorehead

            If she only gets there on Friday? As a Thorns fan, I hope so, too.

          • Steglitz49

            You do not want Marta to play against you even if she arrives the same morning.

    • tonysocref

      She’s currently listed as OOM.
      ITC and P-1 visa seem to be the holdup before she can be moved to active status.

      • Lorehead

        P-1 visa should be a no-brainer, and it was for her before, but there have been a few headscrachers with visa decisions in 2017.

        • Steglitz49

          Marta has both Brazilian and Swedish citizenship. Maybe that is the bug?

  • I will be shocked if Nadia Nadim is NWSL MVP. Gotta give it to Harjeet for the bold predictions.

  • Guest1

    If Christen came out as being gay her male supporters would stop drooling over her. She is closeted because of her male fan base.

    • Steglitz49

      That is uncalled for. Please withdraw your comment.

    • guest

      I think that’s part of why NYRick and newsouth aren’t fawning over her in every comment section anymore.

      • triplets

        Haha the third wave – first the same person comes through and comments as HOF, then as Steg, then as guest. Interesting.

        • Steglitz49

          Where in this string do you see HOF?

      • Stegpitz49

        She could be bi. Krieger and Tobin are “no labels”. Jury is out on OHara but she’s supposedly dating a female marketing manager for Under Armour

        • Steglitz49

          Does any of this matter? If so, how?

  • DNG

    I’m starting to have a tougher and tougher time picking the bottom half of the league but here’s where I have right now.

    1. Portland
    2. North Carolina
    3. Chicago
    4. Kansas City
    5. Orlando
    6. Sky Blue
    7. Seattle
    8. Houston
    9. Boston
    10. Washington

    • Arcie Tillydee

      That’s pretty much how I see it, too. I think Boston may do a bit better, but making the playoffs might be a big ask. The possible fly in the ointment for Portland is that they’re already dealing with a LOT of injuries (not just Heath and Horan) right now. Nadim isn’t quite 100%, Dagny’s not been able to train with the team yet, and Raso picked up a knock in preseason. The deeper roster players showed some very good understanding with each other, though, and Mallory Weber came to camp obviously determined to carve herself out some playing time (I’d start her of Nadim right now, actually).

      Healthy, the Thorns are the team to beat…but luck may not fall their way. And the less I say about that shitshow of a semi last year, the better…

      • Lorehead

        I’m not saying the ref’s decisions were right and I’m not saying they were wrong, but a different ref might well have made some of those game-changing calls differently.

        • Arcie Tillydee

          Obvious (non-called) penalty was obvious. Like visible-from-orbit obvious. Early, too…game-changer.

          But it was more a matter of which way the bulk of the blown calls landed. Nothing nefarious, just really bad luck the incompetence fell out that way.

          • Lorehead

            The previous time that ref was in town, he gave us a PK he shouldn’t have that turned out to be the game-winner.

      • Steglitz49

        Bad refereeing is nothing new to WoSo as Japan (twice), France and Sweden can attest to.

        What is sad is that FIFA has not been able to fix it in this decade. They have the money and resources. If refereeing at WoSo is not fixed, the ladies game will never achieve status.

    • Bruce

      Not even going to post today because I see the exact same rankings you do.

  • Rdalford

    NWSL announces Stats deal with Opta – this should be an improvement

    “CHICAGO (Apr. 11, 2017) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has agreed to a three-year partnership with Opta, the world’s leading provider of live, detailed sports data, to become the league’s Official Data Partner, providing the teams, fans and media with more tracked, recorded and databased action than ever before. The three-year partnership will commence at the start of the season on April 15th.”

    • mockmook

      Hooray!!!!

      Now we’ll have a well respected source on formations used — of course, they will still be filled with errors 😉

      • Helenfstanley

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sq314c:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !sq314c:
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  • Here’s what I have just for fun. Middle of the table is very tough to pick.

    1. Chicago
    2. Portland
    3. North Carolina
    4. Sky Blue
    5. Orlando
    6. Boston
    7. Seattle
    8. FC Kansas City
    9. Houston
    10. Washington

    FCKC could end up really good or really bad.

    • Steglitz49

      Why is Sky Blue always Sky Blue? All the others are either cities or states. Let’s call Sky Blue either NJ or NB.

      • guest

        well Sky Blue FC is the name of the team
        some article/comment writers do use SBFC or SB for Sky Blue FC and you will see the occasional NJ
        likewise some use SR or SRFC for Seattle Reign FC
        but SBFC & SRFC or SB & SR may be too similar and confusing

        • Steglitz49

          Arsenal Ladies are nicknamed the Gunners like the men (no gunnerrettes in north London) and it is PSG Féminines. A team ought to have some geographical anchor, though in Arsenal’s case that is long since gone and PSG don’t play in St-Germain.

          But. Sky Blue? It sounds like a fantasy or mirage. Something not real. Ephemeral.

      • What would NB stand for? I’m just calling them what they’re called.

        • DNG

          New Brunswick. It’s the city in New Jersey that SBFC play in. It’s the location of Rutgers University.

          • Well that sailed right over my head. I thought they played in Piscataway?

          • DNG

            They do. That’s the township Yurcak field is technically in I think.

          • Well then lets agree to not call them NB 🙂

          • Steglitz49

            Yurcak United rule OK!

            Piscataway Wanderers.

            The B would stand for Belles as in the Doncaster Belles.

        • Steglitz49

          The Belles of NJ?

          As DNG notes, I was thinking of New Brunswick.

          • Lorehead

            St. Mary’s college teams in Indiana are the Belles of Notre Dame.

          • Steglitz49

            like in the Belles of St Trinians?

            I was making a link with the Doncaster Belles.

  • Reality

    Tsk, Tsk…Judging from the number of “This user is blocked” that I see in the comments section, the Press Haters hate these predictions. 🙂

  • Lorehead

    1. Courage take the shield. My pet theory about Paul Riley has been that, when he had to put together a team of the rejects nobody else wanted, and inspire them, he’s great. But give him enough rope, and he hung himself. When I tracked my preseason predictions from last year, my one huge screw-up was picking them to finish dead last (before I knew who their coach and final roster would be, but all the more reason I should not have made that prediction). My second-biggest mistake was expecting the shield-winner and the champion to be good again. So am I overcompensating? I don’t think so; the Courage started with a championship roster that—ahem—nobody saw coming, and then got better. They are also owned now by professionals with an actual business plan, in a good location, but still being sponsored by the rich guy in upstate New York whose daughter plays soccer. Best of both worlds?

    2. Thorns get their rematch in the final, and are good enough to win. They’ll allow fewer goals than any other team. They only lost to the champs last year in overtime. But other teams have gotten better, and they stayed put.

    3. Red Stars. Christen Press will be the top scorer in the league. She’s as good as any other forward in the league, she’s not in Europe for half the season, and her team’s offense will run through her, while the other top teams will have a tandem (Lynn Williams and Jess McDonald, Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez, Alex Morgan has somebody whose last name I don’t even know) or for the Thorns and Dash, a lot of options. (Although I am glad to see Taylor Comeau finally get paid a living wage. She was good as an unpaid intern over here.) But. with the Thorns at number 2 and the Red Stars at 3, I’m picking Christen Press to come to Providence Park for a one-game win-or-go-home playoff. If that happens, does anyone expect her to come up big in the clutch like Lynn Williams did last year?

    4. FCKC. Not the first comeback for Amy Rodriguez, and Sydney Leroux should fit in better than she did on her last two teams. They still have the coach we were hailing as a genius last year.

    5. Pride. They have Alex Morgan and Marta. Marta is going to get very frustrated that the midfield can’t get the ball to her so she can do her magic. Trust me on this, Alex Morgan showing up in July is not going to be enough to get them in the playoffs. But if either of them do get the ball? Their back line is great, and you do not want to give this team a lead to defend.

    6. Sky Blue. Still a solid, balanced, mid-table team. Sam Kerr’s a good forward, Raquel Rodriguez is a good midfielder, and Kelly O’Hara is good at everything. But what is Christie Rampone’s secret? Will the sports page of The Boston Globe next October say, “Middle-Aged Local Mom Wins National Championship?”

    7. Houston Dash. When you look at the talent on their roster, they always seem to do worse than you’d expect, even taking into account that they always seem to do worse than you’d expect.

    8. Seattle Reign. Honestly, if picking a team to be our rivals and bashing them irrationally is supposed to be a joke, I don’t think it’s funny. But, ouch. They’ve got some good pieces and a pitch that’s narrower than the minimum league standards that they requested. If they could find that player they had in their shield-winning years, Bev Goebel, that would really help them a lot. (She has the distinction of being part of both the American pro WoSo team with the best all-time season record and the NWSL team with the best season record, measured by points per game.) They’ve got the coach we justly praised, but everyone in their front office goes to bed thanking God for the Washington Spirit.

    9. Breakers. They have Rose Lavelle, who knows for how long? Morgan Brian plus a few other players didn’t turn the Dash into contenders. Did you see Abby Smith’s goal in college from her own 6-yard box? They might need one of those.

    10. I’m thinking of a NWSL team that had all its stars leave for nothing, saying the team wasn’t being run professionally and that’s why nobody wanted to play there. I picked them to finish last. That team, of course, was the Flash the year before they won the title.

    • “My second-biggest mistake was expecting the shield-winner and the champion to be good again.”

      This made me laugh cause you did it again this year, but I agree with you.

      • Lorehead

        And yes, I know that Bev Yanez’ maiden name is Goebel, too.

    • Steglitz49

      #5. There is little evidence of this. There is evidence of Marta being annoyed with selfish players and players that don’t work for their team.

      Instead, I expect many if not all Orlando players to get a shot in the arm from playing with this marvellous player.

    • disqus_hj8dHnhlYK

      Is Joe Sahlen sponsoring the team too? I know he has bought the naming rights to the stadium they are going to play in but that is just them giving money to the owners and operators of the stadiums in exchange for them to have their logo and hot dogs and not actually giving money to the team.

      • Steglitz49

        Maybe the lasses play there for free or a reduced rate?

    • Lorehead

      I didn’t pick a MVP. Impossible to say who’ll have a monster year, but I will guess Tobin Heath. Maybe one of the other mids, like Amandine Henry. She’s going to be a big-name international star, so not one of the Courage, on another good team, so either a Thorn or a Red Star, and if it’s a Thorn, It always goes to a player on offense. I don’t think it’ll be primarily for goalscoring, since I expect Christen Press to get more goals than any individual Thorn. So I think it’ll go to a Thorn for her playmaking and assists.

      • Steglitz49

        Who won what, when? Who is your “they” referring to?

        • Lorehead

          I edited my post when I realized that I’d said an unknown wouldn’t win, but one had in both of the last two years. So maybe it’s actually become the Hey, Jill Ellis, Ever Notice Her Award?

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. I only think of Crystal as a player who was royally screwed in 2015 for to make benefit for the Veterans. I can’t think of any USWNT player as badly abused.

            It seems symptomatic that a black player lost out. Her Hermann trophy did not avail much. Doug Williams rules OK.

            The Japanese call their Nadeshiko of 2010-2015 the Golden Generation. The US uses the term Veterans, which to this writer is damning with faint praise.

            Maybe the sins will be revisited to the 3rd and 4th tournament. If so, maybe the curse will be paid after OG-20 but it could take us past WC-23, perish the thought.

  • guest

    Red Stars are the most stacked on paper. They should win, but they probably won’t. It just never works out that way… makes it more fun anyway.

    • DNG

      I don’t see most stacked team on paper. I do see a very good team though.

      • guest

        I guess you could argue Portland is the most stacked on paper but given injuries, past their prime players like Sinc, some overrated ones (cough Long cough) I don’t have high hopes for them right now.

        • Steglitz49

          Orlando?

          • guest

            I don’t think so. Marta is past her prime, Alex is gone for a good chunk of the season and she’s just not what she used to be either, and the midfield is bad.

          • guest

            To add to that, Orlando is just disjointed. Players coming and going, a relatively new club, lots of internationals… there is no cohesion. Red Stars are stacked IMO because of the talent and the length of time they have been playing together as a unit… perhaps not stacked in name recognition among non-nwsl fans, though.

          • Steglitz49

            With Marta there, players will sharpen up because they will be stimulated by her. Granted she only speaks Brazilian/Portuguese and the language of honor and heroes fluently but soccer is a universal language.

            Once Alex shows up, those M&Ms will be awesome, like Miyama and Marta were for LASol.

          • guest

            It will be interesting to see what happens, but I don’t have great expectations either. 2011/12 yeah I would be more optimistic about both.

          • Steglitz49

            For Alex who has played with Marta before, it will not be a big deal, but for many if not all the other Orlando players they will be touched by playing with a living legend.

            When you consider how much WoSo had developed before Marta came on the scene and that she still transformed WoSo, it is quite remarkable.

          • guest

            This was Dames’ strategy – build a team on home grown, even native to the Chicago region players that are more likely to stay loyal to the club. We’ll see if it pays off this season. I see Press bouncing for California if they get a team next year so this is their big chance (I thought the LAFC/Mia deal was pretty solid?)

          • Steglitz49

            Marta is 31. Hard to believe but she is that old. The injuries have started to take their toll.

          • guest

            Part of why it’s so mind boggling to me that Carli had her breakout at age 33. By early 30s even the best are usually not firing on all cylinders.

            Maybe there is hope for Christen Press yet. lol.

          • anon

            With Carli it’s all mental and luck, really. She is a bruiser and a risk taker. She had the benefit of a coach who was willing to give her every minute of every game, and really a very fortunate draw as far as competition at the world cup. Somehow I don’t think the next world cup will be as ‘easy’, and I sure hope it isn’t. One sided tournaments are a bore.

          • Lorehead

            The US got literally the toughest group draw it was possible to get.

          • guest

            Somehow I remember France and Germany, their only real competition, being far more screwed.

          • Lorehead

            Germany was in a much easier group. In fact, people were saying France should have tanked to come in second in its group.

            If the US had lost its group-stage match with the number-five team in the world, as it nearly did, it would have faced Germany in the quarterfinal, then probably France in the semifinal.

          • Steglitz49

            The group games have no pso so they can be compensated for. In WC-11 the US lost 1-2 to Sweden in the group but Sweden only got 3rd place. In WC-15 they drew but there was no pso. OG-16 Sweden won the pso after an ineptly refereed match that they had won both in regulation and in extra time.

            Thank goodness for the pso.

          • Steglitz49

            That is not the point. The way the draw was rigged, the two big favourites, France and Germany faced each other in a QF. Bizarre.

            The draw was also rigged by Sweden being demoted as a top seed and Brazil elevated. 10 m inhabitants stood no chance against 200 m.

          • Lorehead

            You thought the US was the big favorite, remember? So if France had traded seeds with China, say, that would have been a fairer seeding, but it would have been an even tougher route for France.

            Four of the top five were seeded on the same side of the bracket, so at least half of them were going to get eliminated before the semifinal.

          • Steglitz49

            The US was the biggest favourite. Ends in -est.

            They were too for OG-16. Even more so. That is why their abject failure in OG-16 is so damning. It also shines a light on the rigged WC-15.

            France’s mistake was not to use their match against Mexico to get on the weaker side of the draw. Instead of hammering 5 goals past the Mexicans, 1 would have sufficed and a 0-0 draw would have done it too I think (can’t be bothered to check). Donkeys.

          • HOFCToDi

            Incorrect.

            2007 Algarve Cup

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Algarve_Cup

          • HOFCToDi

            Incorrect.

            US Soccer Female Player of the Year

            http://www.ussoccer.com/about/history/awards/player-of-the-year

            The U.S. Soccer Player of the Year award is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States.

            2008 – ?????

          • HOFCToDi

            Incorrect.

            2012 Statistics

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/stats/2012-statistics

          • Steglitz49

            Although HOF has dug up stats as usual, for which we are truly grateful, nevertheless let me pull my own straws to the stack.

            Carli was 26 when she scored the one and winning goal in the OG-08 final. It may have been the last Golden Goal in soccer. Nobody in the US seems to have cared, granted.

            Carli at 30 also scored the two US goals in the OG-12 final, a final that was poorly refereed and today best remembered for Blatter being booed at the medal ceremony.

          • guest

            it’s not so mind boggling if you believe nyrick’s carli lloyd theory.

          • Steg are you now going to be mad at Marta forever for leaving Sweden like you are with Press?

          • Steglitz49

            Marta left Sweden once before for the greenbacks.

            I have never criticised Christen for leaving Sweden. I have always maintained that the way she treated Göteborg was beneath contempt and illustrates a character flaw.

            But she has her WC winners medal and that will keep her warm at nights.

    • Guest

      I think red stars are least stacked on paper. They have a great starting XI, but after that, what do they have? What real goal scoring threats do they have besides press and Huerta if one were to get injured? What MF options do they have if DiB or Colaprico got injured? What viable defender options besides the starting 4 and Naughton?

      • guest

        U cray. They have the best midfield in Colaprico/Dibernardo. McCaff and Summer Green are decent offensive players. They have the best Goalkeeper.

        How are they less stacked than Sky Blue, Washington, Seattle, Boston, KC or even Houston esp. w/o Lloyd?

        • Lorehead

          A better midfield than Amandine Henry, Tobin Heath, Lindsay Horan, Allie Long and Dagny Bryjnarsdottir?

          • guest

            Dagny, Horan and Heath are injured. I don’t think Horan is great as a midfielder, anyway. Thorns’ biggest problem is their offense right now. Sinc and Nadim aren’t consistent. Would be curious to see how S.Jordan fits in.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            So perhaps at the beginning of the season they have the best midfield, but if/when the Thorns get fully healthy, it’s simply no contest.

          • guest

            I’m a thorns fan but scoring is a problem for them considering the talent they have. I’d be interested to see a line up with Horan/Jordan in the front… but it’s a moot point since Savannah is in scotland.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            Fortunately, Mallory Weber showed up in camp basically on fire. As I mentioned elsewhere, I’d start her over Nadim right now (although that’s with the caveat that Nadia wasn’t fully match fit…she may well be on Saturday).

            I do agree that Horan is better used as a forward (particularly with the glut of quality the Thorns have in the midfield, a group I’d say now has to include Boureille).

          • DNG

            I don’t think you can start her over Nadim yet even if she might be the better player overall. I’m not convinced that Heath, Weber, and Sinclair has enough goals in them. I’m interested in seeing how Sykes does when she arrives in June. I’d also like to see Parsons give Horan minutes at the 9. They have CM options after their their starting 3, I’m not sure they really have a back up CF.

          • Lorehead

            It looks like Weber might get a chance to start anyway. Maybe Sinc could drop back into the midfield? She tends to drift there.

          • DNG

            Sinclair tends to drift out of the box a little bit more than I think she should now. Maybe Parson could try switching Horan and Sinclair. Right now they seem to be occupying the same space unless Horan is overloading a wing and there probably isn’t enough box presence from Sinclair. Sinclair still managed to have a very good scoring rate per 90 last year though.

          • guest

            ETA that I don’t have a ton of faith in Franch, either.

          • Lorehead

            Michelle Betos ended up starting over her, but it was a close call. I bet you that the decision came down to the fact that the USWNT wanted to pay for Franch to start somewhere. The last time she was the regular starter, admittedly back in 2013, she was great.

          • Steglitz49

            What has the Basque separatist movement to do with WoSo? Is this an oblique reference to Athletic Bilbao?

          • Lorehead

            None of them is so injured that she’s on the 45-day DL, although I guess they said that about Alex Morgan too.

            Their backups are Mana Shim, Mallory Weber and Celeste Boureille. Would Mark Parsons agree to loan out any of them for the season in exchange for Nickolette Driesse, Camila Martins Pereira or Dani Weatherholt, at least two of whom will probably start against him on Saturday?

            If every team gets equal injuries to its starters, then I really like the Thorns’ chances, because it’s also a deep team at midfield and forward. And it could probably call up another decent defender if it needed to.

          • Steglitz49

            Amandine and Dagny will miss some of the season because of Euro-17. Group C: France, Iceland, Austria, and Switzerland.

            Lindsay is really more of a forward/striker imho.

        • Guest

          If CRS lineup is Green, Press, Huerta, Colaprico, DiBernardo, McCaffrey, Johnston, Johnson, Short and Gilliland

          Their subs/depth would consist of Mautz, Naughton, Hoy, Comaeu, Profitt, and Gorden. That is not that great of a bench and I would not call any one of those players impact players.

          If Washington lineup is something like: Ordega, Farquarson, C. Williams, Lohman, Huster, Mewis, Estelle Johnson, Zadorsky, Kleiner, Dydasco

          Bench would be: Kallman, Church, Stengel, Agnew, Solaun, Jensen

          Seattle bench would be: Crummer, Mathias, Reed, Hahn, Pickett

          SBFC: Lytle, Meehan, Hayes, Kai, Conheeney

          Houston: Ochs, Prince, Bruna, Privett, O’Sullivan, Hagen, etc etc

          I would say the benches for all of those teams are better than CRS or fairly close – and I would not call CRS bench “great depth”

  • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

    Gratuitous International Result:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C9KL1QDXYAU1Gb_.jpg

    This is going to be bad year for Kim Little.

    Predictions:
    1. Portland Thorns
    2. FC Kansas City
    3. NC Courage
    4. Chicago Red Stars
    5. Sky Blue FC
    6. Houston Dash
    7. Orlando Pride
    8. Seattle Reign
    9. Washington Spirit
    10. Boston Breakers

    • Steglitz49

      V O W!! Knock me over with a feather. I did not see that one coming. Is there an obvious reason?

      • Tessa Wullaert rocks

        Great Britan teams are over-hyped. EQ and social media focus on GB and US only causes wrong evaluations of the real strenghts of the teams

        • Steglitz49

          We certainly learnt that in OG-16 for sure to be sure.

          OG-16 was the first final in a major WoSo tournament that was between two European teams since 2003, when Germany beat Sweden on a Golden Goal to become world champions.

      • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

        As always with Scotland: Defense!
        https://youtu.be/UQ2ndTs-TDw

        Scotland vs. Group A (Since September, 2015):
        0-4 vs. Norway
        0-7 vs. Netherlands
        3-3 vs. Denmark (2 draws)
        0-5 vs. Belgium

        Record: (0-3-2)
        Goals (3-19)
        Goals Per Game Avg. (0.6-3.8)

        So, obviously, Denmark is the weak sister. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you. What a mess.

          You are on the money that the N&Ns are the NTs favoured to advance. Nevertheless both Belgium and Scotland could contribute to an upset, though it is not that likely.

  • Ron Rocha

    New NWSL web site schedule showing games to be shown on lifetime with all other games shown “To Be Announced”. Does that mean there will be audio only with no video? I know… still Smart Donkey….

  • Guest

    Finally, the looks of a very unpredictable season. With a few minor exceptions, looks like any team could finish in bottom of pack and any team can finish in the top

    • GT

      Agreed. Too many variables. International players coming in, College players, returning veterans (are they as good as they used to be), etc. Very hard to gage. Should be fun to watch. As always, injuries will be a big factor. The teams that stay healthy will succeed.

      • Guest

        Agreed. Plus, relatively level amount of talent across the board. Not that all teams have an equal amount of it, but now each team has enough of it to make each game unpredictable and have there be no easy games

      • Steglitz49

        Since WC-15, in US WoSo “veteran” is a term of abuse. It is damning with faint praise.

        • GT

          Says who?

          • Steglitz49

            The others are known as the Golden Generation. Says it all and more.

    • Steglitz49

      A league constructed with the premisses of the NWSL will always by its very nature be unpredictable. That is a requirement when you do not have relegation/promotion.

  • lmao

    Christen Press is the Lolo Jones of soccer.

    • lmao

      looks good enough to garner mass hype, but just a letdown at the end of the day.

  • mockmook

    01. Chicago Red Stars
    02. Sky Blue FC
    03. Portland Thorns
    04. Houston Dash
    05. FC Kansas City
    06. Washington Spirit
    07. Orlando Pride
    08. NC Courage
    09. Seattle Reign
    10. Boston Breakers

    (Week One revision coming after seeing starters and system for each team)
    (Note: Assuming we can see the Week One games)

    Sky Blue FC wins the Championship

    Rachel Daly earns Golden Boot

    Christen Press wins MVP

    Kayla Mills is Rookie of the Year

    • DNG

      Courage at 8. That’s bold

      • mockmook

        Teams will be ready and pumped to play them this year.

        And, I think they may end up hurting themselves by changing their line-up.

        • DNG

          I think losing Alanna Kennedy will hurt them if Erceg becomes the starting CB. However, they scored a lot of goals last year because they were probably the best team in the league at creating chances and I don’t see that changing. I still have them in my top 4 but could see them missing the playoffs too. I’m not as high on Houston as i thought I’d be. I’m predicting more of the same for them.

          • mockmook

            Yeah, my Houston pick is more on hope than on reason — I hope Waldrum has an epiphany and figures out how to manage a defense.

    • HOFCToDi

      01. Portland Thorns
      02. NC Courage
      03. Sky Blue FC
      04. Chicago Red Stars
      05. FC Kansas City
      06. Orlando Pride
      07. Seattle Reign
      08. Houston Dash
      09. Boston Breakers
      10. Washington Spirit

      MVP: Sam Kerr
      Golden Boot: Sam Kerr

      P,S. Houston Dash suck. Christen Press sucks.

      • Steglitz49

        Not convinced by your annointing of Sam Kerr.

        Also, I think that Orlando will make the play-offs.

      • Guest

        Wrong. You forgot Christen Press and the Chicago Red Stars. CRS will win and Christen Press will win MVP and golden boot. Sam Kerr is an international fraud.

        • HOFCToDi

          Incorrect.

          • Guest

            WRONG. Carli Lloyd is a FRAUD.

            Women’s 100 M Backstroke
            London 2012 Summer Olympics
            Sunny, mild winds, paper towels, brussel sprouts, lawnmowers
            0 goals, 0 assists

          • HOFCToDi

            Lloyd named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

            goal.com/en-us/news/11102/us-womens-team/2015/12/16/18435532/lloyd-named-us-soccer-female-player-of-the-year

    • Steglitz49

      Can Marta be rookie of the year for the NWSL? She has never played in it before after all.

      • Alex

        No. In my understanding rookie of the year goes to someone who hasn’t played in a professional league before.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you. Makes sense. The NHL does not work it that way, though.

    • Interesting. What makes you think Sky Blue is going to be that good? As a Sky Blue fan I love it, but I am not so sure it can happen.

      • mockmook

        Well,

        1) I don’t think any team is particularly dominant, so that puts SBFC in the running.

        2) Defense (usually) wins championships, and SBFC could be off the charts good with the addition of Freeman and Mills

        3) The team may have found a #10 in Corboz — the midfield looks very solid.

        4) Nice group of Forwards including O’Hara, Kerr healthy, Galton available all season

        5) Holly is one of the best coaches in the league — the team looks joyful when playing for him,

        • Steglitz49

          #4 — though KO was a forward at Stanford, Pia converted her into a LB for the NT. Why Sky Blue does not leave her playing there is an interesting question which probably reflects the weakness off their attack. It is not good for KO who needs to play in her NT position.

        • All very good points. I like your optimism and I think they’ll have a solid season. May be a year or two away from a championship, but anything can happen.

          • DNG

            Key for me is Sam Kerr. If she can stay healthy and put up a 12-15 goal season I can see SBFC making a push for that 4th spot. I think 4-7 will be pretty up in the air actually.

    • Breakers fan

      Don’t feel obliged to live up to whatever you say, but I’m curious: at this point in time, what % of NWSL games do you think you’ll see during the season? I think you are one of the best, most faithful viewers of ALL teams so I’m curious what you hope or expect to do this season? Again, don’t feel like you have to match whatever number you give here.

      • mockmook

        Hmmmm, assuming the matches are archived, assuming the league doesn’t try to jam more politics down my throat, I think I can manage 50% of the games.

        How much do you think you will catch?

        BTW, please let Matt know that he needs to go to a 5-ish-3-2
        Otherwise, they are going to get run over on defense

        http://drawformation.com/post/58ed5f581429d/sm-58ed5f581429d.png

        • Breakers fan

          Thank you. 50% is a lot of matches, but that sounds probably what you did last year, right? I’ll probably be at 24 – the Breakers matches plus a couple others, if I’m honest. I just don’t have the time/interest to go much beyond that. Guess I’m a homer above all.

          Your formation…I think you have the right idea. went to the U Conn scrimmage and I can tell you a few things about what they did, (not necessarily what they should do):
          Westphal was out with a slight groin pull. I hope it’s healed by now, hope it was given time to heal.
          Onumonu they have up top (she only played in the 2nd half) – and Andrews back a bit, as would be expected for both, so switching where you have those two is more likely what you’ll see.
          Rosie White did impress me (against weak competition) so I do think she’ll be a starter, at least, as you have it, until Haavi returns.
          Midge Purce also impressed me, so you may want to fit her in. Oddly, in the 2nd half they had her at right back(!)
          Angela Salem – yes, they had her at DM.
          Rose wasn’t there so I don’t know where they plan on putting her. Praying you have it precisely correct. They GOTTA do that, especially after seeing the NT games.
          Frisbie who I’m longing to see play was out with an injury, so odds are they’ll ease her back into the picture
          Leon and Chapman were out with Canada so I didn’t get to see them. They played Kylie Strom at left and center back. They even used a reserve team player as a CB in that game. Will have to look up her name, I’ve forgotten it.

          • mockmook

            Thanks for the report!!!

            Ugh, the bad karma with Westphal continues.

            And, Purce at RB might mean they are looking to bench Westphal — of course, Westphal isn’t suited to be a RB anyway.

            Can’t switch Andrews and Onumonu in my formation — Andrews is not a wing player.

          • Breakers fan

            Purce was at right forward wing in the first half. My sense……and you know how senses are, they’re just senses, they’re not definitive knowledge, is that all is good in their eyes with Westphal – she seems happy – and I think they’d like to play her but the injury is the stumbling block, *compounded* with the Frisbie injury….that’s potentially 2 of your starting back line out….but maybe ready come this Sunday. So I think the move in the 2nd half of Purce to right back is more of an insurance thing…creating some more depth there. What you and I wonder about is if they are even entertaining the thought of trying Westphal at midfield – anywhere in midfield? I certainly hope so, especially when Frisbie is fully recovered — allows them to play Julie King on the right.

            My sense is that Andrews and Lavelle will both play centrally. Will Andrews start? Oddly, very oddly, to me, was that in that scrimmage Andrews didn’t start, She just played the 2nd half. They had DaCosta, White, Salem, Elby, Purce, Wiemer starting however.

          • mockmook

            Good to hear Westphal seems happy — she looked miserable last year.

            I think the only realistic way Andrews starts is if they use a 4-3-3 with two CAMs (Lavelle and Andrews).

          • Breakers fan

            To me, Andrews should start. Look at what she did at USC last year and the year before. To me, you play players that have that kind of track record. If I’m in charge I would probably start with the following players. Not sure of the exact formation but i’d try and make it work with the following: (assuming everyone is healthy)

            Dowie Onomonu
            Westphal Andrews Lavelle Purce
            Chapman Oyster Frisbie King
            Smith

            50% of games seen I would venture to guess was the highest of anyone who posts here. I could be wrong but that’s my guess.

          • mockmook

            Maybe that works if you use a very narrow 4-4-2 Diamond to clog up the middle and force attacks out wide.

            However, the DM needs to be a really solid ‘destroyer’ — I’m worried that neither Westphal nor Salem is that player. And, I don’t want to ‘waste’ Lavelle in that role.

            The guys at AWK said Chapman has been used as that type of DM (or, my guess, perhaps King can play there).

            Anyway:

            http://drawformation.com/post/58ef1ff2b6b6f/sm-58ef1ff2b6b6f.png

          • mockmook

            You may have unlocked the key to Boston having a decent season — of course, with my modifications 🙂

            BTW, I was just having a bottle of Coke in a dream — let me tell you, dream Cokes are really tasty and refreshing…

          • Breakers fan

            I like it!! Lavelle given freedom to come inside as she sees fit, interchanging with Andrews, if necessary for moments in time.

            The Coke in your dream tastes good to me too somehow – thanks!!

          • mockmook

            Yes, about 50% last year

          • Breakers fan

            One awful thing I learned today is that on the date of the home opener I have to leave the game in the 2nd half to go to work. Ack!!!

  • Gary Diver

    Four Questions

    1. Raquel Rodríguez, who was the 2015 Hermann Trophy winner and the second draft choice of the 2016 NWSL college draft, was the winner of the NWSL Rookie of the Year Award. Rodriquez winning the Rookie of the Year Award seemed strange to me since her name was rarely mentioned by bloggers on this site. Do people believe she was the best rookie last year?

    2. Does the FIFA Player of the Year Award include club play? At the FIFA Awards his past spring, Marta looked devastated when Carli Lloyd’s name was announced. Isn’t the award partly determined by fan voting? If so, would playing in NWSL help Marta in the voting process?

    3. Is there any way Savannah Jordan can play for Portland later this year?

    4. Any idea what Crystal Dunn will do for the rest of the year after her English season ends?

    • DNG

      1. She was probably the most deserving pick. I guess Sonnett and Daley were close.

      2. Lol. No. It hardly even takes international play into account. Marta didn’t really deserve to be their either on the balance of club play.

      3. Doubt it. The two league seasons overlap.

    • Steglitz49

      I agree with DNG on 1 & 2.

      Both 3 & 4 are possible but if Crystal and Savannah enjoy their lives in the British Isles, they may take it easy in their summer breaks and go and watch some Euro matches in Holland, for example.

    • GT

      As a Sky Blue fan I can say Rocky is a solid, solid player. We are lucky to have her. MVP? I don’t know. Did any other rookies have a great season? Hoping to see a few more goals and assists out of Rocky this year. The team looks improved so maybe that will happen.

  • Guest

    Portland
    Chicago
    KC
    Sky Blue
    NC
    Orlando
    Houston
    Seattle
    Washington
    Boston

    Winner: Chicago
    MVP: Naeher
    Rookie: Gibbons
    Golden Boot: Kerr

    • Steglitz49

      Why this obsession with Sam Kerr. Naeher I also find a bit odd as a choice.

      • Guest

        Interesting for you to be the one to talk about obsessions

        • Steglitz49

          You must lead a boring life.

        • That made me laugh

          • Steglitz49

            You too must lead a boring life.

      • What’s wrong with Naeher? Please don’t tell me you buy into the Harris hype.

        • Steglitz49

          There are plenty of tall lasses in the US so no team need have a goalie shorter than 5’11” and plenty could have those 6’1″ and 6’2″.

          I have never been convinced by either Naeher or Harris. It was their fortune that Adrianna France was seriously injured. Thus, I can’t see Naeher as an MVP. Had she stayed in Boston, possibly, because you need a weak defence to shine.

          • Franch is not the player many thought she was going to be. Didn’t even start on her club team until their #1 went elsewhere. I know a lot Thorns fans are nervous about her being their starting keeper this season.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Adrianna either has not recovered fully from her injury or she has become scared.

            This would fit with that, unlike Casey Short who was voted a member of Norway’s Toppserien’s 1st XI while she played for Avaldsnes, AF only played some games for them. Casey was seen as pillar of their team.

  • Helenfstanley

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sq314c:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !sq314c:
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  • Gary Diver

    What does the fine print of the new CBA say about requiring USWNT players to play in the NWSL?

    • Jim Horlan

      Good question. I’m sure Lindsay Horan paid particular attention to that issue, given how she seemed to have been blackmailed to come back.

      • Not sure I’d call it blackmail.. She was given an allocation spot with basically zero National Team time to show for it.. I’d say it worked out okay for her. Ending up in Portland and all.

        • Lorehead

          Amber Brooks said she hadn’t been “pressured,” but then immediately revealed that the coach of the USWNT had spoken to her about transferring to the NWSL, which I think a reasonable person would call pressure. As we learned in the lawsuit, playing in the NWSL in 2015 and 2016 was a contractual obligation for any player who signed that contract after opening day 2013.

          • Steglitz49

            Bayern Munich took the unusual step for a club to criticise the USSF (i.e. a national federation) for putting undue pressure on American players.

            Not long after, one of the French coaches mused publicly that there was no point in investing in American players because as soon as the USSF snapped its fingers they had to trot back stateside.

            Soccer, even WoSo, is the world’s game. Freedom of movement is part of its soul. Serfdom no longer.

          • Rdalford

            key difference between Brooks and Horan situations
            – Horan only agreed to come back when she was offered a USWNT contract (and as you note the USWNT contract had contract obligation to play in NWSL so signing the USWNT contract also required her to come back and play in NWSL)
            – Brooks let her discussion with USWNT coach/Sermanni push her into returning to play in NWSL in hope of playing well enough to be offered a NWSL contract. A better agent for Brooks might have only agreed to come back and play in NWSL if/when a firm offer of USWNT contract was made.

            The others (Engen, Press & Kling) who also came back also only came back with signed USWNT contracts.

            the Brooks situation is caution to others, if a player is having a successful career playing in Europe – only agree to come back once you have firm offer/signed USWNT contract.

          • GT

            Your point is well taken, however as an aside, IMO Brooks is not a USWNT caliber player. (I hope the players don’t read this crap.)

          • Steglitz49

            Amber Brooks’s mistake was to enter the 2013 draft in spite of already having signed a contract with Bayern Munich for 2 years. Portland drafted her on spec — really as a trading chip — but they drafted her after she belonged to BM.

            By all accounts Amber enjoyed playing for BM and they thought highly of her but not only was eventually the USSF whip cracked but it was explained to her that the carrot of the NT would be lost irrevocably if she did not bend over.

            Thus, Amber reluctantly broke her contract with BM about 6 months early. This was when BM made their strong statement. They on the one side stated that they would not stand in the way of a player but at the same time criticised the USSF-cabal for putting undue pressure on a young player.

            The fact that a mere club, even if it is one of the richest sports franchises in the world, criticises a National Federation speaks volumes. A year or so later there was another spat between Portland and a German club regarding Jessica McDonald. The unavoidable conclusion seems to be that Portland may also have been pulling the strings behind the scenes in the Brooks case.

            Amber not playing for Portland during the 2013 season but preferring to rest and prepare for the start of the fall season in Germany may have added a red flag to both Portland and USSF. If women players thought that they could do as they liked just because they had a contract with one of the richest sports clubs in the world then the rot had to be stopped immediately.

        • Jim Horlan

          From what I’ve read (and I could be wrong), Lindsay was told that if she wanted a USWNT future, she needed to come back, leaving behind a six figure contract in PSG with good competition. I get that they want to grow the league and all, but she was good enough to make the team without taking that step. She shows that you don’t necessarily need college to succeed.

        • Ashley C

          That old NYT article on her suggests she was pressured a little bit before making the decision to go to PSG but decided to risk it.

    • Rdalford

      ” .. fine print of the new CBA”
      difficult to say for sure what is in new CBA since CBA has not (yet?) been made public however the reporting to date does indicate that USWNT will be required to play in NWSL
      for example,
      Grant Wahl in SI article back on April 5th
      “The new CBA includes: A commitment from U.S. Soccer to pay the NWSL salaries for allocated players; a return commitment by the players to compete in the NWSL”
      and Graham Hayes in ESPNW article also from April 5th
      “As part of the agreement, U.S. Soccer will continue its commitment to pay the National Women’s Soccer League salaries of national team players allocated to the professional league entering its fifth season. National team players will commit to playing in the NWSL. That would not necessarily eliminate a split-season scenario as undertaken by Lloyd and Morgan this year. Both stars are currently in Europe — Lloyd with Manchester City; Morgan with Lyon — but are expected to return to the NWSL in June.”

      My take,
      – the old CBA essentially required USWNT players to play at least 2 seasons in NWSL in the 4 year WC/OG cycle and gave outlined a couple of options for how those NWSL commitments could be satisfied,
      – in addition, there was pro-rating/reduction in the NWSL portion of the salary to address split-season with USWNT player only playing partial season (as was done for players part season in Europe Rapinoe, Heath etc) in NWSL
      – old CBA also had contingency provision for pro-rating base tier x contract salary if USWNT member who was playing in Europe was unable to participate in WNT activities (the pro-rated reduction – if any – was limited so that player always received at least 75% of base tier x contract) but not clear this provision has ever been exercised.

      so my guess under new CBA there would be similar provisions
      – new CBA may contain similar provisions to require 2 (or more) seasons playing in NWSL within the 5 year life of this new CBA and perhaps offer options for satisfying this provision
      – also contain similar provisions to pro-rate the NWSL portion of the salary for split-season situations ( Morgan, Lloyd ) where player only plays part of a NWSL season

      Dunn, who it appears will not play in NWSL this year, or any player who plays full time in Europe (or elsewhere) but not in NWSL would not receive the NWSL portion of USWNT salary (hence Dunn not listed as allocated for 2017) but USWNT player would continue to receive full tier x base contract salary
      the base tier X contract salary might ? be subject to pro-rating (but always at least 75% of salary) if Dunn was unable to participate in WNT activities

      • Steglitz49

        The USSF cannot afford to make an example of either Alex or Carli and probably even Crystal, though she has been shafted before now.

        The USSF should do like Canada — let them play in Europe and spend the money on other players coming up the ranks.

    • Lorehead

      The previous CBA committed them to play either in 2013–14 or 2015–16, their choice. Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press all played the 2013 and 2014 seasons in Europe, according to their contracts, and also a partial season or two in the NWSL, before playing the full 2015 and 2016 NWSL seasons. When new players signed USWNT contracts, such as Lindsay Horan, they needed to transfer from Europe to the NWSL. Many players spend the NWSL off-season on loan in Australia or Japan, as their season does not overlap as much.

      One indication that the current arrangement is similar is that many American stars rushed to sign contracts in Europe before the CBA was hammered out.

  • GT

    Sky Blue can be very competitive if they stay healthy (I guess you could say that about all of the teams.). They have a very fast and talented front line in Kerr/O’Hara/Galton/Hayes. A very fast and talented (although inexperienced) back line of Rampone/Mills/Freeman/Skroski. Their mid-field may not be the fastest but Killian/Rodriguez/Corboz/Lytle are all very good “on the ball”. Now they need to stay healthy (knock on wood) and start to click. Also a fine coach I may add.

  • Alex

    Very late to this but I feel the need to throw some predictions out before the season starts at least…

    1. Chicago – Been improving through the last couple of years, kept the same core together while adding a bit of quality and depth, expect them to start well and be consistently good all season.

    2. Portland – Best squad in the league, will be very hard to beat when everyone is available, but the injuries they are starting with combined with losing players in the Euro’s will cause them to drop a few too many points to win the shield.

    3. KC – Will be solid defensively and have a lot more bite in attack than last season with their newly available forwards. However I don’t think their midfield will create enough chances for them to be counted among the very top sides.

    4. Seattle – I feel everyone is underrating Seattle. They were very poor by their standards last year but still nearly made the playoffs (surely would have were it not for the unbalanced schedule, let alone that abberation of a match in WNY). The additions they’ve made should sort out their leaky defence and even without the players that have departed they’ve still got so much quality in the team.

    5. Orlando – They now have a very strong first 11, but still have a weak squad. Think they’ll put in some very strong performances this year but will ultimately be the least consistent side around. Very excited to see an attack featuring Marta and Morgan.

    6. NC – Taking a risk and saying they’ll be a huge disappointment compared to last season. I think they are a pretty one dimensional side and teams will be much more prepared to deal with Williams and Macdonald in attack this year. I don’t think they’ve added the right players, far too many forwards, and entirely reliant on Sam Mewis in midfield.

    7. Sky Blue – Did really well last season after I predicted them to be awful. Christy Holly did a great job but I suspect they’ll end up in a similar position again rather than building on it. My main problem with the squad is the lack of goalscorers. Kerr, Galton, Ohara and others carry an attacking threat but I doubt any of them will be among the top scorers come the seasons end.

    8. Houston – Not overly convinced that the defenders they’ve signed will fix the issues at the back and their forwards are the same ones who were hot and cold last season. Such a talented squad who should be pushing for the playoffs but I’ve lost faith in Waldrum’s ability to turn this group of talented players into a functional team.

    9. Washington – Lost some real quality and replaced them with players deemed surplus to requirements at sides who finished far below them last season. Think they’ll struggle for goals without Dunn who has been vital for their attack the past two seasons.

    10. Boston – They’ll be much better than last year, particularly going forward, but still not good enough. Defence isn’t good enough, honestly looks worse than what they had last year to me. Lavelle, Dowie, White, Haavi, Andrews, ect should give them much more to get excited about at least.

    Not confident at all about 3-8, but pretty confident Chicago and Portland will be 1/2, while Washington/Boston will be 9/10.

  • guest

    It’s going to be a dark horse winner again. A gritty tough team that ‘spits blood’ so to speak and will do anything to win in the playoffs.

    Chicago has proven to not be that team. I think KC, Sky Blue, NC could surprise.

    • guest

      eta: which is why I’m surprised about the Chicago taking it all predictions. I don’t think these players have the mental toughness to win. They wouldn’t even do interviews after the SF loss last year. I look at a player like Williams or Groom and while they aren’t as technically gifted as Press, they will bulldoze the defense for a diving header.

      • sara

        THis is part of why I’m psyched to see ARod and Leroux back for KC playing with Groom.

      • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

        It’s not like Huerta, Ertz, Gilliland, Mautz, Short (formerly: Walls, Van Egmond, Quon, Lomneki nee Wenino, Chalupny) weren’t capable of getting those type of tough goals. The problem real with Chicago is that they try WAY TOO HARD. This team 19 out of 20 times tries to sprint a marathon. Therefore, they rarely completely dominate a game.

        It’s lack of cool not lack of “grit’.

        • mockmook

          I think it is fair and accurate to say that CRS has improved every year (and made the playoffs the last two years).

          Why shouldn’t we expect them to improve this year? And, if they improve, there isn’t much else they can do except win a championship.

          • anon

            Because every team is improving? Despite Press’ talents I just don’t buy CRS as a championship team.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            No, Chicago regressed last year. Naeher and FCKC’s inconveniences carried them to a “better to be lucky than good” playoff berth. Their prospects are not as good people make them out to be.

          • mockmook

            They played much better in the playoffs last year, and nearly won.

          • DNG

            I think they’ll still struggle for goals but they are still about as solid as any team in the NWSL. No team is perfect.

  • FawcettFan14

    This season is the most difficult to predict so far. And that’s a good thing! I could make a case for any of the 10 teams making the playoffs. It will make for exciting viewing as each game is contested.

    • Steglitz49

      The standard US system of the draft and team salary ceilings and what have you, makes for open seasons.

      It has to be like that without relegation/promotion, otherwise it would be too boring.

  • Ashley C

    I wasn’t the biggest fan of her play previously but I’m curious to see how Leroux looks.