Wednesday Roundup: Riley Suspended for Season Opener

The Equalizer Staff April 12, 2017 48


Paul Riley 's team won the NWSL Championship as the Western New York Flash. They will defend as the North Carolina Courage (photo copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Paul Riley is suspended for his first game as head coach of the North Carolina Courage (photo copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

North Carolina head coach Paul Riley has received a fine and a two-game suspension for misconduct involving physical contact with game officials during last year’s semifinal against the Portland Thorns. Riley was ejected from that game, which the Flash would go on to win 4-3, and watched his team win the championship from a suite as he served the first game of the suspension.

Riley joined the Western New York Flash before the 2016 season after leaving the Portland Thorns and led the team to its first NWSL championship. The Liverpool native was named the official head coach of the Courage in January, bringing many of his staff with him, including assistant coach Scott Vallow, who ran the Flash bench during Riley’s previous suspensions.


Marta warmed up for her Orlando stint by scoring two goals against Bolivia. (Getty Images)

Marta is likely to miss Orlando’s first game. (Getty Images)

Orlando head coach Tom Sermanni mentioned on today’s NWSL conference call with media members that new signing Marta is not likely to be available in Saturday’s season opener in Portland due to visa issues, although the rest of the current squad is available. The Brazilian forward made waves throughout the world of women’s soccer when it was announced last week that she was leaving successful Swedish club FC Rosengard for the sunny pitches of Orlando. The 5-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year was drawn to the club by the roster, which includes her former teammates Ashlyn Harris, Alex Morgan, and Ali Krieger.

“It will be very doubtful that Marta will be here because of the visa process,” said Sermanni. “We’re kind of counting her out at this stage. At this moment in time everyone is healthy.”

{Read more: NWSL matches headed to Go90 app | Duffy defers on streaming details}


Tobin Heath (white) and Ali Krieger battle during the 0-0 draw between the Thorns and Spirit two weeks ago (photo copyright EriMacPhoto for The Equalizer)

Tobin Heath (white) will sit out the Thorns’ opener. (photo copyright EriMacPhoto for The Equalizer)

Both Portland and North Carolina will join Orlando in missing key pieces on opening weekend.

Thorns head coach Mark Parsons said on today’s media call that midfielder Tobin Heath will be out with the same minor injury that kept her off the roster of the recent USWNT friendlies. All other Thorns players, including Lindsey Horan who also missed the NT games, will be available.

Courage head coach Paul Riley also confirmed that captain Abby Erceg is out after suffering an injury in last month’s Algarve Cup, potentially her last appearance with the New Zealand National Team. In her stead, Riley might use new signee Yuri Kawamura. The Japanese international is a central defender by trade but could push into the midfield.


The Seattle Reign made a number of announcements at their kit reveal party yesterday. Former Reign and USWNT defender Stephanie Cox will return to the team as an assistant coach. Cox signed with the Reign in June 2013, helping lead them to back to back NWSL Shields and NWSL Championship appearances in 2014 and 2015, retiring from soccer at the end of the 2015 season. Cox also amassed nearly 100 caps for the USWNT, winning bronze and silver World Cup medals as well as Olympic gold in 2008.

The Reign have also picked up Michaela Hahn after the midfielder was waived by the North Carolina Courage. Hahn made thirteen appearances and scored one goal for the Western New York Flash during their championship run. The 2016 first round draft pick also won a championship with Florida State in 2014 and has appeared with the USWNT U-23 team. She will add depth to Seattle’s midfield after the departures of Keelin Winters and Kim Little and the season-ending injury to Diana Matheson.

“Michaela was someone we looked at in last year’s draft and then followed her career with the Flash,” said head coach Laura Harvey. “We have a position of need right now for her. We’re excited to see what she’ll bring to the team.”

{Read more: Lavelle, Dunn shine in USWNT rout | USWNT end series with 5-1 win}


Seattle, Washington, and Portland all announced their new kits ahead of Saturday’s season openers. Seattle and Portland’s are available for purchase immediately in their respective online stores.

Seattle’s alternate kit pairs the familiar bright yellow and Microsoft logo with darker sleeves.

Portland went with darker sleeves as well, adding gray to their traditional red home jersey.

Washington’s new kit is a departure from the chevron that they’ve rocked the previous two years but should be familiar to fans as they’ve taken the fade template formerly used by Houston, Chicago, and the USWNT, and made it their own, starting with white shoulders and fading to red.

Chicago’s secondary jersey was announced last week, but the club held a release party last night at The Annex. Members of the media, Red Stars staff, Annex collaborators, and local fans were invited to mingle with the players and, of course, see the new jersey up close and personal. This kit combines the fade with vertical stripes, starting white at the shoulders before fading into blue stripes after the famous four red stars at mid-chest.



  • Calci0

    I guess missing the Championship game wasn’t enough?!? So essentially it’s a two game suspension. Hopefully the lesson has been learned.

    • Steglitz49

      The text in the article reads — “Paul Riley has received a fine and a two-game suspension for misconduct involving physical contact with game officials during last year’s semifinal against the Portland Thorns.” — Thus, he served his first match-ban in the final and the second will be the first game of this season.

  • Guest

    Anyone know what Parsons specifically said about Heath? Did he make it sound like she’ll be available week 2? My niece has tickets and it won’t be pretty if I have to tell her she won’t be playing.

    • Steglitz49

      She will be disappointed, for sure, but I trust you can explain that that is the way the cookie crumbles in life. She will understand. If she does not …

    • Arcie Tillydee

      Parsons said Tobin was “not quite there.” Not sure exactly what to make of that, but I kind of expect her for Week 2. That might just be wishful thinking, though… =P

  • mockmook

    I like CRS’ “whites”

    The others in this article, not so much.

    • Steglitz49

      Will Chicago play in black or white sox?

      • wolf


        • Steglitz49

          just a Cub reporter

  • GT

    Always liked Stefanie Cox. Glad to see she got a coaching position.

    • Steglitz49

      Stefanie was a Veteran who got screwed over WC-15. I guess had she stayed Lopez, they might not have dared.

  • GT

    “Let It Reign?” Is Eric Clapton doing the half time show? (Where are my rockers out there?)

  • Som Termanni

    The Thorns home and Orlando home shirts use the same template as the US, English, French, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Dutch national teams, among others (Vapor I). The Reign alternates use the cheaper Revolution shirt, which is derived from the Vapor design.

    Chicago’s alternates are the same template as Boston’s home shirts (Striped Division II).

    Washington’s home shirts are the same template as the Houston home, Chicago home, and North Carolina away shirts (DQT).

    North Carolina’s home shirts are the same template as most teams’ away shirts (Striker IV).

    KC and Houston are the only teams left to not announce any kit, though Houston players have been wearing last year’s kit with the Lifetime badge on the sleeve in promo videos.

    • guest

      the Chicago alternative (blue vertical stripes fading up to white) and the Breakers home shirt (white vertical stripes fading up to blue) will potentially make for a visually confusing match when Boston hosts Chicago on July 7th.

      • Steglitz49

        In days of old when knights were bold, teams only used their alternate strips when the kits clashed. You hardly ever saw players in the team alternate.

        A classic example of alternate use is the 1966 men’s WC final, in which the English played in their alternate red and Germany in their standard white jerseys. Because England won, the red strip became known as the “lucky” strip.

    • Steglitz49

      The color of the Seattle alternate strip reminds me of the Japanese one from a couple of seasons ago. Is it Nahomi’s coup?

  • Som Termanni

    Really surprised EQ isn’t picking up on the open discussion by Duffy about the league and players talking about a players’ union during the conference call.

    • DNG

      A union is definitely going to be need soon but I doubt it will lead to any big changes in compensation. Hopefully some more player right though.

      • Steglitz49

        What union is negotiating the new CBA? The Union of NT players?

        • Lorehead

          Yes. The United States Women’s National Team Players’ Association (USWNTPA).

          • Steglitz49

            not the UWA?

          • mockmook

            Nope. The CBA is done.

          • Lorehead

            It indeed should have been was, not is. I noticed but decided not to say anything about it. So, congratulations, I’m not the most pedantic person in a thread for once!

      • mockmook

        Unions are not just ‘naturally’ a good thing — that have ended up hurting companies or industries in many instances.

        • Steglitz49

          “some” rather than “many”

        • disqus_hj8dHnhlYK

          It depends on the industry. The big 4 American sports leagues have been running with their own unions for 50-60+ years now and have become multi-billion dollar industries in the mean time. I’m sure they’re doing just fine.

        • JL

          Most of the benefits that the average worker enjoys these days would never have come about without unions willing to fight for them. Safer working conditions, better pay, health care, etc.- all the work of unions.

          Or would you rather things be stuck in the era of the magnates, where the average employee was risking their life trying to make a few pennies? We’d still be there without unions.

          • mockmook

            Or not

        • DNG

          ‘Good thing’ depends on the perspective. Companies may not believe they are a good thing but the employees probably do. Jobs leaving the country because of cheap labor overseas is a natural next step. The next step after that as the world advances is of course automation which will eventually replace the majority of low skill labor jobs.

          As it relates to the NWSL. A players Union probably wouldn’t be necessary if the NWSL was more of a free market but it’s not. Salary caps are basically the result of owners colluding to suppress wages. So I don’t have a problem at all with players doing the same thing to improve conditions for themselves. Obviously I think both sides need to be reasonable with what they’re asking for.

          • AlexH

            It does depend on perspective indeed. It should be noted that workers have the legal right to unionize if they so chose but most of the time they chose not to, so I don’t think that that employees just automatically think that unions are a good thing.

          • Steglitz49

            China just bought AC Milan.

          • TsovLoj

            Just because the law says Americans can unionize doesn’t mean employers recognize that right in practice. A McDonald’s worker right now could choose to be a unicorn before they could choose to be union.

          • mockmook

            Sure, everyone knows about all the street toughs that McDonald’s hires to rough up union organizers — the blood, the blood, the blood…

          • Lorehead

            Wal-Mart, for example, has fired entire categories of workers and closed stores rather than allow them to unionize.

          • TsovLoj

            They’re usually more subtle than that, as Lore described. On the one hand, thanks for putting words into my mouth, but on the other, I did lol a lil bit.

          • Lorehead

            I mean, if someone thinks it’s justified, someone thinks it’s justified, but big companies that never unionized generally have plans to prevent it.

        • Lorehead

          Unions are a good thing in general; nobody, including the owners, should have too much unchecked power.

          When the union representing shareholders, also known as a “corporation,” and the union representing employees, reach an agreement to pay employees more money in the future and less money today, the company ends up having to promise exponentially more money than it would have needed to pay up front, in exchange for not having to pay right away. If, when the bill comes due, the business isn’t doing so well, conservatives tend to interpret that as entirely the fault of the employees and say the problem is that they have any bargaining power at all. I don’t think that makes any sense. Those deals were mutually agreed to in order to save the company money in the short run. There’s never been a sports league that failed because of a union, but three in this sport alone failed because of their owners.

          The problem that people usually point to with sports unions, that isn’t just resentment against pro athletes making people’s knees jerk against them, is that unions and owners tend to reach deals that sell out whatever other people are not represented by a union, In particular, customers/fans and future hires are not at the table when unions and management discuss whether to trade job security and a seniority system for lower compensation. This is really a problem whenever we let two parties freely make a deal that affects anybody not at the table.

          I’m not convinced the current structure of the NWSL would stand up if anyone, such as a former player, were motivated to challenge it in court. It’s modeled on MLS, and when the players sued MLS, the decision rested in part on the fact that they have a union to represent their interests. With a union, there are clear legal precedents the league can rely on to say it’s kosher.

      • Lorehead

        Doubling the minimum salary might have been a way of getting out ahead of it. If the players think the league is growing and giving them raises as soon as it can afford to, maybe they’re not in any rush to shake things up.

  • Steglitz49

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the English PFA Members from 100 clubs (Premier League, Football League and WSL) have been voting. The result will be announced at a banquet in London on April 23rd. The shortlists for the ladies:

    Women’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2017 in association with Sodexo
    Lucy Bronze – Manchester City Women
    Karen Carney – Chelsea Ladies
    Jane Ross – Manchester City Women
    Jill Scott – Manchester City Women
    Caroline Weir – Liverpool Ladies
    Ellen White – Birmingham City Ladies


    Women’s PFA Young Player of the Year 2017 in association with Sodexo
    Millie Bright – Chelsea Ladies
    Jess Carter – Birmingham City Ladies
    Nikita Parris – Manchester City Women
    Georgia Stanway – Manchester City Women
    Keira Walsh – Manchester City Women
    Caroline Weir – Liverpool Ladies

    • Alex

      Got to be Bronze or Scott for me, both were fantastic last season. Probably Parris or Carter for young player. So glad to see Caroline Weir nominated for both though, one of my favourite players.

      • Steglitz49

        Thank you. That struck me too. The risk is that she will miss out in both. Let’s hope not.

  • newsouth
    • Steglitz49

      It looks like a Nadeshiko kit with stuff printed all over it.

    • Steglitz49

      Why should they? Someone has to pay for the shebang. Sponsors bring income. Don’t be snide.

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  • Steglitz49

    In the photo, Sam Mewis has her back towards us but who is the other lass? I ought to recognise her but I confess I don’t.

  • TsovLoj

    Mixed feelings about the Thorns jersey. The red lines up the shoulders make it look uncomfortably like an apron. That said, if you can unsee that, it’s nice looking.

    • Steglitz49

      As long as it is not see-through when it rains …