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Americans Abroad: Advantage Alex

Alex Morgan has been medically cleared to play in the Champions League final. (photo courtesy Olympique Lyonnais)
Alex Morgan led OL in goals in their Coupe de France semifinal win. (photo courtesy Olympique Lyonnais)

Alex Morgan led OL in goals in their Coupe de France semifinal win. (photo courtesy Olympique Lyonnais)

Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are 90 minutes away from playing in their first UEFA Women’s Champions League Final, but only one of them will be celebrating come Saturday afternoon when they face each other for a second time in a week. The two U.S stars will meet at the spectacular Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday as Lyon, the current holders of he Champions League, look to defend a 3-1 lead from last week’s first leg in Manchester.

Both Lloyd and Morgan started in the semifinal first leg, but neither was able to impact the game as much as their qualities have seen them do so on so many occasions. For Lloyd, she was forced to do a lot more chasing than creating, with Lyon dominating the ball. Morgan only really had one clear cut chance, which came five minutes into the second half, before she was substituted less than five minutes later.

The 3-1 score line for Lyon makes them overwhelming favorites to progress to their sixth final in eight years – winning three of their previous five. Despite Carli Lloyd saying after the game that her side cannot be counted out due to it only being half-time, it will take a minor miracle for City to overcome the champions and reach the final in Cardiff, Wales.

Lloyd and City will enjoy a final in two weeks, however, after they progressed to the Women’s FA Cup Final the week before their Champions League tie, overcoming Liverpool Ladies to reach the Wembley showpiece. The game will give Lloyd the opportunity to recreate one of the most memorable moments of her career after scoring twice at the home of English football at London 2012 in the Olympic Gold Medal match against Japan.

Morgan herself also has a domestic final to look forward to after scoring four against Henin-Beaumont in a 10-0 French Cup semifinal win.

While Lloyd and Morgan cannot meet in the Champions League Final, there is a solid chance there could be two Canadians in the showpiece finale, with Lyon’s Kadeisha Buchanan likely to come up against Paris Saint-Germain’s Ashley Lawrence, with Lawrence’s side also 3-1 up in their semifinal tie, gaining their victory away at FC Barcelona.

Elsewhere, both Crystal Dunn and Heather O’Reilly sat the weekend out, with Dunn’s Chelsea Ladies side scheduled to meet Manchester City, who were facing Lyon, and O’Reilly’s Arsenal Ladies due to face Notts County Ladies, who were forced to fold after their owner could not clear the club’s debts.
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Michelle Betos's Norwegian side has yet to collect a point after two matches. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Michelle Betos’s Norwegian side has yet to collect a point after two matches. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

In Sweden, Ella Masar McLeod was on target for FC Rosengard as the Damallsvenskan kicked off last week, helping her side to a 3-1 away win at Djurgardens. Rosengard had opened the season with a 7-2 win against Kvarnsvedens just a few days earlier, with Masar McLeod scoring twice.

Also in Sweden, Savannah Levin, who won the NCAA Championship with USC last year, played for Gothenburg in a 3-3 draw away at Kvarnsvedens alongside fellow American, Sarah Teegarden, who graduated out of Wake Forest. Levin’s sister Cami plays for the Houston Dash.

Defender Gina Lewandowski played 90 minutes for Bayern Munich in the German Frauen Bundesliga at the weekend, helping her side to a narrow 1-0 away win at Duisburg.

The Norwegian Toppserien also kicked off last week, with American keeper Katie Fraine two-for-two in the first week with her club Avaldsnes. One of those wins came over Valerenga, the club former Portland Thorns keeper Michelle Betos joined in the off-season. Avaldsnes won the game 2-1, with Valerenga also featuring former Boston Breakers pair Stephanie Verdoia and Elise Krieghoff. Last time out, it was two losses from two for the trio of Americans, as they lost 2-0 at home to Røa.

Finally in Scotland, Florida Gators graduate Savannah Jordan played 24 minutes for her club Glasgow City as they won 3-1 away at Hamilton Academical on Sunday, which leaves them second behind Hibernian after just four games of the season.

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