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This week held importance in the National Women’s Soccer League for a plethora of reasons. There were opportunities for teams to bounce back from an off match the week before. There were opportunities for teams to establish dominance over their regional rival and there were opportunities for teams to move up the table. This weekend’s matches gave us a little bit of all of the above, even without many key players available for all teams due to international duty. So lets take a look back at Week 10 of NWSL action: Read more
The EURO 2013 is just one summer’s month away and tension is rising in Sweden. The national team will meet later this week and prepare for their friendly against Brazil next Wednesday in Stockholm. Six days after that, team manager Pia Sundhage will announce her roster for the championships. Since Sundhage started working for the Swedish soccer federation, she has surprised experts and fans by nominating a vast amount of different players who sometimes seemed to get closer to becoming a part of the team, only to not get called again next time. Read more
After a shortened week of matches last weekend, the NWSL had a full slate of matches with full rosters for teams to choose from. Now starting to head to the middle of the season, teams are realizing the wear and tear of a full professional schedule and the results were earned in more of a hard-nosed way than in previous weeks. But still these points were very important to grab and there was one team that took the opportunity in a busy week to make some strides through the standings. Lets take a look back at Week Nine of the NWSL Regular Season and some roster changes that teams will need to make in the next few weeks because of International Friendlies: Read more
Whether or not the lyrics of the infamous song by Queen were floating through Lisa De Vanna’s head on Saturday night, it takes something quite something special to pull off a bicycle kick goal. But almost always when successful, the feat stirs a frenzy in the soccer community. And I’m pretty sure for the young fans that witnessed it at Yurcak Field or for those who watched the match stream online, for the next few weeks the only thing that they will want to practice is bicycle kicks.
The goal was a highlight of a short match fixture list for this weekend, due to the USA/Canada game on Sunday. And while half of the teams in the NWSL had the weekend off, the other half had to march out makeshift lineups due to the absence of of the USWNT and CanWNT allocated players. Portland lost four regular starters, Sky Blue and Boston were each without three starters and Chicago had the toughest job of all, where they had to put together almost a completely new back line in play as they faced the Thorns on the road. Sky Blue and Chicago did succeed with putting together their best possible lineups while Boston and Portland faced some realities after this weekend.
You see this in any league across the world, men’s or women’s, that you are only as good as your depth. And now with the US hosting two more friendlies in June against South Korea (June 15th and 20th) and Canada traveling to Germany for a friendly on June 19th, team depth will be at a premium (also to note: Mexico will not be playing any friendlies during this time, so the handful of MexWNT players will be available for NWSL team selection).
So I will be diverting from the usual weekly recap, as it was pretty clear that De Vanna was the player that stood out from the two matches played, though it has to be said as well that Chicago pulled out an impressive result to go on the road with two new players that have only been training with the team for a week and pick up their first win of the season. But instead let’s look at the other four teams that will need to make roster changes due to the international friendlies and which teams will fare better than others. Reminder that all teams should have a full squad to choose from next weekend but then will be without their USWNT and CanWNT allocated players the week after.
The Best of the Bunch
Western New York- The Flash will potentially only lose Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd to the USWNT during the stretch, as their Canadian allocated players were not brought into camp for the match against the US and probably won’t be brought in for Germany as well. And the Flash have already had experience replacing both players, as Lloyd missed the first four games of the season and Wambach had to sit out a match early on as well. So expect to see Adriana move up to fill Wambach’s position as the target striker and that would give Sam Kerr a bit more room to run around in front or behind. The one thing to look out for is if Tom Sermanni calls in Adrianna Franch for the two friendlies, meaning the Flash would have to put Pamela Tajonar in goal, who has not seen any action this year. The Flash will be away to Washington and Chicago during the time, so a decent schedule for them to pick up points, especially with a defensively weakened Spirit squad.
Staying the Same
Seattle Regin FC- You can’t really put the Reign down for being as worse than they already are without their allocations, because they won’t be losing much that they haven’t already gained. Sure, Kaylyn Kyle and Emily Zurrer will be missing this stretch during Canada’s game, but they have been shuffled in and out of the lineup so it’s hard to point in that direction. Hope Solo will most likely be gone with the USWNT as well but she’s only played one match this season on her road back to recovery from wrist surgery. And we really still don’t know what the timetable is with the debut of Megan Rapinoe so you can’t say anything about that front either. Seattle plays away to Portland for the last time of the season during that time period and always seems to play well in those games, despite two tough losses. But here’s the wildcard in this: Wales plays two matches during this time against Slovakia, according to FIFA’s match listing. So if Jessica Fishlock plays for her country, the Reign will be in real trouble. So keep an eye out for news on that front.
Washington Spirit- There may be some interesting factors when talking about the Spirit here during this time, they will lose four players during this period with Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger gone to the US and Robyn Gayle and Diana Matheson to Canada. But the Spirit have some reinforcements when it comes to this problem. We know that Chantel Jones is a solid goalkeeper and can step in nicely for Harris. Defense might be a little bit of an issue, with Krieger and Gayle out, but potentially this is where the Spirit dig into their resources with the Spirit Reserves W-League team. They are managed by Spirit Assistant Coach Mark Parsons, so the game style from the Spirit Reserves to the NWSL Spirit shouldn’t be much different and there are a few players on the Spirit Reserves that were trialists during the preseason, so they have experience playing for the first team. And in midfield, Mexican international Lupita Worbis has arrived to the team, which should provide some depth there especially during this time. The Spirit only have to face Western New York at home, so if they can figure out a plan to hold the Flash off for 90 minutes and get some points, that would be big.
Might Not Be So Good
FC Kansas City- The Blues may run into some problems during this stretch in June. First off, they only have 18 players on their roster as it is, plus a couple listed as reserve but not taking full advantage of the 20 you are allowed within NWSL rules. Second, while it was great at the time that Kristie Mewis was available for the Blues to draft in the College Draft, you had to figure that she would be with the USWNT eventually during the season. With the Blues rostering six national team players, that brings their active roster to 12 players with only one goalkeeper. I’m not so worried about Bianca Henninger in goal, but both FCKC’s center backs will be with their national teams as well as basically their entire midfield, minus Jen Buczkowski. So with the two reserves that they have, Vlatko Andonovski will need to recruit some other talent to suit up and potentially play some important minutes. While the internationals are gone, they will have a home-and-home with Chicago, who have played very well against Portland while short staffed. Plus they have a match against the Spirit at home three days after the break is over and it will be interesting to see how they legs are on each of the internationals at that point. These will be crucial matches for the Blues as the middle of the season rolls around, if they want to stay in the hunt for prime playoff position, they will need points from these matches.
….now back to the usual
Week Nine Match to Watch For
Boston Breakers vs. Western New York Flash, Wednesday June 5, 7pm Local Time, Dilboy Stadium Somerville, MA
This match is going to be crucial for both sides with the weeks that each team has. Boston is coming off of a shellacking against Sky Blue where not much was going on for them on a positive note. But the thing that will keep the Breakers motivated is that they will want to quickly erase the memory. Plus throw in that possibly Alyssa Naeher will make her Breakers return that night, pending league and International Transfer Certificate approval. On the other side for the Flash, it will be a tough week of games. After the match against the Breakers they will face Sky Blue in New Jersey on Saturday. So it will be important for them to get on a positive start on this road trip. Watch out for Sam Kerr in this game (if you haven’t already). She has been in quite a good form lately and can run rings around outside backs. If she is on the same flank as Heather O’Reilly, it could turn into quite an interesting match-up.
In case you do not know the song: When the Danish men’s national team had their best days yet in the 1980′s they had a cheering song that went “We are red – we are white: We are Danish dynamite”.
That should explain the headline of this post about Tyresö FFs left and center back, 25-year-old Line Røddik Hansen Line was born and raised in the Danish capital Copenhagen and is currently playing her fourth season in Sweden. She is a regular member of the Danish national team, has 80 caps until today and will most likely have an important role when Denmark takes on hosts Sweden, Finland and Italy in group A of the EURO 2013 that will start on the 10th of July. Read more
On a weekend where many soccer fans around the world saw beautiful passing and great abilities to go forward during the UEFA Men’s Champions League Final, London was not the only place to see players of this quality. On a rainy Saturday night in a suburb of Boston, the National Women’s Soccer League learned one thing: Lianne Sanderson is a quality number 10 play maker and should be a number one primary concern when preparing to face the Breakers. Other major moments of Week Seven in NWSL regular season action saw a near-triumphant return of a USWNT starter only to be shadowed by a match-changing decision, quick responses to adversity and a defensive wall that still can’t be broken. Here is one last look at the weekend’s fixtures: Read more
The highlight of Week Six in the National Women’s Soccer League was the six point effort from Sky Blue FC on the west coast. There were people that were unsure if the New Jersey outfit could take their success on the road and back up their early presence on top of the league table. But a late winner on Thursday in Portland and a chippy, but professional win against Seattle on Sunday has given Sky Blue a share of first position with the Thorns, with a third of their schedule in the books. Plus there was high scoring action elsewhere as Washington got their forwards on board this week with a 4-2 win over Seattle and FC Kansas City eliminating the last undefeated team in NWSL play. Lets take a look at some of the key players and moments from Week Six: Read more