NWSL – 2016 NWSL Draft Big Board #91-100

Finally! Here is the first of ten installments of the preseason/mid-season big board for the 2016 NWSL Draft. I’ve made some adjustments from my preseason board based on the season to date and will make a full revision at season’s end.

91. Amanda Hill – MF (DMC) – West Virginia

A starter here from day one and likely to either approach or break the all-time starts record for the Mountaineers by season’s end. WVU captain has seldom gotten her due in terms of awards due to unflashy nature of her game but has been a crucial part in her club’s gameplan as an unfussy defensive midfielder who has helped the Mountaineers as a vital shield in front of a stout backline. Good for the odd goal or assist but is not particularly offensive in nature. Could be a late round steal or promising camp invitee.

92. Haley Washburn – MF – Harvard

Some may wonder if the Californian has already plateaued as a player. Washburn came into Harvard with many a plaudit from her youth days thanks to her status as a U17 international with the U.S. and has perhaps struggled to meet those lofty expectations. Was a budding star after a big 2013 but came back to earth a bit last year. A calming presence on the field, Washburn will likely not be a big factor on the stat sheet. Someone the Breakers may want a look at on the reserve team for a season or two if she doesn’t catch on elsewhere.
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NCAA: Maryland is Rutgers’ 8th Straight Shutout Victim

What happens when a resistible force meets an immovable object? Well, when the force is the Maryland Terrapins’ suspect attack, and the immovable object is the impregnable (so far) Rutgers Scarlet Knights defense, the result is a predictable 1-0 win for the visitors.

Rutgers is making headlines with their defense, which has yet to give up a goal in 8 matches this season (10 if you count preseason). But the offense wasted no time doing their part. Just over a minute in, midfielder Madison Tiernan took the ball from Maryland on the Terps’ side of midfield, brought it forward, then sent it to forward Colby Ciarrocca at the top right corner of the box. The defense converged on Ciarrocca, and she tipped the ball to her left, in front of an oncoming Samantha Valliant, who fired it in in stride past goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands.
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Spirit fall to physical Seattle, 2-1

In a sane world, the main topic of this writeup would be the two sensational goals scored by Jess Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe to give Seattle the win.

Instead, it all started when the Spirit announcer messed up and announced Hope Solo’s as #2 instead of #1, then quickly corrected himself. Spirit season ticket holders have gotten used to these little goofs, whether it’s introducing Robyn Gayle as Crystal Gayle, getting Ali Krieger’s number wrong, saying Mike Jorden is the head coach, or failing to announce Crystal Dunn at all.

Then early in the game, Seattle owner Bill Predmore was at the Reign bench and refused to leave when asked despite it being explicitly against the NWSL rules for him to be there. Reportedly, he threw away the phone of the poor Spirit volunteer who asked him to leave. (I’d really like to hear about some repercussions for Predmore here, particularly since some of the activity on the field by his players was at about the same level of decorum.)

Meanwhile, on the field 15 minutes in Megan Rapinoe got around right flank defender Whitney Church to send a cross in. Katherine Reynolds was able to head the ball clear at the goalmouth, but it fell right to a wide open Fishlock, who had plenty of time to collect the ball and fire it toward goal from about 25 out. It deflected slightly off a Spirit defender and went into the upper right corner past a leaping Ashlyn Harris.

Ten minutes later Reign forward Merritt Mathias won a fight for the ball in the corner of the box and kicked it out to Megan Rapinoe, who, just as wide open as Fishlock, fired it into the upper left-hand corner past a leaping Harris.
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NCAA: Maryland loses narrowly to West Virginia, 1-0

The Maryland Terrapins endured a withering barrage of shots from the nationally ranked (#11-#15) West Virginia Mountaineers but held the visitors to a single goal in – surprisingly – the first-ever meeting of the two teams. The visitors outshot the home team 21 to 5 overall and 7 to 2 with shots on target. They also had 6 corner kicks while giving up none.

The decisive goal came in the 25th minute. Defender Carly Black sent a nice ball forward to Amandine Pierre-Louis, who found space to fire a rocket of a shot in from the edge of the penalty area on the right. Goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands was able to make the save but not hold onto the ball. She, defender Amanda Gerlitz, and forward Kailey Utley all went for the rebound, but Utley got there first and was able to tap it in.
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NWSL – Round Nineteen Fantasy Preview

With two rounds left in the NWSL fantasy season, the playoff spots have been decided, and even first and last have been decided. All of that means you’re probably best advised to stay away from anyone outside of the three teams fighting for home advantage in the semi-finals. The risk for squad rotation is just too great with everyone else. Managers will want to get a closer look at those who haven’t played much this season, many of the players who have featured for most of the season will likely have a foot in Cabo, and I suspect some of the USWNT’ers will be kept on ice with the Victory Tour coming up.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on who to pick for round nineteen:


FC Kansas City have been in killer form as of late and will be fully rested against an SBFC team playing on Saturday night at the regular season champs. Hate to use an allocation spot, but I’m probably going to plump for Barnhart and not think twice. Ashlyn Harris against eliminated Portland isn’t a bad bet, and neither is whoever starts for Chicago against a WNY team running out of offensive weapons. But beware the Red Stars, as they also have looked out of gas over the last month.


As always, I’m making an exception to get Kelley O’Hara in my lineup, though it certainly hurts with her taking an allocation slot up. SBFC has two games though, so hopefully she’ll get major minutes in both and justify this choice. Otherwise, I like Leigh Ann Robinson from FC Kansas City and Taryn Hemmings of Chicago. Washington’s got a decent matchup, but I’m not sure they have the defenders to get much more than a clean sheet bonus from a points standpoint.
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JMU Invitational Round 2: CAA blanks Big East

On Sunday, the Big East and Colonial Athletic Association teams switched off against each other. William & Mary faced Georgetown in the first game and shocked the Hoyas, 3-0. Then James Madison took on Seton Hall and prevailed easily, 5-0.
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JMU Invitational Round 1

The Fairfield Inn by Marriott James Madison University Invitational – to give it its full name – presented a contrast in the first round of matches. In the opener, William & Mary dispatched Seton Hall easily, 5-1, while in the nightcap Georgetown had a tight, high-scoring battle with hosts James Madison before prevailing, 4-3.

If you had to set up a pecking order among the teams, it would definitely be:

1. Georgetown – last year 6-1-2 and #2 in Big East, 11-5-6 overall, ranked #25 in country.
2. James Madison – 7-2 and #2 in Colonial Athletic Association, 12-8 overall.
3. William & Mary – 5-4 and #4 in CAA, 12-6-1 overall.
4. Seton Hall – 0-6-3 in Big East, 3-10-5 overall.

I don’t want to diss Seton Hall too badly, but one of these teams is not like the others, and it showed in the results.
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NWSL – Round Eighteen Fantasy Preview

To put it bluntly, my attention span is fading pretty badly considering the beginning of college season is upon us. With three rounds left in the season, I’ve fallen to fourth overall and 31.00 points behind the overall leader. While I did OK in the round past, I also left a lot of points on the table, with Carli Lloyd and Sofia Huerta among the massive busts for me on my team. Crystal Dunn delivered. Again. But she’s on everyone’s team right now, so if you want to make a big move, you’re going to have to roll the dice in a big way.

Seattle, Boston, and FC Kansas City have two games this round. Obviously, you’re not going to be considering too many Breakers besides Kristie Mewis, but you definitely want a lot of players from the other two. Chicago looks to be fading down the stretch but are facing an equally wheezing WNY side in the highlight of the one-game matchups. Again, strategy has to be dictated by where you are in the standings right now. But with three rounds to go, time is running out to get to the promised land.


It’s gotta be either Nicole Barnhart or Hope Solo. I’d tip Chicago’s goalkeeper against WNY as a wild card option, but there’s no telling who’ll be in goal for the Red Stars, so I’d stay away. Considering Vlatko’s pulled the bait and switch with double game rounds this year, I’m just going to ride with Hope Solo as the safe option.


Seattle’s got two impressive options in Kendall Fletcher and Rachel Corsie. I think Corsie’s got the hot hand at the moment, but so might other players, which might push me towards Fletcher. Similarly, Leigh Ann Robinson and Amy LePeilbet have both been golden for FCKC thus far, averaging nearly five points a match. Take your pick from the duo. Of course, my third option is Kelley O’Hara, listed as a defender, playing as an attacker.
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2015 Women’s World Cup – United States vs Japan – A Performance for The Ages As USWNT Lifts Trophy

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

PRE – So here it is. The rubber match in what has turned into the best rivalry in women’s soccer. The U.S. has to be considered the favorite after easing past Germany in the semis and having looked an entirely different team after the enforced changes before the quarterfinal. They haven’t lacked for chances against Japan in past encounters, it’s just a matter of making the most of them now. Japan has shown moments of vulnerability all throughout this tournament but have made teams pay for not making the most of their chances. Can they pull another rabbit out of their hat and retain their title?

3’ – GOAL – United States (Lloyd) – Dream start or nightmare start depending on your persuasion. Off a corner, the U.S. delivers low, with Ohno missing her interception. Lloyd swoops in and hammers it low and beyond Kaihori for the game’s first goal.

5’ – GOAL – United States (Lloyd) – Another set piece calamity for Japan. Heath wins a free kick in a dangerous spot, functioning almost as a short corner. The delivery goes to the near post, with Johnston backheeling into the area. It bounces around the area, and Lloyd pounces on space in between two Japanese defenders to scrap it home. An unbelievable American start.

14’ – GOAL – United States (Holiday) – The trophy is coming back to America. Krieger drives a cross into the box, which, for some reason, Iwashimizu tries to clear with a stooping header. This just pops it up into the air, with Holiday running onto it and volleying it home. Great finish, suicidal defending.

16’ – GOAL – United States (Lloyd) – This is like something from another planet. Japan gives it away cheaply near midfield, and Lloyd takes a few dribbles around a Japanese player before letting fly from the halfway line. Kaihori is off her line and can’t get there as it bounces off the inside of the left post and across the goal for a hat trick with barely a quarter of an hour on the clock gone. Unbelievable goal, and this is one of the best individual displays in a final for any sport. Ever.

18’ – And it should be 5-0. Despite being doubled up, Rapinoe gets down the flank and passes to Klingenberg. Her cross to Carli Lloyd is excellent, but Lloyd misses the target for once with her header.

23’ – Briefest sign of life from the Japanese attack, as Sakaguchi tries her luck from range. The shot dips and looks to be heading wide, but Solo comes out to dive for it for no reason in particular.

24’ – Long ball for Morgan who outraces Iwashimizu to the bouncing ball near the endline before cutting back inside and getting some space to shoot. Said shot is a tame effort right at Kaihori though. It’s been that type of tournament for Morgan.

27’ – GOAL – Japan (Ogimi) – Start of the great escape? OK, probably not. But Naho does well to get the ball wide before cutting inside and crossing to Ogimi. The forward posts up and spins through a falling Johnston before rifling a shot past Solo. 4-1.

28’ – Right back at the other end, Morgan fires into the sidenetting. As it turns out, that Japan goal left the U.S. just short of breaking the WWC shutout streak.

29’ – Crazy, crazy sequence, and Japan should only be down by two goals! Japan finds space between the lines, and a cross towards the near post is headed straight up into the air by the U.S. It ends up with Naho at the far post, and she squares back through the six. It evades Solo and the defense, and if a Japanese player was standing on the near post, it’d be 4-2. But there isn’t, and Japan has to play it back to Miyama, who hits a tame shot right at Solo.

33’ – SUB – Time to roll the dice for Japan, as they bring on Homare Sawa for Iwashimizu, who it has to be said, had an absolute nightmare.

39’ – SUB – Aggressive subbing from Japan, as Naho comes out for Yuika Sugasawa. I don’t doubt Sasaki often, but surprised to see Naho come off as she had been a spark in attack thus far.

42’ – Morgan has a penalty shout turned down, and right after a cross is headed by Lloyd towards goal. It’s deflected off a Japanese defender for another corner. Lloyd really wants #4.

HT – Barring the greatest comeback in soccer history, we’re forty-five minutes from a coronation. The U.S. blitzed Japan early, drowning them under a torrent of goals and taking advantage of some atypically shocking defending from the holders. The Asian side has calmed down, but it looks to be far too little, far too late, even if they have clawed one back.
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