Category Archives: Notables

Spirit play well but fall to Reign, 2-1

Ali Krieger would score the Spirit's one goal, and Sydney Leroux would get on the scoreboard at last

Ali Krieger would score the Spirit’s one goal, and Sydney Leroux would get on the scoreboard at last

This was the match the Spirit faithful have been waiting for since the team formed, 90 minutes of quality soccer against a tough opponent. Unfortunately, a couple of defensive lapses doomed the excellent effort as the Seattle Reign escaped with a 2-1 win.

Washington came out strong to start the game, though all they had to show for it was a good bit of possession and some long shots that went high. Mid-half, the momentum shifted Seattle’s way, with the visitors getting a great chance in the 41st minute on a point-blank shot from Sydney Leroux that Ashlyn Harris did a great job to get in the way of.
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Notables for December 17th, 2010 (Updated 5:30 pm CT)

  • Huge thanks to Izabel for finding a news report with a very confident sounding Santos team President. The article states the team is “finalizing negotiations” with the league. Welcome aboard, Mermaids?

 

  • The league has released an official statement regarding the Santos connection:

“We welcome conversations with global soccer clubs about investment and involvement in WPS as our league continues to be the place for the world’s best to play.”

 

  • Jeff Kassouf is reporting that the Washington Freedom cleared house under new owner Dan Barislow. Additionally, the team’s name will in fact be changed and Briana Scurry may be set to take over as General Manager.

 

  • Included in the house-clearing was a fire sale of all old Freedom merch. However, the fire sale has seemingly been canceled.  What the heck is going on over there?

 

  • So if reports are to be believed and Santos really is about to close a deal with a WPS team, who do you think would be the likeliest candidate? This is pure conjecture but good thing there isn’t a team that’s in the midst of being re-branded, doesn’t have stated ambitions of signing Marta, has yet to officially sign any new players, just let go everyone from the old regime and is in talks of splitting games in Florida in WPS. Oh wait.

  

  • The Atlanta Beat has today announced the signing of Carli Lloyd. The move isn’t all surprising considering Lloyd will have to fight for a place in the SBFC midfield that includes Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly Allie Long, Carolyn Blank, Angie Kerr, Laura Kalmari, Kendall Fletcher and perhaps another quality signing or two still to be announced. The fact that the Beat is coached by her former trainer probably doesn’t hurt either.

 

  • Yet more rumors: Megan Rapinoe is headed to Philadelphia and Ella Masar is going to Washington and/or Florida.

  

  • We start off with some tragic news. Equatorial Guinea Women’s National Team player Teclaire Bille Esono died in a motor accident in Cameroon on Tuesday night. She was 22. Esono was set to appear for Equatorial Guinea in the country’s first Women’s World Cup this summer.

 

  • New developments have surfaced regarding Santos joining WPS and they are as interesting as they are perplexing. The team still seems to be interested in joining WPS next year (2011?) and President of the women’s soccer team Murillo Barletta is quoted as saying, “I believe we will have new developments in a few days, and we can announce the creation of Santos USA”. The articles states the team intends to add Marta and four Santos players to a WPS team but doesn’t say which one.  With the Chicago Red Stars officially out of the picture in 2011, who could it be? (Thanks Marshall and Izabel)

 

  • Group play of the Torneio Internacional Cidade de Sao Paulo has concluded. Both the third place match between Mexico and the Netherlands and the final between Brazil and Canada will be played on Sunday. You can view all the highlights on the tournament’s main site. (Thanks, Lissa)

 

  • Some FA WSL tidbits for you. The BBC has an audio interview with Hope Powell. In it she discusses how playing in the summer will benefit the FA WSL and why English players drop out of the women’s game at a young age. Elsewhere, The Guardian has published more information about the WSL. The FA will invest £2 million ($3,104,600) into the new league over the next two years. Perhaps most interestingly, central contracts will be doled out to 20 England players and a salary cap will limit each club to have a maximum of four players who earn more than £20,000 ($31,000) a year. ESPN will broadcast a highlight show and five live matches per year and the league will not be expected to cover production costs.

 

  • The “failing” WPS is referenced in the article, and it serves as a reminder as to how unique WPS is. As harsh as it sounds, paying women livable wages to play soccer just isn’t commonplace in today’s world. Paying every player wages is even less common. WPS’ model may prove to be unworkable but it certainly is ambitious and thus, admirable.

 

  • Powell referenced England’s winter time training camp in La Manga, Spain in the BBC interview. The FA has released the 27 players who have been called up for the camp.

 

  • The 2011 WPS Draft will occur on January 14th and will be streamed live. Unlike previous years, the draft will only feature 24 picks and the amount of picks varies per round. There will be eight in the 1st round, four in the 2nd, seven in the 3rd, and five in the 4th.

 

  • Whitney Engen is the newest member of the Western New York Flash and India Trotter has joined the Atlanta Beat.

 

  • Christine Sinclair has been named Female Player of the Year by the Canadian Soccer Association for the sixth straight time.

 

 

  • The Canadian-based It’s Called Football podcast interviewed the CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli about Canada’s bid to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It’s a highly recommended listen. Download the podcast here or search for it on iTunes.

 

  • Also check out the latest edition of the Equalizer Soccer Women’s Podcast with Richard Farley and Jeff Kassouf. Miley Cyrus and Joe Louis get mentions. You can find it by searching ‘RF Football’ n iTunes.

 

  • FF USV Jena forward and AWK darling Sylvia Arnold was honored as Jena’s Sportswoman of the Year. The club was represented as winners in four of the five categories in the cermony. Video here.

 

  • Attention women’s soccer curators, today’s the final day to claim some exclusive FC Gold Pride souvenirs on eBay.

 

  • Rumor of the day: Kia McNeill and Tasha Kai are set to join the Philadelphia Independence. If this indeed true, it will the Independence’s first new signings of the offseason.

 

  • This has nothing to do with women’s soccer per se, but The Guardian’s Louise Taylor has a great piece on Blackburn Rovers’ new chairwoman Anuradha J Desai. More powerful, quotable women in the Barclay’s Premier League please, and particularly those who demand pretty football.

 

Apologies for the extended absence this past week. Expect more new content next week.

Friday Morning Notables

  • A mammoth trade occurred early this morning. The Atlanta Beat has parted with Tobin Heath, Eniola Aluko and Angie Kerr in exchange for Sky Blue FC’s 4th and 8th draft picks and future considerations. Perhaps considerations were made with Aluko and the Women’s World Cup but trading away 2010 #1 Draft pick Heath and Kerr – certainly two USWNT fringe players – is peculiar. Not receiving a Sky Blue FC player or two in exchange for such value is also peculiar. You have to imagine – and hope – Atlanta is planning something big with all of this newly-freed cap space.

 

  •  Jim Gabarra and SBFC continue to make some deft moves this offseason, having picked up Allie Long, Carolyn Blank and Anita Asante and agreeing to terms with Laura Kalmari, Jen Branam, Shannon Meyers and Angela Salem. Apparently there are more moves to come. Looks like SBFC is getting its Christmas shopping done early this year.

 

  • Not to be forgotten, the Western New York Flash has officially come to terms with Christine Sinclair, Ali Riley, Kandace Wilson and Brittany Bock. The team has also acquired McCall Zerboni from the Atlanta Beat. People of Rochester, you’re about to have one hell of a women’s soccer team in your backyard. Please take advantage of it.

 

  • Whitney Engen and Kelsey Davis have been declared free agents and the Chicago Red Stars have mutually terminated its contract with Karen Carney. Meanwhile, the team has just five days to secure investment before they go the way of the L.A. Sol, Saint Louis Athletica and FC Gold Pride. Fingers crossed.

 

  • If worst comes to worst and Chicago does indeed fold, it will make WPS an unofficial East Coast league with just six teams in the picture. It will also put even more of a premium on roster spots and several mid-grade players will undoubtedly be forced out of WPS, and perhaps women’s soccer.

 

  • Canada will reportedly be competing against the likes of Chile, New Zealand, Turkey and Scotland for the right to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Edmonton has committed $25,000 in hopes of becoming one of the six host cities. Official submissions are due in by February and the winning nation will be selected in March.

 

  • The first day of the Torneio Internacional Cidade de Sao Paulo occurred yesterday. Canada thumped the Netherlands 5-0. Christine Sinclair and Diana Mathson each had a brace and Josee Belanger also scored. In the other match, Brazil defeated Mexico 3-0 but the score line is deceptive. The game was chippy and evenly-matched. The first goal was scored by Cristiane thanks to a sweet cross from Grazille. Marta scored the other two goals from the penalty spot. Cristiane reportedly dislocated her shoulder in the game and Marta and Maurine also picked up a knock.(Thanks, Marshall)

 

  • There are various links to watch the tournament. This is one of them. (Thanks, Izabel) Also check out the official site.

 

  • Sonia Bompastor says she is unlikely to extend her contract with Lyon past June of 2012 and could retire after that to start a family. She also says Canada is on the same level of France and reveals how France will train in preparation for the World Cup. (Thanks, Phoenix)

 

  • Marta’s loan spell to Santos has been made official. It will expire after Februrary 6th and her sponsors will reportedly pick up the tab. (Thanks, Marshall)

 

  • Mia Hamm briefly discusses the Women’s World Cup field here.

 

  • Finally, The New York Times has an interesting article about how women’s sports – notably soccer – has developed in a post-Taliban Afghanistan. (Thanks, Natalie)

 

  • Feel free to email me with any interesting news bits, quips, articles, rumors or just to say hello. You can find me at  jennaawk[at]gmail.com.

Notables for December 8th, 2010

  • As was mentioned here in October, WPS will indeed play an 18-game schedule next season. There will be a two week break during the Group Stage of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, thereby axing a potential All-Star Game.

 

  • The 2011 Championship game will be held on the weekend of August 27-28, approximately one month after the World Cup Final. WPS’ traditional playoff structure has been retained (smart choice) in the regular season winner will host the WPS Championship ($5 says it will be hosted someplace in the Northeast for the first time ever). Opening weekend will occur April 9-10 which is like, forever away.

 

  • Last night Jeff Kassouf reported that the 2011 WPS Draft will take place at the NSCAA Annual Convention, its customary go-to location. This year the Convention will be hosted in Baltimore and the Draft will take place January 14th. The Draft will only be accessible by team and league officials and media members only but it will be streamed live.

 

  • For those of you planning on attending the World Cup next summer, it might be time to start drafting your itineraries. Today FIFA announced the times of each Group Stage match and they’re pretty much identical to the Group Stage matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Most of the matches will be on at very reasonable times for U.S. TV viewers, aside from the occasional 8am ET kickoff. The opening match between Germany and Canada will take place at 6pm local time and 12pm Eastern. The USWNT’s first two matches against North Korea and Colombia will also kick off around 6pm local/12pm Eastern while the final group match against Sweden will occur at 8:45 local time and 2:45 Eastern. Check out all the times here.

 

  • The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup already has a presence in NYC subways apparently.

Per Jacqueline Purdy's Twitter news feed.

 

  • The Torneio Internacional Cidade de Sao Paulo kicks off tomorrow and features four quality teams in a head-to-head tournament. Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands will meet over the next week and a half. Canada’s squad includes pretty much everyone you could ask for, aside from collegians like Sophie Schmidt and Jonelle Filigno who would probably rather be hanging out in Sao Paulo than doing finals and stuff.

 

  • It was media day for the tournament on Tuesday and Marta was inevitably asked a few questions. It seems like her future in WPS is still up in the air. She tells Globeosporte,

“I even intend to play (for a longer time) in Brazil, but not now. I’m not ruling out a return, but I might play for some WPS team. Here we still don’t have the same infrastructure we found overseas, it lacks the necessary investment. There I can keep playing at this level for a longer period of time.”

(Thanks, Marshall)

 

  • The 2010 CAF Awards will be doled out in Cairo on December 20th. Members of the Nigeria Women’s National Team were the only players nominated for Female Player of the Year. Perpetua Nkowcha, Stella Mbachu and Ebere Orji picked up nominations while Nigeria’s U-20s and Equatorial Guinea are nominated for Team of the Year.

 

  • Chris Henderson dug up the USWNT U-23 December camp list and it’s chock-full of current WPS’ers, former WPS’ers and future WPS’ers. And hopefully there better be a couple prospective USWNT stars here too.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M; Centennial, Colo.), Bianca Henninger (Santa Clara; Saratoga, Calif.), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers; Seymour, Conn.)

DEFENDERS (5): Amber Brooks (North Carolina; New Hope, Pa.), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Nikki Krzysik (Chicago Red Stars; Clifton, N.J.), Kat Reynolds (Unattached; Medina, Wash.), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC; Campbell Hall, N.Y.)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Bianca D’Agostino (Wake Forest; Longmeadow, Mass.), Becky Edwards (Unattached; Downington, Pa.), Sinead Farrelly (Virginia; Havertown, Pa.), Tori Huster (Florida State; Cincinnati, Ohio), Meghan Klingenberg (North Carolina; Gibsonia, Pa.), Allie Long (Sky Blue FC; Northport N.Y.), Casey Nogueira (Chicago Red Stars; Raleigh, N.C.), Elli Reed (Portland; Park City, Utah), Keelin Winters (Portland; Englewood, Colo.) Kylie Wright (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)

FORWARDS (5): Michelle Enyeart (Unattached; Hemet, Calif.), Melissa Henderson (Notre Dame; Garland, Texas), Kelley O’Hara (Unattached; Fayetteville, Ga.) Christen Press (Stanford; P.V. Estates, Calif.), Katie Schoepfer (Unattached; Waterford, Conn.)

  • Chris points out the omission of some players (Lauren Barnes, Rose Augustin, Hannah Cerone, Jessica Tsao, Amanda DaCosta, Teresa Noyola, Courtney Barg, Kendall Johnson, Victoria DiMartino, Kristie Mewis, Crystal Dunn et al.) is also telling.

 

  • As espnW observed, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett retired from soccer six years ago today. The USWNT played to a 5-0 win over Mexico before 15,549 at the Home Depot Center. The game concluded the “Fan Celebration Tour” and by extension, a generation. Hamm contributed two assists in the match, capping her assists total to 144 in 275 games. Aly Wagner and Abby Wambach each scored a brace while Shannon Boxx completed the rout. US Soccer’s pre and post match reports.

 

  • Some trivia from the match: Joy Fawcett did not appear in the match as she was recovering for a back injury. Five of the 17 players who took the field that night appeared in the USWNT’s second leg match against Italy in Bridgeview a week and a half ago. Kari Seitz was the match official. Hamm called a 19 year-old Heather O’Reilly “the future” after she subbed in for her at the 81’ mark. Maribel Dominguez did not appear in the match. Monica Gonzalez wore the captain’s armband. Hamm adorned a ‘Garciaparra’ jersey in the second half. Kristin Luckenbill appeared in goal at the end of the second half after Briana Scurry was clapped off at the 82’.  At the time, a 20 year-old Lindsay Tarpley had the third best points record for any 20 year-old in USWNT history behind Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly. The 10-game “Fan Celebration Tour” averaged 15,614 fans. 20,435 attendees greeted the team at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City while a sell-out crowd of 14,870 people came out to see the team at the tour’s opening match in Rochester (the game was played at a baseball stadium, as the Marina Auto Stadium – home of the Western New York Flash – did not open until 2006).

 

 

  • Thanks to the mystery reader who emailed in the image below.

 

  • Please excuse the lack of updates this week. Year-end stuff has gotten in the way of obsessive consistent posting. Outside of the Draft, posts will probably continue to be sporadic over the next two months or so. This is really just the calm before the storm that will rage on uninterrupted between April and August December next year.

Notables for Thanksgiving Day 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here’s hoping you’re enjoying good  food, good company and are taking advantage of all the football in all its forms this holiday week. In the meantime, here are a few women’s soccer items of note. 

 

  • Monday, November 29th will mark the most important day in women’s soccer since September 30th, 2007 when Germany won its second Women’s World Cup. The 16 nations participating in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will learn who they will face in the group stage when the draw is conducted in Frankfurt from 19.25 to 20.15 GMT. The draw will be overseen by legendary Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and model Adriana Karembeu because Charlize Theron and David Beckham were already booked apparently. But in seriousness, the event is expected to attract over 600 people and more than 200 accredited media members. The draw will be broadcast live on German television channel ZDF and will be shown in more than 200 countries. Here’s a refresher of the World Cup cities and dates.

 

  • But here’s the real kicker, American friends. The event will be streamed live on FIFA.com in every country worldwide except for Germany and the United States. Gah!

 

  • The United States’ presence at the draw will be determined by Saturday afternoon when the USWNT face Italy in Bridgeview, Illinois for the second leg of the UEFA/CONCACAF 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Playoff (will that ever not take forever to type?). It seems like the mainstream media has taken notice. The New York Times has a review of the basics, the Los Angeles Times profiles the American striker who is capable of scoring goals whilst staying on track to graduate college early (wow), USA Today also has a piece on said American striker and how she’s become buddies with Abby Wambach and SI’s Grant Wahl contemplates the team’s chances of qualifying. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, has this offering on L.A. native and Italy goalkeeper Anna Picarelli.

 

  • A frosty looking Amy LePeilbet and Megan Rapinoe discuss the USWNT’s home fixture.

 

  • The woman of the moment also answers a few questions.

 

  • For European (or maybe just German) readers, the USA/Italy match will be broadcast on Eurosport. Follow this link for specifics.

 

  • And for reminders, another live blog will appear right here around 1:30 pm ET on Saturday. Feel free to tune in and either celebrate or commiserate along with a few other USWNT fans.

 

  • You can now vote for U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year and U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of the Year. Incidentally, Alex Morgan has gone unmentioned in both categories. You can cast one vote a day until December 10th.

 

  • The host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups will be revealed on Thursday (it’ll be Russia and the United States and you heard it here first). The bids to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup must be submitted to FIFA by Friday December 3rd. It certainly looks as if Canada is a shoo-in, particularly after reading this article from The Canadian Press. It seems Canada’s only other competition is Chile so make of that of you will. Perhaps more interested candidates will crop up over the week.

 

  • Unnecessary crystal ball moment: Canada will indeed host the 2015 Women’s World Cup. It will be the last hurrah for 31 year-old Christine Sinclair and she’ll cement her status as being one of the sport’s greatest ever players. The Golden Boot will be contested between 25 year-old Alex Morgan and 23 year-olds Alexandra Popp and Ji So-Yun. One of those three players will also nick the Golden Ball away from Marta. South Korea will finish in the semifinals while the United States will not (by the way, 17 year-old Yeo Min-Ji beat out Ji So-Yun to win AFC Women’s Youth Player of the Year award). Germany will win yet again.

 

  • Former FC Gold Pride owner Nancy NeSmith conducted this revealing interview with The Equalizer. In it she explains the motives behind withdrawing support from the team (spoiler alert: it’s the lack of appetite for women’s soccer in the Bay Area).

 

  • After reading the Q&A it’s difficult to begrudge the NeSmiths for losing faith in the team and ultimately the league. According to Nesmith, FC Gold Pride couldn’t even sell out the 2010 WPS Championship game without giving away a ton of free tickets and the gung-ho comments she made about moving forward with FCGP, Jeff Cooper et al. were said weeks in advance of the article’s publishing. This is a very different situation from the AEG/Los Angeles Sol and Jeff Cooper/Saint Louis Athletica foldings. It comes down to two things: money and an interest in women’s soccer. AEG had the first but not the latter. Judging by the recent shuttering of A.C. St. Louis, Cooper had neither. The NeSmiths lost millions of dollars for the good of the women’s game but just couldn’t make it work. FC Gold Pride wrote the story of the 2010 WPS season. Shame it had such a sad ending.

 

  • Other WPS bits and bobbles that have occurred this week: Mark Washo has stepped down as Washington Freedom General Manager and U.S. Soccer has approved the league’s move to include six internationals on each team’s roster.

 

  • The Nigerian Football Federation has apparently taken the lead in the attempt to launch an investigation into the Equatorial Guinea team that recently qualified for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The NFF has lodged an official complaint with the Confederation of African Football regarding the gender of two Equatorial Guinea players.

 

  • Star striker Genoveva Anonma’s name has recently surfaced as being one of the two players whose gender is being questioned by the NFF and others. Anonma has called the allegations “offensive”. Equatorial Guinea’s football association Feguifoot has struck down the accusations and put them down to an “inferiority complex”.

 

  • Nigeria’s football association may be heading the charge against the legitimacy of Equatorial Guinea’s squad but the team is doing few favors for itself on the field as the Super Falcons got absolutely picked apart by Germany 8-0 in an international friendly today. Kerstin Garefrekes (who suffered an injury scare in Germany’s previous friendly) hit a hat-trick, Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz continue the form they have each shown at club level recently and collected a double while Alexandra Popp scored the first goal of the second half. Some pretty goals and some pretty miserable defending here.

 

  • These kind of lopsided score lines are both and embarrassing and worrying for the women’s game, particularly when considering the relative parity on show at the recent U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups. It’s also disconcerting for the development of women’s football in Africa. Nigeria absolutely pulverized the field in the 2010 African Women’s Championship. This performance showed the team was no match for competition outside of the continent, despite the fact that the team’s opponents were the best team in the world. According to folks in Germany, Nigeria’s squad also showed up late for the game. Woeful in every way.

 

  • Another worrying sign was on display during the match, and this time it’s for Germany. Merely 8,100 people attended the match in Leverkusen. This is on the back of Germany’s last friendly in Wolfsburg that saw an attendance of 7,229. It’s distressing because Leverkusen and Wolfsburg will be World Cup cities next summer and the 20,431 fans in Dresden witnessed Germany defeat Canada back on September 15. What’s the behind the recent drop off?

 

  • Fulham’s Craven Cottage will serve as the site of the 2010-2011 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final. The 25,700 capacity stadium is as quaint as it is historic, having opened in 1896. The match will occur on Thursday, May 26, four days after the Premier League side hosts its final league match against London neighbors Arsenal.

 

  • The Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament will commence this weekend. On Friday it’s Georgetown/Ohio State at 5pm ET, Oklahoma State/Notre Dame at 8pm ET, and Stanford/Florida State at 10pm ET. And then on Saturday Boston College and Washington will duke it out at 4pm ET.

 

  • Lastly, since today is Thanksgiving it seems like the perfect opportunity to express a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone reading, regardless of whether this is your thousandth visit, your first, or your last. Thanks for the comments, conversations and, as always, the corrections. Simply, thank you for making the past eight months so much fun.

Notables for the Day the Colorado Rapids Won MLS Cup

Your team did well and all, Conor Casey, but did you guys just qualify for your first ever Women's World Cup? Nope.

  • Colombia has qualified for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2012 Olympics in the final day of CONMEBOL qualifying. Las Cafeteras needed to defeat Argentina and have Brazil beat Chile. Both events happened as Colombia edged Argentina 1-0 while Brazil took care of Chile 3-1. Colombia will join Equatorial Guinea as next summer’s only Women’s World Cup debutants.

 

  • It isn’t a total shock that Colombia had achieved qualification. There were really three teams suspected of joining Brazil as South America’s World Cup representatives. Argentina seemed destined to return to the Women’s World Cup but totally capitulated at the end, losing three of the four final games including three games in the final group stage. Chile was another contender but was frustrated by two draws in the final group stage. The team’s 0-0 draw against Argentina proved costly as it provided Colombia – the only other true contender- a real shot at qualification.

 

  • Colombia isn’t exactly rich with women’s soccer history. The team’s best finish in this tournament was third place back in 2003. Colombia’s youth teams have improved dramatically in recent years, however. Its U-20’s were runners-up in this year’s CONMEBOL U-20 Sudamericano Femenino and the same team went remarkably deep in the 2010 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup before falling 1-0 to eventual runners-up Nigeria in the semifinals. Yoreli Rincon was one of the tournament’s breakout stars and could very well be the most promising young player in the world. The team’s prodigal attacking midfielder scored a goal to help Colombia reach the semifinals of the tournament two days before her 16th birthday. Rincon’s star continues to rise as she led the senior side with five goals in the 2010 Sudamericano Femenino. She will undoubtedly relish the spotlight on the world’s stage next summer in Germany.

 

Marta and Sepp rehearsing for the FIFA Player of the Year awards in January.

  • Brazil, meanwhile, had a predictably productive tournament. The team was simply unparalleled in qualifying, scoring 25 goals in eight games while conceding just two. Marta led the tournament with nine goals while Cristiane helped herself to eight, including six in the first group stage. In other words, the two players combined for 76% of Brazil’s total goals.

 

The delight and the dejection really say it all.

  • Next to the Colombia/Argentina match, the top of the table tussle between Frankfurt and Turbine Potsdam was Sunday’s main event. Frankfurt won in rather dominating fashion 4-1, leapfrogging old pals Turbine Potsdam to go top of the table for the first time all season. Full match here .

 

  •  The timeless Birgit Prinz struck a goal in the 29’ before Nadine Kessler equalized 11 minutes later. Frankfurt ran away with it after that, scoring three decisive second half goals thanks to Prinz again, Kerstin Garefrekes and Conny Pohlers. Frankfurt now sit two points ahead of the defending Frauen-Bundesliga and European champions. Alex Krieger is probably thrilled.

 

  • For some historical perspective, these two teams absolutely owned the Frauen-Bundesliga in the 00’s. Every single domestic title was won by either of the two sides. Frankfurt was crowned champions six times while Turbine Potsdam won it the four other campaigns. Frankfurt hasn’t won the league since the 2007-08 season but today’s result goes a long way in correcting that.

 

  • 3,960 people watched the game in Frankfurt which sets a season record high. It’s also the 8th best gate in the history of the Frauen-Bundesliga. For another kind of perspective, the Boston Breakers and Chicago Red Stars’ averaged higher gates per game in the 2010 WPS season.

 

  • I totally dropped the ball on this next item. The draw for the Knockout stages of the 2010-2011 UEFA Women’s Champions League was held last Friday. UEFA claim it was an open draw but the results certainly suggest it was seeded. Perhaps it was just rotten luck that the triumvirate of quarterfinals newbies got up paired with Champions League winners and/or runners-up. Regardless, it looks like Europe’s “big four” certainly have an easy route to the semifinals. Decide for yourself.

                     

Zvezda-2005 v. Olympique Lyonnais

Arsenal v. Linkopings

Everton v. Duisburg

Juvisy v. Turbine Potsdam

 

  • The quarterfinals will take place on March 16/17 and 23/24 while the semifinals will occur April 9/10 and 23/24.

 

  • Chris Henderson goes into much broader detail about all this below but only eight teams remain in the NCAA tournament, and they’re not who you ‘d expect.  In Saturday’s action Florida State blanked Marquette 3-0, Washington held on against UC Irvine to win 1-0 in second over time, Ohio State edged Virginia 3-2 and Notre Dame handed North Carolina its worst loss in 20 years. Next weekend’s Elite Eight will see Oklahoma State/Notre Dame, Georgetown/Ohio State, Boston College/Washington and Stanford/Florida State. I bet your bracket is destroyed.

 

  • University of North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance was a guest on Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast this past week (download it on iTunes and skip ahead to minute 25). Dorrance shared his views on losing top recruits to other universities, the difference between coaching female and male athletes (hint: one gender loves public praise while the other can’t stand it) and the changing landscape of the international women’s game (although he claims the U.S. dominated Mexico in the CONCACAF WWCQ semifinal). In comparing his program to Geno Auriemma’s UConn women’s basketball team, he said, “the way you show respect to an opponent is by beating them to death.” Randy Waldrum was probably telling his team the same thing after Notre Dame turned over UNC 4-1 in the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday….

 

  • The semifinals of the 2010 Asian Games was held this past week. Both games were decided after extra time. Japan defeated China 1-0 in the 108’ while North Korea put two goals away after 90 minutes to win 3-1. The tournament’s two World Cup-bound nations North Korea and Japan will meet in the final Monday. South Korea will face China in the 3rd place match. Ji So-Yun leads the tournament with four goals. There may not be video of any of the matches but there is video of the event’s opening ceremony. And it’s ridiculous.

 

 

  • Both the USWNT and Italy touched down in Chicago on Sunday in preparation for the final match of the playoff series between the two sides. The AP’s match report contains a quote from Giancarlo Padovan, the president of Italy’s women’s football league, criticizing the ridiculously long qualifying process Italy has had to endure to get to this point. He’s right. Italy was the very first team to qualify out of the group stage of UEFA WWCQ but then had to play six additional qualifying matches ahead of the Padova game. Perhaps you can’t blame the team for getting a little tired in the 7th minute of stoppage time.  

 

 

  • Although attracting just 2,505 people to the USWNT’s recent friendly in Chester, Pennsylvania may not be cause for sports editors to send hordes of reporters to cover USWNT games, it’s disappointing to see such scant coverage of the team in Sports Illustrated. SI.com published the exact same AP match report that appeared on other sites including Yahoo!. The publication has really stepped up its coverage of soccer in the past year, with the addition of Jen Chang as Soccer Editor. SI.com has an array of prominent writers dedicated to covering every corner of the football landscape including Sid Lowe, Jonathan Wilson, Tim Vickery, Gabriele Marcotti and Georgina Turner. Jeff Kassouf was added as SI.com’s WPS columnist this past summer, so there isn’t a total reluctance to cover the women’s game. Hopefully coverage will be augmented ahead of next summer’s World Cup, as SI is home to some of the best sports writing available.

 

  • If anything is to be culled from Coach Pia Sundhage’s post-match quotes, it’s that change won’t be on the horizon anytime soon.

“Carli Lloyd and Shannon Boxx are the heart of the team and if they are involved, we play well.”

  • That basically means “you can forget about all your fantasy formations and your Carli Lloyd hatin’ because we’re sticking with what got us here.” Boxx and Lloyd were more involved than they were against Mexico but, put simply, the USWNT did not play well on Saturday. It’s amazing how an opportunistic goal from a 21 year-old sub can gloss over a million wrongs.    

 

  • Reggie Bush probably doesn’t care about any of those wrong, however. The New Orleans Saints running back tweeted his support for the USWNT on Saturday. Awesome.

 

  • Lastly, two housekeeping notes: the WWC qualifying tournaments of every confederation have been added to the sidebar. Just to remind everyone how countries like New Zealand and North Korea got to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. And finally, this is apropros of nothing but AWK has been most frequented by people living in these cities: 1.) San Francisco 2.) New York City 3.) Washington, D.C 4.) Houston and 5.) Loughbourough, UK.  To any fellow Houstonians, feel free to say hello via email.

Notables for the Day the USWNT Play A Match Against Italy

Photo from the USWNT's first ever match back on August 18, 1985. They played Italy. Don't ask what the score was.

 

  • Hope you’ve got the mimosas ready. The Italy/USWNT match kicks off in nearly an hour and a half. According to the WNT blog, 5,000-6,000 Italians are expected to be at the Stadio Euganeo today. I’ll be live blogging during the match so feel free to tune in if you don’t have access to ESPN3.com.

 

 

  • Brazil has qualified for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics after the team’s 5-0 thumping of Colombia. Erika, Grazielle, Cristiane had a goal apiece while Marta had two. Highlights here:

 
 

  • Chile’s 0-0 draw with Argentina in the other match has major wins. If Chile had managed a win, the team would have been odds-on favorites to finish second in the final group stage and qualify for the World Cup. Last night’s draw means Chile will need an absolute miracle by defeating Brazil in the last group game on Sunday. The runner-up of the group will likely emerge from the Argentina/Colombia game. A draw would make things really interesting. If this does occur and Chile can draw or lose by less than four goals, Chile will qualify.

 (Thanks to Marshall and Marcelo)

 

  • The Western New York Flash conducted a scaled back Expansion Draft this week and the signees were announced yesterday. Former Washington Freedom midfielder Beverly Goebel and former Atlanta Beat midfielder Kaley Fountain have been selected by the expansion team. It’s clear the Flash went for youth as both players are 22 years old. The conservatism in the picks should be noticed as the team decided to forego names like Heather Mitts and internationals such as Ji So-Yun and Johanna Rasmussen.

 

  • The new FIFA rankings have been released and they don’t make any sense at all. The United States is still #1 despite failing to outright qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Germany is still #2 and Brazil is still #3. The U.S. and Brazil are the only teams to have lost points since the August rankings. Sweden, Japan, North Korea, Norway, France, Canada and England round out the top 10. How 2010 AFC Asian Cup winners Australia didn’t crack the top 10 is anyone’s guess. The real head-scratcher is Equatorial Guinea who is all the way down in 62nd place, below the likes of Jordan, India, Haiti, Uzbekistan and Ghana. Even if the rankings were calculated before the team’s second place finish at the 2010 AFC African Women’s Championship, the team’s victory in the 2009 edition should count for something.

 

  • There are more details in the ‘Santos wants to join WPS’ issue. Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, reports that Santos are still interesting in fielding a team in WPS and have 45 days to complete a deal. Director of the team’s women’s soccer department Murillo Barletta is quoted as saying the team has a “60% chance of reaching an agreement”. The team will have to find a way around WPS’ international player limit and will need support from sponsors. And find a city to play in.

 

  • There are partnerships with foreign clubs in MLS (Chivas USA/Chivas de Guadalajara, Colorado Rapids/Arsenal, Real Salt Lake/Real Madrid although that’s really a joke) but has a foreign team ever played in two separate leagues?

 

  • In Sweet Sixteen action, Stanford defeated UCLA 3-0 before 1,896 people. Christen Press helped herself to a brace while Mariah Nogueira also appeared on the score sheet. Boston College blanked West Virginia 4-0 and Oklahoma State shut out Duke 2-0. The other five matches kick off today.

 

  • This is a massive weekend in the Frauen-Bundesliga. Today’s match features mid table staples Wolfsburg visiting already-relegated Herford. Wolfsburg will win by a ton of goals.

 

  • On Sunday, seventh-place Hamburg host third-place Duisburg. Hamburg is a solid shot but hasn’t done well against the top sides this season, losing to Turbine Potsdam twice and Frankfurt once. Duisburg, meanwhile, are seemingly stuck in third. Inka Grings has a scoring record that is almost unfair so expect her to score a couple.

 

  • In the melee in the middle, no. 5 Bad Neuenahr travel to no. 6 Bayern Munich. Bad Neuenahr has been flying high recently and scored 24 goals in four games while conceding just one. The team has lost its previous two games, however. No. 9 Bayer Leverkusen host no. 10 Saarbrucken. Both teams are on the precipice of the relegation zone. Saarbrucken has not managed a win it the team’s previous six games while Bayer Leverkusen’s former Atlanta Beat striker Shelley Thompson is coming off of a hat-trick performance in the team’s 3-0 win over USV Jena last weekend. Speaking of Jena, the 11th placed team host 8th placed Essen-Schonebeck. Jena is a poor side and will probably lose. Much to this blog’s chagrin.  

 

  • And then the big one: Frankfurt vs. Turbine Potsdam.  Forget El Clasico, this is this week’s biggest match. Match ups between Turbine Potsdam and FFC Frankfurt are always compelling. It’s a classic battle between East vs. West, homegrown players vs. purchased talent, current title holders and future starlets vs. champions of a bygone era. Compound all that with that fact that Frankfurt are just one point off of catching Potsdam and have been for weeks and you’ve got yourself one hell of a game. Frankfurt has been absolutely murderous this season, putting 57 goals away in just 13 matches. No other team in the Frauen-Bundesliga has a goal record that comes close. Potsdam has been efficient, but not brilliant. The team has been known to grind out results in the last stages of matches. They still lead the league and have done so this entire season. The last time the two rivals met this season produced a 2-1 Turbine Potsdam win, a red card, a ball in the face of Kerstin Garefrekes, and an ejected coach Jim Gabarra style. Tomorrow’s game kicks off here at 8am ET.

Notables for November 18th, 2010: The We Are Okay Edition (Updated 1:20 PM CT)

  • Due to my commitment to obtaining a degree I hope to never use, I missed today’s WPS conference call. Luckily, 30 other media members did manage to listen in. Some highlights included Western New York’s name (the Western New York Flash), a league office that will be profiting and paying teams and the unremitting topic of western expansion (there’s still an interest in expanding to Vancouver, Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles someday). Most importantly, there really be a 2011 season so hurray. Jeff Kassouf kept a running account of new news via his Twitter feed. Expect more reaction later this week.

 

 

  • The player in question will also be returning to Santos on loan. Salary figures have ranged from $85,000 per month to $150,000 for her three month-long stay. The article also states that the two-time Copa Libertadores Femenino champions are working on a partnership to bring more Santos players to WPS.

 

  • The San Jose Mercury News looks at the people who are most affected by the folding of FC Gold Pride. Some of the quotes are just heart-wrenching.

 

 

 

  • The final stage of the 2010 Sudamericano Femenino occurred on Wednesday and it was every bit as exciting as a Women’s World Cup qualifier should be. While Brazil are essentially promised a ticket to Germany, they may be joined by a Women’s World Cup debutant. Brazil thwacked Group A winners Argentina 4-0. Grazielle, Rosana, Marta and Cristiane all marked the score sheet. Grazielle may be an unfamiliar name but she’s been part of Brazil’s set-up since debuting at age 18 in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She also scored 25 goals for Santos this season, an impressive record for any striker. (Thanks Marshall)

 

  • In the other match, Colombia and Chile played to a 1-1 draw. Colombia’s U-20 star Yorely Rincon opened the match with a goal before Chile equalized in the second half. This result essentially makes it a free-for-all between Chile, Colombia and Argentina. Chile plays Argentina next while Brazil look to see out Colombia. A victory would guarantee them a spot in next year’s World Cup. Here are the highlights from the Colombia/Chile draw.

 

 

 

  • Nigeria has reportedly asked the Confederation of African Football to investigate the gender of two Equatorial Guinea players. According to the piece, “many countries” protested to CAF about this issue two years ago but nothing was done. It doesn’t seem as if Nigeria’s coach Eucharia Uche is sitting on the fence of this issue, particularly after saying, “CAF should do something about Equatorial Guinea so that Africa will not be embarrassed at the World Cup final next year in Germany”.

 

  • FIFA Women’s Football Committee Member and former board member of the Nigerian Football Association Alhaja Ayo Omidiran has seemingly taken a similar stance towards Equatorial Guinea. When asked a rather innocuous question about Nigeria’s new rivals, Omidrian said, “I will not want to praise or see them as true rivals until the controversies surrounding the gender of their players are settled. I want gender test to be conducted on the players immediately.”

 

  • The draw for the second round of U-19 and U-17 UEFA Women’s European Championship was held in Nyon, Switzerland on Wednesday. France won the previous U-19 Euros while Spain took the U-17 edition. Neither have particularly easy groups.

 

  • The groups seem to be all wrapped up in the Asian Games. South Korea and China are primed to take Group A while Japan and North Korea will advance from Group B. Incidentally, both pairs of teams play each other today. Maybe Ji So-Yun can score even more goals (she already has four in two).

 

  • The Guardian has an explanatory piece about the upcoming FA Super League. Apparently it won’t be called “the Super League” at all, it will be a semi-professional league, team’s budgets will be £200,000-300,000 (budgets, not salary caps), and top players will earn a respectable £25,000 a year while most others will have to find work on the side. This all sounds good but just please let WPS keep Kelly and Alex for a little longer.

 

  • The FA has formally unveiled the name and logo of the previously monikered FA Women’s Super League. The eight team league will be called the FA WSL and will be launching April 2011. 

 

  • Last weekend’s canceled Duisburg/Essen-Schonebeck Frauen-Bundesliga match occurred on Wednesday. Duisburg unsurprisingly won 3-1. Inka Grings treated herself to her 18th goal of the season while Mandy Islacker collected a brace. Duisburg’s two strikers are firing on all cylinders right now. Grings has scored in six of her last seven games while Islacker has found the net four times in her previous five matches. Grings is proving there’s no wrong side of 30. The striker is nearly halfway to equaling the 38 goals she scored back in the 1999-2000 season. That’s a personal best for her and it’s also a Frauen-Bundesliga record.

 

  • Here’s UNC’s preview of their Sweet Sixteen match-up with old foes Notre Dame.

 

  • This is apropos of nothing but it appears as is MLS may be taking a leaf out of WPS’ book. In his conference call on Tuesday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke of the possibility of giving the number one seeded team in the playoffs the right to host the MLS Cup Final. Perhaps he’ll take it back once he realizes that that’s seemingly been the kiss of death for two WPS clubs.

 

  • It’s Italy/USWNT time. Who knew the person who will be working the hardest to stave off the USNWT’s chances of reaching the 2011 WWC is American herself? ESPN’s Jacqueline Purdy has a piece on California’s best Italian goalkeeper Anna Picarelli. Picarelli played for the WPSL’s Ajax America and hopes to play in WPS next season. That could get awkward, depending on results.

 

 

  • J.P. Dellacamera and Tony DiCicco will be calling the game in Padova for ESPN3.com. Dellacamera and Julie Foudy will be on site in Bridgeview, Illinois for the second leg. Guess Adrian Healey was booked. Shame.

 

  • Frank Giese of New Jersey’s Star Ledger offers up an interesting take on the USWNT’s failings in tactics and youth development. It’s something you rarely ever see, particularly not in a local-ish publication.

 

  • Lastly, I’ll be doing some minute-by-minute coverage of the Italy/USWNT game early Saturday morning via Cover It Live so don’t be alarmed if you see a fancy looking window here around 8:45 a.m. CT. Feel free to join in and comment as well. I’ll provide the orange juice. Or mimosas, depending on how things go.

 

Notables For November 14th, 2010

  • According to the San Francisco Chronicle and a local ABC affiliate, the sun has set on the supposed best women’s club team ever. The reports suggest that WPS will make a formal announcement this coming week regarding the folding of the 2010 WPS champions FC Gold Pride after the team failed to secure investment for the 2011 season. At least the team can adorn its grave site with a championship trophy.

 

  • This week might be make or break for WPS. As Jeff Kassouf reports, in addition to the doubts that face FC Gold Pride and the Washington Freedom (although there might be a glimmer of hope in the latter case), the Chicago Red Stars and Boston Breakers may also be on the verge. A minimum of six teams are required to keep WPS viable. That means at least two of the aforementioned four franchises must be able to put up the cash or it’s going to get really scary.

 

  • Nigeria has reclaimed the African Women’s Championship after tipping holders Equatorial Guinea 4-2 today. The match itself was rather wild, particularly towards the end. Perpetua Nkwocha put Nigeria ahead early, just as she 10 times previously this tournament. (Of the roughly 450 minutes Nkwocha has played this tournament, she has scored every 40 minutes.) Equatorial Guinea fought back and got a 66’ equalizer thanks to Carolina Parreira. Ugochi Oparanozie refurbished Nigeria’s lead before Equatorial Guinea really self-destructed, committing a pair of own goals in the final stages of the match. This is Nigeria’s eighth African Women’s Championship title.

 

  • In the Third Place match, South Africa bested Cameroon 2-0.  The victory was bittersweet for both Banyana Bayana and its supporters, who came out in force to watch the home team in the tournament. Internet reports suggest some matches attracted as many as 15,000 attendees.

 

  • Ghana was eliminated in the group stage and missed out on the Women’s World Cup for the first time since 1999. That seems grounds enough to sack one’s coach.

 

  • Meanwhile, the worrying calls of “Equatorial Guinea is made up of men and non-Equatorial Guineans” are increasing. The question is whether FIFA or CAF will take notice. Here are reports from Jezebel, Soccer America and NewsTime.

 

  • The first group stage of the 2010 Sudamericano Femenino concluded last week. Mere goal difference separated the top three teams in Group A, as hosts Ecuador pulled off a shock upset over Argentina in the last group stage but it wasn’t enough. The loss meant that Argentina and Chile finished on nine points and each had a goal difference of +5. Ecuador needed to have beaten Argentina by at least three more goals to advance to the final group stage.

 

  • Brazil and Colombia claimed Group B. Cristiane and Marta scored yet again in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Paraguay (this is the third consecutive match where in which both players have been Brazil’s only goal scorers). Meanwhile, Colombia thwacked Uruguay 8-0. Here’s video:

 

  • The final group stage commences Wednesday. For reminders, the two best finishers will qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

  • Speaking of WWC qualification, the United States Women’s National Team squad is departing for Italy tonight in anticipation of the two-legged UEFA/CONCACAF WWC playoff. As has been mentioned before, both matches will be streamed online via ESPN3.com. Word to the wise: check it out beforehand. ESPN3 is not compatible with every internet service provider so it’s probably best to check if yours is here.

  

  • This is really just for giggles, but if things get a little hairy for the USWNT and Coach Sundhage wants to get all defensive she could try a prototypical 4-2-3-1. That was the formation used most often in the 2010 World Cup and the USWNT has the personnel to pull it off.  (The Guardian explains why two holding midfielders are better than none.) Shannon Boxx and Leslie Osborne would be the two crucial holding midfielders and would provide enough defensive shape to allow fullbacks Alex Krieger and Rachel Buehler to roam forward.  It would also put Abby Wambach in a true playmaking role and makes Lauren Cheney the ‘back to goal’ isolated striker. The system would utilize the pace of wingers Heather O’Reilly and Amy Rodriguez (yes, A-Rod would be a winger). The question is whether or not A-Rod is left-footed enough. It’ll win World Cups, I say, it’ll win World Cups.                    

                                                                  Barnhart

                                        Krieger  LePeilbet Rampone Buehler

                                                              Boxx   Osborne

                                                 HAO    Wambach     A-Rod

                                                                   Cheney

 

  • Last night, UCLA defeated UCF 2-1 in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins scored two goals right around the half time mark thanks to Elise Britt and Sydney Leroux. UCF attempted to stage a late comeback as Bianca Joswiak cut the lead in half at the 76’ but could not produce the equalizer.

 

 

  • In Germany today, Frankfurt continue its destructive ways, destroying bottom feeders Herford 7-0. It wasn’t enough to catch leaders Turbine Potsdam, however, who shut Bayern Munich 3-0 with goals from Anja Mittag and Lira Bajramaj. Elsewhere, struggling sides Jena and Saarbrücken continue to be struggling sides after getting blanked 3-0 by Bayer Leverkusen and 4-0 by Wolfsburg respectively. And in the clash for mid-table supremacy, Hamburg outgunned Bad Neuenahr 6-2.

 

  • The Frauen-Bundesliga had its first cancellation of the season as the (relatively) local derby between Duisburg and Essen-Schönebeck had to be called off due to a water-logged pitch.

 

  • Oh, and on the heels of the apparent folding of FC Gold Pride due to lack of interest from investors, the Saturday matches between Jena and Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg and Saarbrücken yielded an average attendance of just 318. FC Gold Pride averaged nearly ten times that number in 2010.

 

  • This isn’t official yet and the original source is unclear but the Four Nations Tournament is supposedly set to take place in Chongqing, China from January 21-25 and will be contested between the United States, Canada, China and Sweden.

 

  • SI’s Grant Wahl salutes Brandi Chastain, Briana Scurry and Kate Markgraf as U.S. Soccer’s pioneers.

 

  • The Final of Canada’s Championnat de Soccer Femenin 2010 will take place today between Queen’s  Gaels and Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.  

 

  •  Finally, two housekeeping issues of note: one, it seems as if AWK’s unruly server has run amok recently, resulting in a few hours of downtime. We’re investigating the cause of the interruption and it should be sorted out shortly. And lastly, 2010 is drawing to a close which could only mean one thing: it’s awards season. U.S. Soccer is accepting nominations for a few ‘Best Of’ categories, including Best Blog. A few readers have made sure that All White Kit gets represented. If you’d like to do the same, you have until Friday, November 19th to cast your nomination. (You don’t have to log in, just scroll down.) It would be kind of awesome and a million thanks in advance.

Notables: the Ghouls and Goals Edition

USWNT 2002 Gold Cup Squad. Guess Which One Was the Holding Midfielder.

 

  • The USWNT ran riot on Guatemala last night and qualified to the semifinals with a 9-0 score win. Amy Rodriguez nabbed a hat-trick, Amy Wamebach Abby Wambach and Megan RapinewRapinoe each bagged a brace, Alex Morgan scored her second USWNT goal in two appearances and Carli Lloyd converted a goal from the penalty area. See the mayhem for yourself below and check out Scott French’s write-up of the game for ESPN Los Angeles.

 

 

  • Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Lori Lindsey were used as substitutes for Wambach, Amy LePeilbet and Shannon Boxx respectively. Games against such weak competition reveal very little but we can always draw assumptions, right? It was interesting to see Sauerbrunn used as a center-back rather than a full back. This perhaps suggests that Sauerbrunn will be a utility defender and that Coach Sundhage is okay with the current outside back options of Mitts, Cox and/or Buehler. Hopefully Ali Krieger will be used for the match against Costa Rica on Monday. She’s the only player whose professional team is in season and with Frankfurt just one point behind Turbine Potsdam in the table, it would suck if this whole tournament was just a massive waste of time.

 

  • Additionally, two goals were scored from open play in the second half, compared to six in the first. This is the second straight time the United States has gotten complacent and sloppy in the second half. Granted, a half time score of 6-0 is quite the cushion and complaining about a 9-0 final score sounds all nitpicky, but the USWNT suffered yet another late lapse of concentration. The team can get away with it in such meaningless matches but must break the habit before meeting stronger competition. Perhaps Costa Rica would qualify as stronger competition.

 

  • In the other match, Costa Rica defeated Haiti 3-0. Las Ticas have now qualified for the semifinals. So much for that prediction about Haiti…but it is a shame they had to play the two strongest teams in the group first. Perhaps things could have been different if they started off their campaign with the easy-pickings that is Guatemala.

 

  • Later today Canada wil meet Guyana while Trinidad & Tobago will face Mexico. If ever there was a game in which Christine Sinclair could score five times, this would be it. T&T need to pull off the upset over Mexico to have a chance at qualifying. A mere T&T draw would make the final group match between Canada and Mexico infinitely more interesting.

 

  • With all the tweeting and donating to the Project Pink cause in the past few months, PUMA is proud to announce that Project Pink raised a total of $62,730.62. Fans voted for the official charitable beneficiary of the Project Pink effort and the lucky winner is the Breast Cancer and Research and Education Fund at Magee-Womens Foundation. PUMA has also pledged to donate an additional $1 to the cause up until November 5th for every tweet sharing this nifty video:

 

  • Considering the recent hat-tricks of both Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez, perhaps Alex Morgan is next in line for a three-goal performance in CONCACAF WWCQ. Cross-Conference argues that at the moment, the 21 year-old’s hypothetical hat-trick would be put to better use for the Cal Golden Bears, not the USWNT. Morgan’s frequent call-ups to the USWNT this past month have likely dashed any ambitions the Bears may have had for a deep NCAA Tournament run. Rhythm bandits corroborates the Collectors’ point and adds “in light of what one might call “abandonment” of her college team, she should be getting more out of her call-up than she’s currently getting”.

 

  • While it is unfortunate that Morgan’s presence in Cancun has perhaps meant that both Cal’s 2010 NCAA season and Megan Jesolva’s name will now live in utter obscurity, Sundhage’s obvious faith in the player perhaps suggests that Morgan is more than a mere hanger-on. Yes, the USWNT should not have waited two years after the 2008 U-20 WWC to give her a shot with the senior team. It gives the impression that Morgan is little more than a fringe player who is only utilized at the 74′ mark of a game. However, one can argue that the role of Abby Wambach’s strike partner is yet still vacant, despite the best intentions of Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney. It was not surprising to see Morgan fail to make an appearance in the Haiti game, given A-Rod’s disposition as a pure confidence player. Getting subbed out, nevermind dropped for a match against such poor competition could have done her head in. Rodriguez’s 52 senior USWNT caps merits some loyalty from Sundhage. If Morgan has a ho-hum tournament then no, it won’t have been worth it. But if she continues to make a marked difference for the team, she could potentially pry the starting spot away from A-Rod, whose 4.25 goals-to-games ratio is far from stellar. (And prior to last night’s hat-trick, it stood at a lowly 5.56). Every impression Morgan can offer the USWNT is worthwhile. She probably isn’t world-class but other than Wambach, look at the USWNT’s pool of forwards and tell me who is.

 

  • The African Women’s Championship kicked off today. Hosts South Africa tipped Tanzania 2-1 in the tournament’s opening match. Available coverage of the tournament is scant so mere score lines and names of goal-scorers may have to suffice. For starters, Pitch Invasion offers an overview of the tournaments and attempts to explain why Nigeria’s Super Falconets have always dominated the continent and the 2008 champions Equatorial Guinea are such an anomaly.

 

  • There were no surprises in the Fraeun-Bundesliga today as the teams that were supposed to win did win and vice versa. Second-place Frankfurt struggled marginally against Bayern Munich but Conny Pohlers’ 90th minute goal sealed the 2-0 win. Wolfsburg jumped Munich for fifth place after defeating a miserly Jena side 4-1. Bad Neuenahr remain the hottest team in the league with a 4-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. That’s 24 goals and one conceded in Bad Nuenenahr’s last four matches. Celia da Mbabi Okoyino has scored one-third of the total. 

 

  • It’s been awhile but happy belated birthday to both Kelly Smith and Ali Riley who turned 32 and 23 respectively on Friday. Also, happy birthday to Inka Grings who is 32 today. Sorry you had to be illogically snubbed by FIFA during your birthday week.

 

  • You may have noticed something new in the sidebar over that-away >>>>>. Rather than going down the treacherous GoogleAds route or straight up asking for donations (which we might end up resorting to anyway), we’ve hopefully happened upon a happy medium with Amazon Associates. There you’ll find an array of women’s soccer-related books and DVD’s that could be of interest to some readers. Shilling is difficult and it’s something I’ve wanted to avoid doing for a long while. But if all parties can benefit (that being you, us and the nebulous woso community at large), it makes the task a little easier. Feel free to browse the selection and know that a percentage of your purchase will help fund either a Starbucks venti iced chai latte or a bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston. The former is more likely, however. 

 

  • Lastly, here’s the USWNT’s 2-0 win over Mexico in the semifinal of the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup. Somebody please tell me how Abby Wambach managed to score that second goal.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!