In episode #21 of the WoSo Independent Podcast, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) try to squeeze in their commentary on a very busy week of WoSo. They discuss the signing of Mallory Pugh with the Washington Spirit (1:35) and what it means for all stakeholders. Afterward, they discuss the formation of the NWSL Players Association, and Jon steps up on his soapbox about the spate of recent unexcused absences (11:56). Then Chris rants about the non-news with a potential Barcelona NWSL team [hint: don’t hold your breath] (19:55). And they take a few minutes to ruminate on streaming and attendance issues (29:38).
Then they close out with a review of Week Five in the NWSL including the numerous defensive pratfalls from clubs (33:50) before a brief preview of Week Six (1:10:05).
Reminder! We’re off until early June before returning with a handful of new episodes!
We’re back! After a one week hiatus, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) return to the air for episode #20 of the WoSo Independent Podcast. They briefly talk about the official announcement of a four-team international tournament with the U.S., Japan, Brazil, and Australia (0:36). They follow that up with a discussion about the injury crisis that has plagued the NWSL early in 2017. Why is it happening, and, more importantly, is their a solution (3:58)? They then give a brief(ish) overview of Week Three including a rant about the NWSL Team of the Month (14:05). Then they review week four, including rants about whether Washington-Sky Blue FC was good soccer and the continual agony of trying to watch streams from Boston (29:52). They then close it out with a short preview of week five in the NWSL (1:14:34).
Franny Ordega had a career match to lead the Spirit to their first win of 2017.
Driving to the Soccerplex on Saturday, I was already composing this article in expectation of another lackluster performance. “Should the Spirit change their name? Spirit is the one thing that they’ve seemed to lack this season.” I was also going to note that Francisca Ordega seemed too fragile for this league, too often being bumped off the ball.
Shows what I know.
An almost unrecognizable team showed up Saturday evening, especially in the first half: completing passes, making runs off the ball, and showing an intensity that had been lacking in their previous three matches. And far from being a fragile flower, Ordega was muscling defenders off the ball in what some were calling the best NWSL performance of 2017 as she played a role in all four Washington goals: scoring two, assisting on one, and contributing to an own goal with a shot across the goalmouth.
In episode #19 of the WoSo Independent Podcast, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) discuss Marta-mania, as the Brazilian superstar arrived in Orlando and in the NWSL (1:25). Then they discuss NWSL attendance through the first two weeks of the season (4:00). Should fans and clubs be concerned with sagging attendance in some markets? Then they break down week two of the NWSL season (12:15), including discussion of Marta’s home debut, a much improved display for Chicago, North Carolina’s home debut, Houston’s self-destruction, and Boston’s impressive win. Finally, they give a brief preview of week three’s matchups (1:00:20).
On episode eighteen of the WoSo Independent Podcast, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) break down the big news of Mallory Pugh leaving UCLA and turning pro (0:32). Will she end up in the NWSL or in Europe? Can U.S. Soccer broker a deal between the Spirit and Thorns without things getting messy? Then, they briefly discuss the Cami Levin to Houston trade (15:20). Afterward, Chris and Jon discuss the ups and downs of Lifetime and Go90 on opening weekend (18:45). Next, they tackle some of the big takeaways from week one of the 2017 NWSL season (33:03). Finally, there’s a short discussion of what to look for in week two (1:07:05).
Tori Huster is the lone remaining player to have been with the Spirit every year of the team’s existence.
This year’s Washington Spirit seems defined more by who isn’t here than who is. If you tried to name the team’s defining players, it would probably go something like: Ali Krieger, Tori Huster, Diana Matheson, Crystal Dunn, and maybe a nod to Megan Oyster, Estefania Banini, and Christine Nairn.
Well, except for Huster all those players are gone now. Krieger was pretty much given away to the Orlando Pride. Matheson and Nairn were traded to the Seattle Reign. Oyster was traded to the Boston Breakers. Dunn and Banini are across the pond, playing for Chelsea and Valencia, respectively.
The remaining players include two from the Canadian WNT (Stephanie Labbé and Shelina Zadorsky) and two internationals (Line Sigvardsen Jensen of Denmark and Francisca Ordega of Nigeria), but no allocated players from the US WNT.
On the other hand, Washington has never been a team of stars, relying more on teamwork and a blue-collar attitude. Last year they had some of the prettiest team goals you could ask for, pinging the ball all over the field until someone found an opening and sent it in. They’ll need to do more of the same this year. As Huster says, “We’ve got a blue-collar mentality. No one’s going to outwork us.”
Here’s our projected final table:
- FC Kansas City
- North Carolina
- Sky Blue FC
And our major award winners:
- MVP – Tobin Heath (Chris’ pick), Christen Press (Jon’s pick)
- Golden Boot – Christen Press
- Defender of The Year – Becky Sauerbrunn
- GK of The Year – Alyssa Naeher
- Rookie of The Year – Christina Gibbons
- Coach of The Year – Vlatko Andonovski
In episode #17 of the WoSo Independent Podcast, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) are gearing up for the beginning of the NWSL season with their pre-season wrap-up episode. First, however, they engage in a robust discussion about the U.S.’ new U17/U20 team managers (1:45). Then, they grind some axes discussing the increasingly fraught situation with the streaming of non-televised NWSL matches (23:10). Finally, they give their projected league table for the 2017 NWSL season (35:40), along with major award winner projections (1:03:30), and a last word about television schedule imbalances (1:11:50).
On the final (!) edition of our 2017 NWSL team previews, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) discuss their thoughts on the Orlando Pride, now having signed Brazilian superstar Marta. Will a Marta + Morgan partnership equal playoffs in the team’s second season? Is the defense the best in the league? And is the midfield a major concern?
In part nine of their 2017 NWSL season preview, Chris (@chris_awk) and Jon (@jonlipsitz) break down the prospects for Sky Blue FC, one of last year’s overachievers. With heavy investment in the defense through the draft, will the Jersey side challenge for the playoffs? Can Sam Kerr make the leap to superstar status? And will this club ever succeed at the box office?