Monthly Archives: May 2013

NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Eight

So, I had generally had an awful round last week after two consecutive outings over a hundred thirty-five points. It was enough to drop me to #60 overall after a few weeks of big gains. Obviously, captaining Alex Morgan turned out to be a gigantic mistake, with the USWNT star putting up a goose egg in a rare misfire. In a week with tons of clean sheets, ending up with AD Franch, who didn’t keep a shutout, turned out to be very detrimental as well.

Round Seven was our last relatively docile round for a while as well, with bye weeks, double weeks, and international call-ups wreaking havoc from now until August. While things figure to be slightly less chaotic than in a few weeks, there’s still plenty for fantasy owners to chew over:

-Bye weeks for Washington and Seattle. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you didn’t have any Reign players on your fantasy radar, but the absence of Ali Krieger and Diana Matheson is notable.

-Boston and Portland on double weeks. Both have concerns though:

-The Breakers may get two games, but they also get two of the league’s form sides at the moment in Sky Blue FC and the WNY Flash. You obviously want players who are going to be around for both games first and foremost, so Kyah Simon and Lianne Sanderson are almost must haves this week, with consideration also going to the likes of Cat Whitehill and Katie Schoepfer. The Breakers have some single gamers worth looking into, most specifically Heather O’Reilly. I’d stay away from Sydney Leroux and the goalkeeping situation though considering the unpredictability of both.

-Portland’s an absolute headache. Never mind the fact that the club looked like absolute pants for much of the game against Seattle, there’s the small matter of the club putting out two radically different lineups for their two games this round. Complicating matters is that that first match, against Chicago and without their WNT stars, looks like the best fantasy matchup by far this round. Surefire double gamers Marian Dougherty and Nikki Marshall are no-brainers, but wither everyone else? It’s a potential headache and a half for fantasy owners that’s sure to require some serious guesswork and intuition.

-Beware mid-week fixtures with returning players. Just because the WNT’ers are going to be back for the Wednesday and Thursday matches doesn’t mean they’ll play the whole match or even at all. You have been warned.

Round Eight Team Rankings:

1. POR
2. BOS
3. SBFC
4. WNY
5. FCKC
6. CHI

GK

Cameron (SBFC) – Has been lights out so far behind a fantastic defense. Matchup isn’t bad, but will rearguard hold up without Rampone?

LeBlanc (POR) – You’re only going to get one game, and it’s against stern opposition. She’s been rock steady in goal though, and even if she doesn’t keep a clean sheet, she could rack up points for saves.

Barnhart (FCKC) – Tough matchup on the road, and has to deal without Sesselman on the backline. Impressive so far, but better options this week.

Franch (WNY) – Playing behind a leaky backline and with a potentially dangerous matchup against volatile Boston offense. I’d stay away unless I needed to free up an allocation spot elsewhere.

Gay (POR) – A real gut check for fantasy owners. Has by far the round’s best matchup, but is she good enough for this level? Seriously risky, to say the least.

Vancil (CHI) – Impressed on debut and gets a depleted Portland side, albeit on the road. Could be worth a longshot play.

Santiago/Phillips (BOS) – Do you even want to mess with this situation? Phillips was supposedly back and available last round but magically wasn’t, leading to another Santiago start. Boston obviously has an advantage with two matches this week, but the volatility around the position has to be a major turn-off for fantasy owners. My advice? Don’t bother, as you’re in danger of eating a zero if you guess wrong.
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WPSL: ASA Chesapeake Charge dispatch Lions Swarm Maryland easily, 7-1

Sofia Read prepares to throw the ball in to Melissa Lookingland while Asia Fort defends - on the ugliest field I've ever seen an official match played on

The Lions Swarm didn’t look much better in their second-ever outing, losing to the ASA Chesapeake Charge, 7-1, on their home field – this after losing 9-0 on the road to ACF Torino a little over a week ago.

And frankly I don’t know how much I want to dignify this match by doing a writeup of it. I arrived at 6:20 pm for what I thought was a 6:30 match only to find that the game had been going for some time – the start time had been changed to 6 pm without any announcement of the fact. Even as I write this, all three websites – Charge, Lions, and WPSL – still say 6:30 pm. There was a scoreboard, but it went unused. The field was the size of a postage stamp and, to extend the metaphor, a really badly cancelled postage stamp, given the multitudinous bare patches on the field. It was far and away the worst pitch I’ve seen for an officially sanctioned match.
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W-League: Washington Spirit Reserves get by Fredericksburg Impact, 2-0

Ashley Herndon (left) scored the opening goal and was dangerous the whole time she was out there

In their first road match of the 2013 season, the Washington Spirit’s top amateur team easily shut out the Fredericksburg Impact, their local W-League rivals, on their brand new home pitch at the Fredericksburg Field House. Goals from Ashley Herndon and Katie Yensen provided the margin of victory.

The match really shouldn’t have been anywhere near that close. The Reserves had 19 shots total – Herndon had 11 all by herself – while the Impact only managed 4.
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NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Seven

So, how’d everyone do? It seems like it was another high scoring week, and I missed out on the top ten for the round by a point but moved up to #52 on the season.

This might be the most docile round of the season, with no bye weeks, no double weeks, and no international call-ups to worry about. Enjoy it while it lasts. It’s the last round without a double game team until mid-July, and the flurry of international friendlies are going to make or break a lot of teams over the next month.

Complicating matters are the imminent returns of a handful of players, as well as the additions of others to the game. Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe should be returning from France sometime within the month, while Boston got a big boost when it was announced that Alyssa Naeher was headed back stateside this week. In Chicago, Inka Grings will likely make her Red Stars debut next week, along with Sonja Fuss in defense. Carli Lloyd returned from injury a few rounds back, while injury returns for Hope Solo and Jillian Loyden should happen within the next month.

That’s not to say the injury bug isn’t striking elsewhere, as FC Kansas City sweats on the health of Becky Sauerbrunn and Lauren Sesselmann, while Chicago now has to deal with the loss of Leslie Osborne and the potential loss of Erin McLeod. Seattle’s a walking disaster area with Eli Reed and Kate Deines injured and Jenny Ruiz suspended for the derby against Portland.

You’ll probably want to stock up with WNY and Portland players this week. It’s much more of a crapshoot beyond those two clubs. Boston has had their moments, but they’ve also put together some fantasy duds against Washington and looked out of form against FC Kansas City last round. FCKC and Sky Blue FC meet up in the week’s money match, and it would take a brave soul to back either team decisively in that one for fantasy purposes.

Round Seven Fantasy Team Rankings

1. WNY
2. POR
3. BOS
4. FCKC
5. SBFC
6. WSH
7. SEA
8. CHI

GK

Franch – Red Stars struggling to ignite, so despite leaky defense, still likely this week’s best GK option thanks to non-allocated status.

LeBlanc – Reign largely pitiful on offense so far but could be walking into a snake pit in a derby match on the road.

Phillips – Back in goal according to some reports, though her job may be in jeopardy with Naeher’s imminent return. Decent matchup here.

Cameron – Has been fantasy gold so far but threat of Loyden always there and gets a tough matchup on road.

Barnhart – Great this year but could be playing behind patchwork defense against red hot SBFC, so I’d avoid.

Harris/Jones – Watch the injury report for news, but matchup’s not great anyway with other games this round, so I’d stay away.

Kopmeyer – Didn’t look bad and stopped a penalty against SBFC and derby’s a derby, but still tough matchup behind a ramshackle defense.
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NWSL – SoccerMeter Stats – FC Kansas City 2 – 0 Boston Breakers

(Note: The first ten minutes or so of the first half of the match was missing, so keep that in mind with these stats.)

Boston Breakers Game Total FC Kansas City
0 Goals 2
7 Shots 14
35:30 Time of Possession 33:36
51% Time of Possession % 49%
632 First Touches 573
404 Passes 344
64% Pass Completion % 60%
61 Number of Pass Strings 56
4.8 Average Pass String Length 4.6
12 Longest Pass String 19

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NWSL – Round Five SoccerMeter Stats Comparisons

Through last weekend’s mid-week matches:

Full Match

Possession

60% – Portland (vs CHI)
56% – Washington (vs BOS)
55% – Portland (vs SBFC)
53% – Washington (vs SEA)
51% – Seattle (vs SBFC)
50% – FC Kansas City
50% – Western New York
49% – Sky Blue FC (vs SEA)
47% – Seattle (vs WSH)
45% – Sky Blue FC (vs POR)
44% – Boston
40% – Chicago

Passes

468 – Portland (vs SBFC)
446 – Portland (vs CHI)
437 – Washington (vs BOS)
430 – Seattle (vs SBFC)
402 – Western New York
390 – Washington (vs SEA)
388 – FC Kansas City
375 – Sky Blue FC (vs SEA)
339 – Seattle (vs WSH)
319 – Boston
267 – Sky Blue FC (vs POR)
263 – Chicago

Pass Completion

68% – Portland (vs SBFC)
66% – Seattle (vs SBFC)
65% – Washington (vs BOS)
63% – Sky Blue FC (vs SEA)
62% – Washington (vs SEA)
62% – Western New York
61% – FC Kansas City
61% – Portland (vs CHI)
58% – Seattle (vs WSH)
57% – Boston
54% – Sky Blue FC (vs POR)
48% – Chicago
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Torino, Chesapeake look strong in opening WPSL matches


On paper, it seemed that ACF Torino USA and the ASA Chesapeake Charge were the teams to look out for in the South Atlantic Division of WPSL’s Eastern Conference. But that doesn’t mean much if you can’t make it happen on the field. This past weekend, both teams made it clear that they could do just that.
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NWSL – Chris’ Best XI + Major Awards for Season’s First Quarter

Pretty self-explanatory. Note the difference between most valuable and most outstanding player.

Best XI:

GK – Brittany Cameron (SBFC)

LB – Leigh Ann Robinson (FCKC)
CB – Christie Rampone (SBFC)
CB – Becky Sauerbrunn (FCKC)
RB – Marian Dougherty (POR)

DM – Desiree Scott (FCKC)
CM – Sophie Schmidt (SBFC)
AM – Christine Sinclair (POR)
AM – Diana Matheson (WSH)

FW – Abby Wambach (WNY)
FW – Renae Cuellar (FCKC)

Most Outstanding Player: Christie Rampone, SBFC
Most Valuable Player: Diana Matheson, WSH
Rookie of the Year: Renae Cuellar, FCKC
GK of the Year: Brittany Cameron, SBFC
DEF of the Year: Christie Rampone, SBFC
MF of the Year: Diana Matheson, WSH
FW of the Year: Renae Cuellar, FCKC
Coach of the Year: Jim Gabarra, SBFC

NWSL – SoccerMeter Stats – League/Team Highs/Lows (Through Round 5)

Marks set this round italicized:

League Highs Game

Possession

60% – Portland (Round 5)

Passes

516 – FC Kansas City (Round 4)

Pass Completion %

68% – Portland Thorns FC (Round 5)

3+ Pass Strings

75 – Boston (Round 1)

Average Pass String

6.2 – Portland Thorns (Round 5)

Longest Pass String

27 – FC Kansas City (Round 4)
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