Monthly Archives: June 2013

AWK NCAA 2013 Soccer Preview – 13 Truths About the 2013 Season

I. This Could Be One of The All-Time Great College Seasons

They’re all great if you’re a fanatic like myself, but 2013 could be a vintage year for all, as the ingredients are all there for a season for the ages. The talent level is as arguably as high as it’s been in a while, with three full USWNT internationals joining full and youth internationals from Canada, Norway, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Japan, and beyond. The television coverage should again be able to provide something for everyone, even with the seeming death of the NSCAA Game of the Week. Before the SEC Network really raises the stakes next year, there’ll be plenty of games on the Big Ten Network, the Pac-12 Network, and the usual smattering of games on ESPNU, regional networks, and BYU-TV among others.

You’ve got great, experienced teams like North Carolina and Santa Clara, great, young teams like Notre Dame, new teams entirely like Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Colorado State, and teams moving up in divisions like Grand Canyon, Incarnate Word, and Abilene Christian. You’ve got great faces in new places like Amanda Cromwell taking over at UCLA, while some clubs (many clubs) find themselves in new conference homes. You’ve got a new conference entirely in the breakaway Big East and some conferences like the WAC just fighting for survival. New stadiums are popping up at places like the aforementioned TXAM-CC and Marshall, while others at places like Kentucky are getting grand renovations. The College Cup? Back on the East Coast and back on a field that hopefully isn’t going to be ripped to shreds by the final.

In other words? Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.
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WPSL/USASA: Charge clinch playoff spot, win National Women’s Championship

The Chesapeake Charge, Arundel Soccer Association’s elite women’s team, couldn’t have done much better this week.

On Wednesday night, a 5-0 win over the Tidewater Sharks gave them a 6-0-2 record on the season, good enough to secure one of the two playoff spots in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s South Atlantic Division.

Then on Thursday the team flew to Kansas City to take part in the United States Adult Soccer Association’s National Women’s Championship in the amateur division. By mid-day Sunday, after a grueling four matches in three days, captains Laura Kane and Jess Hnatiuk were hoisting the championship trophy.
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WPSL: Torino back on winning track, eyeing the playoffs

Veteran Ali Andrzejewski - here in a vintage photo showing her warming up for the 2007 Washington Freedom (note Lori Lindsey in lower-right-hand corner) - scored the game-winner for ACF Torino USA

With the ASA Chesapeake Charge clinching one of the two playoff spots in WPSL’s South Atlantic Division, that puts the pressure on the teams that remain in contention: ACF Torino USA, the Philadelphia Fever, and the Lancaster Inferno. Going into this weekend, each of the teams controlled their outcome but needed to win out or very nearly in order to do so, particularly since they go head-to-head repeatedly in the last few weeks of the season – in fact, Torino’s final three opponents are Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Lancaster.

This stretch run started off well for the team with the Italian alliance, as Torino managed a hard-won, 2-1 victory over the Fever after picking up only a point in their previous two matches. (It didn’t help that those two were against the division-leading Charge.)
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NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Twelve

Ninety points would be good usually…unless the leaders are scoring double that. I dropped over forty places overall thanks to a rather ill-advised decision to stock my defense and goalkeeper position with players from WNY and Boston, which hasn’t exactly proven to be wise for most of the year. Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux also proved to be gigantic busts despite favorable matchups on paper, driving probably more than just me crazy.

It’s a big week with everyone but Portland and Sky Blue FC having two games, meaning you’ll probably want to stock up on double gamers. I’d probably stay away from Portland on the road and with just one game unless you really fancy Alex Morgan or Christine Sinclair to do some serious damage. SBFC has a good matchup on the road, but the offense wasn’t exactly consistent until the last handful of minutes last game with Lisa De Vanna’s absence certainly being felt.

Washington are a double game team, but without Diana Matheson for at least one of those games and with two horrible matchups, I’d avoid them like the plague.

Reminder that Adriana, Samantha Kerr, Kyah Simon, Caitlin Foord, and Lisa De Vanna are all away on international duty this round.

Round Twelve Team Rankings:

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

GK

Solo (SEA) – She’s good enough and defense is just bad enough to ensure she’ll rack up the save points. Two winnable matches at home, so she’s a great option.

Franch (WNY) – Great matchups, but boy, it’s always an adventure with her backline.

Barnhart (FCKC) – Forgettable game against SBFC, but have to figure she’ll make a lot of saves vs Portland and have great clean sheet chance against Washington.

Cameron (SBFC) – Coming back to Earth a bit as of late. Does the hammer fall with Loyden against a Boston side in a death spiral? It’s a great matchup…if she plays.

McLeod (CHI) – Better options available this week despite club’s uptick in form.

LeBlanc (POR) – Has been tremendous this season, but has just one match this round. It’s not an easy one.

Naeher (BOS) – Burned last week behind porous defense, and club in front of her lacking confidence, so be wary despite double week.
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WPSL: Charge down Torino, 1-0, to win the battle for Maryland

The second round of “WPSL’s Clash of the Titans” did not live up to the billing. Though the ASA Chesapeake Charge only won, 1-0, they controlled possession throughout, and according to my notes ACF Torino USA only got a single shot on goal while needing a strong performance from their goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands just to hold the score at one. Given that they had the better of the run of play in the previous match as well, it’s now pretty clear which is the best WPSL team in the Free State – would that league politics allowed for a match between the Charge and the Spirit Reserves for the overall amateur title.
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NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Eleven

Not much to say about the last round. I did well enough to move up a spot overall but not well enough to make up significant ground on those above me. Here’s hoping that’s the last major interruption for international duty this season.

This round’s matchups are pretty cut and dry. WNY and Boston have home games against Seattle, while FC Kansas City has two games, including one against Washington at home. The core of your team should probably come form WNY, BOS, and FCKC depending on who you like matchup-wise. I’d stay away from Portland and SBFC, as it’s coming just a few days after international duty, though in such an important contest, you’d guess both managers will try to go as full strength as they can. Just be aware that some of the USWNT and Canadian WNT players may play fewer minutes than usual on Saturday and Sunday and adjust accordingly.

Round Eleven Team Rankings

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

GK

Naeher (BOS) – Broken nose doesn’t seem to be a worry and will be facing a punchless Seattle team in their second game in four days.

Franch (WNY) – Backline was wobbly to the say the least against Chicago but has a plum matchup at home against woeful Reign. Boom or bust pick in all likelihood.

Barnhart (FCKC) – Two matchups, though facing SBFC in midweek on the road isn’t appealing. Should have their way with Washington, especially without Matheson, however.

Cameron (SBFC) – Has been a fantasy goldmine despite iffy match against Boston. Always a worry that Loyden will come back in the side, so have a good bench option.

LeBlanc (POR) – Been great in fantasy, but probably not the week you want to roll with her against high powered SBFC on the road.

Harris (WSH) – Bad matchup on the road with Matheson out and eats up an allocated slot, so I’d stay away.

Solo (SEA) – Maybe if you’re a masochist. Two bad matchups and had a real clanger against FC Kansas City, so I’d avoid.
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Washington Spirit Reserves win 2-0 to take control in W-League

Katie Yensen would assist on the Spirit Reserves' first goal, which for a long while seemed as if it would be the only one

At 7 pm this evening just two of the twenty-five teams in the W-League still had but one blemish on their record. By 9 pm, it was just one, as the Spirit Reserves downed their Northeastern Conference rivals the Long Island Rough Riders by a score of 2-0.

And despite the score, the match wasn’t nearly that close – this was no “clash of Titans” but thoroughgoing domination by the home team everywhere except on the scoreboard. The Spirit Reserves took an astonishing 34 shots during the match and forced Rough Riders goalkeeper Samantha Whitney to make 15 saves, while the visitors got off just five shots, only two of which were on target. What kept it close was a combination of poor finishing by Washington and some backs-to-the-wall defending by Long Island – I counted at least three times that Rough Rider defenders blocked shots that would have gone in, including twice by goalpost defenders on corner kicks.
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WPSL: “Clash of the Titans I” ends in 2-2 draw

Jen Gillette (right) scored for the Charge and made key defensive plays (file photo courtesy of Ken L. Harriford)


The first round of the home-and-home between the South Atlantic Division leaders ASA Chesapeake Charge and ACF Torino USA lived up to its billing, a hard-fought, well-played match that went back-and-forth and ended in a 2-2 draw.
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Spirit doubleheader: amateurs win, pros lose

Despite the best efforts of captain Lori Lindsey, the Washington Spirit would be shut out yet again

Do the Spirit professionals need to take some lessons from the amateurs? The Reserve team, playing against W-League rivals the New Jersey Wildcats, seldom had trouble scoring in an 8-1 rout. By contrast, the NWSL team lost, 2-0, to the Western New York Flash, the third straight match in which they’ve failed to score.
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NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Ten

For a person who left 48.50 points on the bench last round, I didn’t fare too horribly when all was said and done, doing enough to move up six places in the overall standings. I gambled big on Sky Blue FC and lost, with their defense getting cut apart and the offense not doing much of anything. Speaking of offense, it wasn’t exactly the best feeling in the world to have started Lisa De Vanna and Sydney Leroux (combined points: 4.50) and see Abby Wambach rack up the points from my bench.

Obviously, the story this round is everyone who’s missing on international duty from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Wales. Unlike a few rounds ago, there are no bye weeks, and complicating matters, Chicago and Western New York play in mid-week as well.

While I’d normally advocate loading up with double gamers, I’m hesitant this round. The Red Star defense has generally looked a lot more solid since Sonja Fuss joined up, though the German conceded the penalty that put Chicago behind the eight-ball early against FC Kansas City. The offense? Still a disaster area for the most part. Inka Grings hasn’t exactly set the league on fire in three games, and there’s very little else other than Lori Chalupny, with Zakiya Bywaters still injured. They have two tough matchups this round too, against a FC Kansas City squad on the road that just eased past them and at home against a WNY side with a lot of confidence. Considering Rory Dames showed no hesitation in rotating his squad mid-week, there’s also the danger that minutes are going to get spread out. Good for maintaining energy levels, bad for fantasy owners.

WNY has two great matchups, but I’m wary about trusting them too much. The defense looks to have favorable opponents, but they’ve leaked goals for much of the season. That’s not going to stop me from captaining AD Franch though. Famous last words? It’s difficult to know where the offense is going to come from without Abby Wambach, Samantha Kerr, and Carli Lloyd though. Neither McCall Zerboni nor Adriana have shown a whole lot for much of the season, meaning the likes of Jodi-Ann Robinson, Laura Heyboer, Veronica Perez, and Victoria DiMartino could all get their chances…want to make a guess from that bunch?

Round Ten Team Rankings:

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

GK

Franch (WNY) – Two very winnable matchups behind a rearguard that finally kept a clean sheet. Should be good for at least one this round.

LeBlanc (POR) – Surprising omission from Canada squad not going to bother fantasy owners, especially given this matchup.

Henninger (FCKC) – Misfiring Red Stars made it pretty easy on her and is certainly worth a look with same matchup this round.

Vancil (CHI) – Back to Earth last round after some great performances before. Two games, but not any easy matchups and has to deal with Red Stars’ potential fatigue following murderous stretch of games.

Cameron (SBFC) – Atypically poor week last time out but has been great on the whole this year. Better matchups out there though this round.

Harris (WSH) – Only been average fantasy-wise this year and has a reasonably tough matchup. Should be healthy again after long break.

Phillips (BOS) – Risk of rotation with Santiago there, as is potential of being usurped by Naeher at drop of a hat. Given club history against SBFC and terrible fantasy season so far, I wouldn’t bother.

Kopmeyer/Betos (SEA) – OK, Portland’s offense has been anemic without Morgan and Sinclair. But there’s not much indication as to which of Seattle’s backups are going to start, and even so, do you trust the defense in front of them?
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