Monthly Archives: May 2015

USWNT – USA vs South Korea SoccerMeter Stats

In which we wring our hands.

South Korea 1st Half USA
0 Goals 0
3 Shots 7
17:12 Time of Possession 17:15
50% Time of Possession % 50%
284 First Touches 323
177 Passes 217
62% Pass Completion % 67%
26 Number of Pass Strings 25
5.2 Average Pass String Length 6.6
9 Longest Pass String 16

South Korea 2nd Half USA
0 Goals 0
4 Shots 6
15:20 Time of Possession 16:38
48% Time of Possession % 52%
252 First Touches 278
157 Passes 183
62% Pass Completion % 66%
22 Number of Pass Strings 33
5.5 Average Pass String Length 4.2
15 Longest Pass String 11

South Korea Game Total USA
0 Goals 0
7 Shots 13
32:33 Time of Possession 33:53
49% Time of Possession % 51%
536 First Touches 601
334 Passes 400
62% Pass Completion % 67%
48 Number of Pass Strings 58
5.3 Average Pass String Length 5.2
15 Longest Pass String 16

Spirit get a blue-collar win over the Thorns, 2-1

Paul Riley insisted Amanda DaCosta (near the top in this image) was offside on her game-tying goal. You be the judge.

Paul Riley insisted Amanda DaCosta (near the top in this image) was offside on her game-tying goal. You be the judge.

It wasn’t the most elegant game, but then the Spirit aren’t an elegant team. This one went to the team that worked harder, and that was Washington. It was was even more of an accomplishment given that Tori Huster, their captain and one player above all who exemplifies their work ethic and toughness, was out with an injury.

The visiting Portland Thorns struck first in the 18th minute when Allie Long sent a perfectly placed through ball to Genoveva “Ayo” Añonma. Defender Megan Oyster slowed up, expecting an offside call, but Añonma continued with the play and tucked the ball into the lower left-hand corner. It was the first NWSL goal for the recently signed player from Equatorial Guinea.

Eight minutes later, Christine Nairn sent a ball over the top in the direction of Crystal Dunn in a clearly offside position, but it bounced off defender Kat Williamson and landed right at Amanda DaCosta’s feet at the top of the box. Da Costa let it bounce, then chipped it over goalkeeper Michelle Betos. It was another of the sort of breaks that the Spirit never seemed to get until this season. (And claims that Da Costa was offside seem invalid – see the screen cap at top.)

Just two minutes after that, Betos had trouble controlling a back pass, Crystal Dunn came swooping in, took it away from her, and had an easy putaway. It was roughly the nine-zillionth time the Spirit had gotten a goal off a Dunn steal, though she doesn’t usually do it singlehandedly. Dunn is now leading the NWSL in scoring and has either scored or helped score all four of the game-winning goals for the Spirit this year. Thorns head coach Paul Riley: “Crystal Dunn was exceptional. How she’s not on that plane to Canada is absolutely beyond me.”

But that would conclude the scoring. The second half would be hard-fought and scrappy, with four yellow cards issued to Portland players, two of which looked to be for professional fouls to take down Laura del Rio before she did something dangerous with the ball.
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NWSL – 2017 Draft Class Top 50 Ranking – Buchanan Muscles Her Way To #1

Positional Rankings

GK

1. Jane Campbell – Stanford
2. Kailen Sheridan – Clemson
3. Tarah Hobbs – Minnesota
4. Hannah Seabert – Pepperdine
5. Diana Poulin – Saint John’s (NY)

DEF

1. Kadeisha Buchanan – West Virginia
2. Rebecca Quinn – Duke
3. Maddie Bauer – Stanford
4. Kayla Mills – USC
5. Stephanie Amack – Stanford

MF

1. Rose Lavelle – Wisconsin
2. Morgan Andrews – USC
3. Emma Fletcher – Cal
4. Allison Wetherington – Portland
5. Ashley Lawrence – West Virginia

FW

1. Savannah Jordan – Florida
2. Murielle Tiernan – Virginia Tech
3. Rachel Hill – UConn
4. McKenzie Meehan – Boston College
5. Hayley Dowd – Boston College

Overall Top 50

1. Kadeisha Buchanan – D (CB) – West Virginia

The big question isn’t whether Buchanan is this class’ best prospect, it’s rather if she’ll be in this draft at all. Foreign professional teams have already reportedly shown interest, and her profile will only rise higher with a good showing this Summer. Buchanan also may be allocated by Canada right off the bat, meaning she may be assigned to a team rather than be drafted by one. There’s little question that Buchanan could probably start for an NWSL side right now. She’s got an uncanny combination of brute strength and defensive skill that’s already made her one of the world’s most promising center-backs. There are probably questions as to how her no-holds barred style will hold up with referees at the next level, but those concerns are minute compared to the talent Buchanan brings to the table.

2. Rose Lavelle – MF (AMC) – Wisconsin

The diminutive playmaker has spent two seasons knifing through Big Ten defenses with the Badgers and has evolved from being an intriguing prospect to one of the very best young players in the U.S. Lavelle was one of the few players to come out of last season’s U20 World Cup with her reputation enhanced following the U.S.’ misadventures in Canada and starred again in college play with Wisconsin, racking up ten assists as the Badgers impressed. A dribbling wizard with great vision and an often incisive touch in front of goal, there are few more dangerous in DI with the ball at her feet. Her usage rates were pretty poor last year though, with just two goals on sixty-nine shots, and it’ll be interesting to see how those numbers develop with Cara Walls gone. The sky’s the limit for Lavelle, who has a real shot at being the #1 overall pick in 2017.
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NWSL – Round Eight Fantasy Preview

Round seven was a bad round for me. It was my worst scoring round by far, as my decision to go with Kelsey Wys in goal for a second straight round proved to be a rather foolish one, with the Spirit netminder delivering a whopping -7.00 points after the club’s defensive shellacking at the hands of the Flash. Also bad? My defensive picks (3.50 points combined) and the decision to start Genoveva Anonma and Nadia Nadim, who combined for a total of zero points. While Crystal Dunn being my captain saved me, I also left Sam Mewis and Jessica McDonald on the bench. All things considered, I somehow am still at #4 overall, though I won’t be for too much longer with another round like this.

Considering there’s been little rhyme or reason as to the results of the past few weeks (other than being influenced by the absence of internationals headed to the WWC), it makes for a very difficult environment for picking players. Who would’ve thought that Houston would be the only club to keep a clean sheet? Who would’ve thought that Portland couldn’t score against the Dash defense? There aren’t really any standout fixtures on this week’s docket either. The “top” teams are on the road for the most part, while the one top team at home, Seattle, faces an in-form Chicago side. It may, again, be a case of betting on talent rather than matchup and hoping to come out on top.

Reminder! This is the last week of segment two of the AWK Eliminator League. Teams below the Top 75 that haven’t won a round will be eliminated.

GK

Barnhart (FCKC) – On the road and against a decent offense, but is behind a good backline and should at least stay out of the negatives at the very least.

Dalton (CHI) – Numbers through three starts are absurd. 12.17 points per match! Asking her to do that again this round may be a bit much considering the opposition though.

Kopmeyer (SEA) – At home but against the league leaders, so there’s some real risk here, especially with Chicago in scorching form.

Kranich (BOS) – Improving defense and a matchup against a sputtering FCKC offense make her a solid option.

Betos (POR) – Will probably have to make more than one save against Spirit’s offense, but hard to totally trust considering Thorns’ scoring woes.

Henninger (HOU) – Worked out just fine last round, but it won’t be the same way all the time if her defense keeps allowing so many shots. Facing an SBFC side short on scoring power though.

Cameron (SBFC) – At least she’s putting up points. But until SBFC shows some consistency defensively, she’s not a great option.

Wys (WSH) – Followed up a big display with a real clunker. Thorns offense not scoring, but do you trust Spirit defense?
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W-League: DC-area team preview 2015

Why follow the W-League? “This is where it all starts,” says Kristen Meier, former professional player for the Seattle Reign and currently captain of the Braddock Road Stars Elite. “You’re watching the World Cup, come out here and see the stepping stones to getting there. We have players who hopefully in four, eight, twelve years will be on that team.”

Given the talent on the local teams, it seems like a good bet. Washington has eight players with youth national team experience, most notably Andi Sullivan, who captained the US team in last year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup. And Braddock Road already has five – including three of Sullivan’s 2014 teammates – with even more up-and-coming young players on the bubble.

So if you come out to see the Stars Elite play the Spirit Reserves (and you have three matches to choose from), you’ve got a pretty good chance of seeing the next Ali Krieger, Lori Lindsey, or Becky Sauerbrunn – all of whom honed their skills on local W-League teams long before getting called up to the national team.
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NWSL – Round Seven Fantasy Preview

With just three matches, 81.50 points was a pretty good total when all was said and done, and it was good enough to see me at fourth overall on the season. And this was despite getting almost nothing from my defense and midfield, which flopped big time, including Allie Long, who netted me just a single point as my captain. Gambling on Kelsey Wys turned out to be the right call, as she brought home twenty-six points with a clean sheet win against Sky Blue FC.

We’re back to four games this round (and for the foreseeable future), with Seattle on a bye (again), while they play the Chinese WNT in a friendly. The fixture that many will be looking to exploit is the Spirit’s trip to WNY, where they’ll be going up against a third-string goalkeeper whose identity is still unknown as of my writing of this. Even if the Flash’s goalkeeper turns out to be a competent replacement, the Spirit figure to test her early and often, meaning phantom points galore at the very least.

Portland would’ve been a great pick against Houston, but you might want to pump the brakes on them a little bit after they laid an egg last week against Boston. Speaking of Boston, they improved markedly against the Thorns in their win, but it’s still very tough to trust them with full confidence, even with a slumping SBFC side coming to town. SBFC definitely had chances to break their malaise last week, but they still aren’t finding the final touch in front of goal.

FCKC vs Chicago is a top of the table toss-up. The big question is whether you should keep rolling with Sofia Huerta if you’ve got her in your lineup. It’s hard to argue with her form, but FCKC’s defense is much better than Houston and Boston’s.

GK

Wys (WSH) – Fancy her for the win and a handful of saves, but, man, that defense is giving up a lot of shots, so you suspect she’ll be due for a clunker now and then.

Betos (POR) – Will be wanting to put last week’s unfortunate error behind her and has a good matchup to do it, though the gimpiness of her defense is worrying.

Barnhart (FCKC) – A lot of fantasy owners probably lost their collective minds when she didn’t start the second match against WNY a few rounds back. But she’ll be back on Saturday and is as steady as death and taxes in goal.

Dalton (CHI) – FCKC are in decent form but they don’t score much, so Dalton may still put up decent points even if she doesn’t win/doesn’t keep a clean sheet.

Kranich (BOS) – Nice showing against Portland, so she’s got some upside. But are you really trusting Boston’s defense after just one match?

Cameron (SBFC) – I actually like SBFC to win on Friday, but really, until they prove they can win again, stay away.

Henninger (HOU) – Hard to trust for much with the defense getting chopped and changed in front of her, and the Dash going on the road against a motivated Portland side.
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USWNT – USA vs Mexico SoccerMeter Stats

Mexico 1st Half USA
1 Goals 1
4 Shots 12
12:04 Time of Possession 20:58
37% Time of Possession % 63%
210 First Touches 351
89 Passes 231
42% Pass Completion % 66%
11 Number of Pass Strings 35
3.8 Average Pass String Length 5.1
7 Longest Pass String 14

 

Mexico 2nd Half USA
0 Goals 4
1 Shots 15
13:31 Time of Possession 18:55
42% Time of Possession % 58%
220 First Touches 327
113 Passes 221
51% Pass Completion % 68%
13 Number of Pass Strings 35
4.8 Average Pass String Length 5.1
14 Longest Pass String 15

 

Mexico Game Total USA
1 Goals 5
5 Shots 27
25:36 Time of Possession 39:53
39% Time of Possession % 61%
430 First Touches 678
202 Passes 452
47% Pass Completion % 67%
24 Number of Pass Strings 70
4.4 Average Pass String Length 5.1
14 Longest Pass String 15

Spirit steal win from Sky Blue, 1-0

It wasn’t that long ago that a soccer version of Murphy’s Law seemed to govern the Washington Spirit: anything that could go wrong would, and even playing well didn’t ensure success. Playing as badly as they did Saturday night would have been a disaster on the scoreboard. Instead, in second-half stoppage time Crystal Dunn found Francisca Ordega with a long ball over the top that left Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron in no-man’s land, too far out to protect the goal but not far enough out to get to the ball. Ordega collected the ball, dodged past Cameron, and put it away in the open net.

Head coach Mark Parsons, normally loquacious, was terse and pointed in the post-game interview. When asked why he only subbed twice in a game where the Spirit were struggling for chances, he said, “I couldn’t make more subs because I couldn’t decide who deserved to come off more. Because it was bad. Really bad. And they know it. About the 60th minute, I’m already thinking about training and I wouldn’t know where to start, because there were about 200 things you would want to touch on.”
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NWSL – Round Six Fantasy Preview

I’m writing this preview of round six before round five has even finished. That’ll be a rarity, as there aren’t any more double game weeks until July, which should leave things uncomplicated in that regard, though the WWC absences are going to be a constant headache for fantasy managers. Adding to some of the difficulty this round is the fact that there are just three matches, with FCKC, WNY, and Seattle all on byes.

Personally, the decision to captain Nicole Barnhart was a good call last round, even before her result against WNY on Thursday. As for everything else? Uh, not good on my end. My forwards were awful, and my midfield underwhelmed, save Allie Long. I’ll be hoping for more points on Thursday, but I’m regretting Mana Shim and Lynn Williams being on my bench after they combined for nearly twenty-nine points through the games of last weekend.

This round, there are three matches, and all have clear favorites, with Chicago, Portland, and Washington all favored comfortably to pick up three points. Most owners will go in heavy on the three, hoping to avoid a surprise during a week that looks predictable on paper.

Final note: Crystal Dunn and Kendall Johnson are the big changes in position after the customary switches through the first quarter.

GK

Wys (WSH) – Defense still looks dreadful, but SBFC couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat right now, making her a top option this round.

Dalton (CHI) – Looked good in her American pro debut and faces a Dash side with a lot less punch without Brian and Lloyd.

Betos (POR) – Thorns should crush Boston again, but defense is far from a brick wall as evidenced by last week.

Henninger (HOU) – Probably the sleeper option. I wouldn’t, but if you fancy an underdog winning, Houston’s probably the best bet.
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USWNT – USA vs Republic of Ireland SoccerMeter Stats

This…was not very pretty.

USA 1st Half Ireland
2 Goals 0
13 Shots 0
20:42 Time of Possession 10:38
66% Time of Possession % 34%
352 First Touches 180
262 Passes 90
74% Pass Completion % 50%
37 Number of Pass Strings 13
5.8 Average Pass String Length 3.5
13 Longest Pass String 6
USA 2nd Half Ireland
1 Goals 0
11 Shots 0
18:13 Time of Possession 11:48
61% Time of Possession % 39%
339 First Touches 185
229 Passes 75
68% Pass Completion % 41%
34 Number of Pass Strings 10
5.4 Average Pass String Length 3.7
19 Longest Pass String 5
USA Game Total Ireland
3 Goals 0
24 Shots 0
38:55 Time of Possession 22:26
63% Time of Possession % 37%
691 First Touches 365
491 Passes 165
71% Pass Completion % 45%
71 Number of Pass Strings 23
5.6 Average Pass String Length 3.6
19 Longest Pass String 6