Several folks have asked about the upcoming schedules and potential absences. I consolidated the schedule for every national team represented on the Thorns from July 1 to the end of the season. Optimistically, I am sticking by my preseason projection that Amandine Henry joins the Thorns for the July 2 home match and therefore that the France WNT schedule is relevant to the Thorns.
The bottom line is that the impact is not too bad. Here’s the calendar (empty dates not shown for brevity:
|9-Jul||FCKC||South Africa (f)|
|23-Jul||France (f)||Canada (f)|
|3-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|4-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|5-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|6-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|7-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|8-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|9-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|10-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|11-Aug||OG Group||OG Group||OG Group|
|12-Aug||OG Quarters||OG Quarters||OG Quarters|
|13-Aug||OG Quarters||OG Quarters||OG Quarters|
|14-Aug||OG Quarters||OG Quarters||OG Quarters|
|15-Aug||OG Quarters||OG Quarters||OG Quarters|
|16-Aug||OG Semis||OG Semis||OG Semis|
|17-Aug||OG Semis||OG Semis||OG Semis|
|18-Aug||OG Semis||OG Semis||OG Semis|
|19-Aug||OG 3rd Place||OG 3rd Place||OG 3rd Place|
|20-Aug||OG Final||OG Final||OG Final|
|21-Aug||OG Closing||OG Closing||OG Closing|
As you can see, we have a conflict on July 9 when the US women play a pointless friendly against South Africa (my prediction is 8-0 USA). However it seems unlikely that there will more than a day or two of advance training for this match, which means the Thorns should be short only for the FCKC match. Expect the lineup for that date to be almost identical to the May 29th Seattle match.
Surprisingly, there are no further conflicts in the known published schedules except for France against China June 16. There are still two big unknowns which could screw us up: (1) pre-Olympics camps for USWNT, CANWNT, and FFFWNT; and (2) post-Olympics hoo-hah.
Even the shortest pre-Olympics camps will see us seriously shorthanded for the July 30th Reign match. The Thorns will be very depleted and it looks like a sure thing this will happen. For that match, we’ll be out the US players (probably five as Allie Long is looking like she’s finally made it and about time!), plus Sinclair and Henry.
It would take a long, expensive camp of 17 days in Brazil to cost us players for the July 16th Dash game. While possible, we can only hope it doesn’t happen. With that said, Houston has been pretty pathetic this year and their lineup would be similarly devastated, so we have a decent chance of taking the three points on the road regardless.
The final match in jeopardy is the last Reign meeting on August 27 in Seattle. With the Olympics ending a week earlier, there is plenty of time for all the Thorns to physically be in Portland. Whether they will want to play a competitive match that soon is an open question, especially if the US is in the gold medal game. In addition, even if our team is all back, it’s possible that one or two Thorns could have a breakout performance in Brazil. Remember Carly Lloyd after the World Cup? Perhaps a Thorn will be too busy making appearances on late-night TV and chatting with President Obama or Hollande to have time for an NWSL match. If so, I say “good for her!”.
Let’s assume that the US wins the gold medal match, which is less certain than in past tournaments. In 2015, the USWNT won the World Cup on July 5. The first Victory Tour date was August 16 in Pittsburgh – seven weeks later. Seven weeks post-Olympics is October 9 which is the same day as the NWSL Final in Houston. I have to believe that even USSF is not so ignorant/arrogant as to schedule across the NWSL Final. Should France (or Canada) win the medal, we may be without one player for a match or two. Bottom line is that we should be fine post-Olympics unless USSF pulls off an amazing feat of high-speed organization.
In summary, it appears we’ll be down five or six key players for FCKC on July 9 and as many as seven for the Seattle away match on July 30. But that may be it. If I’ve missed something please comment below or hit me up on twitter @evrctid.
by Richard Hamje
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