Now what..?

I have no idea.

The NWSL hasn’t announced a plan to play a “regular season” similar to that proposed by MLS.

I’ve heard rumors that the NWSL has advised players to report to their team sites in August be begin training…but no more than that.

The notion that there can be “a season” outside the bubble seems as ridiculous as Major League Baseball’s attempt to resume play. Given the horrific way the US has fumbled the simplest epidemiological solutions? This isn’t happening.

So…anyone with any sort of idea where we go from here?

Cause I got nothin’.

Let’s talk in the comments…

Update 8/19: This is not just funny, but it’s pretty on-point, too. “So…are we supposed to be jerks like North Carolina now? Because that’s really no my vibe…”

Image by Jillian Fisher on Twitter

Enjoy.

Latest posts by John Lawes (see all)

132 thoughts on “Now what..?

    1. I didn’t see the details of this waiver but I don’t see how the risk is hirer from the general disclaimer you agree to on the back of any sports tickets. If I remember correctly you already waive the right to sue for injuries up to death, but I guess extra waivers make sense if you are going to play in front of a crowd.

      It is an appalling decision to move forward with attendees. My mind goes to ticket prices. Will the limited supply ~ 25% mean prices will skyrocket due to limited demand or will demand plummet as people fear for their health and even with the limited supply see tickets go unsold and drop in price. As people seem to have a pathological need for distractions like sport I guess prices might explode.

      As for the NWSL with the brunt of childcare still put on the women you must have some sort of exceptional AuPair childcare service any sort of local bubbles would be horrendous to do just weeks after the other bubble. I don’t know what the NWSL has in store other then to report to the team in less then a week. I have some faith in the Commish but the longer there is silence the more I feel that faith chipping away. It wouldn’t feel like soccer actually happened unless at least 2 games between the Reign and the Thorns happened. I would expect the NWSL to shut down and the next thing to happen is Louisville getting their coach, staff, players and getting ready for 2021. Drawing of lots for college draft position 2021, or whatever. I figure money will win out and Utah Portland and Seattle will have one sort of tournament, maybe with Houston or Chicago.

    2. No.

      Tho I’m less mortified than “disgusted”; it’s like “leave no nickel behind”, the damn league is gonna scrape every dollar up they can, Plague be damned. I’m neither surprised nor shocked, but not thrilled that my low opinion of human nature is confirmed…

  1. Meg Linehan interviewed Lisa Baird on her Full Time podcast. She did not commit either way to a season, but said something interesting about judging the NWSL success on 2021. Personally, I think there could be a fall tournament if the sponsors line up and we can safely re-create a bubble like Utah. I think a late September, early October tournament in Portland would be sweet.

  2. Only thing I have heard is that there might be friendlies, mini-tourneys (e.g., 4 teams), or other matches, but I have not heard anything that suggested a season.

  3. Europe > US
    I think the idea of significant “international signings” may be off the table. And worse, more of the best players might start heading to Europe, if the USWNT is allowing its players to go. Better pay, higher level of soccer, safer COVID environment- NWSL can’t compete with that.
    As a Thorns fan, i’m afraid of the possiblity of losing the Franchise: Horan seeing the player she lost USWNT playing time to, Mewis, sharpening her game playing high-level games in England between now and WWC, might want, as a competitor, to do the same.

    1. Horan’s BTDT. Not sure she’s going to head back to Europe again unless things get REALLY dire here. Mind you, given what our public health “system” looks like, well…

      But, yes, I think in general the issues here could be a serious threat to the league.

  4. I think I’ve mentioned that as a season ticket holder I was sent a survey by the FO asking about returning to games. A number of ideas were mentioned; masking, separating fans, reducing concessions…but I just don’t see the sense in risking a potentially very severe illness for soccer.

    Even less for the athletes; why risk some diseased screamer blowing Plague on a young player who could end up with a heart condition that will end his or her career? That’s not a smart idea.

    I hate all the damn masks and distancing and not being able to go to games or out for dinner or to a play or a movie. But I hate drowning in my own lungs more. So…

  5. At times like this it does feel like Portland and the NWSL were just the “proof of concept” European leagues and clubs needed to get more heavily involved in WoSo. I can think of several articles from The Guardian that have reflected that basic premise.

    1. On the other hand, we’re getting a dose of our own medicine. For how many decades have now basketball, baseball, and hockey players left their home countries for the superior talent pools, competition, and paydays of playing in the NBA, MLB, and NHL?

      1. I think the Euro-diaspora has been true for US players for years, just on the men’s side. Until MLS an actual payday for playing soccer was only possible overseas, so Americans commonly left to try and find places to play there.

        Problem being that our technical skill level here was so low that it was desperately hard for a position player to do that, and the provincial Americans had hard times fitting into European soccer culture – I remember the problems Wynalda had in Germany, and the other big name from the pre-MLS period, Donovan, spent most of his notional time in the Bundesliga playing here on loan.

        The problem for the women was that the “boys club” soccer mentality in the EU meant that the US women were by far better technically and tactically. And, frankly, I’m not sure that’s really changed all that much; there’s still a LOT of resistance to women playing outside the Scandinavian north – especially in the south despite the huge gains the women’s sides have made in Spain and Italy.

        The big difference, I think, is the emergence of the women’s game both as cause and potential moneymaker in Europe. So you get people like Aulas putting money into the sport, and more resources and better training for the southern and central European women’s clubs.

        That said…I don’t know if that’s really a short- or even medium-term project. There’s still a LOT of “this is a MAN’S game!” sentiment in Europe, and the traditional soccer fanbase is going to take some time to adopt the women’s game, too. Not sure if I see the sort of Euro-exodus on the women’s side we saw from the men in the pre-MLS era, at least not once we can deal with the problem we have fighting the Plague…

      2. Yeah. I do think the NWSL has the ability to be the dominant league if handled correctly where internationals come here, but this year has been a massive hit with how ineptly the US has handled this politically and within the population.

        The key is the television contract.

  6. Will anyone here be interested in following the WSL? Their online media game seems lightyears beyond anything the NWSL would ever dream of. Curious if North American fans will tune in they way they have embraced the EPL?

    1. Sorry for the long delay – you got stuck in the spamcatcher, and I didn’t check it for a week…my bad.

      Anyway…not on my part, at least. I’m a North American and a Portlander as much or more than I’m a “soccer fan”. I enjoy the big spectacles like the Euro tournament and the World Cup (whether or not the USW/MNTs are involved) but in terms of the European domestic leagues? Enh.

      I got invested in an English club (sadly, Newcastle…) in the Nineties before soccer returned to Portland so I sorta-kinda follow the EPL. But not with any real fervor, and not enough to get up early in the morning to watch a game on my laptop when I can DVR a Newcastle game to watch the Lads give up crap goals to fucking Bournemouth…

      I’m unsure of the rest of of the commentariot here, though. Anyone else?

  7. Grass fields??? I am sure this has been litigated before on STF, but Turf Really??? The turf burns that were showing up in Utah were ugly not even to mention how painful they must have been. Horan and Daly were sporting really ugly burns and Midge Purse modeled some nasty burns with three of her Sky Blue team-mates.
    This was a big deal in 2015 and Alex Morgan even mentioned that (I think it was Didier Drogba) a European player had it in his contract with an MLS team he would not play on turf.
    I know the PP turf is about the best there is, but we saw both Seiler and Salem blow out there knees on the new rug in non-contact situations and I remember seeing Nikki Marshall blow out every XCL she had with a career ending injury on the old turf at PP. Then there is the carcinogenic black beads, that is another scary story.

    Is there a reason that PP can’t go grass? I hope none of the NWSL players stays in Europe because of better field conditions, when it would seem to be a easy fix? Or maybe at PP, at least, it is a much more complicated problem. Just wondering.

    1. The story at the Civic was always that because Portland State played their football games there grass was impractical. Now they’re gone…perhaps the club has gone back to the “the pitch is too far below grade and doesn’t get enough sun”.

      I think it’s mostly just financial. A grass pitch takes work; it has to be designed to drain well in the rains of April and May but not bake dry in August and September, and it needs repair after heavy schedules. You need to add a full-time groundskeeping staff, pretty much. The turf is probably a higher initial cost but the operating expenses are much, much lower.

      I agree that I’d love to see grass. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen.

    1. Bold move by the Reign, kudos to them, playing the long game and betting on themselves to build a good enough team to lure her back and make that investment pay off.
      Saw a tweet from NBCSportsNW, something about “Rapinoe + Lavelle = Goals”… they must not follow WoSo very hard- it’s gotta be less than 50/50 that those two will ever suit up for Tacoma in the same game.

      1. So it was one first rounder, $100k, and more money if she plays for the Reign. If she signs a one year contract with Man City, this is a pretty interesting deal. TheI’ll likely have two protection slots, so it isn’t the protection isn’t that hard for them.

        I personally believe the USWNT has been better since their players have been able to stay in the States with the NWSL.

        Part of me wonders if Utah makes an offer to Portland for Heath now that they’ve traded OHara to Washington.

        1. Utah – at least based on “Utah” (the cup…) seems to need defensive strength rather than more attack.

          I note in passing that Sonnett is the latest EU move.

          1. Can we please sign Rocky Rodriguez to a long term contract now before she gets loaned to a European team and decides to stay?

          2. As I mentioned before; Carpenter proves that no contract is ironclad if the player wants to move. I don’t see where a meaningless three years would lock Rodriguez in any more than a meaningless one-and-one. And the three years means that the TEAM is locked in if she gets hurt or loses form.

            Long-term contracts seem like a mug’s game in sports. There’s simply too many variables to be confident that conditions will be the same or better in three years, and it removes the incentive for the player not to jake it.

          3. All it does is guarantee that her value to the Thorns is locked in. Sure, OL Or PSG could come in and bid against them … but it sets the price over $40 to $50k

            Rodriguez is the exact player I believe allocation money should be used for.

          4. “All it does is guarantee that her value to the Thorns is locked in.”

            Like I said; it does nothing of the sort. It’s a bet that 1) she is going to want to stay, and 2) that at the end of the third year she’s still as or more valuable than she is now. If the Thorns can sign an international of Carpenter’s value and then have to watch her walk? There’s no “guarantee” that a long-term contract locks up Rodriguez, either…

          5. Doing nothing basically provides incentive for her to listen at the very minimum. Hell it might even provide incentive for her to pursue one.

            You seem to be focusing on the fact that she could leave at any time. That’s a risk with all internationals. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and show her that she’s valued or more valued than what her current contract outlines?

            She’s a key part of our rebuild

          6. We wouldn’t be “doing nothing”. We’d be offering her a standard one-and-one. That’s “valued”. Assuming she’s getting the top non-allocated scale? That’s the best we can do.

            Beyond that…I’m not a huge fan of multi-year contracts for a bunch of reasons.

            In a capped league it greatly hamstrings the FO to make roster deals by locking up cap space for years down the road; years we can’t see needs and wants.

            It rewards a player for today tomorrow – or, worse, for yesterday tomorrow – when the player may not be the same tomorrow.

            It removes the incentive to produce to get a better deal next season.

            Key part or not, she’s exactly as good as she produced the last time she was on the pitch, and that’s what her contract should reflect, not wishful thinking or hopes for a brighter tomorrow – or fears that other teams might come poaching. She’s a good player and should make a good wage…and should be hungry to get a better deal when her contract renewal comes up…next season.

          7. Ok … I thought you were suggesting not signing her to a contract now to remove the desire to move overseas.

            I don’t care if it is 1, 2, or 3 years personally though I do think Rodriguez would prefer a longer term contract if you go back to interviews talking about the Financial challenges of playing in this league.

            I don’t believe any NWSL salary prevents a player from considering overseas. In fact, Carpenter showed that a team can outbid at any time.

            That said, I do believe they could easily pay Rodriguez market with allocation money removing the temptation of moving over. That’s all I’ve been suggesting. I don’t care length. Jessica McDonald just signed an extension with the Courage and I do believe that is related to Sam Mewis’s decision to move to Man City. In the time of cholera, I do believe bringing certainty has value and I value Rodriguez over some unknown international player of the same quality.

          8. All players want long-term contracts. And sometimes smart GMs can use them to lock players into deals that take advantage of the player’s likely jump in skill level and team value in the future.

            Rodroguez, as a player in her prime, isn’t that player. She’s going to be making her max, or as much as she can. Therefore, as a fan I’m (and, presumably, Gavin as GM, he is) not going to want to front her three years at her max. That takes away his flexibility under the cap – and make no mistake, long-term contracts are a much bigger problem in a capped league – as well as possibly locking the team into a dog of a contract if she gets hurt or loses form.

            So while you many not “care length”, assuredly the Peregrine organization does.

            As a fan? Enh. Rodriguez has had a promising six games. I’m fine with shoving some Bairdbux at her, and making her a solid offer. Right now, that’s about all I can say until I see the team at full strength…

          9. It’s really if you believe the flexibility brings a better player than Rodriguez. Honestly, I don’t think long term contracts impact flexibility or impede risk if a European team wants the player,

            I personally believe we are overstating what Baird Bux can bring, which is why I was happy with the Weaver and Sauerbruun trades.

            If you believe that the NWSL can attract players better than Rodriguez with Baird bucks, I get your position. So far, I’ve seen inferior players take that money and would rather allocate the money to a player that plays here where you can see the fit in the system.

            Whether it be 1, 2, or 3 years is really more about managing flexibility, risk, and how a contract can make a player feel wanted.

            If we didn’t try to spread the allocation money to acquire a big time wing and gave it to Carpenter, does the window still open up for Lyon? If a Euro team wants a player, they will get them … but it is a worthwhile question.

          10. No. It’s really that the long-term contract locks a capped team to that player, regardless of whether a better player comes along or not, and locks down cash that the team then can’t use, one way or another. It makes it more difficult for that FO to move money around in a setting where money is made tight.

            And, more to the point, as you note, if PSG or Bayern wants her? They’ll have the cash to get her. So why not put her on one and an option year? That leave you the FO with the flexibility, it leaves her with the ability to renegotiate a better deal if she has a better season, and it gives exactly as much protection from the predatory Europeans as the long-term contract.

            Seems like a win-win to me…

    2. Hmm.

      Not sure how this is really that great a move for OLR. For one thing, it mortgages their future for two years; they now have no first or second round picks through 2023. And they’ve just shipped a chit-ton of Bairdbux, so they’ve lost some leverage to make a deal to get back in.

      And their roster is aging out. Lavelle at 26 doesn’t really make them younger; she’s in her prime, so that’s good.

      But she also has a history of injury and underperforming in league play here. Great for the Nats…for Boston and Washington? Not so much. Look at her in the Challenge Cup; she was terrific…WHEN she was on the pitch. Only played just over 200 minutes in 4 games. I’m with Stefan here; I’m not convinced that we would see more than a handful of minutes – if that – from her and Rapinoe together for OLR.

      I think she’s actually a much better fit for Europe. She’s very technical, terrific skills, and she can get away from the mugging she gets here. I think a permanent move to one of the EU leagues will extend her career significantly as well as likely to suit her style.

      So…this seems like one of those moves where you go “WOW!” initially because, well, Rose Lavelle! But then you think about all the other baggage involved, and the second reaction is, well, “hmmm…”

      1. I look at this differently. If you use allocation money, you are likely going to overpay and what does 100k to 150k actually get you?

        Maybe you can make the argument that it limits you in a pursuit of a high level player, but economically … paying allocation money for a subsidized USWNT player makes a ton of sense to me.

        Rose Lavelle for Alana Cook and a mid first round pick? That is a great trade as long as they think she’s coming back.

        I think Vlatko is going to realize very quickly that not having his players available to practice is going to impact the quality of the play

        1. For example, What was Utah going to pay Maroszhan get her over here? $300k?

          Lavelle – $100k in allocation money. Her salary is subsidized. You can pay another player $200k still and have Lavelle for essentially the same salary as Maroszhan. It cost you a first round pick.

          I’m of the belief that the best way to use allocation money is to buy picks and USWNT players if you have protection spots available. This is going to be a fascinating play, because I believe that Washington did this because of the concern that Lavelle would become Crystal Dunn 2.0.

          1. I view the draft as different than you, Every year, you’ll be lucky if there are 4 HR’s in the whole draft. Rose Lavelle is a great player who might not be a great fit with the physical nature of this league, but she’d be the second best player on the Thorns right now.

            When we traded for Morgan Weaver and gave up two second round picks plus 70k .. I viewed it as a steal because once you get into round 2 … the talent gap isn’t as great between 2nd and 3rd rounders with a good development system.

            If players were signing long term contracts over there, I’d be concerned. The one thing that would concern me if I were a Tacoma fan is the fact that she could go “I like this better than the USWNT/Tacoma experience”

            I used to go to Europe a ton pre COVID and every time I went there, I kept asking myself why I didn’t move their full time

          2. I think the other difference is that I look at Lavelle as more like TWO players; internationally (and, probably, in a European league like D1F or the FBL) she’s a legitimate gamechanger, a true force in herself.

            Here, though, she’s almost – not quite, but almost – been a fringe player for both the teams she’s been with. Between injuries, callups, getting physically beat-up, and just not-quite-the-right-fit-with-her-squads, she’s never been nearly as effective here as she’s been for the Nats.

            Plus there’s Tacoma; not quite as unformed as we are right now, but not looking great and in need of a LOT of makeover everywhere.

            So I think this is a real crapshoot for them, on the Alex-Morgan-to-Orlando-trade level.

            If it works? Sure, it’s a great deal.

            But I can also see a LOT of ways it won’t.

        2. Why is this a “great” trade?

          Good…sure…IF she plays and IF she doesn’t get hurt again and IF she fits in with the OLR squad and IF that squad also gets younger and better (how? there’s no draft picks and they just shipped 100K of Bairdbux…). Tht’s a lot of “if”s.

          But great? Lavelle has been good, not great, for Washington, largely due to her issues with staying healthy. Why is she suddenly great in Tacoma? I don’t think it has nearly as much to do with whether she’s going to play there as whether she can stay on the pitch is she does. She couldn’t with Boston or Washington.

          1. Because ultimately, I don’t believe they are giving up that much to get her with the upside. Granted, she could play in Europe and never come back home. Don’t believe that is going to happen.

          2. I see it the other way around. It was Washington that was looking at getting nothing; instead they got the pick and $100K. Like I said; Lavelle has been consistently mugged here and given PRO that’s unlikely to change. I think $100K is a pretty big bet that she won’t find the game in Europe more to her liking…

          3. The likelihood the draft pick is in the same realm of player as Lavelle is pretty low and this is coming from someone who believes the draft is the life line for every organization. I’m just not seeing the risk of this pick outperforming Lavelle who is young enough to be a long time staple for Tacoma.

            Just look at Tacoma’s draft history. They made a decision to give up last years first round pick (Ally Watt) for an international slot and then proceeded to trade back in for Kelcie Hedge giving up this upcoming years pick. They gave up their 2018 1st rounder for a 2017 2nd rounder who ended up being Katie Johnson. (Who was flipped for Foord). Their 2017 first rounder was Maddie Bauer who was cut. Their 2015 and 2016 picks were traded for Steph Catley.

            Ultimately, I would rather have Lavelle than any of those options and I like Kelcie Hedge. I believe the risk of this trade is Lavelle realizing she can make the more money overseas in a game that fits her skill set more and removes the wear and tear. She could easily decide to take a break from the USWNT.

            Outside of that, the Tacoma Reign get better with this deal. If Washington believed that Rose would sign a long term deal in Europe, this is a good deal for them … but how big of a risk was that?

          4. The Reign’s draft history is complicated by the departure of Harvey – who was a terrible drafter and made some epically poor decisions – for Andonovski. Among those “epically poor decisions” was Harvey trading away tons of picks. And Vlatko tends to build through a mix of trades and picks, but is a hell of a good judge of talent outside the mainstream NCAA/USSF system, so he tends to pick up outliers like Balcer.

            And in 2020 you had Benstiti, who I’m not sure actually understands how American soccer works, for Andonovski.

            So I’m not sure we learn a lot there.

            Regardless, the Reign had a crap-ton of problems that one player won’t solve, whether that player is Lavelle or Soccer Jesus. Lavelle’s history with Washington makes their grabbing the cash and the pick a sensible choice, regardless of whether she returns from Europe. Whether it’s a sensible choice for Tacoma…well, it’s not a BAD choice. But I’m not sure it’s that much of a help unless Benstiti gets to work solving the problems they showed us in Utah…

        3. And to me the pick is actually the bigger deal. OLR is old all over the pitch; Cook and Balcer are the kids at 23, and there’s a crap-ton of thirty-year-olds on that roster. This team needs to get younger most quick smart, and, instead, they have just dumped their high picks.

          1. The irony is Cook is gone. She was a loaner for the tournament and now is back to Europe.

            I agree they are older, but I’d argue that Lavelle at 27 is not a bad way to use a first round pick.

          2. Depends on the draft. And depends on Lavelle staying healthy…which up to this point she hasn’t been doing for her club teams.

          3. Since Lavelle is better than most picks who have come into the league in the past 5 years, is that really an argument?

          4. Absolutely. Her club form and country form have been shockingly different. If I was Burke, I’d have done just what he did; shop her, and look at drafts and trades for a better option.

            Lavelle the USWNT player has been terrific. Lavelle the NWSL player has been terrifically ordinary when she’s played…what hasn’t been all that often. A good draft pick and a Bairdbux trade? Given her record with Washington? I’d have gone for that, too.

          5. Personally, I view what they gave up as nominal from a risk – return standpoint. Is there a specific young player you think Washington is targeting?

            I’m actually glad they traded her because they looked like a good young team and just traded away their best player

          6. I don”t think Burke is thinking of a specific target, because I think he’s thinking like I’d like my team’s coach to think; we’ve got a player in her prime, who hasn’t played well for us, who’s had injury problems, who we had to sit when we could really have used her because the team that pays her told us to.

            So as coach I either have to live with that and the issues around it to hang on to this good player…OR I can think of my team as a TEAM, and get what I can for this player and try to improve the whole team.

            Lavelle has been less than she should have been, given her skillset, for Washington. It’s time to move on, and they did. Whatever happens down the road, she represented issues that they needed to solve, and a potential loss for no return. I don’t think Burke needs to have another player in mind; I think he made the sensible choice given the situation.

  8. Equalizer podcast segment on the Lavelle trade raises the possibility that OL Reign could flip Lavelle’s rights to another club in trade in order to protect more of their roster in the eventual expansion drafts.

    Also mentions that OL and OLR sites are playing up the fact that Lavelle has become part of the OL family.

    1. Words cannot express how much I hate the whole “OL Family” thing.

      The Reign aren’t a fucking farm club for OLF. They are – or they’re supposed to be – a proud club in a different league entirely.

      Of course, I also hate that NYCFC is “ManCity B”. I hate the whole “Red Bull This” and “Red Bull That”. I hate that the Hillsboro Hops aren’t playing for Hillsboro but for freaking Phoenix. I hate the whole idea of sports team “families”. If teams are “families” they’re supposed to be dysfunctional ones, that fight and brawl and beat the shit out of each other.

      I’m kind of a huge dick that way.

      1. I hear you and completely agree.

        Benstiti’s comments earlier this year about OLR needing another striker long before Taylor departed must read in the light of Taylor going to OL… indeed her being available to play in the Coupe de France final and picking up a crap brace against PSV in OL’s recent Champions League match.

        It’s absolutely impossible to avoid the whole “OL Family” thing when they themselves are using this language to talk about shuttling players back and forth:

        https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/aug/04/england-striker-jodie-taylor-joins-lyon-for-rest-of-year

        I didn’t like the idea of OL buying Reign FC when it was announced because I feared that this is exactly what would happen. I think Baird will be powerless to prevent it.

        1. Did we keep Elle Carpenter’s rights or lose them? Part of me wonders if she’s worth protecting to ensure we keep them. Needless to say, I’m not a huge fan of the bottom end of this roster

          1. At this point? No. Carpenter is signed through, what, ’23? Seiler hasn’t shown us how well she’s recovered, but given how thin our reserves are, and how well she played prior to her injury? Nah. I wouldn’t do it.

            Lussi? Salem? Maybe, but only if the FO knows something we don’t.

      1. Why? If they can get Lavelle to play for them (and they’d be one of the better options for her), why on earth would they trade her?

        If you suggest to get Macario, that isn’t happening unless Macario forced it to happen.

        1. OLR could trade Lavelle’s rights to Angel City if she won’t come play for OLR. Angel City will be looking to make a huge splash right away.

          The real advantage of playing for OLR is not OLR and playing in a minor-league baseball stadium with a narrower (and thus more crowded) pitch.

          Rather, the real advantage is that it’s a tad easier for Lavelle to move between OLR and OL if she wishes.

          However, as we have seen with other players, it’s no big deal to get yourself to OL if OL comes calling. And Lavelle might well want that in the future.

          1. Also new in the mix…

            Sacramento has secured an NWSL expansion franchise, likely to begin operations in 2021.

        2. For the same reason Washington traded her; uncertainty whether she’ll return to the NWL, problems with injuries and callups, inconsistent form.

          Throw in that OLR has a LOT of other problems that suggest that they might consider tearing it down and starting over; Andonovski basically did once already, but that rebuilt looked startlingly frail in July.

          1. I guess. You would think that OL Reign would be a franchise she’d want to play for if she comes back and that there preference would be to have her play for them.

          2. I’m REALLY unsure about OLR right now. They looked very flawed in Utah. Benstiti seems to have…issues. And it’s hard to tell how much OL is going to get behind Tacoma. They have some terrific players and some appalling roster holes.

            So would I consider Tacoma a club I’d “want to play for” right now? More than Washington? Umm…I’m no so sure. I’d like to see more and better from them before that.

  9. InStat numbers for Portland in Utah:

    3 goals on 8.49 xG
    4 goals allowed on 8.13 xG allowed

    1.42 average xG/match (0.5G/match)
    1.36 average xG against/match (0.67G/match)

    That’s…not a good team.

    That’s great goalkeeping! …but that’s not a good team; it got a ton of great looks but couldn’t finish and it gave UP a crap-ton of great looks to their opponents who either couldn’t finish or were stoned by the Great Walls of BellaBritt…

    1. With Heath, Smith, Sauerbruun, and Franch out plus Horan playing limited minutes… this was about seeing who could show well as opposed to how. You take 4 of the top 6 players on a team off it and limit the minutes of the best player and you will see any team struggle.

      I liked what I saw out of Bixby, Weaver, Rodriguez, and Westphal. I believe all 4 cemented themselves on the protected list and as important parts of our future.

      I also believe that Hubly showed well as a center back. Lots of other disappointments, but overall … I think the development of players especially Weaver is going to help massively here.

      1. This was about winning. Any soccer match is. You do the best you can to win with the team you have…and, clearly, the Thorns didn’t do that well.

        And while I agree that the team was missing some pieces…I’m not sure the ones you mention were the ones that hurt the most.

        Heath…is almost a unicorn. I’m never sure what she brings. She brought pretty much nothing in 2017 and the team slugged NCC out of the Final for the second star. She was a monster in 2016…and WNY slugged us out of the semi. She’s been missing for huge parts of 2013, 2015, and 2019. Would she have helped in Utah? Could she have been a hot mess? We’ll never know.

        We have no idea what Smith can do or would have done.

        Franch was ably replaced by both her backups.

        Sauerbrunn? She was kind of a mess on Matchday 1…but presumably she’d have helped with that ugly xG against if she’d have been able to play more minutes.

        And I liked Westphal, Rodriguez, Weaver, Hubly, and thought that several of our regulars such as Menges did fine.

        But.

        Soccer is a team sport, and you play it with the team you have, not always the team you want.

        And the numbers don’t lie about that – the team we had did not play well. Individuals? Sure. But this ain’t chess; it’s not about the brilliance of one or two individuals.

        1. Sure if the worst case scenario happens with our best players, then we likely would have struggled. My perspective is the worst and best case scenarios rarely happen. If the median does, we are one of the better teams in the league but a clear level below the best one

          1. But the median didn’t.

            In Utah we were the worst team in the league (bar Orlando), got a miracle win over The Damned, and were then comfortably ushered out of the knockouts by Houston. As the xG/G numbers show; we as a team massively underperformed.

            My point is simply this; I hope that the coaching staff and FO were as unimpressed by what we did in Utah as I was, bar the Miracle of St. Eckerstrom. Regardless of some pleasant individual performances (or insanely good, in the case of Bixby and Eck) I knew we weren’t good as a team. I didn’t really know we were THIS level of “not good” until I saw the numbers.

            So I want the FO and the coaching staff to treat Utah as Pearl Harbor, and as the logical culmination of two years of standing pat and letting things slide. I want a Arsenal of Democracy-level urgency in reconfiguring this team from the ground up.

          2. We trailed for how long? I realize we struggled to score, but if we were the worst team in the league … the difference between 3 and worst team in the league is non existent. Again, take away 5 of the top 7 players on any team … and there isn’t a team that is going to be good

          3. Again…the point is that except for Sauerbrunn (and the injury to Horan in the semifinal), we knew who we were missing. Parsons’ job was to do the best he could with the team he had. So then we:

            1. Lost to NCC in a match that, honestly, should have been a worse defeat if not for Bixby,
            2. Played to a scoreless draw against an utterly toothless Chicago who couldn’t even put a shot on goal,
            3. Played a fairly decent 1-1 draw with Washington,
            4. Played another scoreless draw with a fairly dire OLR,
            5. Got a miracle win over NCC on a single well-crafted goal and a keeper gone mad, and
            6. Went down quietly before Houston (who were the champs, so kind of understandable but still not really that great).

            Were we the worst team in the tournament? In the group stage, definitely. Perhaps not by much…but enough.

            The bottom line for me is how this showed how thin we are. Our reserves can’t carry the load…and in the small-roster world of the NWSL that’s critical. That kept the team in the hunt last season; Purce and Charley got huge in June with the Nats missing. But Utah showed the opposite – with the big names gone, our roleplayers weren’t able to keep things close enough to nick points where we needed to.

            So what I want is for our FO to avoid the mistakes of 2017-2019, and to keep shaking the bushes to find players who CAN do that.

            I don’t think we’re DOOOOOMED…but I think we’re going to have a hard time in the post-Plague league if we don’t get proactive now, continue chasing signings, continue the rebuild and even going further, like looking for a Sinc-replacement and a Menges-replacement and a Kling-replacement and a Heath-replacement (we got Franch covered…).

            In short…we got a LOT of work still to do. And the place to start is by not making excuses for Utah. Let’s accept we were not-good and keep moving…

          1. Based on the allocation money spent and rumored to be in play, it wasn’t likely for great money compared to what she got

        1. They also sign Debhina and Paul Riley to long term contracts, I thought they extend Erceg as well. They are using their allocation money to take care of their own. Seems like a good idea

          1. AFAIK Debinha is on a two-and-one (which to me seems fine – it assumes that 2021 is probably a wash, and books her for ’22 and possibly ’23 if the option is exercised). That’s longer than the usual 1-and-1, but isn’t THAT long. As we’ve been discussing, I like keeping options open, and that seems ideal. If we did that with Rodriguez, I’d be a happy camper.

            Riley is outside the player-box, so he doesn’t count against the cap. And coaches don’t have anywhere near the wear-out dates players have. So signing him to a long-term deal is a good precaution. Mind you, I think we had him on a contract in ’15 and fired his ass anyway, so…

            And Bairdbux? Given that they don’t really need to go shopping overseas, yes; using it to pay down players like Debinha make perfect sense.

        2. More seriously, I wonder if this means that NCC has inside information that Williams is not going to be allocated? Maybe there’s a contract clause that lets her out if she gets picked up by USWNT. But why would USWNT pick her up now that they know they don’t have to?

          1. My bet is she had an offer from a European team and they reacted. She would have been a top target if I were a GM over there

      1. I think the concern has to be two-fold; if the Europeans continue to expand their interest in (and – hint- FUNDING of…) WoSo the lure of the big payday is going to be very…luring. And players whose skillset is technical may find it a lot more fun not to get leveled every time they touch the ball (obviously the FAWSL isn’t included in that…).

        But, yes, I’d consider this a potential problem.

        1. So much chaos and confusion here.

          If Louisville and Sacto both enter in 2021, the NWSL will have to produce unique expansion draft and college draft rules relative to those for previous expansions.

          As well, with all the short-term and longer-than-short-term big-name departures, the league needs to issue some clear rules about players like Mewis and Lavelle vis a vis the expansion draft.

          Here in the Rose City, I think we still protect Horan and Heath and leave ‘Bruun and Franch unprotected, but the decisions just got harder with the prospect of having 3 new expansion teams coming online over the next 2 offseasons.

          1. I’d be surprised if Heath and Press weren’t on the LA team. It’s one reason I wouldn’t be stunned to see Utah make a play for Heath trying to keep Press happy

          2. Alessia Russo just left North Carolina and signed in England. Massive hit for next years draft that the #2 player is out of it

      2. To me, that’s going to be driven by the USWNT. I believe having their players stateside is a massive advantage in preparation. If they concede this point, I’d anticipate this superiority that has been developed will be lost.

      3. Personally I think this is a massive failure by Vlatko. They could easily set up tournaments to keep players healthy using the young talent in the US.

        An NWSL all star non USWNT team vs the American Team

        Different age groups playing together.

        I believe Vlatko is going to find out very quickly how important the prep time is in the development

        1. Neither the NWSL nor the particular club controls the contracts, or anything else, regarding allocated players. The level of play in the COVID Cup is nowhere near what is available in the UEFA Champions League, and the opportunity to continue growing and facing international competition in European domestic leagues is hard to beat right now.

          However, I also see this move to get-to-Europe as another wrinkle to the Equal Pay issue. Without trying to go through all the legal issues and arguments made in the recent litigation, USWNT players would seem well-advised to get themselves to Europe and keep earning. I could be wrong here, but I assume they’re being paid by those European clubs in addition to their USWNT compensation. The NWSL teams don’t pay for US allocated players, but I assume that European clubs do… so that’s more compensation to the player!

        2. The Nats in Europe are going to be playing live minutes; I’m sure Vlatko is happier about that than having them sitting in front of Netflix.

          I think the other part of this is that in the first five years of the NWSL USSF was deeply vesting in having WNT players here. Ellis pretty much told her players that they needed to play in the US…or else.

          The recent divergence between the federation and the league is, I think, starting to show. I’m not sure whether Vlatko is nearly as worried about the NWSL as Ellis was, and I suspect that he’s fine with his players getting time in Europe if that’s where the game is being played. He may have to hold the January camp in Cyprus! But that’s another story entirely…

          And here’s the thing – to say that USSF could “easily” set up tournaments..? I think “easily” is doing a LOT of work here.

          Easily where? California, where the Plague is running wild? Some middle-of-nowhere college in North Dakota? How’s that going to work? Television rights? Logistical support? The Challenge Cup was lucky to have both an ideal facility in Utah AND to avoid pandemic issues…how many times do you think USSF could roll that dice?

          And it’s one thing to expect young athletes to go into a “bubble” for five weeks once. But again, and again? How you going to do that? Where? How often?

          So given the realities…I think Vlatko is fine with his players in Europe right now. The federation will have to figure something out by January…but a lot is likely to have changed by then.

          1. And it’s absolutely the right decision right now, but I do think that long term … the USWNT and NWSL relationship is a key reason for the increased success of the US team and I hope that point isn’t lost

          2. Was it the NWSL? Or was it realizing that the “pitch long balls up to Abby Wambach and hope she knocks one in” wasn’t really going to work against the improving European sides and rebuilding the team? In all honesty, I’m not sure. The NWSL had been going for two years when the WNT looked pretty sketchy in the group stage in Canada…

            So I’m not sure if 2019 is causation instead of correlation.

            Now, obviously, I WANT USSF to be vested in the league. But I’m not sure that it’s not possible for the federation to see a way forward outside the domestic league.

          3. I think it is the ability to train year round without having to fly 24 hours during a round trip to be engaged in it. The NWSL allows for this. The Euro’s don’t and the young player development has improved with the presence of the better talent.

            My perspective is that the US Men are a better indication of what things look like when there isn’t this type of relationship.

  10. FYI, I’ve updated the original post with a very clever little video from comedian Jillian Fisher. It’s not just funny, but I think it gets some of us fans very spot on. If you have a moment, scroll up and click on the link…

  11. Meanwhile… Aussie Women’s Sports website “The Women’s Game” has a couple of interesting recent stories.

    One is that the W-League is set to surpass the A-League in TV audience within the next 5 years.

    https://thewomensgame.com/news/w-leagues-tv-audience-set-to-overtake-a-league-within-five-years-551383

    The other is that the W-League is in real financial peril and may not last that long!

    https://thewomensgame.com/news/w-league-in-major-danger-as-financial-reality-bites-551431

    1. My understanding is that the W-League is in trouble, period. It’s primary attraction was as a non-competitor with the NWSL, so it drew Americans looking for offseason minutes. With the Americans stuck here due to the Plague, well…

      Australia seems to be handling COVID-19 better than we are, though, so I’m a bit curious why the economic effects are biting so hard. But my understanding of the situation there is sketchy, so…

      1. Australia is really serious about COVID! Except for Melbourne, there are not that many cases. But they have been very gung-ho about travel restrictions. Our daughter in WA won’t be able to see our grandson in Victoria (Melbourne) until Victoria gets their numbers down. The fines for breaking gathering rules is like $8,000. Gathering rules have really clobbered businesses and COVID fell on top of and economy in Australia that was suffering already from the fires and the Chinese reducing their investment in OZ.
        I think the Matilda’s decided that the best thing their players could do is play in Europe and ditch the long commute between the NWSL/US and W-League/Australia. Both countries are big and the travel within the league is brutal never-mind between leagues. Players were burning out and getting hurt. In Europe they will be paid better, less grueling travel and probably better coaching.

        1. I actually believe they’ll set up a satellite training location in Europe. It’s kind of the same reason rationale that I gave with the USWNT having an advantage because of the proximity of everyone to train regularly. They don’t have that with the NWSL Aussie’s

          The interesting thing mentioned is that trades were a consideration here. The uncertainty of where the player finishes the year are a consideration

  12. We could he getting Crystal Dunn to the Thorns as is being spread around twitter. We could be getting her as we have already employed her husband as our Head Trainer.

    Boureille is heading off to France on a short term loan to FC Fleury 91.

    1. Henderson has a good point; what could we offer NCC? Smith? Horan? It’d have to be either one of our marquee players, or a pick and a crap-ton of Bairdbux, and we don’t have a first rounder in ’21 and we’ve shipped out must of our Bairdbux acquiring players back in January.

      1. Yeah. I do recall Paul Riley having a fit when Portland paid 70k for the rights to Morgan Weaver who FYI fit the Carolina draft prototype to a tee. Pre draft, I was lamenting her on the Courage. I was convinced he wouldn’t have thrown that fit if we hadn’t taken the player he targeted.

        1. For Dunn? In a heartbeat. I would, anyway. I think it might make a difference how seriously she might be looking at relocating to California in a year or so…

          1. My assumption is that Heath and Press want to play on the same team. They seem incredibly close. Press is from LA and the Equalizer team suggested her asking to be in LA seems likely.

            It is one of the reasons I think Heath to Utah might make sense. Get both on the same team to try and sell Press on not trying to push for a deal to LA.

            Heath to Utah
            O’Hara to Washington
            Draft Pick To Portland

            Washington also has some interesting players like Huster or Nielsen in their protected range that would look good in Portland colors.

            As far as the Crystal Dunn rumors, I’m not holding my breath … but if I were Carolina, Sophia Smith would likely HAVE to be included at the very minimum. Getting picks from Washington could be an interesting way to supplement.

            I also find it interesting that Sacramento trying to fast track. Chris Henderson suggested it might be based on keeping a certain draft eligible player in Northern California. Before you suggest why not put her in LA, there is a star at UCLA who is probably a notch below Macario who would fit quite nicely in LA.

          2. Would the California location really matter to Macario, though? I mean, she’s a college student now, which is kind of the definition of “transient”. Assuming that her main interest professionally is staying eligible for the WNT, pretty much anywhere in CA would seem to work equally well. I don’t know anything about her connections here, though, so…

            So I’m trying to understand the hypothetical deal. Heath goes to Utah in exchange for…shipping O’Hara to the Spirit…who sends a pick to Portland (and maybe someone like Tori Huster?

            Why would Washington want to do that? They already nixed Hatch for O’Hara (which is kind of a sort of Platonic joke, given that Hatch couldn’t hit water if she fell out of a boat (her conversion rate is, what, 15%?) and O’Hara is either injured or called up…)

            And the Dunn thing..? I think it depends on how willing she is to be pretty shitty to The Damned Courage. There’s no reason for them to trade her for Smith – there’s strikers are all over Cary, and Dunn is a huge engine in their midfield, which is really key to their system and success – but if she makes it clear she’ll be a poison pill if they force her to stay? That might change things.

            Still seems just as simple for her husband to move there, but, who knows?

          3. I was thinking

            O’Hara to Washington

            Heath to Utah

            Huster, a 2nd from Washington, and the elimination of the $50k in bairdbux in 2021 if Sauerbruun plays for Portland.

            It opens up bairbux for next year if we need it.

            With regards to Macario, I would think being able to stay in California might have an appeal to her considering her family lives a quick flight away (at least her father).

          4. That’s…interesting.

            Seems almost byzantine, and I’m not sure I understand the components. Why Heath to Utah, instead of using her as, say a trade with the new LA club to protect a Portland player from the expansion draft? Why would Washington take O’Hara as part of that? They’ve already rejected the idea of a straight swap for Hatch, and since both players for all their strengths have very real flaws (Hatch’s efficiency, O’Hara’s history of absence through injury or callups…) it makes me wonder if Washington’s in a big hurry to make ANY deal involving either player. And the real puzzler is the whole Bairdbux-for-Sauerbrunn-playing thing…is there a suggestion that she’s NOT going to play?

            I supposed we’ll just have to see if any of that turns up.

            Again, I don’t know enough about Macario’s situation to hazard an intelligent guess…but is there any real difference to her whether she’s based out of LA versus Sacramento? Seems like both keep her close to where she is now, both keep her in the US and keep her eligible for the WNT, and either would be a plane ride from her family. So I’m not sure the the LA-versus-Sacramento thing is really a thing.

          5. Washington not willing to give up Hatch for O’Hara is totally reasonable. If you adjust the compensation back, I’m sure it could get done. I think Huster and a 2nd rounder makes sense for O’Hara.

            I only include Portland in the deal and suggest a 2nd rounder, Huster, and the removal of a $50k commitment in 2021 when Becky plays might be worth considering for Heath might be worth considering if you think you can get a better international next year.

          6. Want to clarify two things

            1. If Sacramento comes in this year, I could see the NWSL setting up the rules to get Macario to Sacramento. To me, that seems like a probable scenario if Macario wants to stay in California vs Louisville or Chicago. Will it matter? Maybe? Maybe not?

            2. I do think O’Hara ends up in Washington for picks. Just kind of throwing out a what if with Heath’s inclusion. Don’t think we do it, but I could see Utah wanting Heath. If I am Utah, I’m worried about LA with Press’s ties to LA.

      1. I heard from a source very close to the team about a week ago
        “Good news a goal scoring defender maybe on their way soon ”
        “Maybe” is a big caveat…

        1. I could easily see the source being Dunn’s representatives. Last year, Chris Henderson talked about a Sophia Smith for Dunn deal. Personally, I don’t do that. I think Sophia’s upside is ridiculous and have believed that Weaver/Smith/Rodriguez will be to us what Dahlkemper/Mewis/Daniels was to NC.

          I personally believe if a deal happens that Weaver or Smith would be involved.

        2. Interesting way to describe Dunn, but she has sort of settled into the wingback position. Funny, though, I actually had to stop and remind myself that she IS usually slotted into a defensive POSITION on the pitch.

    2. Would be back in June or July, I imagine. Do we think this means that the word-on-the-street is that the 2021 NWSL season might be delayed too?

      Good for CelBee to continue growing and competing.

    3. Sounds like Merritt and Riley beat the shit out of Goff and Soccer Insider and they retracted their assertion that it was “near the finish line”. So there may not be a deal. Or there may…remember the on-again/off-again Henry deal.

      We’ll just have to wait and see.

        1. from Paulson’t tweet, it also sounds like he thinks he knows who it is- and if he’s not doing anything about it, the source must not work for PTFC

  13. We finally have an answer as to what now.

    3 pods of 3 teams each, 18 games total starting Sept 5th and going to October 17th.

    Thorns, Royals, Reign is the west pod.

    Thorns likely have 2 home games and 1 away game in Tacoma and 1 away game in Utah.

    Details to come next week… the normal amount of lead time the league ever gives for a schedule, you know 3 days.

    Will Utah let in spectators? 4 more friendlies for each team. Assuming home and away against each team in your means 6 games per pod. No games left for pod winners to play each other. 4 friendlies in the fall then an off season… maybe. Was this tournament put together so they could have the press coverage covering games to announce something like the official Sacremento expansion announcement.

    1. Perhaps the biggest part of the announcement that 1 game a Saturday will be on CBS for the 7 Saturdays. I am guessing this is filling a hole in the schedule that would have been filled by college football, or college football talk.

    2. Seems…kinda pointless?

      I mean, I love soccer, and I love our teams. But other than providing minutes for those players who haven’t left for Europe? What’s the point? Maybe that IS the point.

      I just want the players, coaches, and support staff to be safe and healthy at the end of this thing. I hate to say “I’m not interested”, because, junkie that I am, I’ll probably watch. But…I’m not really all THAT interested. A lot of these teams will be missing critical pieces, so it’s going to be difficult to asses what matchplay or results mean.

      What I WOULD like to see – and will be more interested in watching if that is on offer – is more of “the rebuild”; specifically the Thorns’ attack with Smith, Weaver, Sinc, Horan, and Rodriguez all on the pitch. Plus Westphal, Seiler, etc.

      Heath???

      But we’ll have to see.

      1. Agreed. Maybe to amortize those guaranteed salaries over more games. Really yes these games will not be that interesting, other then they are against the Reign, but without a full Riveters group or won’t be the same.

        Maybe smith gets some minutes, maybe we can get another W over the Reign. People addicted to watching sports on Saturdays on networks like CBS, maybe NWSL gets some ratings spill over. I wasn’t all that interested in the challenge cup. I stilled ended up watching every game. Probably do similar for this batch.

        1. Bottom line for me?

          The starting XI would have to be Smith-Weaver-Sinc (or Heath)-Horan-Rodriguez-Seiler-Westphal-Sauerbrunn-Menges-Kling-Eckerstrom. If we’ve got that on the pitch it’s worth spending the six bucks for CBSSN.

          Anything less and I’ll just read the match reports.

          1. I’d love to see PTFC emphasize playing their youngsters- we already know what the current squad minus Heath/Franch/Sauerbruun looks like, and it’s not great. Rather than watch that team lose 1-0 a bunch of times, i’d prefer to see what the young players can do. Maybe they’d lose 3-0. But also, maybe they’d lose 3-1, and that “1” would be a glimpse of something great (or even lucky) from someone who wouldn’t otherwise have gotten the chance, and that would be so much better.

          2. Why get Ogle and Nally minutes when we still haven’t seen the actual proposed starting XI play together yet? Utah wasn’t “minus Heath/Franch/Sauerbrunn”; it was missing ALL the pieces working together. Soccer, being a team sport, has to be played as a team to work. Just slotting random pieces in – like we did a lot in Utah – well, as you said; “it’s not great”.

            So, no…I don’t want to see Nally get lucky or Ogle or Pogarch get a full 90 (and we saw them for some bits and pieces in Utah and, enh, they’re still depth).

            Before we play people who are only going to get a handful of minutes over the next couple of seasons anyway…what I want to see is this team as it’s supposed to look after all the player moves over the winter.

            Once we’ve had a couple matches where that’s working? Then, sure. Want to see Winters or Nally or Ogle for a full match? Fine.

            But fix the engine before we start fiddling with the stereo system…

  14. The Fall Series is a huge win for the NWSL- 7 nationally televised WoSo club games? Has that ever even happened before?

    Given that some of the side-chatter on boards like this is starting to question whether the league’s very survival might be in question given COVID and the competition from WoSo leagues in Europe, getting some fresh talented players in front of a live-sports starved public could be a lifeline.

    I’ll watch as a NWSL fan, for that reason alone- really rooting for them to put on a good show in primetime, to help solidify their future.

    1. I agree with you Stefan, my only concern is that some of the young women get sick, but I am fine with seeing a broad swath of Thorn’s talent. God only knows what Orlando is going to be able to put on the field. In our pod I think Seattle and Utah are also short of starters. I would love to see Smith play with Horan and Rocky. But I am happy to watch what we have. And CBS Saturday that is just great!

    2. Looks like up until now, the most significant national broadcast deal the NWSL ever had was with Lifetime, which broadcast a “Game of he Week” during the 2017 and 2018 seasons (replaced by Yahoo in 2019). I couldn’t find a record of any national broadcasts of games from previous leagues WUSA or WPL.
      So unless i missed something, the upcoming “Games of the Week”, on CBS- nationally broadcast on a major network with an established sports division- will be the most significant exposure women’s club soccer in the US has EVER had.
      I hope that whatever current national teamers remain in the US can feign enough interest in their club teams to lend their name recognition to this event- could be significant to solidifying (or dooming) the professional career hopes for a generation of young girls. Kudos to Amanda Baird (not sure if the CBS deal predates her hiring, but this latest move, following a successful COVID Cup, was under her watch)- fingers crossed for healthy players and entertaining soccer to bring in new fans, markets and money.

      1. I think the problem is that there’s no point to this. There’s no actual “season”, there’s no title on the line…it’s just sort of random friendlies. The only reason I’ll watch – and I’m a bought-and-paid-for fanatic – is if Smith and Heath and Sauerbrunn and Horan and the rest of the whole “rebuild” XI is starting…and maybe not even then.

        It’s nice the Baird got a good TV deal.

        But the product feels decidedly under whelming…

  15. Tacoma showing a certain…lack of enthusiasm…for the two games this fall (https://www.olreign.com/news/2020/8/27/ol-reign-fall-series-roster-update):

    Goalkeepers (3): Michelle Betos, Casey Murphy, Neeku Purcell (NRI – OL Reign Academy)

    Defenders (9): Julia Ashley, Amber Brooks, Steph Cox, Madison Hammond, Kim Hazlett (NRI), Sam Hiatt (CDP), Smith Hunter (NRI – OL Reign Academy), Celia Jiménez Delgado (INT), Taylor Smith

    Midfielders (6): Morgan Andrews, Shirley Cruz (INT), Allie Long (FED), Kristen McNabb, Dani Weatherholt, Rosie White (INT)

    Forwards (6): Bethany Balcer, Katie Benz (NRI), Sofia Huerta, Miranda Nild (NRI), Leah Pruitt, Jasmyne Spencer

    Unavailable Players (9): Lauren Barnes (LOAN), Jess Fishlock (LOAN), Machaela George (LOAN), Kelcie Hedge (SEI), Darian Jenkins (LOAN), Yuka Momiki (LOAN), Rebecca Quinn (LOAN), Megan Rapinoe (VOO)

    So no Fishlock, no Jenkins, no Hedges, no Momiki, and – prepare to be shocked – no Rapinoe…not much more than the underwhelming group we saw in Utah…

    1. I have been looking at the other teams in our pod and Seattle and Utah are looking dire for loads of reasons and the five players you note that will be missed badly and where is Allie Long?
      Utah did not look great at the Challenge and now with the comments from Hansen, how many others may decide not to play. Kelly OHara certainly won’t be there.

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