The NWSL gives us FOUR games this weekend, and they get off to an early start with the Thorns visiting Houston on Friday night. Solstice was yesterday, so the earth's magnetic polarity has reversed* and now the Thorns will play good football, right?
Speaking of football, there's been some hand-wringing online about Americans not proudly using the term "Soccer" to refer to the sport called "Football" or "Fútbol" by most of the world—especially in reference to the rather large Men's event that is happening at the moment.
These terms are fungible**. And since you can't have FUNGIBLE without FUN, it's ok to call this sport whatever you want. Besides, there are far more important things to care about, especially here in the USA.
At the risk of being too political in a footie post (oh look, anther way to refer to the same sport), I'd like to encourage you to call your elected representatives at all levels of government and express your opinions on all of the various things that are going on. Silence doesn't help. Sharing memes doesn't help. That might make you feel better, but when baby storage cages are being set up in tents for underage brown people on our borders, feeling better about it should be the least of your concern. Make a phone call. Write a letter. Donate. But make sure you direct your voice in the direction of your own elected officials. Mayors, Governors, Congresspeople, Senators, etc. Do it, please.
*Possibly not how solstice works.
** Fungible = Identical, mutually interchangeable terms with zero substantive or contextual difference other than who is saying it. So, your insistence on your own term is technically xenophobic*** and you wouldn't want to be xenophobic, would you?
*** Xenophobia = irrational fear of the foreign or other (or foreigner or other person) or the ways they do things. See: Trump, Donald J. and Miller, Stephen.
What Happened in COG 12?
Somehow Seattle and Washington played to a 0-0 draw. It feels like fake news, but no, it happened. I mean, the zero goals for Washington feels real, but...
The Courage finally lost their first game of the season when Brittany Ratcliffe drained a worldie at the death in Cary. #1 on the ESPNW Top 10 - no question.
Sky Blue scored 2 goals, but conceded 3 goals on the road in Orlando. So yes, they lost another match and sit at 0-9-2, with just 2 points through 11 games.
Finally, the cobbled-together Red Stars held the Thorns to a 1-1 result in Chicago. That windy city roster will look just a tad different after a mega-trade sent 1/2 of all NWSL players to a new team, basically. Morgan Brian joined the squad this week as well.
Portland Thorns at Houston Dash
Friday at 8:30PM Eastern on Go90
Purce is still out for Portland, and Tobin Heath is questionable. Houston's injury report lists only the questionable Kyah Simon this week. So, not much to go on there.
I hate to say it, but the Thorns could drop this game if they're not careful. An inexplicable game plan that features only attacking players hasn't delivered for Mark Parsons this year, but he has yet to start a game with a legitimate 6 in front of a proper defensive back line. Houston is tough to break down and solid on defense, and though Kristie Mewis has been missed through the middle, they've been playing better and better, and have only lost twice in two months. They're also very well rested after not taken the field since their 1-1 draw to the visiting Courage on June 3rd.
Feels like a draw tonight.
Houston Dash 2-2 Portland Thorns
North Carolina Courage at Seattle Reign
Saturday at 4PM Eastern on Go90
Hmmm.... Which team will show up in Seattle? The Reign side that generally is amazing or the one that laid an egg against Washington? Jess Fishlock and Lauren Barnes won't have a chance to contribute, but the rest of the side who have featured this season is otherwise ready to go.
They'll have to be better, as the Courage won't want to make a habit of dropping matches the way they did last week, conceding late on a wonderstrike while poorly defending a free kick. But there's some bad news on the injury report. Abby Dahlkemper and Sam Mewis are both out, and Lynn Williams is questionable. It makes the match a bit more even, but without Fishlock to get in her way, Zerboni should own the midfield because that's what Zerboni does.
Seattle Reign 1-1 NC Courage
Orlando Pride at Washington Spirit
Saturday at 7:00PM Eastern on ESPNEWS
It's the GAME OF THE WEEK on ESPNEWS. But who, one might reasonably ask, will be suiting up to take the field for the Washington Spirit?
Some basic math here. Spirit currently have 19 on the roster. 3 active players are out and a fourth (Lavelle)is questionable. Given her history, no way Lavelle plays. So that’s 15 healthy players, 3 of which are keepers. #NotGreatBob https://t.co/ny2PCMvJqw— Jennifer Gordon (@jgordon1987) June 22, 2018
I'm not so sure Lavelle won't play (she's listed as questionable), but that's a bit beside the point. Teams with rostered players have run into this problem before, and it's stupid. Rosters need to be larger to deal with such circumstances.
Those circumstances aren't manifesting for the Pride this week, who will be without only Dani Weatherholt and possibly Ali Krieger (questionable).
Pride Pride Pride on ESPNEWS
Washignton Spirit 1-4 Orlando Pride
Utah Royals at Chicago Red Stars
Saturday at 8PM on Go90
This is the match. Utah got a signature win against the top class Courage last week, and This. Is. The. Match. where they show their stuff. Kelley O'Hara is still out, and Brooke Elby will be in unfamiliar colors for this one, but Utah has been playing much better than Chicago and should be able to solidify their top-4 standing with a quality win.
For the Red Stars, there are many new pieces to incorporate in the squad. This isn't always easy (which should be obvious from the way Sam Kerr has yet to hit her normal stride yet this year). So I'm giving them a week to figure out their new pieces. But they're running out of time if they hope to make a playoff run. Rosie White is questionable, but they're otherwise healthy. I'm not sure it's going to be enough to keep Utah down.
Chicago Red Stars 1-3 Utah Royals