The big WoSo story of the week is of coursee that USWNT coach Jill Ellis announced yesterday that she will leave the team in October. There's plenty of speculation already as to who will replace Ellis and we're sure everyone has their favorites, and we'll have more on this once a decision is made.
In the meantime, let’s talk about all the delightful league action that’s still happening.
A quick results rundown:
- Washington Spirit 1-0 Sky Blue FC
- Portland Thorns 5-0 Houston Dash
- Utah Royals 1-2 North Carolina Courage
- Seattle Reign 0-4 Chicago Red Stars
- Houston Dash 1-0 Sky Blue FC
CHEERS to so many goals...
and so many of them were so good! Five from Portland! Four from Chicago! How blessed we were to have a rainbow of an arc from Christen Press! To have Yuki Nagasato back on the scoresheet! A brace from Hayley Raso!
Even the goal attempts were beautiful, from Cheyna Matthews bossing Sky Blue's defenders to Lindsey Horan, already on the scoresheet, just being like, "screw it, I’m gonna bike it," and having a gorgeous surefire Goal of the Year candidate thwarted by probably the Save of the Year from Jane Campbell.
JEERS to the woodwork for robbing us of a bravado additional Rachel Daly goal on the evening for the Houston Dash last Sunday,
unless you’re a Sky Blue fan. Watching Kealia Ohai find the ball and deliver the ideal shot for Daly was smooth and sublime, and of course the post had to be messy and intervene. Kristie Mewis also had a good look that went off the post later in the match. (Cheers to Daly for a rocket of a goal that secured the win for the Dash, though.)
CHEERS to 22,329 in Portland...
on a Wednesday night, the second-highest attendance ever for an NWSL match. And, boy, were they rewarded with a resounding victory for the home side. Record crowds at the Reign's stadium in Tacoma made for an electric atmosphere (although the Reign fans didn't get the result they wanted) and Yurcak Field in Jersey continue to boost hopes of a more sustained World Cup bump. Elsewhere, attendance numbers have tapered off (the crowd in Sandy was closer to their average on the season, which is still above the NWSL average), so it's still too soon to analyze What It All Means.
But the momentum is still going, and Alyse LaHue and Sky Blue are working to gauge supporter interest in moving the August 18th home fixture to Red Bull Arena. Even on a week where they couldn’t manage a point from a pair of matches, there's excitement around Sky Blue – a sellout at Yurcak, free beer, a front office that actually seems to care (would recommend this interview with LaHue for more context). Remember when Carli Lloyd came on in the first group stage match against Thailand and you could see on her face that she just wanted to score a goal more than anyone wanted anything ever? It's kind of like that.
JEERS, on the other hand, to Sky Blue FC and any other NWSL club that still offers unpaid internship positions.
There are already enough systemic inequities in WoSo and unpaid internships only serve to widen the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" when it comes to advancing potential front office talent. If you want to invest in the clubs, the league and the future of WoSo in America, it includes investing in talent at all levels, which means paying your gd interns.
CHEERS to Kristen Hamilton, whose hustle would make any insufferable WeWork bro jealous.
The Courage, despite having a strong record league-wide and winning a double last season, have never defeated the Utah Royals, until this past weekend. And they did so thanks to Hamilton, who caught a good ball in from Sam Mewis, tip-drilled it to herself and rocketed it past Nicole Barnhart to equalize. Later, Hamilton would break away to face Barnhart again, but smartly passed it off to an open Jessica McDonald, who scored the winner for the Courage.
JEERS to the stadium security guard at Rio Tinto Stadium who threatened to call the police on Jessica McDonald's son, traumatizing a 7-year-old.
Racial profiling and outsize response to situations are nothing new in North American soccer stadia, but any situation like this is unacceptable, and we need to discuss it and hold those at fault accountable. The Royals and Rio Tinto Stadium staff owe McDonald (and fans) an explanation and an apology, as well as actionable steps to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.
CHEERS to the supporters of the NWSL who continue to step up their two-pole and tifo game.
Seattle's Royal Guard hoisted this stunner featuring a triumphant Megan Rapinoe and an excerpt from her iconic World Cup victory parade speech. Meanwhile, in Sandy, The Court added a fourth in the rainbow "Personal Reasons" two-pole series, following Portland, Chicago and Orlando in welcoming a certain Courage player and reminding her there is no place for homophobia in this league.
JEERS to the Seattle Sounders and Major League Soccer for kicking up a fuss over Sounders supporters waving a flag in the terraces depicting the Iron Front, a common anti-fascist symbol, and threatening to suspend supporters over "political displays."
Although this is not specifically an NWSL-related issue, it's something that has the potential to affect North American soccer supporters across the board (plus, at least four NWSL clubs have an MLS partner). This is the same MLS that took hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for "paid patriotism" displays. We've said it before and will say it again: sports are never apolitical, and demanding a sporting experience that is "apolitical" is a tacit endorsement of the politics of the league and its owners, whatever those may be.
Friday, August 2
- Houston Dash vs. Seattle Reign, 7:00 PM Eastern
- North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit, 7:00 PM Eastern
Saturday, August 3
- Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals FC, 8:00 PM Eastern
- Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC, 11:00 PM Eastern