The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, May 24, 2021
Moultrie granted her TRO, you can read it! Plus observations from the past week — Woso links — Megan Rapinoe, just because
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Guys, there’s breaking news this morning, with Olivia Moultrie’s request for a temporary restraining order barring the NWSL from enforcing their age restriction. But only for 14 days. I don’t know details, but I’m making calls this morning. So if we’re a little light on links, it’s because I’m dealing with this. Stay tuned.
Emphasis here is on “temporary.” While she’s worked out with the Thorns, it’s unclear if they will sign her. The judge also brought up the gender equity issue that Moultrie’s lawyers presented in the lawsuit.
Here’s the ruling if you’d like to check it out.
Back to out previously scheduled content:
The Washington Spirit is not playing its home opener against the Dash Wednesday at Segra Field because of construction delays, which stadium officials have said were caused by coronavirus. I mean, there’s no running water, so yeah, that’s a problem.
Audi Field — for whatever reason and it’s confusing — wasn’t available even though nothing is going on there.
So the match is moving to Houston and fans are getting refunds. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff explains the entire situation here.
Why is this just getting worked out now? Shouldn’t the team’s stadium situation been settled BEFORE the start of the regular season? Well, it’s complicated.
Molly summed it up in a Tweet.
My thoughts: Come on D.C. United. If you support women’s sports, Segra Field should be a suitable place to play. Like, it should have running water. And if it’s not ready, you should allow the team to use Audi, without conditions.
Whoever came up with the idea of the conditions — apparently to make the Spirit commit to Segra — is not serving D.C. United’s best interests. Bad idea to alienate those who support both clubs.
I was at the Thorns’ match against the Reign yesterday. Good to see the drums back in the North End. (I missed the last match because of the Blazers.)
The news this past week was obviously that Portland Thorns coach Mark Parsons is off to the Netherlands following the NWSL season to take over for Sarina Wiegman — who is going to lead England’s national team. Big shoes to fill, especially after the Dutch run in the Women’s World Cup.
The timing isn’t great for Portland, because Angel City is also looking to name a head coach. (Oh hey, competition for these jobs is good!) Meg Linehan reported a couple of weeks ago that Casey Stoney may be headed to the other NWSL expansion team, which may end up San Diego.
As for the game, well, it looked like it might be a goal-fest. But the goals all came early and then the two sides settled down, with the Reign winning 2-1. Maybe a good wakeup call for the Thorns after that rout over Chicago, and the Challenge Cup. Don’t get too complacent with success.
Megan Rapinoe scored and held court after the game. It was great. As usual. See below.
Also, a follow up to last week: Santa Clara won the women’s NCAA College Cup on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Here was my story for AP. Oh, and Marshall won on the men’s side, defeating Indiana. Which was super cool.
(Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oregonian on the Moultrie news.
Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan led Orlando to a win over the Courage, from Mitchell Northam for the Orlando Sentinel.
Annie Costabile writes about Chicago regrouping after the loss to the Thorns, for the Sun-Times.
Just Women’s Sports has a podcast called Snacks, hosted by Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams. Their guest this week was Crystal Dunn. Give it a listen!
Good news! NBC is using ESPN’s Julie Foudy, Derek Rae and Jenn Hildreth for its Olympic soccer coverage.
Eni Aluko leaves Aston Villa to become sporting director for Angel City, from my AP colleague Rob Harris.
Dan Lauletta on the ascent of Mark Parsons for The Equalizer.
The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio is all over the Olivia Moultrie lawsuit drama.
The Athletic’s Katie Whyatt looks at the coaching exodus in the WSL.
Sam and Rose are back, from Sandra Herrera for CBS Sports.
TWEET(S) OF THE WEEK
Five at The IX: Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe spoke to the media following the match against the Thorns, and, per usual, she was awesome.
She scored her first NWSL goal in 1,047 days.
Question: Today it felt like we were back to how the rivalry was a few years ago. You seemed to revel in the atmosphere with the Riveters.
Rapinoe: Yeah, I think you’re right. You know, obviously the OG Thorns players, I’m sure the owners feel the same, and management here and obviously us, we have that rivalry, that’s now going back, eight years. So when you bring new people in, you change coaches, you do kind of leave a little bit of that behind. So I think that’s was definitely a point of emphasis for us, you know, having come down here a couple times before this year, and just not having that spirit, we definitely wanted to bring that. Outside of playing international football, this is the biggest and the best and the most fun game that you could possibly play. It’s a great atmosphere. Obviously the Thorns fans need no introduction, they’re incredible. They have one big problem though, is that they love me. So it’s really difficult for them to cheer against me. When I scored, I had to go right over and really like talk my shit, and I was like trying to talk shit to them and they just didn’t know what to do and then finally someone gave me like a big double, two middle fingers out and I was like, `That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the kind of rivalry that we want.’ Obviously, for me I haven’t been able to enjoy a lot of football lately, I’ve had a couple of nagging injuries and this and that, and not the minutes that I want. So to be able to play in such a big game like this for us, obviously, to be able to score a goal, I had so much fun today. I always love coming and playing here. Like I said, outside of international football this is the best game that you could possibly play. Proud of the team, huge performance, to be able to lock in score two goals here and lock in for the rest of the game and take three points home as we leave tonight is massive for the season. Knowing it’ll be kind of a little choppy until the Olympic break this is a big win for us.
Question: There has been some discourse, in the NWSL, about who is the villian in this league now? Is it good to bring some of that spiciness back in?
Rapinoe: Thorns are always assholes, everyone hate them, right? That’s like the general vibe. They’re always good. They’ve got the best stadium, they’ve got the best fans, they always have incredible talent on the field, so everybody’s always gunning for you. They’ve got a big, target on their back, always, which I think for them is a privilege. They obviously attract a lot of talent and have an amazing stadium to play in. I love the the rivalry, obviously being an OG in this rivalry, you know, coming down here a lot. Losing tough games here, winning tough games here and vice versa at our home. Maybe we’re like the opposite of the assoholes, we’re the ones that everyone wants to root for, I don’t know about that. But we always love coming down here and I think that was a big point for us to kind of like juice everyone up. We knew it was gonna take a big performance, and much more than just tactics or what we’re doing on the field to get this win. I love it, I love all the shit-talking the social media managers are going wild on every team and Gotham, New York, New Jersey, Sky Blue FC they have their own little thing going, so I always think it’s fun, the little side narrative, side show, that is kind of what keeps all the fans entertained. I think that will kind of take us to the next level as this league continues to grow.
Question: How does this win fit into this larger history of the rivalry?
Rapinoe: I mean, I think this is one of the best wins that we’ve had, either home or away, just considering everything. Obviously they have a huge team, so much talent in that team. So to be able to come here on their home ground and win that — You know, we’ve been a little inconsistent this year, I think we’re still trying to find our footing, obviously we have some more players coming over. Like I said it’s gonna be a little choppy until the Olympic break is over. But for kind of a young squad that has a lot of old, experienced players, we’re kind of, you know meshing that together. Ultimately if you want to be successful, you have to win these kinds of games. You have to win games where you don’t really play that well. We defended a lot. You’ve got to take the chances that you’re given in you have to lock in and and be really solid defensively. Our aspirations, as always, but like for real, are championships. So if we want to win that we’re gonna have to win ugly, we’re gonna have to win nice, we’re going to have to win pretty, we’re going to have to win fun and we’re going to have to be able to grind it out and win these ones. I think especially because, as a couple of people alluded to, the rivalry’s gotten a little lukewarm a little bit. This one felt like a real one, like the ones that we’re used to. And so I think just for both teams and for the league, that’s a really positive thing. And to be able to play in these big environments like this is just everything you dream of as a player.
Question: You have a chance to play in front of Lu Barnes shifting over to the left back spot and I’m just wondering if you can comment on what it’s like to play alongside her.
Rapinoe: I always want Lu as close to me as possible. Lu’s just one of the very top defenders that we’ve seen in this league, which says a lot. We have alot of really solid players that play. I call her guru. I swear to God she’s like 204 years old, she just is so calm, knows so much about the game, is just such a presence for us. I think she would prefer to play at centerback, that’s her natural position but we’ve had to switch things around. We’ve had to kind of work on the fly and I think she stepped in and done a really good job. I think the up and down runs for her at outside back is a little bit new, but she’s adjusting to that. But overall, I mean I love playing with Lu. We just we have a shared language on the field, a shared movement on the field. Same with Jess, same with Steph Cox, players that we’ve played with for a long time. That just makes it so much easier as we’re trying to meld all these new players together and learn a new system and ultimately try to be successful. So anytime Lu’s around me it’s, it’s all good.