The Mexico connection! On the ever-growing collaboration between the two countries — Laura Harvey talks NWSL milestone — Must-click woso links
The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, August 15, 2022
Happy Soccer Monday! There’s been a big uptick on collaborative games with Liga MX, both on the women’s side with the recent match between Tigres and Angel City, and on the men’s side with the Major League Soccer All-Star Game against Liga MX counterparts. The International Champions Cup in Portland this week includes Las Reyadas out of Monterrey. And Club America is playing in the Women’s Cup.
Expect to see more of this, especially ahead of the 2026 joint Men’s World Cup. But for the women, the ever-increasing ties between NWSL and Liga MX teams help lift both sides.
Look at Mia Fishel, the UCLA standout drafted by Orlando but instead headed to Tigres. Kevin Baxter from the L.A. Times spoke to Fishel for his excellent soccer newsletter. Fishel is a star in the six-year-old league that is steadily gaining both international relevance. The proof is in the players: In addition to Fishel, Spain’s Jenni Hermoso plays for Pachuca. Christina Burkenroad plays for las Reyadas. Angel City forward Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel used to play for Tigres.
But Liga MX overall still struggles with investment, player salaries and visibility — the very things that the NWSL has struggled with. So high-profile partnerships, like the one between Angel City and Tigres, go beyond just a pair of matches this year and next. The two sides are going to work together to explore best practices for elevating women’s soccer off the pitch, too.
“Connecting with the soccer community both locally and globally is an important part of what Angel City is striving for. It’s a partnership like this one that starts off with two teams kicking a ball, but it is more about how we are able to learn from each other. How we are both looking to take the best points from each other’s clubs and implement those to grow the game in our communities,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said.
And given that some 30% of those living in Los Angeles are of Mexican descent, it makes sense for Liga MX to grow a women’s fan base — much like it already has in the United States on the men’s side. Men’s Liga MX matches garner better TV ratings in the United States than MLS games.
“This partnership will benefit Tigres in many ways, creating more football friendships with clubs
worldwide. One with Angel City FC makes sense as there is an alignment around values and first
movers in their respective countries,” Tigres coach Carmelina Moscato said. “There is also a strong link with the Latinx communities in LA. We would love to gain more supporters for our talented team celebrating Mexican heritage, talent, and success. This will also expose the players and staff to a high level of football that will teach us even more about ourselves at the highest levels.”
Looking forward to seeing Monterrey this week in the ICC.
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Five at The IX: Laura Harvey
Laura Harvey became the league’s winningest coach this weekend, when OL Reign beat Gotham 4-1. She talked a bit about the honor, but also addressed the Reign’s goal to make the playoffs.
Question: This his is a pretty substantial record and I’m just honestly wondering what it means to you.
Harvey: Yeah, I actually had no idea. At the end of the game, I was like, why is everyone taking photos of me? Like why aren’t they going to Pinoe or Rose? I totally forgotten about it. I think it says two things to me; One I’m old. I’ve been here a long time. And two I’ve been very privileged to work for this club and obviously, the Utah gig, where I’ve worked with some unbelievable players who’ve been able to put a product out in the field that I believe in. And also worked with some unbelievable coaches along … I think you know it’s always a team effort. And I’m just obviously very proud that we’ve been able to put on the show today because I think obviously the record is great, but it was a huge, huge game for us and we knew it, after last weekend and not beating Louisville away, we should have won all three of those games and we didn’t. We’ve had a very, very tough week I would say, just as a group, just to be very honest with each other, and to top it off by getting three points, scoring goals. Which was great. And then on top of that this this record, just is an extra cherry on top of the cake.
Question: Can you share your overall thoughts beyond what you just shared on the game today?
Harvey: I felt that we were in control of the game for the majority of it. And I think in the first half we created a lot of chances and you know, only got that one, and I felt like getting the second goal before halftime was pivotal for us mentally. And then coming out in the second half, with a good start, after what happened to us last week was also a big thing for us. Just really proud of the group. Like I say we’ve had a we’ve had a tough week this week. And I said to them at the end you know, I think they deserved that today. They got what they deserved, but the work’s not done. We’ve got big targets and goals for this season. And obviously the first one of those to achieve is to get into the playoffs and today put us in a much better position than we were at the start of the day on being able to achieve that. But let’s not kid ourselves. Our biggest biggest test is going to be next Friday in Orlando away. So we’ve got to sort of enjoy today, we should we get to go and see our partner club upstairs for a little bit and enjoy them. And then we can turn our attention to this week ahead which is a good opportunity for us but probably more importantly start to think about the Orlando game.
Question: Quinn left the match early in what looked like not a planned substitution. Was it an injury or precaution?
Harvey: Precautionary. Quinn took a ball to the face like right before the half ended and you know, didn’t feel great. I think the sun was beating down on us today, so I think that might have been a little bit of a factor to it, but we didn’t want to risk them in the second half. Tobin was a bit more of a planned change. We didn’t know who Tobin was gonna go in for, but I thought Z did a really good job in the first half and to get Tobin’s quality and the second half was great.
Question: And then if you could just give me your thoughts overall on Megan’s performance, which is her best in the season so far?
Harvey: She’s just got quality. She’s a flair player, right? She tries the things no one else is willing to try sometimes. And a lot of the time for her they come off, because she’s got the quality. And then you know, their goal sort of comes from her trying something that didn’t quite pay off. And that’s Pinoe. That’s the person that we know. She is so huge for this group because she’s one in the locker room when we’re having tough times like we had this week who is willing to step up and say the things that we need to get better at and the ways that we need to continue to grow. But she also walks the walk and I think you saw that today. She knows where the goal is. She knows the game. She knows what the game needs. And yeah, she’s just a unique human overall on and off the field. But I thought quality really shone through today.
Question: Megan and talked a little bit about how the you guys pressing really high is really a part of your identity. But how dis that factor into today’s game plan?
Harvey: Obviously the penalty comes from it, right? And Gotham are a team that do try and play, and I think a lot of teams against us often don’t let as high press them because we’re pretty good at it. And so I think when we could get in an opportunity to let them play, we wanted them to play, so we could go and trigger it and get after them a little bit. And I think it gives us momentum when we can do that. But you know a lot of teams don’t let us do that anymore. So we’ve been talking about this week how we can find other ways to gain momentum. Just the little things in the game, I thought we did a really good job of today and the high press obviously paid off for us. I think that’s what created definitely the penalty and obviously other opportunities throughout the game. Really proud of the group for believing in that and it’s hard work to do that. It takes a lot of work to do it but when you see the reward of what it takes when you get it, it will continue to be something that we continue to keep trying to do I think.
Question: How cool is it to play in front of your partner club?
Harvey: Obviously you know, it’s nice to put on a show at home no matter who’s here, but the fact that they were here is even more sweeter. I think it is a partnership that we want to grow. I believe that we can both learn off each other. I think the ruthlessness, competitiveness, winning mentality that happens here in the U.S. is something that you know, OL have shown that they can win for numerous years and sort of maybe had their foot off the gas a couple of years ago. AI feel like this partnership, they’ve seen that from the U.S. side of it. And they’ve really pushed on and I feel like they’ve become more ruthless. I think for us, we can use their long history of success, to find out the little nuances about what it takes to be a true champion. And I think that will be something that, as this partnership grows, we definitely want to try and hone in on that a little bit for us.
Question: I think people see a lot of what Pinoe puts in on the offensive side and I’m just wondering what, what is her ability to read the game do for you all when you’re pressing and trying to press.
Harvey: I mean, the penalty comes from it. Jordan does a good job on going and Pinoe reads that she can go to. It is a risk reward in how we defend that way, and Pinoe’s very, very good at it, has been for a long time and coincidentally the other one who’s actually really good at it when when I’ve coached his team is Bev Yanez. So I think she was probably sitting in the opponent’s dugout going, Oh, here we go, because I’ve seen this before. And it’s something that we believe in, right? I think it’s something that forwards don’t necessarily truly want to do that. So if we can give them a reward for doing that, we feel that we will continue to get that out of them. In fairness, I thought Z did a good job of that today. Tobin reads the game really well too, just understanding when to go and when not. And then you know, the players behind them understand that sometimes they may get it wrong. And that’s okay, as long as we do the next phase of it. So it is something we work on. It’s something we talk about a lot. It’s something we believe in, and today we got our rewards from it.
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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