The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, September 30, 2019
A couple of notes, plus the Reign rebound. Links galore and Rose Lavelle after the Spirit's big win.
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NWSL playoff outlook
Hey guys, sorry for the delay today. The Portland Trail Blazers had media day today (a day-long affair) and the Fair Pay to Play law happened. I’ve been crushed.
First off, I wanna correct a mistake I made in the last IX Soccer Monday: Ada Hegerberg was asked about twerking at the Ballon d’Or, not the FIFA best. Thanks to Keeper Notes for letting me know. 🙂 BTW, Keeper Notes is a wealth of info. Follow, follow, follow.
Second of all, I want to express my profound respect for the Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg, who is transitioning off soccer and onto the Trail Blazers beat. Goldberg’s coverage of the Thorns has been wonderful, and it was awesome to have a full-time soccer reporter on the O’s staff. Here’s hoping they replace her on that beat. It would be sad if they didn’t. One good thing: Since I cover the Blazers too, I still get to see her all the time.
OK, the NWSL playoffs are set now and, surprise, it’s the same four teams as last year. So we’ll have one more batch of regular-season matches before the playoffs get underway.
But let’s talk about the Reign. The team has had a wealth of issues all season with absences and injuries. For them to make the final four with that win over the Thorns is quite impressive.
“It’s no secret. Everybody knows what the season looked like for Reign FC,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “It was a battle; every game was a battle; every training was a battle. There were so many question marks about who was going to play, who wasn’t gonna play. How long is this person gonna be out, how long is this person gonna be out.”
“I’m so proud of these girls of how they handled the whole situation and the way they handled the adversity and the challenges they had to overcome. Not just overcoming it but growing from it and getting better and perform the way they did today, the way they did against Utah. All of that is a byproduct of the whole season. The relentlessness, their resilience, mental toughness. I love this group.”
It also renewed chatter that Andonovski should be a leading candidate for the USWNT’s head coaching vacancy. Players have voiced their support for him. Andonovski himself told Seth Vertelney: “Is there anyone who is not interested to coach the best team in the world?”
And now that the Reign are in the playoffs — well, it seems to boost his chances. If no coach is named in the coming couple of weeks I’m guessing the speculation will get more intense.
HOWEVER, there are also reports that Arsenal head coach Joe Montemurro is a candidate, though Arsenal as apparently blocked the overture.
So stay tuned.
On to the links!
This Week in Women’s Soccer
Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! email@example.com.
Rachel Bachman for the Wall Street Journal with an excellent story on the misleading “revenue’’ numbers being tossed around for the Women’s World Cup.
And the fallout from Rachel’s story is here.
The lesson here: It’s complicated and even FIFA doesn’t know the revenues. So stop.
Holy Cow. This game.
The Harvard Business Review looked at the lessons that can be gleaned from the USWNT’s Equal Pay suit.
ESPN’s Graham Hays takes a look at the Reign’s success.
Boca Juniors beats River Plate in first women’s superclassico in Argentina.
The Stanford Daily’s op-ed on athletes and activism.
Anson Dorrance is getting a field named after him at North Carolina. Should have already happened, IMO.
The Asian Football Confederation is going to start a women’s club championship.
Good column here from Kieran Thievam in The Athletic.
CNBC talked to Mia Hamm about equal pay.
Caitlin Murray wrote about the assumptions and falsehoods surrounding the Equal Pay issue.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Rose Lavelle
Rose Lavelle spoke to the media following the Spirit’s big win over the Courage, and her quick trip to Milan.
Question: At what point did you start to realize you were like what timezone you are in?
Lavelle: I mean I was in and out so fast that I didn’t adjust to the time, thankfully, but like the travel was obviously a lot about. I got in at 5 p.m. and then left at 7a. m. So it was a lot but it was also _ like, no guarantee that that will ever happen again. So it was something I kind of had go to, but it was nice. It was cool.
Question: Can you talk about the goal, and how it felt to get your first one in the game back.
Lavelle: Yeah I know, Jeez it took me long enough. Ari did a great job. She came on and like had such an impact, and she drew some defenders down and then played me the ball and thankfully I had a bit of space and they didn’t close down on me too hard. So I was able to get a shot off, but Ari did all the work there.
Question: The Courage have been so good for so long, this is the Spirit’s first win over them. Does that give you extra confidence?
Lavelle: Yeah, definitely, I think it gives us a lot of confidence. I feel like there’s been a lot of games that haven’t gone our way this season to some now to be on the other end of it is pretty nice. Obviously they were knocking on the door the whole game, but I think after Mal scored that first goal, it gave us a lot of energy. And the atmosphere was incredible. That also really helped. So I think it gives us a lot of confidence moving forward in the next two games and then also for next season. I feel like we’re building something really special and credit to Steve, who has been amazing this year, which has been great and I think we just have a team that really loves each other and believes in each other on the field and it’s been really fun to be a part of.”
Question: What was it like being back after a couple of games at Audi Field?
Lavelle: Yeah I mean it’s definitely like not as big of a crowd, but it still feels like very kind of intimate because the fans are so close and it’s still filled up. So the atmosphere honestly was just as exciting. Obviously hopefully we can have some more games at Audi Field, but this was great tonight.
Question: How did it feel to be back on the field with your teammates?
Lavelle: Yeah I’ve had kind of a rough go at it this this year with a lot of stupid, stupid, stupid injuries. But it was nice to go out there and I feel like everyone was fighting for each other and it was really fun. I’m excited to be a part of this team.