WWC – USA
Good win for the US ladies – even if it took 2 PKs – 1 of them really soft To win the game with Spain 2-1. The good news is the US only gave up one goal – on a silly pass out by GK Nauer to Centerback Becky Saubraugh (sp). It was Nauer’s fault for passing to a player under a high press – but Becky also blew it and gave up the pass leading to the only goal scored against the US this WC. Spain came out playing super rough – as the number of takedowns on Alex Morgan and Rapinoe were certainly above 10 each – and only 1 yellow card was thrown on Spain. The reffing in this game was pretty poor – as many more fouls and yellow cards should have been thrown. The US did a good job of womaning-up and stepping up their physicality as the game wore on. It was a shame the US couldn’t find a goal in the run of play – and had to rely on a soft PK to win it in the end. But honestly there were multiple takedowns of US players in the box – that were not called – so perhaps the 2 calls were just in the end. As for the US play- I thought coach Ellis waited WAAY to late to call on our subs. Alex Morgan was beaten up and not playing well up top – but stayed on until the 80th minute before giving way to Lloyd. The US was the better team in the opening half but was really outplayed in the 2nd half overall. The Defense continues to be the weak point of this team – and the addition of Julie Ertz in the midfield did not help. We were continuously broken down – and Crystal Dunn at left back was of course EXPOSED again. I counted no fewer than 8 crosses that came from Dunn’s left side. The outside back’s responsibility is to not give up crosses folks – and Crystal Dunn (a forward) does not do this. Fortunately the US center backs covered most of the crosses into the box. I still think Ellis needs to seriously consider actually playing a defender at left back vs France instead of Crystal Dunn – because while she is good going forward she is a nightmare on defense and is going to cost the US at least 1 if not 2 goals vs France. I would also consider bringing Horan back in as D-mid, she’s just better at both covering the backline and dribbling/passing out of pressure than Ertz. Move Ertz back to center back and perhaps consider moving a center back to left back or bringing in Rt back back-up Ali Krieger on the left side is something I would consider honestly. If the US plays the same line up – we will give up at least 2 goals to France – and will have to hope we can simply outscore them. Either way this should be an exciting game – 3 pm kickoff on Friday vs France on Fox – with coverage starting at 2 pm. The winner should be the favorite to win it all. GO USA!
Again the games have all been great – and fun to watch. I was disappointed in the Classless display by Cameroon vs England. Cameroon certainly had some VAR decisions go against them – but honestly the calls were right. Their refusal to restart after the 2nd goal was allowed by England, and then a Cameroon player spitting towards the ref and another one running over the ref later – were unbelievable and should have probably been red-carded. They stomped and moped and cried about the calls – then started trying to hurt the English players late with some questionable tackles. This combined with the coach’s disdain and refusal to get his players in line – were honestly a disgrace in my mind and hopefully the African Soccer Federation will take action if FIFA does not. Marta and the entire Brazilian team were inspirational in their comeback attempt vs Norway –another just fantastic game overall. 7 of the 8 teams in the Quarterfinals are European teams – showing how far the European Clubs adding female teams have helped the sport come along in Europe.
USMNT – Gold Cup
So the US hasn’t always looked great – but they are just 3 games from the Gold Cup finals in Chicago– which is where we all expect them to be. After slaughtering a helpless T&T Sat night, they emptied the bench vs Panama as 11 new players came in for the 1-0 win on a nice bicycle by Jose Altidore. While it was nice to see Altidore score – It appears Berhalter is set on Zardes as the US #9 for now. I am ok with Altidore coming off the bench in the 70th if behind. We still have needs at left back – I sure wouldn’t mind seeing Lima flip over to the left side – like he does for his club – allowing Reggie Cannon to remain a started on the right back side – he looked good vs Panama. The US will return to play Sunday at 9 pm on FS1 vs Curacoa before an expected US vs Jamaica rematch on Wed night 9:30 pm game on FS1.
Indy 11 – Blue-Out Sat 7 pm vs Louisville
Our Indy 11 scored an impressive 3-0 home win Wed night over Birmingham. The victory improved the club’s record-winning streak to five games and lifted Indy Eleven (10W-2L-3D, 33 pts.) into a tie for first place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference alongside the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The result also extended the Eleven’s undefeated streak to nine games (6W-0L-3D) and its home unbeaten streak at Lucas Oil Stadium dating back to last July to 16 games (10W-0L-6D).Goals early and late by Tyler Pasher and Thomas Enevoldsen, respectively, bookended a Legion FC own goal. Pasher’s game-winning goal was his fourth game-clincher in Indy’s last seven contests and his team-leading sixth tally of the season. Carmel FC Goalkeeper Coach and Indy 11 Goalkeeper Jordan Farr made four saves en route to his second consecutive clean sheet. He has started the last 3 games since Newton was injured vs Memphis with 7 saves, 5 clearances and 2 clean sheets. The shutout for Indy Eleven was the tenth in its first 15 games this season, and the seventh in eight home contests in 2019. The Boys in Blue will host rival Louisville City on Saturday night at 7 pm at Lucas Oil Stadium – It’s a BLUE-OUT as fans are asked to wear BLUE vs the Red Louisville City. I plan to be there! Tickets start as low as $15 and can be purchased here indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100
Local Goalkeeper Wins USL Player of the Week – Eric Dick
Former Carmel High School and Butler Goalkeeper Eric Dick claimed USL Save of the Week honors last week for Swope Park Rangers. Dick on load from Kansas City FC – was Goalkeeper of the Year in the Big East in his final season at Butler. He grew up in Carmel and played at Carmel Dad’s club as a youngster – keep up the Great Work Eric!
USA Ladies – World Cup vs France Fri 3 pm Fox
USA Men – Gold Cup
Doyle: What there was to like about US win Doyle – mls.com
Boys Tuning in to US Ladies More – Washington Post
Former Carmel High School and Butler Goalkeeper Eric Dick claimed USL Save of the Week
GAMES ON TV
Fri, June 28
3 pm Fox WWC QF France vs USA
3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA Venezuela vs Argentina
8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA Colombia vs Chile
Sat, June 29
9 am Fox Sport 1 WWC QF Italy vs. Netherlands,
12:30 pm Fox Sport 1 WWC QF Germany vs. Sweden
3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA QF – Uruguay vs Peru
4 pm ESPN Minn United vs Cincy
- 7 pm ESPN+, Myindty Indy 11 vs Louisville City
7 pm FS1 Gold Cup QF Haiti vs Canada
10 pm FS1 Gold Cup QF Mexico vs Costa Rica
Sun, June 30
2:30 pm ESPN2 Euro U21 Final
5:30 pm FS1 Gold Cup QF Panama vs Jamaica
9 pm FS1 USA Men vs Curacao – Gold Cup
Tues, July 2
3 pm Fox WWC Semi Norway/England vs. USA/France
8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA Semi
10:30 pm FS1 Gold Cup Mexico/Costa Rica vs Canada/Haiti Winners
Wed, July 3
3 pm Fox Sport 1 WWC Semi Germany/Sweden vs. Italy/Netherlands
8 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA Semi
9:30 pm FS1 Gold Cup Semi USA/Curacao vs Jamaica/Panama Winners
Sat, July 6
11 am Fox WWC 3rd Place Game
3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA 3rd Place Game
Sun, July 7
11 am Fox WWC FINALS
3 pm ESPN+/Tele/Fubo COPA FINALS
9 pm FS1 Gold Cup FINALS
Gold Cup TV Schedule June 15– July 7
France or the U.S. in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals? We debate
Jun 26, 2019ESPN
Since the Women’s World Cup draw last December, the U.S. women and France have been on a collision course to clash in Friday’s quarterfinals (9 p.m. local time, 3 p.m. ET). It’s the defending World Cup champ against the host, the No. 1 team in the world versus the co-favorite to win it all.So what are the X factors and key players that will most impact their match at Parc des Princes in Paris? ESPN UK’s Tom Hamilton, ESPN FC’s Julien Laurens, ESPN Brasil’s Natalie Gedra and ESPN’s Sam Borden, Graham Hays and Alyssa Roenigk — all of whom are on the ground in France — tackle the tough questions.
Which team is under more pressure: France at home or the U.S. women facing a potential second consecutive quarterfinal exit in a major tournament?
Hays: The opportunity is greater for France. Television numbers for the host’s group games cooled only slightly from the record-smashing opening game. And while on the ground, it doesn’t always feel like World Cup fever is sweeping the land yet. The event and the French team have very visible presences. But the French can rationalize a loss to the defending champion and No. 1 team in the world, especially a valiant loss. For the United States, in such a crowded sports landscape and with how invested members of the team are in using their platform for advocacy, bowing out before the semifinals of a major event again would be costly on and off the field.
Roenigk: The U.S. women. They’re the tournament favorites, the defending champions, the top-ranked team in the world and, yes, the team is still recovering from the sting of the Rio Olympics. Anything less than a World Cup win will be seen as a failure.
- How the U.S., France have helped make one another better
- Women’s World Cup shows VAR still has room for improvement
- Any questions how the U.S. will bounce back from mistakes? Not anymore
Laurens: The pressure has to mostly be on the defending champions, the U.S. This is the best team in the world right now so being knocked out at this stage would be a failure, especially after losing in the quarters in the 2016 Olympics. France is also under pressure because a loss in the quarters would be disappointing. However, there would be no shame in losing against this impressive American side.
Borden: France. In addition to playing at home and trying to follow up the championship performance the team’s colleagues turned in at the men’s World Cup last summer, a loss to the United States also means the France women’s team can’t qualify for the Olympics next summer since the top three European finishers at the World Cup get the Olympic spots. With seven European teams in these quarterfinals, this match is, in effect, a double-elimination game for France.
Hamilton: Great question. There are so many subplots to this match, but the pressure is more on the U.S. France has had a mediocre tournament so far, and its home support will be demanding a win, even though this team is the underdog. The U.S. started this World Cup in dominant fashion, and the world expects it to end up winning the tournament, so the pressure is on them to deliver.
Gedra: France, for sure. The French people are very much involved with the tournament, and they were not expecting to face that much difficulty as they did against Brazil. The French are expecting not only a good performance, but a win.
Which players are key for France and the United States?
Roenigk: The U.S. front line, specifically Alex Morgan, who has been largely absent since her record-tying, five-goal onslaught against Thailand, and has drawn more attention — and more penalties — than anyone on the U.S. roster. On the flip side, center back Wendie Renard (France’s leading goal scorer this tournament) and the French defense will be charged with stopping a fired-up American side. Aiding France? An extra day of rest since its round of 16 match.
Hays: Beyond the obvious suspects, what does France coach Corinne Diacre do with Gaetane Thiney? The veteran who resurrected her international career after falling out of favor with previous regimes has been a mainstay for Diacre, but she didn’t start against Brazil when the manager changed formations to get more speed on the flanks. Midfield is also an area to watch for the Americans, especially Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz. The United States missed Horan when she didn’t start against Spain but will need her ability to conduct the attack while maintaining a physical presence against the French. And it’s not a coincidence that Ertz didn’t play in a 3-0 loss to France in 2017 or the 3-1 loss earlier this year. She’s the best bet to break up French rhythm.
Borden: Renard having a strong game is critical if France is going to control the U.S. attack, and she’s a threat on set pieces that the Americans have to be constantly monitoring. Kadidiatou Diani has had an incredible motor in the French midfield and can do damage if the U.S. slacks. For the United States, Horan has the ability to break through what will probably be a physical game and impose herself, while goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Becky Sauerbrunn have to bounce back from a combined bad mistake against Spain to be at their peaks.
Hamilton: Eugenie Le Sommer has to deliver for France but the key player will be Amandine Henry. The captain needs to ensure her team remains unwaveringly focused for 90-plus minutes if France is to knock over the U.S. And for the world champions, the Americans need goalkeeper Naeher to put in a near faultless performance. She made an error against Spain, which led to a goal in the U.S.’ 2-1 win. She cannot let the same happen against France.
Laurens: For France, Sarah Bouhaddi will have a huge role to play in this game. So far, the defense has been quite solid for Les Bleues, but Bouhaddi will get properly tested Friday by the Americans. And she will have to have the game of her life for France to be able to go through. Henry will be key in midfield against the energy and movement of the U.S. midfielders. Up front, this is a game for Le Sommer to shine. Even on the left-hand side, she has to be effective and decisive. For the U.S., Ertz is the key. She is the brains, the power and the heart of this team. If she bosses the midfield, the Americans will win. The front three will obviously have a huge role to play too. Sauerbrunn, who could be the weakest link in this team, will have to step up.
Gedra: Henry showed she can make a difference with her quality and experience. And Le Sommer can create a lot of trouble as an aggressive winger. That is why, besides the big stars, a good defensive performance from the U.S. will be key.
Which part of each team’s game will their opponent have to prepare for most?
Borden: The U.S. women have to be ready for an even more physical game than the one they endured against Spain, particularly because France is even more capable of turning turnovers into real chances. France will have to keep up with the Americans’ speed and relentless drive, which will be made even tougher by the expected heatwave — the United States has more players who are accustomed to playing in oppressive temperatures than does France. If they have to chase the game, that will be a factor.
Laurens: Both teams know each other so well. France has to match (or try to at least) the U.S.’ intensity. The French know how quickly the Americans attack and push forward, how much the midfielders press, how high the full backs play. So they will have to stay well organized and disciplined while keeping the ball as much as possible. On the other hand, the Americans will have seen France’s potential on set pieces. But also the mental strength of this team. The U.S. is in for a battle on Friday and they have to get ready for it.
Hays: A strong case can be made for set pieces in both cases. Renard is unique in the problems she creates because of her height and agility on set pieces. There are a lot of reasons the United States might keep Sam Mewis in the starting lineup, but her height in defending set pieces should be near the top of the list. But as Sweden’s coach said, the U.S. women might have the biggest binder of set plays in the world, so France must also keep to a minimum the free kicks and corner kicks it gives away. The United States also has struggled for years, and through a variety of outside backs and formations, to deal with French speed on the flanks.
Gedra: The French attack makes fast transitions, so the U.S. needs to be aware of that. As for France, it’s facing the team that shows the highest level of sophistication in this WWC. The U.S. has variations and can be patient with the ball. Diacre will have to prepare the team for that.
Roenigk: For the U.S. women, it’s depth and a bench that forward Megan Rapinoe has called “the deepest we’ve ever had” — which has allowed coach Jill Ellis to rotate and rest her starters, as planned. France will rely on its physical defense, technical ability and a mentally tough team that knows how to win. Seven players on Les Bleus also star for Lyon, which has won the Women’s Champions League six times.
Hamilton: Both teams will be on red alert over their opponent’s attack. France is likely to focus on its play down the flanks with Diani a key outlet on their right; Rapinoe is going to be fired up for the Americans. But with two offensive teams, there is going to be plenty of space on the counterattack, so expect to see the U.S.’ two attacking full backs suddenly spring into action, while France will be looking for opportunities to return favor.
Which team has the edge in goal?
Borden: Even before Monday’s mishap, Naeher was more of a liability than Bouhaddi. While Naeher is a World Cup rookie, Bouhaddi has been France’s No. 1 since the 2015 World Cup. She won’t be cowed by the pressure Friday night.
Roenigk: Naeher will learn from an early mistake against Spain and prove herself to be not only worthy of this gig, but one of the best in the world.
Hays: Some American fans will worry because they haven’t seen Naeher in a game like this. Some French fans might worry because they have seen Bouhaddi. Most of the time, Bouhaddi is a wonderful goalkeeper. She’s athletic, aggressive and experienced. Her ability to play long passes jump-starts the attack, even if she tends to linger with the ball in her hands well beyond what the rules allow. But for just about her entire international career, Bouhaddi has had one or two moments during a game — coming out rashly, playing the ball into traffic, etc. — that scare her own fans to death. Both sides might be white-knuckling this game.
Laurens: Bouhaddi has the edge. She has a lot of experience. She has played this kind of game before, at the World Cup, at the Olympics, at the Euros. She has won six Champions League titles. Also, she has played with Morgan and Rapinoe at Lyon. She knows them very well. On the other hand, this is all new for Naeher. She has waited many years for this chance but she is inexperienced. I think the pressure can get to her.
Hamilton: The error against Spain aside, Naeher is the more complete goalkeeper than her counterpart Bouhaddi. But Bouhaddi’s distribution is second to none in this World Cup.
How much does the recent history in the series (3-3-2 since 2014) matter?
Laurens: Even if every game is different, I think it is important for the French to know they have beaten the U.S. before, that they know how to beat them and that they can do it again. Psychologically, they don’t fear the U.S. because of some of the the recent French success. There are a lot of things the French admire about this American side: the mentality, the power, the talent, the self belief. In many ways, this France side wants to be like this U.S. side. And beating them would be like the apprentice beating the master. However, I don’t think the U.S. cares too much about the past against the French though. They are so focused, driven and ambitious.
Hays: It’s everything. Nothing better underscores France’s growth than the fact no team in the world has given the U.S. such consistent fits in recent years. France shut out the United States while scoring multiple goals twice since 2015. The last team to do that even once, other than France, was Norway more than a decade ago. And that doesn’t even count France’s 3-1 win earlier this year, at the start of the U.S. preseason. The French ability to match the Americans athlete for athlete, giving away little in fitness, confounds a team used to clear advantages there.
Roenigk: History matters to journalists, statisticians and commentators and is a lot of fun to discuss prematch and postmatch. But during those 90 minutes Friday night, past performances mean nothing.
Borden: Not much. At this level, the top women’s teams face each other often enough that there never figured to be many secrets. The question is which team executes better? Neither was particularly impressive in the round of 16, but looking at the tournament as a whole, the U.S. women have probably been a touch sharper.
Hamilton: It means very little. This is knockout football in the Women’s World Cup in Paris, in front of the Tricolore, with La Marseillaise ringing from the stands, with pockets of stars and stripes, with the backdrop of the USWNT’s battle for pay equality, with France hoping to inspire a nation. It is going to be epic.
Gedra: Not much, because the circumstances are different this time: France is playing a World Cup quarterfinals at home with a loud supporting crowd and high expectations. That changes the scenario compared to previous head-to-heads.
Borden: In a hard-fought, physical game, the U.S. women get a second-half goal from Horan to just take it 2-1.
Hays: The crowd in the stadium might be split, but the streets of Paris will be full of the Tricolore after France wins a thriller.
Roenigk: The United States advances to the semifinals 2-1 over Les Bleus in extra time.
Hamilton: Expect extra time, and for Rapinoe to win it on a penalty. The U.S. wins 2-1.
Laurens: France will win 1-0.
Gedra: It’s a tight match and the U.S. squeezes by France 2-1.
World Cup quarterfinal: Heat is on USWNT v. hosts France
Joe Prince-Wright NBC Sports•June 27, 2019
It will be close to 97 degrees in Paris on Friday as France swelters in a severe, unexpected heatwave.The U.S. women’s national team will also be feeling the heat at the Parc des Princes (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET online via Telemundo Deportes) as they face the much-fancied tournament hosts in a mouth-watering World Cup quarterfinalFrance versus the USWNT sees fourth play first in terms of their FIFA rankings, as the reigning champs struggled by Spain in their Round of 16 clash and know that the pressure is on them to deliver and keep up their incredible record of at least reaching the semifinal stage in every single Women’s World Cup in history.The fact they’ve failed to beat France in their last three games against them, including two defeats with the latest loss coming in January, means that the pressure is cranked up a few notches as the eyes of the world lock in on Paris.“This U.S. team lives in pressure. When you are young and come into this program, there is always a target on your back,” head coach Jill Ellis told the media. “This is a big game, the players know that. You’re wired for this and built for this. Some teams visit pressure, but we live there. Are there going to be some nerves? Sure. There is a lot at stake. They are wired to handle it.”Much of the talk ahead of this game has been about President Donald Trump and his reaction to comments from co-captain Megan Rapinoe who said she is “not f****** going to the White House” if the USWNT win the World Cup.
Those comments were to a magazine, Eight By Eight, in January and have gone viral in recent days after the video clip was released.Rapinoe addressed Trump’s comments — the U.S. president said that she “should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team” and to “be proud of the flag that you wear” — and said she stands by what she said and would urge her teammates to follow her lead.Back to the action on the pitch, Rapinoe is fired up, as she elaborated on her eccentric comments about facing the hosts in Paris on Friday in primetime“The secondary market for tickets is wild. Looking at this match, what it means for the tournament, it is a huge game and our chance to play the host nation in a World Cup,” Rapinoe smiled. “For me, these are why you play all of the thousands of friendlies, training on your own and grinding away. I think it is going to be a fantastic match. It will be fun and it will be a great stage for both teams to go out and enjoy themselves.”France’s head coach Corinne Diacre put it bluntly when talking about the expectation levels on France against the USWNT, who have plenty of fans supporting them every step of the way in France.“We have no pressure when we play USA,’ Diacre said.So it’s over to Ellis’ team as they are focused on spoiling the French party in what should be an epic battle between two teams littered with stars, as Wendie Renard, Eugenie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry lead the French charge and the likes of Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan will be front and center for the USWNT.“From where we were four years ago and from where France were four years ago, we are both stronger teams,” Rapinoe said Which team will be strong enough to better handle the inferno of expectation and reach the final four?
Any questions how the U.S. will bounce back from mistakes? Not anymore
2:42 PM ETGraham Hays espnW.com
REIMS, France — For all the goals, celebrations and wins of the past two weeks, the World Cup in some ways began Monday for the United States with a mistake.Not a cataclysmic error or a failure of character. Just a mistake.But World Cups can turn on one mistake. This one, resulting in the U.S. allowing its first goal in 674 minutes, didn’t. Not yet.With the ball at her feet, the place where she has the best claim to being among the best goalkeepers in the world, Alyssa Naeher picked the wrong pass. With Spain already pressing the U.S. with vigor bordering on recklessness in the opening minutes of Monday’s knockout game, Naeher played a short pass to defender Becky Sauerbrunn to begin a buildup.She hesitated uncharacteristically before the pass, as if unsure which teammate to choose. It still might not have mattered, but Sauerbrunn’s own hesitation receiving the pass allowed Spain’s Lucia Garcia to steal the ball and find Jennifer Hermoso. With Naeher pulled out of her goal, Hermoso lofted a shot that rose over Naeher’s hand and found the back of the net.”I think I just tried to do a little bit too much,” Naeher said of the goal. “Shouldn’t have played that ball into a pressure pocket. Probably a smarter decision to just play it a little bit higher up the field. But things happen when you try to play. Unfortunate way to give up a goal, but I thought we responded well.”That sequence in the ninth minute led to the first goal the U.S. conceded in the World Cup — and the first time it was so much as tied at a score of more than 0-0 in the knockout rounds since 2011. It also wiped out the momentum the Americans thrive on. Two minutes earlier, Tobin Heath drew a penalty that Megan Rapinoe capitalized on.”Obviously, with pressure like that, just need to get rid of it,” Rapinoe said. “I think we all kind of came together like, ‘It’s fine, it’s early.’ Obviously, getting an early goal for us, those things are going to happen. … Just stay in it and have each other’s back. “We’ll watch film, and they won’t do that again in that exact same way.”The goalkeeper and the back line responded on this day by keeping a clean sheet the rest of the way. Busier than they were in any of the first three games, maybe all three games combined, the defensive effort after the equalizing goal gave the U.S. the breathing room it needed to pull out a 2-1 win and move forward in the tournament.In the end, Spain pushed for one more tying goal. At one point, Naeher rose to get to a ball ahead of a Spanish player, then stayed on her feet through the end of the subsequent play only to fall the ground in a collision.While otherwise praising Naeher before the World Cup, former U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry noted it’s impossible to know how someone will react to major tournament adversity until they experience it. It didn’t mean she thought Naeher couldn’t. She just didn’t know. Couldn’t know.The miscommunication or miscue between Naeher and Sauerbrunn could have been more costly. The U.S. never did control this game, even as it fought throughout for the upper hand.The game could have gone to extra time. It could have gone to penalty kicks, like the 2016 Olympic quarterfinal against Sweden that derailed a U.S. effort. It could have unraveled.But it didn’t. And now Naeher has some of that experience, too.”When you get out into the knockout rounds, it’s always so much more pressure, so much more tense out there,” Rapinoe said. “Everything matters, every play matters. Every sort of wave of the game is important. I think halfway through the second half, it was like we need to take this up a notch. Obviously, there’s quite a few of us that have been there in these big games and sort of realize those moments. And that experience was really big for us tonight.”Whether or not the World Cup began for the U.S. on Monday, it didn’t end.
All eyes turn to Paris
There will be plenty of time this week to hype a game that has already received its share of hype, a quarterfinal in Paris between the teams that entered the tournament as betting favorites.And Rapinoe, for one, is ready for the fun. Even if she picked a different word.”Hopefully, a complete spectacle,” Rapinoe said. “Just an absolute media circus. I hope it’s huge and crazy. That’s what it should be. This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted. I think we want it, seems like they’re up for it … all the fans. Maybe it will be a pretty even split between the fans in the stadium. We’ve been traveling pretty deep in this World Cup.”I hope it’s just a total s—show circus. It’s going to be totally awesome. I think this is what everybody wants.”
VAR smiles on the United States
It wasn’t the first VAR review for the U.S. in this tournament, or even the first to involve a penalty kick, but it was the most important for the defending champion. And fittingly for this World Cup, it will leave its own trail of controversy. With extra time looming and the U.S. still short on quality scoring chances in the second half, Hungarian referee Katalin Kulcsar awarded a penalty when Rose Lavelle was clipped as she chased a ball across the box in the 71st minute. Replays showed minimal contact, albeit contact nonetheless, by the Spanish defender after Lavelle reached the ball.After Spanish players gathered around the ball in a delaying tactic that was likely unnecessary given the frequency of VAR reviews in this World Cup, Kulcsar jogged over to the sideline, watched the review and held her ground on a penalty as the correct decision.Alex Morgan stepped up to take the initial penalty, but Rapinoe said she was instructed during the delay to stick to the team’s established protocol and take the penalty herself.”It’s ultimately the coach’s decision, so the ball went back to Pinoe,” Morgan said. “I’m happy taking it, I’m happy giving it to Pinoe.”
The physical price of success
On a hot day, with temperatures at about 90 degrees at kickoff, and with the U.S. on three fewer days of rest than its opponent, Monday’s game was always going to be a physical challenge for the Americans.Spain then pressed and pressed on that pressure point, looking almost like North American rival Canada in its willingness to go in hard on every challenge. It was a style of play Kulcsar allowed from the outset, but she was consistent in allowing it. Everyone on the field for the U.S. seemed to take their share of the hits, but Morgan was perhaps the most frequent recipient.”I got a knock last game, but luckily I recovered,” Morgan said. “Maybe the Spain players saw that and wanted to be a little more aggressive with me. But I feel like, if anything, it took them off their game more than it took me off mine.”Just as in the game between the teams in January, Spain showed off the possession game for which it is known, nearly equaling the U.S. with possessing the ball 46% of time. But the physical play was a new twist that reflected a World Cup knockout game instead of a winter friendly.”I don’t remember that being this physical, this aggressive, this reckless — in challenges at least,” Morgan said. “For me, that was a little different. I wasn’t expecting that. At the same time, we were able to capitalize on that with penalties.”
Spain is coming
The contrast was stark between the challenges France and the United States faced in this round. France held off one final push from Marta, Christiane and Formiga, the stalwarts of a Brazilian team that has tantalized with its potential for more than a decade. It isn’t clear what Brazil will look like when next on this stage.The team the U.S. faced Monday is just getting started. Whether it was reckless or courageous, or maybe a little of both, Spain brought showed a fearlessness few opponents exhibit against the Americans. All the more from a team that has just one all-time World Cup win and had played the United States just once in its history.Spain wasn’t intimidated by the opponent or the stage. It is already well on its way to building the kind of talent pool that will allow it to win these games soon enough.Her eye puffy from a first-half collision that resulted in her coming out of the game, Vicky Losada chose to focus more on what’s ahead than the penalties that doomed her team Monday.”I think we have a really good future,” Losada said.
Ellis: Rapinoe-Trump spat won’t distract USWNT
12:23 PM ETGraham HaysespnW.com
PARIS — With one of the most anticipated games in the history of women’s soccer a day away, United States coach Jill Ellis and veteran forward Megan Rapinoe attempted Thursday to shift the focus away from any confrontation with President Donald Trump and toward a World Cup quarterfinal between tournament co-favorites at the Parc des Princes.
Ellis said the off-field controversy that built through the week wouldn’t be a distraction for the U.S. in Friday’s game against France, because players on the world’s top-ranked team are familiar with the spotlight that both their success and frequent advocacy for social issues brings.”We all support Megan,” Ellis said. “She knows that. We know we have each other’s backs in there.”I think for our players, there is only one purpose, one mission that we’re here. Comments, media, whatever, it’s always been something that I think we can block out pretty easily.”In a statement she made Thursday before declining to take further questions related to the controversy, Rapinoe said she regretted only her choice of words in a video released earlier this week by the soccer magazine Eight by Eight. In that video, she said she will not accept an invitation to visit the White House if the U.S. wins the World Cup.”I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive,” Rapinoe said Thursday. “My mom will be very upset about that. But I think, obviously, answering with a lot of passion considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have and using it for good and for leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place, I don’t think that I would want to go.”And I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that coopted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for same things that we fight for.”Rapinoe expressed similar sentiments about any potential White House visit earlier this year, as did teammate Alex Morgan.After Rapinoe’s comments about a White House visit appeared Tuesday, Trump again criticized her on Twitter and also invited the U.S. team to the White House after the World Cup.The week began with Trump criticizing Rapinoe in an interview with The Hill, saying he disagrees with her not singing or putting her hand over her heart during the national anthem. Rapinoe knelt during the anthem before two U.S. games in 2016 to express solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick‘s protests to raise awareness of racial injustice and police brutality.In both cases in 2016 — for games in Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta — Rapinoe was a substitute on the sideline when the national anthem was played. U.S. Soccer subsequently instituted a policy requiring all players to stand during the anthem.Ellis named Rapinoe one of three captains before World Cup qualifying in 2018, along with Morgan and Carli Lloyd.While only a quarterfinal, Friday’s game is between teams undefeated and untied thus far in the tournament and which entered the World Cup as essentially co-favorites among oddsmakers. Even Rapinoe said during the team’s training camp in England that she considered France the favorite to win the title. The Americans are 3-3-2 against the French in the last eight games in the series.The U.S. has never failed to reach the semifinals of a World Cup.”For me, [games like] these are why you play all these friendlies a thousand times and are training on your own for hours and hours and grind through the rest of it,” Rapinoe said. “I think it’s going to be a great stage for both teams who have had a lot of pressure and a lot of eyes on them to just go out and perform and enjoy themselves.”
U.S. didn’t dazzle vs. Panama, but squad depth bodes well for deep Gold Cup run
11:07 AM ETJeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In the end, Gregg Berhalter’s strategy worked, and while it wasn’t much fun to watch, the payoff could come later in this Gold Cup for the U.S. men’s national team.Heading into the group stage finale against Panama, both teams had already secured their spots in the quarterfinal. The main questions centered on the order of finish and who each team would face next, but there were deeper issues, as well. The games in the knockout stage take place at an accelerated pace — just two full days separate the quarterfinals from the semifinals — and there is the matter of getting rest for the presumed starting lineup. That led to questions of squad rotation: How much, and for whom? Panama manager Julio Dely Valdes opted to name nine new starters, but Berhalter went even wilder, swapping out all 11 players that started against Trinidad & Tobago and replacing them with their nominal reserves. It seemed a bit of a gamble from Berhalter given how elusive consistency has been for the U.S., but he didn’t see it that way.”The decision to start 11 new players was an easy one, to be honest,” he said. “We believe in the group. We believe in keeping the group together. We believe that everyone can contribute to this team, for the team’s success, and we wanted to show that.”The guys have been training really well, and they deserved this opportunity.”The game itself was hard on the eyes, even if it did end with a 1-0 U.S. victory. While the home side controlled the game’s tempo for long periods, the attack sputtered, creating little in the way of chances. Some of this can be chalked up to some rust, while Panama seemed content to sit back and absorb pressure as well. The service from the flanks wasn’t good enough, either, and was easily cu out by the Canaleros’ defense.”I think we gave too many bouncing balls. We lost the balls in tough areas; our touches were a bit sloppy,” said midfielder Cristian Roldan. “Just a bit rusty overall. When you change the lineup, that can happen.”If a goal was going to come, it was either going to arrive via a mistake or a gritty play. As it turned out, it was a bit of both. Djordje Mihailovic swung in a corner that was intended for Roldan, but seeing his teammates marked, he kept the play alive and headed the goal back across goal. When a pair of Panamanian defenders didn’t deal with the danger, Jozy Altidore went for thebicycle kick and deposited the ball in the net from close range.The celebration that followed saw Roldan go for the bear hug on Altidore, only to realize the bear was too big.”It’s hard to grab that man. He’s a big boy, and he’s very powerful,” said Roldan about Altidore. “It’s very hard to get on his front side.”The sight of Altidore getting on the scoresheet was the most welcome development of the night. The Toronto FC mainstay remains the best forward in the U.S. pool, and his hold-up play and passing will come in handy as the games get tougher. But he entered the training camp for the Gold Cup carrying the remnants of a hamstring injury, and Berhalter has opted to bring him along slowly. While Altidore played 45 minutes in the 3-0 friendly defeat to Venezuela, he had logged just 16 minutes in the Gold Cup prior to Wednesday night.The extent to which that has left Altidore frustrated is unknown. He’s done little to no media since arriving in the U.S. camp and declined to speak with reporters after this match. But his primal scream of a goal celebration hinted at some pent-up energy, and he was determined to see out as much of this encounter as he could.Berhalter said, “I talked to Jozy at halftime, and I asked him, ‘How much more do you have in you?’ He said, ‘I want to stay on the field.’ When you hear that from a player, it makes you feel great. And then when that player goes out and scores the winning goal, it makes you feel even better, because him and all the players on the field today, they wanted to win. They wanted to win for the team.”Given the fact that he lasted 83 minutes, it would seem that Altidore is ready to lead the line in the knockout rounds. As for the rest of the lineup, center-backs Miazga and Omar Gonzalez acquitted themselves well, and right-back Reggie Cannon was able to get forward and contribute to the attack. Yet it seems likely that besides Altidore, no one did enough to burrow their way into the starting lineup for Sunday’s quarterfinal against Curacao. The minutes they chewed up still have value, however, in that they allowed the usual starters to get rest, an important consideration as the games get tougher.With the quarterfinals now set to begin, the U.S. finds itself in a good, albeit imperfect, place. The U.S. knows it needs to be better, but given the alarm bells ringing at the beginning of the month following two warm-up defeats, the sight of a clean sweep in the group stage with an 11-goal margin in terms of goal differential is one the U.S. will take.What matters now is performing when the Gold Cup stakes are highest. The prize is three wins away.
RECAP | FIFTH CONSECUTIVE WIN PUTS INDY ELEVEN ATOP USL CHAMPIONSHIP’S EASTERN CONFERENCE
By IndyEleven.com, 06/26/19, 11:15PM EDT Dominant Performance Pushes Unbeaten Streak to Nine Games, Home Unbeaten Run to 16 Games
Each of the last three home wins for Indy Eleven have been nail-biters, but tonight the Boys in Blue flipped the script, spreading goals throughout a convincing 3-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The victory improved the club’s record-winning streak to five games and lifted Indy Eleven (10W-2L-3D, 33 pts.) into a tie for first place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference alongside the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The result also extended the Eleven’s undefeated streak to nine games (6W-0L-3D) and its home unbeaten streak at Lucas Oil Stadium dating back to last July to 16 games (10W-0L-6D).Goals early and late by Tyler Pasher and Thomas Enevoldsen, respectively, bookended a Legion FC own goal. Pasher’s game-winning goal was his fourth game-clincher in Indy’s last seven contests and his team-leading sixth tally of the season. Goalkeeper Jordan Farr made four saves en route to his second consecutive clean sheet. Tonight’s shutout for Indy Eleven was the tenth in its first 15 games this season, and the seventh in eight home contests in 2019.“I thought tonight’s performance was solid,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “We scored a really good first goal early. It was nice. We haven’t really done that at all at home. Then we scored a good goal on a set play, which is something we like to see because it’s something we work on a lot. I was pleased with Thomas [Enevoldsen] getting a goal at the end. It was obvious he really wanted one. He and Alioune [Diakhate] linked up well and he got his reward. It was a good performance and as we head towards the midway point in the season, we’re doing well.”The Boys Blue opened the scoring early when, in the seventh minute, Pasher played a textbook one-two with defender Lucas Farias from the left corner of the 18-yard box. After Pasher retrieved Farias’ return ball, the Canadian took one touch to the Birmingham six-yard box and slotted low and inside the far post. The game’s opening goal continued the hot streak for Pasher, who has scored all of his six goals in the Eleven’s last seven outings.“We’ve been playing well most of the season. The big thing is just taking our chances and being more clinical, which we were today,” Rennie said. “Everyone on the team are really getting to know each other and work really hard for each other. There is a good chemistry amongst the group and a good culture around the team.Midfielder Macauley King nearly doubled the lead 14 minutes later, with Pasher nearly creating the goal. After leaving a Birmingham defender behind him, the Canadian played a diagonal pass that found King at the top of the Birmingham box. King would unleash a driven effort that flew just inches over the bar, but surely worried Birmingham ‘keeper Matt VanOekel.Birmingham had an excellent chance to draw level at the half hour mark after a cross played to the back post found an unmarked Eddie Opoku. Much to Farr’s relief, the Birmingham forward failed to put the would be tap-in on frame, sending the shot into the right side-netting.Birmingham would live to regret the miss thirteen minutes later, as Indy Eleven would double the lead through an own goal via Legion FC defender Mathieu Laurent. Indy defender Ayoze was tasked with playing in a free kick from 35 yards out, and the Spaniard’s in-swinger would glance off the head of two Birmingham players before ricocheting off the chest of Laurent and into the back of the net, despite a touch from Van Oekel.The second half began on a less active note, as the first clear chance of the second 45 minutes manifested through a Birmingham cross into the Indy Eleven box in the 57th minute. The cross would find Legion FC’s leading goal scorer, forward Chandler Hoffman, but he was unable to redirect the effort on frame, sending his header wide right.Farr would be forced into another goal-saving stop at the hour mark – but not from the opposition. Birmingham’s Daniel Johnson played a lofted pass into the box from the right side of the 18-yard box attempting to find Hoffman. Indy defender Mitchell Osmond went to clear the effort acrobatically, but unintentionally redirected the effort towards goal and, luckily, right at an alert Farr. Ten minutes later, Farr would be tested again by the foot of Hoffman. After receiving a pass at the top of the Indy 18, Hoffman took a decisive touch towards the face of goal and drove in a low shot that Farr extended on the ground to gather as the score line remained 2-0.The game’s last clear cut chance wouldn’t surface until the 91st minute, when Enevoldsen would put some iffy decisions by the center referee in the late stages behind him by putting the nail in Legion FC’s coffin. Forward Alioune Diakhate – making his first start for the Boys in Blue on the evening – would place a shot on frame from inside the box that would be saved by Van Oekel, but the rebound would find the Danish forward creeping at the back post as he killed off the game.”We’ve had very close wins; 2-1 vs Loudoun and won by one the other night [against Atlanta United FC 2]. It’s been like that for a while now, so it’s good to get a comfortable win,” said Enevoldsen. “The early goal probably helped us a lot, it gave us the confidence to keep going and I think it was by far our best home performance this season. We were good on the ball, we created good chances and it’s good to say we [have won] five games in a row – that’s a very good streak.”Indy Eleven’s busy week concludes this Saturday, June 29, with the club’s first “Blue Out” at Lucas Oil Stadium, presented by Blue Indy, against two-time defending USL Championship title holder Louisville City FC. Fans are encouraged to support the “Boys in Blue” by donning blue for the latest edition of the Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest, which is slated for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Tickets remain available for as little as $15 and can be purchased at indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100.
Depth is a great thing to have. It really is. Depth gives peace of mind to the head coach, to the technical and training staff, and to the fans. For the past 198 minutes of USL Championship play, Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr has been the one providing peace of mind. Farr has started the last two matches against Loudoun United FC and Atlanta United 2 and played the remaining 18 minutes at Memphis 901 FC that saw starting goalkeeper Evan Newton subbed off.Since coming on in the 72nd minute against Memphis, Farr has racked up four saves, three clearances (courtesy of his courageousness as a ‘keeper), a clean sheet and allowed one goal (which in Farr’s defense, was about as good a goal as you can allow). The 24-year-old’s performance against Atlanta United 2 solidified Farr’s class, as he recorded three massive saves and his first USL Championship clean sheet.With Newton upgraded to questionable for last Saturday’s win, Farr’s impressive relief stint may be coming to an end as early as this week. No matter who goes between the posts Wednesday against Birmingham Legion FC and Saturday in the rivalry showdown with Louisville City FC, the Corban University grad (shoutout to Salem, Oregon) knows this – the Boys in Blue, from front to back, will be ready for the challenge.“We’re excited to get nine points quickly,” Farr said. “We’re not going for ties. We’re going for wins.”
USL Championship Regular Season – #INDvBHM
Indy Eleven 3 : 0 Birmingham Legion FC
Wednesday, June 22, 2019 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.
Indy Eleven (10W-2L-3D, 33 pts., T-1st in Eastern Conference) Birmingham Legion FC (3W-9L-4D, 13 pts., T-12th in Eastern Conference)
IND – Tyler Pasher (Lucas Farias) 7’
IND – Mathieu Laurent (own goal) 44’
IND – Thomas Enevoldsen (unassisted) 91’
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