CONCACAF Champions League Final Wed Night 10 pm FS1
An MLS Team goes for First Ever CONCACAF Champions League Title tonight at 10 pm at home with a record 67,000 crowd and a national Fox Sports 1 Audience on board. You could argue Seattle should be the first MLS team to break the decade long streak of disappointment vs Liga MX teams that has haunted MLS. Seattle is the MLS’ top franchise over the last 10 years so becoming the first MLS team to lift the CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Trophy would be fitting. Here’s Marshawn Lynch – Pitching tonights game! Seattle can make history as MLS spending rivals Liga MX
Champions League Semi-Final Spectacular Tues/Wed on CBS
OK if you are here in Indy – the dam game was not on CBS Local – it is being re-played on CBS Sports Network at 9:30 pm tonight. I was assured by the local station that Wed’s Real Madrid vs Man City will indeed be on CBS local tomorrow/Wed 3 pm! Check this out if you are desperate to see before then. Now on to the Game – I love Champions League – it rarely disappoints !! Here’s the Spanish Version highlights – Here’s English highlights – man Villarreal had me worried when they scored the 2nd goal to tie it all up at 2-2 on Aggregate. The little Yellow Submarine Villarreal –with a packed house of 23K sounding like 100K was on a role until Liverpool recovered in the 2nd half. Thank Goodness Villarreal’s GK struggled in the 2nd half Rulli mistake 1 Bad Goal 2
My goodness do we have a dosey this Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm on CBS as the Champions League Semi-finals finish up with Man City leading just 4-3 traveling to the Bernabéu to face Real Madrid and perhaps the world’s hottest striker Karim Benzema. The Game at City was an instant Classic as Man City got our front 2-0 then 4-1 before Real Madrid scored 2 to make it 4-3. Benzema’s hat trick was timely. (highlights). Tuesday at 3 pm on CBS we start with Liverpool back home vs Villareal – up 2-0 coming in- I look for Liverpool to cruise to a 2-1 or 1-1 game and advance to the finals. Here’s predictions and video predictions – for me I like Real Madrid with a hot Benzema to win this one 3-1 at home to advance to the finals vs Liverpool.
Of course now we have Women’s Champions League as well – here are highlights from Lyon who is led by American youngster Catarina Macario win over PSG. Here are her goals from last week’s first leg. Barcelona, on a 48 game unbeaten streak gave up more than normal and lost at Wolfsburg 2-0 but they advance with a 5-3 aggregate to the finals in Turin where they will face Lyon and Macario on May 21st.
Around the World
Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti completed the Cinco – as his Real Madrid won Spain’s La Liga on Saturday. The Italian became the first Manager to win titles in 5 leagues.
NWSL 10th Season Kicksoff
The NWSL kicked-off its 10th Anniversary Season this past weekend –I know the NWSL Challenge Cup has been going on for a month – but this is the regular season and the preview for the season is here. Great to see Angel City FC get off to a good start with a 2-1 win in Los Angeles with a packed house at Banc of California – my daughter is a season ticket holder.
Indy 11 Win Again 1-0, Indy 11 Women’s Team 1st Game Fr 7 pm @ Grand Park
Our Boys in Blue Win again (highlights) 1-0 over the Hartford Athletic and the weather – as they started 45 minutes late and had a 90 minute delay – but found a way to win it 1-0 in the end. That’s 4 wins in a row and 6 unbeaten as we jump to 4th in the East. The Indy 11 USL Women’s League kicks off this FRIDAY NIGHT 7 pm at Westfield Grand Park Events Center Field 2 vs Kings Hammer (Tix are just $8 click here) – and the vote for best Crest is on – make your vote for our Indy 11 by 12 noon on Wed. The inaugural roster of the first Indy 11 Women’s team – includes local standouts Cassidy Lindley from Carmel, Katie Soderstrom from Carmel High and Butler, Abby Isger of Indy and Butler, Selena Barnett MF from Carmel, Rachel Dewey MF from Indy, Heather McNabb MF from Carmel, IN, GK Nona Reason from Noblesville, and Jenna Chatterton DF from Noblesville. Plan to head out and catch a game this Friday night – as they will be on the road until June 3rd. Full schedule.
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BIG GAMES ON TV
(American’s in parenthesis)
Mon, May 2
3 pm USA Man United vs Brentford
Tue May 3 – Champs League
3 pm CBS Villareal vs Liverpool
9:30 pm CBSNSN Replay Villareal vs Liverpool
Wed May 4 – Champs League
3 pm CBS Man City vs Real Madrid
7:30 pm ESPN+ Cincy vs Toronto FC
8 pm CBSSN NWSL OL Reign (Seattle) vs Washington Spirit (Rodman)
10 pm Para+ Semi’s – KC Current vs North Carolina Courage
10 pm FS1 Seattle Sounders vs Pumas (2-2)
Thurs, May 5 – Europa League
3 pm CBSSN Galazo Show – Europa League Final 4
3 Para+ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Rangers
3 Para + West Ham United vs Frankfurt (Chandler)
3 pm Para+ Roma vs Leicester City
Fri May 6
7 pm Indy 11 W League first game at Grand Park
Sat May 7
9:30 am ESPN+ Kohn vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)
9:30 am ESPN+ Furth vs Dortmund
10 am USA Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Wolverhampton
12:30 pm NBC Brighton vs Man United
1 pm CBS NWSL Challenge Cup Final
2:45 pm USA Liverpool vs Tottenham
3 pm TUDN Charlotte vs Inter Miami
3 pm ESPN+ Real Bettis vs Barcelona (Dest)
7 pm Para+ NC Courage vs Portland Thorns NWSL
7 pm Para + Chicago Red Stars vs Washington Spirit
10 pm Para+ San Diego Wave vs NY/NJ Gothem
11 pm ESPN+ LAFC vs Philly Union
Sun, May 8
9 am USA Arsenal vs Leeds United (Jesse Marsch)
9:30 am ESPN+ Frankfurt vs MGladbach (Joe Scally)
11:30 am USA Man City vs New Castle United
1:30 pm ESPN+ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Ausburg
3 pm ESPN+ Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid – Madrid Derby
6 pm Para+ OL Reign vs Racing Louisville
7 pm FS1 Austin vs LA Galaxy
9 pm Para+ Angel City vs Orlando Pride
Tue May 10 US Open Cup
3 pm USA Aston Villa vs Liverpool
7 pm ESPN+ Orlando City vs Philly
7:30 pm ESPN+ Detroit City vs Louisville City
8 pm ESPN+ Inter Miami vs Tormenta
10:30 pm ESPN+ LAFC vs Portland
Wed May 11 US Open Cup
3 pm USA Leeds United (Marsch) v Chelsea (Puliisic)
3 pm Para+ Juventus vs Inter Italian Cup
7 pm ESPN+ New England vs Cincy
8 pm EPSN+ Atlanta vs Nashville
8:30 pm ESPN+ Houston Dynamo vs San Antonio (Jordan Farr)
10 pm ESPN+ Seattle v San Jose
10:30 pm ESPN+ Sacramento vs Phoenix Rising
10:30 pm ESPN+ California Strikers vs LA Galaxy
Thur May 12
3 pm USA Tottenham vs Arsenal
Sat May 14
11:45 am ESPN+ Chelsea vs Liverpool FA CUP FINAL
Liverpool survive scare to beat Villarreal en route to Champions League final
Villarreal vs Liverpool final score: Reds reach 10th European Cup final
‘We never make it easy,’ says relieved Alexander-Arnold
USMNT to host Uruguay in World Cup prep ESPN Jeff Carlisle
Ancelotti becomes first coach to win all of Europe’s top five leagues Chris Wright
Mission accomplished for Ancelotti as Real Madrid reunion pays off
Real Madrid’s La Liga title rivals prove incapable of keeping pace
Ancelotti in class of his own as Real Madrid win 35th Liga title
Why Real Madrid’s 35th LaLiga title might be their grittiest win yet
Womens Soccer Boom Hits Angel City in First Game a Win
Hope Solo will enter alcohol treatment program; requests delay in National Soccer Hall of Fame induction
Lyon and holders Barcelona set up Women’s Champions League final clash
Lyon see off PSG to join Barcelona in Women’s Champions League final
Holders Barcelona into women’s Champions League final
Seattle can make CONCACAF Champions League history as MLS spending begins to rival Liga MX
May 3, 2022Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
For Garth Lagerwey, the flashbacks are unavoidable.Eleven years ago, the Seattle Sounders GM and president of soccer had a similar role with Real Salt Lake, and in 2011 the squad he put together was on the cusp of history. The final of that year’s CONCACAF Champions League pitted RSL against Monterrey, and an 89th-minute goal from Javier Morales secured a 2-2 away draw and put Salt Lake in the driver’s seat. Alas, it wasn’t to be. RSL squandered some glorious chances in the return leg, while then-Chile international Humberto Suazo netted the game-winner in first-half stoppage time, pouncing on a loose ball in the box.On Wednesday, Seattle will find itself in an almost identical scenario to Real Salt Lake when it squares off against Pumas in the second leg of this year’s CCL final. A stoppage-time penalty from Nicolas Lodeiro helped the Sounders secure a 2-2 draw in the first leg. Now it is the Sounders who are in a position to make history, and become the first MLS team to win the CCL since 2002, when the format changed to involve home and away fixtures in the knockout rounds.”It’s a little sense of deja vu,” Lagerwey told ESPN. “Obviously we want a happy ending to this movie.”He added, “It’s our chance at immortality, doing something that no one’s ever done before that will be remembered forever.”There have been close calls since RSL’s near miss. CF Montreal reached the final in 2015. Toronto FC was a penalty-kick shootout away from triumphing in 2018. LAFC came close in 2020, although the pandemic meant those games were played on U.S. soil.But as much as CCL futility has remained, much has changed in MLS throughout the years, namely the roster composition and spending by the league’s teams. According to data provided by the MLS Players Association, in 2011, RSL’s total guaranteed compensation for that season was $3.32 million. While it’s easy to write that off as being a symptom of a team that skewed towards the frugal side, Seattle that season wasn’t much better, at $3.4m. In 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, Seattle’s total guaranteed compensation is $13.59m, more than four times RSL’s 2011 amount. That is by no means the highest mark either, with teams like Toronto exceeding $20m some seasons. All of this has allowed MLS sides to creep closer to their Liga MX counterparts.ESPN television analyst Herculez Gomez made a habit of tormenting MLS sides in the CCL when playing for Santos Laguna and Tijuana in the early- to mid-2010s. He notes that the depth in MLS teams is much different than when he played.”There was, in that moment, a huge difference between players,” he said. “Players one through eight, you’re like, ‘Hey, these guys are very competent. They’re very good.’ Nine through 16, back then, you’re like, ‘They’ve never played in a big game. They’ve never won anything in their life. They don’t make money.’ You can tell there’s a stark contrast. And it was a deer in the headlights look from a lot of these players. And you knew it was over.”Now, I think that’s changed. You can dig into the bench and it’s a 12th, 13th, 14th guy, and you’re like, ‘These are very good players.'”The era of targeted allocation money (TAM) has had a significant impact on what teams can spend, and on what part of the roster. But for Seattle, the influx of graduates of the team’s academy has helped improve the quality of depth as well. That includes on-field contributions from homegrowns like Jackson Ragen and Obed Vargas, who have each played in multiple CCL games. Their impact also changes the calculus of the salary cap.”If you have a consistent pipeline of players, you can build a more economically efficient team under the salary cap,” Lagerwey said.He points out that Seattle has 12 players on the roster age 23 or under, half of those are age 20 or under, and these are individuals who can legitimately contribute. That has a ripple effect throughout the roster, with Lagerwey estimating that academy graduates are “saving” the team about $1 million in cap space.”It allows you to take your budget and spend more money on the top players. A lot of that rise in salary is those top players are making more money now,” he said about the academy’s impact. “And that was always the disparity, right? It was Mexican clubs could pay more to their starting lineups. And now we’re really able to go toe to toe on depth as well, because those kids when they come through, they’ve all played multiple years in your system.”These investments have been made for years now. It’s just a matter of when — or if — that steady drip will accumulate to the extent that it will finally make its way over the dam in the form of a CCL title. And the reality is that until it does, there will always be questions. Even now, Liga MX sides still have rung up a sizable advantage. Since the CCL began using a home-and-away format in 2002, Mexican clubs have prevailed over their MLS counterparts 42 times in 53 attempts.Since the advent of TAM, the record for MLS sides is better — nine wins in 31 tries — but still sizably in Liga MX’s favor. This time, however, there is a sense that Wednesday’s matchup favors Seattle. Pumas doesn’t have the funding that it once had, with the likes of Club America and Tigres still well on top in that category. It instead has had to rely on its academy and picking out the occasional diamond on the transfer market.
All of which makes Wednesday’s second leg an opportunity that goes beyond just making history. There is the impact a capacity crowd — as of this writing there are less than 1,000 tickets left — could have on Seattle’s bit to host games at the 2026 World Cup. The effect on the Sounders organization would be immense as well.”I think it’s an absolute game-changer,” Lagerwey said. “If we’re able to win this thing, and we’re able to then go play meaningful games against European champions [in the World Club Cup] and things like that … I think when you think about player recruitment, and how you build the team and the staff going forward, it’s pretty hard to conclude anything other than being on that global stage will help the Sounders and will help the community of Seattle.”Lagerwey described preparing for a Club World Cup as a “champagne problem,” but first things first. The Sounders are hoping there will be some conspicuous consumption come Wednesday.
Champions League bold predictions: Manchester City tame chaotic Real Madrid; Liverpool cruise to final
Liverpool will finish the job while Man City look to keep Real’s Karim Benzema from exploiting any lack of control
By James Benge
9 hrs ago•9 min readThe finish line is in sight. In the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League (catch all the action on CBS and Paramount+) a place in a major final is just 90 minutes away. Let’s look ahead to Villarreal vs. Liverpool and Real Madrid vs. Manchester City before diving into the Europa League.
Villarreal vs. Liverpool: Emery’s first leg approach is vindicated
Villarreal’s first leg tactics were the subject of some degree of consternation in the British media after last week’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield. To which Unai Emery might reasonably ask, “what more did you want from me?” By no stretch of the imagination did they execute their conservative brand of knockout football to perfection, but it is at least true that they made Liverpool work for their win. As Jurgen Klopp said after the game, “It was the challenge — I think how it is for all human beings — you try and you fail, you try and you fail and you try and you fail and at one point you think, ‘Come on, it’s not my day anymore!'”
Even if Villarreal had brought it on themselves with their caution, they also had to contend with a fair slice of bad luck. Just at the moment when Liverpool looked to be growing frustrated, a crossed ball reared up off Pervis Estupinan’s outstretched left leg, looping over keeper Geronimo Rulli and into the net. A mistake, a freak deflection or the moment of searing quality that brought Sadio Mane his side’s second goal soon after might well have come anyway, that is the nature of flooding your own box with defenders, but at some stage when you are so outmatched you have to pick your poison.
After all, Villarreal are a team that pay their squad only slightly more than Liverpool gave Porto for Luis Diaz in January. Their wage bill sits firmly in La Liga’s mid table while their opponents are one of the biggest spenders in a vastly richer competition. The disparity Anfield saw on the pitch is only representative of that off it. Indeed, one might argue that in dragging Klopp’s side into such a fiddly match for an hour Villarreal achieved more than should be reasonably expected from a team of their means. Though going into their quarterfinal match against Bayern Munich you might have argued the same, and in that instance Emery’s side pulled out a deserved result.
Still, Emery wanted more, and he knows his side will have to adjust their approach for the second leg. That may be their undoing even if home supporters at El Madrigal match the fervor with which visiting fans backed their team at Anfield. This is a team that looked ill at ease chasing the lead at Alaves this weekend. Villarreal will have to attack, leaving the sort of spaces in behind on the flanks that Liverpool already spotted were a weak point. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rapid switches of play and balls down the line were a key feature of the Reds’ first leg success, how much more successful might they be if he is not having to thread the needle between a full back and the nominal winger who is stationed a few feet ahead of him. The same would be true of Thiago; if play is anymore broken in the second leg he will be able to play more passes that push the tempo. Pushing forward at Alaves, Villarreal had five losses of possession that led to opponent shots, only slightly fewer than in the Liverpool match where they did not even have 30 percent of the ball.
Villarreal are not a team that deals well with the pressure of being behind, indeed in the 20 La Liga and Champions League matches in which they have been losing this season their record reads one win, six draws and 13 defeats. In those games their expected goal (xG) difference is scarcely over one after going behind. In the smaller sample size of European matches it is 0.02 and they had not come up against a team like Liverpool before last week. Tuesday’s game may ultimately prove that all they could have realistically hoped for in the first leg was to keep the score down.
Real Madrid vs. Manchester City: Full backs quell the chaos
Featured Game|Real Madrid vs. Manchester City
It was curious that in the aftermath of Manchester City’s 4-3 first leg win Ruben Dias was promising what amounted to a mad team for a mad stadium and a mad occasion. If sanity were to have prevailed in a Champions League knockout tie involving Real Madrid this season they would have been out of the competition. Every one of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and even a victorious City have been baffled at how the score looks quite how it does when the final whistle blows.
Across the knockout stages of this competition Madrid have allowed the most xG, have the third worst xG difference, and the sixth worst xG difference per game. They also have Karim Benzema. He is this team writ large. Even when they are struggling, the world’s best player produces a moment of magic to turn the game. They relish games that get stretched and play like the apex version of Europe’s most successful team when there is chaos in the air. Last Tuesday the visitors had no answer for City’s sustained possession play but put Fernandinho in front of Vinicius Junior and they could find a devastating moment.
Pep Guardiola will be racking his brains in the pursuit of control. It is in such moments that he can be guilty of overcomplicating matters but on this occasion there does seem to be a simple solution ahead of him. Though Kyle Walker may be out for the season, his full back corps should be greatly strengthened by the return of Joao Cancelo from suspension in the first leg. There are few players quite as capable of keeping the City machine ticking along. Only Rodri and Aymeric Laporte receive more passes per 90 minutes than the Portuguese full back, those two and John Stones are also the only players to carry the ball further than Cancelo.
With the 27 year old in the team, presumably at right back with Oleksandr Zinchenko (though it’s impossible to rule out a Guardiola lineup curveball like, say, Nathan Ake at left fullback) on the other flank after an impressive first leg display, City will be in a position to really assert themselves on the Santiago Bernabeu, to control possession for lengthy spells before applying the finishing touch. Madrid might just allow them to do that. According to Wyscout, Carlo Ancelotti’s team allow opponents to make an average of 14.2 passes per defensive action, one of the highest tallies in the competition and far more than City. Cancelo drifting in midfield will also give his side the midfield superiority to overcome a Madrid side that may not be as shaky at shielding the back four now with a healthy Casemiro back in the anchoring role rather than Toni Kroos. On the opposite flank Zinchenko can do much the same. Though that does run the risk of giving Vinicius space to attack on rapid counters, City have proven throughout recent years that they have the defensive qualities to counteract that, particularly if Ruben Dias is on the pitch.
If City are going to win this tie they won’t do so by embracing the chaos, but by playing the game on their terms, something which they clearly have the quality to do. Cancelo will only make it easier for them to express that.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. West Ham: Set pieces undo Moyes’ side
Onto the Europa League, where last week’s suggestion that English clubs are about to sweep the board in every competition is looking more than a bit dicey. West Ham had the chances to swing the first leg of their semifinal against Eintracht Frankfurt but travel to Germany 2-1 down with work to do. It was notable in the aftermath of that game that David Moyes bemoaned “the worst [set pieces] for two years”, a refrain he would return to when Rob Holding and Gabriel scored off dead balls to earn Arsenal a 2-1 win at the London Stadium on Sunday.
It is no great surprise Moyes puts such a premium on set pieces. West Ham are devastating at them. Nine of their Premier League assists have come from dead balls, the most in the top flight along with Manchester City. They have four in the Europa League. No other team has scored more than two. It could be where they win the tie.
It might also be where they lose it. Eintracht Frankfurt are one of Germany’s better set piece teams with seven goals scored and it is notable that West Ham are not quite the same defensive force off dead balls that they are in offensive terms. Moyes’ side have now conceded 10 such goals in the Premier League this season, firmly in the middle of the pack, with four of them coming since the start of April. Not so coincidentally this has coincided with the period where the Hammers have been forced to chop and change their back line on the fly thanks to a myriad of injuries. Sunday’s brace were put down to West Ham sacrificing some height in their team selection but Arsenal’s second was a somewhat familiar goal for this team to concede. Martinelli races to claim the second ball from an Arsenal corner that West Ham have cleared. It is not so much the initial delivery into the box that they have had an issue with but winning the second ball. Bukayo Saka’s ball in is flicked away but there is no one in a West Ham shirt on hand to claim possession as the ball bounces inside the box. Gabriel Martinelli has time to take a touch, get the ball out from under his feet and clip a delivery to the back post for Gabriel to head in.
The same happened when Mason Holgate scored for Everton last month. On this occasion, West Ham have players in position to win the ball when Lukasz Fabianski punches it up in the air, but Said Benrahma does nothing but watch the ball bounce (as was the case in Arsenal’s goal) while Pablo Fornals has precious little chance of winning a 50:50 against Michael Keane. Holgate eventually hits the ball on the volley under very little pressure, the ball skewing through bodies and into the net.West Ham fail to clear the ball under pressure from Everton, who will ultimately score in the chaos Wyscout/Sky Sports
Perhaps the explanation for West Ham’s recent run of set piece struggles defensively is nothing more than Benrahma’s diffident effort in getting rid of the ball, though it should have been apparent for long enough now that he is not reliable enough off the ball to be trusted with such a role. It should also be noted that without Benrahma in the side all three of the corners Filip Kostic took for Frankfurt were only cleared as far as a different player in white.
It might just be that in the Waldstadion Craig Dawson repeats his recent heroics from dead balls, that Tomas Soucek rises highest once more or Michail Antonio imposes himself on the Frankfurt center backs. But if West Ham cannot improve their work in winning second balls of defensive set pieces they may find this particular passage of play to be a cause for adversity as much as opportunity.
USMNT to play World Cup-bound Uruguay in friendly in Kansas City
Apr 27, 2022 Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
The United States men’s national team will play fellow World Cup participant Uruguay in a friendly on June 5 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.The exhibition at the home venue of Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City is the second of a four-game stretch that includes two friendlies and two matches in the CONCACAF Nations League. The U.S. will play Morocco in a friendly on June 1 in Cincinnati followed by the Uruguay match.The U.S. will then open defense of its CNL crown when it faces Grenada in Austin, Texas on June 10, followed by an away game against El Salvador four days later.”We’re looking forward to facing another high-level opponent that is also preparing for the World Cup. Uruguay has some world-class talent and is one of the top teams in South America,” U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter said. “These are th kinds of opportunities we need to continue to grow as a group and set ourselves up to be successful in Qatar. Once again we’ll have the benefit of outstanding facilities in Kansas City and a venue that has shown tremendous support for the National Team.”The U.S. has faced La Celeste sevn times previously, with a record of 2-2-3. The most recent match took place in 2019, with Jordan Morris‘ goal canceling out a tally by Brian Rodriguez in a 1-1 draw.Back in the World Cup for the first time since 2014, the U.S. opens Group B against Scotland, Wales or Ukraine on Nov. 21. The Americans face No. 5 England four days later and meet 21st-ranked Iran on Nov. 29.Uruguay finished third in World Cup qualifying out of CONMEBOL, and were drawn into Group H with Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.
Women’s soccer boom hits Angel City opener: ‘Best environment I’ve ever coached in’
Andy Deossa Sun, May 1, 2022, 3:11 PM
LOS ANGELES — April 29 seems to be a good day in Banc of California Stadium lore.On that date in 2018, Major League Soccer expansion side LAFC played their first home game there and defeated the Seattle Sounders. Four years later, the Banc was ready for yet another inaugural home match. This time it was new National Women’s Soccer League team Angel City FC flying high in a 2-1 victory over North Carolina Courage.What made Friday night so special? It started at LAFC home matches over the years, where the raucous North End supporters’ section included a banner with a forthright message: “Bring NWSL to LA.”
The proposition ignited a movement, and has now turned into a reality. That same section where the banner used to apear is home to members of the six official Angel City supporter groups, and they were rocking the drums, chanting and orchestrating the atmosphere for the sold-out crowd on Friday.22,000 people, on a Friday night in Los Angeles, to support a women’s soccer team.“It was unbelievable. Everything that we’d hoped that the club would deliver, they delivered in abundance and with more,” said head coach Freya Coombe. “The crowd was unreal tonight — their energy, enthusiasm, and support for the players and for the coaching staff was felt throughout the night.“It’s the best environment that I’ve ever coached in.”If Angel City can keep up the enthusiasm, it might become the best-attended NWSL club on a consistent basis. The Portland Thorns held that honor in 2021, with over 14,000 fans on average.Women’s soccer is rising fast in popularity around the globe, too, with Barcelona setting the world attendance record for an official match twice in the past month.A glance around the stadium Friday and you’d see World Cup legends like Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach (both part of Angel City’s celebrity-packed ownership group), current professional soccer players, actresses, celebrities and much more. It was as Los Angeles as it gets.
And Los Angeles didn’t wait long to celebrate. Three minutes into the contest, Vanessa Gilles scored the first official goal in franchise history:
Endo, who assisted the opener with a filthy move and cross, found the back of the net 10 minutes later and doubled the score. North Carolina eventually got on the board in the second half and was knocking on the door for the equalizer, but Angel City held on. They weren’t going to let the perfect night have a lousy ending.“ My teammates were screaming and crying tears of joy and it meant the world to me,” said ACFC midfielder Dani Weatherholt. “This organization is just more than a sport and I think that’s the moment when it felt so much bigger than the game. Angel City has incorporated a 10% sponsorship model, where the club reallocates a portion of all sponsorships directly back into the community. The club has also established grassroots outreach to get women involved on all levels.“Everything we do at Angel City, the hope is we’re pushing things in a way that other people can see, replicate, build on and make it better,” said Head of Community Catherine Davila. “I think it’s something that’s going to help build the culture across the NWSL.”As she walked into the stadium Friday, Davila couldn’t help but get emotional seeing years of work come to fruition. The same emotions were prevalent postgame. Captain Ali Riley, a Los Angeles native, was in tears on the field after the match. She’s kicked a ball in many places — Sweden, England, Russia — but being able to finally do so in her hometown meant more.“I have waited for a moment like this for 12 years. I hoped to get drafted to the (now-defunct) L.A. Sol, the team folded before I had the chance,” she said. “I have been all over the world, and to be here with my parents watching this game, for us to win, to feel the love and support, I think we proved that anything is possible in women’s sports.“I went to the ‘99 [Women’s] World Cup final and that was what put this idea in my head,” Riley added. “I had no idea how it would happen but it planted the seed that maybe one day I could play soccer on a stage like that. So now for us to be here and for those little girls to see that, just that kind of visibility and how we are in the field with all different skin colors, experiences, backgrounds — such a diverse and inclusive group, that’s really important.”The team’s makeup reflected the crowd, a wide range of families, young kids and older adults filling the seats.“The point is that women’s soccer belongs,” Riley said, “and it belongs in this city.”Like the banner said, the NWSL has been brought to L.A. What L.A. can bring to the NWSL is just as big.
After six weeks of preseason and 36 Challenge Cup matches, the NWSL’s 2022 regular season has arrived -Preview
In chaotic NWSL fashion, the season kicks off Friday night between Angel City FC and the North Carolina Courage while the Challenge Cup knockout stage is still ongoing. The game, aired on CBS Sports, is followed by an opening weekend in which every team will compete.
A longer Challenge Cup, two expansion teams and a new commissioner have certainly given the NWSL a new look this year. Jessica Berman will be in just her ninth day on the job as commissioner when the league opens play Friday. Almost every team has undergone change on the field, too, after an expansion draft and numerous offseason trades.
Let’s take a look at the league structure, storylines and rivalries to follow as the NWSL’s 10th season gets underway.
The NWSL’s 12 teams will each compete in 22 matches during the regular season — 11 home and 11 away. Starting this year, the league has scheduled fewer games during the FIFA windows so that national team players can avoid scheduling conflicts between club and country. That change, however, did not account for a few major contests, such as the Women’s Euros this summer.
The regular season concludes Oct. 2, followed by a six-team playoff with the top two seeds receiving first-round byes. My top-six predictions for the 2022 playoffs closely reflect my preseason power rankings: OL Reign, North Carolina Courage, Kansas City Current, NJ/NY Gotham FC, defending Challenge Cup champions Portland Thorns and 2021 NWSL champions Washington Spirit.
The championship takes place on Oct. 29, with the playoff bonus pool once again financed by Ally’s Player Impact Fund.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE CHALLENGE CUP
The Spring of quick goals and yellow cards
The record for the three fastest goals in NWSL history was set twice over three days. The Reign netted each of theirs by the 11th minute in a 3-1 win over San Diego Wave FC on April 14, only to be bested by the Courage scoring three by the ninth minute on April 16 against the Orlando Pride. Four of the other five matches that week featured goals scored in six minutes or fewer.
When not scoring, players have also been setting records without the ball. Across five and a half weeks, NWSL referees have already handed out over a hundred yellow cards. To put that in perspective, there were 43 doled out in the 2021 Challenge Cup and 34 in 2020.
Kansas City ready for a breakout season
In just their second year since relocating from Utah and rebranding as the Current, Kansas City is in the Challenge Cup semifinals. They have the fourth-most amount of goals in the tournament, led by Kristen Hamilton’s four goals and Elyse Bennett’s four assists. And with four wins through six matches, they already have more victories than they had all of last year.
North Carolina back in the game
The Courage dropped down the standings into sixth place last season after their head coach, Paul Riley, was fired following bombshell allegations of sexual coercion and emotional abuse. Led this year by former assistant coach Sean Nahas, and feature new talent such as Brianna Pinto and Kerolin Nicoli, North Carolina has gone undefeated in the Challenge Cup. The Courage could be on their way to rediscovering the dominance they became known for during their run to three consecutive NWSL Shields from 2017-19.
OL, once again, on the brink of reigning
A consistently solid team that has never won a trophy, OL Reign has lost in the NWSL semifinals the past three seasons. In 2014 and 2015, they advanced to the championship game, losing by one goal in each contest. This year, their sneaky assists across the box in the attack and standout goaltending from Phallon Tullis-Joyce give them a strong case for championship contention. Finishing ahead of rival Portland in the standings for the just the second time since 2015, they’re off to a promising start. TOP RIVALRIES
Angel City FC vs. San Diego Wave FC
When two expansion teams based in southern California debut the same year, of course there’s going to be a rivalry. The Wave had the slight edge over Angel City coming out of the Challenge Cup, going 1-3-2 compared to Angel City’s 1-4-1. Head to head, they tied in their first matchup, and San Diego won 4-2 in the second.
OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns
The original West Coast rivalry has been highly anticipated this year after strong showings from both sides in 2021. Though Portland won the NWSL Shield, the Reign got the better of the Thorns in two of their three matchups, the last one being a draw. The Reign were also the stronger side in the 2022 Challenge Cup, defeating Portland 1-0 after a 1-1 draw in their opener.
Kansas City Current vs. Racing Louisville FC
The two new clubs last season, Kansas City and Louisville are coming out stronger this year. The Current look like the stronger team coming out of the Challenge Cup, but when they play each other, it’s anyone’s game. They drew 1-1 in their first matchup of the Challenge Cup before Louisville rolled over Kansas City 3-0 in the Current’s only loss of the tournament.
North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit
If the East Division proved anything in the 2022 Challenge Cup, it’s that a Courage-Spirit matchup is as entertaining as they come. Each of their meetings resulted in 2-2 draws, a contrast from the three wins and a draw that Washington grabbed from North Carolina last season. The Courage, though, are a different team this year, and neither club has lost an NWSL match yet in 2022.
HOW TO WATCH
CBS will air two regular season matches and the championship game. Those games are also viewable on Paramount+. CBS Sports will broadcast 11 regular season games, one quarterfinal and both semifinals. The other 96 regular season matches can be streamed exclusively on Paramount+, and all games can be accessed internationally on Twitch.
CBS (all times ET)
June 19 – NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. San Diego Wave FC at 4 p.m.
Sept. 10 – Washington Spirit vs. San Diego Wave FC at 1 p.m.
Oct. 29 – NWSL Championship
CBS Sports (all times ET)
April 29 – Angel City vs. North Carolina Courage at 10:30 p.m.
May 13 – Portland Thorns FC vs. OL Reign at 10:30 p.m.
May 27 – Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit at 7 p.m.
June 8 – San Diego Wave FC vs. Portland Thorns FC at 10 p.m.
July 2 – Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville FC at 7 p.m.
Aug. 5 – Portland Thorns FC vs. North Carolina Courage at 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 14 – Angel City FC vs. Chicago Red Stars at 8 p.m.
Aug. 17 – Houston Dash vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC at 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 19 – Kansas City Current vs. Angel City FC at 8 p.m.
Sept. 11 – NJ/NY Gotham FC vs. Kansas City Current at 6 p.m.
Sept. 21 – Angel City FC vs. Washington Spirit at 10:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 – Quarterfinal
Oct. 23 — Semifinal 1 and 2
Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.
Nashville SC opens new stadium with tie vs. Union
The 30,000-seat venue is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States or Canada.Joe Willis made four saves to help Nashville SC (3-3-3, 12 points) extend their home unbeaten streak to 20 matches dating back to a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Nov. 4, 2020.
Mikael Uhre scored in the 66th minute and Andre Blake turned aside five shots for the Union (5-1-3, 18 points), who surrendered 13 corner kicks en route to seeing their winless stretch extend to three matches (0-1-2).
Nashville SC pressed for the equalizer in the late stages before Philadelphia’s Jose Martinez was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. Blake, who was shown a yellow card for refusing to stay on the line, guessed right on the penalty kick but was unable to deny Leal’s blast inside the left post.
The goal was Leal’s first of the season. An apparent miscommunication by Nashville SC’s Sean Davis and Hany Mukhtar led to an opportunity on the counterattack for Philadelphia in the 66th minute. Uhre chased down a through ball from Daniel Gazdag and sidestepped Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman before cutting back and sending a shot in the net. Nashville appeared to feed off the emotion of the crowd and nearly opened the scoring on a number of occasions. Dax McCarty‘s blast from outside the box caromed off the left post in the fifth minute. From there, Blake stood tall to keep the match scoreless. The two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year extended his leg to make a save on Alex Muyl from in close in the 23rd minute before making a two-handed stop on Mukhtar in the 30th.
Indy 11 Win again !!
Eleven Defeat Athletic & Mother Nature for Fourth Straight Win
Indy Eleven braved the elements tonight, defeating Hartford Athletic by a score of 1-0 despite multiple rain delays at IUPUI Carroll Stadium. The game kicked off nearly 45 minutes late due to a severe weather alert, and halftime lasted almost 90 minutes due to a second stoppage, but night’s irregularities didn’t seem to be an issue for the Boys in Blue. Captain Ayoze’s goal in the 40th minute proved to be the deciding one thanks to Indy’s first clean sheet of the 2022 season, the result pushing the Eleven’s win streak to four games and its undefeated run to six.
The win keeps Indiana’s Team moving up the Eastern Conference, as the squad’s 14 points from a 4W-2L-2D record has them within three points of second-place Detroit City FC (17 pts) and third-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (16 pts). The squad’s six-game unbeaten stand marks the longest such streak for the Boys in Blue since a seven-game run between the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Indy Eleven had to manage a change even before kickoff, as defender Bryam Rebellon sustained an injury during warm-ups, elevating Alex McQueen into the starting lineup. Despite this, Indiana’s Team got things going early, as Raul Aguilera’s corner in the 8th found the head of Manuel Arteaga, who nearly knocked in an early goal in his first start of the season. However, Hartford remained competitive themselves, nearly connecting on a header of their own in the 20th minute of play through Ariel Martinez.
While conditions weren’t conducive for much offense, there was no shortage of physicality in the first half. Pushes, tackles, aerial duels and matching yellows wrote the story on both sides for the first half, with neither team able to create many quality chances. That narrative would change in the 40th minute, as Stefano Pinho’s flick found a streaking Ayoze, whose low shot snuck inside the far left post to open his 2022 account and give the Boys in Blue a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Unfortunately for fans in attendance, the start of the second half was just as tumultuous as the first. Lightning, rain, and hail fell over Indianapolis, and a subsequent severe weather alert was implemented. The second half finally began at 10:00 pm sharp, and when the whistle blew Indy Eleven began with a bang as Pinho found himself alone galloping towards the attacking zone, but his shot was belted into the face of Hartford goaltender Jimmy Slayton.
Ayoze got another chance in the 57th minute, as he danced through four Hartford defenders and booted a shot from 12 yards into the chest of Slayton. Hartford responded swiftly with a few chances of their own, including a close shot off a corner from fresh substitute Rashawn Dally in the 62nd minute that flew over the crossbar. Dally got another chance in the 70th, but his deflected shot was stopped by a recovering Elliot Panicco at his near post.
The Boys in Blue were unlucky to not double the lead in the 74th minute, as an incredible rebound chance by substitute Nicky Law couldn’t be steered on goal after his initial effort went off the heads of two Hartford defenders inside the six-yard box. Another shot wouldn’t take place until the 84th minute when Hartford defender Joel Johnson’s redirect off a corner was saved up close by Panicco. Hartford again earned a chance late off of Modou Jadama’s free kick in the 89th minute, but his shot too sailed over the head of Panicco. Four minutes of added time elapsed without note, and Indy Eleven finally managed to hold off both Hartford and mother nature.
Indy Eleven will enjoy a rare bye week next weekend and return to action on Saturday, May 14, when Indiana’s Team travels south to take on Memphis 901 FC (8:00 p.m. ET kick, live on ESPN+). The Boys in Blue return home on Saturday, May 21, when New York Red Bulls II invades Carroll Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for that 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff – and all Indy Eleven regular season contests – are available starting at just $15 and can be purchased online at indyeleven.com/tickets.
Details on that evening’s Gone to the Dogs Night and other future promotions at Carroll Stadium can be found at indyeleven.com/promotions. Fans who cannot make it to The Mike can follow the action on MyINDY-TV 23, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/exitos943.com, and the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.
2022 USL Championship Regular Season – Matchday 8
Indy Eleven 1 : 0 Hartford Athletic
Saturday, April 30, 2022
IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
IND – Ayoze (Stefano Pinho) 40’
IND – Raul Aguilera (yellow card) 21’
HFD – Joel Johnson (yellow card) 38’
HFD – Younes Boudadi (yellow card) 50’
IND – A.J. Cochran (yellow card) 74’
IND – Jonas Fjeldberg (yellow card) 90+1’
Indy Eleven lineup (4-4-2): Elliot Panicco; Neveal Hackshaw, A.J. Cochran, Jared Timmer, Alex McQueen; Ayoze (Jonas Fjeldberg 63’), Justin Ingram, Raul Aguilera (Aris Briggs 87’), Noah Powder (Nicky Law 63’); Manuel Arteaga, Stefano Pinho
IND substitutes: Tim Trilk (GK), Bryce Warhaft, Rodney Michael
Hartford Athletic lineup (4-4-2): Jimmy Slayton; Tom Brewitt, Younes Boudadi, Modou Jadama, Joel Johnson; Ashton Appollon, Conor McGlynn, Andre Lewis, Ariel Martinez (Peter-Lee Vassell 32’, Rashawn Dally 61’); Corey Hertzog (Mitchell Curry 81’), Danny Barrera
HFD Substitutes: Austin Pack (GK), Walid Yacoubou, Jeciel Cedeno, Luka Prpa
Hello, AO Fam. If you’re looking into traveling to Qatar to cheer on the USMNT in the World Cup, you’ll want to read the following info carefully.
Neither AO nor other unofficial supporters’ groups of U.S. Soccer will have a dedicated ticket allotment for the 2022 World Cup. The U.S. Soccer Federation will allot tickets to fans in a weighted random draw similar to many of our home World Cup qualifiers.
You’ll find further information on this in the infographic below as well as U.S. Soccer’s World Cup 2022 Ticketing FAQs page (we strongly suggest you read that carefully, too).
In short: To apply for tickets within U.S. Soccer’s allotment, you must sign up for the U.S. Soccer Insiders program (standard insider membership is free) by Wednesday, April 27.
The portal for Insiders will open tomorrow (Friday, April 8) and close Thursday, April 28. Upon logging in, you’ll be prompted to enter an access code. You’ll be instructed on how to proceed from there.
Applicants will be notified around the end of May whether they will receive tickets through the draw. Winners will then be contacted by FIFA with instructions for completing payment.