Indy 11 Ladies play at 2 pm @ the Mike then Men Play at the Mike Saturday 7 pm –
The Indy Eleven are back home again to Detroit City FC at Carroll Stadium. To amp the burgeoning Indy-Detroit rivalry up a notch, the two clubs will start a busy day at Carroll Stadium with the regular season finale for their respective USL W League sides, with kickoff set for 2:00 p.m. The matinee will serve as a postseason tune up for Indy Eleven, which clinched the Great Lakes Division crown via their 3-0 win at Detroit just last Friday night at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Mich. The Girls in Blue gained the division’s automatic spot in the W League’s 8-team postseason with the result; they’ll find out the opponent and location for next Wednesday’s Quarterfinal Round contest as more results shake out over the weekend. The Eleven enter the affair still undefeated with a dominant 9W-0L-2D record (29 pts.), while Detroit carries a 3W-5L-3D mark into the weekend and will look to maintain its 5th place position in the division. Tix are just $15 @ indyeleven.com/tickets.
USA Ladies Start CONCACAF Finish Qualifying Mon vs Mexico 10 pm on Para +
The US ladies cruised to a 5-0 win on Thur eve as winger Sophia Smith was fire with 2 early goals. (Here’s all the goals in Spanish ) Coach A has continued the massive rotation for 2 straight games and I expect more of the same on Mon with Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe (fresh off her Congressional Medal Presentation) probably rotating into the starting line-up I would guess with Purse or maybe Rodman (who bagged her own goal Thurs eve) on the wing. I have my guess on the roster for Monday below as the US rests and prepares for the Next round starting next Thursday. Really cool Alex Morgan moments
Tues then Thurs after the game.
Shane’s Starting Line-Up Monday July 12 vs Mexico (Depth Chart)
Tyler Adams to Leeds United States of America
So Tyler Adams of Red Bulls and the USMNT is headed to Leeds United to join his old Coach fellow American Jesse Marsch and new midfielder Brendan Aaronson as Leed’s is quickly becoming Leed’s United – States of America – yes I have ordered my new Leed’s Jersey as they along with Fulham America are my 2 favorite new EPL teams! I will still root for Pulisic as Chelsea if his is there – and Arsenal now that they have Matt Turner in Goal. (prey for injury for their starter so Turner can play 😊). By the way congrats to new dad Matt Turner!! Tyler’s first day.
Around the World of Soccer
Of course the Women’s European Championships are underway on the ESPN family of networks with 2 games a day in the 12 and 3 pm slots (see full schedule in the OBC). Top world powers France, England and Sweden are among the favorites. Read all about the Summer of Women’s Soccer and about the European Cup. No Upsets so far – but the more competitive games get underway ths weekend with Netherland vs Sweden on Sat at 3 pm on ESPN2 and England vs Norway on Monday at 3 pm on ESPN2. The Group stage wraps up next weekend.
MLS Half Way Mark – Rivalry Weekend starts with El Traffico Fri 10 pm, Cascadia Cup Sat 4 pm
Former Juve Star and arguably the best defender in a generation Giorgio Chiellini is expected to make his debut along with former Real Madrid and Tottenham man Garreth Bale for El Traffico on Friday July 8th vs the LA Galaxy at 10 pm (must watch TV). LAFC sit at the Top of the Table in the West and have overtaken the Galaxy with star power outweighing Javier Chichirito Hernandez. The Galaxy are missing the famous stars of the past like Beckam and Lampard and Zlattan as LAFC has become the landing spot of the stars with League MVP Carlos Vela and now the former Euro greats coming in. Man I wish I lived close enough to take in another El Traffico – hopefully it will live uup to the billing. Meanwhile Saturday brings us Seattle vs Portland and the Cascadia Cup at 4:30 pm on FOX.
Finally checkout the Goalkeeper and Reffing Sections below in the OBC – especially like the new trial going on in MLS Next Pro – giving 3 minute Timeout Rule for faking injuries – kind of like hockey.
Also this reminder Coach Shane is offer Extra Paid Training tor the high school aged Keepers this summer firstname.lastname@example.org And Coach Noelle is offering Extra Paid Training to any age groups – this summer text 904-654-9011
CHS Boys -2022 Hounds Soccer Camp –July 11-14, 2022 9 am to 11 am $95 per Boys/Girls 8-14
Carmel High School Girls – 2022 Middle School Camp – 6/7/8th Graders $90 (includes T-shirt) July 18-21 Murray Stadium 2:30 to 4:30 pm
BIG GAMES ON TV
Fri, July 8
12 pm ESPN+ Spain vs Finland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 German vs Denmark Euro Women’s Cup
7:30 pm ESPN Philly Union vs DC United
8 pm Para + Racing Louisville vs NY/NJ Gothem NWSL
10 pm ESPN El Traffico LA Galaxy (Chichirito) vs LAFC (Bale/Chilleini)
10 pm Para+ Canada vs Panama
Sat, July 9
12 pm ESPN+ Portugal vs Switzerland Euro Women’s Cup
2 pm Indy 11 Women vs ??? the Mike
3 pm ESPN2 Netherlands vs Sweden Euro Women’s Cup
4:30 pm FOX Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers Cascadia Cup
7 pm FS1 Charlotte FC vs Nashville SC
7:30 pm ESPN+ Cincy vs NY Red Bulls
7:30 pm TV23 Indy 11 vs Detroit City – The Mike
8 pm ESPN+ Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew
8 pm Univision Leon vs Pumas
10 pm FS1 Monterrey vs America
10:30 pm para+ Angel City vs San Diego Wave NWSL
Sun, July 10
12 pm ESPN2 Belgium vs Iceland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN+ Italy vs France Euro Women’s Cup
6 pm para+ Chicago Red Stars vs NC Courage NWSL
6 pm para+ Seattle Reign vs Portland Thorns NWSL
Mon, July 11
12 pm ESPN2 Austria vs N. Ireland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 England vs Norway Euro Women’s Cup
7 pm Facebook live? Canada vs Costa Rica
10 pm Para+ USA Women vs Mexico
Mon, July 11
12 pm ESPN2 Austria vs N. Ireland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 England vs Norway Euro Women’s Cup
Tues, July 12
12 pm ESPN2 Denmark vs Finland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 Germany vs Spain Euro Women’s Cup
Weds, July 12
12 pm ESPN2 Sweden vs Switz Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 Netherlands vs Portugal Euro Women’s Cup
8:30 pm ESPN+ Nashville SC vs Seattle Sounders
10 pm FS1 LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes
Thur, July 14
12 pm ESPN2 Italy vs Iceland Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 France vs Belgium Euro Women’s Cup
7 or 10 pm Para+ CONCACAF Women’s Semis USA?
3 pm ESPN+ Austria vs Norway Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN2 Northern Ireland vs England Euro Women’s Cup
10 pm para+ San Deigo Wave vs Racing Louisville NWSL
Sat, July 16
3 pm ESPN2 Finland vs Germany Euro Women’s Cup
3 pm ESPN+ Denmark vs Spain Euro Women’s Cup
Mon, July 18
7 or 10 pm Para+ CONCACAF Women’s Finals USA?
The USWNT Concacaf roster
Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit).
Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC).
US Men U20’s Qualify for Olympics
Women’s Soccer Euro’s
REFFING This Crazy Game
Women’s Soccer Euro’s
REFFING This Crazy Game
USWNT are methodically marching toward another CONCACAF title — and another World Cup spot
11:15 PM ET Jeff Carlisle U.S. soccer correspondent
The United States women’s national team completed perhaps the most low-key run to World Cup qualification in its illustrious history after Thursday’s 5-0 thrashing of Jamaica at the CONCACAF W Championship.Given the U.S. women’s historic dominance in CONCACAF — where it has won 13 straight World Cup qualifiers by a combined score of 58-0 — that’s saying something. But the current format, in which the top two teams from the two groups automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup while the two third-place teams will head to a playoff, means there will be no elimination game drama, at least for the U.S.And after Haiti beat hosts Mexico 3-0 later on Thursday, the U.S. will head into its group stage finale against an eliminated El Tri Femenil having already punched its ticket to Australia and New Zealand.That isn’t to say that their work is done by any means. The CONCACAF W Championship doubles as the 2024 Olympic qualifying tournament, and the U.S. will have to win the competition in order to automatically clinch the trip to Paris, while the second and third-place teams will head to a playoff.But at least in terms of the World Cup, the U.S. team is on its way, and Thursday’s performance was utterly dominant. Sophia Smith put the U.S. up by two goals with the match less than eight minutes old, and a fatigued Jamaica said didn’t put up much of a fight thereafter. Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis and Trinity Rodman all scored in the second half, and the defense, with Lindsey Horan playing in front of center backs — and former collegiate teammates at Stanford — Naomi Girma and Alana Cook were rarely troubled by Jamaica’s frontline led by Manchester City forward Bunny Shaw. U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher was forced to make just two saves.”There was nothing that scared us at any point in time and I thought we did a very good job to protect the space behind us, to protect and discourage balls to [Bunny] Shaw and screen her very well,” said U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski. “So every little thing that they had in the previous game going we were able to protect and do a good job.” For Jamaica manager Lorne Donaldson, the sight of Smith tearing up the opposition was a familiar one. Along with U.S. forward Mallory Pugh, Smith played for Donaldson while with youth club Real Colorado. She certainly didn’t take it easy on her former mentor. Her first goal in particular was jaw-dropping, as he cut in from the right wing and then curled the ball into the net with the outside of her right foot.”I always want him to do well,” Smith told CBS Paramount after the match. “But when it’s against us, yeah, it’s pretty fun. It’s a fun relationship to have, and to see him on the sideline, I obviously wish him the best. But we had to take care of business.”For Donaldson, the ties that bind him to both players are still strong.”They’re like families. We’re still family,” he said at his postgame news conference. “You give [Smith] half a chance, she’s gonna take it; excellent footballer, so I don’t expect less from her.”
Donaldson was less kind to his own team, which struggled to string many passes together and was forced to efend for long stretches. Jamaica now faces Haiti in its group stage finale.”We were very s—-y, so we didn’t play well,” he said. “We’re not gonna play the world champions, play that bad and expect anything good coming out of the game. We weren’t good.”U.S. performances are always graded on an unforgiving scale given the team’s talent and history. And after the team’s 3-0 tournament opening victory over Haiti, there were still plenty of questions about the U.S.’s ability to deal with athletic, mobile sides. But this was an occasion where Andonovski found very little to quibble with. The U.S. was aggressive from the outside, and the tandem of Smith and Sofia Huerta (who assisted Smith’s second goal) on the right side was relentless in attacking Jamaica.The hard-luck attacker of the night was forward Ashley Hatch who had one goal called back for a dubious offside and twice hit the woodwork. Even then, she did plenty of unselfish running to open up space for others. And given how the U.S. was on the front foot most of the luck, Andonovski couldn’t bring himself to be too critical.”We win the game 5-0, score another two or three offside. We create another 12 goalscoring opportunities,” he said. “I think it’ll be crazy for me to say that some of the attacking players didn’t do well. They all contributed in different ways. They were all dangerous in different ways. And now, the only thing that I would want to say for all of them is I just would like to see them be just a little more clinical with the final touch or finishing and lastly, stay onside.”Even with World Cup qualification now assured, the Sunday’s group stage finale is expected to be anything but low key. It was Mexico that last beat the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier back in 2010, when a 2-1 loss forced the U.S. into winning the third place game and eventually a playoff with Italy that it won 2-0 on aggregate.”We start focusing on Mexico right now,” said Smith. “Obviously, [Mexico is] a great team. It’s a rivalry and I think we need to come out with the same energy if not more, and just do what we have to do.”
Smith’s two goals in the first eight minutes set the stage for an easy 5-0 U.S. win
|Grant WahlJul 8|
MONTERREY, Mexico — The USWNT beat Jamaica 5-0 on Matchday 2 of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the World Cup and Olympics on Thursday night. Sophia Smith scored the first two goals, Rose Lavelle added the third, Kristie Mewis converted from the spot and Trinity Rodman finished the deluge. The win left the U.S. on six points and all but assured of a spot in World Cup 2023. (The U.S. would mathematically clinch a berth if the nightcap between Mexico and Haiti ends in a tie.) Here are my three thoughts on the game:
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• Smith was in the zone. The 21-year-old winger, who has been on a scoring tear with the national team, found the net twice in the first eight minutes and put the U.S. in control before most people had settled into the game. Smith’s first goal was an utter thing of beauty as she took a good ball from Naomi Girma, flicked the ball up with one touch to erase her defender and hit a gorgeous trivela with the outside of her right boot into the net. Smith’s second saw her run onto a ball from the excellent right back Sofia Huerta and steer the ball into the air so that it just crossed the line for 2-0. I will say this: Watching in person, you can’t miss Smith when she’s on the ball. She just moves at a higher RPM than anyone else on the field, especially when the general pace of the game is slower than normal due to the 97-degree heat at kickoff. There’s a frisson of excitement whenever Smith drives at defenders, and you find yourself wishing she would do it even more on a team that sometimes settles frustratingly for hopeful crosses into the box.
• Naomi Girma was terrific in a game where Vlatko Andonovski was testing her. The NWSL rookie came into the starting lineup to replace Becky Sauerbrunn alongside Alana Cook, and the opposition was real: Jamaica forward Bunny Shaw of Manchester City, who scored the game-winner against Mexico, is a tough player for any central defender to handle. But Girma didn’t put a foot wrong the entire night. She reads the game extremely well, and she frustrated Shaw so much that she resorted to firing a hope shot from a crazy distance into the stands at one point. (Shaw ended up exiting the game in the 63rd minute after being completely shut down except for one run to beat Emily Fox down the right side.) Plus the well-placed ball that Girma sent to release Smith gave the U.S. an early lead that took any worries away. Give Cook credit, too, for helping shut down any remote Jamaican threats. This U.S. clean sheet looked a lot better defensively than the one against Haiti the other night, when the U.S. back line was vulnerable at times and lucky not to give up a goal or two.
• Huerta is making a good case to be the starting right back. That’s not really a knock on Kelley O’Hara, who played well on Monday. But the 29-year-old Huerta was a menace attacking down the right side, especially in the first half, and her attacking passes, including pinpoint crosses, were consistently dangerous. Huerta’s crosses have a purpose that not all crosses do with this team, and Mal Pugh was unlucky to be a hair offside and have her goal at the end of one of those crosses disallowed. (Pugh will be frustrated that she hasn’t found the net yet despite having several chances.) Overall, Jamaica’s performance was disappointing on Thursday after the Reggae Girlz had gotten three points against host Mexico in Game 1. But that shouldn’t take away from a totally-in-control U.S. performance that was better than the one they had against Haiti. The fact that the U.S. could do that without seeing a minute of Alex Morgan (being rested) or Megan Rapinoe (accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom) is an encouraging sign for a team that has all but clinched a berth in World Cup 2023.
Premium: Time to Take the Fifth?
As the USWNT clinches a berth in World Cup 2023, Alex Morgan says claims that Europe has passed the U.S. by are “ridiculous”
Grant Wahl Jul 8
MONTERREY, Mexico — Alex Morgan has seen the lists. The most recent one from The Guardian ranking just three USWNT players in the global top 50 (and none in the top 19). And the new one from ESPN that has six U.S. players in the world top 50 but just one Yank in the top 10.
With a year to go before the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, for which the U.S. qualified on Thursday night, Morgan is well aware of the conventional wisdom in European soccer circles: that the U.S. has been surpassed by its European counterparts. That when you measure things player by player, the U.S. just doesn’t stack up anymore in 2022.
“I both understand it and think it’s completely ridiculous at the same time.” — Alex Morgan on the idea that European teams have passed the USWNT by
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The soccer world this summer and next will be dominated by the women’s game. In the coming weeks, continental championships in Europe, the Americas and Africa will serve as a buzz-generating prelude to next year’s main event. And as the Euros bask in their crowds of 68,000-plus and make the case that the epicenter of women’s soccer is shifting across the Atlantic, Morgan would like to point her finger to the four World Cup title stars on the USWNT crest—and, not least, the ones representing the last two tournaments, in 2015 and 2019.
Those player rankings with so few Americans on them?
“I both understand it and think it’s completely ridiculous at the same time,” Morgan told me in a one-on-one interview this week. “I understand it in the fact that most of us live and play in the U.S. and don’t have Euros, don’t have Champions League. It’s ridiculous because again, we’re two-time reigning World Cup champs. We have some of the best talent in the world. Obviously, I’m going to give ourselves a great chance at adding another star. So I have a prediction that that will change, that number of six [U.S. players in ESPN’s top 50] will increase a little in the next year.”Truth be told, the team that stopped the U.S.’s Olympic gold medal run last year wasn’t from Europe but rather Canada, which is on a collision course to meet the U.S. in the CONCACAF final, with the tournament’s lone automatic Olympic berth up for grabs to the winner. Granted, Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s U.S. team is in the middle of a transition following last year’s disappointing Olympic bronze medal, with the retirement of Carli Lloyd and the absences of Crystal Dunn (pregnancy), Sam Mewis (injury) and Julie Ertz (both injury and pregnancy). Christen Press (ACL injury) and Tobin Heath (just returned to the NWSL with OL Reign from Arsenal) may not be selected for the national team even when they’re fully fit, and Megan Rapinoe (who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday) is with the team but in a super-sub role.In the ACL-related absence of superstar-in-waiting Catarina Macario, the 22-year-old center-forward who recently won the Champions League with Lyon, the most exciting players on the U.S. team lately are wingers Sophia Smith (21) and Mal Pugh (24).For now, it’s a little hard to measure the U.S. based on its first two games in the current tournament. A 3-0 victory over Haiti—marked by two Morgan goals—was less comfortable than the scoreline indicated, but Haiti’s subsequent 3-0 win over a shell-shocked Mexico showed that the Haitians have more talent than ever. Easily the best story of the tournament, Haiti can qualify for its first women’s World Cup with a tie or better on Monday against Jamaica.
Thursday’s 5-0 U.S. win against Jamaica was over within eight minutes, which was all the time it took for the U.S. to go ahead 2-0 on goals by Smith (an emerging star who, it should be noted, is nowhere to be found on the ESPN or Guardian lists). Smith’s first goal, finished with a right-footed trivela, was so outrageous that even renowned skill player Rose Lavelle couldn’t help but marvel at it.“That was sick, Soph,” Lavelle told her on the field right after it happened“That might be my first outside-of-the-foot goal,” Smith allowed afterward. “But I try to do it in practice. I practice it. I just never get in those situations, but I did tonight.”
Attacking Third @AttackingThird
SOPHIA SMITH YOU ARE A STAR. What a touch and finish from the 21-year-old @ThornsFC phenom.
“Soph is an incredible young player,” Andonovski said after the game. “To be a starter at 21 years old on the best team in the world isn’t easy. It comes with lots of weight. She wants to be the best every time she steps on the field. She’s a perfectionist, she wants to score one or two goals. Which is great, but sometimes it can be counterproductive. I don’t think the last game was her best game, and I did have a meeting with her and talked about that to reassure her.”“Regardless of what this game or the next game will look like, she will be a starter for this team,” Andonovski added, “just because we know how good she is now, and we can see her potential and how good she can be in the future. She does have the potential to be one of the best players in the world.”
Morgan got the night off on Thursday, which allowed Ashley Hatch and Trinity Rodman to play in the No. 9 spot. But with Macario out injured, Morgan is clearly the first option again up top for the games that matter most. And she has earned that with a formidable run of form for San Diego in the NWSL (where her 11 goals lead the league) and now the national team.
When asked where her current form ranks in her career, Morgan pauses for a moment.
“I mean, that’s hard,” she tells me. “I’d have to say number one, just because I want to live in the present and hope that I’m in the best form of my career. I think there’s still room to get better because I hope I’m in the best form of my career during the World Cup next year. But I think there’s a couple moments that definitely stick out: 2012 Olympic year, getting the opportunity to start for the first time with the national team, and then 2017 playing in Lyon and then coming back and playing with Orlando and getting to the playoffs there. Those are a couple years that stick out. But I’m having a good time this year.”
Morgan’s two goals against Haiti stood out largely because they were different from the kind she used to score regularly in the early stages of her career. One goal was a well-taken near-post stab, and the other was a looping header taken while moving away from the goal. Morgan told me she has spent a lot of time the last year or two studying Chicharito Hernández and his movement to create space for himself in the penalty box.
“I definitely feel like I use the defender to manipulate her a lot more than I used to,” Morgan says. “Earlier in my career, I think I was a lot more linear. We played as more of a two-front earlier, and then over the course of the last few years, 2015 and ’19 in particular, I think that my game has definitely evolved. Not only my ability to get open in the box, but to create space for myself and not always feel like I have to rush into the box. But I have to be in the box at the right moment. And so that’s definitely a different mindset.”So is the approach Morgan has had to take recently when she hasn’t been selected by Andonovski for the national team. She’s not the only U.S. veteran, of course, to find herself in that situation. But Morgan admits she struggled with it at first.“Honestly, I think it was a process for me to look at myself in the mirror and stop blaming,” she says. “I think that’s what I wanted to do initially after having a disappointing Olympics and not quite the year that I wanted last year. And I think that’s when my mindset changed, is when I really started to actually just feel better, be happier and be more confident on the field.”“And that took a while,” she continues. “I mean, that took until February or March to kind of stop thinking, how can I get back on the national team? Rather, how can I help San Diego to be the best expansion team that’s ever been in the NWSL, to make Casey [Stoney] and Jill [Ellis] proud for trading for me and seeing a leader in me and the player that I can be on San Diego? So I think it was just a shift of a mindset.”Can Morgan and Macario play on the field at the same time once Macario returns from her injury? Andonovski has said he sees the No. 9 spot as Macario’s best position, which presents a conflict with Morgan, but he has also used Macario in different places on the field.“I don’t know,” Morgan says about the possibility. “We have played together, because she has played in the 10 position back in September–October last year. And she’s great turning in that pocket, and she gives something different than a player like Rose or a player like Lindsey [Horan]. But obviously, she can play in the nine as well. And it’s extremely disappointing to see her injury after such an incredible year that she had after coming out from Stanford and just being so successful. So obviously, I think that she comes back as soon as she possibly can healthwise and gets back on this team. And I’m sure that at the end of the day, Vlatko is going to want to put the best players on the field. And so I’ll just continue to make a case for myself in that regard.”Just don’t look for Morgan, who turned 33 last week, to stick around until her late 30s like Lloyd did. When I ask her whether her 117 international goals means she’ll try to break Abby Wambach’s U.S. record (184) or Christine Sinclair’s world mark (189 and counting), she shakes her head instantly.
“Abby always said that I would smash her record of goals scored, and I didn’t believe her then and I won’t believe her now,” Morgan says. “I am not one of the players that will continue to be playing at 38, 39, 40 years old. My body has been through a lot. I think I continue to take a lot of tackles every game, and I’m just happy to continue to be playing every day and scoring goals. So I just continue to look for one more. But will I get over 180? Doubtful, extremely doubtful.”She does have one long-term eye on the sport, however. For the past year, Morgan has been part of the FIFA committee chaired by Jill Ellis on the future of the women’s game. The members have regular meetings, and Morgan has been an active member on the calls.“Something that we’ve been really focused on is how to increase the competition and kind of force a lot of federations to increase match play for their respective women’s teams, and how for that not to always continue to be the same teams,” she says. “Like for CONCACAF, for us not to always be playing against only other CONCACAF teams for major tournaments. But another thing is, what would be best for women’s football moving forward? A World Cup every four years, or a biennial World Cup? And there’s been a lot of amazing discussion around it and a lot of different perspectives as there’s a lot of former and current players, referees, coaches from all different federations and confederations.”
She continues: “So it’s interesting to hear everyone’s viewpoints, and I think overall, it’s just how can we continue to increase the accessibility of women’s football and increase the quality of play as well and the number of matches for each team. Because we’re not worried about the U.S. playing 15 to 20 matches a year. We’re going to maximize our windows. But it’s getting Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and a lot of these other countries to maximize those match windows.”At a time when athletes past and present have more influence than ever in U.S. Soccer, Morgan’s role in FIFA is not an inconsequential one. But she still wants to be as relevant as ever on the field, and she’ll get a chance to do that in this tournament. After all, if you’re going to speak publicly about putting fifth stars over the USWNT crest and staving off the European charge, it helps to be putting balls in the net.
Adams and Sinisterra are n way – Leeds have shown transfer urgency that was needed
By Phil HayJul 6, 2022
The last time Leeds United went to Australia — indeed, the last time Leeds toured anywhere of note in pre-season — Victor Orta was on the plane. The summer of 2019 was a busy one but not so hectic that a trip abroad or two weeks in a different timezone interfered with Orta’s job.Leeds will fly to Australia again over the weekend, for training and three friendlies, but the plan is for Orta to stay behind with other work to attend to. The club wanted quick and decisive transfer business in this window and Orta’s decision to remain in England is indicative of an attempt to complete the main strands of it as soon as possible.Two more signings are pending at Elland Road, Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig and Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord, on top of three sealed so far. Leeds made progress with both towards the end of last week and by Monday evening they were in a position to start pushing them through.Adams should join from Leipzig in time to go with the squad to Australia. All being well, Sinisterra’s medical will not be far behind. The completion of Kalvin Phillips’ transfer to Manchester City has allowed other dominoes to fall, one transfer helping to fund others.Leeds anticipated this window would be a moveable feast, dependent on factors not entirely theirs to control. They were unable to categorically say when last season finished that Phillips or Raphinha would leave, and even now it is possible that Raphinha will be on the flight to Australia. However, the suspicion was there and the club’s attitude was that dragging heels would cost them.The initial arrivals began moving almost as the 2021-22 season ended, starting with Brenden Aaronson. If Phillips and Raphinha were leaving, the club wanted to get on with both sales (Rasmus Kristensen also joined Leeds shortly after). In ideal circumstances, they hoped their recruitment would be there or thereabouts by the time pre-season took them down under.Should Adams, who flew to England yesterday, and Sinisterra sign as planned in the days ahead, Leeds will find themselves in the second week of July with only one major process to negotiate: the sale of Raphinha, which in turn clears the way for them to invest in a new forward, the final target of note on their list.Leeds have spoken about sourcing a more experienced second-choice goalkeeper but that would be a more peripheral signing, a move that made no material difference to their strongest line-up on paper. Their plan is a long way down the line, so far avoiding the risk that a busy and delicate window becomes messy or gets out of hand.
The trade-off Leeds want and are close to securing is two players out and six established players in, beyond the £5 million spent on emerging 18-year-old Darko Gyabi from Manchester City. Adams is Phillips’ replacement, if not a direct tactical swap, and he is set to link up with Leeds’ head coach Jesse Marsch for the third time in his career. Marc Roca and Aaronson are on board as additional midfielders.
Sinisterra will help to cover the hole Raphinha is expected to leave and Kristensen gives Leeds a fresh face at right-back, a position devoid of other candidates due to injury. The club appear content to persist with Junior Firpo at left-back, despite his mediocre first season at Elland Road, and have not targeted proven competition for him but the size of the squad is changing. If the conclusion of last season drew a line under the Marcelo Bielsa era, the transfer dealings since are making it thicker.Liam Cooper, the captain, spoke this week about the importance of avoiding the form Leeds suffered at the start of last season, when they took two wins from their first 13 Premier League games.That run set the tone for the whole campaign and establishing more impetus under Marsch than they did in Bielsa’s final year will require a strong pre-season and a summer that sets Leeds up in the right way. To a large extent, Marsch needs a pre-season like Bielsa’s first in 2018: a period of preparation in which tactics and the make-up of the squad allows everything to click and avoids the threat of relegation dominating the entire year.
“Pre-season’s so important and that’s why the club’s gone so early on signings,” Cooper tells The Athletic. “You get players in, you integrate them and then you’re playing together as soon as possible. We’ve got plenty of pre-season games to come and this is going to be massive for us, to get a plan and get those relationships going.”In the latter stages of last season, Leeds courted Eddie Nketiah, a striker whose signature was up for grabs until he opted to sign a new contract at Arsenal. Their forward of choice now is Charles De Ketelaere, the 21-year-old at Club Bruges who has attracted the attention of scouts across Europe.Bruges are prepared to sell him in this window and the level of attention on De Ketelaere suggests a transfer out of Belgium is inevitable. Leeds have made their interest plain, but they are prepared for the possibility that a move to AC Milan, the long-term favourites to land him and the move De Ketelaere is most keen on, will knock them out of the running.rratt – AMA/Getty Images)
Financing a De Ketelaere bid would require money raised by selling Raphinha and that situation is at a standstill. Chelsea are ready to pay an up-front fee of around £60 million for the Brazil winger, with add-ons worth more than £5 million, and Leeds have indicated to the ownership at Stamford Bridge they would accept that offer but Raphinha is resisting Chelsea’s approaches in the hope Barcelona, his preferred destination, will stump up the cash.arcelona have failed to meet his valuation and are finding Leeds unreceptive to offers of payments in installments. Chelsea are happy to transfer the guaranteed fee in one tranche.It is, at this stage, the one process which might drag on and Orta’s intention to remain in England while Marsch and his squad go on tour is aimed at bringing Leeds’ remaining work to a conclusion.There are other things happening — three Championship sides are interested in midfielder Jamie Shackleton and discussions continue about him leaving Elland Road on loan — but little has distracted from the priority jobs.Orta spent much of June on the continent, moving from country to country as Leeds targeted the European market. Their support of Marsch has been demonstrated by the signing of three players who previously worked with him.Leeds needed a robust plan for a pressurised close season and with their first public friendly against Blackpool taking place in York tomorrow, it is taking hold in the time frame they envisaged.What the recruitment delivers in the Premier League is another matter entirely and in Phillips and Raphinha they have resigned themselves to losing two pillars of their team.The transition amounts to another test of Leeds’ scouting department and much is hanging on the success and clarity of Marsch’s tactical ideas. But a complex rebuild is well under way, with Adams and Sinisterra waiting in the wings and one key deal to put together after those. The summer has shown the urgency required
Inside Ronaldo and Manchester United’s turbulent week
There was no “last call” for Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday afternoon. Manchester United’s 12-hour flight to Bangkok departed without their talisman on board as Erik ten Hag and his players set off to Thailand for the first leg of their pre-season tour.Even by United’s recent standards, it has been a chaotic and turbulent week. Ronaldo’s future has overshadowed everything since the news broke last Saturday that he had told United he wanted to leave if they received a suitable offer for him. “Shocking” was how one source close to United described the timing.Forty-eight hours later, Ten Hag was due to address the full United playing squad for the first time since taking over as manager. It says everything about the current situation, and in particular about who is in control, that nobody at United was able to say on Sunday with any certainty whether Ronaldo would be present for that meeting.The clues were there on social media late on Monday morning, when United posted a video on Instagram showing seven players who were reporting back to Carrington for the first time since the end of last season, after they had been given an extended break because of international fixtures. Anthony Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles, Fred, Diogo Dalot and Raphael Varane fist-bumped their way down the corridor at United’s training ground. As for Ronaldo, he was nowhere to be seen, other than in the comments section. “Where is CR7?”
United had discovered the answer to that question a couple of hours earlier. He was still in Portugal and would not be returning for his first day of pre-season training. Ronaldo cited family reasons — something The Athletic was told that Ten Hag referenced, matter-of-factly, during his opening speech with the United players, when the Dutchman knew that he couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room.The players kept their thoughts to themselves in that setting. Privately, though, they were soon talking and coming to a rather different conclusion about Ronaldo’s absence. Last season’s top scorer wants out and, in reality, was unlikely to be seen again anytime soon.In the wake of Monday’s no-show, the mood inside the club shifted quickly. The idea that Ronaldo would not fly with the rest of the United players for the club’s pre-season tour had been almost unthinkable on Sunday. Twenty-four hours later, it seemed quite plausible. United, quite simply, had no idea when Ronaldo would return.Footage emerged on Monday afternoon suggesting that Ronaldo was at the Portugal national team’s training headquarters, in Lisbon, where his Rolls-Royce was spotted in the car park. There were reports in Spain later in the day that Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s agent, had flown to Barcelona to meet with the club’s president Joan Laporta to discuss the United forward.Mendes has clearly been doing the rounds lately — and for good reason. A week before Ronaldo told United that he wanted to be allowed to leave the club, The Athletic reported that Mendes had met with Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s new owner. The prospect of Ronaldo switching to Chelsea was part of their conversation.United may well have misread the significance of that rendezvous with Boehly in Portugal, partly because there was a sense at the time that it just felt like Mendes was being Mendes, but also because Ronaldo had previously given the club no reason to think that he would be doing anything other than staying.During an in-house interview at the start of June, Ronaldo claimed to be “very happy” at Old Trafford and “excited” that Ten Hag had been appointed as the new manager, and even talked about believing “next year we are going to win trophies”. Four weeks later, he wanted out.The question that many were asking, both inside and outside of the club, is what happened to change Ronaldo’s mind, bearing in mind that he had known for two months that Old Trafford was not going to be hosting Champions League football next season.Ten Hag was entitled to be as confused as anyone, given that he had spoken to Ronaldo earlier in the summer and there had been no hint of what was to come. It is understood that Ten Hag learned about Ronaldo’s desire to leave via another party, rather than directly. Irrespective of that news, Ten Hag still anticipated that Ronaldo would return for pre-season training on Monday.If Ronaldo is frustrated by United’s lack of transfer activity this summer, he is not alone. There is a mixture of exasperation and despair behind the scenes at United at the way the club operates in the market. There is talk of United “playing the long game” on deals when there is no need to do so — they risk missing out on targets in the process and relying on a reactive approach to recruitment. United would counter that negotiations take time when clubs raise prices.(Left to right) Zidane Iqbal, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alejandro Garnacho and Alvaro Fernandez in action during Manchester United’s pre-season training (Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)What is clear is that the Ronaldo news caught United off guard. Calls were made this week to sound out potential replacements for a player who scored 24 goals in all competitions last season. All the while, United continued to insist publicly that Ronaldo was not for sale. Privately, many doubt that is the case. Keeping an unhappy player is one thing, keeping an unhappy Ronaldo quite another — especially when Ten Hag is trying to kick-start a new era.“The only important factor with the Ronaldo situation is that it’s dealt with decisively and quickly,” Gary Neville, the former United defender, tweeted on Monday evening. “This can’t be a saga that takes the attention away from Erik ten Hag’s bedding-in period for the next two months.”Concern deepened inside the club once it became clear that Ronaldo was highly unlikely to be flying out to Thailand this week. Ronaldo’s profile is a game-changer when things are going well and the club can ride on the back of it, but it can quickly turn into a circus when he is the centre of the story for the wrong reasons. Good luck steering the narrative away from CR7 now.By Tuesday, anyone and everyone was wading into the issue, and quoting lines from Top Gun in the process. “Cristiano Ronaldo wants out of United because they don’t share his ferocious ambition and will to win,” Piers Morgan tweeted. “Especially some of the cocky, lazy younger players whose egos, unlike his, are writing cheques their performances don’t cash. That’s the real story.”Morgan, for what it’s worth, has a line to Ronaldo. Whether he has talked to him about his United future is another matter, but what we can say for sure is that the extent to which Ronaldo’s relationship with the younger players at the club has unravelled is a relevant subject.
Cristiano Ronaldo salutes the fans at the end of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brentford on May 2, 2022 (Photo: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Last weekend, The Athletic was told by well-placed sources that some United players would feel “liberated” and more confident about expressing themselves without Ronaldo at the club, almost as if his presence was suffocating.A senior figure with inside knowledge of the way that United operate quickly came to a similar conclusion this week — namely, that there was now an opportunity for the team to develop without Ronaldo (with emphasis on the word “team”) and that all of this is a blessing in disguise for Ten Hag.This is not a black and white issue, though, and in the eyes of some, it is far too simplistic to believe that United’s problems will be solved by Ronaldo leaving the building, especially when you begin to understand just how exasperated other senior players were last season with the dysfunctional nature of the club as a whole.Culture is a word that comes up again and again in conversations about United, and it is hard for anyone to see how that can be a quick fix. “There are so many things to change in there that players didn’t see a short-term solution,” says one source.Interestingly — and this is where the debate about Ronaldo and his impact on others becomes more complicated — the same source questions “the culture among some of the young players, in terms of effort and intensity in training”, and goes on to talk more broadly about a lack of professionalism outside of a core group.
The subject of leadership has come up repeatedly at United in recent years and Ten Hag will have been well briefed on what to expect at the club. It is understood that he tried to encourage Nemanja Matic, who triggered an exit clause in his contract this summer, to stay on for another year because the Serbian was viewed as a good influence in the dressing room.As for Ronaldo, he was still missing from training on Wednesday morning, when a slip of the thumb by Maguire caused some amusement. Maguire “liked” a post on Instagram about Ronaldo being “reportedly upset with the 25 per cent wage cut all players received when Manchester United failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League”.The question of whether Maguire was empathising with Ronaldo, or enjoying some fun at his team-mate’s expense (mindful that the Instagram post said that his salary would be cut to £360,000 a week), became redundant when it emerged that the England defender had accidentally hit the wrong button.Bayern Munich feared that they would do the same if they signed Ronaldo this summer. The Athletic reported on Monday that Bayern had briefly discussed Ronaldo and realised just as quickly that a deal for him made little sense.Official confirmation of Bayern’s position arrived on Wednesday. “As highly as I rate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest, a transfer wouldn’t be a ft with our philosophy,” Oliver Kahn, Bayern’s chief executive officer, told Kicker magazine.Back at Old Trafford, United’s signing of Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord on Tuesday afternoon had almost gone under the radar. The same cannot be said for Ronaldo’s private jet, which was picked up en route from Lisbon to Madrid on Wednesday. Ronaldo did not appear to be on board — a feeling that United know all too well.Some short-term clarity was around the corner. On Thursday evening, United confirmed that Ronaldo had been granted additional time off to deal with a family issue and would not be flying to Bangkok on Friday. Whether he joins up with the United squad for the Australia leg of the pre-season tour is unclear.United continued to reiterate on Thursday that Ronaldo, who is under contract for another 12 months, is not for sale — a public stance that will be tested if and when the club receive an offer for him. In truth, there are good reasons to believe that United will be willing to do business. A bigger question right now is where that bid might come from.On the face of it, Chelsea or Napoli remain Ronaldo’s most likely suitors, but there are complications with both clubs. Does Thomas Tuchel really want to manage Ronaldo at Chelsea? Can Napoli, who are trying to cut costs, actually afford Ronaldo?Perhaps the 37-year-old will end up staying at Old Trafford and wearing a United shirt again. He was pictured with one on first thing on Friday morning, when United launched their new kit for the 2022-23 season. Those photos were taken five weeks ago, though, and a lot has changed since then — in particular during the last seven days.
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