7/18/22  USWNT vs Canada 10 pm Para+ Tonite, Women’s Euro’s Quarterfinals begin, CHS Girls Camp next Week, Copa America continues

USA Ladies vs Canada 10 pm on Para+ TONITE – Olympic Birth on the Line

The USWNT didn’t look pretty but the did beat Costa Rica 3 – 0 Thurs night (full highlights)– while Canada did the same to Jamaica setting up the big finale tonight between 2 of the top 5 teams in the World – and lets be real – the only decent team the US has played since losing to the Cannucks in last summer’s Olympics which knocked us out and allowed Canada to win it all.  The US really does need to turn to the new guard and let them play and let’s see how far behind Canada we have fallen – or not? Centerback Girma in the back middle, Sanchez at midfield, with Horan #6, and Lavelle and let young wingers Push and Smith fly with Alex holding down the #9 slot.  It all wraps at 10 pm on Para+ with pregame starting at 9 pm after the 3rd place game finishes (hard to believe this game is not AT LEAST being moved to CBS Sports Network – but here’s a FREE Month Signup for Paramount Plus if you want to watch tonight’s game. https://www.paramountplus.com/home enter GLORY. I like the US to pull this out 2-1 in a hard fought game !! Check out this Cheeky Backheel from Lavelle to Pugh for a goalUS Behind the Crest

Shane’s Starting Line-Up Tonite vs Canada (Depth Chart)


Sanchez/Horan /Lavelle



Women’s Euro’s Quarter Finals this week

The Women’s Euro’s have been great  – with this spectacular last second goal highlighting just how exciting some of the Euro’s have been. The Quarterfinals are sent to begin Wednesday and last thru Saturday with the Semi’s next week.

Wednesday, July 20
QF1 – England vs. Spain – (Brighton) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Thursday, July 21
QF2 – Germany vs. Austria (Brentford) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Friday, July 22
QF3 – Sweden vs. Runners-up of Group D – (Leigh) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Saturday, July 23
QF4 – France vs. Netherlands – (Rotherham) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2


So this is making the rounds – looks like me back in College (yeah right).  Also of interest a # of European teams are in the US on their summer tours – on of the more intriguing is Sat night on ESPN as Bayern Munich faces Man City at Lambaeu Field 6:30 pm.  That might be worth the tune in – at the same Time Chelsea Pulisic are playing Arsenal and Turner – but somehow that only garners us ESPN+ at 7:30 pm  not going to pretend I understand their logic sometime. Of course Bayern will not have leading scorer Lewandowski has his transfer request to Barcelona has been completed. 

US GK Matt Turner leads Arsenal to clean sheet and 2-0 win vs Everton, Turner says his move to one of the EPL’s top clubs is not a gamble ahead of the World Cup.

Here’s American Brendan Aaronson with some nifty moves vs Aston Villa for Leeds United States of America.  (yes my jersey is on its way baby!)

Last Week of GK Training

Coach Shane is offering Extra Paid Training tor the high school aged Keepers this summer Tues/Thurs shanebestsoccer@gmail.com

 Calling all High School Soccer Rec Players in Carmel!

Some of you have registered already but there are still many slow to sign up and teams are now in process at Dads Club. Tell your friends to get moving so they don’t miss a chance to play this fall. Space is limited and we cannot add more teams beyond what we have planned for. Sign up now- this league has no late fees! www.carmeldadsclub.org   317-846-1663

 Calling all Middle School Soccer Players in Carmel- July 18-21!

Last Chance to Register for 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   Of course high schoolers trying out for the ladies team need to attend the high school camp next week that ends with the CHS DeWayne Akin Invite next Fri/Sat at the River Road fields off 126th.

Watch with the American Outlaws at Union Jack’s Pub in Broad Ripple (eat before hand as kitchen will be closed)

Reminder: 30-Day Paramount+ Promo Code
Tonight’s match will stream on Paramount+ and ViX only.Just like with our away World Cup Qualifiers, AO members can get a month of P+ free.New* subscribers can use the promo code “GLORY.” Use the link below.30-Day P+ Trial


Mon, July 18

1 pm ESPN+                        Dortmund (Reyna) vs Valencia  

3 pm ESPN2                        Italy vs Belgium Euro Women’s Cup

3 pm ESPN+                        Iceland vs France Euro Women’s Cup

5 pm FS1                              Venezuela vs Brazil Copa America

7 pm Para+                   CONCACAF Womens 3rd  

8 pm FS1                              Peru vs Uraguay Copa America

10 pm Para+             CONCACAF Women’s Finals USA vs CANADA 

Wed, July 20

3 pm ESPN2                 Euro Women’s Cup QF – England vs. Spain

7:30 pm ESPN+                  Arsenal (Matt Turner)  @ Orlando City

7:30 pm ESPN+                  Chelsea (Pulisic) @ Charlotte FC

7:30 pm ESPN+                  Bayern Mumich @ DC United

9 pm ES{N+                         Man City vs Club America

8 pm FS1                              Colombia vs Chile Copa America

8 pm FS2                              Ecudor vs Paaguay Copa America

Thur, July 21

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro Women’s Cup Austria vs Germany  

8 pm FS1                              Brazil vs Peru Copa America

8 pm FS2                              Venezuela vs Argentina Copa America

Fri, July 22

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro Women’s Cup Sweden vs ______

8 pm FS1                              Brazil vs Peru Copa America

Sat, July 23

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro Women’s Cup France vs Netherlands

6:30 pm ESPN                    Bayern Munich vs Man City (Lambambeau)

7 pm ESPN+                Indy 11 @ Memphis 901

8 pm ESPN +                       Arsenal (Turner) vs Chelsea (Pulisic)

8:30 pm ABC                       Houston Dynamo vs Minn United

10 pm ESPN+                     Seattle vs Colorado

Sun, July 24

7:30 am ESPN3                  US Youth Championship U19 Boys

10 am ESPN3                      US Youth Championship U19 Girls

9:30 pm FS1                        Atlanta united vs LA Galaxy

Mon, July 25

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro Women’s Cup Semi 1

8 pm FS1                              Copa America Semi 1

Tue, July 26

8 pm FS1                              Copa America Semi 2

Wed, July 27

3 pm ESPN2                        Euro Women’s Cup Semi 2

Fri, July 29

8 pm FS2                              Copa America 3rd

11 pm FS1                            LAFC vs Seattle Sounders

Sat, July 30

12 noon ESPN+                 Liverpool vs Man City Community Shield

2:30 pm ESPN+                  RB Liepzig vs Bayern Munich  Supercup

 3 pm ABC                            Minn United vs Portland Timbers

8 pm ESPN+                        Cincy v Inter Miami 

9 pm ESPN+                        LA Galaxy vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

Sun, July 31

12 noon ESPN                    Euro Women’s Cup FINAL                           

5 pm ESPN+                        DC united vs Orlando City

8 pm FS2                              Santos Laguna vs Atlas 

Indy 11 Schedule

NWSL Women’s Schedule

MLS National TV Schedule

World Cup Schedule

Soccer Saturday’s are every Sat 9-10 am on 93.5 and 107.5 FM with Greg Rakestraw

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USA Women

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).

3 things 2 W 4  -backheeled.com

With USWNT into CONCACAF W final, a more nuanced version emerging before World Cup Jeff Kassouf

Been there, done that. Canada’s veteran core can get another upset vs. USWNT  ESPNFC

What Went Right and What Went Wrong – USA vs Costa Rica – Backheeled
U.S., Canada renew women’s soccer rivalry with Olympic spot at stake

US Needs to Find Shooting Boots after Pathetic 3-0 win over Costa Rica – the18.com
Carson Pickett on making USWNT history as 1st player with limb difference

The Time Is Now for Brands to Go All In on Women’s Soccer

Tired Of USWNT Gear Never Available In Stores, Players Decide To Sell Their Own Merch

Women’s Soccer Euro’s


Wednesday, July 20
QF1 – England vs. Spain – (Brighton) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Thursday, July 21
QF2 – Germany vs. Austria (Brentford) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Friday, July 22
QF3 – Sweden vs. Runners-up of Group D – (Leigh) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Saturday, July 23
QF4 – France vs. Netherlands – (Rotherham) – 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Women’s Euro 2022 bracket and fixtures schedule

Spain’s 90th Minute Header Advances them to Knockout Round

Netherlands win sets up Euro clash with France

Sweden finally hit top gear, just in time for the knockout rounds

Spain reach quarterfinals, but questions linger ahead of England matchup

Germany emerge from Euros group as England’s top trophy rival

Spain edge Denmark, set up England knockout tie

England’s Russo says ‘pressure’ will hit in QFs

Austria oust Norway, advance to quarterfinals

England’s record-setting group stage shows Euro 2022 field how it’s done

Sources: Extreme heat warning at ’22 Euros

 Great Saves Women’s Euros

Lene Christensen Grat save for Denmark vs Finland

 US Men

USMNT’s Turner rejects Arsenal move as ‘gamble’
7hJames Olley
Skocic reinstated as Iran coach six days after sacking


Bayern agree Lewandowski move to Barcelona

Jesus strikes early in Arsenal’s 2-0 friendly win over Everton

Ings on the spot as Villa beat Leeds 1-0 with Gray carried off

Kane on target again as Tottenham draw 1-1 with Sevilla

Chelsea sign Napoli defender Koulibaly on four-year deal

United’s Rashford eager for ‘fresh start’ under Ten Hag

Everton boss Frank Lampard says Wayne Rooney’s U.S. coaching move ‘shows personality’

MLS Atlanta president Eales to become Newcastle United CEO

LAFC defeats Nashville, moves back to top of MLS standings in Gareth Bale’s debut

REFFING This Crazy Game

You Make the Call – MLS

Ref Reviews for Week 18 in MLS
Female referee at men’s World Cup wants the game to shine

Ref Question    Whats the Right Call



W Championship Final on Monday, let’s talk about what you should you be watching for from the United States 

This is it, folks. The U.S. women’s national team has the chance to lift a trophy and lock up a spot in the 2024 Olympics on Monday against Canada. The United States and Canada are both undefeated at the Concacaf W Championship, each with four wins and a +12 goal difference. What should you be watching for from the USWNT in this final? Let’s talk about that.


We’ve seen glimpses of the U.S.’s press during this tournament, but rarely have we seen any sort of consistent high press or counter press from this team. Why? Because teams are afraid to play out of the back or even to hold much of the ball at all against the United States. Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Costa Rica were all at a pretty significant talent disadvantage relative to the USWNT and they all ceded possession.

On talent, Canada is much, much closer to level with the United States. They have quality players in every line and a number of dangerous attackers. Bev Priestman’s team dominated possession in all four of their W Championship games to date and while I wouldn’t expect them to do that against the U.S., they’ll be willing to use the ball for stretches. 

A more aggressive Canada team means that there should be opportunities for the U.S. to press and create transition moments. That’s where this USWNT really thrives under Vlatko Andonovski. 

Watch out for the United States in transition in this final. 


I said it earlier in this tournament, but I think it’s time for Naomi Girma to start next to Alana Cook in the back. Girma has looked confident, capable, and, maybe most importantly, mobile during her minutes down in Mexico. Becky Sauerbrunn is a hugely important figure for the United States, but I do have questions about her ability to defend in space. She was already exposed against Haiti (the only team that has really tested the USWNT even for short spells) at this tournament. Given the skill and speed that Canada has in the attack, I think it’s fair to question if Sauerbrunn is the right player to start next to Cook in the center of the U.S.’s 4-3-3 defensive shape.I’m not sure that Andonvoski will make this swap. But with how strong Girma has looked in the back, I think this is the right time to change the guard in central defense.


If one thing is clear after almost three years of the Vlatko era, it’s this: the United States can be lethal in the attack if they stop crossing so much. At times in this tournament – especially against Jamaica and for stretches against Costa Rica – the U.S. found other ways to attack that didn’t involve forcing balls into the box from wide areas. Sophia Smith was dangerous against Jamaica, taking advantage of chances to go one-v-one on the right side. Plus, Ashley Sanchez and Rose Lavelle drove forward in midfield and helped create opportunities. Against Costa Rica, the U.S. had some strong moves down the left side with Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh working together to pull the opposition’s right side apart. They crossed the ball in both of those games, yes, but they also found other ways to create chances.If we see more diverse attacking play from the U.S., with a mixture of transition attacking, off-ball rotations, central combinations, and smart crosses, they’re going to be almost impossible to stop against Canada.

Canada’s CONCACAF W campaign shows why they can upset the USWNT once more

Jul 14, 2022Cesar Hernandez

Canada will take on the U.S. in the much-anticipated, and much-expected, final at the CONCACAF W Championship. Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

MONTERREY, Mexico — Canada‘s women’s national team defeated Jamaica 3-0 in the second CONCACAF W Championship semifinal of the evening Thursday, setting up the defending Olympic gold medalists in a much-anticipated final battle against the United States on Monday at Estadio BBVA.It will be a daunting challenge against the U.S., as both teams have gone undefeated at this tourney without conceding a goal. But then again, when was the last time the USWNT lost a match? It was to this Canadian squad at the semifinal round at the delayed Tokyo 2020 games.Despite unideal humid conditions and light dust currents forcing their way into Estadio Universitario, Canada had few issues with a Jamaican side that were without star striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw. According to manager Lorne Donaldson, Shaw was dealing with “maybe a little sickness” and the coach opted to rest his team’s leading tournament goal scorer before a third-place showdown against Costa Rica.

Canada hit the ground running on Thursday in the 18th minute from Jessie Fleming. Following a slightly deflected cross from left-back Ashley Lawrence, Fleming did well to pounce on the cross and head the ball into the back of the net in the first half. Canada continued to have an immense amount of possession, but as manager Bev Priestman put it in the postgame news conference: “We didn’t take care of direct play and transition.””We fixed that at halftime — I think it made a big difference,” she later added.

The quick incorporation of four substitutes (Adriana Leon, Jordyn Huitema, Allysha Chapman and Julia Grosso) in the 53rd minute gave Priestman’s squad a more dynamic edge. By the 64th minute, Leon would go on to send a perfectly timed cross from distance that landed perfectly toward Chapman, who would head in the ball to make it 2-0. In the 76th, Huitema redirected a cross to Leon, providing an opportunity for Leon to sprint toward the lobbed ball and tap it into the net.Possibly through rejuvenated options off the bench, or maybe thanks to the temperatures finally dropping down to the 80s, Canada were enthusiastic in the secod half — later accumulating a total of 33 shots over the entirety of the 90-plus minutes. Jamaica, on the other end of the pitch, would finish with just two.Still, even after securing a 3-0 victory, a previous place in the 2023 Women’s World Cup through the group stage, a fourth victory in a row and a fourth consecutive match in the tournament without a goal allowed, Priestman believes that her squad is capable of more.”I think there’s another level and I do think that playing a team like the U.S. will bring out some of our strengths that maybe teams haven’t allowed us to do,” the Canadian coach said.”There’s a lot on the line, it’s the Olympic Games that we want and we want to make sure that we win that final.””I think we’ve had all different types of wins, whether it’s from the bench or from the starting lineup,” Huitema said. “I think all around our team is ready to come in and hurt them. I think we’re very deep and our squad has a lot of depth to it.”Off-the-field, the players haven’t appeared to be impacted by a looming internal issue with their federation that has yet to be resolved. Amid tensions over negotiations, a report by Canadian outlet TSN on Tuesday highlighted an alleged lack of transparency on governance and finances by those running Canada Soccer.The players responded with a lengthy statement, which included that they were “deeply troubled by the content” of the article and that they have also called for an “investigation” into the matter.Canada midfielder Quinn said after the win that players are “still sifting through the article” and that it was a “tough week” due to what is happening behind the scenes, but let out a smile in the mixed zone when discussing what lies ahead on the pitch.”We have an important match,” the midfielder said optimistically. “That’s going to be the focus for us moving forward.”

My 3 Thoughts on USWNT-Costa Rica

U.S. heads to CONCACAF final with a 3-0 win, but you can’t help but think the U.S. would struggle right now vs top teams at Euro 2022

Grant Wahl

The win put the U.S. in Monday’s final against the winner of Canada-Jamaica. Here are my three thoughts on the game:

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• Rose Lavelle had a filthy backheel. The U.S. was absolutely lacking in invention in Monday’s lackluster 1-0 win against Mexico, and a big reason was the absence of Lavelle—easily the team’s most creative midfielder—from the starting lineup. With the score 1-0 late in the first half, a successful U.S. counter-press by Sophia Smith forced a turnover deep in the Costa Rica end, and Lavelle instinctively backheeled to Pugh, who finished well for her first goal of the tournament. Lavelle brings something special to this U.S. midfield that’s unique to her, and when teams like Costa Rica are defending deep it’s even more important to have someone who’s willing and able to pull off a remarkable bit of skill in tight space at speed. For Pugh, too, her finish was hard-earned for a player who has been active during this tournament but had been frustrated by her inability to find the net. This U.S. team may be a work in progress, but I don’t think there’s much debate right now that Pugh and Smith should be the starting wingers.

• This U.S. team would struggle right now against a number of teams in the Euros. I fully understand that the U.S. right now is still trying to find the right combinations and isn’t attempting to peak for this tournament in the same way that teams are for Euro 2022. But it’s inescapable when you watch games from both tournaments at the same time that the U.S. would struggle right now against the current versions of England, France, Germany and perhaps Sweden and the Netherlands. U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said on Monday that his team wasn’t ready today to play a World Cup but that it “absolutely” would be a year from now. Perhaps, but even with the U.S. controlling the game against Costa Rica from the start, and even if we allow that there are just two elite teams in CONCACAF (the U.S. and Canada), I’m not seeing this U.S. team playing in a way that would provide much confidence against one of those European teams.

• Naomi Girma should start the final. The U.S. has gone the entire tournament without conceding a goal, admittedly against weak opposition, but Girma (who didn’t start on Thursday) has been the best-performing centerback of the three-person rotation that includes Becky Sauerbrunn and Alana Cook. Cook had a couple shaky moments on Thursday, so I’d lean toward Sauerbrunn as the central partner for Girma. If there’s one big takeaway on a U.S. player from this tournament, it’s that Girma is the real thing and needs to be a starter going forward.

With USWNT into CONCACAF W final, a more nuanced version emerging under Vlatko Andonovski

Jul 15, 2022  Jeff Kassouf

MONTERREY, Mexico — Thursday brought another methodical performance from the United States women’s national team in a 3-0 victory over Costa Rica at Estadio Universitario. The result clinched the Americans a place in Monday’s CONCACAF W Championship final, a match they and nearly everyone assumed they would win from the start.The path there has been more laborious than dominant for Vlatko Andonovski’s squad, but it was enough to qualify for the 2023 World Cup — where the U.S. will look to win an unprecedented third straight title — and put the U.S. within one victory of clinching a place in the 2024 Olympics.”I think we need to be overall sharper,” said Emily Sonnett, who scored the USWNT’s initial goal on Thursday. “I don’t think our team is very satisfied with that. There’s a lot that we need to focus on. But overall, I think we’ve competed, and I think we’ve stuck to game plans every single game. How do we put it all together now going forward?Two of the goals on Thursday were products of the U.S. implementing pressure high up the field at the right time. Sonnett’s opening goal in the 34th minute — the first of her career in 69 appearances — was, like the Kristie Mewis game-winner in Monday’s 1-0 victory over Mexico, another scrappy effort from a corner kick.

Important to the creation of that opportunity is something which will not show up on the stat sheet: an individual defensive effort from Mallory Pugh high up the field. One minute after Pugh nearly stripped Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermudez of the ball in her own box, as the lone player pressing, the U.S. winger put Costa Rica’s defense under pressure deep inside their own defensive third, winning the ball and going straight to goal to force the corner kick. Sonnett scored on the ensuing play.

Ten minutes later, it was Pugh on the finishing end. Sophia Smith won the ball just outside of Costa Rica’s penalty area and Rose Lavelle reacted quickly, backheeling it into the path of Pugh, who was running in behind. Lavelle’s technical skill made the play, but Smith’s pressure to win the ball back in a high area was the catalyst.”I think pressing is a great opportunity to transition and attack,” Pugh said after the match. “So, I think if you look at it that way, like defense is offense, I think that’s just part of our identity. We want to create these attacking transition moments to be able to create ad just keep going. We want teams just to feel that pressure, so I think it’s just part of our identity.”Since Andonovski’s first game in charge in November 2019, the U.S.’s press has been more varied than the previous iteration under Jill Ellis. The 2019 World Cup-winning team played with a relentless, high-energy press which demanded significant defensive efforts from its forward line as well as a midfield which was asked to cover large swaths of ground in wide areas. The ongoing absences of Julie Ertz (pregnant) and Sam Mewis (recovering from injury), two of the three starting midfielders at the 2019 World Cup, are part of the reason that area of the team is in transition.Andonovski took over the job with a determination to add nuance to the team’s defensive pressure. His objective, he said at the time, was not to completely recalibrate a system which had brought the team great success, but rather to add sophistication to the process. At times, that means the Americans will drop their line of confrontation slightly to challenge their opponent to play through them. Many opponents — especially in CONCACAF — cannot do it. On Thursday, the circumstances dictated that the U.S. be selective about when to press, anyway. The game kicked off at 6 p.m. local time under the relentless sun as Monterrey’s ongoing drought drags on. The temperature at kickoff was 96 degrees Fahrenheit, with a feels-like temperature of over 100. Thursday was also the fourth game in 11 days for each team (10 for their opponents), and with the final against Canada looming on Monday, the U.S. staff had to allow themselves to look ahead.”It comes down to reading the moments and when we want to press and when we want to drop off a little bit and allow them to connect a few passes,” Andonovski said about managing the heat.The upcoming U.S.-Canada clash is a rematch of last year’s Olympic semifinal, which the Canadians won on its run to a gold medal, forcing the U.S. to settle for the bronze medal. Canada will be the toughest and deepest opponent the U.S. has faced all tournament. It is also a team which likes to find transitional moments and strike on the counterattack, much as it did in that semifinal in Tokyo. The U.S. dominated most of that match but conceded a fluky penalty on a Canada counterattack and lost 1-0.Much of those same dynamics will be at play again on Monday, although the U.S.’ roster has undergone a significant overhaul in the 11 months since that game. Canada, who defeated Jamaica 3-0 in Thursday’s late match, will be defensively sound and look to exploit the U.S. in wide areas as the Americans’ fullbacks push forward. That likely means the U.S. will pick their moments to press their rivals, to limit their exposure on the counterattack.”I feel like the way that Vlatko wants us to play, it’s different every game, right?” Alex Morgan said. “It depends on if it’s a four-back or a five-back [for the opposition], the way that they pressure — whether inside or outside, the spaces that they give, or the high line or a low line. I think we’ve faced different challenges every game.”

Morgan followed up by noting that the U.S. could have led 3-0 by halftime but missed chances, including by her. She hit the post moments into the match and the U.S. missed several opportunities from close range, which has been a theme this tournament. The sharpness still isn’t there for this version of the U.S., but it will need to be on Monday. The loser of the final will have to wait a year to confirm its place at the 2024 Olympics via a playoff.”I thought that we made too many technical errors, too many for the players that were on the field,” Andonovski said “Because we know that they are technical. We know they can settle the ball and pass and that they can execute different technical demands.”


COMMENTARYUSWNTJULY 15, 2022BY ARIANNA CASCONE The United States women’s national team beat Costa Rica 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the final of the Concacaf W Championship

What went right for the United States? What went wrong? Let’s talk about that ahead of Monday’s final against Canada

The United States women’s national team beat Costa Rica 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the final of the Concacaf W Championship. It took some time to break down the Costa Rican defense, but both the scoreline and stats-sheet indicate that the USWNT had control of the game from the start.


Costa Rica lined up in a 5-4-1 and sat in a defensive block inside their own half, but the U.S.’s relentless counter pressing allowed the team to find space in the attacking third. The United States made nearly 100 more passes than their opponents in the final third and also had 12 of their 15 total shots come from inside the box.

Much of the USWNT’s success stemmed from the work of Rose Lavelle, Sophia Smith, and Mallory Pugh. That’s been true for the majority of this tournament so far. 

In the group stage, Lavelle and Smith tallied goals against Jamaica and Pugh contributed two assists, one each against Jamaica and Haiti. On Thursday against Costa Rica, the trio delivered an impressive goal in first half stoppage time.

Lavelle played a cheeky backheel through to Pugh, who put away her first goal of the tournament. That goal doesn’t happen, though, without Smith’s defensive work to win the ball back from Costa Rica after a poor clearance. All three players involved in that goal also led the team in recoveries last night, which shows how valuable they are for the U.S. on both sides of the ball (data courtesy of StatsPerform)


We could go on to talk about the U.S.’s other two goals – Emily Sonnett with the first and Ashley Sanchez with the third – but one other thing that stood out from this game is head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s approach to player rotation.

The starting lineup against Costa Rica included four changes from the 11 that started the final group stage game against Mexico. The United States also made five changes to their lineup from their tournament opener against Haiti to game two against Jamaica and another seven changes from Jamaica to the Mexico game. The only two players who have started every game for the U.S. at this tournament are Smith and Lindsey Horan. Andonovski has even rotated his goalkeepers, with Casey Murphy and Alyssa Naeher going back-and-forth in net.

Andonovski and the U.S. might be playing the long-game here, providing young players with starts, caps, and experience in a major tournament ahead of next year’s Women’s World Cup. But at what point does all this rotation hurt the on-the-field product?

In the post-game mixed zone, when asked about the team’s progression throughout the tournament, Alex Morgan said that Andonovski has the U.S. play in a slightly different way each game depending on the opponent’s approach. She went on to mention that it’s important for players to know their roles, since they change “from game to game”. 

Some continuity could really help this U.S. team. 

Even though they’ve secured four wins and four clean sheets in four games, they’ve been inconsistent. Some of the struggles against Haiti and the dip in performance from the Jamaica to Mexico games put that on full display. Andonovski also pointed out that his team made many technical errors against Costa Rica, and speculated whether it was a result of the stress and pressure associated with a knock-out game.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if some of that stress might arise from players having to learn roles that change each game while playing with different teammates.

There won’t be enough time in this tournament to address all the hitches that Andonovski and Co. highlighted on Thursday night, as the U.S. is set to face Canada in the championship match on Monday. 

With a trophy and a spot at the 2024 Olympics on the line, fielding a familiar line-up and focusing on that counter press might mitigate some of the United States’ inconsistency and help them secure the win over their North American rivals. 

Is the concern around the USWNT’s performances overblown?

MONTERREY, MEXICO - JULY 14: Emily Sonnett #14 of the United States celebrates scoring during a Concacaf W Championship game between Costa Rica and USWNT at Estadio Universitario on July 14, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Emily Sonnet who scored her first goal was the Woman of the Match from her left back spot.

By Meg Linehan and Steph Yang Jul 15, 2022

Another CONCACAF final, another match-up between the U.S. and Canada. In the end, we’re exactly where we expected to be, with the USWNT defeating Costa Rica 3-0, followed by Canada defeating Jamaica 3-0 on Thursday night at Estadio Universitario.

The semifinals ultimately felt more like a formality than anything else. Both Costa Rica and Jamaica rested key players in Raquel Rodriguez and Khadija Shaw, respectively. With the third-place game being a must-win for both teams in order to have a shot at the second CONCACAF Olympic berth (to be decided in a two-leg playoff between the second and third place teams in September 2023), it felt like both teams took the realistic approach to Thursday rather than pushing hard for the upset. Given the general level of exhaustion due to local weather conditions — the water shortage in Monterrey is still ongoing and the forecast for the third-place game is a high around 97 degrees — that seems like a smart tactical move.

But does that mean an all-out battle between the United States and Canada for the championship and a guaranteed Olympic spot? Certainly it would be nice for any team to be able to get both World Cup and Olympic qualification crossed off their list in one go, and to be able to shift focus solely to World Cup prep. Both teams will be aware of minutes management for players who will have to return to their respective clubs, though, and finish out at least another three months within the NWSL’s often unforgiving schedule. Let’s find out together! 

“I think we are gaining momentum”

For as much angst seems to be surrounding the current state of the team, nothing about Thursday’s match suggested that the USWNT was ever not in control of the game’s outcome. 

Costa Rica’s extremely organized mid-to-low block in the 5-4-1 was effective in the exact way it was designed to be effective, but the U.S. still found moments via the press even in the heat. As Alex Morgan said after the match, they certainly had decent looks through the first 30 minutes, even if they weren’t turning into goals.

Let’s rewind to the opening match against Haiti. After that win, Morgan said, “I just think we need to figure it out on the field quicker. We go in with a game plan, but they can give us something completely different. … We need to adjust a little bit better.”

On Thursday night, asked to assess if the team has been improving on this front with four games done and only one remaining, Morgan gave a lengthy response in the mixed zone. 

“The way that Vlatko wants us to play, it’s different every game,” she began. “It depends on a four back or a five back, the way that they pressure inside or outside, the spaces they give, whether it’s a high line or a low line. We’ve faced different challenges each game.” 

While the first sentence has somehow earned a lot of attention on social media, interpreted as a weakness of the coaching staff, there’s really nothing concerning about the idea that the USWNT has a different tactical approach for each match, depending on the opponent. It feels like a leap to suggest that Andonovski is somehow trying to fundamentally alter the entire DNA of the team from match to match, even with starting XI changes or fiddling with some of the finer details of their formations (like the Lavelle-Sanchez double 10).

Here’s where it does get more interesting: “I think we are gaining momentum, and we’re doing better reading the game earlier and figuring it out on the field. We do need to understand, though, what the coach has given us. We all have to buy in, we can’t have one or two players not doing what they’re supposed to do because that ruins the whole flow of the game if we’re going to play in a certain structure. I think that’s important to know — it’s playing free, but knowing your role, and that’s going to change from game to game.”

The best case scenario is that the players on the field are still working to get the chemistry clicking and balance reading the game and making adjustments on the fly with the tactical instructions from the coaching staff. A less charitable reading of this suggests that there may be some sort of communication issue, or players are not understanding or resisting those tactical instructions. 

“We had Soph (Smith), and then when Trin (Rodman) came in there at the end, we were playing a little bit of two 9s with the winger on that side tucked in, and Sof (Huerta) getting a little higher on that side. So it’s different roles in every game and you just have to be willing to do a little bit of dirty work. Sometimes you get a little more freedom one game, and less freedom another game.”

The greater question prompted by Morgan here is: if there’s some sort of breakdown on this front, will we see further evidence of that against Canada, or when the USWNT plays another top team? The tournament has been a chance to move from the evaluation period to now building for next year’s World Cup. While new combinations are still being played, it’s going to get a lot harder to handwave away lackluster performances as growing pains.

The USWNT isn’t at the Euros, they’re here in Monterrey with a very different objective and — to Andonovski’s full admission — a work in progress that is not ready for a World Cup at this moment in time. The good news is that they’re not playing a World Cup at this moment in time. There has to be an end product for this process, but even with all the high expectations and the legitimate criticism of the team, the USWNT is an unfinished project with another year to build. 

The final against Olympic gold medalists Canada will be the most helpful match when it comes to getting an accurate assessment of the current state of the team in 2022. Scheduling has been an issue in 2022 across the board, but that hasn’t entirely been within the federation’s control. They need to play higher ranked teams over the course of the next year. And the good news is that the October FIFA window may finally allow for a test or two against European teams, with their World Cup qualifiers finally wrapping up in September.

Could there perhaps be some additional communication around the overall plan, or benchmarks the technical staff would like to achieve between now and July 2023? Sure. But right now, the USWNT has not allowed a single goal through the W Championship while scoring 12 of their own in four games, they’re in the final and they’ve avoided any major injuries (I type this knocking on every type of wood available in the vicinity of this laptop). They might not have been beautiful wins, but they have been wins that qualified the team for the World Cup. That’s not nothing.

Canada advances to the final to play their old friend, the United States

There were plenty of questions after the game for both teams about an Olympic rematch from last summer; a chance for redemption for the U.S., or an opportunity to keep sticking it to their rivals for Canada — a chance to say ‘hey, it was no fluke that we won that semifinal last year.’ 

“We definitely won’t underestimate them. They’re a top side,” said Canada head coach Bev Priestman after their win against Jamaica. “But I’m really excited to call that challenge again. And there’s a lot on the line. It’s the Olympic games (qualification) that you know, we won. And we want to make sure that we win that final.”

Andonovski told the press after the U.S. defeated Costa Rica that he and his staff had already been reviewing the Olympic semifinal, which Canada won 1-0 on a penalty kick, and that they would be analyzing Canada for any changes in trends or styles. 

“Heading into this tournament, we kind of knew if both teams played the way they’re capable of we’d be meeting them in the final,” said Christine Sinclair. “And it’s always exciting. I mean, they’re a world class team. They’ve obviously changed a little bit since the Olympics and have some new young, fresh faces. And we’re excited.” 

One of those faces is, of course, Sinclair’s Portland Thorns teammate Sophia Smith. Both sets of players often crisscross with each other in the course of club play in the NWSL, which always adds an element of intellectual exercise to a meetup between these two teams, as everyone has an idea of everyone else’s tendencies. 

Meanwhile, the players have been finding off-the-field camaraderie with U.S. players as the Canada women’s and men’s national teams are currently locked in a tense disagreement with Canada Soccer over matters of governance, with accusations that Canada Soccer has made  bad financial decisions that have impacted pay to both the women and the men and completely eroded the players’ trust in the federation. Sinclair said Canadian players were talking to their U.S. counterparts, given that the U.S. women had just gone through an extensive CBA negotiation process with USSF. 

“Obviously I’m teammates with Becky (Sauerbrunn), which kind of helps,” said Sinclair, laughing. “So Janine (Beckie) and I, we’ve picked her ear a bunch and I think we’re in a pretty good spot. The men’s team is fully supportive and we’re both on the same page now. It’s just a matter of getting Canada Soccer on it.”

Emily Sonnett: nice.

Let’s end this one with a celebration of Emily Sonnett’s first national team goal, which she earned in her 69th appearance for the national team — a stat that feels incredibly perfect for Emily Sonnett.

She didn’t go for the obvious joke in the mixed zone, but hopefully she found the pizza party she was looking for.

Meet the USWNT chef responsible for feeding the World Cup champs during qualifiers in Mexico

Jul 16, 2022  Jeff Kassouf  ESPNFC MONTERREY, Mexico — Hamburgers, pork chops, mac and cheese: It’s hard to pick a favorite dish. That’s not even mentioning the custom vegan plates that turn heads at every meal.Away from the field and the pressures of qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics, food is the talk of the U.S. women’s national team at the CONCACAF W Championship. And Teren Green might be the most popular person on the team.”He’s great, such a good chef,” U.S. defender Sofia Huerta said, raving about everything from tacos to avocado toast. Huerta and her teammates already qualified for the 2023 World Cup, and they will try to clinch a spot in the 2024 Olympics on Monday.Green — or “Chef T” as he’s known to just about everyone — is the team’s personal chef brought in during big tournaments, cooking every meal for players and staff. Three times per day — four on game days for the late-night, postgame meals — he oversees the fueling of the two-time defending World Cup champions.Framed like that, it can sound like a stressful job, but what sets Green apart is his ability to make popular food while keeping mealtime fun. Part of that process is allowing players to have a say in the menu. Each player gets an opportunity to design the menu on a given day. The staff will put out a poster with the player on it to celebrate their choices, none of which ever disappoint once prepared.Emily Fox and Megan Rapinoe celebrated birthdays early in the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico. Fox opted for a local flair: tacos and ceviche, then churros for dessert. Then came the birthday cake, along with a team singalong that the introverted Fox said Rapinoe enjoyed a bit more.This collaborative effort between chef and team is a window into how Green operates — and why he is such an important member of the team. He carries with him lessons he learned as a young chef at The Sagamore, a luxury resort overlooking Lake George in upstate New York: his role is not just about food, but exceptional service and experience.”I feel like mealtime is a big part [of the environment],” Green said from a chair in the private dining area the team blocked off and customized atop its hotel. “We have it three times a day and we want it to be the best three times a day. We want everyone happy, we want everyone to have what they want. We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so I’m constantly asking for requests. Tell me what you want. We’ll make it happen.”Green, 33, is a self-taught chef who got his start at a small restaurant in greater Detroit, working his way up from prep work and dishwashing to entrees. He left for the opportunity at The Sagamore to advance his skills before returning home to Detroit to work atop the famous Renaissance Center looking over the city.Then he got his first shot in sports through a connection, working with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. Green started as one of five chefs, brushing elbows with Stan Van Gundy, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. After a few weeks, Green said, the players requested him exclusively. Soon, they started inviting him over to their houses to cook and hang out. Green’s popularity had as much to do with his hospitality as his food, he said now.”Most of the time they didn’t really want to eat, they just wanted a friend,” Green said. “I’d come over to cook, I’d cook a meal, and then they were like, alright, let’s go play [NBA]2K or let’s go to the movie theater that they had in their home.”U.S. women’s national team players have taken to “Chef T” as well. Green made a connection to the team ahead of the 2019 World Cup and served as chef for that entire tournament, which the U.S. won. He was back again for the Tokyo Olympics last year, and he joined the team again ahead of the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship qualifying tournament. His full-time gig is cooking for MLB’s Detroit Tigers when they are playing at home, and they work with him on the occasions he leaves to join the U.S. women.Green is a tall figure with a quiet, humble demeanor. “It’s not really about me,” he said of his work. He blends in seamlessly with the team, serving an integral role behind the scenes, which at its core is designed to help everyone else do their job better.”When you bring anyone into a mix of delegations, it isn’t just your skillset — it’s about the fit,” U.S. women’s national team general manager Kate Markgraf said. “He definitely fits. He’s a big element [of the team], but he’s a value-add. He’s someone that different people gravitate towards. And when you see his face, the players all go, ‘Chef T’ because he’s a non-threatening, supportive presence, which is something that you need in this environment.”A chef is officially a professional support position that U.S. Soccer provides at its own discretion. Markgraf said it should be an investment all teams are making.Becca Roux, the executive direction of the USWNT Players Association agreed. “It’s fantastic that USSF has recently brought in a chef to most U.S. major tournaments and qualifiers as it is a health, safety and performance advantage,” she said.The U.S. women’s national team’s staff is large, so Green does not work alone. He meets with the team’s head of performance, Ellie Maybury, and the team’s dietitian, Lindsay Langford, to build guidelines around what the team should eat: more carbs before a game, flexibility to indulge after a game.Then, Green takes those guidelines and builds menu ideas, working with local chefs at the team hotel. He will make sure hotel kitchen staff know the team’s nutrition guidelines and objectives of any given meal, and then they’ll collaborate. Typically, Green does not get to watch the first game of a tournament because he needs to get the local staff assimilated with postgame operations, but he can be found at the stadium, enjoying a game, like during Thursday’s 3-0 win over Costa Rica in the tournament semifinal.Green said he likes to lean on the local expertise of chefs and use local ingredients, all of which are sourced for their quality. In Monterrey, that means using authentic Mexican sauces and “perfect” avocadoes. At the Olympics, it was everything from Ramen to Wagyu beef and Miyazaki mangoes, an expensive, candy-like version of the fruit.”You’ve got to have respect for the kitchen,” Green said of entering new environments. “I’m glad that I know how to walk around the kitchen properly and move around to where I’m not offending anybody.”Players notice the attention to detail. Green did not grow up on soccer. His first women’s soccer game was when he got his first shot with the team, at a training camp in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2019. Immediately, there was reciprocal respect.”They’re great,” he said. “They don’t hold anything back. They’re extremely appreciative, which is one of the reasons why they’re my favorite team to work for.”After the CONCACAF W Championship ends, Green will return to his regular job working for the Detroit Tigers. He already has his eyes on the 2023 World Cup, though, wondering aloud which types of cuisine he needs to start experimenting with from Australia and New Zealand.Scroll through Green’s Instagram page and among the mouth-watering photos of his dishes, you’ll find him holding the World Cup trophy on the field in Lyon after the U.S. won in 2019. Rapinoe gave him a personal shout-out on the steps of New York City Hall during her speech after that victory.It was there in France where that special attention that Green puts into his craft became obvious to players. Among the team’s practicing vegans is Alex Morgan, who was on that squad and is back with the team for the CONCACAF W Championship. Green said he feels for vegans because they can’t always eat exactly what they are craving, so he puts an extra effort into their meals, serving them directly instead of via a buffet setup. Soon, more players wanted in on that experience.”When we went to France, there were maybe two vegans,” Green said. “By the end, there were about six. I build the plate specifically for them and make it nice and fancy and deliver it to them. When the other players see that, they’re like, ‘Oh, I want a meal brought to me, too.'”Now, the newer players notice, too. This training camp is the first Huerta has experienced with “Chef T,” but she said the appreciation of his work is strong and the connection he makes with players is immediate.”The food here has been amazing, and obviously that’s really important being a professional athlete, the nutrition aspect of it,” she said. “He’s so good and he knows exactly what he’s doing. That’s just something that, when you don’t have him here, that’s something you’re worried about or you’re thinking about. Having him here, though, that’s taken care of. You don’t have to worry about anything you are putting in your body. He’s so sweet, he takes care of us. He’s so valuable and important to the team.”Of course, there’s always room for some cheat meals to keep things fun. After the squad’s 1-0 win over Mexico on Monday, that meant filet mignon at 1 a.m. Sometimes it means ice cream. Even the boss is on board with a little fun.”The mac and cheese postgame — and I don’t usually eat mac and cheese,” Markgraf says, “it’s the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.”

Alyssa Naeher brings ‘just take the picture already’ energy to USWNT’s funny pre-match photos

MONTERREY, MEXICO - JULY 6: Alyssa Naeher #1 of the United States looks to the ball during a training session at the training fields on July 6, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.

By Steph Yang and Meg Linehan

Jul 15, 2022

You know that gif of a woman pointing emphatically and going “I respect YOU!”? 

That’s me to Alyssa Naeher for her insistence on being herself and playing by her rules. From being told by Stephanie McCaffrey to smile at her own birthday dinner to shrugging off the congratulations of her teammates after a huge save because she didn’t want to get called for time wasting by the referee, Naeher is the epitome of business in the front, and also business in the back. 

This has all come out in new and exciting ways during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, as the USWNT bench players keep taking “fun” pregame photos in which Naeher is technically present, but absolutely not participating. I have to emphasize that this is not a roast or a diss in the least — as a fellow “just take the picture so I can go” person, this has made me the No. 1 Alyssa Naeher respecter. I absolutely love that she’s not a picture person, at least not on a game day. Internally she might be nervous, excited, resentful, worried. We’ll never know. Nor do we have a right to know. Give us nothing, girl. I respect YOU.

July 4

This photo, taken before the USA vs. Haiti game, kicks off our series. It’s clearly meant to be in the “sassy” category, or perhaps the “strike a fun and cool pose” category. Naeher is standing to the side with her arms calmly folded behind her back. Is there a glimmer of disgust at the whole exercise? It’s impossible to tell. End of story. 

I give this one about 6.5 out of 10 Naehers for the neutral expression. 

(Meg here, hopping in: In the complete opposite direction, just want to note newcomer Trinity Rodman’s journey as she realizes her full potential in these photos. First one here is just happy to hang in the back row.)

July 7

Naeher wasn’t in the photo before USA vs. Jamaica, as she started the game, so there are no Naehers to award for this date.

July 11

Megan Rapinoe captioned this one on her instagram “Semi Daze with the BADDIES” with a heart on fire emoji ahead of their semifinal; it was actually taken July 11, before USA vs. Mexico. Again, there seems to be some element of “have fun with it.” We’ve got everything from your general smile to some big poses. From Naeher, a direct stare at the camera lens. 

8 out of 10 Naehers

(Meg again: Rodman has realized the opportunity before her, and that Megan Rapinoe is completely willing to do whatever. Not 100% full strength yet, but getting there.)

July 14

This was taken before the semifinal against Costa Rica. The players seem to have gone full goof with this one, and there’s a collection of big smiles and even Kristie Mewis throwing up the peace sign behind Kelley O’Hara, who is smiling big time like a dad in a family gathering photo. I don’t know how else to put it. Naeher: a complete enigma. Just a mystery of a goalkeeper. My favorite picture yet from this tournament. 

9 out of 10 Naehers

(Meg again: Rodman has ascended to her highest form, Pinoe’s all in and this time Rodman’s bestie Ashley Sanchez is ready to benefit. There could be no more opposite energy compared to Naeher.)

We’ve still got one game left to go. If Casey Murphy or Aubrey Kingsbury is asked to start, we can probably look forward to one more picture of Alyssa Naeher being herself and, given the trajectory of these photos over time, I absolutely cannot wait.

Women’s Euro 2022 bracket and fixtures schedule


Wednesday, July 20
QF1 – England vs. Spain – (Brighton) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Thursday, July 21
QF2 – Germany vs. Austria (Brentford) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Friday, July 22
QF3 – Sweden vs. Runners-up of Group D – (Leigh) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Saturday, July 23
QF4 – France vs. Netherlands – (Rotherham) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2


Tuesday, July 26
SF1 – Winners of QF3 vs. England or Spain – (Sheffield) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Wednesday, July 27
SF2 – France or Netherlands vs. Germany or Austria – (Milton Keynes) – 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2


Sunday, July 31
Winners of SF1 vs. Winners of SF2 – (Wembley Stadium) – 5 p.m. BST / midday ET, ESPN

USMNT’s Matt Turner denies Arsenal move puts international status at risk

– Arsenal boss Arteta reflects on demanding Amazon documentary

Aaron Ramsdale has established himself as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper under Mikel Arteta and Turner appears to face a difficult task in dislodging him, despite being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2021.Turner is currently vying with Zack Steffen for the No. 1 jersey in Gregg Berhalter’s side with the World Cup just four months away.Steffen is set to join Middlesbrough on loan from Manchester City in search of regular action, but Turner believes he can make a fast start in north London.”Opportunities like this for players from the U.S. are few and far between,” Turner said. “I wouldn’t say I’m worried or it’s a gamble. This is the obvious progression in my career.”Getting my foot in the door overseas is a lot easier said than done. I’ve been playing well in MLS for the last three seasons and this was the first concrete offer I had.”Playing consistently in MLS did not guarantee me the starting XI for the U.S. national team. I needed to shake it up to take my game to the next level and playing in the Premier League with these guys has already shown me some massive improvements.”You have to think about your entire career. You can’t make decisions based on one World Cup. Injuries happen and athletic careers are finite. I’ve wanted to take this game as far as I can, so to be able to represent a club like Arsenal is a dream come true.”Turner’s task should be made a little easier by backup goalkeeper Bernd Leno‘s likely departure to Fulham, although the two clubs are yet to finalise a fee for the proposed move.Asked how Arteta had described his possible role at the club before signing, Turner continued: “Mikel told me I am here to challenge for the starting role. We’re not in this business to just accept being second.”We all want to battle for time on the pitch. So the mentality he wants for me is to push Aaron, to push myself and to push the guys in the locker room. There’s a lot of young guys bopping around and I am a senior player here at 28. So I can be someone those guys can rely on for advice on and off the pitch.”Every step I have gone through in my career has been a big step. Going from high school to Uni, then Uni to MLS, then MLS to the national team and now to the Premier League. The players I am with every day are very talented. They bring a consistency, an intensity and a different sort of intelligence in the way they play the game.”The other big thing is the standards they hold you to every single day. The coaching staff and the players.”Sometimes the training regimen can be a bit more casual in the U.S. Maybe what I was used to at the Revolution was a little more casual. That has been a bit of an adjustment, but I was eager for a new challenge and this is definitely what I have.”At the World Cup, which begins in November in Qatar, the United States is in Group B with WalesEngland and Iran and plays its first match against the Welsh on Nov. 21.

Friday Newsletter: Why Women’s Soccer Will Be the Biggest Global Sports Story of the Next 50 Years Plus I answer your Mailbag questions     Grant Wahl Jul 15   During my short stay at home, between visiting Mexico to cover the CONCACAF women’s championship and traveling to England to cover the UEFA women’s championship, the women’s game has taken over my soccer bandwidth these days. And it’s glorious. On just about any day, I can watch live continental women’s championship games on broadcast platforms in the United States from Mexico (CONCACAF), England (UEFA), Colombia (CONMEBOL) and Morocco (CAF). A year out from World Cup 2023, I can get up to speed on the world’s best women’s players in games that matter from tournaments around the globe. That wasn’t even possible in previous cycles. Fans are fired up about it, too. More than 68,000 attended England-Austria to kick off Euro 2022 at Old Trafford. Another 45,000 at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat celebrated Morocco’s World Cup berth-clinching win over Botswana. And if Mexico hadn’t flopped in CONCACAF, we would have seen more than the 20,000-plus who came in Monterrey for El Tri’s 1-0 loss to the USWNT. GrantWahl.com is a reader-supported soccer newsletter. Quality journalism requires resources. The best way to support me and my work is by taking out a paid subscription now. Fr ee 7-day trials are available. Subscribe now Give a gift subscription   Twice a week, I post my Google calendar of soccer games on my radar. There’s a lot of orange on it these days, which is the color I use for the women’s game. That’s a reflection of increased availability and investment. There are lots of reasons I believe the growth of women’s soccer will be the biggest global sports story of the next 50 years. Part of it has to do with the steep spike of investment we’re seeing in the existing elite game, especially at the club level in North America and Europe. Television money, sponsorship money, it’s all growing at a rapid rate. Business people get it now. Investment is happening. Media coverage is happening.But another part of it has to do with simply expanding access for women and girls to play soccer in large sections of the world where the opportunity hasn’t been there before due to societal norms. That’s why I did a fist pump seeing this post from journalist Aziza Nait Sibaha about the opportunities that could come from Morocco becoming the first North African team ever to qualify for the women’s World Cup:  FIFA has helped here by expanding the women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams for next year’s tournament and opening up more slots to incentivize national federations to support their women’s programs. FIFA also pledged a billion dollars in development for the women’s game to be given around the world, though as is always the case, FIFA needs to do a better job making sure that money goes toward the people and programs intended to receive it.And obviously, FIFA can do more, like creating an annual FIFA Club World Cup for the women’s game as soon as possible; decreasing the World Cup prize money gap between the men and women; and considering other initiatives that could be successful from the top-down. The development of women’s soccer doesn’t need to happen the same way as it did in the men’s game, and we have seen that top-down initiatives (like expanding the World Cup field) can be successful.That’s part of the reason why I’m not entirely against the idea of having a women’s World Cup every two years (and losing the Olympic tournament), even though I didn’t like the idea on the men’s side.In any case, we’ll have a lot more opportunities to discuss the big-picture growth of women’s soccer in the year ahead as the World Cup approaches. But right now there’s so much going on in terms of the games themselves that I’ll get back to focusing on that for the time being. I hope you’re enjoying the on-site coverage! OPENING THE MAILBAG Who are some current American players (men or women) you could see being successful managers in a decade or two? Doug Steiger Some might happen sooner than that. On the men’s side: Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, Tyler Adams, Cristian Roldán, Alejandro Bedoya. On the women’s: Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Sam Mewis. What are the prospects for some of our walking wounded to be available for WC? Specifically: Catarina Macario, Sam Mewis, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Christen Press. Theodore Morehouse Of those, Ertz and Dunn have had pregnancies, while the others have been injured. The only question for me with any of them is whether Vlatko Andonovski doesn’t rate them enough to be on the World Cup team. All should be available by then. My sense is we would likely see Macario, Mewis, Davidson and Dunn. Ertz, Dahlkemper and Press would be up in the air. The appointment of Wayne Rooney to manage D.C. United is entertaining but it is hard to believe that it is going to solve the club’s problems. Does the dysfunction all trace back to the ownership? Dave Kasper? What can save our team? Robert Gluck It’s a great question. What’s clear, though, is that D.C. is going in a completely different philosophical direction under Rooney than the one they committed to just a year ago with Hernán Losada. That requires bringing in a bunch of new players and taking the time to see if it works. Is Rooney committed to spending much time at United? That remains to be seen. Something big needed to change, and I like Rooney, but I’m not entirely sold this is the way to do it.

Spain ‘not scared’ of England and confident of Euro 2022 upset

By Charlotte Harpur at Brentford Community Stadium

July 17, 2022Updated 7:23 AM EDT

Spain “are not scared” of England and believe they can upset the Euro 2022 hosts in their own backyard, Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati has said.Spain narrowly overcame Denmark 1-0 in their final Group B match to set up a quarter-final against the host nation in Brighton on Wednesday night.Denmark had to win on Saturday to progress to the last eight behind Germany, but Spain dominated the match with Marta Cardona scoring a late winner.England are in fine form having won all three of their group games, scoring 14 goals without once conceding. But Bonmati said Spain believe they can win the first knockout match.“It’s motivating. I’m not scared and I think my team-mates aren’t scared either,” she said after Saturday’s victory.“We played against (England) in the Arnold Clark Cup, we know that they are a good team and they have had many good performances. We have seen their three group games and they did very well.“But we think we can beat them if we improve our style and play better than today.”Her words were echoed by her team-mate Ona Batlle, who plays in the Women’s Super League with Manchester United, who suggested England’s home advantage could in fact help Spain.She added: “We’ve seen a lot of their games and I think they play really well, really good. They have a really good squad and it is not just the [starting] players. Everyone there is a good player.“They are very strong and they are playing in England, so they have that [home advantage]. But that’s going to be a boost for us because we know everything [about them] and we are ready for them.

“I think we can do it.”

Euro 2022: The quality of goalkeeping on display is the highest it’s ever been

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Merle Frohms of Germany controls the ball during the UEFA Women's Euro England 2022 group B match between Germany and Spain at Brentford Community Stadium on July 12, 2022 in Brentford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

By Caoimhe O’NeillJul 14, 2022

After any unforced error, goalkeepers can receive a barrage of abuse on social media.

Whether you’re a man or woman between the sticks, you’re likely to receive negative comments at some point in your career. But if you are a high-profile woman who plays in goal, it can be particularly bad.

For so long, goalkeeping errors have been used to undermine the women’s game and the athletes who play it. But so far at Euro 2022, not many people are talking about the keepers. And that’s largely because they’ve been very good.

“We are seeing the best level of goalkeeping that we ever have,” former England keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis tells The Athletic. “There’s been times in previous tournaments where a goalkeeper has been a weak point and teams will recognise that and use it to their advantage, but there hasn’t been a goalkeeper in this tournament so far that’s looked vulnerable or been a weak point.

“The standard of goalkeeping has gotten much, much better. Look at the Germany goalkeeper, Merle Frohms, who’s come in with a handful of caps. Some of the saves she made against Spain were outstanding — the height of athleticism.”

One Frohms save left Spain’s players, and their fans, at the Brentford Community Stadium mystified.

Germany were 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go on Tuesday as Spain looked to their catalogue of efficient passes, eyeing a way through to get them back into the game.

A ball over the top from Barcelona midfielder Patricia Guijarro and a perfectly timed run by Mariona Caldentey broke through the German back line.

Caldentey, also of Barcelona, went for a first-time strike while the pass was still in the air.

The shot was just to the left of Frohms, which helped the 27-year-old, but the speed and power at which it was barreling towards her was ferocious.

That was until the Wolfsburg player threw out her left glove to force it over the crossbar.hThere was a similar moment of skill the same day in the earlier Group B meeting between Denmark and Finland in Milton Keynes.Denmark were holding on for a 1-0 win, after Pernille Harder’s 72nd-minute header had given them a crucial lead, when Finland substitute Jenny Danielsson fired a shot towards the top right corner.

It was a hold-your-breath moment for Danish players and fans as Lene Christensen leapt towards it, tipping the ball around the post.

It was another remarkable save to add to an already bulging playlist of top saves in this European Championship.When the whistle blew on their victory, it was Christensen the Denmark team gathered around.That defeat means Finland will not advance to the knockout phase, having also lost 4-1 to Spain.But even though they are bowing out after Saturday’s finale against Germany back at Stadium MK, their goalkeeper has produced moments of magic, too.When Spain’s Laia Aleixandri headed an Ona Batlle cross down and towards goal last Friday, the new Manchester City signing was already running away, arms aloft, in celebration of what she clearly thought was a certain goal.

But Tinja-Riikka Korpela put a stop to her joy, pulling off an outstanding stop as she shuffled across her line to get a hand to it at full stretch.

Like Finland, Northern Ireland are also mathematically out before the final set of group games, but their Jackie Burns has certainly shown her worth despite conceding six times in the two matches so far.On Monday, a poor pass out from the back ended up at the feet of Austria midfielder Barbara Dunst, but Burns quickly retreated to tip the goal-bound effort over the bar.

“What you want to see in any goalkeeper is them moving their feet quickly, looking agile; then they can make excellent, technical saves,” says Brown-Finnis, who is covering the tournament as a co-commentator for the BBC. “If an error happens, it’s because of either a poor technique or poor decision. And we’re seeing very few of those.”One we did see was from Spain’s Sandra Panos in that 2-0 loss to Germany. A misplaced pass gave Klara Buhl the chance to put Germany into the lead inside the first four minutes of the match — an opportunity she calmly took.“The poor decision from Panos came from her being the first line of attack when in possession, which is still relatively new both for male or female goalkeepers,” Brown-Finnis says.“If you lose possession in midfield from a careless pass, there’s four or five players behind to mop up and nullify that mistake. That’s just not the same for a goalkeeper — and of course, it’s highlighted when it’s on the international stage and there’s millions of people watching it.”

So how have goalkeepers in the women’s game improved?

“From an England perspective, Mary Earps, Hannah Hampton and Ellie Roebuck have all had goalkeeper coaching since a very young age and have played in England’s under-15s and under-17s,” Brown-Finnis says. “They’ve had regular professional goalkeeping coaches pretty much since they decided they wanted to be goalkeepers. That’s fantastic. That’s where we always wanted the game to be.

“Goalkeepers have been an afterthought in some respects and when you look at past championship-winning teams in the Women’s Super League, the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, one of their strongest parts of who they are is because of their last line of defence; their goalkeepers.

“People are starting to recognise and realise that goalkeepers win titles. Of course, you need players to put the ball in the back of the net, but not unless you can be defensively resolute and consistent. So with that, there’s been a bigger focus on coaching keepers, improving them and getting the best out of them.”

Earps’ performances, in particular, have impressed Brown-Finnis, who says she has been flawless in England’s two matches so far. Even though the Manchester United goalkeeper had few saves to make during the 8-0 dismantling of Norway in Brighton on Monday, she had to stay switched on throughout as the goals flowed at the other end of the pitch.

“The mindset of a top-level goalkeeper is something that a lot of people probably haven’t considered. It’s very different to that of outfielders,” Brown-Finnis says.

“Being the last line of defence is one aspect. Another is we have to stay concentrated all game, every game, whether you’ve been peppered (with shots) or whether you’ve got nothing to do. That’s a really strong performance quality in a goalkeeper. You are born with some of those qualities but concentration is one of the things you work on relentlessly. To be able to wipe the slate clean after a brilliant save or a disastrous mistake is a strength. This is a superpower of a goalkeeper (that is) highly underestimated by people who have not worn a pair of gloves.”

In the tournament opener, against Austria last Wednesday, Earps demonstrated her powers of concentration, making two saves late in a 1-0 game to ensure Sarina Wiegman’s host nation got off to a winning start at Old Trafford.

The more impressive of the two was from a long-range shot by Dunst, which forced Earps to sprint across her goal.

Here, the England keeper’s agility is integral to her getting into a position to make the save.

“Mary Earps’ agility is excellent, and that is what you train on — because you are smaller (than male goalkeepers) and the size of the goal is exactly the same (as in the men’s game). You can’t get away from the fact that the average (women’s) goalkeeper size is probably about 5ft 9in (175cm), which is very different to men’s goalkeeping. We are trained in a different way because of that,” the former Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal keeper explains.

“What you have to do is work your feet quicker, to cover the full goal. It’s not about relying on size. You don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m not going to make that top corner because I’m not 6ft 5in’, you just get those feet moving quick. You work relentlessly on agility, on power, so that you can cover the goal and you just see those saves being made in a slightly different way.

“Ultimately, those saves are being made, those crosses are being collected. Goalkeepers are dominating their areas.“I remember in previous tournaments, and when I was playing, the set-up from corners was to crowd the goalkeeper. You’ll see that with Sweden — they’ve always done it. Norway have always done it. It’s just a tactic that seems to be used in women’s football more predominantly because goalkeepers are not as tall, but very few goals in this tournament have been scored from that tactic.”The level of analysis has also intensified.“It’s important having the expertise around you to be able to analyse your game: how did you make that save? Looking at your movement, where your bodyweight was centred, being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to push off,” Brown-Finnis says. “What we’re seeing is the result of the level of detail coaches and players are getting into. The finer details are things you want to get absolutely spot-on.”Mistakes can happen at any time and the likelihood is an error by a goalkeeper will go viral during these Euros, attracting negative comments from trolls on social media. Having played 82 times for England and now as a prominent figure in football media, this is something Brown-Finnis is, unfortunately, aware of.“If you’re a goalkeeper you’re open to — and know you’re going to get — criticism,” she says. “The people you want to be getting your feedback, critiquing and analysis from are goalkeeping coaches and goalkeeper team-mates.“I’m certainly not bothered about looking at what people think and say about goalkeepers (after an error), because I am pretty sure none of them have played international football.”

Check out the latest episode of The Athletic Women’s Football Podcast which is running daily during the Euros, free wherever you get your podcasts and ad-free on The Athletic.

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