I woke up this morning to a few people messaging me about how they think Caitlin Foord is better suited for the defense and not midfield. Well, this is my argument for why Foord should be in the midfield. She is crafty on the ball. 
Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars - May 8, 2013

I woke up this morning to a few people messaging me about how they think Caitlin Foord is better suited for the defense and not midfield. Well, this is my argument for why Foord should be in the midfield. She is crafty on the ball. 

Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars - May 8, 2013

When asked about Kelley O’Hara’s position, either as a forward or defender, Gabarra said that; “We really have not finalized a position for her and we will see how the next two weeks go.”

Original Link: http://www.girlsontheball.com/?page_id=13628

Currently, Sky Blue FC is playing their third exhibition match and it appears as though O’Hara is in defense. 

A review of Sky Blue FC’s record setting 2013 NWSL season and some of the new recruits, that Jim Gabarra has gathered together for the upcoming 2014 season. 

A review of the Chicago Red Stars 2013 NWSL season and a look at how their 2014 season could be a real contender for the NWSL Championship Title. 

The Washington Spirit concluded their regular season campaign in last place of the inaugural NWSL season with a 3-14-5 record. Despite being the first ousted club last season, Washington demonstrated their unrelenting fighting spirit until the final whistle was blown on August 18, 2013.

To say the Spirit had a rocky season would be an understatement. With fourteen losses under their belt, the Maryland club only managed to log three wins, but two consecutive wins in the final month of regular season play, shutting out Chicago and Seattle. However, with the Spirit, the glass is always half full. The double digit losses do not reflect the attitudes of the players that walked onto the field every week. The score lines were hard fought but the Spirit never gave up. Their defense conceded 39 goals but none of the remaining seven clubs showed as much heart for the game to never throw in the towel before the 90 minutes were called.   

Washington should be commended for their motivation on the field but unfortunately, this passion did not prove beneficial when it mattered most, advancing to the post season. The Washington Spirit suffered several shake-ups not only to their roster but to their management. The Spirit replaced Head Coach Mike Jordan, in favor of Mark Parsons, the teams Head Coach for the reserves squad. This was a brilliant move because the Spirit appeared to adopt a sharper focus and technical skill on the ball following the addition of Parsons. The first game with Parsons at the helm would see the Spirit host the heavyweights, FC Kansas City, who at the time, were riding a three game unbeaten streak. The Spirit tied Kansas 1-1, following a last ditched effort by Tiffany McCarty who earned a penalty kick in the 85th minute and was converted by Diana Matheson. Kansas had trouble breaking down the Spirits midfield in the first half, unable to score until the 54th minute. Under Parson’s guidance, the Spirit scored more frequently for the remainder of the season and survived their toughest month yet. In the month of July they were scheduled for seven games, nearly double the amount of matches than any other month that season.  

Speaking of Matheson, she remains one of the strongest players that the Spirit have going into the next season. She is the team’s leading scorer and helped pick up the slack of the back four while also maintaining an offensive mind-set when the team’s forwards couldn’t control the ball. One of the Spirits largest problems last season was the disorganized attack and the late-to-respond defense. Luckily, Matheson alongside Lori Lindsey helped balance this out as much as possible.

It is a shame that Matheson had to overload her duties on the field because the Spirit actually had some sparkling talent up front but might not have spent enough time improving their skills. Recently, Stephanie Ochs was drafted to the Houston Dash alongside Tiffany McCarty but as a Spirit, Ochs was agile and talented on the ball but it seemed that a lot of the time her partner up front struggled to connect with her. This might be because the only forwards the Spirit enlisted were inexperienced players on a professional level. Caroline Miller lifted many of the Washington fans hopes but unfortunately an injury took her out of the game late into the season. Next to Miller was the youngster McCarty who spent the most time on the field up top but failed to score even a fraction of Matheson’s tally. This is disappointing considering that McCarty’s job is to score goals while Matheson’s job is primarily to link passes with the forwards.

It became obvious that not enough training was being set aside for the forwards because using an excuse such as they were rookies is weak. Granted, they were rookies last season but McCarty and Miller were both MAC Hermann trophy finalists and broke records with their scoring talent at their respective colleges.

Lastly, the Spirit’s 2013 season would not be complete without the goal stopping heroics of Ashlyn Harris. Yes, the Spirit conceded the most goals but at the end of the season, Harris made 85 saves in 18 games, placing her third only to NWSL champion Karina LeBlanc and second place victor, Adrianne Franch. Statistically, Harris did a fantastic job between the posts and will hopefully have more communication with her back four next season so that she can record more than two shutouts.  

Onwards and Upwards

Luckily for Spirit fans, Parsons is here to stay after having his interim coach title removed and promoted to Head Coach and General Manager of the Spirit. Considering that he now has more time to develop a tremendous team that will work well together and more importantly communicate on the field. His vision is slowly being pieced together as it was recently announced that the Spirit have acquired two U.S. NT players, Crystal Dunn and Yael Averbuch. These are interesting picks and it’s slightly obvious where Parsons is looking to place them on the field.

Dunn is a guaranteed starter in the back four alongside Ali Krieger, Robyn Gayle and Toni Pressley. Placing Dunn in the midfield is not the best idea because without Dunn, the back four remain the same from last season. This means that Washington risks conceding another 39 goals. However, Dunn could be the Washington Spirit’s version of a Kelley O’Hara. She could be the next hybrid to play two positions depending on the opposing team the Spirit will face that week. For tougher teams like WNYFlash or FCKC, Dunn would be great as a defender. For lesson competitive teams such as Chicago or Boston who lack strong defense, Dunn would be perfect as an outside midfielder.

So, on the one hand, to place Dunn in the midfield is futile because the midfield is already packed with talented players such as Matheson, Lindsey and Christine Nairn. Not to mention, Averbuch who possesses a taller stature than her midfield comrades. This is a valuable commodity when playing against vertically gifted teams such as the WNYFlash. Averbuch has the ability to win 50/50 balls in the air while Dunn is more suited to play in the back four, possibly keeping her left back position.

The regular season roster has yet to be finalized but it is concerning why Parsons has overloaded his recent picks with forwards and not taken the time to split it up evenly with forwards and defenders joining the ranks. Think of it this way, Gayle, Krieger and Dunn are all NT players that can be called away for National Team matches during the season. This means that Parson’s needs a strong reserve of defenders because many teams like Portland and Sky Blue do just fine without their NT players.

Judging by the college draft, aside from Dunn, Washington only chose two other players, Molly Menchel (D) (decided not to play this season) and Shasta Fisher (M). Fisher will face a tough time finding minutes on the field now that the Spirit have acquired Dunn (D), Nairn (M) and Averbuch (M).

Much of the focus was placed on the forwards. Parsons added Tiffany Weimer, Danesha Adams, Renae Cuellar and Jodie Taylor. These are great strikers with a plethora of experience on an international level but the best pick was Jodie Taylor. Taylor is an English footballer who has played in Canada, U.S., England, Australia and Sweden. She has demonstrated that she can score on any team she is placed, which makes her a safe bet for a starter position up front.

Playing alongside Taylor, it would be easy to imagine Cuellar or D. Adams. In terms of goal scoring abilities, Cuellar is the best option because of her record with FC Kansas City, scoring five goals in eleven appearances. In terms of handling and linking the ball up top, the best option is Adams. The former Sky Blue FC forward had a good but not great season with the New Jersey club. Adams started the season on a high note, netting three goals with the last goal finding the back of the net in early June. This is a bit worrisome but hopefully something that she has improved upon during her time abroad playing for the Atasehir Belediyespor in the Turkish Women’s League.

It is unlikely that the Spirit will make many changes to their now tentative roster during the preseason but at least this roster has provided fans with an insight into the areas Parson’s is targeting to improve and has done a very good job fixing the problem areas from last year. Finally, Spirit fans can rest easy because it looks like Washington is gearing up for an exciting and competitive season and a spot in the post-season.  

Original Link: http://www.girlsontheball.com/?page_id=12742

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I agree, I think that not putting in Krieger and Engen will cause a very weak back line resulting in a lot of pressure on Solo. I'm interested in seeing what happens and how long it'll take until subs are brought in.
turtlerooter12 turtlerooter12 Said:

I hope I am wrong and that this back line is awesome but it’s just a bit weird that Sermanni would choose to start Cox … she hasn’t been that great this tournament or in any of the international friendlies earlier this year. 

I think he will only make subs early in the second half, but hopefully US will score an early goal now that Leroux is back and Press is starting! lol 

Granted the game hasn’t started yet and I haven’t seen how the back four plays against Denmark but so far, this isn’t the greatest defense that Sermanni could have assembled. Just saying.

Rampone and Engen are superb but Klingenberg and Cox aren’t the strongest.

Would have been better if he added Krieger and O’Hara alongside Engen and Rampone and then for the second half subbed Broon in for Rampone or Engen

Seattle Reign FC vs Portland Thorns FC

Match Date: Saturday August 17 2013

Time: 8:00 PM PT or 11:00 PM ET

Venue: Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium, Tukwilla, WA

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEhcsV4Oj8

Before Seattle concludes their 2013 NWSL season, they will face their rivals, the Portland Thorns FC. The third installment of the Cascadia clash will take place at Seattle’s home stadium, Starfire. The Reign have lost two previous meetings against the Thorns but this week their luck might change.

Alex Morgan is still sidelined with a MCL sprain along with Nikki Washington. Without Morgan, the Thorns have failed to record three points. In the match against Boston in which Morgan sustained her injury, the Thorns only managed to score once. The remainder of the match Portland struggled to gain an attacking edge through Christine Sinclair. The chemistry up front continued to disappoint when the Thorns met WNYF last week.

If Seattle can overwhelm the Portland midfield, then they might secure three points at home against their rivals. For Seattle to celebrate a victory and prevent Portland from gaining sole possession of second place, they will need to use Megan Rapinoe and Liz Bogus up front. The midfield is strong without Rapinoe, but the attacking force up front lacks the creativity that Rapinoe brings.

The Reign defense is strong but need to maintain their composure without conceding silly fouls or free kicks which will fall to the feet of Sinclair. For Seattle, their best bet is to use Jessica Fishlock’s speed, Keelin Winters control of the ball and Christine Nairn’s accuracy. For Portland, Tobin Heath is sitting on four yellow cards, something that could work in Seattle’s favor.

Injuries

Seattle Reign FC – None Reported

Portland Thorns FC – Becky Edwards, Alex Morgan and Nikki Washington

Original Link: http://www.soccerbuddies.com/blog/2013/8/17/nwsl-week-19-preview

Washington Spirit vs Seattle Reign FC

Match Date/Time: Saturday August 10 2013 at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT

Venue: Maryland Soccerplex, Boyds, MD

TV: Fox Soccer

The Washington Spirit will be entering Saturday’s match filled with new-found confidence after recording their second win of the season on Wednesday. The Spirit shut out Chicago 1-0 with a lone goal from Lupita Worbis. The weather conditions weren’t kind to either side, but the Spirit took advantage of the slick terrain on their home turf and secured three points to exit their single digit misery.

This Saturday, Washington and Seattle, two bottom place teams, will face-off for an exciting 90 minutes as the Spirit will attempt to record a second consecutive win, and Seattle will look to get back on track.

Seattle is the healthier squad going into the match, as the Spirit have racked up another lengthy injury list. The silver lining however is that Ali Krieger and Robyn Gayle are back in action. It remains uncertain whether Krieger will join Gayle in the back line against Seattle; she has proven to be a strong midfielder and attacking player for the Spirit. Krieger playing in midfield could come in handy as the Spirit will need to push Seattle’s aggressive offense at bay and sitting back and waiting for them to attack might be a poorly constructed plan.

It would provide also the back four with added time to mark dangerous players outside the box. If Krieger can connect up top with Stephanie Ochs or move the ball out the midfield with Diana Matheson, then the Spirit could see another win.

Injuries

Washington Spirit

Out: Candace Chapman, Caroline Miller, Toni Pressley and Colleen Williams

Seattle Reign FC

Out: None Reported

Original Link: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2013/8/10/4606166/nwsl-week-18-weekend-preview

Western New York Flash vs Seattle Reign FC

Match Date/Time: Wednesday August 7th 2013 at 7:05 PM ET

Venue: Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, NY

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Megan Rapinoe and company will travel to Rochester, NY to face the WNY Flash for the third and final time this season. Seattle recently took down the Flash 3-2 on July 11th with goals from Christine Nairn, Megan Rapinoe and Jessica Fishlock.

This week the Flash have been assigned a challenging schedule as they are set to host Portland on Saturday. With only two days in between games, Aaron Lines will need to rest some of his star players on Wednesday against Seattle. The Flash have yet to secure a playoff spot and trail Sky Blue, by three points.

For the Flash to secure three points against Seattle they will need to close down Rapinoe and Keelin Winters. They are tenacious players that always find space for their teammates and look to score at every turn. Rapinoe has a knack for opening spaces for the supporting players up top and if she can give either Christine Nairn, Jessica McDonald or Renae Cuellar a solid ball into the box, the Flash might have no chance at stopping that goal.

Seattle should not stick to the starting XI they presented against Chicago which produced a miserable result for the Reign as they lost 3-1 to the Red Stars.

Injuries

Western New York Flash

Out: Alex Sahlen

Seattle Reign FC

Out: None Reported

Original Link: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2013/8/7/4594026/nwsl-week-18-midweek-preview

Portland Thorns FC vs FC Kansas City

Match Date/Time: Sunday, August 4th at 5:30 PM PT, 8:30 PM ET

Venue: JELD-WEN Field, Portland, ORE

TV: Fox Soccer

The top of the table clash will take place at JELD-WEN Field, home to the Portland Thorns. The Thorns are second in the table; their visitors are first, and all that separates the two clubs is a point. Other than that they are equally talented across the board and this has been proven in three previous meetings.

The teams have tied the record with a win apiece and a draw and Sunday will result in a true victor of this epic saga. Portland has never been kind to FC Kansas City, and Sunday won’t be any different — it will be the first time FCKC meet Tobin Heath. The U.S. midfielder has breathed new life into Portland’s once-disorganized midfield. She is aggressive and at times can’t control that mean streak, resulting in four yellow cards in only four appearances. Heath will be walking on eggshells alongside Alex Morgan, who also owns four yellow cards.

Both of the U.S. allocated players cannot afford stepping out of line because it will be suspension from the following game where Portland face Boston. Considering that two of Portland’s strongest players can’t concede another yellow, FCKC could use this to their advantage and manipulate a caution for Heath or Morgan. It wouldn’t be difficult, Morgan has been presenting a lot of frustration lately whenever she struggles to gain possession of the ball.

This is an important match for both teams because a win on Sunday would provide either team with a comfortable cushion in first place. For either team to win, they must press the attack hard but for FCKC this is never an issue. Talent is abundant on that squad, and they will be hitting the Thorns net from all directions including some sneak attacks into the box by Courtney Jones and strikes from a distance by Lauren Holiday.

Portland will need to work on closing down the midfield, in particular Desiree Scott and Jen Buczkowski. For Portland to score will be difficult as well because Kristie Mewis will likely be in the back four and she’s in the process of wrapping up an excellent season. She not only dispossesses her competition but she moves the ball out of her half and finds players up top frequently. She will be the start to FCKC’s counter attacks.

Injuries

Portland Thorns FC

Out: Becky Edwards and Nikki Washington

FC Kansas City

Out: None Reported

Original Link: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2013/8/3/4580096/nwsl-week-17-weekend-preview

Seattle Reign FC vs Chicago Red Stars

Match Date/Time: Thursday July 25 2013 at 7:00 PM PT

Venue: Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium, Tukwilla, WA

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Chicago has made great strides in the competition this season climbing out of the bottom place and into fifth place trailing WNYF by five points. If Chicago can score a win on the road it would help them immensely and keep Boston at bay from reclaiming the fifth spot regardless of their outcome against FC Kansas City.

Seattle on the other hand is trailing Chicago by seven points and might be out of the running for the playoffs. Their chance of making it to the top four remains uncertain depending on several factors and the performances of the teams currently residing in the playoff bracket but Seattle will continue demolishing their competition.

The Reign’s six game unbeaten streak ended at the hands of FCKC last week but their determination to pull their team to a win never falters. Strong performances from Jessica McDonald and Megan Rapinoe will be an asset on Thursday against Chicago. Hope Solo’s heroics between the posts is untouchable but Chicago is sneaky with Inka Grings usually lurking around the box unbeknown to the opposition. The German international will pop up on the end of a cross when it is too late for the defense to react and it is up to the keeper to deflect.

The German international has only scored once in 10 appearances for Chicago but her contribution to the team is more tactical. She is handy when it comes to defending and gaining possession, if Ella Masar has a chance to start she will be the second piece of the puzzle for the front line. Grings would be best to dispossess the opposition and connect with Masar or Lori Chalupny up front. Both players are fast and physically strong, another strong attacking option for the Red Stars would be Leslie Osborne.

The Red Stars weakness would be their defense and this is something that Rapinoe and Jessica Fishlock can take advantage of. Thursday’s game will be exciting for fans of either club as they are both out to prove they are worth a spot in the play offs.

Injuries

Seattle Reign FC

Out: None Reported

Chicago Red Stars

Out: Taryn Hemmings, Shannon Boxx and Zakiya Bywaters

Original Link: http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2013/7/24/4551050/nwsl-week-16-mid-week-preview