Open Thread: Pre-deodorant Cup

It seems hard to believe, but the silence over at our sister-site Stumptown Footy is getting kind of deafening. I don’t want to believe that the site has gone dark…but it’s been several weeks since there’s been any new Thorns content, and there has been quite a bit of news in the NWSL world as we inch closer to whatever the hell is going to happen in Utah in July.

One bit of news from that venue is not promising: Salt Lake City’s COVID-19 cases are rising, and the city and county are in a group of three that are in the “moderate risk” category (the remainder of Utah is still “low”).

The real concern is not so much that the gross numbers are going up – we’re still in the Plague Year, after all – but that the infection rate has shot up:

“In the past week, there has been a daily average of 303 new cases per day, and a seven-day positivity rate of 10%, based on 2,120 new positive cases reported among 21,108 tests. The previous week showed a daily average of 197 new cases and a positivity rate of 7.1%.”

Salt Lake City’s Rt is 1.11, behind only South Carolina’s 1.12.

So there’s that.

On the NWSL front there’s not much hard news.

One of the most critical, and one of the hardest questions to answer is “who will choose not to play”? The league has said that no player will be sanctioned if they don’t, but at this point the only prominent refusal has been from Megan Rapinoe.

Given the downsides of this tournament – the chance that play will be fairly crude, direct, and physical with the resulting chance of injury, and the possibility of infection – compared to the small return for the players (and, particularly, the USWNT players) I can’t say I’m shocked.

The follow-on question for Thorns fans, though, is will Tobin Heath, who is in a similar career stage, follow Rapinoe’s lead.

Their internal circumstances are very different; Heath has always seemed more invested in the NWSL and her club than Rapinoe has, and Heath is a very different personality. But the externalities are quite similar, so I’ll be watching the Thorns’ pressers closely over the next couple of weeks to see if Heath reports.

Other than Heath, the only faces missing from the Thorns’ initial team workout photos were Ellie Carpenter and Lindsey Horan, and it’s my understanding that Horan has since joined the squad.

Carpenter was trapped in Australia by the travel bans, and it’s an open question when and how she can travel here (or, if the “when” is too late, whether she can fit into the squad before the kickoff against The Damned Courage).

Without reporting from the club itself we don’t know anything about how the squad is shaping up, who’s doing what, and how well. I won’t pretend to have any real interest in the actual results of this goat rodeo in Utah, but I do have considerable curiosity about several of the teams playing there; specifically, the teams that have made a lot of roster moves since 2019.

Portland, obviously, but also Orlando, Utah, Jersey, Chicago, and Tacoma. The only real known quality there will be Carolina, and that’s…not good for everyone else.

I’m also going to be kind of fascinated to see – presuming that the Thorns don’t utterly crater in the first round, or get picked off in the quarter- or semifinals by another squad – how Coach Parsons adjusts to The Damned Courage between the opener and whenever the two meet in the knockouts.

My issue with Parsons has always been that Riley seems to own him, and Parsons fails to make adjustments to tactics and matchups to change that.

This offseason we’ve seen the biggest shakeup in the squad since 2015-2016. We will probably have a couple of rooks starting upfront. Lindsay Horan is coming off perhaps her worst club season ever. Christine Sinclair and Meghan Klingenberg may be fast approaching their last seasons.

I think Parsons’ plan was to load up this squad and take a run at The Damned Courage this year. The Plague has scotched that. But it will be fascinating to see if, and how well, Parsons has reshaped this team to take on Riley’s outfit in single games.

And…since this is an open thread…so now I’ll open it up. Oh…and a first question for the group; what other links can we add to the list below?

What’s on your mind?

Link Drop

All White Kit

Rose City Review

NWSL – Homepage

CBS All Access (full site)

FBRef – NWSL homepage

Thorns FC homepage

Riveters homepage

Meg Linehan – Twitter

Thornando provided a couple more good links:

AllforXI – an SB nation site covering the women’s game

The Offside Rule – “…an all-female-fronted football podcast and website with an active and engaging social media presence…creating and curating content to actively promote female inclusion in all elements of football.”

And a couple more from trolling the intertoobz:

NWSL Analitica” – The author struggles a bit with translation so a little clunky for an English-only reader, but the site looks content-rich. I read the article on Purce’s prospects at Sky Blue and thought it was well written and thought-out. Worth a look.

Football Bloody Hell – Thorns 2020 scouting report

Thorns on reddit – like things reddit, you know what you’re getting…

John Lawes
Latest posts by John Lawes (see all)

143 thoughts on “Open Thread: Pre-deodorant Cup

  1. The Equalizer has great women’s soccer content and pod.
    My only complaint is they seem to be a bit biased against the Thorns in that they dont seem to cover them unless they have to. Which is strange given our large fan base. They will answer questions, but often the answer is less than comprehensive and not researched in any way.

    The lack of coverage coming out of Thorns pre-tournament camp is frustrating to say the least. I cant read Farley puff pieces, stumptown footy is dark, Soccer made in PDX is no more, Twitter is more interested in the latest USWNT outrage of the week. Alas, these are dark times.

    One the plus side, Instagram had some nice player Q & A posts you can access form the Thorns site. They are softball questions, but it was still fun to hear form the players themselves.

    Thank God for the occasional Riveting post, its a life line.

    1. I am a bit surprised that the club site hasn’t done more to publicize the training; the success of this thing is going to hinge on viewership, and the way to sell subscriptions to All-Access is going to be to get the fans excited about seeing the Thorns, and the way to do that is to…well, see the Thorns! Seems like a no-brainer to me.

      And given the dual hammer-blows of the Plague and the Protests, well…I can’t fault the various other sites for not coming along on our particular diversions.

      Hopefully we’ll hear more from the Thorns in the coming weeks.

  2. Missing content to but I have run out of topics to speculate on and until we see a team play. I have a daughter in Freemantle and according to her Australia and New Zealand are in a bubble and you neither get in or get out. So Ellie may be trapped for perhaps the rest of the summer. So I guess we could speculate about Right Back; probably Kat Reynolds. I would like to see Tyler Lussi given a chance to play a fullback position and Keli Hubly is another option.
    I loved watching the 2016 Thorns first game at PP. Horan has improved so much but she was pretty good right from the start. Also, loved seeing Sonnett, I will miss her even with her occasional mistakes. Dagny was not flashy just very composed and a real Valkyrie. Smite Dagny!

    1. Reynolds would be my guess, too. Not sure whether it’d be worth trying Lussi there, but it’s worth recalling that this Cup thing is going to feature a LOT of games in a short time, so it’s likely we’ll see some pretty heavy squad rotation. You might get your wish.

      2016 seems so long ago! That was a good side, and it was definitely Brynjarsdottir’s best season here. I miss the quality both Nadim and Henry brought that year, along with the pre-meltdown Allie Long.

      Sonnett…ah, Sonnett. I remember being very high on her that season. And, overall, I love her as a player and a character. But that was also before we found out about the neverending derps. And after a time those seemed more and more a thing…

  3. Thanks for getting us started here, John!

    The recent Menges interview with the co-host of “the world’s only Portland Thorns podcast” (lol) is informative.

    The Cup is Lisa Baird’s idea, and Menges emphasized several times that player participation is fully voluntary – players who elect not to participate will still receive compensation. Thankfully, no one feels compelled to play if they fear the health consequences of doing so, and no one has to think about going and finding another line of work if they choose not to play. That’s huge.

    That said, and without naming any names, Menges acknowledged that it is likely that some players who will opt-out, as due to personal or family health concerns (e.g., “having elderly parents). Although she did not provide details by name or give a quantitative estimate of non-participation, my impression of her tone in answering the question is that we’re going to see some of the bigger names and most veteran players choose to sit this out.

    The NWSL situation is a bit different from what’s happening in the NBA, for example (which Zach Lowe has criticized as being motivated by economics/greed, not concern for player safety and public health). The NWSL situation would seem to be more tenuous and dire, and thus providing motivation to get in at least something of a season.

    Yet here again Menges says that the new Baird-led NWSL has been able to provide stability, reassurances, and fiscal transparency that hasn’t happened in the past and that has allowed the players to have a more meaningful place at the table. That’s a good sign for Baird’s leadership.

    Finally… I am perplexed as to why we know so little about the Thorns going into the Cup. Heck, I know more about OL Reign – Rapinoe is out, Benstiti is not well pleased, and they’re already training in Missoula. As for the Thorns, I appreciate the importance of an org culture that is unified and tight, but we fans seem to know very little about what’s going on.

    1. Remember, Baird’s background is in marketing. She, perhaps more than anyone in the organization, recognizes that sports leagues – and especially young leagues like the NWSL – are like sharks; they have to keep swimming or die. A full year-plus without NWSL soccer? That’s not just brutal…that’s potentially fatal for the league.

      So good for her for 1) making something happen, while 2) ensuring the safety and health of the players and staff to the degree she can. This is still a big risk…but (without getting too political about it) we’re ALL going to be forced to take fairly big risks. We don’t have enough testing and tracing and other public health measures to keep this damn plague down to a manageable level. It’s going to break out again, and we’re going to have to figure out how best we can deal with it without all those things we need and that places like South Korea and Germany and Japan have used to control it better than we have.

      And…as I said to John Wade…I don’t get the club’s reticence to draw more attention to the workouts. That’s going to be key to making this Cup thing work to the degree it works at all, and as of now they’re not even trying.

      The thing that worries me about that is whether it means that Menges was softpedalling it and a LOT of the veterans are going to blow this off. Maybe the reason for the silence is that a look at the workouts would show the degree to which the team is understrenth? I hope not, but…yike.

  4. We’ll probably be missing Carpenter, not to mention our 1-2 anticipated international signings. I assume Sinclair will be here…. What about Rocky? Would she necessarily start?

    Also, what internationals on other teams will be out? Unfortunately Debinha will no doubt be better off here than in Brazil, where the president is even more clueless about COVID-19 than ours is, so NC will probably have her playing. That’s not good news for us or anyone else — her and Mewis are really key to how NC plays.

    Thanks for doing this, John, it’s good to have a place to share whatever scraps of news we have. One nice thing about Stumptown Footy is (was) that when you re-visit a comment section, it highlights comments you haven’t seen before. It’s a really helpful feature when you get to more than, say, 10 comments. I don’t suppose there’s any way to make that happen here….

    1. I honestly have no idea how this team runs out in July…especially if Thornando’s reportage is right about the possibility that a fair number of the veterans won’t play. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Certainly I hope that Rodriguez starts; she’s supposed to be a hell of an ACM, and we could use that to help take the load off Horan.

      AFAIK there’s no way to distinguish new comments in the WordPress setup. I’ll check with my tech guru, though, and see.

  5. Just to stir the pot, assuming Heath and Carpenter are out, Im curious about what everyone’s starting 11 would look like (knowing that we know little to nothing about anyone’s form / health at this point). I got: Franch, Reynolds (RB), Sauerbrunn, Menges, Kling, Seiler, Horan, Rocky (10), Smith (RF), Weaver (LF) and Sinclair (CF) .
    Yes, Im putting Sinc back up top. Im thinking more of her in as a hold-up play typ. #9.

    Any other ideas?

    1. That seems eminently reasonable to me, tho I’ll admit I’m not sure how left-footed Weaver is.

      The other thing is that it works more like a 4-3-3 than Parsons’ favorite 4-2-3-1…tho without Heath I’m not sure how you make the latter work. Maybe Seiler and Rodriguez as the “2”, Weaver-Sinc-Horan as the “3” and Smith up top? Enh…don’t really like it; Rocky’s wasted as a DM, and that’s a hell of a big ask for Smith as lone striker.

      Maybe more like your setup with Sinc up top, Weaver-Smith-Horan-Rodriguez at the top of midfield, Seiler as the DM, and the back four? Could we attack from a 4-1-4-1, typically considered a very defensive formation? Hmmm…

      Urgh! I hate this not being able to see the team play..!

  6. Before actually replying I want to thank John for giving us a place to continue this conversation. I’ve been more of a lurker than a participant – keeping in touch with my friends and large extended family has been using up most of my capacity for virtual contact – but I can feel my level of soccer energy rising as some actual games approach, whatever the quality of play.
    Starting 11 – Given that it’s NC, we really have to field the best 11 we can from the beginning, and I think that’s mostly what you’ve done. At the same time, I’m nervous about starting two rookie forwards. (Hell, I’m nervous about the whole matchup, but still …) I might prefer to start Charley and bring in Weaver off the bench. NC counts on wearing their opponents down, but even they flag somewhat late, maybe especially in these circumstances. A fresh Weaver, bringing her speed and aggressiveness into the game when others are tiring might be able to wreak … well maybe not havoc, but something. I’m also intrigued with the idea of Lussi at fullback, but probably not to try in this game. Depending on how Sinclair holds up, I might give her a rest by sliding Smith over to CF and bringing Lussi in on the wing.
    I share all the misgivings about this tournament – if the decision were mine I’d probably nix it – but it may be make-or-break for several teams, if not the league, to have some soccer (and revenue) this summer, and this could be the only chance. Could be make-or-break for the CBS contract as well. Since it’s not my decision I’m going to do my best to enjoy it.

    1. I agree on almost all counts (the only difference is that I have a very small extended family, so I don’t have to expend much energy trying to keep up with them…)

      I’m going to be very curious to see where Si-money fits in July. She seemed to have fallen out of the XI by October of 2019…but then proceeded to Oz and tore hell out of the field. So Charley then Weaver-for-Charley? Hmmm….interesting.

      I’d like to see more of Tyler Lussi, too, tho I’m not sure if fullback is where I’d like to see her. I’m still trying to understand how she seemed to fall out of Parson’s view after banging home critical goals against Houston and Orlando last season. Stinking up the pitch in training? SOMEthing must have put the kiss of death on her. Wonder if that’ll change this year. As noted above, I’m betting on some heavy squad rotation, so I’d be shocked if we didn’t see her in SOME capacity. Just how…I really don’t know.

      As for Sinc…the only “upside” of this thing is that she only has to play seven games, tops. She can do that. In a regular season? Parsons is going to have to start managing her minutes. But probably not for this thing…

      1. I haven’t watched any of the replay games. It’s all just been too sad for me. Now that we’re only a couple weeks away from actual games, I dunno. I want to watch and probably will, but not being able to go to PP or the Tacoma diamond still has me down. Defunding the police is an upside, for sure. Go Thorns!

        1. I watched the first one they showed (Seattle from 2014, I think?) and at least one of the others, and while it was still entertaining to watch some of the players like Vero, Nadim, and Henry, it was kind of startling to see how crude a lot of the play was.

          I hate to be this way, but…I wouldn’t let yourself get too far down. The numbers suggest that we’re going to get hammered by the Plague this summer. Unless and until there’s either a vaccine or effective treatment for the cytokine-storm-version the possibility of cities and states allowing 10,000 people to gather in a packed stadium? Not gonna happen.

          I miss the games, too. But I also like breathing. So I’m not going to let myself get too depressed. It’s like any other siege; you just have to be patient and wait for the relief column…

          1. I heard about this women’s sports league’s approach to the pandemic:

            They’re basing the decision to reopen on the “data” rather than the “date.”

            Their return guidelines are all based on whatever is happening at the local level where matches would take place, and they were written by the public health professionals who participate in the league – epidemiologists, health care workers, etc.

            You know… science practice rather than speculation and prayer it all works out.

            They won’t resume unless/until it is safe.

            Compare that with the leagues that are opening up in hopes that it will be safe and that hopefully have a plan for what to do when it is not.

  7. Thanks for the mention for NWSL Analitica! I’m a bit lazy when it comes to translation (I haven’t figure it out yet how to make it via the API so it’s automatic), but I do appreciate the mention and the link. I promise i’ll work a bit on the english side haha.

  8. Here are a couple other links:

    Complete historical WoSo stats (many leagues and nats) In case you’re ever curious about something like “What was the result the first time Riley faced Parsons?” [2-0 Thorns win]
    NWSL Attendance

    And I highly recommend FotMob for Android, IOS and PC. It’s a free app with real-time schedules/results/tables/TV channels and more for EVERY women’s league and national team. And men’s too.

  9. This is all great stuff! Thanks everybody! I need a lift as we lost our 14 year old dog two weeks ago and we have daughters in Australia and Germany and no clue as to when we will see them. This quarantine is really depressing us now and I need something else to think about. Soccer is just as unknown as everything else but it is something different.

  10. The Thorns posted snapshots from their training session yesterday:

    Horan is there now, but I still don’t see Heath or Franch. Carpenter, as noted, is still in Australia.

    Looks like they’re progressed to small-sided games, but not full 11 v 11 (which would probably need NRIs to fill in the numbers, and I don’t see anyone I don’t know is signed, so the NRIs are not in camp…)

    1. I wonder if that might also be because of USSF training guidelines. The USSF issued these recently for “grassroots” levels, but I wonder if there might be similar guidelines even for the pros…

      BTW, Sinc and Rocky were photographed too.

          1. I stand corrected. Going back and looking for those blue adidas, I see her next to Hubly and Salem and in front of Horan.



            Well, that’s very good news. We can always hope that Heath and Franch are getting a little PT rather than sitting it out.

            If Franch does sit this out, and if Eck does well in the Cup, I think you have to consider trading Franch to Louisville (rather than just leaving her unprotected). Lots of ifs here, but there does need to be some strategy going forward.

  11. Eckerstrom has been at or near starting quality for the past season or so, and Franch, unfortunately, has slipped a bit from her amazing 2017. I wouldn’t have a lot of heartburn with one starting over the other, outside that I love A.D.’s fierce intensity; Eck is more laid-back…which is fine, it works for her, but I, personally, am more in tune with Franch’s ferocity.

    Heath, though…I really do wonder if she’s going to play.

    1. I wonder if we havnt seen the last of Heath in a Thorns uniform? She has been in and out of the team so much over her career. She would be good trade bait to an expansion team looking to build a fan base.

      1. Heath is a plankholder and will be here as long as she wants to be here. But I wonder how close to retirement she’s feeling? I mean…what’s to prove? She’s not going to New Zealand or wherever the hell WC23 is going to be. The Olympics? BTDT…what’s the thrill, now, other than sticking it to the Damned Courage after the humiliation of 2018?

        And as a trade piece…it would take the right coach and the right team. Tobin’s coaches here have been immensely indulgent of her idiosyncrasies. It would take a very particular coach and a very particular squad to fit her in, knowing that they’re only going to have her for a year or two. I have no idea whether the expansion teams’ managements see that as a good option…

        1. I have to disagree with you on this one. Heath is a competitor through and through. I think she’ll keep lacing up her boots until either no one wants her, which will be a long time, or the bugaboo of aging, injuries, so derail her that it’s no fun anymore for her. I’m certainly hoping she keeps playing longer, since she’s so much fun to watch.

          1. If she was smart, she would cash in and get some WSL team to pay some ridiculous amount to play for them while she has peak value.

          2. I suspect she’ll play as long as it entertains her. Beyond her desire to win Heath’s motivations are very opaque to me. She seems to have some sort of odd internal goals that change as often as she does. Now she wants to be a creator…now she wants to be a goal-scorer…now she wants to just indulge her ball-skill tricks…she’s very competitive and wants to win, but it seems like there’s always some sort of odd hidden metric we just don’t see there. I think the day she’s met all those weird interior drives? She’ll hang ’em up.

  12. And the Press pass (you see what I did there…) makes me all the more certain that Heath is going to pass on this cup thing, too…


    All the links mentioned above can be found on the OTHER RESOURCES page, which is part of the MENU (upper right corner)

  14. The Season Ticket Holders have finally been contacted about their 2020 payments. Looks like no Providence Park games for 2020. We already knew this was coming, no 2020 games expected. News to us, they decide to take the renew 2021 process and start it now. They are really trying to incentivize you to rollover your tickets to 2021 so they get to keep the majority of the cash in their interest bearing accounts.

    “4% price reduction on your 2021 Annual Membership

    1% of the Annual Membership price will be donated to organizations working towards equality and social justice.

    Merchandise credit to the PTFC Authentics Store commensurate with your Annual Membership investment

    Frontline Workers Donation – for each Annual Membership you renew, we will donate one match ticket in your name to a sector of frontline workers of your choice

    First opportunity to purchase tickets should any matches take place at Providence Park in 2020”

    1. I rolled it over immediately. I like how they handled 2020. They said rollovers get dibs on 2020, but made it clear we shouldn’t expect them. They’re not saying “impossible” but definitely not likely.

  15. They definitely are incentivizing us to roll our 2020 memberships over, but I suspect they’re concerned with liquidity and not having to sell investments at a loss to meet expenses. And if you know of an interest bearing account that reliably returns 4% over the time between now and the usual renewal date, please let us know.
    I also rolled over right away – seemed like a no-brainer to me, so right up my alley.

    1. Happy birthday to The Captain indeed, but I hope you’re wrong on one point: “Emeritus” (really emerita, the female form of the word) would imply she’s retired. I’m hoping we get to watch her for a couple more years, albeit at reduced minutes.

      1. Yes the wrong words as Sinclair is not retired, even if less speedy so moved further back in midfield. Madam ambassador would the better term for what I was trying to get across, since she is still kicking the ball around.

        1. It’s a conundrum. I would settle for “Queen Sinclair” but for the fact that she probably wouldn’t like that title herself, and “Officer Sinclair of the Order of Canada” is a bit of a mouthful. Plus “Officer Sinclair” sounds like a cop, which also isn’t her.

      2. Sinc is, to me, anyway, one of the biggest question marks for the future.

        She has a crap-ton of positives as a player (that will probably make her an excellent coach, as well). She still is, and should be, in the mixer of what this team is and will be.

        But she’s also visibly on what we in the artillery call the “descending branch” of her career. And she had some very visible issues on the pitch last season. She, and Coach Parsons, have some pretty serious thinking to do about everything from where she plays to how MUCH she plays, and how that affects everyone around her.

        She’s slowed. I won’t say “slow”, full stop, but she had some real problems dealing with opponents with pace both last season and – particularly against the Damned Courage – in 2018. I’m not sure she’s accepted that yet; she keeps trying to play the way she’d been playing, and it wasn’t as effective. Not so much for her, but for the play of the team; it made us slower and more predictable, as well as vulnerable to getting hurt by other teams’ speed.

        Three years ago we had the sort of defense that could cover for that. Not so the last two seasons.

        And in 2018 Sinc’s intelligence, experience, and anticipation could largely offset her loss of pace (except against The Damned). Last season it was obvious against other teams, as well, most notably Tacoma.

        So I think we need to accept that we’re at least partly into the “post-Sinc Era”. Hopefully she and the club can handle that better than (in my opinion) the Timbers side has handled Diego Valeri’s transition from peak to post-peak performance.

        We’ll see, though, in a couple of weeks.

        1. A ROLE FOR SINC?

          I recently rewatched this goal, which is fairly typical of Mandy for OL and France if not for PTFC:

          Besides making me weep at the speed, skill, and talent we had on the pitch in 2017 (Nadim, Raso, Long, Horan, younger Sinc, younger Kling, speedy Menges – not even to mention Sykes, Heath, Sonnett, and Dagny), what actually caught my eye is just how measured, methodical, smart, and precise Mandy’s play was here.

          She nicked that bad pass and took off upfield, covering about 30 yards before taking the shot. She was never in a hurry, never sprinting with the ball. She let the attack unfold in front of her and let her very capable fellow-Mids trail to be ready. She gave everyone time to get where they needed to be to create a no-win/no-chance situation for Boston. Her eyes were up all the time and scanning (also freezing the defense in the process), and altered her pace and footwork just enough to keep the defense guessing.

          On this play Mandy was basically Suns-era Steve Nash in transition, letting the teammates get out on the wing on the fast break, assessing while keeping the pressure moving forward, and making the right decision – in this case, pulling up for an uncontested 3-pointer, if you will. Just a thing of beauty.

          As I watched that replay over and over again, the look on the faces of all the Boston players as that attack unfolded (including Angela Salem, who tried to get over to Mandy before the shot) was OHHHH SHIT!”

          And that got me thinking about a role for Sinc… or at least something I’d like to see her do because I know she can do it.

          I don’t envision her as a 6, but I do think she can run the fast break from behind. I imagine Smith, Weaver, and Charley offering us some speed up top (Charley especially), and Rocky and Horan doing much as Horan, Long, and Sinc did in this video. And I can totally see Sinc playing the composed distributor who makes the right scoring decision, whether its an assist, a hockey assist, or taking the shot herself (she’s still got a lot of tricks in that bag).

          Besides the obvious advantage of having Sinc as this kind of headsy point-guard type player, it also allows her to conserve her legs and to disappear from the opponent’s focus… which I think would also allow her to be able to slip in unnoticed, or with lesser marking, to provide some of her other formidable scoring skills without being a primary target – namely, trailing for deep-lying shots and coming in for headers off crosses and set pieces.


          1. I’ve thought about the possibility of Sinc doing what Michelle Akers did after injuries (and what turned out to be CFIDS, though she didn’t find out until later…) slowed her and made her less effective as a striker; becoming a midfield destroyer/ball-winner, which is effectively what Henry does.

            And what I keep coming back to is that Sinc’s foot speed has really declined. Like…cratered, declined. She’s gone from being a not-super-pacey-but-capable-of-moving-effectively-in-bursts to genuinely pretty slow. She’s great at reading the game and so positions herself to avoid getting torched a LOT…but last season by August she WAS getting torched, and that shocked me.

            So I think for that to work she’s going to have to work a double pivot with a player who can cover for her when she is forced to match up with player like Dunn or Williams who have pace to burn. Is that Seiler? Hard to say with her coming off injury, but I don’t recall her as crazy fast before the ACL. Could we move Carpenter up to DM and slot Reynolds into RB? Carpenter has mad speed…

            When I say “I really don’t see this team and how it works” I mean it. There are so many changes in the roster, and so many players who seem liable to be moved or re-invented that I think the squad may look really, REALLY different when we see them in a couple of weeks. And Sinc is one of the ones I’m really not sure of.

  16. Feel free to ignore the rest of this comment, because I’m gonna rant a bit here.

    One of the regulars at the Riveting! Facebook page posted a link to the club site, where Richard Farley interviewed Morgan Weaver.

    (It’s here: )

    Fun little interview in terms of getting to know something about Weaver. But it also drives home one of the things that drive me nuts about Farley; him as the Fucking Zen Master of Fluff.

    To my way of thinking 1) Weaver is a huge piece of this “season” (and the next), and 2) re: that there’s one huge question we, the fans, need to know about Weaver; where and how does she turn up on the pitch?

    Is she a winger (presumably a right winger in the 4-2-3-1 that Parsons likes)? A strike partner up top with Sinc or Smith in some sort of 4-3-3 or 4-4-2? Something else? What?

    Is she a starter or coming off the bench?

    At no point in this does Farley try and learn anything about that. We get a huge segment hearing about Weaver’s parents taking pictures on their phones. Fun! Cute! FLUFF!!!

    I sat through a half hour of this hoping to hear something specific about how Weaver sees herself actually, y’know, playing, and got, instead, a bunch of fun fluff about how funny Nadine Angerer is.

    That’s great, that’s fun. But that’s not actually anything that helps me foresee how this team might roll out in two weeks.

    C’mon, Farley! You had one job…

    Sorry. Rant off. But, still…that’s why the guy drives me nuts, and he’s what we have; there’s nobody else on the Thorns beat.

    1. I wonder if they’re still figuring it out and/or if they don’t want to talk in details that other clubs can learn by “tuning in” too.

      Call it “Linsanity,” or the advantage that a pitcher/ hitter or a backup QB might have the first time around the league, or at least until there is game film and a scouting report available.

      There’s no book on the new Thorns – both the newest additions and how it all fits together – and that’s to the Thorns advantage against NCC, which is basically the same as before except for shipping off Zerboni and landing Mace. And it’s almost for certain that PTFC will have to face NCC if PTFC is to win the COVID Cup.

      FWIW, NCC hasn’t even posted their 2020 roster. Their club website only includes an announcement of their 31-player preseason roster, but they have yet to post their actual 2020 roster. See:

      Finally, this is worth mentioning: There’s an Equalizer story about the George Floyd killing & BLM protests, and the effects of all of this on the NWSL’s relatively few Black players. A few Reign players are quoted in the piece, and they note that training in Missoula while all of this is going on has been difficult. See: Then again, they were able to participate in protests while in Missoula whilst our own own Charley mentions not being able to join protests in Portland because she has to maintain pre-Cup training social distancing protocols.

    2. My bet is they are trying multiple options right now and don’t know who is going to be here. It would be nice to see some announced signings now.

      1. Yes, I imagine they’re trying things in practice but won’t know what really works until there are actual games. And that’s games *plural*, since it’ll take a while to figure it all out — about the worst thing possible for a cup-style competition. Oh well.

        At least we’ll have actual soccer soon.

        1. As we’ve discussed, the club will have a news release with the names of who signed the day after the first match in Utah. Or not; they simply have no urgency regarding that stuff, and never have.

          And Weaver has been practicing, so she must know where Parsons is trying her out, and it would have been simple for Farley to ask her that.

    3. Richard is the King of Fluff. That is what he does well and Im sure why the FO hired him. I consider yourself lucky, however, as the only thing more frustrating than not getting actual soccer talk from him, is having to try and read an article were he “attempts” to talk technically about soccer. It is excruciating.

      Even more frustrating than the fluff , is the independent media blackout coming from the Thorns camp. Im not sure if it is an intentional covid thing or an attempt to hide information from opponents, but it sucks for the fan base.

      1. I think it’s just that the Thorns FO side has never really seen their media operations as critical to the club”s success. They’ve never been aggressive about getting into the news cycle, so I don’t think it’s a Plague thing or a hiding thing but just a “what? publicity? Whazzat?” thing. They see the Farley/Weaver piece as their way of getting press without seeing how they might get actual “press”…

    4. I tried posting this a couple of days ago but it didn’t go through…

      I wonder if they’re still figuring it out and/or if they don’t want to talk in details that other clubs can learn by “tuning in” too.

      Call it “Linsanity,” or the advantage that a pitcher/ hitter or a backup QB might have the first time around the league, or at least until there is game film and a scouting report available.

      There’s no book on the new Thorns – both the newest additions and how it all fits together – and that’s to the Thorns advantage against NCC, which is basically the same as before except for shipping off Zerboni and landing Mace. And it’s almost for certain that PTFC will have to face NCC if PTFC is to win the COVID Cup.

      FWIW, NCC hasn’t even posted their 2020 roster. Their club website only includes an announcement of their 31-player preseason roster, but they have yet to post their actual 2020 roster. See:

      Finally, this is worth mentioning: There’s an Equalizer story about the George Floyd killing & BLM protests, and the effects of all of this on the NWSL’s relatively few Black players. A few Reign players are quoted in the piece, and they note that training in Missoula while all of this is going on has been difficult. See: Then again, they were able to participate in protests while in Missoula whilst our own own Charley mentions not being able to join protests in Portland because she has to maintain pre-Cup training social distancing protocols.

  17. Watching the Thorns game of the week online today. The 5-0 win against Houston.

    I just now realized that the 3rd goal scored by Sinclair as a PK, was not a PK, it was a foul but it was outside the box. When you see the camera angle from the end line you can clearly see the contact by the defender is timed to stop the attack outside the box and it is successful. The ref was certain but wrong about it being a PK. I will chalk this one up to angle the ref had, or home town intimidation.

    I am a little surprised Brooks and teammates give no protest about the PK part of the call. Although with no VAR I guess there is no real point in protesting.

    1. My guess is that at that point the Dash had enough to worry about that fussing about the officiating wasn’t even on their radar..

      And the quality of PRO work makes a marginal call like that utterly unsurprising.

  18. A while back in this thread someone asked if WordPress has an analog of the Z key on SBNation, to jump to the next unread comment. Apparently it doesn’t, but there is a sort of a workaround.
    When you’re logged in, below the Comment box there are two check boxes. I have them both checked, so I get an email whenever there’s a new comment. The email contains a link to the comment, as well as the text of the comment and a link to the article.
    It’s kinda clunky, but it does provide a way of getting to the new comments without scrolling past all the ones you’ve already read (with the chance of missing new replies as you go by).
    (I have both boxes checked because the labels are not crystal clear to me, but probably just the first one, for follow-up comments, is doing the work.)

  19. If you assume no internationals (including Carpenter not being able to show up)

    Goalie – Franch (who has practiced fyi)
    4 (if Carpenter is gone) – Seiler, Brun, Menges, Klingenberg
    2 – Rodriguez, Bourielle
    3 – Weaver, Horan, Smith
    1 – Sinclair


    Goalie – Franch
    4 – Seiler, Brun, Menges, Kling
    2 – Horan, Rodriguez
    3 – Weaver, Sinclair, Charley
    1 – Smith

    My hope is Tobin comes in and plays

    1. Both of those options are kind of nice. Having Horan closer to the goal makes the first option good, but the second option has so much speed and Horan and Rocky are fantastic distributors. With Weaver, Charley and Smith that could give any team nightmares. When Carpenter and Heath join this team it will be awesome, better than the Courage, I am not sure about that but…
      I hope that Weaver and Charley have worked on the aerial game because both are tall, strong and slippery.

    2. Has Seiler played outside back? Not that she couldn’t learn it, but I remember her only as a d-mid. Where she was good! Also, you seem to be assuming Heath won’t play, though I haven’t heard anything definitive about this.

      Against NCC, I’d start both Smith and Weaver just to get some speed on the field:

      Reynolds Brunn Menges Kling
      – – – Seiler – Rocky – – –
      Weaver Horan Heath
      – – – – – – Smith – – – – – –

      This makes our defense slow — in that backline only Menges is speedy — which is not at all what you want against NCC. I don’t know what to do about this other than convert Weaver or someone to an outside back, and with so little practice time, that’s fraught with danger. (Or, you know, surreptitiously charter a plane in Australia to smuggle Carpenter out….) And perhaps Smith and Weaver should swap places; I think Smith has better touch, which will be important in the box, but Weaver is substantially bigger and might do better against the bashing coming from opposing centerbacks.

      When Sinclair subs in she’d bump Horan back, displacing either Seiler or Rocky:

      Reynolds Brunn Menges Kling
      – Seiler/Rocky – Horan –
      Weaver Sinclair Heath
      – – – – – – Smith – – – – – –

    3. Why play Seiler at RB and Rodriguez at DM when you’ve got Reynolds and CelBee, and Rodriguez is kind of stifled at DM?

      Other than that, we might very well see both of these lineups, and more; there’s goingto have to be a LOT of squad rotation between matches one and two, and then between three and four, due to short rest.

      I doubt Heath will be on the pitch. But if she is, she’s the LW in your “3”

      1. My perspective is that I’d play Sinclair as a 9 and let Horan and Rodriguez places at the 10 and 8.

        If Carpenter isn’t here, I’m open to Seiler playing FB using the versatility she showed at Florida. Usually defensive mids move to a CB position if they move back, but Seiler’s plus athleticism and good defensive/passing skills works at either slot.

        Potential signings and Carpenter/Heath playing changes some thoughts

        1. At this point the “potential signings” thing is either dead or moribund for the COVID Cup. With no opportunity to quarentine and kickoff only ten-ish days away?

          Ain’t gonna happen.

  20. Off topic, except that (1) IIRC Pok Pok used to provide some food service at PP every now and then and (2) the rationale and statement of how-it-goes-in-Portland is quite sobering as to what life in our fair city is like and will be like for quite some time:

    Dear Portland,

    It is with sadness I write to report that we have decided to close Pok Pok NW, Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok Wing NE & SW permanently. SE Wing remains closed temporarily and may reopen at some point in the future. These closures are necessary so that the original Pok Pok on Division Street may have a chance of reopening when it is safe and financially tenable to do so. It is not clear when that might happen. We hope to provide some sort of service there in the near future, though it may just be expanding our meal kit menu for pick up and (eventually) delivery.

    I am sorry to bring you this news, but the economic reality is that we simply cannot afford to reopen these locations, given the fact that 1) it is unsafe for workers in a city, state and country with no cohesive plan for testing and tracing Covid 19 cases, no mandatory mask policy for the public, no vaccine and no treatment; 2) phase 1 & 2 restrictions on operating restaurants will render us unable to seat enough customers to make payroll let alone break even; 3) the carrying costs incurred as we wait until we can reopen are draining what little resources we have at a rate that will leave us with no money to reopen all locations when the time comes and, 4) the cost of reopening a restaurant is huge and given all the other factors plus the possibility of being shut down again if cases surge, even if we did have the resources to reopen it would be risky at best and ruinous at worst.

    The most heartbreaking effect of these closures is that we will be unable to bring our valued and talented employees back to work, at least not in the near future. It was brutal writing the letter to inform all of them the other day but nowhere near difficult as receiving it, I am certain. Nobody is winning here but this part sucks the most.

    Unfortunately, I fear announcements like this will be common in the coming weeks and months. The effect of the pandemic and our government’s epic failure to address it in a coherent manner is wreaking havoc on our economy and especially on restaurants and all the adjacent industries that are part of the food and hospitality network. I am hopeful that more nimble enterprises will survive and even thrive during this time….some already are, and my hat is off to them! Please support our local restaurants as best you can.

    To all our loyal and esteemed customers, thank you for your business over the years at these locations! We hope to serve you again at some point at our OG Division Street location. In the meantime, we are still offering meal kit pick-ups and merchandise through our website

    Last but far from least, this announcement seems trivial when held against the importance of where we are as a nation and community in the struggle against systemic racism and the endemic police brutality against black people and BIPOC. If it wasn’t clear enough by my public stance on social media, Pok Pok as a brand and I personally stand with the BLM movement and will continue to support it in whatever way possible.

    Keep fighting, stay safe, be well.


    1. I saw that! Damn you to hell, disease! I love me some Ike’s wings. I just hope the little Pok Pok Wing down off Division reopens.

      This timeline sucks.


    The NWSL tournament schedule is finally out. As expected, the opening match will be Thorns v Courage on broadcast CBS. This is the first time NWSL has been on national over-the-air TV. The championship match on July 26 will be the other broadcast game, hopefully featuring the Thorns again.

    All the other matches are on CBS All Access. If you sign up for the service after June 21, with one week free, you can cancel it July 27 and thus see the whole tournament for $6 ($10 with no ads).

    There are two games each matchday at 9:30 in the morning and 7:00 at night. I presume this is to avoid the heat.

    1. Does anyone know anything about Zions Bank Stadium, where all the early round and quarterfinal games are being played?

      I guess we get to find out what tv crew is assigned to the CBS matches and the production value of the All access games to see how much attention the network is giving the league.

      If they are also looking to good numbers via Twitch internationally the morning kickoff will put the game at 5:30 PM for Englan, and the evening game will be about noon for Australia and eastern Asia. UK

  22. Got a survey from the Thorns/Timbers. Asks if people were 6 feet apart, limited concession, etc. Would I go to Timbers games in the Fall, if not why not. I said no as I only go to Thorns games.

    Also asked, if I was happy with my experience as a STH, personal data, including having me fill in my birthday and select my age range. If you have my birthday can you not group me into the the different age demographics without me selecting it? Is this programming to difficult, or is it a check to see if people enter their birthday incorrectly? Maybe I should take an online marketing class to see why surveys do this.

    1. Well, I wasn’t willing to give them my birth date, but I did check an age range box.
      Also I would guess that some of the questions came from Peregrine Sports and some from Survey Monkey, especially the demographic ones.

    2. I told them I’d consider it if they instituted all the above PLUS required us all to be and stay masked.

  23. Just watched Sophia Smith in 2017 with the U23 beating the Thorns in a preseason game. Granted it was a preseason game, but she was all over the place, a constant threat. Her runnning-mate McCaskill, as typical for her, was alternately terrific and absent. Seeing Smith playing against Henry, taking the ball off Menges (who then won it back), dragging Long, Sonnett and CB into the the box before CB muscled her down for a penalty and then poaching a pass between Cox and AD that was just plain sloppy passing in the back. That turned out to be the winning goal.
    She hadn’t even started college and seemed to me to be the most impressive U23 player and that is pretty good because there were a lot of later NWSL players on that squad. For a young player she has an engine because she was running all the time for a full 90. Even her missed penalty kick seemed clever because AD blocked it to the left and right to a U23 all by herself who put it away. She is impressive with the ball at her feet in heavy traffic. Sanchez is very skilled but I like Smith better and Smith’s work-rate dwarfed McCaskill.

    1. McCaskill is one of my least-favorite NWSL players. She’s got million-dollar skills and a ten-cent attitude; she is the poster child for “giving away the gift”.

      Both Smith and Macario looked terrific here with the U-23’s in 2018. But good as Smith was, we’ve seen another U-23 that was even better.

      Here’s what I wrote back then ( ):

      ” Oh my, oh my, Emily Sonnett. You’re a veteran professional and international player. There’s no excuse for letting a young striker like Macario spin you around like a dreidel the way she did on her first goal.”

      “Kimberly Boulos’ match was illuminated by the fire on which Macario set her in the 58th minute. A fraction of a second before she spun Sonnett and beat Franch, Macario torched Boulos like flash paper.”

      I agree that Smith is a fine player.

      But NEXT season’s draft…

  24. Completely unsubstantiated twitter rumors shared by @wosoregion that our Ellie Carpenter is joining OL in France. With her uncertainty of joining us for this summer cup due to travel ban, and a very good chance the NWSL doesn’t play from July 2020 until April 2021. I think this would be a good move for her. A good chance to improve via training and a chance to continue to play regular games if their season/champions league can start in September. If it is true I hope it is a loan and we get her back, even it is June 6 weeks into the 2021 season. We have done this with Heath and Henry.

    1. Carpenter? Oh noooo!
      But it is understandable on her part and if she can come back for the 2021 season, but that is just trying to make lemonade out of lemons. That probably means Lucy Bronze is on the move. Steph Catley is on her way to Europe, this really is worse for the W League than it is for the NWSL. Europpe’s season runs concurrent with the W League. In fact. the upside for the NWSL is maybe more young US players can spend some time in W League.
      Recently I was thinking Carpenter might be one of the five best RBs in the world, if this rumor is true, OL brass must agree.

    2. I checked. Nothing on the OL site, or on the OLF Twitter feed. Nothing on Carpenter’s Twitter or Instagram accounts. Nothing on the usual journalist suspects.

      Not saying this isn’t happening. But the “wosoregon” headline is “confirmed”, but I can;t find anyone “confirming” this.


        Put through Google translate. I will say if it is true or not I am happy the local paper is printing these rumors like they would for the men’s team.

        “according to several sources, Australian International Ellie Carpenter (36 caps, 1 goal) may well join the OL Women’s squad soon.

        The 20-year-old, who has played as defender for Portland Thorns FC in Oregon (northwestern United States) and had been loaned to Melbourne City for a season last fall, is said to be the OL’s next recruit. She would have the advantage of holding a European passport.

        Known for being tireless in her right lane, the energetic Ellie Carpenter, youngest player in the history of the American women’s championship, could prove to be a very good substitution side, if ever the British International and best player in UEFA the 2018-19 season Lucy Bronze, at the end of the contract with OL on June 30, did not extend to Lyon.

        “Ellie brings experience despite her young age. She is a very intelligent footballer, who uses her exceptional endurance and her speed to be able to chain performances even when she is under pressure”, had declared Melbourne City Sports Director Michael Petrillo to The Sydney Morning Herald last October.

        OL want to secure their rear
        Olympique Lyonnais must indeed think about rebuilding itself, with the potential departures of the goalkeeper of the Bleues Sarah Bouhaddi and Lisa Weiss, of the midfielder and German International Dzsenifer Marozsan, of the lateral and British International Alex Greenwood and of the unavailability of two of its executives: the attacker Ada Hegerberg, in rehabilitation after his rupture of the cruciate ligament in January, and the central defender Griedge MBock, in recovery after his rupture of the Achilles tendon in early June.

        The Rhone club would have already secured their backs, since it would have signed (without being able to officially announce) the Spanish goalkeeper Lola Gallardo (Atlético de Madrid), and the Icelandic midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir (Wolfsburg). Ellie Carpenter could thus be the third OL recruit.”

        1. I’m curious how she/they would pull this off. She signed a multi-year contract with the Thorns in the fall.

          Perhaps UEFA rules don’t prevent a team from talking to a player who is under contract to an out-of-region team, as it would another UEFA team. But for her to break her contract is going to require compensation. Given how good she is, I would not be surprised if this established a record for a woman’s transfer fee.

          1. “Portland Thorns FC today announced the transfer of defender Ellie Carpenter to Division 1 Féminine club Olympique Lyonnais. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.”

            So when Lucy Bronze wasn’t resigning to a new deal the front office starts to call every team with a gifted right back to replace her. I would think reaching out to the player’s agent before or after coming to terms with Perrigrine Sports. We will likely never know the terms of the deal.

          2. Maybe Carpenter to Lyon was one of the pending “international signings” we’d been hearing about. Well played, Thorns…

      2. It is official. Our last Aussie has been transferred to Lyon, as it looks Lucy Bronze will not be extending her contract beyond June 30th. It is a full transfer not a loan. Team says that opens them up to get other people in the future. Interesting after signing a long-term contract with the Thorns, but I guess 7 challenge cup games in a 18 month period Nov 2019 to April 2021 is perhaps not what the player thought they would get when they signed, and Lyon has become the Female Real Madrid, their call can be very hard to pass up.

        They gave Richard Farley enough heads up to do a, who can we play at right back analysis, and about it sucks we aren’t Lyon.

  25. We’re now the Northern Provincial Thorns. No more Aussies (or Kiwis), no South Americans, no Africans. The farthest afield any player hails from is Costa Rica, namely Rocky Rodríguez, and Sinclair is our ONLY other international.

  26. Also: this is a disaster. Carpenter brought speed and energy to both our attack and our defense, and made opponents adjust defensive shape just by her presence. The only rays of hope are that her transfer brought in enough money that we can bring in some other world-class player, and that she’ll come back for part(s) of season(s). But the latter has problems of its own….

    1. I agree Dave. I know that Reynolds is not slow and has a long-throw-in, but Carpenter is faster and quicker as well as way younger. Even if Reynolds is the safe answer for this shorten season, the Thorn’s have to be looking ahead. I was impressed with what little I saw of Madison Pogarch, Celeste is a solid player and Hubly has some speed but I think with her as with Dagny,when she was tried there, it might not always go well. I would love to get Erin Wright, but the Red Stars probably would never give her up.

      1. Of the players mentioned, I believe only Pogarch is left-footed, so if she does pan out (I agree, was really impressed w/ her in her spot-start last year), i suppose it would make the most sense for her to eventually replace Klingenberg at LB.

  27. This is bordering on crisis, both for the Thorns and NWSL.
    From the Thorns perspective, aside from the fact that Carpenter was arguably the team’s best young prospect (I’d put her over Smith until we see Smith play) she had just signed a long extension and is already one of the best right backs in the world. From a more immediate viewpoint Kat Reynolds at RB is not going to cut it against the Courage, or much of the NWSL for the tournament or any future league play.
    From the league’s perspective, the marquee franchise losing one of the best young players in the world is an unmitigated disaster, even if the transfer is to a huge club like OL (hopefully there’s not a darkest timeline scenario where Carpenter gets loaned back to the Reign at some point!)
    I’m struggling to see a bright side, even taking into account the effects of COVID on potential international transfers. Someone please give me some reasons for optimism!

  28. Also, already frustrated by the classic Farley spin piece “we have plenty of options” where he lists one RB, one CB, and 3 DMs as potential replacements.

  29. Another major fan favorite gone – Raso, Sonnett, Purce, and now Carpenter. Ball was also a favorite of mine. I want to think the team has some as yet unrevealed blockbuster move that will make us say, “Oh, now I get it!”
    I hope they at least retained Carpenter’s NWSL rights. I will be seriously grumpy if this move means we eventually face OL Reign with Carpenter as THEIR right back.

    1. I hope we DIDN’T retain Carpenter’s rights, because if we did it would mean that we got no compensation for her. [At least that’s how it works in MLS, and I think it’s the same deal in NWSL.] Since she signed a new contract last year, I hope we got a pretty penny for her.

      This transfer once again raises my worries about NWSL getting outspent by wealthy European clubs for whom a million or two is pocket change. Needing to survive on actual income from actual fans, the NWSL could easily lose more of its top draws.

      1. Thanks, I didn’t know that. I still don’t want to see her playing against us, but que sera sera. Any rumors out there about whom, if anyone, we might have gotten in exchange?

  30. An interesting tweet from MP regarding the Carpenter transfer:
    “2 of our biggest additions this offseason are defensive: Rocky and Becky

    Also dont forget Po as an outside back is healthy again and has a big ceiling she was showing prior to injury. Westphal new add too and Gabby has recovered from injury”

    I didn’t see Rocky as a “Defensive” signing. I though she woudl be in mid-field. Apparently the Thorns do.

    1. This is as big a loss as I can think of. Ellie was the best young player on the team. I’m assuming there was money that came our way in terms of transfer fee. I’m wondering if we could parlay that into a player from their team coming here though my top target is going to OL Reign.

    2. That sure sounds like spin. When they start pretending that Madison Pogarch is in the same class as Ellie Carpenter, I start twitching. Pogarch has played about 25 seconds of professional soccer – she is not a replacement as much as a Hail Mary. And Westphal? #4 depth player from a mid-tier team?

      Bottom line is this off-season has turned into a disaster with one world class signing that we didn’t really need, one world class loss that we could not afford, a decent player in for a decent player out, and a net reduction in our Bairdbux bank. On the upside, we have international slots for sale.

      Sure, the virus threw a wrench into things. But we were definitely over-promised and under-delivered by the F.O. Makes me grumpy.

      1. Yeahhh I like Merritt alright but trying to tell us Reynolds/Pogarch/Westphal/Whomever will even come close to adequately replacing Carpenter is, quite frankly, pretty insulting.
        As a side note, I hope this doesn’t mean Seiler is forced to RB- She was so good at DM prior to her injury.

      2. Who’s the world-class signing that we didn’t really need? Sauerbrunn? I’d disagree about not really needing her: our defense let us down far too often last year and we needed to right the ship. And I’m hoping that Smith turns into a world-class player, though obviously that will take some time. Weaver is a big question mark at this time. Agreed about decent player in (I think you mean Rocky) and decent player out, though I’d count two decent players out – Sonnett and Raso. Purce I’m still waiting on. Carpenter is indeed a world-class player (or becoming one) that we lost, though hopefully we got another player for her or money to acquire one.

        Before this happened I had our player transactions since 2019 as solid improvement. Now it’s not nearly as clear.

        1. I had sort of forgotten about Raso. Maybe intentionally.

          I fear that NWSL will become a star-less league where the only true world-class players are USWNT roster, or close orbit, and maybe a few CANWNT. Everyone else is either old-school (e.g. Kat Reynolds), aged out UWSNT (e.g. Klingenberg) or recent draft picks. Any non-American draft pick that develops into quality ships out for €€€.

          We should be a destination league, not a development league. Maybe we were, but it seems like that’s fading. And more ominously, suddenly the Thorns perhaps aren’t “that team”, with more quality leaving than knocking on the door. Would 2016 Henry come here now?

    3. Yeah…I don’t know how the hell to take this. Rodriguez a defensive piece? That’s the very thing I DIDN’T want to see the team do. And trying to equate Madison Pogarch, who played all of 80 minutes last season, with Carpenter? Seriously? Westphal? C’mon Merritt…

      I don’t think there’s a “good” way to spin this. My guess is that Carpenter saw the chance to jump at a bug payday that the Thorns couldn’t match, and the team had to choose between being hardass and pissing the player off beyond repair, and letting go, and they took the lesser of two evils.

      So they did what they had to…but it’s hard to see this as anything but a tough loss…

  31. What bugs me about this isn’t so much that it happened. Transfers happen; my guess is that OL came knocking some time this spring (after Bronze told them she wasn’t interested) and Carpenter saw the chance for big bucks and took it. The FO had the options to 1) be hardass and hold her to her contract, or 2) let her go and hope to get something for her. It appears that they took the second option.

    What bugs me is that this looks like the second time the FO was caught flatfooted by a player wanting to leave. The Purce-for-Rodriguez trade is a good trade on its face…but then Raso bolts, and the Thorns are without a first-choice RW option.

    Now this; Ball as part of the Sonnett-for-‘Brunn trade is reasonable in itself. But trading Ball without locking Carpenter down? That seems…careless.

    I wonder…what happened? Was this an issue with the players? Or was this on the FO?

    1. My perspective before this loss was that

      Sauerbrunn was an upgrade over Sonnett

      Smith and Weaver were an upgrade over Raso and Purce

      Rodriguez was an upgrade over Dagny

      The young players could replace the journeyman we lost and we had two international slots

      Now, I’m looking at the Australian development priority and believe we should pass on Matildas go forward for our international slot

      The irony is that I think OL timed this, because we could have easily swapped Alanna Cook within the left over allocation money

      I don’t believe Keisha Buchanan is a possibility, but that would be the absolute best case scenario. Wipe the buyout and use Allocation money.

      1. Interesting.

        My take on all these are a bit different. Sauerbrunn is “win today, rebuilt tomorrow”, Sonnett is “long-term plan to figure out how to stop her brainfarts”. Because there’s no way we get more than a couple of seasons out of ‘Brunn.

        On the other hand, Smith and Weaver are “hope for the best tomorrow”, Carpenter, and Raso are “we’ve got some issues today”.

        Rodriguez still has to prove that her form was Sky Blue and not her.

        Brynjarsdottir – like Foord, AMC, and Andressinha – is another example of a FO that is having trouble figuring out how to assemble the team that will successfully play the way the head coach wants to play.

        We have no idea whether the rooks will work out, and we seem to have no way to use those international slots successfully.

        I’m hopeful that Parsons can assemble and field a winning team. But I’m less and less convinced that the FO has a clear understanding or vision of what he needs to do that.

        1. I believe the only difference in our opinion on Sonnett is that with expansion, I viewed her as a 1 year player in Portland and our ability to secure Smith for her, our first rounder, and a second rounder was utter brilliance.

          Of all the moves in the offseason of any team, that’s the one that I think people look back at and marvel at.

          I loved Raso and Purce, but I also felt they were the most overrated players on the team in terms of ability vs fan perception.

          Carpenter is the one loss this offseason that I cringe at. 20 year olds with her ability don’t grow on trees. I actually get believe Carpenter and Smith were THE foundation pieces for our future.

          1. On first reading your comment about Raso and Purse seems harsh, but there is truth in that. But both had huge upsides, they were only going to get better. Raso 2017 was a lot better than in 2016. In 2018 there were injuries and 2019 the WC.
            Purse always seemed to be a one footed player, but we did see her score a left-footed goal and her speed was so explosive. The thing about both of them is that they were young and they are going to improve. You can’t really coach speed and both are blessed with a lot of that.
            Right now Smith and Weaver are just potential too. But I see a lot. Smith is very cerebral and seems to be a great teammate. I have wondered about her durability and how much playing next to Macario and Haley helped her. But after watching her with the U-23’s in 2017 against the Thorns without Macario in the lineup, she was awesome. As for Weaver, I think she is going to be a fan favorite. Her combination of speed, strength and aggressiveness plus her exuberance is so winning.

          2. The more I think about Carpenter’s departure, the more I think the FO did the “right” thing here, given that the options were to (1) let her go and get something back (in terms of financial relief and maybe some additional cash to use next year when we are likely to have a full season) or (2) pay Carpenter top dollar not to play (hell, probably not even to report) this year while burning one of her three contract years and also further burning bridges with internationals.

            I say “further burning bridges” because I don’t know how strong PTFC’s rep is with internationals right now, given (a) how many otherwise good players (AMC, Foord, Andressinha, Dagny) struggled here over the past couple of years and (b) Gavin essentially verbally kicking them on their way out the door with that now infamous “Amandine Henry” comment and surrounding remarks.

          3. “Of all the moves in the offseason of any team, that’s the one that I think people look back at and marvel at. “

            From your keyboard to the Soccer Gods’ ears.

            But…the FO thought that about Foord, too – who had a decent-looking professional pedigree – and she turned out to be a monumental bust. AMC? Bust. Andressinha? Bust. Savannah Jordan, Rachel Hill, Iffy Onumonu…

            Point is, there’s no way to tell how successful a move will be until it happens on the field. Is Smith a terrific player? Yes! IS Weaver an exceptional forward? Absolutely!

            Will either, or both, be useful pieces – let alone centerpieces – of the Thorns in two years?

            We don’t know and won’t until we’re two years down the road.

            So I think the BIG difference is that you are confident in the predictive power of our FO.

            I’m not. For every Horan I’ve seen a Hanna Terry. I’m hopeful…but skeptical until I see the results written on the pitch.

          4. The Raso and Purce comments were harsh, but I stand by them. Pierce’s athleticism is a plus, but I expect Weaver to be an upgrade. More overall skill with size/speed similarities, but significant questions still to be answered. I see the potential, but risk is still high.

            I view Smith as a different type of prospect than Weaver. Her upside is similar to Press coming out of Stanford. I don’t view her in the same light as some of the disappointments. Best prospect we’ve had since Horan. The only player I can think of with her profile that has disappointed is Mallory Pugh and she’s still good. I believe Smith has more ability and that is saying something.

  32. I would say Covid-19 happened.
    Looking at it from Carpenter’s pov, staying with the Thorns might well mean not just getting paid less, but not getting to play top quality competition for possibly two seasons (except for some of the friendlies the Matildas may play). This is a critical time for Carpenter’s development as a player, and she’d be a fool to squander it waiting to see if the US can get its act together.
    And what hard-hearted bastard would even ask her to do that, much less force her?
    Many Americans seem determined to treat the pandemic as if the problem were a matter of government restrictions rather than what it is: a force of nature. France has its problems with the pandemic, of course, and the future there is uncertain too, but in her boots, who would you bet on? At the rate we’re going I fear it may be a looong time before we can fill Providence Park again.

    1. But the Purce trade was well before the lockdowns, and the FO didn’t seem to have had a clue that Raso was looking elsewhere, just as the FO doesn’t seem to have had a plan to deal with Carpenter moving on. That’s my question; is there some sort of institutional blindness in play here? Is the FO either not seeing these players’ looking for new gigs, or are they seeing it and not taking it seriously, or are they seeing it and don’t have a good answer?

      I’m not sure how much the Plague was a factor; I don’t get the sense that a lot of younger people are taking this as seriously as…well, as 62-year-old-me wishes they would. I agree that We the U.S. are doing a spectacularly poor job with it, even compared to France (which isn’t really doing that well, either, compared to places like South Korea and Japan…)…but neither is Australia.

      Hard-hearted is kind of the name of the contract game. You sign a contract. It’s binding, regardless if whether you regret it later. I’ve been a hard-ass and made subcontractors live up to the terms of their contract, regardless that they realized they’d made a mistake later, because MY contract was based on their bid, and I wasn’t going to eat my bid because they’d low-balled theirs.

      But I can see how in sport, and in this case, it’s different. The club gains nothing from strong-arming Carpenter into playing here, and gains a reservoir of goodwill if they let go gracefully.

      As for Carpenter, well…I’m not sure if this is a “development” move. D1F seems like a two-horse show, and how she’s going to get better playing against the other nine or so tomato cans that aren’t PSG I don’t know. Based on the matches I’ve seen UEFA isn’t the same for the women’s game as it is for the men’s; the technical disparity is minor, if not reversed, with the U.S. sides as good or better. Seems like a reach for a big payday, and that’s fine. She needs to grab the cash while she is young and fit.

      1. Ultimately the NWSL is a second level league propped up by the USWNT subsidy and if you are going to be appealing to international stars, you need to be flexible unless the dollars you pay are similar.

        I personally would have offered Carpenter the remaining allocation money, but this sure seems like the Australian league moving away from the NWSL as a developmental option. They should be careful because I could easily see the alternative league option playing in the offseason and making the W less relevant.

        More than anything, I don’t think this is about being blindsided. The reality is they could have made her pay much higher and not pursued some of the international stars. The Thorns CHOSE not to do it. It’s one of the reasons I was hoping they’d sign another Australian, because this seemed like a possibility.

        Can they get a top international in here? If LA becomes a viable expansion option, I could see them trying to get Tobin.

        1. I think the recent moves by the Australian federation are tacit acceptance that the W League is already dead other than as a rec league for professionals.

          I don’t get how this is a “choice”, though. The FO locked Carpenter into a contract last fall; they chose to do that. They are limited by the hard cap, and having shoveled their Bairdbux away likely didn’t have anything more to offer. But you’d think, having also traded Ball, they’d have had their ears pricked up for ANY hint that Carpenter was dissatisfied and looking to move on, so as to make her a better offer, bring in a replacement…something! And that doesn’t seem to have happened.

          1. Yup. Changing the season for the W League make the interaction with the NWSL no more. I actually think it opens up a relationship with the other US soccer league looking to start up as an offseason option.

  33. It’s true that I was just thinking of Carpenter in my reply, and that I was puzzled and concerned at losing both Purce and Raso, but at that point the big move involving two big-name internationals still looked to be happening and I was expecting it all to make some kind of sense. It was the pandemic that shut down the season and international travel, and made hash of whatever deal was in the works.
    France and the rest of Europe are doing well enough that it’s plausible to think of having some kind of season there this winter – in the US I’m not sure it’s plausible to think of having a season NEXT year. It’s not just young people, although from my vantage some of our political and religious leaders qualify as young. My concern is that by reopening too soon and all at once, and without the means to identify and control the inevitable spot fires, we’re courting another conflagration. The people attending large parties, crowded bars and restaurants, mass religious services, and protests without taking precautions put us all at risk and make a new lockdown seem likely to me. You know the adage about when your only tool is a hammer.
    I’m not arguing that the European leagues are better than the NWSL, just that between Australia and Europe, Carpenter can continue to develop, while the US doesn’t have much to offer in that respect in the short, and maybe the medium, term.

  34. Anybody else get a collection of 3 Thorns related patches from Forge Graphic Works in the mail today?

    No letter with them, so I don’t know if it is a survey gift, a season ticket renewal gift, or a tournament promotional, or what.

    I don’t remember ordering these patches.

  35. Carpenter OUT… now what???

    While the manner and timing surprises me, the end result does not.

    We shipped out Foord and lost Raso. That left Ellie as the only Aussie. I imagine we would have had a better chance of retaining her if Raso had remained, even with OL coming calling with a much bigger payday.

    That said, several months ago, back before COVID struck in Europe, the Offside Rule Podcast (UK) focused on Sam Kerr’s arrival and that of other Aussies too, what it meant for the FAWSL and the W-League, etc. The hosts had on a guest who is an expert on Aussie WoSo. At that time, the guest said the advisement which all the Matildsas are receiving, and I quote, is “get yourself to Europe.”

    Now, let’s add to the mix the fact that the NWSL is facing increasing competition from Europe, where the top clubs like OL, PSG, Man City, Chelsea, etc. can and do outspend the NWSL clubs for elite players from any part of the world.

    On top of that, these clubs are actually going to be able to return to regular play and the UEFA Women’s Champions League while all we’re likely to see over the next 9 months is the COVID Cup. Hell, this year the Thorns and another NWSL club were supposed to play OL and another club in the Women’s International Champions Cup, and that has been scrubbed!

    How I read Gavin’s quotes and the press relase more generally is that we’re getting nothing out of Ellie’s transfer – not in terms of players, anyway. We’re getting “future flexibility,” which means that we’re going back to Square 1 with an international slot and unencumbered money (maybe a bit more than that). Which isn’t nothing right now, given that the Thorns are obviously losing money this season, but it’s also not something, you know?

    I don’t blame the FO for not being able to land some big-name internationals and not being able to hold onto Ellie right now.

    I DO blame Gavin for that “Amandine Henry” remark he made last November – that’s the part you say quietly to yourselfrather than out loud at a press conference while putting pressure on your head coach for last year’s failures!

    I think this season COULD have been a very exciting season, if not the “most exciting” one as the FO promised, but I do not blame them for that either. It was just way too much to promise. In fact, it’s puffery rather than a promise.

    Having Trump as President and creating an environment that is immigrant-hostile, having COVID still running rampant here, having other good/better options available to top talent, having a league that is still not as strong as it could be, and having a significantly aging roster have left the FO in a very difficult spot.

    It’s hard to know how to proceed distinctively (i.e., competitively with NCC) if we are not able to recruit and retain top-flight internationals, including the loss of our Aussie pipeline.

    We have talked a lot over on STF and here about the need for Parsons and the FO to have a plan to turn things around this year. Aside from the acquisitions they were in fact able to make, not much has gone according to plan and it also looks like several things went directly against plan. No, the cupboard isn’t bare, but it’s not very promising right now. We’re going to be weak defensively and playing people out of position again this year.

    Maybe it’s a good thing this will be a short season and facing NCC right away. Merciful, you know?

    We’ll know in about 10 days…

  36. I’ve said this on STF but it bears repeating here: The Thorns need a dedicated general manager. Gavin Wilkinson splits his time between the Timbers and Thorns, and by my reading spends about 75% of his effort on the Timbers. Given the larger and still-increasing complexity of WoSo in recent years, the Thorns need someone fully dedicated to player acquisition and retention. This year’s events have only bolstered this viewpoint.

    Merritt Paulson has done a admirable job of putting his men’s and women’s teams on the level, but this is one area where the women need better support.

    1. I agree and have said the same thing over on STF too. You look at the big European clubs, and they have a dedicated GM or equivalent for the women’s side.

      Again, I don’t blame Gavin for many things that happened since the November press conference up through yesterday, but I do think that you cannot say some of the things he said at that press conference without then delivering on them. Whatever happens in this abbreviated season won’t be a reflection on Mark Parsons or the players out on the pitch if the FO was not able to execute the plan and has left the coach in the position of having to scramble to fill holes and play people out of position again this year.

      Gavin made a lot of strong statements about the fans deserving better than what happened last year, basically from the 6-0 beatdown onward, and promised that changes would be coming that would bring the club up to fan and franchise expectations. Well, with all due respect and all due excuses in light of extenuating circumstances, I don’t think that’s happened here.

    2. The interesting thing is Gavin has had the team among the top ones in the league. I think the shared cost model makes sense. The question is whether the support staff to Gavin is sufficient as opposed to him being the dual GM

      1. Well…

        As a GM Wilkinson has had his moments, but his rep really rests on two off-seasons; 2012-2013, when the team made some critical acquisitions and was blessed by the soccer gods (of USSF and the CSF) with allocations that took us to the playoffs in 2013 and 2014…and 2015-2016, when the club hauled in some amazing players in what now looks increasingly like a sort of “Gavin career year” that hasn’t (probably because it couldn’t be repeated; the Morgan trade, Horan returning, Henry wanting an American working vacation that resulted in the three solid years that followed.

        This season? Give him credit for the Sauerbrunn and Rodriguez trades, assuming they work out as planned, and presumably some credit for the draft (ditto), and the loss of the “two internationals” can be chalked up to bad pandemic luck.

        So overall I’d say Wilkinson has a solid body of work over seven seasons, but it’s largely due to two huge spikes; he’s like a gambler that hits it big every so often and manages not to lose a lot in between. Unfortunately for gamblers…when their luck turns, things can go bad most quick smart.

        We’ll see if he’s rolled snake eyes this season in about ten days…

  37. The Death of Thorns News on STF…

    More than 24 hours after the announcement of Carpenter’s departure, as reported by the Thorns themselves (unlike the situation when Dagny left) and also by Oregon Live, and still there’s no new post on STF about it.

    Looks like it’s not even a zombie site anymore; it’s just dead.

    RIP STF.

      1. Yup – WoSo toast. Unless something drastic happens, I think we’ve seen the last Thorns content there. AFAIK, there is zero paid staff there, down from one poorly-paid person last year. The desire to have regular quality content just isn’t there, nor is the core of the writing staff.

        In the 00’s, SCUSA was the hot place for Portland soccer banter and serious analysis. In the 10’s it was STF. I’m not saying the 20’s will be Riveting, but I am saying it won’t be those other two.

    1. And Utah, like Florida and many other formerly-virus-flyover states, is sickening rapidly.

      I have been working down in the little town of Sheridan, off the road to Lincoln City all week, and on the way have to drive through a bunch of towns like Newberg and Dundee. And it’s kind of shocking to me to see all the people out and about everywhere, mobbing together, nobody’s masked up…

      If I was a little cartoon virus I would look at that rubbing my little virus hands and chuckling “Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!”

      We’re going to kill each other because we can’t be arsed to spread out and wear a facecloth. It’s be comically stupid if it wasn’t so lethal.

      1. Yamhill County is in Phase 2, but as we all know from the Guv’s decision to lump Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties into a single Phase 1 “region,” people are traveling back and forth between counties and that bug is making the trip with them!

          1. I hate to say this, but I am starting to believe the collective IQ of Americans is lower than other countries and we’ve given up because we aren’t very informed. The US used to be a great country and has the potential to be one again, but sadly … I believe the level of entitlement and polarized culture makes us more likely to elect George Wallace 2.0 than imprison him

  38. A general comment regarding comments: This site has a sort of comment-spamcatcher, and if you haven’t commented here (or you have and your comment includes a link) it nabs you and throws you in comment purgatory. I have to check the spamcatcher and let you out, and I haven’t been doing that as regularly as I should because I’ve been drilling downvalley and have been getting up early and back late.

    So that’s why you may post a comment and it seems to disappear. I’ve let everyone’s comment that was in spam jail go free, so hopefully you see them now. Sorry for the delay

    1. If you are logged in toy your account, you can see your own question with the warning of it being in purgatory.

      1. Yeah, but it takes one of us with editorial rights to approve it, and I’ve been bad about that this week. I’ll be better, promise.

  39. The NWSL has new content on their website. The NWSL is accepting media credential applications for the Challenge Cup, and the NWSL will recognize Juneteenth as an official company holiday.

    No links, no purgatory. If I don’t have rosters, or tournament tiebreaker rules to read I will read the Media Credential application, and Guidelines For Media Operations because it is content.

    1. Tiebreakers are going to be huge, and while I’m not shocked that the league hasn’t bothered about making those clear it’s really annoying.

    1. Here’s the Google translation of the longer story, posted here

      Announced on the start in mid-April, Sarah Bouhaddi and Dzsenifer Marozsan could finally extend with the Lyon club for a long time.

      The dreams of the United States would therefore only be a distant memory for Sarah Bouhaddi, who strongly wanted to live an experience abroad and seemed to have made her decision to leave to join the Utah Royals in May. The file also seemed almost complete. But the health crisis linked to the Coronavirus had somewhat called into question the initial plan.

      The President of Lyon, Jean-Michel Aulas, very involved in conserving the two players at all costs, will never give up. According to the agent for Sarah Bouhaddi, joined this Friday morning, “the discussions were indeed on very good way to extend not only the lease of two months in order to play the Champions League, but also to start again on a new project with the OL ”.

      According to our information, the two internationals have signed a 3-year contract extension. The goalkeeper of the Blue and the German international and middle of the OL would have been invited to dinner by the president of the OL in person. A face-to-face invitation that would have finished convincing the two players …

      The Rhone club has not yet formalized the news.

  40. Another website link to add to the list:

    Kendall Johnson’s amazing Arrow Living conversations. I haven’t listened to all of them, but I have listened to the ones with Nadim, Henry, Sinc, Tobin, and Betos, and Kendall gets great stuff from them because it’s a relaxed conversation between teammates in an informal space.

    Also… a request: Please make the Riveting podcast available via!

  41. Six days to the kickoff in Utah and I still can’t find 1) official team rosters, and 2) details of the tournament – tiebreakers, substitutions (additional subs had been floated…).

    Anyone seen or heard any of this, or is this just more of the usual “Oh, this is the NWSL, so you’ll hear about it after it happens…”?

    1. Copied over from th NWSLsoccer website.

      The National Women’s Soccer League today announced the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret Tournament Rules and Regulations. All policies and procedures found in the NWSL Competition Manual and NWSL Operations Manual are in effect, except where not applicable or superseded by the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Rules:

      The tournament will kick off with the preliminary rounds where each team will play four matches, followed by two knockout stages and the final. The top-eight teams out of the preliminary rounds will be placed into a seeded bracket to contest the quarterfinals. If two or more teams are equal on points after completion of the preliminary stage, the following criteria shall be applied to determine team rankings:

      A. Head-to-Head (only if two teams are tied and they’ve played each other);
      B. Superior goal difference in all preliminary matches;
      C. Greatest number of goals scored in all preliminary matches;
      D. Lowest team conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained:

      yellow card: 1 point
      indirect red card (as a result of two (2) yellow cards): 3 points
      direct red card: 4 points
      yellow card and direct red card: 5 points
      *Only one of the above point totals shall be applied to a player in a single match.

      E. Drawing of lots by NWSL

      Each team has named a final list of 22-28 players selected to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup. Those rosters will be announced today. Only the players on the submitted list will be permitted to play in the tournament. However, players may join their teams late as long as they are included on the final rosters submitted to the league on June 21, 2020.

      There will be no extra time in any match played in the NWSL Challenge Cup. In the knockout stage, if a match is tied at the end of regulation, kicks from the penalty mark shall be taken to determine the winner. Teams will be permitted five (5) substitutions per match and no more than three (3) substitution stoppages per team will be allowed in each game.

      The NWSL has also announced a set of awards to be presented at the conclusion of the tournament. Those awards are: Tournament MVP sponsored by Budweiser, awarded to the most outstanding player of the tournament as voted on by the media, Golden Boot, presented to the leading goalscorer of the tournament, Golden Glove sponsored by Verizon, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the tournament as voted on by media, NWSL Future Legend, presented to the top-performing player in their first season with the NWSL, and Best XI, awarded to the best 11-players at the tournament. The NWSL Challenge Cup Best XI will be determined as a result of voting conducted among players, media, fans, and GMs/coaches.

      Along with tournament awards, at the conclusion of each match, the NWSL will present and share postgame awards via social media. These awards include: the Budweiser Woman of the Match, who will do an exclusive post-game interview on Twitch, the No Sweat Play of the Match, presented by Secret and the Verizon Save of the Match. In addition to awards, a Secret All Strength No Sweat Recap Series on Twitch will provide recaps of the previous day’s matches, including match highlights and interviews.

      Official Virtual Watch Parties presented by Secret deodorant will be hosted by the NWSL on Google Meet. There will be an Official Virtual Watch Party per team, per game.

      To stay up to date with all the action and awards, follow the NWSL on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or use #NWSLChallengeCup.

      There are also links for roster rules and tournament rules.

  42. We have content

    5 subs but only 3 sub breaks in play for each team. Subbing at the half do nor count of 1 of your sub breaks. If both teams sub at same break it is minus 1 sub break for each team.

    Opening rounds no extra time, knockout rounds after 90 minutes go straight to Kicks from the spot. (PKs)

    Knockout round will seed top 8 teams and will not re-seed after the quarterfinals

    Roster size 22-28, all not suspended can dress for a game. 3 players must be goalkeepers.

    Rosters to be announced later today.

    1. Yes! Just saw that and was coming here to link.

      So head-to-head is first, but kinda hopeless across the board since each club will have only played three of the other eight.

      Then goal differential, so, okay…then goals scored! Sucks to be you, Utah!

      Actually, kidding aside, there goes the “bunker against The Damned Courage”. The Thorns (and everyone else…) has to score to be confident of advancing. A GD of +1 is better if the numbers are 7-6 overall versus a 1-0. That’s consistent with trying to motivate the teams to push forward.

      Also interesting to note that the trade window closed yesterday. So whoever we’ve got now, is who’s going to Utah.

      AND interesting that the roster freeze was also yesterday, so that presumes that the 23 players listed at the Thorns website are the 23 we’re taking.

  43. Breaking news:

    Per Yahoo Sports the Orlando Pride are withdrawing from the Challenge cup due to Covid-19 positive tests and with the 14 day protocol will be impossible for them to field a team. Orlando do finish in 9th place by default.

    Then there were 8. Everyone makes the playoffs playing only for seeding and a schedule changes are likely to be forthcoming.


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