In the most “Peregrine FO” move evah the Thorns have sneaked the preseason schedule out this past week, with the club playing three games over the second week in March.
As you can see, we’re going to face two familiar preseason opponents – Seattle and the USWNT juniors – as well as a new one, Racing Louisville.
The U-23s, OTOH, are a bit of a mystery.
The Junior Nats?
The big story for the juniors in France was ACFC’s draftee Alyssa Thompson, who scored two of the junior Nats three goals.
Our contribution – draftee goalkeeper Lauren Kozal – played the first half in the win and the second half in the draw and during her shift in the second game shipped the lone France goal.
Since there’s no visual record of either match it’s difficult to say anything other than that, and the neo-pros will surely be dispersed to their new clubs, leaving the U-23s as the “college all-star” team we saw last year.
I suspect they’ll be decent at that level but no better; there’s a fair amount of talent there – a bunch of the underclasswomen played in the 2022 U-20 World Cup last year – but that squad (which included Thompson and our Olivia Moultrie) never got out of the group stage, losing to both the Netherlands and Japan juniors.
What about the other NWSL clubs?
As I talked about in the Louisville piece, I think that Racing still hasn’t solved the problems that left them below the red line last season. Their attacking signing, Wang Shuang, seems unproven. Adding Paige Monaghan, Abby Erceg, and Carson Pickett should help them with the sieve that was their defense last season, but I still don’t see where the goals are coming from, so that’ll be something to look out for.
Seattle, OTOH, is a brute, and – as I pointed out in the preseason piece – has significantly improved since we drew them twice early in 2022. Their attack of Huitema, Balcer, Lavelle, Rapinoe, Latsko, and King is a steamroller, and the Reign defense posted the best GA in the league last season and returns the same group in 2023. So it’s not so much that there’s anything or anyone in particular to look out for, but it’ll be worth eyeing the Damndelions to see how forward they look compared to our squad (and Louisville’s).
Thorns FO: Komi Can’t Communicate
The thing that gets me about this is how it was done.
Someone named Mike Whitemarsh showed up at a Riveting! Facebook post with the games. I was all “Whuuuuttttt? Are you sure? Nobody official has announced this!” because I’d checked the club page and my usual suspects (Linehan, Yang, Kassouf…) and crickets. Then I looked into my SeatGeek app and, sure enough, there they were.
And that’s the MOST Peregrine Thorns FO thing I can think of.
This club has someone named “Collin Romer” who’s listed as Vice-President, Communications, but the joker might as well be Komi Shouko for all that he actually “communicates”. I know, I know, that’s just the Way of the Peregrine, but other than all the “sweep out the Paulson Crap” I’d like to see from the new owners, finding a communications director who actually believes that communicating with the public is their first job?
I’d like that.
But. The good news is, we WILL have preseason games to go see.
And I’ll see you then.