Remember waaaaaay back in July? There was a soccer game? With Gotham? That the Replacements lost?
Seems like forever, dunnit?
Well, here we are again, with the World Cup (less the USWNT and (sob…) Japan and everyone but Spain and England) winding to the Final, and the NWSL resuming league play this coming weekend. So time for another Prediction Game.
How’d our punters look after Gotham? Here we are:
|Campeon de Apertura||Points|
Torneo de Clausura:
|Name||Last Match||This Match||Clausura Total|
Still pretty tight at the top, tho the Apertura champion seems to be resting on the first half laurels and ABell4 still has some struggles to answer the bell.
Sunday we get our first visit from the Damned Courage, currently sitting top by a point, and having taken 12 points from their last six matches (we’ve taken just nine over the same period). They’ve overcome early season struggles and recovered from the player exodus of last season to look damned dangerous once more.
Last meeting: May 6, 2023, WakeMed Soccer Park, 3-3 draw
It’s difficult to say how this will play out, both this match as well as the late season run-up to the playoffs.
The last World Cup year – 2019 – the returning Portland internationals seemed to struggle with form that didn’t appear related to how they fared in France. Players who came home early, like Sinclair, didn’t seem any more exhausted (or any stronger) than the US players like Tobin Heath or Lindsey Horan who won it all.
Then everyone cratered in Black Autumn and the club crashed out in the semifinal.
The final seven matchdays are going to be an arms race; each head coach is going to have to:
1) assess their returning internationals’ physical and mental form, then
2) figure out how to get the best out of them, while
3) integrating them back into the squad, AND shaping that squad to win out.
Whoever gets that right? Could end up on top; only five points separate the top six right now; seven points are all that’s between the top eight.
A strong finishing run or a late collapse could be the difference between glory and despair, and an international or two returning with a chip on their shoulder(s) and plugged back into a well-organized squad might make all the difference there.
I’ll have a whole ‘nother post this week to discuss which Thorns might be that player.
For now, on to predicting:
How all this works:
Add a comment to this post. As your first line, put your predicted result, for example 3-1 Thorns.
In the body of your comment, start with the goals and assists, like so:
Kuikka (Free kick)
Next, name the first yellow card recipient: Jess Fishlock
Then a red card. (NOTE: no points awarded for correctly calling a red-card-free match, so take a guess.) Madison Pogarch for mimicking mooning the referee after getting an undeserved yellow.
Make your fun prediction,and give a “thumbs up” to anybody else’s prediction that tickles your fancy:“Pogarch gets the start against her former club. She gets through 70 minutes without fouling her former teammates until she can’t take it anymore. She pushes over Hina, gives Weaver a wedgie, gives Sinc a noogie, then flips off the Riveters and runs out of Providence Park, never to be seen again. The ref issues a red card, which she later contests, and loses.” (h/t to ABell4)
· Correct score: 5 points
· Correct result (draw/win/loss): 3 points
· Each clean sheet: 2 points
· Each goal-scorer: 1 point
· Each FK/PK/assist/lack of assist: 1 point
· Goal/assist bonus: 1 point
· Player with the first yellow card of the match: 1 point
· A player with a red card: 1 point
· Most liked/most outrageously accurate prediction: 2 points
Some ground rules and explanations/clarifications (the fine print):
Comments must be posted before kickoff, but you can edit or amend an earlier prediction right up to the starting whistle.
Keep your scoreline predictions realistic. No crazy scores just to pad out your odds of getting goals and assists.
The goal/assist bonus is an additional point if you predict the correct scorer and assistant on the same goal, for example, you say Hubly scores from a Boureille assist and that is exactly what happens. P.S. if you say exactly that, and it happens, I will hunt you down and buy you a beer!
Be clear whether you think a goal will be unassisted, assisted, or from a PK/FK. Unassisted = no assist, run of play; Assisted = player who got the assist; PK/FK = not in run of play. For the purposes of this thread, Penalty Kick and Free Kick are the same thing. No entry means unassisted.