Couple of old faces and a new one arrive, and a veteran leaves.
The old ones we knew; Sinclair re-signed…
…and the strong rumor (as in Linehan says it’s a lock) is Sauerbrunn will, too.
The new arrival is former Chelsea forward/midfielder Canadian international Jessie Fleming…
…and the departure is former Thorns midfielder Costa Rica international Raquel Rodriguez, traded to ACFC for cash.
You know my feelings about Sinc, so it’s pointless to flog that dead mare.
Glad Sauerbrunn is returning; we need as much backline help as possible,
Fleming is international quality, so that’s good. She’s kind of a Canadian Army Knife; plays a little RW, plays a little AM, she can be an 8 or a 10 but she’s kind of a tank for the CWNT so she’ll provide more defense than Sinc and something closer to what Rocky gave us. With her coming in someone was going to lose minutes, and now we know who it was.
Rodriguez? I’ll miss her. She had good days and bad, like we all do, but she was always tough, and let’s not forget that while Dunn’s 2022 semifinal golazo gets all the press, it was Rodriguez’ strike that made Dunn’s the matchwinner.
So here’s what the squad looks like as of 6:30pm 1/23:
still hasn’t been signed has turned up in Bay City as an NRI, for those who care.
The real open question is still right fullback. There’s a couple of ways Mike Norris might skin that cat.
He could shift Obaze out there; she’s played RB. (IMO that swaps one problem for another, pulling depth out of the centerbacks).
He could move Reyes over there. (That’s her weakest position, though).
He could push Beckie downfield (but her defending ranges from “barely serviceable” to “look out!”). Or he could move the rookie Linnehan there (which begs the question why when there’s a rookie RB in camp as an NRI)
He could plug in NRI Mallie Mackenzie, fullback out of Georgia (#11 on Henderson’s Tier A group, (tho only one “star” on his zero-to-four star scale).
Or LeBlanc could make another deal for a starting-quality RB.
We’ll see what happens.
So for all I think she porked the pup with Kuikka our favorite pink-coated GM has otherwise managed to fill in the roster pretty damn nicely. Take ten bucks out of petty cash, KK. Good job.
Now the real test begins.
Because we had a strong roster last season but several shortcomings – largely tactics, and matchday and roster management – managed to trip the squad up in both vying for the Shield in the season and in the semifinal in the playoffs.
So the question becomes; is our head coach learning?
Presuming he and LeBlanc successfully sort out the RB question this should be a hellishly hard squad to beat this coming season.
Will it? I hope so!
We’ve got about 52 days before we begin finding out.