Jul 11, 2023Liked by Wilder Isom

From Jess Kassouf:

"A group of investors calling themselves For Denver FC has launched a public campaign to bring a pro women's team to Denver. #NWSL or USL Super League is possible. Colorado native Jordan Angeli has a leading role in organizing the effort. Tom Dunmore, Ben Hubbard also involved."

I've always been worried about a Denver NWSL club purely for selfish reasons because I think it could have the potential to pull Sophia back to CO.

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Said my piece about the match in the game thread, so I’ll go a little more macro here:

Louisville, Orlando, Chicago, ACFC Combined points since July 1: 20

Portland, Seattle, SD, Washington combined points since July 1: 3

Parity, chaos, blah blah blah, this isn’t a good thing. There’s no reason to have *any* league games when every team’s best players are gone.

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CBS/Attacking Third put together a nearly 15-minute "extended highlights" package of this match.

Nearly 15 minutes? From *this* match?

I can only surmise that they didn't want to have to rewatch it in order to edit down to actual highlights, so they just took the halftime intermission and uploaded that.

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Just finished screening this one, and over thirty years of being a fan of this game, and ten as a fan of this club…that second half was one of the most deadly dull, hopelessly random forty-five minutes of my life and that includes pulling fire guard in an empty barracks.

Chasing the game, the Thorns had no urgency or shape. No organization, no plan, nothing. They looked completely baffled.

Part of that is that Norris is playing a Smith-centric attack only without Smith. I lost count of the times Vasconcelos and D’Aquila would take off on straight-ahead runs and Moultrie or Coffey would try and thread a pass thru to them.

But without Smith-grade pace and guile the forwards couldn’t break the backline and either the pass would get picked off or the forwards would be smothered.

It’s a perfect shitstorm; Norris’ “tactics” rely on hero-ball (which Betfort provided for the only goal and Kling didn’t on her point blank blast…) which means when you don’t have heroes, we’re kinda screwed.

And here’s the thing; even WITH heroes, if the opponent has bigger heroes, or your heroes have an off day, you lose.

Luckily nobody else looks reliable this season. But I can easily see this club having a jour sans in the semi or Final and crashing out. And I don’t see that Norris is going to develop massive tactical nous between then and now.

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Some interesting commentary from Rhian (yes, THAT Rhian) about how Team Canada/Bev has decided to make this WC team built around Sinclair (very interested to see how that goes), and also some of her own coaching philosophy. It's a short clip, but I thought a worthwhile share nonetheless...


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"Portland only has to make it through two more games in this window (both Challenge Cup matches) before we can welcome back those players."

It could be three regular season matches before all return, depending on whether US wins out. Last time they went on some sort of "victory tour" before reporting back to their NWSL squads, and that Sept 2 match may not see Soph and Crystal on the pitch.

I do realize a victory tour requires a victory and they could even make the 8-27 match, depending. Yesterday's first half was a hot mess--looking at you Sanchez and Thompson. (Skipped the second to watch sparkling Thorns soccer instead.)

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The early NWSL was heavily supplemented by players from both Europe and Australia. The Aussies jumped ship en masse and most Europeans have too. From players like Amandine Henry, AMC, Catley, Carpenter, Raso, Nadim, Brynyarsdittir, and Boquette plus others supplemented the Thorns' American and Canadian players. Now, the Thorns only European player is Kuikka. Sugita, of course, is from Japan but everyone else is either a North, Central or South American. It's not so much the Americans going to Europe, it's the Europeans not coming at all that has damaged the overall talent level in the league. It's no secret that European talent development is miles ahead of Central and South America and probably Canada as well.

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D’aquila….too soon to press the panic button? From where I sit, button looking bigger and bigger.

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So here's a hypothetical that occurred to me yesterday: Suppose that for whatever reason Sinclair had decided to pass on the World Cup and stayed and played with the Thorns this summer. Would the Thorns still be flailing or would the addition of a veteran who will actually take shots and put them on frame despite no longer being in her prime have made this team kinda competitive during the break? Obviously I don't think it would automatically make us the team to beat but it seems to me that she's good for a goal every couple of games, which at the very least gets us one tie in the last three. Or is she just too far over the hill to make a difference without the rest of the nats doing their thing?

What do y'all think?

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Well, we knew that scoring would be a problem but it is difficult to see how bad it has become. There were two opportunities that really should have been goals that turned into nothing yesterday. Of course, the same could be said for NY/NJ as well.

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The first Gotham goal was gruesome to watch. Kling fails to get within the same area code as Nighswonger, then gets _just_ enough of the cross to chip Bella. Kling, I love ya...but you're having an absolute stinker of a run of games (and haven't really been playing well all season).

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This is certainly the most parity that's ever been in the league. This also might be the most mediocre level of play - certainly in the last 5 years of NWSL. These things are related, I think.

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