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Morgan Weaver surely did more for her team than Alex Morgan this year. Although their goal and assist stats are fairly close - Weaver had 7 non-penalty goals, Morgan 5, while Morgan had 5 assists and Weaver 4 - Weaver, to my eye, did a lot more to unlock defenses. Alex has more history in the league and better name recognition - just a tad - so she probably got votes because of that.

Hopefully Weaver's time will come. She took huge strides forward last offseason and I'm hopeful she'll do that again this year, in which case it will be impossible to ignore her.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

Moscato left Tigres with the intention of coaching in the NWSL.

She's Canadian, and a longtime CWNT teammate of Sinc's.

Just sayin'...

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New Riveting stuff. Thanks, Chief!

https://rivetingpdx.com/2023/11/12/into-the-woods/

You forgot Iffy as the 9th former Thorn who won the 'ship with Gotham.

9 former players? It's almost like a 4th star for Portland! For now, I'll just settle for 0-for-3 for Harvey.

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

Welp.

Crystal just posted on her instagram a goodbye to Portland, as her time here is up. No word on where she's headed, but, that's a big loss....

I only hope it's not for another NWSL team, but I doubt she's headed overseas. Still, not a great look for Portland to be losing their high profile players in free agency (regardless of what happened with her husband), and will now just be the next thumb in the eye for Thorns fans. More fodder for the internet to just drag this city down a little more. Frees up some cap space, but we lose her for nothing. Not unexpected, but I'm pretty bummed regardless because she had long been one of my favorite players. Kinda hope she goes to France or something so I don't have to see her elsewhere in this league, but my guess, she's off to Gotham or Angel City.

...but at least Sinc is staying around another year right?! Frees up space in the midfield for her. :(

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Stuff we knew/suspected/sensed that turn out to be true--women's sports about to become a fiscal juggernaut.

"Deloitte predicts that in 2024, revenue generated by women’s elite sports will surpass US$1 billion for the first time, with US$1.28 billion in total forecast revenues. This total is projected to be at least 300% higher than when we last wrote our prediction on this topic in 2021. Our forecast is composed of commercial (US$696 million, 55%), broadcast (US$340 million, 27%), and matchday (US$240 million, 18%) revenues.

"A sharp increase in commercial revenue is the major growth driver, followed by income from broadcast and matchday sources. The largest geographical markets are forecast to be North America (US$670 million, 52%) and Europe (US$181 million, 14%) while the two most valuable sports are projected to be football/soccer (US$555 million, 43%) and basketball (US$354 million, 28%).

Global competitions such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour, and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, are expected to contribute US$425 million (33%) of the forecast total.

"As an indicator of the potential in, and momentum behind, women’s elite sports, Deloitte expects valuations for teams and leagues to continue to rise, with several teams’ values predicted to exceed US$100 million in 2024. The allure for investors could be the opportunity to buy into a growing sector for a modest outlay relative to other elite sports properties. Spending by new and established investors is likely to fund increased professionalization and commercialization across women’s elite sports, which in turn could lead to more spectacular playing performances, increased spectator interest, and thus potentially higher returns on investment. The experience of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was a testament to the continuing improvement in the technical capability of the players, coaches, and referees. As one example of the increasing prowess of female athletes, in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England’s Chloe Kelly’s penalty kick peaked at 111 km/h, a speed higher than every kick speed recorded in the 2022-2023 men’s England Premier League season.

"Surpassing the billion-dollar revenue milestone is expected to be significant, especially given the turbulence of recent years for elite sports. In 2024, women’s elite sports should continue to bask in the multi-faceted success of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which generated more than US$570 million in revenue.2 Women’s elite sport is developing swiftly in stature, but is also still nascent, with many of the major leagues only established in the last decade, and many territories yet to establish a mainstream culture around women’s elite sports."

In conclusion, screw you, Ron Burkle.

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Nov 20, 2023·edited Nov 20, 2023

Thoughts about the rumored new ownership:

I would not be surprised to see them turn around and sell the team again in a few years.

They're real estate developers.

They're getting in now when they think an asset is still undervalued and is about ready to take a big leap in value.

They're also using that asset to have access to where the real lucrative opportunities lie. It's just smart.

Say what you will about Merritt, and it's all deserved, but we also have to acknowledge that he loved the Thorns, got into the NWSL for the right reasons, and never wanted to sell the team.

I don't know that we will always be able to say the same things about future owners.

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

From the match report (https://rivetingpdx.com/2023/11/08/thorns-fc-like-tears-in-rain/)

"Lots of fans I read 1) love Weaver to death and 2) were pretty pissed that she was overlooked on the league honors list. No Best XI, not even a Second XI.

Here’s the thing; matches like this are why Weaver isn’t a consensus First XI.

Now I love Weaver, too; Happy Warrior Chaos Muppet that she is. But if you don’t see the whole player all you might see the holes in her game. She passes well…until she doesn’t (Sunday? 22 of 38, 58%). She shoots well…until she doesn’t (2 shots on frame, but both right at Haught and we saw the uglier of the two of those earlier…).

Unless you see her a lot you probably haven’t noticed how she’s upgraded her game all season and over the past seasons. She used to “run fast shoot hard and straight”; now she’s got more guile and precision. She used to occasionally help out on defense; now she’s a forechecking beast (6 of 12 duels won, same as Sam Coffey’s 50%) and a persistent presser.

But until she can consistently be all those things, all the time, especially in big matches like this one where neutrals can see that? She’s going to continue to be low-rated by those outsiders and neutrals."

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OT: Watching the Barry Sanders documentary. I see the same kind of balance, footwork, fakes, and refusal to be taken down from our Soph. Hina has some similarities too. =)

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Here's my mock expansion draft w/r/t Thorns:

Protected (9): Smith, Weaver, Coffey, Sugita, Moultrie, Rocky, Reyes, Menges, Hubly

Unprotected: Bixby, Hogan, Kozal, Nally, D'Aquila, Beckie, Betfort

I leave all 3 keepers unprotected because at this point I don't really see a major reason to keep Bix over Hogan and I'm okay with losing my 3rd keeper.

If one of the expansion sides selects Bix or Hogan, then I move the other into my 10th slot.

If an expansion side selects Beckie or Betfort, I am still okay with letting Bix and Hogan remain exposed because at the end of the day I will have one of them. In that case, I use the 10th spot to protect Beckie or Befort (whichever one was not drafted)

I protect Hubly over Betfort and Beckie because the CB situation remains an unknown.

I am okay with losing Beckie, D'Aquila, and Nally.

I personally am not happy about exposing Betfort, but there are clearly 9 players ahead of her that I have to protect if I don't have a roster protection deal in place. If I were one of the expansion teams I'd think long and hard about taking Betfort over Beckie.

I recently had occasion to talk with a couple of women's coaches, and they're very high on Betfort's upside because of her work rate and physical tools, as well as how much she improved and showed flashes this past year.

That said, I think Betfort would be better here than she would be on an expansion team, because she's going to need strong players around her; that's not typically what happens on an expansion team (SD Wave notwithstanding). It's too easy for developing players to get lost on struggling young teams where everybody is fighting for minutes.

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Nov 21, 2023·edited Nov 21, 2023

What good things has KK LeBlanc done as GM here? I'm trying to think of moves and not coming up with much. We drafted Coffey, which is GREAT. Anything else? We drafted Reyes, which is good, but we could have had USWNT-bound Nighswonger.... we got Beckie, who was kinda meh even when she could play.... we got Leon and Sevecke, which are true "WTF?" signings.... We got a bunch of bench-warmers.... anything else of note? What/who have I forgotten?

And I totally disagree with the idea that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." A better adage for sports teams is, "If you aren't moving forward, you're falling behind." Look at Man City for example. They're active in every transfer window despite winning the league pretty nearly every year. Real Madrid and Barcelona don't sit on their hands either. The Thorns are that level of team in the WoSo world and should act like it.

Maybe a better job for KK would be community relations director or something, since she seems great personally.

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Nov 13, 2023·edited Nov 13, 2023

Haha! Suck it, eurosnobs!

https://x.com/womenstransfer/status/1724102239994945932?s=20

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Excellent writeup of Sunday's loss over on Rose City Review and the moment we're now in:

https://rosecity.review/the-end-of-an-era-thorns-0-gotham-1/

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NWSL playoffs expanding to top 8 in 2024. That's a mistake. I could live with 7, with #1 receiving a first-round bye. But 8 out of 14 is approaching NHL-level of rewarding mediocrity with a chance to get hot and win a championship. Boo-urns!

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 10, 2023

So....in light of the Dunn news, a revised state of the roster:

Tier 1: Foundational pieces, keep at all costs- Smith, Weaver, Coffey, Hina

Tier 2: High potential kids who are already good- Moultrie, Reyes.

Tier 3: The vets- Becky, Menges, Rocky, Hubly, Natu, Beckie

Tier 4: Old and staying- Sinc, Kling.

Tier 5: Danish uncertainty- Sevecke

Tier 6: Nice to have here, but ultimately indifferent- Betfort, Izzy, Hogan

Tier 7: Idc if they’re on the roster next year- Nally, Porter, Bixby, Beckman, Provenzano, Vasconcelos, Kozal

Needed:

Coach- Preferably one who’s good at coaching.

Signings: CB, Striker, Winger, Midfielder

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founding
Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

Her time will come. She deserved it this year, but I do think the end of the season may have tarnished her run a tad. Not sure why Washington had 3, but I respect the game of all on the list

Congrats to Sophia and Sam. Well deserved

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