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⚽Thorns Host Gotham FC in NWSL Challenge Cup Final
The game: It all comes down to this. After four weeks of play, the Portland Thorns will host NJ/NY Gotham FC on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in the second iteration of the Cup. And thanks to loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Oregon, the stadium will host around 3,800 fans, giving the Thorns an extra home-field advantage boost.
- And for the non-live fans (present!), CBS will air the match in the U.S. and Twitch will internationally.
The teams: Both enter the Cup final undefeated, but the Thorns are the stronger squad. In the , they notched three wins and a draw (aka tie) to win the West division. On the other hand, Gotham FC won two and drew two on their way to the top of the East and haven’t scored since their second match.
- Portland has the upper hand, especially with legendary players like Lindsey Horan and Christine Sinclair on the roster. But if Gotham striker Midge Purce, who’s already scored twice, can find the net again, they’ll have a good chance to stun the favorites.
The off-field dynamics: In other NWSL news, 15-year-old Olivia Moultrie against the league to let her sign a contract. Moultrie, , trains with the Thorns, but NWSL rules state players cannot sign contracts until they’re 18 (a rule that in MLS, BTW). Any chance they can get this sorted by game time Saturday?
The GIST's Quick Hits - US (May 6, 2021)
⚾️Baseball: The hurlers are proving the haters wrong. Following up LA Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani’s incredible , Tuesday saw Atlanta pitcher Huascar Ynoa become the first pitcher to since 2018. Go off.
- And while some pitchers are getting hits, others aren’t allowing any. Baltimore Oriole John Means no hit the Seattle Mariners yesterday, marking this season’s third no-hitter that also being a . Close, but no cigar.
🏒Hockey: Here’s a doozy: On Monday, Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson who has a and subsequent disciplinary action — acted severely outside traditional hockey violence boundaries and , injuring him. Wilson was only issued a
slap on the wrist $5,000 fine. Um, WTF?
- In response, the Rangers put out calling for the firing of the NHL’s head of player safety on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, the Rangers made their own firing, with their president and general manager. Didn’t see that coming.
- The teams faced off again in their final meeting of the season last night, and unsurprisingly, things started with . The first period alone and Wilson leaving with an upper body injury. Saw that one coming.
⚾️(Minor League) Baseball: Following last year’s COVID-19 cancellation, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) returned on Tuesday, 595 days after the last season ended. Highlights from Opening Day include Tampa Bay Rays prospect (and the ) Wander Franco going 3-for-5 in his Triple-A debut, including . What a welcome.
Soccer Football: USMNT forward Christian Pulisic continues to shine across the pond. His in yesterday’s Champions League semifinal helped lift Chelsea to a 2–0 win (3–2 ) over Real (pronounced REY-al) Madrid. Chelsea is the to send their women’s and men’s teams to a Champs League final in the same season. Bloody cool.
Philadelphia: They don’t like us, we don’t care
⚽️Union: The Union and Atlanta United drew in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday. Thankfully, the Union’s 3–0 victory in the first leg secured their semifinals spot. But Tuesday’s match didn’t come without (this time, between coaches). .
- The semifinals won’t take place until mid-August at the earliest, so for now, we’re just going to keep gloating, er, celebrating.
🎓⚽️🏐Nittany Lions: In yesterday’s Round of Sixteen, the Penn State women’s soccer team took an early lead over the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles when Lions midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri scored off Sam Coffey’s . Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long, and the Seminoles powered back to win 3–1. So much heart from these Lions.
- In usual dominant fashion, PSU is one of only five schools to have both women’s and men’s teams in soccer’s Sweet 16 this year. The men’s team takes the pitch against the Georgetown Hoyas today at noon ET. We Are!
- On the court, the blue and white men’s volleyball team fell 3–0 to the Lewis Flyers in the Elite 8 on Tuesday; the Lions’ struggling offense couldn’t keep up with the Flyers’ attacks. Sigh.
⚽European Football Drama
Philadelphia: Hi, Heisman
🏈Eagles: We’re feeling pretty optimistic this fine Monday morning after the Eagles’ over the weekend. The best part? The Birds making a last-minute trade with the Dallas Cowboys to secure the No. 10 overall draft pick, which they used to select national champion and , wide receiver (WR) DeVonta Smith.
- Despite doubts about Smith's relatively small size, Philly fans (including us) . We can't wait to see him on the field this fall with fellow 'Bama alum, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
⚾️Phillies: The Phils closed out a spicy weekend series against the NY Mets last night, taking only one of the three games. Tensions were high throughout the series after Phillies pitcher José Alvarado talked some in the general direction of Met Dominic Smith in the first game.
- Given Alvarado’s, um, with the Mets, things escalated quickly: both benches cleared, and Alvarado was . Fierce competitiveness or toxic masculinity? We'll let you decide.
- The 13-15 Phillies will have to drop the dramatics fast and get ready to face the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET.
⚽️🎓Penn State soccer: Both the men’s and women’s teams went into this year’s NCAA tournament unranked...and both have advanced to the third round. WE ARE so impressed.
- The women pulled out a 2–0 upset against No. 16 Vanderbilt on Saturday. Fire up your margarita maker, because they’re taking on undefeated and dominant No. 1 seed Florida State on Wednesday (Cinco de Mayo) at 3 p.m. ET.