⚽Star Power on Display in FA Women's Super League
The GIST: With the NWSL Fall Series wrapping up on Saturday, it’s time to turn your attention across the pond, where some of our favorite Olympians continue to play in the FA Women’s Super League. Let’s spill the tea.
Who’s playing?: Star players like Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Ashley Lawrence and, most recently, new mom Alex Morgan have all taken their talents overseas. The mostly short-term moves were prompted by the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the States but could signal a broader movement of players looking for better salary opportunities and stability.
- These players have already made a big impression, highlighted by Heath and Press jerseys outselling all Manchester United men’s jerseys in the three days after their signing. No surprises there!
- While we wait for the NWSL to announce details for the 2021 season, there’s plenty of action in the Super League to tide us over until the Olympics begin next summer.
Any other news from the league?: Glad you asked! Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema broke a huge Super League record over the weekend, scoring her 50th goal in 50 (!!!) games to become the league’s all-time leading scorer. After breaking the record, the Dutch star knocked in two more goals just for good measure. Have yourself a day.
Allen Expected to Start for Washington Football Team on Sunday; Will Jill Ellis Coach DC United?
The GIST: Washington Football Team (WFT) quarterback (QB) Kyle Allen is expected to start on Sunday while the United could get a new “quarterback” of their own in potential head coach Jill Ellis. Can you believe?
🏈Getting to know you: Although the WFT have only won one game this season, that’s one more than their Week 6 opponent, the NY Giants. Is a WFT victory in the cards? QB Kyle Allen’s play will be a major factor. Allen, who took a hard hit to the helmet in last week’s loss, was medically cleared and should make his second start on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
- Undrafted out of college, Allen threw 17 touchdowns (...and also 16 interceptions) with the Carolina Panthers last season. More of this, and less of this, please.
⚽️Herstory, perhaps?: It’s early days yet in United’s head coaching search, but one name caught our eye. Jill Ellis, former head coach of the wildly successful U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT), is rumored to be a potential candidate. If United hires her, she’ll be the first woman to serve as an MLS head coach. Here’s hoping!
- Speaking of the USWNT, three Spirit players were called up to the first national team training camp in seven months. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and forwards Ashley Hatch and Ashley Sanchez cumulatively have only two caps (international appearances), so this is a great opportunity for them to impress and (l)earn more.
⚽Final Weekend of NWSL Fall Series
The GIST: The NWSL Fall Series is heading into the final weekend of play...but a winner has already been crowned. We’re totally wondering where the time (and the excitement from this summer’s Challenge Cup) went.
Who’s playing this weekend?: On Saturday, the Orlando Pride will take on the North Carolina Courage, followed by OL Reign vs. Utah Royals FC (FC stands for Football Club). With the Portland Thorns already locking up first place, there’s not too much at stake in this final weekend.
- Still, we’ll have our eyes on the Courage and their hunt to overtake the Washington Spirit and claim third place in the final standings.
Tell me about Portland: Last weekend, the Portland Thorns defeated the Reign, tallying 10 total points throughout the Fall Series. The Thorns’ first-place finish also means they’re the inaugural Verizon Community Shield winners, earning a cool $25,000 grant for their chosen community partner. The Houston Dash, who already secured second place, will receive a $15,000 grant for their partner as well. So much good on and off the pitch!
Cool! You mentioned something about excitement?: Back in June, the NWSL Challenge Cup brought back live action to deprived sports fans, with the season opener streaming to an incredible 572,000 fans. The Challenge Cup Final drew a record-breaking 653,000 watchers. They put women’s sports on TV and the people responded in historic fashion.
- That’s why this Fall Series seemed to fall a little short. Granted, these games did compete against the return of other major sports, but after seeing the incredible enthusiasm and support poured into the summer Challenge Cup, we were expecting more from the mostly lackluster fall action.
- With a handful of USWNT players opting out of this year’s NWSL action or heading over to Europe, younger players gained crucial experience to build on in coming seasons. The lessons learned this year will certainly shape the future of the league. Excited to see it continue to grow!
Sky Blue FC Win Final Game of NWSL Fall Series
The GIST: While the New York football teams’ dumpster fire seasons continue to burn on, the Yankees enter the offseason disappointed from their playoff loss. On the pitch, Sky Blue FC closed out the NWSL Fall Series with a decisive win.
🏈Not close enough: It was another dark day to be a New York football fan as both the Giants and Jets dropped to 0-5. The Jets suffered a , this time at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. The Gang Green struggled to score with quarterback (QB) filling in for injured , ultimately losing 10–30.
- The Giants, on the other hand, kept up with the Dallas Cowboys all game. Tied 34–34 with less than thirty seconds left in the game, Cowboys QB threw a 30-yard to put Dallas in range for a field goal, which they barely made to win it. Sigh, another loss for the G-Men.
⚾️Moving on and getting over: ICYMI, the Yankees were by the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series (ALDS) on Friday after a game-winning homer from Los Rayos closed the series 3-2. This is the second straight year the Yanks ended their season in the ALDS. With lofty goals and the talent to back it up, the Bronx Bombers this year would be different.
- Nevertheless, an inconsistent regular season led to an inconsistent postseason with both brilliant and disastrous moments. Now the Yanks are left to an important offseason with to be made around pitchers and and second baseman , all of whom are entering free agency.
⚽️On the pitch: Sky Blue FC closed out the NWSL Fall Series on Saturday with a 4–1 over the Chicago Red Stars, a team who the club by the same margin earlier in the series. You love to see it. Sky Blue now enters the offseason until preseason begins in spring 2021. The countdown is on.
Bears Off to Good Start, Red Stars Lose Final Game of NWSL Fall Series
The GIST: Da Bears are 4–1 and are starting to look like a team that could go the distance. On the pitch, the Chicago Red Stars closed out the NWSL Fall Series with a tough loss but a hopeful outlook for next year’s season.
🏈Better every week: ICYMI, Da Bears took advantage of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback (QB) Tom Brady’s huge on Thursday, pulling out a 20–19 win on the foot of Bears kicker . To keep the good times rolling, head coach Matt Nagy emphasized that the offense has to focus on . While QB completed 30 of 42 passes with one touchdown on Thursday, the Bears are counting on his continual improvement if he wants to keep the starting spot.
- By pulling off these early wins, the Bears have earned the freedom to get creative with their strategy and lineup without worrying about completely blowing any playoff chances. Moving forward, they have to utilize scorers like and and ramp up their running game with backs like .
⚽️Falling short: The Red Stars closed out the NWSL Fall Series on Saturday with a 1–4 to Sky Blue FC (FC stands for Football Club). Despite the loss, it was great to see defenders and return to the pitch after recovering from injuries and defender return from maternity leave.
- After the game, Coach Rory Dames said he’s excited about the team’s depth and how many players he’s seen step up during this series. The Red Stars now enter the offseason until preseason begins in spring 2021. The countdown is on.