Happy Friday, everyone! We are less than a week out from the start of the 2023 World Cup, and I am trying to figure out if I can save up sleep from this weekend to keep me awake for games next week. TBD.

How FIFA’s sale of Women’s World Cup TV rights went wrong (Wall Street Journal)
This is the first time FIFA has attempted to sell broadcast rights to the Women’s World Cup separately from the Men’s, and they have not been nearly as successful as projected. This article goes into some of the factors, including broadcasters not wanting to pay for something they used to get for free, time zones making the games less watchable (and therefore less profitable), and FIFA trying to make a big change at the last minute.

Match recap: Detroit City FC vs. Loudoun United FC (Loudoun United)
In case you missed it, here’s a summary of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw between Loudoun United and Detroit City. Loudoun’s Tommy Williamson received a red card in the match and will be unavailable this weekend.

Spirit’s Angela Salem helps pave way for ex-players to coach in NWSL (Washington Post)
Profile of Spirit assistant coach Angela Salem and her path from NWSL player to coaching.

Manchester City’s Haaland will feature on first EA Sports FC cover (ESPN)
EA is starting to release information about their renamed soccer video game, including the cover athlete. Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman appears in the gameplay trailer, which was also released yesterday:

The contenders: the five teams most likely to dethrone the USWNT at the World Cup (Pro Soccer Wire)
From friend-of-the-site Jason Anderson, a look at some of the teams who could be taking home the World Cup this year.

We already knew the USWNT would be receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at this year’s Espys, but it’s pretty cool to see stars Bri Scurry, Sam Mewis, and Christen Press talk about the history of the team and their fight for equality.

Now, here’s our schedule for the weekend. NWSL is on a regular season break for the World Cup, so we only have two games, and (in)conveniently they’re both at the same time!

Loudoun United FC vs. Orange County SCSat. July 15 at 7:30 p.m. ETSegra FieldESPN+
D.C. United vs. New England RevolutionSat. July 15 at 7:30 p.m. ETGillette StadiumApple TV

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Will Nelson

Great work by Jason.


I, for one, am very worried about the US ability to repeat. And I’m not looking forward to dealing with the game times–ugh!

Will Nelson

Honestly, I don’t think the US pulls off the 3-peat. They’ve not been comfortable in games they should have been comfortable winners in. Plus the rest of the world is catching up.


My take is: the USWNT has some great depth, tremendous talent, and some big advantages. They’re on a very favorable side of the draw. That said:
–they struggle against teams with any tactical nuance.
–they struggle against teams that provide a high block/gegenpress (I’m looking at YOU Germany).
–they struggle against teams that flood midfield (because the US 433 formation doesn’t adapt well when outnumbered in midfield–our forwards are too committed to being forwards and our backline–at least with Sauerbrun–didn’t have the speed to cover if they stepped up or pushed an outside back in to midfield forcing the CBs to cover more territory).
–Vlatko was too dependent upon Sauerbrun. As a result, the center of our defense is good on paper but hasn’t really been tested against good opposition.


To your point about our forwards – it’s been a long-running issue with the team. Largely that we’ve always put as many super-offense minded players on the field as possible. Dunn is our left back! We’re still struggling to have a balanced team because we have so many good attackers.

Will Nelson

Women’s Rugby Pacific Four (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US) wraps up tonight with a double header in Ottawa the Eagles of the US taking on the Black Ferns of New Zealand and the Canucks of Canada taking on the Wallaroos of Australia. The Eagles haven’t beaten the Black Ferns since 1991 which was only the 2nd ever game against New Zealand.

Previously in the Pacific Four the US got walloped by the Wallaroos of Australia 55-17 last Saturday despite owning the all time series 5 wins to 1. And the US lost to the Canucks of Canada at a neutral site in Madrid 50-17 back in April after both teams had played Spain.


Will Nelson

The US fell to New Zealand yesterday afternoon in Ottawa 39-17. They led 17-5 at half.

Will Nelson

The Pacific 4 is serving as a qualifying event for the new Women’s Rugby Union International tournament WXV for senior Women’s National Teams. It runs from Oct 14 to Nov 4. It will consist of 18 teams split into 3 divisions of 6 each divided into 2 pools of 3. The 3 divisions will be hosted in New Zealand (division 1), Cape Town, South Africa (division 2), and Dubai, UAE (division 3).

New Zealand as the host for division 1 is in division 1. The 2nd and 3rd place teams from the Pacific 4 will join them (looking like Canada and Australia). They will be joined by England, France, and Wales the top 3 teams from the Women’s Six Nations. WXV1 Pool A will be England, France, and Wales and Pool B will be made up of the top 3 from the Pacific 4. It will be contested in a cross pool format (i.e. teams in Pool A play teams in Pool B). There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV from Division 1.

The 4th place team (looking like the US) will be in Division 2 and will join South Africa (hosts), Japan, Samoa, Scotland, and the winners of the European play-in between Italy vs Spain. Pool A will be Japan, Samoa, and Italy/Spain while pool B will be made up of Pacific 4 4th place (probably the US), Scotland, and South Africa. It will also be played in cross pool format. There will be no promotion to Division 1 in this first cycle. However, the 6th place team on points will be relegated to Division 3 for the 2024 cycle.

Division 3 will be made up of the losers of the Italy vs Spain play-in, Colombia, Fiji, Ireland, Kazakhstan, and Kenya. Pool A will be made up of Italy/Spain, Colombia, and Ireland. While pool B will be made up of Fiji, Kazakhstan, and Kenya. It will be contested in cross pool format. The first place team will be promoted to division 2 for the 2024 cycle. While the last place team will face the a playoff match against the highest ranked team in the world that didn’t participate in the current cycle, which is currently Russia in 14th.


Brendan Cartwright

Apparently there’s a rumor out there that United is in on Juan Cruz Esquivel, a CAM from Platense (I’ve also seen him called a left winger). They’re up against Penarol in Uruguay. He’s 22 (close to turning 23), seems to have some good speed, and can score some decent goals.

United said that they’d been looking for a more attack minded midfielder to replace O’Brien. Esquivel would seem to fit the bill, although Goff mentions that United doesn’t have lot of money, so can they outbid Penarol?

Anyway, it’s just nice to see some rumors attached to United.

Kerry Hess

Reminder that we have a Maryland vs Virginia NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference final tomorrow at 7:00 as the Annapolis Blues take on the 2022 defending conference champion Alexandria Reds. Local playoff rivalries are fun!

Brendan Cartwright

New England is unbeaten at home and just came off a confidence-building shellacking of Atlanta. Petrovic is in fantastic form, and Ian Harkes has slotted in very well.

United should be very happy if they manage a draw. Thankfully Klich will be back, but Pines is out. Maybe O’Brien just balls out of his mind in his exit. Taxi has had some success against New England in the past. We’ll see.

Will Nelson

Wow Nigeria is a hot mess heading into the Women’s World Cup: https://theathletic.com/4554817/2023/07/14/nigeria-womens-world-cup-waldrum/

some highlights

  • Lauren Gregg an Assistant Coach for Randy Waldrum has essentially been banished from the team by the Federation because a young goalie the Federation wanted chosen for the squad wasn’t picked. Gregg was an assistant coach for the USWNT for the 1991 and 1999 World Cups and the 1996 Olympic Gold
  • Randy Waldrum up until recently hadn’t been paid in 14 months then was only paid for 7 months.
  • The Nigerian Federation has withdrawn their own promised bonuses to the players once FIFA announced all players who appeared in the tournament would receive $30,000. The players are working with FIFAPRO, the international players union, to negotiate and get their promised bonuses back.
  • According to Waldrum, besides his own pay difficulties, some players still haven’t been paid for games played 2 years ago. Plus some players still haven’t been reimbursed for day to day expenses at the Africa Cup of Nations last year.
  • The goalie not being picked issue. Waldrum had said he would consider the player after the scheduled 10 day training camp that was planned before going to Australia. Then the Federation cancelled the training camp at the last minute citing cost considerations. So as I said previously that young goalie wasn’t picked.

Waldrum, speaking to The Athletic in an interview conducted before the events of the past couple of weeks, outlined some of the ways he was unhappy with the team’s preparation.

“Players were arriving to training camps two or three days late because they didn’t jump on visas in time… some of our players were flying with eight, nine, 10-hour layovers at airports instead of flying the most direct route (because of cost).”

He also had issues with the opponents that Nigeria have faced. “After we lost AFCON, I was never really spoken to about our schedule. You want good competition, but you’re also trying to rebuild your team’s confidence.

“But we immediately came to the U.S. and played the USWNT twice. Then we went to Canada, the Olympic gold medallists, and played them twice. We went to Japan and played them.” They drew one of the games against Canada, but lost the rest. “Yes, we want to play (teams like) the U.S., but don’t play them twice. Let’s play… Costa Rica, for example.”

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