Happy Friday, all! Not a ton of soccer news to share today, but I’m sure we can find a few things to chat about.

Loudoun United FC sign defender Harvey Neville on loan from Inter Miami FC (Loudoun United)
It’s not clear to me how long this loan is supposed to last. Neville is already training with the team.

Ashley Sanchez returns to Spirit after a World Cup that didn’t go as planned (Washington Post)
Sanchez says she didn’t play the role she was promised, but generally the Spirit players are more complimentary of Vlatko Andonovski than I would have expected.

Sources: Spain chief Rubiales to quit over Hermoso kiss scandal (ESPN)

USL Championship side San Diego Loyal will fold after 2023 season (Pro Soccer Wire)
After a San Diego MLS team was announced earlier this year, the Loyal said they’d be sticking around, but things seem to have changed. Sad to see the team collapse fairly suddenly, especially since given the impact on players who were signed for multiple seasons. The announcement video is below:

Nike U-turns, will sell goalkeeper jerseys after Earps outcry (ESPN)
Nike (and basically everyone else in this business) is constantly underestimating the demand for women’s sports merch. They initially said they would take fans’ requests for keeper jerseys under consideration for the next World Cup, but I guess enough people wanted a Mary Earps jersey that they were bullied into making them now.

Now, here’s your schedule for the weekend. Have a good one!

Loudoun United FC vs. Indy ElevenSat., Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. ETMichael A. Carroll StadiumESPN+
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia UnionSat., Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ETAudi FieldApple TV
Washington Spirit vs. Portland ThornsSun., Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. ETAudi FieldParamount+

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Talonesque #

And you know what Mary Earps says to the lack of Jersey planning? 😉


I too was surprised a bit by generally how positive the Spirit players were about Vlatko. Remember, there was tremendous player support for hiring him in the first place. And I’m not sure if people are interpreting what comments we’ve heard from USWNT players post-WC accurately. For instance, Sanchez’ comments could mean: she was told she play a lot and then she didn’t see one second. Or she was told she’d be an A-mid and then spent the pre-cup camp and cup playing a different position. Horan’s comments could be seen as an indictment of Vlatko and his tactics. Or taken a different way (mentally the team just wasn’t prepared–too many “inexperienced” players, or the team’s inability to problem solve until it was too late). I think it’s going to be interesting to get a more open and full account about what was going on. But that probably won’t happen until later.

Talonesque #

I mean, we may never get a truly accurate account for why it didn’t work from the players, they seem to have liked the guy, but they didn’t perform effectively under him several times. That generally indicates, and there were certainly other signs of this, that he wasn’t ruthless and didn’t push comfort zones to foster competitive edge.

Bryan McEachern

I think they like Vlatko just fine. I don’t think anyone finds him to be a bad person. He just didn’t pull the right levers when it counted. Indeed, he wasn’t ruthless.


I think in time we’ll find out. I think part of the problem is most of America (and most of the USWNT vets) are in a bit of denial about this. You hear things like “not enough swagger” or “not having fun” and “bad coach (for a variety of reasons)”.

Julie Foudy is the only person I’ve heard who recognized the technical gap. She said via twitter that at no point as any USWNT done with the ball what Spain was doing. And that wasn’t Spain’s 11 best players. They left 12 players at home. And Putellas (two “Player of the Year” awards) contributed minimally.

I have a lot of issues with Vlatko. But my understanding is that it’s the players that got him hired originally and most if not all of the players really liked him personally. And descriptions of him at practice and how he’s worked with his teams–he pushes players hard, he’s very active in practice, he comes up with detailed game plans.

I think for starters, the best women’s teams (at least in Europe) have moved past the US in talent. Almost none of their players came through college–but academies. Ricketts is the except for the Spirit–she’s the norm for Barcelona. Their teams play longer seasons, have better resources assisting their programs. The top 10 women’s clubs in the world–probably all of them are in Europe.

Yes, I heap a lot of blame on Vlatko. But the Carli Lloyd criticism (no pride in country), the other comments I mentioned above–I think those are coming from people who never had to compete against teams as good as England, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and maybe Japan are today. The technical and tactical sophistication is significantly better now than 4 years ago–heck, better than just 2 years ago.

Talonesque #

Point taken, and I agree that the USWNT can no longer muscle around teams that are just technically ahead of them. But I think it’s both. Vlatko didn’t get the team humming collectively, and didn’t make the hard calls that would have helped the team.

Talonesque #

Oh, BTW, Lloyd is often a self serving commentator (her and Lalas are an eye-rolling combination for broadcasts), so I’m not tacitly agreeing with anything she said. The players didn’t achieve what they are capable of, regardless of technical or understanding deficiencies. The coach was a big part of that.


Most of his supporters seemed to be in that room. The reaction from men and women (players at least) to his speech is pretty universally negative. And it’s people with clout.


Yeah, but remember we’re talking about a federation that told 15 of the players on their team to go pound sand. They are perfectly willing to tell their players (and their critiques) to go to hell.


Suddenly it’s a lot more than 15 players though.


Agreed. Now the entire 23 WWC roster has said they won’t play as long as he remains. And up to a total of 51 current or previous WWC players have signed on. And a member of the men’s team has said he may not play if he remains in charge. Spain may be forced to act.


They’ll stand pat until the sponsors have their say. Once that happens things may move quickly.


Interesting news under “former DCU players:” David Ochoa has signed on as a coach with Ventura County. Last seen being kicked out of San Luis, who he chose to sign with over us (the best gift a player has given us in recent years).



That is someone who has trashed his career–though a series of bad decisions and bad behavior. Too bad.

Talonesque #

Flo Balogun sounds like he’s moving to Monaco for a fee of €40 million, or £34.3 million. Think Arsenal lucked out that they got that this late in the window, but I bet Balogun is breathing a sigh of relief

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