Happy Friday, everyone!

Angel City FC has finally made it official that they will be promoting interim head coach Becki Tweed to permanent status. Tweed’s name had been kicked around as an option for the Spirit’s coach, but it’s not too surprising to see her staying at Angel City. After former coach Freya Coombe was fired in June, Tweed led the L.A. team to their first NWSL playoff appearance.

Ted Ku-DiPietro and the US Men’s Youth National Team lost their semifinal in the Pan American Games (though they will play for third place), but Brazil will be in Saturday’s final, and Gabriel Pirani, who has also scored once so far in the tournament, is likely to be a feature.

The NWSL has released more information about the Skills Challenge planned for November 10 in Del Mar, CA, as part of the Championship weekend. Two teams of NWSL players will compete in a variety of challenges for $25,000. Just four of the competitors have been announced so far, all from teams who’ve been eliminated but no Spirit players yet.

USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort spoke with Protagonist Soccer about the women’s league’s new Lone Star Division in Texas and expressed some interest in a Women’s Open Cup involving both the planned USL Super League and NWSL. I, for one, would like to see it. Especially if the Challenge Cup is being cut back to just one match, as previously reported.

André and I put out two full episodes of Hey Spirits this week, discussing the 2023 season overall, how individual players performed, and what’s coming up in the offseason.

That’s all for now. I will leave you with this throw-in attempt that made me say, “Oh noooooo.”

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Will Nelson

Today is pool play for Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7s at the Pan American Games.


Hah! What a throw-in! Worse then anything I’ve seen in youth soccer.

Talonesque #

Since there is apparently no reaction but simmering disgust, I guess there’s no mutiny. International soccer is a corpse.

On a side note, I wonder if Infantino will continue to “feel gay” when the 2034 WC rolls around, that sorta thing will be difficult to explain in MBS’s box

Talonesque #

The second part is in reference to Intantino’s bizarre speech where, amongst other things, he claimed to feel he was part of marginalized groups in a display of faux understanding. Things he felt he was included “disabled,” “migrant,” and yep, “gay.”

Brendan Cartwright

Supposedly Jonathan Mensah is going to test out the free agent market (although he still likes San Jose, and San Jose like him). The RFK Refugees guys said that United should give him a call. What do you think? Mensah is a year older than Steve Birnbaum, and made over $1 million last year. I don’t think a free agent deal prying him away from his current club would make that total go down.

I’m hesitant to go this route. Yes, Derrick Williams will probably be off the books, but I think I’d still rather put more of that money towards keeping Donovan Pines. But if Williams is gone, and Pines goes, and Hines-Ike’s option not necessarily being a sure pickup, United would be quite thin at CB. Just Birnbaum, Akinmboni, and Sargis. Would getting a pricey veteran like Mensah be a good idea, or are you seeing 2024 as more of a transition year, a chance to get younger, and really blossom once the Benteke and Klich era is over?


While it’s all up to the next GM…I don’t feel this would be the move to make unless it’s going to get us to some silverware. We’re not particularly close to that.

Brendan Cartwright

Yeah. It’s kind of along the lines (though not to the magnitude) of signing Luka Modric. Are we close to winning a trophy? Then go ahead and bring that old-but-talented guy in!

We… are not close to winning a trophy. Our current DPs are on the older side, but we don’t need to be adding players like that. We need to build quality all over, and hopefully some that will stick around for awhile. I’ve been on record on wanting to focus on promising youngsters by signing a Young DP and two or three other U-22 Initiative signings, building around those four, Ku-DiPietro, Fletcher, and Akinmboni as our core, and then bringing in supplemental pieces once Benteke and Klich’s contracts expire.


More importantly, Toronto have parted ways with CJ Sapong. What better way to prevent CJ Sapong from scoring against us than to put him on the team! In seriousness though, he’s 34 and we should probably stay away form signing him, even if it does cost us a goal or 2 against next year

Bryan McEachern

Sign him. He murders us, repeatedly……

Benjamin Brewster

We should also do our best to get 34 yo Will Bruin while we are at it. I think between the two of them they have scored ~100 goals against United.

Bryan McEachern

We pay the max for finely aged wines, why not footballers?


Portland (Timbers) appear to be taking the bullet for us and are close to hiring Phil Neville as their new coach…I feel bad for them honestly.

Talonesque #

Geez, Portland, it’s not a stupid decision competition, slow down!

Brendan Cartwright

It might be, since the Rapids are reportedly seriously considering hiring Chris Armas.

And I will breathe a lot easier if they do, so that we don’t have the opportunity to make that choice.

Talonesque #

I mean, even if that happens, I think Portland still wins this one, never seen a coach so inept at MLS management

Bryan McEachern


Talonesque #

Onalfo was inept, but there are levels. Neville is bottom of the heap by some distance, IMO

Brendan Cartwright

Although Onalfo at least does seem to have a pretty prestigious career as an assistant coach.

Ryan Hunt

Good to see Pirani getting some reps. I hope we keep him for next year. He wasn’t amazing but he had good work rate and he’s young enough that he could get better.

Is the third place game streaming anywhere? It would be nice to see where Hopkins/KDP are lining up and how they’re playing. I hate the new trend of not putting out formations when teams announce lineups.


Well, I’m sure this topic will come up in the next DP article but I’ll mention it here: the new USWNT coach is Emma Hayes of Chelsea. The board of directors for the USSF still needs to approve but I think they’ll sign off.

First, I think this is an excellent hire. She’s familiar with soccer here in the US. She’s coached a couple of USWNT players on her Chelsea side (Dunn, Macario, Fishel). She has coached in the US so has a sense of the challenges being here (travel distance, time zone). She’s coached a team that is dominant in her league (WSL) but also had to face Wolfsburg, Lyon, and Barcelona (who arguably had more talent). She’s pretty good at coaching teams in to dealing with a low block.

Second, she’s likely a part-time coach until May. And I’m fine with that. That’s because the USSF has done this before (Arena leaving U.VA to simultaneously coach DCU and the Olympics team). Additionally, she’ll have a number of international windows. And I can see the USSF setting up camps in England and then using those windows to play European sides. And the US Women aren’t going to improve by playing minnows in the US.

Talonesque #

I agree, sound hire, hope it’s an effective one

Bryan McEachern

A solid read, for sure!

Talonesque #

I’m under no illusions that this is an easy job to step into, but there’s a lot of mudslinging about the character of US soccer in here, and criticism of the talent level we’re producing. I think this article’s tone is decidedly biased.


Well, Beau definitely has a perspective on things, that’s for sure. Here’s why I don’t disagree with anything he’s said in there.

  1. If you look at the US women’s youth team performances, they’ve been abysmal the last 2 decades. We clearly have talent in the US. But we’re either not selecting it. Or training it as a USSF team. Or it’s developing later.
  2. Emma Hayes has written/spoken on this issue (something I’ve been trumpeting for a couple of years): the US women are too dependent on colleges for talent. Two decades ago, heck–maybe a decade ago–that gave the US a huge advantage. Now, we’re competing against sides like Spain (where Aitana Bonmati played in the Barcelona youth sides and then shifted to the Reserves and then the professional team.
  3. It’s absolutely true that the single biggest reason Vlatko got hired is a big push from the players. The players loved him–especially those he’d played under. And it’s absolutely true the players rebelled against Sermani and also pushed Ellis.
Talonesque #

Not really currently in the mood to have an endless discussion of the points above, but well done writing a more evidence based article than the author.

Last edited 25 days ago by Talonesque #
Bryan McEachern

You are great at sticking to your guns (compliment).
As I always drone on, gated communities don’t win world championships in football/soccer.

Talonesque #

I actually think Joe brings up some good examples of what could improve with the women’s program, I certainly have my own analysis. More than anything, I think the Guardian article was heavy on some “of course” aspersions without really backing them up.

I don’t view this women’s squad as a den of vipers or divas, the work that needs to be done is definitely more soccer nuance related. Spain and a handful of other programs are clearly ahead of US Soccer in the soccer IQ department, but they’re also in the category of “you all are compulsive footballing cultures, what took you so long?” Youth development can always be better, I flat out reject the idea that we’re not producing talent. Skill is not brains, though.

At the end of the day, if the situation is as bad as the article suggests, there will be little development. If the problem is as widespread as Joe believes, Hayes will not be able to change it sufficiently to get us dominance. I’m more of the thinking that there are some changes and streamlining that can happen to get the US humming again, and that the program is ready for a voice like this

Bryan McEachern

Delicious optimism. Hope you are right.

Yes, the article had classic English bias to it.

Will Nelson

Since I haven’t seen a FK for today. Over Friday and Saturday the US Women’s Rugby 7s took the Gold Medal in the PanAm Games going undefeated the whole tournament. The Men’s Rugby 7s unfortunately missed out on a medal falling to eventual Silver Medalist Chile in heartbreaking last minute action 15-12. Then losing to rival Canada in the 19-17 in the Bronze Medal match when Canada came from behind getting revenge for losing to the US in the Rugby Americas North Olympic Qualifying Tournament Final back in August.



Last edited 25 days ago by Will Nelson
Brendan Cartwright

MLS has had plenty of global superstars come through. Now with Messi joining, and Saudi Arabia gobbling up plenty, it seems like there might be something of a renewed interest in going after those stars. Busquets and Jordi Alba are already over in Miami, and Luis Suarez is supposedly coming next year. There’s some noise that Robert Lewandowski might come to MLS. Antoine Griezmann has made noise for awhile about wanting to come to MLS.

United has hopped in this mode with Wayne Rooney before. Do you think that they’d take another crack at a really iconic name? Or is Christian Benteke big enough, and they’ll go another direction with the open DP slot? Which iconic name would you like to see come? Should they actually pursue Luka Modric? Lure Mesut Ozil out of retirement with some subprime coffee shop locations? Dare to dream!

Talonesque #

I don’t think we can. It’s probably a moot point because they won’t want to come to DC, Rooney seems to be a remarkable exception to that rule, but I don’t see it happening again.

More importantly, if we want to have a cohesive team with workable roles and connectivity, we use that last DP spot to unlock Klich and Benteke’s best play. Eclipsing them with an ancient star who may have a ton of problems with fitness and consistent play, I don’t see the upside.

Brendan Cartwright

The key to getting anything out of the iconic names is to build a good team around them. Beckham didn’t win anything til Robbie Keane joined him and Landon. Gareth Bale won an MLS Cup, but he wasn’t even a DP on that team. Thierry Henry won a Supporter’s Shield with Tim Cahill and BWP. I guess Messi kind of did a good job at winning Leagues Cup, but he’s generally an exception to most rules.

With Benteke under contract, I kind of doubt we go for a big name this coming season. But Rooney showed a name can put butts in seats. The team would probably love to find a way to get all the soccer fans in the area to have a reason to come to Audi Field.

I dunno. I just want a good team, and a little flash wouldn’t hurt anything.

Bryan McEachern

My God! Did you offer praise to NJ Red Bull? Bren???? Bren?????

Ae you being held hostage or something?????

Brendan Cartwright

Just feeling kind of wistful now that our most recent Supporters Shield is able to drive.

Bryan McEachern

That is depressing….

I guess that gets a complimentary Audi….?

Kerry Hess

It’s probably a moot point because they won’t want to come to DC

I don’t know about that. D.C. is about the most European city we have in America. If Europeans want to come to the States, enjoy all the amenities of a major American city, with parks, museums, monuments, concerts, media, etc., but they find big skyscraper city intimidating, then the District is the right destination.

Brendan Cartwright

Montreal is probably the most European city in the Americas (and speaks French), which is why I think Drogba was happy to go there.


If we want to make a splashy signing like this again, I’m hoping it’s Griezmann in another season or two. A, because I think he’s awesome and should try for another trophy in Europe. B, he’s going to take the league seriously and seems much more likely to be a positive influence in our future locker room. C, by then we’ll be moving on from our current duo and ideally have a less top-heavy roster where he’s the piece that takes us to another level rather than someone to drag us to mediocrity.


Nah I’ll pass on the guy who thinks it’s funny using bigotry against Asians.


Antoine would be a good signing, I think. He’s a creator and you can never go wrong with creators on your team, because even if they don’t score goals themselves, they can help create them. And if DC decides to go for another aging star, which maybe is not a good idea, another to consider would be Alexis Sanchez. Or how about Marcos Acuna?

And is likely that the Saudis’ money wins out but I wonder if Kevin De Bruyne or Sadio Mane could ever be persuaded to join MLS?


I hope not. We need a DP that is a productive attacker. We lucked out with Benteke (who is still a good target man) and Klich (who is no longer a good A-mid but is a great box-to-box MF and leader on the field). But we need to go for productivity and ideally younger. Going for an aging player who used to be great–that’s not the direction we should go.

Will Nelson

US Women’s Eagles (XVs) have their new head coach: Sione Fukofuka

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