Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone, and Happy Birthday to the Pride's Dani Weatherholt! Tomorrow our Lions go up to New York City looking for their first win of the 2016 campaign against New York City FC. Since today is Thursday, it's my duty to find a wine and cheese pairing for the match. Pizza is ubiquitous in New York and it's what the city is known for from a culinary perspective. A giant slice of New York Style Pizza (pepperoni for me) and a bottle of Sangiovese will work wonders. If you're sticking to cheese, a GSM will be fine as well.
Now, on to the news!
Key Players Still Questionable for Match versus NYCFC
According to the club, Kaká, Carlos Rivas, and David Mateos are all still game time decisions. One can only hope that the captain can find his way back into the line up as the team has been playing noticeably worse without him. Adrian Heath had this to say on Kaká's status for the game.
"They’ve given us a little bit of optimism the way they’ve worked this week, noted Coach Adrian Heath. On Kaká, Coach Heath had the following to say, "He’ training in the gym. He’s working really, really hard and he will be another game time decision."
Pride Have Some Hefty Expectations Heading Into the Season; Will They... Defy Them?
The Orlando Sentinel is going over the expectations the Orlando Pride have heading into its inaugural season. Tom Sermanni was quoted as saying:
"I certainly believe we've got a squad that can be very competitive ... When you put a brand new team together, you're never quite sure how easily or how well it's going to gel, or how things are going to fit in place. Initially there's that great enthusiasm around the place, and then you sort of get that reality check.
"You know, I'd love to say, 'We want to be in the top four,' because we do, but how realistic that is I don't really know."
With international talent at every position, it's not hard to argue that on paper the Pride have a deep roster that figures to be competitive right out of the gate. Their first test of the season comes against Kaylyn Kyle and Alex Morgan's former team, Portland Thorns on April 17.
Life on the Fringes of NWSL Rosters is Largely Comprised of Unpaid Amateurs
The women's professional league here in the U.S. is host to superstars like Orlando's Alex Morgan, Houston's Carli Lloyd, and Seattle's Megan Rapinoe. But what about the players you don't know of who fill roster spots when when they're off fulfilling USWNT duties? Well, those players are all unpaid amateurs who fill out agreements with US Soccer to make the roster for their respective teams. Last season saw 47 players volunteer for clubs as players went off to participate in the World Cup and 2016 figures to see a similar outcome as teams may be losing players during the Olympic break. This is especially trying for pro-athletes who are trying to make a living playing the sport they love but needing to be supported by host families. Unfortunately, tragic instances pop up--like this one, where two NWSL players in Washington D.C. lost most of their possessions in a house fire. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the players recoup their lost belongings and at the time of writing this, over $40K has been raised.
FIFA Now Admits to Taking Bribes, Wants its Money Back
So, by confirming what everyone suspected or rather, just outright knew but couldn't actually prove it: FIFA announced that bribes did change hands when awarding South Africa the 2010 World Cup but haven't directly mentioned if any took place in awarding the 2018 and 2022 games. Which I'm sure were both awarded under completely legitimate circumstances.
Today's birthdays: Arsenal FC greats Pat Rice and Lee Dixon are 67 and 51, respectively; Kurt Russell is 65, and U.S. Women's Soccer legend Mia Hamm is 44, scary goings on in the Congo where rioting fans stormed the pitch and assaulted an official. Finally, this Rangers F.C. fan got punk'd by his friends, who are fans of rival Celtic.
That's it for today, play us out Inchy!
Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) March 16, 2016