Greetings, readers. I hope you all enjoyed the return of MLS and a hard-fought draw from the men in purple and gold. Considering the circumstances, that one damn near felt like a win. Here’s your daily dose of soccer-related news.
Two Lions Honored in MLS TOTW
Two members of the team that fought for a 1-1 draw with D.C. United over the weekend were included in the first edition of this season’s MLS Team of the Week. Justin Meram was named as a starter, while Lions captain Jonathan Spector made the bench. Both players were influential in rescuing a point from Saturday’s match, with Spector marshaling the back line well and providing the assist on Stefano Pinho’s equalizer, and Meram terrorizing the United defense for the entirety of the game and generally making a nuisance of himself. On the basis of this week’s performance, this probably won’t be the last time their names pop up in the TOTW. Well done to the both of them.
Sermanni Backs Leroux
Tom Sermanni believes that new signing Sydney Leroux is poised for a big first year with the Orlando Pride. Leroux adds a new threat to a Pride team already loaded with attacking talent, making the task of opposition defenses that much more difficult. Sermanni in particular thinks her pedigree and experience will be a great addition to the team:
.@sydneyleroux has found the love soccer again here in Orlando, and @TomSermanni thinks this year will be a defining year for her, saying she has a great chance to get back into the #USWNT. @byMikeGramajo pic.twitter.com/2J3lEkKKK6— OrlandoSoccerJournal (@OSJSoccer) March 5, 2018
Pride Players All Winners in Algarve Cup Round 3 Action
Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond started in Australia’s 2-0 win over China in the third round of Algarve Cup group play yesterday, finishing atop Group A at 2-0-1. Despite going unbeaten in group play and edging out Portugal on the goals scored tiebreaker, the Matildas will not play in the final. Instead, they’ll meet Portugal again for third place on Wednesday. The two teams drew 0-0 on March 2 in the first meeting. Pride rookie Nadia Gomes did not see action in her side’s 2-0 win over Norway on Monday, as Portugal grabbed a share of the Group A top spot and equaled Australia’s goal difference, but failed to score enough goals to win the group.
Shelina Zadorsky started and played the full 90 for Canada in a 3-0 win over South Korea. It was a good recovery for Zadorsky and the Canadian defense to pitch two consecutive shutouts after a 3-1 loss to Sweden in the opening round. Canada finished group play 2-1-0 on six points — one behind Sweden in Group B. Canada will face Japan in the fifth-place match on Wednesday. Sweden will face the Netherlands — Group C winners — in the final, also on Wednesday.
The Pride also announced Monday that Sermanni will have everyone except the Australians back in camp by next week. The Aussies will head to the Asian Cup. The Pride also announced an updated camp roster including the names of the seven new trialists who join previously announced midfielder Bridget Callahan. The new trialists are goalkeeper Kat Elliott, midfielders Kayla Adamek, Christine Creigthon, and Julia Moore, and forwards Trudi Carter, Morgan Ferrara, and Jessica Hamrick.
Americans Impress Abroad
Aron Johannsson and Kenny Saief were the standout performers of the USMNT contingent of players plying their trade abroad. Johannsson scored the equalizer in Werder Bremen’s comeback draw away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Saief, meanwhile, provided the assist on the game-winning goal in Anderlecht’s 3-2 win against Zulte-Waregem. Timothy Weah made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain at the tender age of 19, and, while it was only an 11-minute cameo, the achievement still deserves recognition. The nature of the Parisian club means that an extended run in the side for Weah will be challenging to say the least, but stranger things have happened.
Relationship Between MLS Teams and Their Fans
The New York Times has written a very interesting article about Major League Soccer and its official supporters’ groups. Among the subjects discussed are the #SaveTheCrew efforts, the dissolution of the Garden State Ultras, and the difficulties associated with the league trying to police and monitor supporters’ groups. The article notes that the beliefs and desires of individual supporters’ groups don’t always reflect those of the clubs they support, and recognizes that this can create a degree of tension. However, it also points out that many groups engage in fundraising for charities, community service, and philanthropy, highlighting that, regardless of any tension that may be present, both sides still have their hearts in the right place.
Investigation Opened Into Astori Death
It was announced Monday that an official investigation will be launched regarding the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. Astori passed away on Sunday morning, and, with his funeral set for this Thursday, an investigation has been opened so that an autopsy may be completed before he is laid to rest. UEFA has also confirmed that a minute’s silence will be held ahead of this week’s round of Champions League games to honor the late player’s memory. As always in these situations, thoughts and prayers from everyone here at TML go out to those affected by Astori’s passing.
- Orlando City youth soccer welcomed a familiar face to the coaching staff, in the form of former Lions’ center back Seb Hines.
- Depending on your view of such things, you may or may not find this to be an interesting stat. Personally, I took note of the part about the goal struggles for the recent champions.
Here's an interesting stat for folks who may want to overreact to some of the opening weekend's #MLS results: None of the past 4 MLS Cup champions won their season opener in their title season (0-2-2). In fact, none of them even scored a goal.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 5, 2018
- Here’s a lovely piece about Handwalla Bwana’s unlikely route to MLS.
- Today’s birthdays include Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Howard, Simon Mignolet, and Tyler, the Creator.
If you didn’t make it to last week’s game, never fear: the boys are back in action against Minnesota United this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Unfortunately, I live roughly 900 miles away and am a broke college student, so, unless I win the lottery or burn my apartment down for the insurance money, I don’t think I’ll be making it to a home game anytime soon. Have a beer (or five) for me on match day so that I may live vicariously through you. Ciao.