Happy Wednesday! We’re down to the two last days of the World Cup group stages and I, for one, can’t wait to celebrate a solid week of Fourth of July shenanigans, because what else is there to do with a Wednesday holiday? You celebrate both weekends, of course.
Today we’ve got Pride players taking down some league awards ahead of their match today, Orlando City looking to bounce back against Atlanta United with some interesting availability news, and your daily World Cup update.
Orlando City Feeling Free for the Atlanta United Rematch
This Saturday the Lions make the trip up to Atlanta hoping to end the seven-game skid they are on. According to Interim Head Coach Bobby Murphy, he’s hoping they play like they have nothing to lose:
“It is what it is. I see it as a huge challenge and a great opportunity to go up there in front of a hostile crowd,” Orlando City interim coach Bobby Murphy said on Tuesday. “Hopefully, the players will take it as a great opportunity and play with a bit of freedom, knowing nothing is really expected of them to go in there and get a result… sometimes you can surprise people when that happens.”
I have to disagree with Murphy. The pressure is on with all eyes on the skid and an Orlando team that still has playoff aspirations, direct from the CEO. While I want Murphy to be right, I think going away to the best team in MLS on a losing streak doesn't make me think the Lions will play free.
What will help, however, is MLS All-Star Darlington Nagbe will now be out two to three months with a groin injury. He terrorized the middle of the field last time out against Orlando, and this will be a big miss for Atlanta.
Pride Looking for a Complete Match
“I don’t think we are playing, consistently, over 90 minutes, at the level that we can,” Sermanni said. “I think we are in games, doing some stuff that’s really, really good. But then, we need to do some stuff better. I think if we can meld both of those we’ll be quite a formidable team.
Pride Take Two Out of Three NWSL Weekly Awards
Alanna Kennedy’s beautiful long-distance strike took home Goal of the Week honors.
And Ashlyn Harris did what she does and won another Save of the Week.
World Cup Match Day 13 Exciting as Argentina Moves On
- Orlando City’s Yoshi Yotún and Peru got their first win of the tournament against Australia, 2-0.
- Denmark and France played a rather slow match for the first 0-0 draw of the tournament. Both moved on with France winning Group C.
- Croatia held off a surging Iceland, 2-1 to win Group D.
- Argentina squeaked by Nigeria, 2-1 to get second in Group D.
- Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez is being targeted by Everton FC. Bittersweet news in my opinion if he goes. I want Atlanta to get weaker but I thoroughly enjoy watching them play.
- In tomorrow’s Belgium vs. England match, if any player intentionally gets a yellow to help lose Fair Play Points, they will be banned for the round of 16.
- Glorious news for anyone going to a UEFA match next season: The alcohol ban has been lifted! I can't tell you how annoying that was on my travels. No more worries here!
- Diego Maradona may have partied a little too hard yesterday at the Argentina match. He was taken to the hospital post-match.
- The Portland Thorns picked up a 2018 international slot from the Washington Spirit in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. It’s widely expected to be for Australian international striker Caitlin Foord who has been injured up until this point in the season.
That’s it! Enjoy a great day of Group E and F play. I’m rooting for Mexico and Germany to move on, but who knows in this crazy tournament. Until next week, cheers!