Before the game, Pimiento and I sat down to record the second edition of our Crosstown Podcast. We discussed Friday’s upcoming match between the U.S. and Colombia. In addition to Copa América, we touched base on the USWNT’s current financial situation (will they strike?), updates on the Chicago Fire, and the status of the Chicago Red Stars, as they USWNT prepare for the Olympics.
Until next time, stay up-to-date on the latest soccer news by following Pimiento and me on Twitter.
From the USWNT to Rumi Utsugi, from the Red Stars to equal pay — here’s the latest news on the world of women’s soccer.
USA vs. Japan
Over the last week, the USWNT played Japan in two intense friendlies. The first match ended in a 3-3 draw, and today the U.S. won 2-0 after the game was called due to severe weather in the 76th minute. Take a look back at the games and the key notes from this competitive matchup:
Excelle Sports: Ali Krieger’s going to feel that storm the most— Krieger’s still outside looking in on a starting back four spot with Jill Ellis, and not getting another fifteen minutes to prove her worth has to sting. In the meantime, there’s still Washington Spirit matches, but it’s not the same as coming in off the bench and making an immediate mark on the game.
Once A Metro: The formation was advertised as a 4-3-3 with Morgan as the lone striker with Heath and Dunn on the wings, but Press tended to press up higher, converting the formation into more of a 4-2-2 with Morgan and Press up top. Press was an integral part of the attack and created several opportunities in the U.S.’s final third, but the game was called before she could score a goal.
Last Word on Sports: This relatively young squad believes this was a game and experience that will help better prepare them for the Olympics. “Everything that we’re doing right now is to prepare us for the Olympic Games,” Ellis said about moving forward beyond the match. “We learned a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, it is a tough lesson, but if it helps us down in Brazil, I’ll take it.”
The Equalizer: Press had several opportunities in only her fourth start of the year. Her right-footed shot in the opening minute of the match went off the face of Yamane. Press also put an early second-half opportunity wide of the frame from 20 yards out after Tobin Heath played Press into space.
Equal Pay. Equal Play.
The U.S. women are still battling for equal pay.
Keeper Notes: Going on strike is about exerting the maximum amount of economic pressure on your employer to get them to capitulate to the employment terms and conditions you desire. The USWNT’s best time to strike since 2005 was this last year when the USWNT were coming off all the fame and notoriety that went with being World Cup Champions. However, a strike also has to have an economic impact that is felt by the employer. The Olympics are set this summer in Brazil and a strike would leave the USWNT without its best players before one of it’s two most important tournaments.
The Chicago Red Stars played Sky Blue FC to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. They were without three starters from the USWNT: Julie Johnston, Alyssa Naeher, and Christen Press, which I discussed in my match preview. It was imperative for the Red Stars to create scoring opportunities and lock down the defense without these starters reporting to national team duty.
Sophia Huerta scored a goal in the 34th minute after a beautiful ball was slotted to her through the middle of the field from Danielle Colaprico. These two and the rest of the Red Stars created plenty of other starting opportunities but were unable to find the back of the net with the chances they created. With a goal from Sky Blue FC in the 69th minute of the game, the Red Stars were not able to earn their fifth win of seven games this season; however, they still remain unbeaten in six games.
In post match interviews, the Red Stars’ head coach Rory Dames wasn’t shy in expressing how he felt about the team’s performance, and now his comments are a hot topic of debate amongst NWSL fans.
Huerta has scored seven goals in her NWSL career and all seven of these goals have come when Christen Press hasn’t been playing. If the Chicago Red Stars can take advantage of the goal scoring abilities of these two players and develop their on-field chemistry, the Red Stars offense attack will be a dangerous one.
Today the Chicago Red Stars face off against Sky Blue FC at Toyota Park. The Red Stars are on the hunt for their fifth win in their seventh game of the season, while Sky Blue are looking to bounce back after having five goals scored against them in their previous match.
In their fourth match of the season, the Chicago Red Stars take on the Boston Breakers Saturday at Harvard’s Jordan Field. The Red Stars have come out on top in their last two matches and are looking for their third consecutive win of the season against the Breakers.
Per the Red Stars, “The match holds special implications for new Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who became a fan favorite over the course of her combined five years with the Breakers, prior to joining her current team this offseason.”
I asked the fans, including a few devoted Chicago Local 134 supporters, what they’re most interested in seeing in tomorrow’s game, and here’s what they had to say.