The second annual Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League’s Problem Cup begins Friday with loads of intrigue, a brand new growth crew and 15 Canadians within the combine.
The NWSL was the primary North American skilled sport to return in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic final June with the inaugural Problem Cup, then a round-robin match format held in a bubble setting in Salt Lake Metropolis.
This yr’s version will likely be a lot completely different.
To start with, the groups will not be in a single place, they’re going to be travelling and followers will likely be allowed into choose stadiums relying on native pointers. The league’s 10 groups will likely be divided into East and West divisions of 5 groups, taking part in every crew as soon as — two residence, two away. The division winners will meet within the championship sport on Could 8 (location nonetheless to be decided).
- North Carolina Braveness
- Orlando Satisfaction
- Racing Louisville FC
- Gotham Metropolis FC
- Washington Spirit
- Chicago Pink Stars
- Houston Sprint
- Kansas Metropolis
- Portland Thorns
- OL Reign
The match kicks off April 9 with a doubleheader, that includes a rematch of final yr’s last between the reigning champion Houston Sprint and Chicago Pink Stars and Kansas Metropolis NWSL (previously Utah Royals) on the highway versus Christine Sinclair’s Portland Thorns FC.
Racing Louisville FC makes its league debut April 10 because it hosts Orlando, which missed final yr’s Problem Cup resulting from COVID-19 circumstances throughout the membership.
Nationwide crew members for each Canada and the US will miss the start of the match due to worldwide friendlies in Europe.
4 video games will air on the league’s broadcast associate, CBS Sports activities, and all video games are streamed on Paramount+, previously generally known as CBS All Entry. The Problem Cup is precursor to the NWSL’s common season, which opens in mid-Could and ends in October.
North Carolina Braveness
Stars: Casey Murphy (GK, USA), Debinha (F, BRA), Lynn Williams (F, USA), Abby Erceg (FB, NZL)
Canadians to look at: Lindsay Agnew (FB, Kingston, ON)
Notes: First-round draft choose and Canadian worldwide Deanne Rose (10th general) will play her senior season with the College of Florida this spring and be part of the crew at a later date. The Braveness misplaced some key gamers within the low season. The three largest noticed fullback Crystal Dunn shifting to Portland in a three-team blockbuster commerce and Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper becoming a member of Manchester Metropolis.
WATCH: How Deanne Rose conquered her senior yr in a pandemic:
Stars: Alex Morgan (F, USA), Sydney Leroux (F), Marta (F, BRA), Ashlynn Harris (GK, USA), Ali Krieger (FB, USA)
Canadians to look at: Erin McLeod (GK, St. Albert, Alta)
Notes: McLeod was named to one in every of Canada’s 10 allocation spots, that means these gamers’ salaries are paid by the federation. She’s additionally again within the nationwide crew combine for the primary time in over two years. Harris and Krieger welcomed their first baby this previous February and are at present on a hiatus from worldwide obligation.
Racing Louisville FC
Stars: Yuki Nagasato (F, JPN), Savannah McCaskill (F)
Canadians to look at: None.
Observe: Louisville took an opportunity within the growth draft selecting American nationwide crew veterans Tobin Heath and Christen Press. Each are below contract with Manchester United, so whether or not they’ll don the lavender and midnight violet remains to be to be decided. Additionally, Australian internationals Alanna Kennedy (Tottenham) and Caitlyn Foord (Arsenal) are at present on mortgage abroad.
NY/NJ Gotham Metropolis FC (previously Sky Blue FC)
Stars: Carli Lloyd (F, USA), Midge Purce (FB, USA), Nahomi Kawasumi (F, JPN)
Canadians to look at: Kailen Sheridan (GK, Whitby, ON), Evelyne Viens (F, L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que)
Notes: The crew previously generally known as Sky Blue FC will now be referred to as Gotham Metropolis FC due to a rebrand introduced earlier this week. Sheridan, the reigning NWSL Problem Cup Gold Glove winner and crew MVP, is out an indefinite time period due to a torn quadricep, an harm she suffered whereas taking part in for Canada in the course of the opening sport on the SheBelieves Cup. She underwent profitable surgical procedure and is at present rehabbing, hoping to be again on course for the Tokyo Olympics. Viens earned her first caps at any degree for Canada on the SheBelieves Cup and is coming off a mortgage to Paris FC the place she scored 11 objectives in 14 matches.
Stars: Kelley O’Hara (FB, USA), Emily Sonnett (FB, USA), Andi Sullivan (MF, USA)
Canadians to look at: Devon Kerr (GK, Barrie, ON)
Notes: Trinity Rodman, a striker and daughter of former NBA star Dennis, was chosen second general within the 2021 NWSL faculty draft. Kerr, a twin citizen, has represented Canada and the U.S. on the youth worldwide degree.
Chicago Pink Stars
Stars: Tierna Davidson (FB, USA), Julie Ertz (MF, USA), Casey Krueger (FB, USA), Alyssa Naeher (GK, USA), Mallory Pugh (F, USA)
Canadians to look at: Bianca St-Georges (FB, St. Felix de Valois, Que)
Notes: St-Georges had a breakout efficiency ultimately yr’s Problem Cup and is now an allotted participant by Canada Soccer, that means the group pays her wage reasonably than the crew. She picked up a knee harm in the course of the pre-camp for the SheBelieves Cup, had surgical procedure and is anticipated again for the NWSL common season.
Stars: Rachel Daly (F, ENG), Jane Campbell (GK, USA), Kristie Mewis (MF, USA)
Canadians to look at: Allysha Chapman (FB, Courtice, ON), Nichelle Prince (F, Ajax, ON), Sophie Schmidt (MF, Abbotsford, B.C.), Maegan Kelly (F, Kansas Metropolis)
Notes: The reigning Problem Cup champs Sprint have been perennial basement dwellers earlier than a tradition shift below coach James Clarkson turned the crew right into a aspect that is arduous to beat. Schmidt just lately signed a two-year extension plus an choice after a stable efficiency final season, whereas Chapman and Prince are additionally common starters.
WATCH | Analyzing Canada’s efficiency at SheBelieves Cup:
Kansas Metropolis NWSL
Stars: Kate Bowen (MF, NZL), Rachel Corsie (D, SCO), Mariana Larroquette (F, ARG), Amy Rodriguez (F)
Canadians to look at: Jordyn Listro (MF, Toronto), Diana Matheson (MF, Oakville, ON), Desiree Scott (MF, Winnipeg), Victoria Pickett (MF, Newmarket, ON)
Notes: It’s kind of of a homecoming for Scott, who was a part of the unique Kansas Metropolis NWSL franchise. Listro was traded from Orlando to Kansas Metropolis in March. She went from being a trialist with the Satisfaction to beginning three of 4 video games within the Fall Collection. She earned her first caps with Canada on the current SheBelieves Cup. Pickett was chosen within the second spherical of the 2021 NWSL faculty draft after a profitable profession on the College of Wisconsin.
Stars: Crystal Dunn (FB, USA), Lindsey Horan (MF, USA), Becky Sauerbrunn (FB, USA), Sophia Smith (F, USA), Rocky Rodriguez (MF, CRC)
Canadians to look at: Christine Sinclair (F, Burnaby, B.C.)
Notes: The Fall Collection champions and all the time aggressive Thorns simply obtained an entire lot harder to beat due to the addition of Dunn in a three-team blockbuster deal. Dunn is a uncommon participant, one who is usually a robust, defensively minded wingback in a single breath and within the subsequent, make a stunning transfer or two, beat defenders together with her unbelievable tempo and ship lethal crosses in entrance of aim. Christine Sinclair, the crew’s 37-year-old captain and worldwide soccer’s all-time main aim scorer, is coming off an harm that saved her out of the SheBelieves Cup. Longtime Thorn Tobin Heath, who’s on mortgage to Manchester United, was taken by Racing Louisville FC in the course of the growth draft.
Stars: Megan Rapinoe (MF, USA), Rose Lavelle (MF, USA), Jess Fishlock (MF, Wales), Shirley Cruz (MF, CRC)
Canadians to look at: Quinn (MF/FB, Toronto)
Notes: Quinn, an allotted participant for the primary time since 2018, performed for Sweden membership, Vittsjio GIK, on a brief mortgage this low season. A member of Canada’s bronze-medal successful crew on the Rio 2016 Olympics, Quinn, who performs a number of positions as a midfielder/defender, will likely be an asset in competing for choice on the Canadian crew for Tokyo.