Spirit, Reign play a legitimately entertaining soccer game

Things didn’t bode well Saturday. Traffic heading up the Beltway to Maryland was worse than usual. The SoccerPlex didn’t have its usual Ben & Jerry’s cart — Yom Kippur apparently kept the proprietor away. And Seattle’s Jess Fishlock, simultaneously one of the most inspirational and infuriating players in women’s soccer, started the game by clattering into Washington’s Mallory Pugh, the type of foul that does nothing other than send an early message. Then a funny thing happened. An actual soccer game broke out. Free-flowing. Long strings of passes. Good runs. For Spirit fans, it looked a bit like 2016 all … Continue reading Spirit, Reign play a legitimately entertaining soccer game

Ali Krieger and the case of the missing midfielder

Ali Krieger won’t be with the Washington Spirit for the NWSL semifinal at Seattle. Does it matter? Her absence, to attend her father’s wedding, is certainly a surprise. Her father, Ken, is a Virginia Youth Soccer Hall of Famer and the type of person you’d think would cut off his arm to be at an important soccer game. And he’s lucky that the D.C. United Academy team he coaches has the week off. Women’s soccer fans love a good debate. Sometimes. Other times, they’re furious that anyone would even dare to question the noble intent of their favorite players. Or any players. … Continue reading Ali Krieger and the case of the missing midfielder

National Weird Soccer League: The Spirit-Reign regular season finale/Part 1

I would probably pay good money to watch Laura Harvey and Mark Parsons play chess. It’s not just that they are, as their fellow Englishpeople would say, bloody brilliant. It’s the fact that entertaining eccentricities and stunning plays just seem to follow them around. Consider tonight’s game, where the turning point apparently came during the pregame introductions, when the Spirit’s PA announcer gave Hope Solo’s number the wrong number: No. 2 rather than No. 1. A quick correction, drawing a thumbs-up and a smile from Solo, apparently didn’t appease fiery Reign player Jess Fishlock. “I think it got chippy because … Continue reading National Weird Soccer League: The Spirit-Reign regular season finale/Part 1

NWSL: Who’ll stop the Reign?

Over the winter, Seattle coach/GM Laura Harvey was elevated to mystical status. Soft-spoken and youthful, the veteran of England’s top-level game somehow pulled off deal after deal. Women’s soccer fans joked that Harvey was making another deal at every waking moment. On a panel with Spirit coach Mark Parsons? Surely offering her backup right back for Diana Matheson. Reading the paper? Surely perusing more trade options. Ordering at Panera? Maybe they would take a fourth-round draft pick for Erika Tymrak and some soup in a bread bowl. Those were the jokes when we didn’t see how all these deals would pay … Continue reading NWSL: Who’ll stop the Reign?

Washington Spirit vs. Seattle: The final whistle

Wednesday’s game against Chicago was, by all practical measures, the Spirit’s first win since May 16. The league rules are clear. Washington was the better side in the 77 minutes played before the first lightning delay. As cruel as it was for the Red Stars to have their playoff hopes officially extinguished without even being on the field, the Spirit won fair and square. But it was incomplete. Wednesday night/Thursday morning, Mark Parsons talked about not being able to hear the final whistle in front of the dozens of fans who had stuck it out through nearly three hours of … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Seattle: The final whistle

Washington Spirit vs. Seattle: The vigil continues

That’s what it is now, isn’t it? A vigil? A vigil for the first win since May or even the first run-of-play goal since May. A vigil for Conny Pohlers to convert one of the opportunities she’s getting in increasing numbers. A vigil for Stephanie Ochs, lauded by every broadcaster as a fantastic talent, to turn one of her near-misses into a goal. A vigil for Diana Matheson to be as influential as she was in the Spirit’s promising start. It’s no longer a vigil for personnel. Pohlers and Toni Pressley have arrived, and Mark Parsons has taken over as … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Seattle: The vigil continues

Washington Spirit at Seattle: Battle of the unluckys

I’ll have to confess that I didn’t stay up to watch the Spirit’s late-night game at Seattle last night. I won’t belabor my scheduling problems, but it simply made more sense for me to get up and watch it on demand this morning, thanks to the NWSL’s nice YouTube archive: And this might be the way I approach games I don’t see myself. I’m not there to gather quotes, and I haven’t seen much reaction to the game except this from Seattle coach Laura Harvey (via SoccerWire’s Liviu Bird): “We concede stupid goals. We just let teams back into games, … Continue reading Washington Spirit at Seattle: Battle of the unluckys