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Lisa Baird resigns as commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: ISI Photos.

Lisa Baird, commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League, has been fired after an investigative report from The Athletic’s Meg Linehan detailed sexual abuse by Paul Riley recounted by former professionals Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim.

The NWSL released the following statement at 9:47 ET on Friday night. “The [NWSL] on Friday has received and accepted Lisa Baird’s resignation as its commissioner.” Lisa Levine’s status was not yet announced.

In the article, it was reported that Farrelly reached out, via email, to Baird to re-open the investigation against Riley’s abuse when he was head coach of the Portland Thorns from 2014-15. Farrelly also recounted abuse from her time with the Philadelphia Independence and a semi-professional club in New Jersey.

The NWSL has not formally announced Baird or Lisa Levine’s firing. Levine was the league’s general counsel, who was added on those emails Farrelly sent. Alex Morgan, on her personal Twitter account, posted the emails, including both emails for Baird and Levine.

The players of the NWSL have elected to forgo playing their respective matches this weekend, marking the first time the league ever had a strike by players. All matches will be played at a later date, being postponed instead of cancelled.

Baird was hired by the NWSL in February 2020.

As a result of the investigation, Paul Riley was fired from his position as head coach of the North Carolina Courage and had his U.S. Soccer coaching A-license suspended.

Sean Nahas will take over the Courage as interim head coach.





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Gotham move into playoff position over Courage – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo copyright Rachael Kriger for The Equalizer

Two games today round out a packed weekend of National Women’s Soccer League action. With Orlando already eliminated, five teams are vying for four spots in the playoffs, and three of them played today. With their win over the Courage, Gotham move above the playoff line while the Courage are now on the verge of elimination pending the result of tonight’s second game. Here’s what happened in today’s matches

North Carolina Courage 0, NJ/NY Gotham FC 3

The Skinny: The first half of this match was fairly even, going into the break still scoreless. But that result was thanks in large part to big saves from Casey Murphy keeping North Carolina in it.

Gotham came out firing in the second half and found the breakthrough when Margaret Purce pounced on a bouncing ball in the box that the defense failed to clear. 

Ten minutes later, Purce got her second, poking home a saved shot from Ifeoma Onumonu. Just three minutes later Carli Lloyd would add another from long distance, doing well to turn and create space outside the box, finishing near post.

Once the Courage were already down three goals they started to really test Gotham, but Kailen Sheridan was a rock in net to preserve her shutout. This result moves Gotham into fifth place, in good position to qualify with three games in hand, compared to other teams one. North Carolina are now just outside of the playoff picture.

One Key Moment: The partnership between Onumonu and Purce has been great for Gotham. The individual work from Onumonu to dribble into her defender, then cut it back for a good shot was great, while Purce sprinted down the field to get open for her teammate, she didn’t get the ball but she was perfectly placed to take advantage.

Inside the Game: The fact that the Courage players are even playing right now, given all they have gone through, is miraculous, but the toll shows in their performance. Once they conceded it looked very unlikely they could comeback, with their play appearing sloppy and tired. Casey Murphy was huge and pulled off some great saves, but their questionable defense continues to be taken advantage of to the point where Murphy can’t do anything. Meanwhile, Gotham has found some consistency and strength in their backline, flowing into their offense, creating a solid full team performance.

The Goals:

  1. NJ/NY Gotham FC — Margaret Purce, 54’
  2. NJ/NY Gotham FC — Margaret Purce, 64’
  3. NJ/NY Gotham FC — Carli Lloyd (Estelle Johnson), 67’





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Pride eliminated; Red Stars bolster playoff case – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo Copyright Rachael Kriger for The Equalizer

Five teams are now vying for the final four playoff spots in the National Women’s Soccer League following the Orlando Pride’s loss to Racing Louisville on Saturday. The Chicago Red Stars’ 2-1 win over Kansas City gave them much-needed three points in their playoff push. Here’s what happened in the league’s three Saturday night matches:

Racing Louisville FC 3, Orlando Pride 1

The Skinny: Orlando’s 3-1 loss to Racing Louisville eliminated the Pride from playoff contention, a drastic fall for a team which started the season unbeaten in nine games and atop the NWSL table. Jodie Taylor scored three minutes into the match to give Orlando the lead, and she was lucky not to be sent off 13 minutes later for a horrendous, two-footed challenge on Yuki Nagasato (Taylor was shown a yellow card).

Ebony Salmon scored a spectacular goal on the final kick of the first half to send the teams to the break even, and Katie McClure gave the home side the lead seven minutes after halftime. Salmon was involved in that goal, too, brilliantly back-heeling the ball to put McClure in behind Pride defender Amy Turner. Nagasato iced the game with a goal in the 77th minute, finishing a cross from Salmon.

The loss was the fourth straight for Orlando, who has dropped every game since returning from the September international break. Louisville snapped a nine-game winless streak stretching over two months, including losses in their last four.

One Key Moment: Salmon’s goal changed the entire tone of the match. The Pride had a decent run of play in the first half and nearly added a second goal through Alex Morgan shortly after Taylor’s goal. Louisville’s equalizer changed the dynamics of the game.

Inside The Game: Salmon was a workhorse for racing, snapping a scoreless streak of her own to be a focal point in delivering a much-needed win for Racing. The two goals she set up were as important in that effort as her spectacular goal. Nagasato’s influence on the game was clear in her return to the starting XI, and Cece Kizer had another understated but solid game to create play in the pocket in front of Orlando’s back line.

The Pride once again have many questions to answer in an offseason preceded by disappointment. Salmon’s equalizer demanded that Orlando come out with a response in the second half, and with their backs against the wall against an opponent already eliminated from the playoffs, the Pride folded; they had no answer. McClure’s go-ahead goal early in the second half meant that the frustration simmered, and it was palpable over the final 13 minutes, with the score 3-1 in favor of Louisville and playoff hopes realistically gone.

The Goals:

  1. Orlando Pride – Jodie Taylor (Alex Morgan), 3’
  2. Racing Louisville FC – Ebony Salmon (Yuki Nagasato), 45+1’
  3. Racing Louisville FC – Katie McClure, 52’
  4. Racing Louisville FC – Yuki Nagasato (Ebony Salmon), 77’

— Jeff Kassouf

Chicago Red Stars 2, Kansas City 1

The Skinny: Chicago jumped on Kansas City out of the game, hitting the post three times in the first 24 minutes and before scoring the opener in the 34th minute. Tierna Davidson headed Mallory Pugh’s corner-kick service back toward goal and the ball redirected off Kristen Edmonds for the own goal.

Hailie Mace answered for Kansas City three minutes later, heading in Katie Bowen’s cross off a short corner kick. Makenzy Doniak scored the game-winner five minutes into the second half, tapping in a cross from Kealia Watt to finish off a brilliant team goal which started from Chicago’s goal kick. Pugh appeared to be offside in the buildup but it was not called, seemingly because possession had changed, in the opinion of the referee.

The victory puts Chicago on 35 points, meaning the Red Stars will be in contention to host a first-round playoff game heading into the final weekend of the regular season, no matter how Sunday’s results play out.

One Key Moment: Watch this Red Stars winner over and over and over.

Inside the Game: The Red Stars jumped on Kansas City in the midfield, with Katie Johnson proving particularly dangerous in the No. 10 role. Johnson attempted two of those three shots which hit the post in the opening 24 minutes and caused fits for Kansas City’s back line. Mallory Pugh was active again, even if she didn’t appear on the scoring summary.

The Goals:

  1. Chicago Red Stars (Kristen Edmonds own goal), 34′
  2. Kansas City — Hailie Mace (Katie Bowen), 37′
  3. Chicago Red Stars — Makenzy Doniak (Kealia Watt), 50′

— Jeff Kassouf





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Arsenal’s evolution under Jonas Eidevall – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: Natalie Mincher/Sports Press Photo.

Jonas Eidevall couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Arsenal career. Hired to replace the departing Joe Montemurro as manager in June, his time in the FA Women’s Super League began with a 3-2 home victory over reigning champions Chelsea. That was followed up by a resounding 4-0 win away to Reading, a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester City, and 4-0 and 3-0 wins over Aston Villa and Everton.

Context, as always, is crucial. Arsenal enjoyed a slight head start to their season, playing three Champions League games prior to the FA WSL opening round. By contrast, Chelsea are still in the development stages of a new three-back system, and Manchester City are suffering from a lack of pre-season games and an injury list that gets longer with each passing week.

Nonetheless, five wins from five, including two over their title rivals, is a mightily impressive way for Arsenal to begin their campaign. Last season, they took just one point from four games against Chelsea and City. This time around, they already have six points from these fixtures. The change in results is drastic, but tactically it appears more a case of evolution, not revolution.

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