Connect with us

Soccer

Portland Thorns, Racing Louisville, Angel City FC — American Soccer Analysis

Published

on



We’re now approaching three seasons of the existence of Racing Louisville’s history and it’s been largely marred by controversy and really bad soccer. Since 2021, they’ve been impacted by the following: 

  • The hiring and subsequent firing of an abusive coach who also lacked proper licensure to hold the job in the first place 

  • A relatively ineffective expansion draft that did not set them up on the right foot (Caitlin Foord, we will never forget you)

  • Two seasons at or near the bottom of the league (more on that later)

This wasn’t all that has gone wrong for Racing, but it really paints a pretty bleak picture. And after several years of suffering, might it finally be Racing’s time to slip into the playoffs? 

Previously…

Racing Louisville’s inaugural season went quite poorly by most accounts, but it wasn’t entirely their fault. For one, entering the league during COVID meant that most of their college draft picks opted to defer an additional season. Convincing players that Louisville is an attractive destination is a much harder sell than subsequent expansion locations like San Diego or Los Angeles, which meant their expansion draft picks weren’t particularly strong either. So, Racing’s roster might not have been what they had hoped. 

In 2021, the team had the worst xGD in the league (-20), more than double the second lowest team. By the time 2022 rolled around, most of the players who played active roles in their inaugural season were no longer with the team (Savannah McCaskill, Yuki Nagasato, Michelle Betos), injured (Nadia Nadim), or traded during the season (Cece Kizer, Ebony Salmon). Very few players from that inaugural season remain on Racing’s roster this season. 

The 2022 season left Louisville at the bottom of the pack in terms of xGD and left a lot to be desired offensively. No single player created more than about 3.25 xG over the course of the season, signaling the attack was relatively unproductive. On a positive note, they were relatively dangerous on set pieces, ranking in the middle of the pack for the league in xG created from various set pieces (of course, they also ranked near the bottom for xG conceded from set pieces because they were could not defend in any context – more on that below). Not all hope was lost: the team also ranked between middle of the pack to top for a lot of metrics that herald a team of unrealized potential: entries into penalty area and final third (7/12), progressive passes (6/12) and carries (3/12) are all great signs that they were able to move the ball, but not always into dangerous areas or convert those into meaningful chances.  

That is, except for Savannah Demelo who was somewhat of a revelation and one-person attack for Racing. Demelo ranked near the top of the league in most offensive stats last season, including shot-creating actions, according to fbref. Demelo was responsible for almost a quarter of the team’s shot-creating actions, something both impressive for a rookie and completely unsustainable. 

This team was defensively atrocious. The season started out with a center back duo of Gemma Bonner and Julia Lester before Lester shifted to fullback midseason with Satara Murray taking her place. You can see here that both extremely busy defensively, ranking extremely high in their clearances and blocks, but never succeeded in winning the ball back. They also struggled Both defenders struggling mightily to pass the ball out of the back as well. All in all, not the picture of a particularly strong center back duo, but this year’s setup will surely be an improvement.



Source link

Continue Reading

Soccer

Moultrie leads USWNT with a brace, Argentina tie Mexico – Equalizer Soccer

Published

on

By





Photo Copyright Kiyoshi Mio for USA TODAY Sports

With the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup solidly underway, the United States women’s national team has already taken center stage. Despite losing forward Mia Fishel to an ACL tear the day before matches began, the USWNT would go on to defeat the Dominican Republic, 5–0.

United States 5, Dominican Republic 0

The U.S. women’s national team got off to a quick start thanks to 18-year-old Olivia Moultrie, who scored in the eighth minute off an assist from Sophia Smith. It was Moultrie’s first start and first goal for the U.S. In the 30th minute, Midge Purce found Lynn Williams in the box to double the lead.

Purce connected with Moultrie in the 58th and the U.S. added a pair of penalty kicks in the final minutes of the game to extend the lead to 5-0. Jenna Nighswonder scored her first goal and Alex Morgan, who was called up after Fishel’s injury, scored her 122nd career goal. The U.S. dominated offensively with 31 shots and 10 on goal while holding the Dominican Republic to just one shot in the match.

Argentina 0, Mexico 0

An early foul and a missed penalty kick within the opening 10 minutes would come to define the rest of the match, as both teams struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Mexico finished with 16 shot attempts to Argentina’s 3, the former going on the offensive as the second half began.

Despite their efforts, however, a combination of shots off-goal and clean saves by Argentina’s goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros maintained the scoreless draw until the end. The two teams will play again on Friday, with Argentina will taking on the United States, and Mexico facing the Dominican Republic.





Source link

Continue Reading

Soccer

Moultrie leads USWNT with a brace, Argentina tie Mexico – Equalizer Soccer

Published

on

By





Photo Copyright Kiyoshi Mio for USA TODAY Sports

With the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup solidly underway, the United States women’s national team has already taken center stage. Despite losing forward Mia Fishel to an ACL tear the day before matches began, the USWNT would go on to defeat the Dominican Republic, 5–0.

United States 5, Dominican Republic 0

The U.S. women’s national team got off to a quick start thanks to 18-year-old Olivia Moultrie, who scored in the eighth minute off an assist from Sophia Smith. It was Moultrie’s first start and first goal for the U.S. In the 30th minute, Midge Purce found Lynn Williams in the box to double the lead.

Purce connected with Moultrie in the 58th and the U.S. added a pair of penalty kicks in the final minutes of the game to extend the lead to 5-0. Jenna Nighswonder scored her first goal and Alex Morgan, who was called up after Fishel’s injury, scored her 122nd career goal. The U.S. dominated offensively with 31 shots and 10 on goal while holding the Dominican Republic to just one shot in the match.

Argentina 0, Mexico 0

An early foul and a missed penalty kick within the opening 10 minutes would come to define the rest of the match, as both teams struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Mexico finished with 16 shot attempts to Argentina’s 3, the former going on the offensive as the second half began.

Despite their efforts, however, a combination of shots off-goal and clean saves by Argentina’s goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros maintained the scoreless draw until the end. The two teams will play again on Friday, with Argentina will taking on the United States, and Mexico facing the Dominican Republic.





Source link

Continue Reading

Soccer

FC Cincinnati, Columbus Crew — American Soccer Analysis

Published

on

By


Barreal was widely expected to depart during the January transfer window. And when he was still nominally a member of the Orange and Blue in February, it was a short-term solution, until summer, at best. So Barreal’s departure on the eve of the season hurts but Chris Albright looks close to finalizing Barreal’s successor at left wingback in the acquisition of Luca Orellano on an initial loan with an option to buy from Vasco da Gama.  

Like Barreal, Orellano previously played at Vélez Sarsfield as a winger and has little to no experience as a wingback. Given the offensive freedom Barreal enjoyed, the transition shouldn’t be too much, especially with the security blanket provided by FCC’s three centerback system plus Obi Nwobodo’s ball-winning prowess in midfield. MLS watchers will know the winger-to-wingback transition more from SuperDraft picks, not potential multi-million dollar transfers. But Albright’s confidence that Orellano can slot into Barreal’s role will be a must-watch storyline in 2024. 

Centerbacks Anchoring Everything

The fact that we’ve gotten this far into the preview without mentioning the biggest free agent signing isn’t too surprising given the fireworks that the Orange and Blue could provide going forward. But the addition of Miles Robinson will provide additional quality to FCC’s three centerback setup. Robinson replaces loanee Yerson Mosquera but should offer a bit more quality on the ball, potentially helping FCC build out of the back. Robinson, playing alongside Matt Miazga and Ian Murphy, should provide one of best centerback groups in the league. 

Expect to see FCC press aggressively and rely on its centerbacks to snuff out danger high up the field. The Orange and Blue will certainly concede chances when opponents are able to navigate through pressure but FCC should find enough transition opportunities to score a lot of goals, too. FC Cincinnati games should be high on neutral’s League Pass rankings given the defense of the Shield but the soccer should feature lots of scoring. And that should make for an entertaining season.

By Eliot McKinley

2023 was supposed to be a transitional year for the Crew with Wilfried Nancy implementing a new system with largely the same players as the year before and a playoff berth was the mark of a successful season. However, it turned out that impossible is an opinion and the Crew went out and won the whole thing. The Crew started the year with injuries across the backline and found themselves 10th in the East at the end of May. After a midseason re-tooling which included the departure of Lucas Zelarayan and Milos Degenek and the arrival of Julian Gressel, Diego Rossi, Rudy Camacho, and Malte Amundsen, the Crew turned things around and had the second best record in the league after June 1 on their way to the Cup. 

Offseason Changes

As you might expect following a championship season, the Crew didn’t change too much from the 2023 squad. Columbus are returning 86% of minutes, 85% of their g+ contributions, and all eleven starters from MLS Cup. The only key departure was Julian Gressel to Miami as a free agent. The biggest incoming transfer is U-22 Initiative Marino Hinestroza from Pachuca who projects as a dribbly boi wingback/winger. The Crew added depth at midfield by signing free agent Derrick Jones, with the hope that Nancy can develop his obvious but so far largely untapped talent.  To cushion the blow of Patrick Schulte’s likely absence for Olympic duty, the Crew signed Guatemalan international goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen. But the most exciting long term signing may be homegrown Taha Habroune. The 18 year old midfielder starred for the United States at the U-17 World Cup and projects to be the next Crew center midfielder to transition from the academy to the first team following in the footsteps of Wil Trapp and Aidan Morris. While he hasn’t played a lot yet, his performance for the Crew 2 Capybaras is very promising and has already gotten a taste of MLS Cup glory.





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending