Welcome to the first of a weekly women’s soccer recap. During this offseason, this weekly post will concentrate on recent women’s soccer news, with particular focus on the Washington Spirit.
KRIEGER LEAVES DC
The Washington Spirit confirmed last week that the team traded franchise player Ali Krieger to the Orlando Pride, as first reported by Equalizer Soccer’s Dan Lauletta. In return, the Spirit swapped places with the Pride in the league’s Allocation Ranking Order.
The danger of this trade for Spirit fans is not just the harm of losing a star defender but rather this not being the only loss of a veteran player during this offseason.
The Spirit’s internal strife between owner and players came into the public eye this September when Spirit owner Bill Lynch played the national anthem with both teams in the locker room- denying Seattle Reign attacker Megan Rapinoe the opportunity to kneel during it. Lynch, a veteran believed Rapinoe’s protest would be disrespectful but he received criticism in a statement from the Spirit players, a move led by Krieger.
Krieger’s departure can be linked to widespread reports of Spirit players’ discontent with the organization. In addition, Steven Goff reported in The Washington Post that Crystal Dunn is considering playing in France. With rumors of other veteran players potentially leaving, Krieger’s trade could be indicative of a larger problem rather than one isolated incident.
The trade has no upside for the Spirit unless the team acquires a star due to their higher spot on the ranking order. In order for the Spirit to acquire an allocated player through this method, the Boston Breakers, who hold the No. 1 spot, would need to not request that player. This makes it less likely the Spirit will receive a player of Krieger’s magnitude through the process since that star would need to be passed over by Boston.
The Australian W-League started with this weekend with 27 NWSL players across eight teams. The Spirit’s Christine Nairn, Megan Oyster, Kelsey Wys, and Katie Stengel are each playing,. Nairn’s departure was not announced as a loan. Oyster and Wys each started for the Newcastle Jets alongside Jen Hoy and Arin Gilliland from Chicago. The Jets fell 1-0 to Melbourne City FC, who went on an undefeated run last year to the W-League title.
Nairn is captain of Melbourne Victory and played the full game during the Victory’s 3-3 draw with Adelaide United. The Victory came back from behind three times thanks to a brace from the Breakers’ Natasha Dowie and a late goal from Selin Kuralay. Katie Stengel played 90 mins for the Western Sydney Wanderers in their 4-2 loss to Perth Glory. Sky Blue FC’s Sam Kerr scored two goals for Perth.
This is the league’s ninth season and while the W-League announced some matches would be broadcast for American viewers on ESPN3, no game was broadcast last week. W-League salaries are low even by NWSL standards yet the league features world class talent alongside some talented teenagers.
MCDONALD, MENGES GET CALL-UP
U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis called up Jessica McDonald and Emily Menges to USWNT camp as replacement for two injured players. Jaelene Hinkle and Meghan Klingenberg were each ruled out for the camp. Hinkle was ruled out because of a lingering ankle injury while Klingenberg is out due to a back injury.
This is the first call-up for McDonald and Menges who were each part of their NWSL team’s playoff run this season. McDonald assisted on Lynn Williams’ 124th-minute equalizer in the NWSL Championship before finishing off her 10-goal season with an NWSL title.
Menges was an often underrated part of the Thorns’ shield-winning season and played every minute for the team that conceded the fewest goals across the league.
SEATTLE’S MANON MELIS RETIRES
Manon Melis announced her retirement yesterday, another offseason blow to the Seattle Reign. The Dutch forward was the Reign’s leading goal-scorer despite missing four games with a broken tibia. The 30-year-old retired from international soccer earlier this year as the Netherlands’ all-time leading goal-scorer. Earlier this offseason, Reign star Kim Little returned to Arsenal Ladies, a crucial loss for Seattle.