Amid yesterday’s news that Amy Rodriguez would be unavailable for the Seattle Reign came a lot of speculation about her immediate national team future. Despite news of her pregnancy, Rodriguez he may be able to play in the current national team camp, we thought. March’s Algarve Cup could still be in play.
Before Rodriguez’s pregnancy was announced, Bywaters had tweeted the news of her surprise call-up. Once it was confirmed Rodriguez would not join the Reign this season, many speculated Bywaters’ invite was tied to a potential Rodriguez withdrawal. Per U.S. Soccer’s release, the Pac-12 Player of the Year was recalled to replace the departing Rodriguez.
Now all the virtues of being available for Tom Sermanni’s first camp get flipped. Coming off a year and a half that saw her role in the national team diminish, the ongoing camp was particularly important one for Rodriguez. Now the 25-year-old misses her chance to impress her new coach and potentially win back some of player time he’s lost. During the next eight-plus months on the sideline, Rodriguez stands to lose ground to players like Tyreso’s Christen Press.
With her recall, Bywaters also enters the picture, with her invite to the Jacksonville camp culminating a banner month for the 21-year-old. The Las Vegas-native was the surprise first pick in this month’s inaugural NWSL draft.
But with the news of Rodriguez’s pregnancy barely 24 hours old, it’s still mentioning: There are big, life-defining issues, and then there’s soccer. Rodriguez will probably lose some ground in the national team over the next nine-or-so months, but she’ll also be starting a family, something which transcends her place in a soccer team. Soon these types of admonitions won’t be necessary, but still in a time which should be happy for family and friends, it’s worth repeating: The USWNT camp is actually a secondary concern.
2 Robbies: Manchester Derby, Liverpool win, draws for Chelsea, Arsenal
Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle look back at a defining derby match between Man City and Man United (00:30), Liverpool’s comfortable win against Fulham (25:45), the stalemate between Chelsea and Everton (31:30) and a hard fought match between Arsenal and Wolves (41:30).
The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.
My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)
Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.
Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:
“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”
Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.