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Three things learned: USWNT v. Thailand

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The U.S. Women’s National Team couldn’t have picked a better way to open their World Cup account, smashing Thailand on its way to a 13-0 victory.

[READ: How it happened: USWNT beats Thailand, 13-0]

While it might seem like there’s not a ton to take away from a game that got out of hand early, here’s three important facets we learned from Tuesday’s blowout win.


Underrate the USWNT at your own peril

Unlike in previous World Cups, the USWNT was literally one of the last two teams to take the field for the first time in the tournament. All that pent-up energy and time waiting and watching the other teams play could have led to this result, in which the U.S. was in all-out attack mode from the opening whistle.

Remember when France’s 4-0 win over South Korea was the bar for a comprehensive victory? Now, the USWNT has blown that out of the water. Yes, South Korea is at a higher level than Thailand, but the result is the same. The U.S. could have easily just completed 200-consecutive passes and waited for the clock to run out, but by building up their goal differential – the first tiebreaker in the group stage, the USWNT ensured it has an advantage in that department moving forward.

This USWNT squad, despite the up-and-down form heading into the World Cup, is clearly one not to be underrated, lest you want to end up on the end of a smashing.


Anyone can score

Again, a disclaimer – yes, it was just Thailand. However, the way the USWNT played, it showed that there’s goals in almost everyone on the field. Seven different players scored, including two off the bench, and of course, star striker Alex Morgan now has five goals to her name this World Cup. If Sweden was hoping for a USWNT that’s not confident in front of goal, all they have to do is watch the highlights from this one to see that they’ll be able to pass, dribble and shoot its way through anyone.

But again, it’s not just that Morgan scored five goals. All three starting central midfielders scored – Lindsey Horan, Samantha Mewis, and Rose Lavelle (both braces). Mal Pugh, who started against Sweden in the infamous defeat on penalty kicks as an 18-year-old at the 2016 Olympics, is now coming off the bench as a 21-year-old when for any other nation, she’d be the top target forward up top.

And who can forget Carli Lloyd. Maybe one of Jill Ellis’ biggest celebrations of the evening came when Lloyd scored her delightful outside-of-the-boot goal, giving the 36-year-old yet another World Cup goal for her stat book. The goal likely calms down some issues in the locker room between Lloyd and the starters, but also proves to Ellis that if she needs a goal in a pinch, Lloyd’s the first player she should look to.


Ertz is the backup centerback

It’s a small point, but with Becky Sauerbrunn out with a minor injury, instead of turning to someone on the bench, Ellis went with Ertz, who formerly partnered with Sauerbrunn in the last two major tournaments as a centerback, even though she’s now the team’s rock as a holding midfielder.

With Ertz as the backup centerback – most of the rest of the other defensive options, other than the other starting centerback Abby Dahlkemper, are outside backs – the USWNT keeps the ability to take more midfielders on the team, and it has a centerback in-waiting that has a great passing ability and the calm and poise on the ball to start up attacks. That can be both from the edge of the USWNT’s own box to the midway line, or farther.

Obviously, centerback depth, if you’re only going to carry three, and no clear backup for the No. 6, can be dangerous if injuries or suspensions are more serious. But ultimately, the way the USWNT are playing right now, they may not need a real No. 6 except against Sweden and possibly in the second round and later of the knockout stage.

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.