Kelley O’Hara

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Rapinoe, Ellis win FIFA honors; Five USWNT players in Best XI

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Zero surprise here.

Megan Rapinoe has been named the Best women’s player Jill Ellis has been named the top manager in women’s soccer at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony in Milan on Monday.

[ MORE: Messi win’s men’s honor, City shut out ]

Ellis led the USWNT to its second-straight Women’s World Cup this summer, the first boss to manage the feat (Germany won two-straight World Cups, but had Tina Theune and Silvia Neid at the helm).

Rapinoe made waves on and off the field during the USWNT’s spell-binding run to a second-successive title, its fourth in history.

The Women’s Best XI sees four of her teammates join her: Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, and Rose Lavelle.

Three members of Women’s Champions League winners Lyon also make the list, as does top goalkeeper winner Sari van Veenendaal.

  • Sari van Veenendaal (NED) – Arsenal / Atletico Madrid
  • Lucy Bronze (ENG) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Wendie Renard (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Nilla Fischer (SWE) – VfL Wolfsburg / Linkopings
  • Kelley O’Hara (USA) – Utah Royals
  • Amandine Henry (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Julie Ertz (USA) – Chicago Red Stars
  • Rose Lavelle (USA) – Washington Spirit
  • Megan Rapinoe (USA) – Reign FC
  • Marta (BRA) – Orlando Pride
  • Alex Morgan (USA) – Orlando Pride

Morgan, Press give USWNT 2-1 halftime lead over England (video)

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Christen Press made a surprise start in place of Megan Rapinoe and scored the game-opening goal for the Yanks, before Ellen White nabbed her tournament-leading sixth for England.

Rose Lavelle has been outstanding in the early stages for the United States.

Press is the one who started the scoring, however, getting on the end of a looping cross from O’Hara and popping a header home for 1-0 in the 10th minute.

[ WATCH:ย England v. USWNT live on NBCSNย ]

England drew level when Beth Mead’s cross beat the outstretched leg of O’Hara and White ran behind Abby Dahlkemper to snap the ball past Naeher with the outside of her foot. Game on.

Becky Sauerbrunn redirected a long English drive wide for a corner in the 28th minute, and the Yanks retook the lead moments later.

A diagonal ball from Abby Dahlkemper was well-controlled by Press on the touch line, who fed Horan. The former PSG star spotted Morgan, whose surgical run was matched by her header for 2-1.

Morgan celebrated by sipping a mock cup of tea. How very appropriate, Kermit, British, or both.

It wasn’t long after that that Naeher had to make a flying two-handed save at the back post. What a start.

USWNT player ratings from 2-1 victory vs. France

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The United States women’s national team scored early and rode out France’s second half storm to eliminate the hosts from the 2019 Women’s World Cup and advance to an eighth-straight semifinal.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

The back line and keeper Alyssa Naeher were invaluable late, but it was headline-making Megan Rapinoe who made the most of her chances in a 2-1 win.


Starting XI

Alyssa Naeher — 7 —ย Grew into the game and was very good as the Yanks were under pressure over the final half-hour. Timed her jumps well after missing a big back post cross earlier in the contest.

Crystal Dunn — 7 — Was targeted from the opening stanza, and held her own considering the massive amount of pressure.

Abby Dahlhkemper — 6 —ย Nothing spectacular, but good enough to get the job done.

Becky Sauerbrunn — 8 — Calm and steady, as always.

Kelley O’Hara — 7 — Brought the edge needed to keep France uneasy. Late giveaway denies her an 8.

Sam Mewis (Off 82′) — 6 — Some sloppy moments, but overall kept pumping for 90 minutes.

Julie Ertz — 8 —ย If she’s not the most important player on the team, she’s 1B. Another day of cleaning up messes and stopping the spills before they get to mess status.

Rose Lavelle (Off 63′) — 5 — Not much room to operate for a very creative player.

Megan Rapinoe (off 88′) — 8 — Two goals is two goals, but remarkably the headline maker has four goals over her last two matches despite not being at her best. That’s saying something.

Alex Morgan — 6 — Must be dealing with an injury, because she’s essentially been a bystander for two matches. Created space well during her best moments.

Tobin Heath — 7 — Terrific playmaking, and very close to scoring what would’ve been a death knell for France if not for an offside flag.

Substitutes

Lindsey Horan (On 63′) — 6 — Couldn’t keep up with Renard on France’s goal, although Renard is her own argument for zonal marking.

Carli Lloyd (On 82′) — N/A

Christen Press (On 88′) — N/A

U.S. Soccer Federation, USWNT tentatively agree to mediate lawsuit

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REIMS, France (AP) U.S. Soccer and players for the women’s national team have tentatively agreed to mediate a lawsuit that accuses the federation of gender discrimination and seeks equitable pay.

The federation and representatives for the players confirmed the agreement, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, to pursue mediation following the Women’s World Cup.

“Here to win a World Cup, lawyers are at home to do their thing, so we both have our jobs,” defender Kelley O’Hara said Saturday. “This team has always been good at compartmentalizing. We focus on the task at hand and I haven’t paid any mind on anything that’s been going on. That’s something we’ll pick back up when we get home but right now my only focus is winning the World Cup.”

[ MORE: USMNT faces T&T for first time since Couva ]

The United States, the defending champion and three-time World Cup winner, won its first three games of the tournament and is set to play Spain on Monday in the knockout stage. The championship game is set for July 7 in Lyon.

Twenty-eight members of the current player pool filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in March. The lawsuit alleges “institutionalized gender discrimination” that includes inequitable compensation when compared with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

“While we welcome the opportunity to mediate, we are disappointed the plaintiffs’ counsel felt it necessary to share this news publicly during the Women’s World Cup and create any possible distraction from the team’s focus on the tournament and success on the field,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement.

The federation has maintained the differences in pay are the result of different collective bargaining agreements that establish distinct pay structures for the two teams. Those agreements are not public. Court documents said decisions surrounding the teams have been made for “legitimate business reasons and not for any discriminatory or other unlawful purpose.”

The lawsuit was an escalation of a long-simmering dispute over pay and treatment. Five players filed a complaint in 2016 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The lawsuit effectively ended that EEOC complaint.

The federation and the team reached a collective bargaining agreement in April 2017. The agreement, which runs through 2021, gave the players higher pay and better benefits.

Defender Ai Krieger said she hasn’t given the lawsuit any thought.

“Right now we’re so focused on the game against Spain, and that’s what’s important for us right now,” she said.

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USWNT’s O’Hara begins World Cup prep with surgery, 8-12 weeks out

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Kelley O’Hara is set for some time on the mend as the United States women’s national team begins its preparation for this summer’s World Cup.

O’Hara, 30, will miss 8-12 weeks after undergoing surgery to remove “loose bodies” in her ankle, according to a U.S. Soccer press release.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

That means the 112-times capped defender will not play in next month’s newly-announced European friendlies against Portugal and Scotland.

“It’s all good. These kinds of things come with the territory,” O’Hara said. “This is just the best time to get the procedure done so I’m one hundred percent heading into 2019 and physically ready to perform at the level I want to and need to. It’s a bummer that I won’t get to Europe, but the most important thing is to be healthy for next year.”

O’Hara scored in the 2015 World Cup semifinal, and has an Olympic gold to go with that tournament title. She’s won two SheBelieves Cups and three Algarve Cups.