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Trio of USWNT players stay in locker room for national anthem

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USWNT players Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux and Becky Sauerbrunn were among players from both the Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City who did not appear for the national anthem at a NWSL game on Sunday.

Rapinoe was the first USWNT player to kneel during the national anthem as she joined the protests led by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling for racial equality and against police brutality.

With several NFL teams on Sunday taking a knee during the anthem and the Pitstburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks staying in the locker room during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, U.S. President Donald Trump has responded angrily to sports teams who decided to kneel during the national anthem.

Here’s more info from Sounder At Heart on SB Nation:

This time Megan Rapinoe is not alone. Several players from both teams joined her, staying in the locker room during the flag and anthem ceremony.

Elli Reed, Megan Rapinoe, Madalyn Schiffel, Lauren Barnes and Diana Matheson from the Reign did not take the field. Former Sounders/Reign player Sydney Leroux was among the FCKC starters who were not out for the ceremonies. Yael Averbuch, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Desiree Scott round out that group. Sauerbrunn is currently the United States captain. Leroux and Rapinoe are both regulars with the USWNT.

With U.S. Soccer bringing in a new bylaw earlier this year which states players must stand for the national anthem, could we see male and female U.S. stars following this option by not going out onto the pitch for the national anthem in upcoming international games?

All eyes will be on USWNT captain Sauerbrunn, plus midfielder Rapinoe and Leroux, during the anthem when Jill Ellis’ side play against South Korea on Oct. 19 and Oct. 22.

The actions of Bruce Arena’s USMNT side will also be heavily scrutinized ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 6 and Oct. 10 respectively.

Dom Dwyer traded to Orlando City for hefty allocation money

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Dom Dwyer is heading back to Orlando City in exchange for money.

By MLS terms, it’s a lot of cash.

Sporting KC will receive a total of $1.6 million in allocation money for the USMNT striker, and Dwyer returns to a club which saw him score 15 goals in 13 loan appearances in 2013.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The England-born 26-year-old had those gaudy numbers when Orlando was still in then-USL PRO (now just USL).

Dwyer has 57 goals in 128 MLS appearances, including a career-high 22 in 2014. His departure from KC raises questions about their plans for to fill his shoes, and some are suggesting that Krisztian Nemeth could return to the club from Al-Gharafa.

And down in Orlando, could Dwyer’s arrival mean the sale of Canadian striker Cyle Larin? The prolific youngster ran afoul of the law earlier this season, and perhaps his departure will be hastened with most leagues in the world still preparing for their seasons.

Plus, the move now takes Dwyer away from the city of his wife’s place of employment. Sydney Leroux-Dwyer helps the attack at FC Kansas City, where she has three goals and an assist in 15 games this season.

Dwyer, Leroux become first husband-wife pair to score for U.S.

Photo credit: Sydney Leroux / Instagram: @sydneyleroux
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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Dom Dwyer volleyed in a go-ahead goal in the 19th minute of his international debut, ran to the corner flag and did a double back flip that would make a gymnast proud.

Back home in Missouri, wife Sydney Leroux was overjoyed.

The goal made Dwyer and Leroux the first husband-and-wife couple to score for the United States, which beat Ghana 2-1 on Saturday in an exhibition ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Dwyer, Acosta power USMNT to win over Ghana | Three things ]

“I’m very proud of Sydney and what she’s achieved and still achieving in the national team,” Dwyer said. “I’ve got quite a few caps to catch up to her, and a few goals, too.”

Brad Guzan saved Asamoah Gyan’s penalty kick in first-half stoppage time, and Kellyn Acosta added his first international goal in the 52nd minute on a low free kick that bounced in. Gyan curled a free kick just under the crossbar in the 60th, leaving the final 2-1 – matching Ghana’s victories that eliminated the U.S. from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and the American win over the Black Stars at the 2014 tournament.

“I got fired in 2006. It took me 11 years to get this job back,” Arena said, laughing, after the U.S. improved to 4-0-4 since he replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November.

Born in Cuckfield, England, Dwyer was in Norwich City’s youth system but broke his right foot three times and was released. He moved to the United States in 2009 to attend Tyler Junior College, shifted to the University of South Florida, then was drafted by Sporting Kansas City in 2012 and has played for the team ever since. He became a U.S. citizen on March 16 and made his international debut at age 26.

Leroux, a 27-year-old forward from British Columbia, played for Canada at age 14 in the 2004 Under-19 Women’s World Cup, became a star at UCLA and switched affiliation to the U.S. She has 35 goals in 75 international appearances and helped the Americans win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics and the title at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

[ MORE: Germany outlast Chile to win Confederations Cup ]

They met when she was training with the national team in Kansas City and were introduced by a mutual friend.

“We just kind of hung out. We were buddies, and then we started to hit it off,” he said.

Dwyer and Leroux announced on Valentine’s Day 2015 that they had married a month earlier. She wears No. 2 and he No. 14

Of course, the home is filled with competition.

“We have little bits here and there. We definitely encourage each other,” he said. “She definitely owes me money for this one.”

They are only the fourth husband and wife to both play for the U.S., joining Jim Gabarra and Carin Jennings, Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan and Zach Loyd and Casey Nogueira. Egan’s only goal was in 1993, four years before she married Reyna.

“I’m insanely proud of him and so happy for the overall win for the MNT,” Leroux said through a spokesman. “I love the fact that we both came to the USA from other countries and get to chase our dreams together wearing the crest that means so much to us. When he scored, it’s really hard to describe the feeling. Just chills. I know this is only the beginning for him.”

Arena changed eight starters from his lineup in the June 11 World Cup qualifier at Mexico, retaining only Guzan, Acosta and Paul Arriola. Seven American starters entered with fewer than 10 international appearances.

[ MORE: Infantino still expects VAR to be used at 2018 World Cup ]

There also were debuts for a pair of midfielders: Kelyn Rowe started on the left flank and Kenny Saief, who played twice for Israel before switching his affiliation to the U.S. last month, entered in the 71st.

Atop a 4-5-1 formation, Dwyer failed to take advantage of scoring chances in the 14th and 17th minutes, then broke through. Jorge Villafana dribbled from the left flank past defenders and laid the ball back to Joe Corona, who made his first U.S. appearance in two years. Corona’s shot hit Villafana and bounced up to Dwyer, who scored with his left foot from 8 yards.

Dwyer broke in again in the 24th and was sent tumbling by a studs-up tackle from goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who was given only a yellow card by referee Ismael Ornejo of El Salvador.

“First 10 minutes or so, he looked a little nervous out there, but he got ahold of the game and did well,” Arena said.

Getting ready to open the Gold Cup against Panama on July 8, the U.S. wore new uniforms with red and blue horizontal stripes. Leroux, at home for FC Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer League match on Sunday, watched with 10-month-old son Cassius and teammate Becky Sauerbrunn.

Cassius wore a white home U.S. kit with mom’s number, according to a photo she posted on Instagram. Will he wind up playing for the U.S.?

“I’m not going to put any pressure on him,” Dwyer said, “but he’s probably going to want to copy mommy and daddy.”

Arena, 65, won’t be waiting.

“You don’t expect me to be coaching, do you?” he said.

Megan Rapinoe must fight for her place after Ellis leaves her out

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Megan Rapinoe still has not found her pre-injury form, and it’s finally caught up to her in a place that matters most.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis left Rapinoe off the roster for the SheBelieves Cup, saying the 31-year-old needs to prove she’s back to 100% after her 2015 ACL tear.

“I told Megan she just needs time to work her way back in & to get game fit,” Ellis told ESPN’s Julie Foudy. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Ellis’s words confirm that, at least publicly, Rapinoe’s exclusion has nothing to do with her national anthem protests, and everything to do with on-field performances.

Rapinoe was invited to an extended training camp in January in Los Angeles, but clearly did not do enough.

Rapinoe made just one start all of the 2016 calendar year.

Ellis also cited positional depth when explaining Rapinoe’s absence. “We have lots of depth in wide areas with [Mallory] Pugh & [Megan] Klingenberg back in the mix.”

Also left off the roster was the suspended Hope Solo and attacker Sydney Leroux, who has not featured for the national team in over a year thanks to the birth of her first child with husband Dom Dwyer.

Dom Dwyer as Princess Jasmine, Syd Leroux as Aladdin

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Sydney Leroux Dwyer and her family are flipping the script on traditional Aladdin casting this Halloween.

Leroux, 26, is playing the handsome Aladdin while her infant son monkey sidekick Abu.

[ MORE: Gerrard, Lampard to coaching? ]

As for her husband, Sporting KC striker Dom Dwyer, he’s taking on the role of Princess Jasmine.

Jasmine’s been doing curls.