Around the World of WoSo: FA Cup, UWCL action, latest USWNT camp

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Arsenal’s shocking loss:

In the Sunday quarterfinal of the FA Cup between Arsenal Ladies and Birmingham City, one team was expected to win and it wasn’t the Blues. Arsenal are the reigning champions, so to be knocked out so early surely has to be a blow. Defeating Arsenal’s talent-rich roster, which includes Fara Williams, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Heather O’Reilly, and Jodie Taylor, has to be cause for extra celebration for Birmingham.

The Blues stood tall all game, and in front of 514 fans, they were more than ready for the challenge. Marisa Ewers secured the win in the 77th minute, when Ellie Brazil slotted a beautiful ball for her to put away in the top corner. Birmingham were hungry all match. Ellen White had some quality chances but was denied each time. While both sides had a handful of chances throughout the match, the 1-0 scoreline lasted through the final minutes.

The Blues are led by the energetic forward, White, who many might remember for her recent endeavors with the Lionesses. She scored the winning goal for England against the United States just two weeks ago in the #SheBelieves Cup—their first win against the U.S. on American soil. White will continue to lead her club team as they advance to the semifinals of the FA Cup.

 

Germany reclaims top spot:

The latest FIFA Women’s rankings were released this week, and a few changes have been made. The United States was once again dethroned and removed to second after Germany was named the number one team in the world. Rounding out the top five are France in third (has been in third for a handful of years now), England up to fourth, and Canada down a spot in fifth.

While some may not care for the rankings (or, rather, the system that determines them), I do think Germany is deserving of this. It is not just that the Americans haven’t been performing like the best team in the world for quite some time. Just last summer, Germany won gold for the first time at the Rio Summer Olympics. Germany was last ranked number one back in March of 2015, before the World Cup. If they were set back a step after just failing to medal in that tournament, they were quick to recover.

One team I thought deserved to move up was France, who just recently won the #SheBelieves Cup and finally played up to potential. France has world-class players at just about each position, I thought they would grab the second spot, and I would’ve put the United States at three or four. But at the same time, the rankings are justified by a system of points.

Teams who benefited from this system were Switzerland, who just won the Cyprus Cup and moved into 16th, and Spain, who won the Algarve Cup in stunning fashion in a match against Canada and moved into their highest-ever ranking at 13th. Sweden also moved two spots up to sixth thanks to an incredible silver finish at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

 

Chelsea moves on:

Chelsea Ladies have advanced to the semifinals of the FA Cup thanks to a 5-1 win over Sunderland on Sunday. Sunderland started the scoring by way of a penalty in the 18th minute (converted by Lucy Staniforth). But the momentum didn’t last long, as Chelsea took the lead, courtesy of to two goals from Ramona Bachmann in the 39th and 44th.

Bachmann wasn’t the only Chelsea player to grab a brace. Hannah Blundell took the spotlight when she netted goals in the 49th and 58th minute. Sunderland couldn’t get back on track, and Chelsea ran away with it, adding the cherry on top with a fifth goal in the 90th minute when Drew Spence headed home a Karen Carney cross. It was quite an emphatic win for Chelsea Ladies, who go on to another semifinal showdown.

 

USWNT report to camp:

The United States Women’s National Team will be called into camp March 30th in preparation for a pair of April friendlies with Russia. The matches will take place April 6th in Frisco (FS1) and 9th in Houston (ESPN).

Ellis has named 24 players for the camp but will narrow it down to 18 after the week-long session. Some notable returns include Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez, and Meghan Klingenberg. Young up-and-comers Rose Lavelle, Casey Short, Lynn Williams, and Kealia Ohai are back as well. One brand-new addition to the pool is Boston Breaker Megan Oyster, who has played admirably since joining the National Women’s Soccer League in 2015.

 

City winning on all fronts:

It has been a busy week for Manchester City, who competed in both the Champions League and the FA Cup, winning both matches. In the first leg of the UWCL, City beat the Danish champion Fortuna Hjorring 1-0 on a Lloyd goal—an incredible first goal in the Manchester kit.

On Sunday, in front of 504 fans, they played Bristol City in the quarterfinal of the FA Cup, winning 2-1. Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris made sure they advanced, each scoring to secure the victory for City.

The second leg of the UWCL against Fortuna is on Thursday at Academy Stadium, while the semifinals for the FA Cup are set for April 17.

 

Rosengard without Schelin:

FC Rosengard will be without Lotta Schelin when they travel to Spain for the second leg of the UWCL. Rosengard lost to Barcelona in the first leg 1-0 last week, so they need all the firepower they have. Without Schelin, FC will rely on Ali Riley, Lieke Martens, Marta, and Ella Masar to attempt to overcome the deficit.

Schelin has a slight hamstring injury, they deemed it too much of a risk to go and play in the second leg. The 33-year-old Swedish forward is a big draw no matter what team she’s on. After almost eight years with Olympique Lyon (138 appearances and 143 goals), Lotta moved back home in June for an opportunity to play once again in the Champions League. Schelin has scored six goals for FC Rosengard in just five appearances.