Mittag on the move:
German international Anja Mittag has announced she will be returning to Sweden’s FC Rosengard this season. The-31 year-old striker is familiar with the club, having played for them from 2012-2015. She will leave Wolfsburg behind after just one season, and played her final game for the German powerhouse in the Champions League last week, losing to Lyon in the quarterfinals round.
Mittag appeared 68 times for FC Rosengard during her last tenure there, scoring a remarkable 61 times. After leaving Sweden in 2015, Mittag went on to play for Paris Saint-Germain for one year, playing in 18 games and contributing 10 goals, before returning to Germany to join Wolfsburg.
Mittag joins a squad that is filled with international playmakers, including Ali Riley (New Zealand), Erin McLeod (Canada), Lotta Schelin (Sweden), Lieke Martens (Netherlands), and Sofie Junge Pedersen (Denmark).
Reign sign Katie Johnson:
The Seattle Reign have officially welcomed Katie Johnson to the family. The dynamic forward was selected in the second round of the 2017 College Draft, eager to acquire the kind of player who always seems to find a way to score goals. Johnson is explosive in open spaces, and her finishing skill alone is appealing for the average soccer fan. In her last match as a senior she scored two goals for USC, going on to win the National Championship against West Virginia. Across her total collegiate career, she netted 24 goals and six assists.
The Reign lost two key pieces of the scoring puzzle in Kim Little and Manon Melis in the off-season, so bringing in a young talent like Johnson was a no-brainer. Even with a roster that has Bev Yanez, Nahomi Kawasumi, Megan Rapinoe, and Larissa Crummer, I still think Johnson has a shot at earning quality minutes this season.
USWNT trio out with injuries:
The United States Women’s National team will be without three midfielders for the two matches with Russia on April 6th and 9th later this week. Tobin Heath is ruled out with a back injury, Morgan Brian has a minor knee injury, and Lindsey Horan is dealing with a hip-flexor strain.
Heath is one of the key veterans on the team, appearing 131 times and has 18 goals. Two things the 28 year-old veteran loves to do is to create plays and distribute the ball, giving her teammates as many opportunities as possible. Brian has slowly become an important piece as well, already appearing 66 times and has six goals. Horan arrived on the scene first in 2013, and has appeared 33 times while scoring three goals.
Shim and Daly go the distance:
Over the weekend, the Portland Thorns held a pre-season tournament at Providence Park, consisting of the Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash and the United States U-23 team.
In the finale between Portland and Houston, two players were equally responsible for securing their respective teams point in the 1-1 draw on Saturday. The first strike ordered was by Thorns midfielder Mana Shim in the 17th minute. She had a small window of space on the left of the 18-yard box and Shim just let it fly, ripping a left-footed shot that flew past Dash keeper Lydia Williams for the opening goal. While Williams did manage to get a slight hand on it, there was just no saving this ball. It was a spectacular effort and finish.
Next up was Rachel Daly’s turn. The England international and Dash forward got a hold of the ball in the 76th minute to run at the back four of Portland. She started on the left but drifted towards the middle and from just over 20 yards out, Daly unleashed a shot. Thorns’ keeper Britt Eckerstrom had no chance to save this shot either. It was the kind of goal you can watch over and over again and not get tired of, that’s how special it was. Not too shabby for a preseason game.
Lotzen goes down:
Bayern Munich forward Lena Lotzen tore her ACL during the Paris Saint-Germain Champions League match. Lotzen is unfortunately no stranger to injuries in her career, in 2014 she tore her ACL and then in 2015 tore her meniscus in the same knee. The 23-year-old has played for Bayern since 2010 and has made 70 appearances while scoring 23 goals. At the National team level, Lotzen has played in 25 games and netted nine goals for Germany.
Each time, Lotzen managed to make a comeback and is still young and has been playing at a very high level since she was 16. I hope she can continue to prolong her career and make another strong comeback.
NWSL releases TV schedule:
After patiently waiting and wondering, the people have gotten what they want. The National Women’s Soccer League has finally released the TV schedule, two weeks before the fifth season kicks off. The details regarding who will be calling the action were also included in the same release.
The schedule has 22 regular season matches every Saturday as well as playoff and championship coverage in the fall. The first televised game on Lifetime will be the Portland Thorns hosting the Orlando Pride at Providence Park at 4 pm. The reigning champions NC Courage will play their first televised game against FC Kansas City on June 3rd at Sahlen’s Stadium (formerly WakeMed Soccer Park) in Cary, NC.
Details of the four members of the broadcast team have also been announced. Brought on to call the play-by-play is Jenn Hildreth. Fans might remember her from her coverage of the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada and or the NCAA DI Women’s National Championship as well. Former USWNT star Aly Wagner has been added as an Analyst. Wagner was also a member of the 2015 WWC reporting team and calls USWNT matches.
The last members of the team are Dalen Cuff, who will serve as a pre-game host and sideline reporter and Kate Markgraf, who will join him on the pre-game coverage and also contribute as an analyst. Cuff covered the 2016 Rio Olympics when he represented NBC Sports Network while Markgraf is known for her work during the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games for NBC.