The Unused Sub: Women On Fire

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Next week is my birthday. So here’s to me getting old.

SO ABOUT JERSEY & SEATTLE

Sam Kerr and Megan Rapinoe are beyond on fire–they’re straight nuclear. I think both will be on the shortlist for NWSL MVP and if either of their respective team gets into the playoffs, it will be in most part because of them. Seriously, find me soccer players in the world that are in better form than they are? Get your popcorn ready because we could be witness to an incredibly awesome second half of the season from these two.

With specifics to Sky Blue FC–if they punch a ticket to the playoffs, Christy Holly has a damn good case for NWSL Coach of the Year considerations. The relationship he has with his players is very much unique; if you took Holly out of there and put in any other the NWSL coaches there, I don’t think you get the same output from those players. Much like Laura Harvey and the Seattle Reign FC players are tied to each other in a special relationship, a similar thing is going on over in Piscataway.

As for the Seattle Reign FC–going into the start of the season, I figured it was going to be a case of they’d be taking the season to figure out what is their new wrinkle to show to the league that pretty much had caught up to them. Sometimes the Reign were going to look good. Other times, no so much. The win against the Chicago Red Stars was ugly and they’re fine with that. If that is how they have to claim some wins in the second half, so be it. Especially when they have more games on the road right now (7) than home (5). As much as I think “Pinoe, take the wheel!” is sustainable, they’re going to have to win ugly on the road. A good place to start that is at North Carolina Courage’s seemingly indomitable home.

KEEP PORTLAND THORNS WEIRD?

If the Portland Thorns want in the playoffs, they need Tobin Heath back on the field. I know, what a hot take. It’s a little startling that she’s been out so long with this somewhat mysterious back injury and what we can only guess have been some unfortunate setbacks. It is weird seeing a Portland Thorns team sans Heath and much credit to a good coach in Mark Parsons that Portland is only one point out of the last playoff spot. Yet there’s something gut instinct-y about them so far this season. Is it possible they could be enduring something akin to what bit the 2016 Seattle Reign FC team? Yes, no Heath for the first half stinks, but it feels like there is something else that’s discombobulated the Thorns in the first half of the season and it’s hard to say if Element X, whatever it is, has been taken care of. We shall see this weekend when they travel to Houston.

THESE YOUTS CAN BALL – ESPECIALLY ONE UP IN SEATTLE

At the start of the season, we all pretty much had it in mind that Rose Lavelle would be in the conversation of being a nominee for NWSL Rookie of the Year. Sure, she’s been injured for the past couple of weeks, but there’s plenty of season to go for that assumption by all of us to hold true. That said, you know who has been making a damn good case for Rookie of the Year considerations?

Seattle Reign FC’s Kristen McNabb.

She can ball and she sure has been making the most of the likely higher than expected starts she would be getting because of injury. Yet there’s this confidence in the Reign rookie–really among the rest of the young players in Seattle’s squad. They’re showing they can hang with the veterans and don’t shy away from head coach Laura Harvey’s high expectations.

So you heard it here first–I am starting the Kristen McNabb Rookie of the Year campaign bus–there will be no refunds.

IS IT JUST ME OR WILL ONE OF THESE GAMES BE A COMPLETE ROUT?

Here are my predictions for this weekend’s NWSL games.

  • Chicago Red Stars OVER Boston Breakers
  • Washington Spirit OVER Orlando Pride – Yeah, that’s right you heard me on this one.
  • Sky Blue FC OVER FC Kansas City.
  • North Carolina Courage OVER Seattle Reign FC.
  • Portland Thorns OVER Houston Dash.

Song: “Lonely Cities” | Artist: Tigertown