The USWNTea: WSL Match Days 1 & 2
After the National Women’s Soccer League hosted the Challenge Cup, there was uncertainty as to how the league would progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, the NWSL announced the Fall Series - a series of matches played by the nine NWSL teams. The teams would only play a few matches against teams in their region of the country to reduce safety risks.
This has resulted in a variety of players looking abroad to find playing time in light of the upcoming Olympics in 2021 and the Euros in 2022. Five of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s stars headed across the pond to get consistent play in order to be prepared for the Olympics. These players are Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle.
All five players signed short-term deals with teams in the English Women’s Super League. Morgan recently signed with London-based club Tottenham Hotspur, Heath and Press signed with Manchester United, and Mewis and Lavelle signed with Manchester City.
In the USWNT Abroad series I will keep you updated on the USWNT players in the WSL throughout their seasons in the league and cup competitions.
Morgan’s signing was officially announced on Sept. 12 so she will have to quarantine and begin training with the squad before getting match time, but as soon as she is available expect her to slide into the Spurs’ starting 11.
Tottenham sits at eighth in the table. They have only managed to get one point from a 1-1 draw with West Ham in their first week. The Spurs lost their second match 1-0 to Everton, who are currently second.
Tobin Heath & Christen Press
On Sept. 9, the Red Devils announced the signing of Heath at 10:05 a.m. (EST) and two hours later announced the signing of Press. Like Morgan, they must quarantine before they begin training.
Manchester United is currently fourth in the table with four points from two matches. They drew with a very strong Chelsea side in their first match and thrashed Birmingham City 5-2 in their second.
Sam Mewis & Rose Lavelle
Mewis and Lavelle have already traveled to England and have joined the Cityzens. Lavelle trained for the first time on Sept. 10 and Mewis has already appeared in the Community Shield and started City’s first two league matches.
Manchester City lost the Community Shield against Chelsea on Aug. 29. City midfielder Jill Scott was sent off after receiving a second yellow in the 62nd minute. Chelsea scored in the 66th from a Millie Bright wonder strike. Mewis featured for the last 22 minutes but City struggled, a player down. The match ended 2-0 after another Chelsea goal.
The Cityzens won by the reverse scoreline in their first WSL match against Aston Villa. Mewis started and played the full 90 minutes. She created two chances, made seven recoveries and one interception. She also completed one of her two attempted tackles and four of her eight duels. Mewis and City performed well overall, but lucked into their two goals from goalkeeper mistakes that Georgia Stanway took advantage of.
Mewis got her second consecutive start against Brighton & Hove Albion in a 0-0 draw. City were not great on the day. Brighton & Hove Albion did well to disrupt City and make things difficult but City had multiple opportunities to go ahead and just lacked a clinical finish. Mewis, Kayleigh Green and Alex Greenwood won a match-high eight duels.
In only her third match at the club, Mewis was a little quiet on the day. She had good ideas and repeatedly tried to make line-breaking passes to offensive runners in behind but none of them came off. Mewis, Greenwood and Lucy Bronze are all new signings so this City team might need a bit of time to build chemistry before they are firing on all cylinders. And they will be soon enough. City has bolstered its squad with four world class players and when Lavelle, Mewis, Greenwood and Bronze get acclimated, City will be extremely difficult to slow down.