All posts by Sports Editor

The 2018 MLSFemale Pitch Pics Photo Contest

Dayna + Kirsten - Sporting KC/mlsfemale
#MLSFemalePitchPics

We all know that the best view of a match is from the stands. Standing shoulder to shoulder with your fellow fans, cheering for your favorite team. We also know that from that come some of the BEST pictures! With that in mind, MLSFemale is hosting a photo contest during the 2018 season, to celebrate YOU, the MLS fan.

Snap a picture at any match this season and post it on social media with the hashtag #MLSFemalePitchPics. Make sure you are following us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. It’s as simple as that! Action pictures, warm-ups, pictures of fans… it’s up to you!

Each month, the writers of MLSFemale will pick a winner. The monthly winners will be featured on all of MLSFemale’s social media platforms and will be entered into the finals at the end of the season. The season winner will win $150 Visa gift card, and 2nd place wins a $50 Visa gift card.

Go to a match! Snap a picture! Send it to us! Maybe win $150!

Aya + Robyn '18 - Atlanta United/mlsfemale
#MLSFemalePitchPics

Rules:

1. You must follow MLSFemale on at least one of our social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. 

2. Must use hashtag #MLSFemalePitchPics when posting pictures.

3. Entering the contests gives MLSFemale permission to use submitted photos on all MLSFemale social media platforms and their website. Photo credit will always be given to the person who took the picture.

4. A monthly winner will be posted on the 5th of the following month, and the winning picture of the month will be featured on each of MLSFemale’s social media platforms for that month.

5. Monthly winners will be entered in for final judging to determine the season winner.

6. 1st place winner for the season will win a $150 Visa gift card. 2nd place winner will win a $50 Visa gift card.

Have questions? Shoot us a DM on Twitter or a message on Facebook.

*No purchase necessary. Must be at least 18 years of age to win. Winners will be announced and notified via social media.

Michelle + Allison - LAG launch/mlsfemale
#MLSFemalePitchPics

Follow us on Twitter @MLSFemale  and Instagram @mlsfemale

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Save the Crew

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

I have held on writing this article because I’ve been processing and crying and then processing and crying, and then processing and gearing up to fight.

Leaked early by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl late Monday night and announced by Anthony Precourt on Tuesday, Precourt is looking at “possibly” moving the team to Austin, Texas after the Crew’s 2018 season if a downtown stadium can not be built in Columbus.  I say “possibly” because everything Precourt has done screams that he has no intention of keeping the Crew in Columbus, no matter what the city does to appease his demands.

Precourt didn’t even make the announcement in Columbus, leaving the players and coaches to deal with the media alone after just finding out about this Tuesday morning.  He’s flown to Austin to meet with city leadership.  Our mayor has stated that while they have discussed some options, the ownership of the team has not really been fully engaged.  

He has ignored an offer by local Columbus partners to invest and become 50% owners.  It’s been rumored that these local investors offered $75 million for a 50% share in the team, which is more than he paid when he purchased the team.  There’s a huge trail of clues that this has been Precourt’s intention for some time.   

I don’t know if Precourt thought we would roll over and let this happen. This is just an illustration of how out of touch Precourt is with the fans of the team he owns and the city where it is located.  Immediately, cries of #savethecrew spead across twitter and the rest of the internet.  

Then, it went beyond just Crew fans.  It has spread across the league, and then to other leagues, and then continued to spread even further.  They all realize that Columbus is an important part of MLS history as one of the original teams.  They all realize that if the MLS allows this to happen, then no team is safe.  They all know how it feels to really love a soccer team.  They know how much it would hurt to lose it. So they are supporting the fans of the Crew.  

They are doing things like changing their own teams’ badges to black and gold, tweeting and writing owners about how bad this decision would be, volunteering to hang banners in their own stadiums.  We, as a soccer community are united and it brought, and continues to bring, tears to my eyes.  How we all realize these things, and Anthony Precourt doesn’t, is beyond me.  

So, how can you help?

If you are in or can get to Columbus this Sunday, October 22nd, attend the rally at Columbus’s City Hall at noon.  

If you are in Columbus or not, you can still help.  

  • Contact the cooperate sponsors of the Crew and let them know how you feel about this.  
  • Contact other MLS teams encouraging them to not allow this to happen.
  • Sign the petition to save the Crew.  
  • Tweet about saving the Crew.  
  • Bring banners about this and wear yellow to your teams’ matches.
  • Do not let them forget this after a few days.  Keep doing these things.

All the information about all those activities (including the petition) can be found at savethecrew.com including email template letters to the corporate sponsors of the Crew and to the MLS teams (along with contact information).  

In many ways, the Crew has saved me with the community and family it has provided to me.  So, it is time for us to Save the Crew.  Please help us do it.  #savethecrew

Featured image courtesy: @zvchlilly

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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A Team Win for the Crew

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, August 12: 3-1 Win

It was a fun night at Mapfre Stadium Saturday night as Columbus Crew SC defeated the Chicago Fire 3-1. It was a match that could have had a lot more goals in it, but both teams struggled to put away some chances. Crew SC rolled out the same line up they have been sticking with as of late a 3-5-2-1. Some highlights and thoughts on the match:

Crew SC came out attacking and pressuring the ball early. However, they did not keep possession for most of the game. This is one of the few times I don’t feel like the lack of possession hurt them. They may be figuring out how to make this formation successful for themselves.

In the 13’, the Fire scored. Our defense including Steffen just decided Michael deLeeuw was offside, but the refs didn’t agree. This is Soccer 101. Don’t stop playing until the whistle is blown. The Fire has been dominant with wins when scoring first, but not this time….

Artur continues to be the Energizer Bunny on the field. However, he may want to work on his shooting. Artur had many different opportunities to score a goal. The one mentioned above in the 2’, a header in the 5’, and not being able to finish a Manneh cross in the 11’.

Kekuta Manneh’s goal in the 18’ was an example of being at the right place at the right time and being able to finish that opportunity. Artur took a shot that deflected off a Fire defender right to Manneh who was able to put the ball in the back of the net.

The second goal in the 73’ was the result of vintage Francis cross to Meram. It is what got Francis to the All-Star Game in 2015, and it is why I believe Waylon should remain the starter on that side of the field. He also made a key defensive play in the 77’ when he took the ball from a Fire player who would have had an uncontested shot.

Meram scored our second goal, and it was a beauty. It was the 1,000 Crew SC goal. There were times during this game that I was in awe of his movements, and then there were times when I wondered why he was taking extra touches and losing the ball instead of passing it. If Pipa really does leave the Crew SC next year, Meram will have to fine-tune a bit to become the playmaker on this team. I’m confident he can do it.

Harrison Afful played just the first half working himself back from injury. This was a solid performance from Afful, which we haven’t seen a lot this season. It makes me wonder if he’s had lingering injuries for the majority of the season even when he was playing.

This was a must-win game for Crew SC. They are just above the playoff line, and they need to prove that they are a team to contend with. They did, and it was fun to watch.

Schweinsteiger was not as big of a factor in this game as I thought he would be. I don’t know if that’s because of where he was playing or how we played against him.

It was nice to see Matt Lampson back in Mapfre stadium. I really miss his “Off The Post” video clips when he was with Crew SC. If you have never seen them, you should go to YouTube and watch. One time he talked about his favorite song by Amy Grant. Watching those clips usually resulted in me laughing with tears streaming from my eyes. I’m not sure the PK call should have been one. I’ve watched replays, and I still can’t decide. Either way, it was a rough game for Lampson.

On a personal note, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I am a huge Ethan Finlay fan—my dog is even named after him. His trade to Minnesota broke my heart. While some felt it was time for him to go, I was hoping Ethan would be a Crew SC lifer. He gave 100% every time he was on the field and just exemplified to me what it meant to be a Crew SC player.

My only regret is that I never got to meet Ethan. I wish nothing but the best for Ethan Finlay, and I’ll be paying more attention to Minnesota from now on. I hope they realize what an amazing player and person they have on their team. My last 3 favorite players have either retired or been traded, so I’m trying not to have another favorite player. I don’t know if my heart can take it.

At the conclusion of this match, I couldn’t decide who should be Man of the Match. Overall, everyone played well. It was a team win. This is the way I believe a successful game should feel.

We play Orlando City this Saturday, and to continue our winning ways from this match, we need to continue to have all our players firing on all cylinders. I look forward to watching.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

MLS All-Star Festivities Chicago-Style

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

The 2017 MLS All-Star match is just around the corner. On Wednesday, August 2 the MLS All-Star team will face Real Madrid at Soldier Field. But you won’t want to miss out on the countless other soccer-related events happening in Chicago this weekend as we head into the main event on Wednesday.

Enjoy one or more of the awesome events below starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 29 up until the game on Wednesday. And I’m sure there will be an after party somewhere – if you have details on this, please share them with us. Until then, vamos!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Watch Parties

  • 6:30PM: El Clasico – Real Madrid v. FC Barcelona at Pub 97

Per Major League Soccer La Liga Legends Christian Karembeu and Gaizka Mendieta will be in attendance and will be available for autographs and fan pictures.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

  • 5:00PM-7:00PM: MLS All-Star Game tailgate hosted by Section 8 Chicago

Through partnerships with BuckleDown Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company,Two Brothers, Lou Malnati’s, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, 5411 Empanadas, Portillo’s, The Globe Pub and a few surprise guests. S8C are happy to announce they will be providing complimentary food and beverages to any supporters that decide to stop by our location on the North West Side of the Adler Planetarium lot between 5:00-7:00 on August 2nd (leading up to the match itself).

A full calendar of MLS All-Star events can be found here and MLS events requiring a RSVP can be found here.

Featured image courtesy: mlssoccer.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Double Header Against Philadelphia

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, July 22: 1-0 win

Wednesday, July 26: 3-0 loss

Essentially, Columbus Crew SC just played the equivalent to a baseball double header playing the Philadelphia Union on Saturday and then again Wednesday.

In both games, Crew SC rolled out a 3-4-2-1 line-up utilizing 3 center backs in the backline—Jonathan Mensah, Alex Crognale, and Lalas Abubakar. The only change in the starting line-up between the two games was at right back—Harrison Afful played in the first game and Hector Jimenez in the second.

The first time this strategy yielded a 1-0 Crew SC victory. The defense held, but without Federico Higuain, the offense didn’t quite have the same movement that it could have had. Ola Kamara had a nice volley, but it was saved by Philadelphia’s keeper. The lone goal was scored on a deflection off a defender from a Justin Meram shot.

This formation does not allow for pretty soccer, but if our typical line up isn’t firing on all cylinders, then it isn’t attractive either. It also does not allow for a lot of possession. It was about 50/50 during the first game. It is a formation that allows us to grind out a result and that is what we did.

However, that all came to a halt in the second game of the double header. I’m not going to lie. I was really thankful that this was an away game, and I didn’t have to watch this one in person. Everything that Crew SC has struggled with was present in this game in a perfect storm that resulted in a 3-0 loss.

The defense fell apart. There were bad clearances, men unmarked at the top of the box, and men unmarked on the back post. Now, granted, Philadelphia’s first goal contained a pretty bicycle kick assist, but if there hadn’t been a bad clearance the assist wouldn’t have been possible.

Jonathan Mensah committed a red card foul in the 35’ that left the Crew SC a player down. Our DP has struggled all season to adjust to the MLS and Crew SC, and it is becoming evident that he may not be able to adjust at all.   Then, Lalas Abubakar received a red card in the 76’ leaving Crew SC with 9 players on the field.

Finally, we didn’t have that many opportunities, and we couldn’t finish the opportunities we did have. We only had 2 shots on target. Kamara had one he could have tapped in but hit the post.

If you ask any Crew SC fan what our issues are on the field, I’m sure these things would be mentioned. In this game, they were all blatantly present.

A lot of fans are frustrated, and I understand it.   I feel for the guys on the field. They want to win, they care. So, I’ll keep cheering them on from the stands and from my couch when they are playing away from home.

Hopefully, they come out firing on all cylinders against Real Salt Lake this Saturday.

Featured image courtesy: Bill Streicher/ USA Today

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

The Freaking Printer Didn’t Work

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw

What led to definitely the best post-game conference I’ve ever seen in my life was a pretty controversial, somewhat chaotic, but we could’ve all seen it coming game, that resulted in a 1v1 draw against Sporting Kansas City at home in Rio Tinto Stadium with Real Salt Lake.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. The beginning seems like the logical place, but oh man, the beginning seems so boring when we all know where the end takes us. Let’s start with this – SKC and RSL have a pretty healthy rivalry. After SKC defeated us in the 2013 championship we’ve been pretty sore.

The time up to that championship was a little sore as well, with RSL supporters buying their tickets to the game and then the tickets being pulled out from under them by the stadium saying that an ‘invalid’ code was used to purchase them (the code was tweeted out by the SKC twitter itself). However, I don’t want to dig too far into the past. I mention it because every time these two teams meet, drama is probably going to ensue. And boy, howdy did it ever.

I’ll be honest, the first half is a little uneventful. RSL had two shots on goal, with one of them making it in at the 42nd minute (Luis Silva’s first RSL MLS goal, assist by Joao Plata). We did have most of the possession for the first half, keeping SKC pretty defensive. They had no shots on goal the entire first half. We did have a hydration break (it was weirdly humid in Utah, also crazy hot… this heat wave, amirite guys?), but really, that’s about it. We ended the first half 1-0 RSL.

Just when you think things are just a normal soccer game though… the second half begins.

I guess I should let you guys know, we had one of the most inexperienced referees this game. A lot of calls were missed (for both teams). A lot of diving happened. A lot of frustration. So much so that our Coach, Mike Petke was asked to leave the field after yelling at the fourth official when a call was missed after Joao Plata was put into a headlock and pushed down during play. In addition, a player did go cleats up against Luke Mulholland and that was called, but only as a yellow, which in my honest opinion, wasn’t the right call.

There are a lot of RSL fans upset that SKC was given a PK (ultimately tying up the game 1-1 in the 59’ with a kick from Benny Feilhaber) but I actually think it was the right call. I know that if we had the same circumstances against us we would have been yelling for a PK.

So, the second half continues. Yellow card after yellow card is given. Foul after foul. It seems like no play can last more than one minute without someone on the ground or some foul being called somewhere. A total of 25 total fouls were called this game. Both teams only used one sub, and to my surprise even though Dom Dwyer was on the bench he was never brought on (which is still really weird to me, especially with the ref we had for the night).

A total of 5 yellow cards were given during the second half (it should’ve been at least one red on each side as well). Also, holy cow, we had a goal that went in, hit the right post, bounced off, then hit the left post, then bounced out, to a player, then he kicked it right back over straight to another post. That ball DID NOT want to go in. Talk about holding my breath. Woooooo.

Obviously Mike Petke and his conference received way more press than really this entire game did, so I can’t just end this article without saying something. When he was brought in to coach the Monarchs we were excited because we *knew* he was going to eventually be coaching RSL. When Jeff Cassar was let go, we knew it was only a matter of time.

I’m so glad that his passion was such a big part of Saturday night. I know we didn’t see him first (I can hear NY fans gritting their teeth right now), but we have him now and don’t worry guys, we love him.

And let’s all hope he gets his printer working.

Featured image courtesy: Chris Nicoll/USA TODAY Sports

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale