All posts by MLSFemale

MLSFemale is a group of knowledgeable soccer reporters. We bring you MLS from the female perspective.

Cup Capitulation: Round 2

Aaryn Vivian - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Aaryn Vivian // @aarynvivian

It’s been a tough few months in Whitecaps-land.  With a record of 3-3-1 in MLS league play since the beginning of August, things don’t seem terribly dire on paper, but with the Vancouver Whitecaps currently sitting in 7th place in the West, it will be a nail-biter for the Supporters during the last six matches of the season while they await results from around the league to determine whether the Whitecaps make it into the 2018 playoffs.

The last eight matches have provided both unbelievably heart-wrenching lows and spectacular highs. From a déjà vu-inducing equalizing own goal from Doneil Henry in dying seconds in the home leg of the Voyageurs Cup against Toronto FC and a 5-2 shellacking at BMO Field that saw Toronto hoist the V-Cup for the third time in as many seasons, to a hard-fought 3 points won at Providence Park against Cascadian rivals, the Portland Timbers, and an epic 3-2 come-from-behind win in San Jose during the first of back-to-back fixtures against the Quakes, the Whitecaps may need to start printing a warning on their tickets for people with heart conditions.

The #RobboIn and #RobboOut camps have been out in full force this season, and the last few weeks have been no exception. There were rumblings in August that anything less than hoisting the Voyageurs Cup would seal Carl Robinson’s fate as Vancouver’s manager; however, the Alphonso Davies deal may have bought the gaffer his job until the end of the 2018 season.  Heading into Cascadia derby weekend, Robinson was quoted as saying, “There’ll be freshness in the game, as with all derbies. Whenever you play Seattle or Portland there’ll be energy, mistakes, wrong decisions, and it’ll be down to the players as to who will win the game,”* a quote which hasn’t sat well with Caps’ fans.

This past Saturday, Seattle Sounders visited BC Place for one of Caps fans’ favourite weekends of the year: Cascadia derby weekend.  For these matches, calendars have usually been cleared for months and the supporters’ pubs are fully booked with day-long reservations.  But this year was different.  With an abbreviated Cascadia schedule due to the addition of Los Angeles FC to the Western Conference, the Caps found themselves playing Seattle and Portland only twice this season. 

These matches should have meant that much more yet the apathy Vancouver has been experiencing all year long continued to grow.  The Supporters pubs were eerily quiet and events around match day were wholly uneventful.  Fortunately, the lower bowl at BC Place was still sold out and there was a lot at stake: with a draw or a win, Seattle wins the coveted Cascadia Cup. 

The first half saw two Seattle goals with Raúl Ruidíaz scoring for the Sounders in the 21st and 42nd minute.  The Caps were able to claw back a goal with an incredible header from Kei Kamara but ultimately, the Caps fell short and the final score was 2-1 Seattle.

In terms of “worst case scenario” this was it for two of the three Cascadian teams as the Portland Timbers sent representatives to Vancouver to hand off the Cascadia Cup to the 2018 champions, the Seattle Sounders.

There is still ample opportunity over the next six weeks to make a smash-and-grab run at one of the Western Conference playoff spots but, as Robbo so aptly put it, it’ll be on the players on the pitch to want it enough to bring home as many of the available 18 points as possible.

Featured image: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @aarynvivian

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Jay Jimenez

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

Each tattoo exemplifies an artistic narrative so powerful it is capable of shaping a person’s identity. The temporary pain and permanent markings show the wearers commitment to a specific interest. Tattoos are the only accessories a person always has with them. They are a symbol of our attachment to our inner selves, but they also provide a shared connection to the people and things around us.

The story behind a tattoo can sometimes serve as a great unifier among various groups of people. The ink and the meaning they hold can also be great icebreakers and conversation starters.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Jay at Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

For Jay Jimenez, tattoos represent a connection to family. His most recent tattoo, the New York City FC monogram, which he had done the same day as the UEFA Champions League final in May of this year, signifies his connection to his NYCFC family.

“I wanted another tattoo and I felt really connected to NYCFC, but mostly the bond with the other fans.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

His only other tattoo features five rectangles in a row, which symbolizes the bond he shares with his four siblings.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Tattoo up close. Image: @TishaGale

Jay sits in section 235 at Yankee Stadium with his NYC 12 family and fellow supporters. He has been a supporter since the club’s formation.

His favorite NYCFC memory comes compliments of the club’s home game against Chicago on July 22, 2017.  On this particular game day, it seemed like everything was going against City. Things started going downhill in the 12th min of play when Yangel Herrera picked up a red card. Chicago then proceeded to hold 66% ball possession throughout the match.

It was a tough game, “but somewhere in the supporter’s section, ‘Come on New York’ started and I swear the entire stadium was singing it. It gave me chills. It felt like we willed the team to win. I’ve never felt so close to something in my life.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

With the true New York grit that we’ve all come to love and admire, and a stadium of supporters bellowing out the battle cry, City managed to pull off a 2-1 win over the Fire.

Jay’s second fondest memory is meeting Jack Harrison’s mom for the second time. His first encounter with Debbie Harrison was at the MLS SuperDraft in 2016, when NYCFC acquired the first overall pick, Jack Harrison, via a trade with the Chicago Fire. Meeting the mother of your favorite team’s new signee is cool, but running into her a few months after at Yankee Stadium, and realizing that she genuinely remembered your first meeting is something extra special. The Harrison’s are undeniably missed in New York.

New York City FC faces off against Chicago again in their next home match on Wednesday, September 26nd, at 7pm.

Aside from cheering on his favorite team, Jay enjoys playing FIFA—although he admits, “I’ve recently been humbled by a friend so I’ve taken a break.”

When Jay’s not focused on all things soccer related, he works as a hotel manager.

Featured image of Jay and friends: Juan Carlos Rubiano @OhCitySaidI

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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Loons fly fast when they’re headed home

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, September 15: 1-1 Draw

Wednesday, September 12: 2-1 Loss

Minnesota United FC returns home this week after a five-game stretch on the road and, boy, do they need to be home. The final match, at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, doubled the number of points the Loons packed for the trip home: Two.

But let’s shelve RSL for a minute. On Wednesday night, MNUFC visited Audi Field for the first time and played everyone’s least favorite United club in front of a hurricane crowd, or rather, a few DC locals and a large contingent of Dark Clouds. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s performance was nothing to blow them away.

Despite DP Angelo Rodriguez putting the Loons up one-nil in the 47th minute, his first (and long overdue) MLS goal…

…DC would later level the score, then gain the lead, in just under four minutes.

Further souring the loss was the early exit of Jerome Thiesson. The defender collided with a teammate just minutes into his return from a lingering injury and left the match with a (to-date) undisclosed ankle injury. While his teammates boarded a plane to Utah, Thiesson flew home.

Things were slightly better a thousand feet above sea level, once you got past an incoherent lineup, (yet another) injury to striker Abu Danladi, (yet another) early conceded goal and the usual confusion over Adrian Heath’s substitution tactics (Danladi was the only Loon to exit). Though now that I think of it, we may never get past all that. Anyway.

In the second half, Miguel ‘Batman’ Ibarra celebrated Batman Day right, with two late goals that leveled, then elevated, the Loons. But we are not allowed to escape the Darkness and this beauty was disallowed after an eternal VAR review erased it from the scoreboard. Darwin Quintero was just a hair offside when he served the ball:

Thiesson speaks for us all:

MN United FC returns to the U of M on Saturday, September 22, to face the Portland Timbers on friendly turf. The Supporters have stepped up their tifo game this week so one can only hope the players and coaching staff will step up their game as well. Playoffs may be out of the picture, but the Loons still have an opportunity to renew the faith of diehard fans before closing out Soft Open 2.0.

Featured image: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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A Message to the NYCFC Players

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

With the tough MLS scheduling, a slew of injuries and now international call-ups, we know that our pineapple isn’t looking very pretty. However, greatness is written on the backbone of those who can rise above adversity.

Tomorrow, we want you all to go out and play with tenacity, the same kind of grit you showed us against the New York Red Bulls on August 22nd. We—the fans—need to see the same indomitable spirit you so proudly displayed on that Wednesday night in the Bronx. It is in these moments when our true colors are revealed. Like Terry Bradshaw once said, “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.”

Tomorrow—our game against the reinvigorated D.C. United—is our challenge. We must remind ourselves of who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. We must show the opposing teams that they still have a lot to fear going into the playoffs. This is New York’s team and New Yorkers never back down from a challenge.

Tomorrow, the fans will be there in full force. The drummers will drum as if they’ve never drummed before. The capos will bellow out chants that will echo throughout Yankee Stadium. We will bring the noise, all we ask is that you bring the grit, and let us have ourselves a good ole New York style party in the Bronx.

Blood, sweat, and tears—leave it all on the field!

#ForTheCity

Featured image: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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Columbus Crew SC v New York City FC

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, Sept 1: 2-1 Win

On Saturday in front of a home crowd of about 12,000 fans, Columbus Crew SC found their groove again that will hopefully continue on through the post-season and all the way to the MLS Cup, winning 2-1 against NYCFC. 

While Crew SC felt like the more dominant team for most of the first half with opportunities for goals for Justin Meram and Gyasi Zardes, the half ended in a 0-0 tie. 

Then in the 53’, NYCFC pulled ahead when Anton Tinnerholm hit the ball against Crew SC’s Lalas Abubakar.  The ball then bounced back off Tinnerholm to the feet of Ismael Tajouri-Shradi who put it in the net.

It wasn’t long before Crew SC struck back and did so in a short time span.  In the 61’, Frederico Higuain sent a ball to Harrison Afful who was outside the 18.  He shot the ball.  It bounced off an NYCFC player right back to Afful who took another rip at the ball.  Abubakar ducked out Afful’s rocket shot and the ball sailed into the bottom corner of the net past Sean Johnson.  The goal was very reminiscent of Wil Trapp’s goal a few weeks ago.

Then in the 63’, Justin Meram headed the ball in off a corner kick from Pedro Santos and celebrated his first goal since returning home to Columbus Crew SC by kissing the Columbus Crew SC badge on his jersey

At the game‘s end, Crew SC was still in 4th place in the Eastern Conference, but 3 points closer to NYCFC who sits in 3rd place. 

Other Thoughts:

I am excited for the return of Justin Meram, and this game illustrated why it is so good to have him back.  At the end of last season, Justin Meram requested to be traded from Columbus—partly due to the looming threat of a move to Austin and partly because he wanted to stretch himself professionally somewhere other than Columbus where he has been his whole career.  However, things didn’t go as well as Justin had hoped in Orlando, and there was an opportunity for him to return to Columbus. 

Watching Meram play his first full 90 minutes since coming back to Columbus, I’m reminded of what a dangerous threat he developed into as a player here—combining with other players, strong defending, taking players on as he attacked toward the goal, and taking dangerous shots.  We needed someone to lock down the left-wing position, and Meram has settled right back into where he belongs.  As he kissed the crest on his badge after his goal, I’m not going to lie, I got teary.

Pedro Santos has struggled this season, and many have found him a disappointment.  However, in the last few games and with Meram’s return, Santos seems to have found his footing.  He was involved in many dangerous passes that led to other player’s shots and had a few shots of his own.  For a player who I think may be more of an assist man than a shot guy, having Meram back, may have eased the burden and allows Santos to be the player that he is comfortable being.  Time will tell, but this fan is optimistic for what Santos can bring to the team. 

Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes, and Zack Steffen have all been called up for USMNT friendlies on September 7th and 11th.  These are three players who are very deserving of call ups.  Zardes has proved that with the right team around him he is a dangerous scoring threat, scoring 15 goals thus far this season (and almost netting two more during this game).  Steffen, I believe, is the USMNT keeper of the future.  Wil Trapp is the cog of Crew SC’s midfield and can do this for the USMNT as well.

Finally, September 4th is a big day for the #SavetheCrew movement as the motion to dismiss that has been filed by PSV/MLS will be heard by a judge although it will not be likely ruled on for some time.  I encourage all fans to familiarize themselves with what Crew SC fans are going through as it could be happening to other teams in the not too distant future.  Visit savethecrew.com and learn more about the movement.

Crew SC will take on FC Dallas on Saturday, September 15th.  I’ll look forward to Crew SC’s continued momentum towards the playoffs.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Colin Harte

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
NYCFC Official Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

The tradition of permanently decorating one’s body, whether through simple or elaborate designs, can be traced back through the history of human existence. For the longest while, it was believed that tattooing originated with the Egyptians around 2000 B.C. However, a more recent discovery has proven the invalidity of this belief. Through carbon dating of a corpse with distinctive markings, which was accidentally found in 1991 by two hikers, the current consensus is that human tattooing can be dated back as far as 5,200 years ago (Lineberry, 2007).

Tattooing is an art form that has lived on through time for several millenniums. Today, people from all different walks of life continue to permanently adorn their bodies with unique markings and designs, which are meant to express their personal preferences and individual interests.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image of Colin Harte: @TishaGale

For Colin Harte, tattoos are important because of the stories they tell and the memories they hold. His first tattoo, a clover with the New York Giants symbol in the middle, holds a special place in his heart—“it is a family thing.” (@colinmouth) His family has had season tickets for the Giants since the ‘30s when his grandfather worked for the team. If there is one thing Colin’s family knows how to do, it’s proudly support their favorite teams.

Along with the Giants, Colin’s other teams are the Tottenham Hotspur and New York City F.C (NYCFC), the latter of which he is a founding member.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image: @TishaGale

Colin’s left arm boasts a beautiful display of a few of his favorite things. A colorful guitar accentuates a combination piece featuring the aforementioned soccer teams, which he had done in November of 2016. Together, these tattoos make up the beginnings of a beautiful sleeve.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image of Colin’s arms: @TishaGale

“I have been a fan [of NYCFC] since the moment I heard that the club would exist. My girlfriend and I, as well as another great friend of mine, have tickets in section 233A at Yankee Stadium and we are normally the loudest and most delightfully obnoxious supporters there. We can’t help but be passionate for better or worse.” – Colin Harte 

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Colin with girlfriend, Stefanie and friend, Sean at an NYCFC game. Image: @colinmouth

When asked what his fondest NYCFC memory is, Colin couldn’t just choose one.

“First has to be the Thursday night match in the first season where the legend of Poku really took off. Poku sealed the win that night against D.C United with a goal in the 88’ min after already bagging an assist to Tommy Mac.”

Colin’s second fondest memory, “Travelling with the away supporters to Philly last year and witnessing King Villa’s 50-yard bomb into the back of the goal.”

On our stroll through Central Park, Colin beamed with pride as he talked about his favorite teams and what it means to be a supporter. His hope is to instill the same loyalty towards a sports team that his family instilled in him. As his grandfather did with the Giants, Colin’s goal is to pass on his NYCFC season tickets to future generations of Hartes. Traditions are clearly very important to Colin. His tattoos serve as a reminder of those values of loyalty and tradition that are so greatly treasured.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
“And my heart stays in the lead”. Image: @TishaGale

When Colin isn’t obsessing over his favorite sports teams, he spends his time playing the bass guitar in four different bands.

Reference:

NYCFC x Skull sticker designed by Stefanie Suppa @stefsuppa

Lineberry, C. (2007, January 1). Tattoos. The Ancient and Mysterious History. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tattoos-144038580/ 

Featured image: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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The Charlie Foxtrot that was in Colorado

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, August 25: 0-6 Loss

Saturday was painful. There’s really no other way around it. The best words I have to describe it are that it was an absolute Charlie Foxtrot.

The Colorado Rapids were facing off against their Rocky Mountain rivals, Real Salt Lake for the third, and final, leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup. They needed to win by four goals in order to overcome the scoring differential and win the shiny trophy. That didn’t happen. In fact, the exact opposite happened – Colorado lost 6-0. I have never heard a crowd boo the team like they did Saturday night. Nor have I heard of the supporter’s group awarding themselves the Man of the Match oar at the end of the game.

I, like many other Rapids fans, am frustrated. We have been promised much and given little. The great offseason signings haven’t produced much, though I have seen an improvement in Jack Price as the season has gone on. The coach that was supposed to do great things, has proven to be slow to change when something isn’t working and stubbornly devoted to the players he brought in. I can understand the fans who want their money back from the RSL game.

From the start, the Rapids weren’t in the game mentally. I have no idea what happened to the Burgundy Boys that knew how to win or could pull out ninetieth-minute game winners, but this group wasn’t them. The mistakes came early and they came frequently. Before the 45th minute had ticked off the clock, they were down by 2 goals and 2 men. The lack of communication and the fact that they had 8 field players to cover the space spelled disaster for the Rapids.

The Red Cards.

These were foolish, dumb mistakes that both players should have known better. The first was shown to forward Niki Jackson in the ninth minute for head-butting Albert Rusnák after being provoked by both Rusnák and Damir Kreilach. It was an incredibly soft red card as there was barely any contact. The problem is, he dropped his head, and there was contact. It was the right call. This was Jackson’s first start with the team and in MLS so this one can be filed under “Mistakes that won’t be repeated.”

The second red was on Nana Boateng in the 43rd minute. Boateng was already sitting on a yellow card for a late tackle on Rusnák in the 19th minute. The ref missed a call, and a card quite frankly, in the 30th minute when he came in late on Brooks Lennon and stomped on his foot. The final strike for Nana came in the 43rd minute when he came in, late, on Brooks Lennon, again, and caught him just under his knee with his studs.

Again, this was the right call. While Jackson’s red card can be chalked up to a rookie error, Nana Boateng has been playing professionally since 2012. He knows better.

The Cons:

  1. Lack of Communication – each player seemed like they were in their own world for the full 90+ minutes of this game. Sure, they found some spaces to make plays in – but they could not capitalize on the opportunities handed to them.
  2. The defense – Axel Sjöberg has been out due to an MCL injury and it’s obvious. The back line is far more cohesive when he’s in. I know that needs to heal, but the Rapids need to find someone who can handle the back line like he does to step in.
  3. Nana Boateng, Danny Wilson – why these two have starting positions is beyond me. Both should go the way of Yannick Boli and hang out on the bench of the practice squad. I enjoyed Boateng’s physicality when he first joined the team until I realized that his physicality seemed out of his own control. Danny Wilson is just not good. If he has been performing well in practice, and this is why he’s getting minutes, something needs to be fixed to get that to transfer into games.

The Pros:

  1. Rapid Man: Any longstanding Rapids fan can remember Rapid Man from the early days of the club. He was the club mascot whose head looked like a wave. According to the Rapids website, he retired in 2007, but he made a brief appearance on the stairs to the dressing rooms on Saturday.
  2. C38: The supporter’s group fought harder for the game than the players on the field did. As the game went on, they got louder. There were a lot of people that left the game early, but you couldn’t hear the difference out of the supporter group.
  3. One game: This is all this was. One game. The Rapids get to start over on the 8th with zeroes on the scoreboard. The playoffs are definitely out of reach at this point, but maybe we can spoil someone else’s run.

The Rapids will face the Portland Timbers in Portland on Saturday, September 8th.

Featured image: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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‘That’s the way it is’ for MNUFC

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, August 25: 2-0 Loss

The latest edition of the ‘Nicest Rivalry’ ended the way it always does. Minnesota United FC dropped three points in Kansas City, losing 2-0 and stretching their road record to 1-11-1. The match was not quite as disappointing as previous meetings – the Loons had good opportunities and toughed out the full 90 minutes, managing to hold Sporting goalless through the first half – but the commentary from the gaffer is considerably more frustrating.

Forced to play without midfielder and leading goal scorer Darwin Quintero, the 3-5-2 returned with new DP Angelo Rodriguez and rookie Mason Toye (recalled from his USL loan) spearheading the attack. The result was much what you would expect from two players with twenty appearances and one assist between them – plenty of opportunities, but no results. It’s not that we expected them to be a like-for-like replacement of Quintero who has ten goals and nine assists in nineteen appearances, but had the match been played at home, I can guarantee the Wonderwall’s ‘Score, da*n it!” call would have been heavily used, with considerably more harshness than humor.

Of course, if this match had been played at home, the Loons may have won. When sideline reporter Jamie Watson asked Adrian Heath for his first reaction to the loss, the gaffer replied, “That’s the way it is on the road.”

Frustrated yet? Wait, there’s more.

From the post-match press release: “Some of the [offensive] performances were quite good, but it’s another disappointing defeat on the road which [sic] I feel as though I’m saying the same things a lot of the time.” And, “It’s the oldest saying in football: goals change games. They scored at really important times and that was the disappointment because I don’t think they had to work hard enough for their two goals.”

With such comments coming week after week, here is what the Supporters have started to hear: Losing on the road is simply common practice for the Loons. An expected hazard. The early-season win in Orlando was a fluke – Did you really expect another? We were good, but disappointing; poor, but promising. Goals go both ways. Moments of greatness mean nothing if you can’t score, but goals are more important than moments.

Centerback and Man of the Match Brent Kallman (“He’s one of us!”) offered a more reasonable perspective on the match:

“When you think about the games we’ve played here, you can use the word embarrassing. The performances have been. But we can hold our heads high after this one.[…] We were more disciplined. We stayed more to the plan. We can take that moving forward because things don’t really get any easier. We’ve got a lot of road games still.”

Fortunately, the Loons have two weeks to plan their tactics for the next match against DC United and to decide what angle the remainder of their road narrative will take. And with a handful of crucial starters out of the discussion (Michael Boxall is suspended for yellow card accumulation, Francisco Calvo is suspended as well as receiving a call-up from Costa Rica for a stretch of friendlies,  Rasmus Schuller was called up by Finland, Eric Miller and Darwin Quintero are questionable with injuries, and Tyrone Mears has mutually separated from the club) the Loons will need to make every minute of that extended rest and training count. 

If not for them, for their Supporters.

Featured image: Scarfage

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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Loons camp out in Dallas, come home empty handed

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, August 18: 0-2 Loss

The Loons flew south this past weekend to face first-place FC Dallas. They were probably eager to get the match over with, to take any points they possibly could against the western conference leaders and move on with their road trip. In so many ways, it was a disappointing night.

A handful of players needed to make an impression in this match for a chance to earn more appearances in the lineup once the starters they replaced that night returned. With defenders Francisco Calvo and Collen Warner on suspension, and forward Darwin Quintero on the injury list, MNUFC rolled out a unique 4-3-3 with Franz Pangop getting his first start alongside Angelo Rodriguez and Collin Martin. Romario Ibarra – who scored last week – and Heath Harrison – who has been struggling for minutes – were the bench.

Intriguing. But we had to wait a while to see how that would work out. Set for a 7 PM kickoff, rain and lightning caused a weather delay which stretched on for more than two hours.

Twitter was entertaining in the interim…

After following along with the waiting game on Twitter for two and a half hours, I waited just long enough to see that the game would happen. Once kickoff was confirmed for 9:40, I went to bed. And I am glad I did.

I opened Twitter right away on Sunday morning with the hope that the first dozen tweets in my feed wouldn’t involve lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence.’ Here’s just a small sample of what awaited me:

Minnesota lost 2-0, after conceding one goal in each half. So the defense wasn’t great (though Brent Kallman did earn Man of the Match) and neither was the attack.

I pulled up the club’s recap and press release to see what Adrian Heath had to say, always the most intriguing part of the post-match experience. I puzzled over this statement all day:

“The unfortunate thing at this moment in time,” said Heath, “we had no Calvo, we had no Quintero, no Molino, no Ethan Finlay, no Sam Cronin. We aren’t strong enough and deep enough to cope with five of our best players not being on the field and that’s the harsh reality. It’s another reminder that we have to get better. We’re not where we need to be or where we want to be at this moment.”

The absences of Calvo and Quintero are notable. However, citing the absences of the other three players is a bit strange. The Loons have been without Kevin Molino since his ACL tear on March 10, without Ethan Finlay since April 22 (also ACL) and without Sam Cronin for over one year as he deals with neck and concussion issues.

United has had two opportunities to bring in suitable replacements for Molino and Finlay and, considering the club’s passion for signing depth at midfield (winger, winger, winger), it is strange that the absence of those two mids would be cited as an obstacle to overcome now, more than four months later. The Loons have managed to string together some wins since those season-ending injuries, so that is no excuse for whatever happened on Saturday night.

(No, I still have not watched the match.)

How MNUFC utilizes newcomer Fernando Bob in the no. six spot will be a good barometer of how the club plans to move forward. The success (or lack thereof) of attacker Angelo Rodriguez and defender Fernando Bob could set the tone for how the club moves forward in both the remainder of the season and in terms of the ‘three-year plan.’ If that plan involves shifting into another 4-3-3 around these two…

Well, let’s not go there just yet. I have not yet found a cover of ‘Sound of Silence’ with a suitably depressing tone.

Featured image: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

For centuries, the practice of tattooing has been prevalent within many different societies. In some cultures, tattooing was a ritualistic rite of passage and in other cultures, it was purely about tradition. Today, tattooing has become more about self-expression. It is an art form that has had to overcome the stigma of being considered taboo.

Tattoos come in a plethora of designs and their significance and meanings are uniquely subjective.  For Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega, tattoos are about love and passion. Lalo is an immigrant from Mexico who moved to New York when he was just a baby. For him, getting a tattoo was a chance to combine his love for New York with his passionate support for his favorite MLS team, New York City FC.

“I got my tattoo right before the start of NYCFC’s second season. New York is the greatest city in the world and I wanted to do something more creative than the club logo. I wanted to celebrate both the city and the club.” -Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega (@E_Ortega18 on Twitter)

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

Lalo has been a New York City FC fan since the very beginning. You can always find him at Yankee Stadium in section 237, or on the road with fellow travelling supporters. He is the current president of the Westchester Chapter of The Third Rail Supporters Group. (@ThirdRailSC on Twitter) When he’s not taking part in NYCFC related activities, he spends his time in the kitchen as a chef.

When asked what his fondest NYCFC memory is, Lalo paused for a pensive moment before he responded.

“Honestly, I can’t just pick one. It has been one crazy ride since year one. The people I’ve met and become friends with have been one of the greatest parts of it.”

With the New York Derby around the corner, Lalo is here to remind us all that his tattoo—like his love for New York City FC, is everlasting. He proudly pumps his fist in the air and flexes his arm to show off the tattoo etched on his inner biceps.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Lalo. Image: @TishaGale

Featured image of Lalo: @TishaGale

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