Tag Archives: World Cup 2018

Nigeria’s win over Iceland 2-0 keeps Argentina alive

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Group D: kickoff June 22nd

Nigeria is back! With a strong build-up of a quick aggressive offense, the Super Eagles stomped all over the World Cup dreams of beloved underdog Iceland.

Minutes before kickoff,  I ran into a young Nigerian-American family friend who would be nervously watching the game on his phone. We parted ways, crossing hopeful fingers that the young team would get their act together.

After a first half lacking solid goal-scoring chances, the Super Eagles came out in force in the second.  When Ahmed Musa, familiar to local Russian fans for his time as a striker for CSKA Moscow, scored in the 49th minute, I was out of my seat jumping up and down. (No offense, Iceland).  And then Musa did it again in the 75th, his brace pushing the lead to 2-0. They were doing it. Nigeria was keeping its hopes alive and I was riding that high from New York.

My 12-year-old son was having none of it. An ardent Cristiano Ronaldo fan, he can’t stand Lionel Messi and was relishing the downward spiral of his soccer icon nemesis (or “neMessis”?) and in turn, Argentina’s seemingly negative prognosis in this World Cup.

(Aside #1- I don’t condone the Messi hate but it started when he was quite young and there were some jerky Messi-obsessed classmates so I understand.) (Aside #2- He’s a Man City fan who likes Aguero so some of this passionate dissent makes no sense.) Now he loudly wailed “Argentina is still in thanks to Nigeria! Why couldn’t they just tie Iceland?”

When the United States failed to qualify for the World Cup, I embraced the chance to watch each game for the beauty of it versus worrying and strategizing about who the US should/would/could play next. When you don’t have a team that you die-hard root for, it can be liberating once you get past the disappointment.

Clearly, many fans including my son have alternative strategies for watching the games depending on their connection to a team or country or passionate disdain for another.   For now, nothing is settled in Group D.


We will have more clarity one way or another on Tuesday, June 26th when Iceland faces Croatia and Nigeria faces Argentina at 2 pm EST. Matches play simultaneously, which stinks for fans who want to watch both games.  I’ll be watching the rematch of the 1994 World Cup duel between Argentina and Nigeria that hooked me into the Super Eagles’ football style. It’ll be a real feat if Nigeria can put a nail in Argentina’s 2018 coffin.

Featured image: mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Denmark kicks off Moscow on a winning note

Liz Panucci - Co-Founder/mlsfemale

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

Group C: June 16 #PERDEN, June 21 #DENAUS

Most people thought Denmark (tied for 12th) would lose this opening match against FIFA’s 11th ranked Peru. Maybe it was a belated birthday present (#20 celebrated his birthday June 15) that brought the team good luck or perhaps it was just patience that paid off in the end.

In the first half, Denmark was outplayed by Peru but after 45 minutes it was still scoreless 0-0. Keeper Kasper Schmeichel made some outstanding stops to keep Peru off the board. It’s quite the compliment when head coach Åge Hareide even said he considered Schmeichel the best in the world.

At the 59′ of the second half, 24-year-old forward Yussuf Yurary Poulsen received a perfect pass from Christian Eriksen to open the scoring. Yurary, #20, is known for his very quick feet and ball in the air skills. He made 9 appearances during the qualifying campaign to help get the Danish national team to the World Cup in Russia. He has 29 international caps and 5 international goals.

At full-time, the match ended 0-1 in favor of the red and white. Denmark was the lesser team in almost every statistic but the team momentum managed to keep them riding the wave.  With this win over Peru, Denmark has successfully earned 3 points and sits at the top of the leaderboard with France.

This is the Group Phase of the World Cup and if Denmark can remain in the top two of Group C, they can move on to the Round of 16 and have a chance to compete in the Quarter Finals. For now, it’s one day at a time and one match at a time.

Coming Up:

Thursday, June 21, Group C battles again. Denmark (1-0-0) welcomes Australia (0-0-1) at 8:00am ET. Later on in the day, France (1-0-0) hosts Peru (0-0-1) at 11:00am ET.

Featured image: mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @PanucciLiz

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo (trans bg)

Los Canaleros of Panama make World Cup debut

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

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Group G: June 18 kickoff

You probably haven’t heard much about Panama’s national team until the qualifiers for this World Cup. In its 80 year recorded history, this is the squad’s first World Cup appearance. What Los Canaleros lack in World Cup experience, they make up for in world-class training and experience.

Many of Panama’s best and brightest train with and play for MLS clubs. In fact, there are six MLS players (five on defense) on this national squad, most notably the 23 yo defender Fidel Escobar of the New York Red Bulls and 28 yo midfielder Anibol Godoy of San Jose Earthquakes, who have 23 and 89 caps, respectively. The up-and-comers, the ‘youth’ of a relatively old national team, play behind footballers who have been active on the Panamanian roster for nearly 20 years.

Forwards Luis Tejada (36 years old) and Blas Perez (37 years old) earned their first caps in 2001 and are the nation’s all-time goal leaders with 43 each. Then there’s 34-year-old midfielder Gabriel Gomez with the appearance record of 144 caps since 2003. These may not be the quickest strikers on the World Cup pitch, but their poise and experience brought them there.

Of course, they did get a little help from a certain higher-ranked team which lost to Trinidad & Tobago, helping Los Canaleros to secure their first ever World Cup berth. No matter how they got there, Panama seems ready to make this chance count.

On Monday, 55th ranked Panama faces 3rd ranked Belgium in the first match for Group G.

Goalkeepers: Jose Calderon (Chorrillo FC), Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest), Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC)

Defenders: Felipe Baloy (CSD Municipal), Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes), Eric Davis (DAC Dunajska Streda), Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls), Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Luis Ovalle (CD Olimpia), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders)

Midfielders: Edgar Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula), Armando Cooper (Club Universidad de Chile), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Gabriel Gómez (Bucaramanga), Valentin Pimentel (Plaza Amador), Alberto Quintero (Universitario de Lima), Jose Luis Rodriguez (KAA Gent)

Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo (LD Alajuelense), Ismael Diaz (Deportivo La Coruna), Blas Perez (CSD Municipal), Luis Tejada (Sports Boys), Gabriel Torres (CD Huachipato)

Featured image: mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Egypt Sees Devastating Last Minute Upset

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City SC/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Who’s been tuning in to these INSANE World Cup games? I couldn’t have asked for a better start to this year’s festivities. The party got started on Thursday when Russia went against all odds and defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0. Kicking things off on Friday, Egypt faced Uruguay.

This year is the nation’s first World Cup appearance in 28 years, so the stakes were high. Egypt has also never won a World Cup match. They’re hoping to change that this year. On their roster but missing from this first game against Uruguay is Mohamed Salah. There was much contemplation about leaving him off the roster for this first match, and in hindsight, even Egypt’s coach said it was probably a poor move.

Compared to everything else we’ve seen so far this Cup, this match was particularly slow to start. The game remained 0-0 and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought it would end in a draw. In the 90th minute, Uruguay was awarded a free kick just outside of the box, which was headed in by Jose Gimenez.

This last-minute goal was absolutely devastating for the Egyptians, who certainly played a good match. They are certainly feeling a little bit of pressure after this loss, especially after the Russia and Saudi Arabia match.

Group A as it stands after the first matches:

Russia – 3 points, +5 goal differential

Uruguay – 3 points, +1 goal differential

Egypt – 0 points, -1 goal differential

Saudi Arabia – 0 points, -5 goal differential

Next week, Egypt plays Russia on June 19th. Let’s hope for a different outcome than the one given to Saudi Arabia. Of course, anything can happen to change the rankings, with each team having two more games before anyone gets sent home, but in Egypt’s case, a win is absolutely necessary.

Featured image: @mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @ShaeEliz

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Orlando City Suffers Terrible Loss at Vancouver

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Saturday, June 9: 5-2 Loss

On Saturday, the Lions traveled north to Vancouver in their first 2018 meeting. Vancouver Whitecaps is now home to two former Orlando City players, Brek Shea and Jose Aja. But the family reunion was pretty bittersweet, with the final score of Vancouver 5, Orlando 2.

Now I’m not exactly sure if this qualifies as our worst defeat ever, but it’s definitely up there. I mean, we fell to Houston Dynamo in 2017 4-0. At least this time we put some goals on the board. This marks the 5th straight loss since Atlanta United ended our winning streak back in May.

Just to recap here, Orlando City broke it’s winning streak record this season with 6 straight wins. We were on top of the world! And then the Fire Nation attacked…

Not exactly, but here we are, in a position all too familiar to Orlando City fans. We call it our Summer Slump. The beginning of the season looks so good and so promising, and then summer comes and well. You know what happens.

Shockingly enough, we’re still clinging to our #6 spot in the playoff standings. Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union are just one point behind us so this week’s games will determine if we can hold on to our spot or not.

A win against Montreal Impact on Wednesday, June 13th, would guarantee us a few more days of safety. A draw or a loss would mean we’d have to watch what Chicago does against Colorado Rapids (also on Wednesday) and how Philadelphia does against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

To catch you up on our player news:

Midfielder Yoshimar Yotún has been named to the Peru National Team’s roster for the 2018 World Cup! We’re wishing him the best but that means for now, we’ve got no Yoshi available.

Defender Amro Tarek has returned to Orlando after being turned down from the Egyptian National Team. Obviously a hard pill to swallow but we’re happy to have him back, especially with our Captain Jonathan Spector still uncertain.

Spector has missed the past few weeks of games due to concussion protocols. He has returned to full training and played in our U.S. Open match against Miami, so we should be seeing him return to our main roster very soon.

Now these next few weeks of MLS are a little messy— we’ve got games and gaps all over the place due to the World Cup break, so bear with us here at MLSFemale while we have recaps going up on all different days of the week. Plus, we’ve got U.S. Open Cup games going on in this mix too. Who’s ready to keep up with ALL of the soccer?!

Next up for Orlando City: Away at Montreal on June 13th (MLS Regular Season), Away at D.C. United on June 20th (U.S. Open Cup), and Home on June 23rd against Montreal (MLS Regular Season).

And in case you were looking for more of my wit and humor, I’ll also be doing World Cup coverage for Portugal and Egypt right here on MLSFemale.

Featured image: @OrlandoCitySC

49 rainbow seats to honor the memory of Pulse victims

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @ShaeEliz

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Denmark has the nicest supporters in the world

Liz Panucci - Co-Founder/mlsfemale

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

What’s the opposite of unruly fans? Supporters of team Denmark! I can, personally, account for this as my heritage hails from this Scandinavian country. We don’t get too excited about anything and go through life in a placid sort of way enjoying food and drink with others.

Recently, us reporters decided that since neither the US Men’s National Team or the Canadian team qualified for the World Cup 2018 in Russia, we would write about other teams. Many chose teams via their heritage, some because of their MLS connection and others just because they like the country.

The World Cup starts June 14 with Denmark’s first match on June 16. There are 32 countries divided into 8 groups, A-H. Denmark is in Group C along with Peru, Australia and France. Denmark missed the last World Cup but have high hopes to come out on top of this group, even against heavyweight Team France.

World Cup Schedule/mlsfemale

DENMARK: 23-man squad — Nicklas Bendtner has been left out of Denmark’s 23-man World Cup squad due to a groin injury that he sustained playing for his club side.

Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), Frederik Ronnow (Brondby IF), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town)

Defenders: Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield Town), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich Town)

Midfielders: William Kvist (FC Kobenhavn), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur), Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo)

Forwards: Nicolai Jørgensen (Feyenoord), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Viktor Fischer (FC Kobenhavn), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Martin Braithwaite (Bordeaux)

Liz Panucci - Denmark/mlsfemale
On our way. Image: Nicolai Jørgensen @njorgensen9

According to the FIFA World Rankings, Denmark is currently tied with England for 12th going into the tournament. They have moved up 7 spots in the past 9 months. If the team can continue to gel, they can ride this wave of momentum and kickoff Moscow on a winning note.

Featured image: mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @PanucciLiz

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo (trans bg)

New York Red Bulls: Twisted and Shouted Down

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, June 2nd: 2-1 Loss

The New York Red Bulls keep it colonial, heading north to New England to face the Revolution.

OVER THERE: On Tuesday, Tim Parker and Tyler Adams were called to the US Men’s National Team for their remaining friendlies against Ireland and France. That takes the International absence count to four (Michael Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar, Panama). Derrick Etienne Jr. just came back from a match against Argentina, and Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra will be heading for his first call up for Paraguay this week. Having them missing is unnerving, but shouldn’t be devastating.

PRIMETIME: I think this is the first MLS game I’ve watched from the vantage point of my TV at home. Plenty comfy, but just not my favorite view.  You can put in all the microphones and get all the views of the crowd, but there’s no way to really replicate that feeling of being there. Even the camaraderie of a watch party at a bar is only part of the experience.

STRONG START: It was all going so well. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 95th goal as a Red Bull, a header in the 8th minute. And that was about as good as it got for the rest of the game. Diego Fagunez was able to blast one past Ryan Meara just before the end of the first half. Then Teal Bunbury tapped in a cross from Cristian Penilla. The Red Bulls could not pull one back and they had to leave Foxboro empty-handed.

SHAKE IT OFF: But the team cannot wallow in the defeat.

                                                                   (via Giphy)

And by “Rex Manning Day,” I mean the start of the run for the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. RBNY made it to the finals last year, knocking out NYCFC, the Philadelphia Union, The New England Revolution, and USL Cinderella story FC Cincinnati. But they came up short against Sporting Kansas City.

Fans have had enough of that. The team comes back home to Red Bull Arena and faces familiar opponent NYCFC this Wednesday.

Featured image: mls soccer march 

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo (trans bg)


The Road to Russia: Vela, Gaber, Beitashour and Ureña from LAFC named to provisional rosters

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Monday was a busy day for LAFC as the club announced four players named to their national team’s provisional squads, respectively. In addition to, Los Angeles will serve as one of the host cities for the Gold Cup in 2019.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is starting to heat up as managers of all 32 countries competing in the 2018 tournament officially released the provisional squad rosters on Monday. Each country’s coach selected between 30-35 players for their provisional squads.

Teams have until June 4 to announce their official 23-man tournament roster. However, some coaches have already announced their final rosters before the deadline. Including, Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez.

The month-long tournament will kick off on June 15 with the group stage running till the 28th before going on a two-day break for the knockout phase. The final will take place on July 15 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

LAFC is the only MLS club with the most potential participants in this year’s tournament and is expected to have multiple players called up by their respective national teams:

Steven Beitashour – Iran

For the first time since 2014, defender Steven Beitashour has been called up by the Iranian National Team and has the opportunity to make his second appearance for the squad in the 2018 World Cup.

The San Jose native first featured for the Iranian National Team in 2013 and appeared in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He notched an assist in Iran’s 3-0 win over Thailand in Asian Cup qualifications in 2013 and was on the bench for the national team’s three group matches in Brazil.

Iran is the first team from the Asian Football Confederation to stamp their ticket to Russia. Iran was drawn into group B with Morocco, Spain, and Portugal – arguably the toughest group in the tournament. If selected, Beitashour could face Ronaldo.

Despite, the controversial call-ups of Masoud Shojaei and Ehsah Haji Safi – both players who were initially banned for life last year after playing for their Greek club Panionios against an Israeli team – Beitashour remains on the 35-man provisional roster. There is a chance he will not make the trip as head coach still has less than a month to whittle down his squad to 23 players for the tournament.

Omar Gaber – Egypt

Omar Gaber was named to Egypt’s 29-man provisional squad as The Pharaohs prepares for their first World Cup appearance since 1990. The 26-year-old defender is a veteran of World Cups in youth tournaments for Egypt and now has a chance to make his first appearance for the senior competition led by head coach Hector Cuper.

Egypt was selected to play in Group A with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host country, Russia. Although Egypt won’t play the host country until June 19, Gaber’s presence can be huge for the team. Gaber has played 18 times for Egypt, appearing in five games in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Carlos Vela – Mexico

Vela has been vital to the black and gold’s current success having scored his sixth MLS career goal this past Sunday in a dramatic 2-2 draw against New York City FC. Named to the 28-man preliminary roster by the boss Juan Carlos Osorio, Vela has a chance to bring his talent back to the world stage.

A veteran of the 2010 World Cup, Vela has been a consistent starter during Mexico’s qualifying campaign and helped his team stamp their ticket to Russia. Vela skipped the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to a long-standing dispute with the national team. However, he returned to the roster later that year. The forward has recorded 67 appearances and 18 goals for El Tri and is now on the verge of his second World Cup appearance.

Mexico was drawn into Group F consisting of Germany, Sweden, Korea Republic. Mexico is set to start their run on June 17 against the current World Cup champions and will need Vela’s help to hold off the German powerhouse.

Marco Ureña – Costa Rica

The 28-year-old LAFC forward Marco Ureña is part of the squad that will represent Costa Rica this summer and has been a key player for both club and country. Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez announced his final roster the same day before the deadline, making it Ureña’s second World Cup selection.

The forward recently underwent surgery to repair a facial fracture injury he acquired in LAFC’s home opener against Seattle on April 29. As he continues to heal, it is expected Ureña will make the trip to Russia, and likely to play, too.

Although it is an honor to be called up for national duty, this means Ureña could possibly miss five games including the friendly against Borussia Dortmund, and potentially longer depending on how far Costa Rica advances.

Featured image courtesy: @FIFAWorldCup

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x