Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scores on 100th birthday of U.S. Soccer; Christine Sinclair assists for Canada
On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.
Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.
Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.
On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.
Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.
Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m. (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.
With just over a week to go befor the Portland Timbers' season opener against New York Red Bulls (Mar. 3, 4:30pm PT, ESPN2 - March to Soccer Opening Match presented by Alaska Airlines), the team has been preparing with a broader approach to their final preseason tournament match against AIK (Feb. 23, 5pm PT, webstream at www.portlandtimbers.com) treating it more as though it were a real league game. Midfielder Will Johnson called it a "dress rehearsal" and that there'd be a definitive emphasis on getting a virtual three points in anticipation of when they're in the fight for an actual three points.
For AIK, the situation is very similar. Long a mainstay of the country's top division Allsvenskan, AIK's season runs a similar spring-to-fall calendar as MLS. After a few preseason games of their own in Oxnard, Calif., the team has been in-residence in Portland for the Timbers preseason tournament. They drew 0-0 to FC Dallas in the opener and held another clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against San Jose Earthquakes in their second match.
Lee Baxter (right) is the team's goalkeeping coach and third 'keeper. In his first stint with the club from 1998-2000, Baxter was part of a team that made it to the Champions League and he played in matches against Arsenal, Barcelona, and Fiorentina. Growing up around soccer his whole life--his father Stuart was a club head coach in Sweden as well as leading the national teams of South Africa and Findland--Baxter has enjoyed a long and diverse soccer career. Now back with AIK, Baxter and I talk about how the team has been experiencing Portland, his hopes for AIK's 2013 season, and the importance of supporter's culture both in the U.S. and Sweden.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
The U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. That’s really all that needs to be said, but in case you were on a trip to the Outback last summer and didn’t have access to a TV, internet, newspaper or any other form of news media here’s a quick refresher.
August 6, 2012 … Old Trafford … Manchester, England ... Olympic Semifinal
Christine Sinclair gives Canada a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match in front of 26,640 fans at famed Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and the teams enter the interval with Canada grasping a 1-0 lead and a chance to head to the gold medal match.
USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe equalizes in the 54th minute and the match becomes a slugfest with Sinclair and Rapinoe (both former standouts at the University of Portland) trading goals. Sinclair nets her second goal, putting Canada ahead 2-1 in the 67th minute … Rapinoe hits back with her second, tying the score at 2-2 three minutes later in the 70th minute.
Sinclair gets a hat-trick with the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and Canada carries a one-goal lead into the final 10 minutes of regular time before the real drama kicks in. Canada’s goalkeeper Erin McLeod is called for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds – a rarely enforced rule, but one that awards the U.S. with an indirect free kick inside Canada’s penalty box. On the free kick, the ball strikes a Canadian player on the arm and a penalty kick is called.
Abby Wambach steps up and buries the spot kick to level the score at 3-3 in the 80th minute.
The two sides battled to a stalemate through 30 minutes of extra time, trading jabs before U.S. forward Alex Morgan rose up and looped a header into the goal in the third minute of stoppage time, the game’s 123rd minute to be exact and the latest ever goal scored in a FIFA competition.
Now, catch your breath.
The rematch is coming on June 2 in Toronto as the U.S. Women’s National Team faces Canada in an international (not so) friendly for the first time since that drama-filled Olympic semifinal match. Mark your calendar as several Thorns FC teammates could potentially clash on the field. Clearly, there are no medals on the line, but there's no doubt the intensity will be heightened as Canada will look to repay the USA for the match last summer.
After a 2012 season that saw Bright Dike score 16 goals across all competitions--5 in the regular season, 5 in the MLS Reserve League, and 6 in the USL Pro while on loan to the LA Blues--the Timbers forward added one more tally to his growing goalscoring exploits as he scored the equalizer for Nigeria in a friendly against Catalonia on Wednesday.
Dike started the match in Barcelona as Nigeria faced the unique autonomous region of northeastern Spain known as Catalonia. Though not recognized by FIFA or UEFA, Catalonia has fielded a national team since the early 20th century often with numerous stars from FC Barcelona in their starting XI. Wednesday's match was no different as the Johan Cruyff-coached side featured Barca legends Carles Puyol, Xavi, and Gerard Pique.
For Dike, it didn't matter. After battling all game--including a nasty elbow to Puyol in the first half that left the centerback temporarily bloodied--Dike broke through in the 55th minute with a nifty cutback and lashed a shot with his left foot into the upper left corner of the net. Notice the trademark cartwheel backflip celebration.
Congratulations to Dike. Here's to getting 2013 started off on the (left) foot and to making your case for inclusion in Nigeria's squad for this January's Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
While the US Women's National team was busy last night at JELD-WEN Field tallying up 5 goals in their win over the Republic of Ireland, the US U-17's have been busy this week at the Nike International Friendlies in Florida.
Yesterday, the Yanks played to a thrilling 4-4 draw against Brazil and Timbers U-16 midfielder Rubio Rubin--who's been training at the US U-17 Residency Program--was particularly busy with two goals and two assists.
Backheels, throughballs and more. Rubio was busy.
The USMNT battled back to pull off a 2-2 draw with Russia in a friendly early this morning--well, early in Portland anyways. The draw was due in no small part to Roma midfielder Michael Bradley who scored this beautiful volley via Chivas USA's Juan Agudelo to pull the Americans even at 1-1:
But then Bradley also played this incredible ball forward in stoppage time that Mix Diskerud eventually got on the end of to pull off a miraculous draw:
Plus, don't forget, Timbers forward Bright Dike will be with Nigeria today as they take on Venezuela in Miami at 4:55pm PT on ESPN3.com and midfielder Franck Songo'o's Indomitable Lions of Cameroon take on Albania in Switzerland at 11:45am PT.
Will Bright Dike make his international debut tomorrow in Nigeria's friendly against Venezuela at Marlins Park in Miami? Watch the match online at ESPN3.com (4:55pm PT--certain cable subscriptions required) to find out.
Can't wait till then? Then be up and at 'em early tomorrow to watch the USMNT take on Russia on ESPN2 (7am PT). You can also watch the match stream on ESPN3.com. In the meantime, check out this USsoccer.com piece on Dutch-based American forward Jozy Altidore who made his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann's side for this upcoming friendly:
If you were watching the Timbers 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night, you may have noticed Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy not with the team. This was due to both men being away with their respective national teams as Purdy was with El Salvador and Palmer with Jamaica. With both national teams matching up against one another Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C., there was a unique Timbers intrasquad rivalry at play with Palmer’s Jamaica beating Purdy’s El Salvador 2-0.
Palmer and Purdy both started and played the full 90 minutes battling against one another. Jamaica’s midfielder Luton Shelton would give The Reggae Boyz the win as he put two goals into the back of the net. Now not only does Palmer have a little bit of bragging rights here in Portland, but he also gets a nice home cooked meal of his choice made by Purdy due to a bet placed earlier on Twitter.
This past Sunday, Purdy and La Selecta took to the pitch in the first of their two matches this week as they played Guatemala to a 1-0 victory at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Purdy started and played the full 90 minutes while teammate Nelson Bonilla scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to give the Central Americans a boost ahead of the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Jamaica will play Kenya next in a friendlyl on Aug. 25 followed by a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. on Sept. 11 in Columbus. El Salvador will play Guyana in a World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 7.
RECAP in Spanish: La Prensa Grafica – El Salvador lost 0-2 against Jamaica
Timbers teammates Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy are in the interesting situation this week of coming face-to-face with each other on the pitch far from JELD-WEN Field. Both players were called up to their respective national teams--Palmer for Jamaica and Purdy for El Salvador--to take part in an international friendly on Wednesday, August 15 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. at 5pm PT.
As both players are quite active on Twitter, the chatter began after Purdy's La Selecta beat Guatemala 1-0 in a friendly Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Palmer noticed the win and tweeted a question about having a friendly wager for this week's match.
@spurdy25 congrats on the win against guatemala. Tweeps what you think the bet should be wednesday night when JA play El salvador.
— Lovel Palmer (@palmerboy30) August 13, 2012
After some good-natured jibes back and forth the best idea was presented by a fan: The loser must make the winner dinner.
— Steven Purdy (@spurdy25) August 13, 2012
Now with both teams training in D.C., the two have run into each other as part of the preparations.
— Lovel Palmer (@palmerboy30) August 14, 2012
— Steven Purdy (@spurdy25) August 14, 2012
While the game does not count in any CONCACAF standings anywhere, it should present a great tune-up ahead of September's World Cup qualifiers. And for one of two Timbers teammates, it means a hearty meal and bragging rights.
A few weeks ago during the Timbers' exciting friendly with Aston Villa at JELD-WEN Field, you may have noticed a spontaneous round of applause beginning at the stroke of the 19th minute. It was a show of solidarity and respect for Villa team captain and number 19 Stiliyan Petrov during his battle with leukemia. Petrov, who was diagnosed late in the 2011-12 EPL season, was undergoing treatments and did not accompany the team to Portland.
Aston Villa was happy to announce today that Petrov's leukemia appears to be in remission: