Stoppage time goals were the name of the game yesterday with three in the Western clashes, though only one carried three points with it. Read on for more news from MLS Saturday, plus more on the next incarnation of a professional women’s soccer league in the U.S.
Major League Soccer
Just when you thought Seattle had San Jose’d San Jose with a 92nd minute goal to salvage a point in the Western Conference, the Earthquakes answered back with a Stephen Lenhart header off a corner kick in the 93rd to defeat the Sounders 2-1. What an absolute gut-wrencher for the Sounders. Look for more on this dramatic comeback win from our Quakes writer, Alyssa Olszewski, later today.
With their three precious points, the Earthquakes put some more room between themselves and Real Salt Lake, who fell to Vancouver by a 2-1 score, with their lone goal coming on a Nat Borchers header in stoppage time.
Sporting KC followed up their U.S. Open Cup title win with a 2-1 victory over D.C. United, pulling KC past the New York Red Bulls atop the Eastern Conference.
Fabian Castillo led FC Dallas to a 3-2 victory over the Rapids with a goal and an assist, to come back from an early deficit.
Colorado would not go out without a fight, though. Jeff Larentowicz joined the action in the 55th minute to bring the Rapids within a goal.
Unfortunately, Larentowicz and his hair was not the only red Colorado saw on the night, as Jaime Castrillon was shown a red card after kicking a downed George John following an attempted tackle. The match’s opening goal scorer was escorted out, and Colorado was forced to play a man down for the final twenty minutes.
Professional Women’s Soccer
Now that the 2012 Olympics are over, and we won’t have another major international tournament for North American women’s soccer for three years, the attention once again turns to professional women’s soccer on this side of the pond. With the demise of WPS, what will happen to top players like Wambach, Sinclair, Solo, Lloyd and Rapinoe? What about young players who aren’t yet at the national level? After much rumor over the last few months, it’s been confirmed that there will be a new pro league starting in Spring 2013, including some familiar, former-WPS teams:
According to a release distributed by Boston Breakers’ communication early Thursday morning, the new, yet to be named league will feature at least eight teams, including three former Women’s Professional Soccer teams: the Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC.
They will be joined by a to-be-formed Seattle-based team, one of at least two entrants who will play on the West Coast.
In addition to those four commitments, the new league claims “four other teams are finalizing their participation in the league,” with the league’s organizers “working with United Soccer Leagues (USL) and Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL).”
A new Seattle team that’s not the popular Sounders Women? Tell us more, Equalizer Soccer:
Bill Predmore, the President of POP Agency in Seattle, is the lead owner of a new women’s team that was announced as one of the founding teams.
Predmore acknowledged that details are currently scant due to still ongoing organizational efforts, but he was able to shed some additional light on the new Seattle team. The Sounders Women declined to comment last night on their involvement, but Predmore stated that outreach has happened and a working relationship is not off the table entirely.
“We had a lot of respect for what the Sounders did this year,” he said. “They were a dream team in terms of the team they put together. I have talked to them on if there’s a way we can work together on things, but the result of that is still to be determined. We’re talking with all interested parties.”
Currently Predmore is the sole owner of the new Seattle team, although he expects to have others join the ownership team. If there are no interested parties, however, he is committed regardless. The team itself is still in the beginning stages, although conversations have been held concerning a general manager and other leadership. Predmore expects to start making announcements on that front “in the next few weeks.”
But will top national players and upcoming college stars have enough faith to be part of this new league? What about playing in more financially stable leagues in Europe? Thomas Hofstetter, the president of Sky Blue FC, weighs in:
“The grass always looks greener, but when they come back they often say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” Hofstetter said.
One advantage in Europe, said the German native, is that the soccer federations in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden provide women’s teams (most of which are affiliated with men’s clubs) with financial support.
“There’s nothing from the U.S. federation, nor will there ever be,” he said. “I’m beyond that. It’s not an issue anymore. There is a market for women’s sports in America, but we have to accept that the level of professionalism might not be what we expect.”
Check back for more on Sunday’s MLS matchups, and make sure you’re following us on Twitter at @AerysSoccer for the latest news and commentary.