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Mewis, Lavelle Earn Their First Silverware Abroad as Man. City Wins Women’s Fa Cup Final

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis of Manchester City celebrate with the trophy during the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final match between Everton Women and Manchester City Women at Wembley Stadium on November 01, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

In a true show of the talent that lies within the FA Women’s Super League, Manchester City and Everton battled for the title of FA Women’s Cup Champions in a thrilling match that required extra time to decide its winner. Man. City came out victorious behind goals from Sam Mewis, Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie, winning the tournament for the third time in four seasons and for the second season in a row. USWNT stars Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis each logged valuable minutes during the match, earning their first silverware with Man. City since their signings in August.

Here’s how the action unfolded.

In the 15th minute, a ball was threaded through to Everton midfielder Hayley Raso, catching the Man. City defense too far upfield. Taking advantage of the breakaway, Raso took her space as Man. City defender Lucy Bronze recovered, gaining on Raso from behind and tripping her to end the scoring drive. The foul would draw a yellow card and give Everton a set-piece opportunity, which the squad was unable to convert.

Fighting for a go-ahead goal, Man. City continued to press the Everton defense, with standouts Chloe Kelly and Sam Mewis leading the charge. With 25 minutes gone, Mewis received a lofted ball just outside the eighteen, taking a touch forward to beat three Everton defenders. Mewis attempted to poke the ball past Everton goalkeeper Alexandra MacIver, but the keeper would deny Mewis’ scoring chance to render the game deadlocked at 0-0.

As the first half began to draw to a close, Man. City had yet to be rewarded for their impressive showing. In the 39th minute, they would get their chance, earning a corner kick that was taken by defender Alex Greenwood. Greenwood played in a near-perfect ball, finding the head of Mewis in the box. The 6-foot midfielder had no trouble redirecting the ball into the back of the net, notching her third regular-season goal in her sixth appearance for the club to put Man. City up 1-0.

In the 55th minute, a Man. City shot rebounded off of the post and to the feet of Chloe Kelly, who fired off a close-range shot that would be denied by MacIver yet again to limit Man. City’s lead to one goal. Everton would level the score five minutes later, in a similar fashion to Mewis’ goal —  a corner kick taken by Izzy Christiansen was headed home by forward Valérie Gauvin, who battled back from an injury earlier in the match to deadlock the game once more at 1-1.

With six minutes of stoppage time on the clock, Man. City’s Caroline Weir played a give-and-go with Chloe Kelly, receiving the ball and firing a shot that deflected off of the crossbar. Both teams fought for a goal that would render them the FA Cup Champions, but neither were successful in their efforts, leaving the match to be decided in extra time.

A hard-fought first half of extra time ensued, highlighted by a Man. City chance which began when a pass was slipped to forward Georgia Stanway. Taking her space, Stanway collided with MacIver, who had abandoned the net in an attempt to make a save. The ball squeaked out from under MacIver, allowing Stanway to maintain possession, but a recovery and clearance from Everton defender Megan Finnigan would serve to fend off the attack.

Finally, in the 111th minute of play, Jess Park played a through ball into the path of Stanway, who ran onto the pass and, on her first touch, put away the go-ahead goal, giving Man. City a 2-1 advantage. Minutes later, it was Stanway on the ball again — this time slotting a pass to Janine Beckie in the box, who scored to seal the FA Women’s Cup Championship title for her squad.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FA WSL:

 

November 7th 

Manchester City vs. Bristol City @ 10:00 a.m. EST

November 8th 

Chelsea vs. Everton @ 7:00 a.m. EST

Manchester United vs. Arsenal @ 7:00 a.m. EST

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Aston Villa @ 9:00 a.m. EST

Birmingham City vs. West Ham United @ 9:00 a.m. EST

Tottenham vs. Reading FC @ 9:00 a.m. EST

Maria Sanchez reportedly requests trade from Houston Dash

Mar 23, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Maria Sanchez (7) warms up before the match between Racing Louisville and Houston Dash at Shell Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Sanchez, who signed one of the biggest deals in NWSL history just four months ago, has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

ESPN was the first to report the news, which was confirmed by multiple sources.

In a statement to ESPN, the team said: “​​Maria Sanchez is under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the Dash worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. At the time, it was the largest contract in NWSL history – something that was eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

The winger was a restricted free agent in the offseason, meaning that Houston could match any offer from another team and retain her rights. Should the team trade Sanchez, her contract would remain as it has been signed with the league. That limits the number of teams that could take on her contract. 

In three starts with the Dash this season, Sanchez has zero goals and an assist. The Dash are 1-2-1 through four games and have allowed a league-worst 10 goals.

The team hired a new coach, Fran Alonso, in December. Earlier this year, former goalkeeper coach Matt Lampson was fired for violating the league’s Coach Code of Conduct and Anti-Fraternization policy. 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close at midnight ET on Friday.

Canada beats U.S. Hockey 6-5 in thrilling World Championship win

UTICA, NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Team Canada raises the Championship Trophy after winning The Gold by defeating The United States in OT during the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship Gold Medal game at Adirondack Bank Center on April 14, 2024 in Utica, New York. (Photo by Troy Parla/Getty Images)

Canada got its revenge on Sunday, winning the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship and taking down the U.S. in a 6-5 overtime classic.

Marie-Philip Poulin, a longtime star for Canada, got her first two goals of the tournament, while Danielle Serdachny had the game-winner. 

"I hate to say you're not trying to rely on it, expect it, but I know I've grown to expect it," Canada coach Troy Ryan said of Philip-Poulin. "Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. It's just special."

The win came after Canada lost 1-0 to the U.S. in the group stage of the tournament. On Sunday, the two teams met for the 22nd time in 23 tournaments in the gold medal game – and the action between the two teams delivered. 

Among those scoring for the U.S. were Megan Keller, Alex Carpenter, Hilary Knight, Laila Edwards and Caroline Harvey. Julia Gosling, Emily Clark and Erin Ambrose had the other three goals for Canada, giving them their 13th World title after falling to the U.S. in last year’s title game in Toronto. 

This year’s game was held in New York, and it was the second-highest scoring final between the two teams. The U.S. won a world championship 7-5 in 2015. 

"Oh man, that feels good to win it on U.S. soil," Canada goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens said after the game. "We owed it to them and owed it to ourselves to win that one."

Canada also denied Knight a record 10th World Championship win, although she did become the most decorated player in women’s world championship history with 14 medals. After the game, Poulin gave Knight a hug on the ice. 

"We just said 'that was unbelievable,'" Poulin said.

U.S. coach John Wroblewski echoed the sentiment that it was an outstanding game after being asked about ending the game on a power-play after leaving too many players on the ice. 

"Instead of talking about the isolated events of tonight's game, I think that normally that's an interesting storyline,” he said. “But I think the entity of an amazing 6-5 game is an amazing hockey game that took place."

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

One former player contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

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