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Three Things We Learned From Man City’s Win Over Arsenal


Manchester City 2, Arsenal 1

Goals: Vivianne Miedema – 3’, Sam Mewis – 30’, Caroline Weir – 90+4’

The most anticipated matchup of the weekend saw Manchester City host Arsenal, two teams at the top of the FAWSL table battling it out to keep their title hopes alive.

In the media buildup to the match, Arsenal’s Jen Beattie spoke to the media for the first time about her breast cancer diagnosis.

The Arsenal defender was diagnosed back in October but has still been able to appear for the North London club and make her mark this season. She scored Arsenal’s third goal in their 0-5 win against Brighton Hove & Albion a few days after her diagnosis.

Beattie, who also played for Manchester City before becoming an Arsenal player, was celebrated by both teams during the match warm-up as all the players donned Beattie’s top.

Vivianne Miedema opened up the scoring early on, only for Sam Mewis to tie the game in the 30th minute. Heading into the 90th minute, it looked like the points would be shared at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, with the match still tied at 1-1. But after six minutes were added on, City managed to pull out a miraculous winner in the 94th minute.

City’s narrow victory revealed quite a bit about the state of both teams, as well as the trajectory of the FAWSL title race this season.

1. Arsenal needs to find a way to continue their press throughout a match, or they’ll continue dropping important games. 

From the first whistle, it was clear that Arsenal head coach Joe Montemurro had instructed his side to press a lot higher than they usually do. Manchester City are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to  high press, and it’s clear that Montemurro wanted his side to match their opponent. It’s also clear that Gareth Taylor did not expect Arsenal’s tactics to be as aggressive, as his side looked shell-shocked by Arsenal’s pressure, which led to Manchester City making silly errors and giving Vivianne Miedema a golden opportunity in just the third minute.

Despite Arsenal not having the best start to the season, Miedema is having a fantastic personal season, yet again. The top goalscorer in the league the past two seasons, Miedema’s goal against City was her 11th in the league this year, as she once again finds herself the top scorer in the WSL.

The hope was that the early goal would rejuvenate Arsenal and they’d continue with their pressing tactics to catch a stunned Manchester City off guard. Instead, their early lead made them more complacent, and the aggressiveness toned down after a mere ten minutes, allowing their opponents to grow into the game, with Manchester City racking up 18 shots (16 on target) compared to Arsenal’s two.

Post match, Montemurro admitted that his side faces a ‘mental block’ when playing big teams. Arsenal has yet to beat Manchester City, Chelsea, or Manchester United this season, in both league matches and the FA Cup.

The team has consistently started games with high intensity, only to drop off and allow the other team to then set the pace. It’s been disappointing to watch week after week, as the current roster is significantly better than their results would suggest.

It’ll be interesting to see how Arsenal fares against Everton next week. Everton may not be one of the traditional “big clubs,” but the team certainly looked like one earlier this season. Arsenal should be able to beat Everton, especially since they will be playing at home, but if they fall into the trap of dropping off early into the game, expect Everton to take advantage.

2. Caroline Weir (and her left foot) is crucial to Manchester City

Had this match ended in a 1-1 draw, Manchester City would have had 16 points, leaving them seven points behind league leaders Manchester United — a huge gap to make up. With the gap now at five, it makes things a bit easier on City. Simply put, Weir’s winning goal in the 94th minute has allowed Manchester City to stay within reach of the title race.

City has been excellent this season, both collectively and as individuals. Weir is someone who has been playing a crucial role at City since her arrival in 2018. The team is known for scoring in abundance, and while as a midfielder, it isn’t Weir’s job to actually score them, she continues to contribute by finding spaces to exploit, creating chances, and racking up assists.

City’s last league match, prior to hosting Arsenal, was away at Everton, which they won 3-0, with Weir assisting every one of their goals. Her fantastic performance in Liverpool is likely what got her the start against Arsenal, and she once again repaid her manager’s trust. Should she continue to start, Manchester City can go into matches with the confidence that they don’t even need their best goalscorers to find the back of the net in order to still score in abundance.

3. The top of the FAWSL table is as competitive as ever

With five points separating first and fourth place in the table, the teams at the top have continued to give fans a thrilling title race. The hope is that it continues right down to the wire, and we see the competitiveness remain until the final match weeks.

Four teams chasing a title is a treat, and the champions will likely be whoever can come out on top in the head to head matches, since the top four have consistently been able to beat the other eight teams. At this point, it is hard to gauge who that will be, which only makes it all the more exciting.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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