There weren’t any mailbag questions this week, which means you haven’t thought about soccer in a while. I can’t really blame you. When you start thinking about it again, drop us a line on Twitter using the hashtag #AskHotTime, and I’ll see you here next week.
The NWSL did the right thing. As you all know by now, a storm’s-a-comin’. And I’m not just talking about WWE’s Mae Young Classic. Hurricane Florence will have hit landfall in the Carolinas as of this writing, and presumably, left people without power and a large cleaning job. Under no circumstances should the Red Stars and Courage played this game this weekend in Cary. The game was moved to Tuesday, in Portland.
This was a good decision, and really the only one they could have made. They couldn’t just give the match to the Red Stars. It would be super unfair to the Courage to take away their hard-earned home field advantage and give it to their opponents. And that’s not a dig at the Red Stars. Their poor start to the season meant that they didn’t deserve to host a playoff game. Chicago was out. But than what? Portland is the next best option.
First of all, the Final is there as well. This makes travel a lot easier, especially with the game on a Tuesday and the final that Saturday. Having them in the same location means more stability for the winning team, especially when they get two days less rest then either Seattle or Portland. Not traveling for the final should mitigate some of the fatigue the winning team will have.
The other reason is that the NWSL is fairly confident that there will be some number of people in the stands for the match. The only other thing I can think of that was like this was when the Marlins and Expos played some games at U.S. Comiskular for similar reasons. No one showed up, though.
Meanwhile on the Fire side of things, they claimed Yuri Movsisyan off of waivers from Real Salt Lake earlier today. Movsisyan is now the sixth striker on the roster, and on a shallow perspective, I get it. The goals have dried up. The Fire haven’t had a multi-goal league game since losing 4-3 to Philadelphia on July 11, and have been shut out three times. However, striker is not the problem. We all know what their problem is. They don’t have a player who can be that creative spark in the midfield. Yes they have some guys who can potentially be that in the future, but Djordje Mihailovic and Brandt Bronico aren’t there yet. They need more time to develop some more game sense, and hopefully, they’ll get to see as much of the field as they want coming down the stretch.
Speaking of the stretch run, it’s time for the yearly September reminder that results and scoreline don’t really matter much. We should be watching with an eye towards next season. The most important things we need to see now are individual performances and some improvement, especially from our younger players. We should expect Djordje and Mo Adams to play maximum minutes. We should see more of Drew “Vinnie Jones” Conner, and if healthy, Grant Lillard. Something I want to see, but most people don’t, is the sunsetting of Bastian Schweinsteiger. I love the guy, and love watching him play. But it’s painful to see him out there at centerback because Pauno doesn’t trust anyone else to do the job. I also want to see Brandon Vincent back at left back because “ Brandon Vincent is not a centerback.”
We got 7 more of these left. Let’s finish on a high note.