The NWSL season is now well underway but Week 2 featured four low-scoring games plus an outburst from Seattle, which almost out-scored the rest of the league combined. The other nine teams combined for six goals in three 1-0 wins and a 1-1 tie while Seattle put five past Houston before allowing a late goal in the 5-1 victory at home. In Europe, the first legs of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinals commenced with Alex Morgan’s Olympique Lyonnais defeating Carli Lloyd’s Manchester City by a 3-1 score in Manchester.
The other big news of the weekend was the NWSL announcement that brand new, state-of-the art Orlando City Stadium will host the NWSL Championship Game on October 14, 2017.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Kansas City (1-0 Chicago; Goal: Ertz)
She may have a new name this season but Julie Ertz (formerly Julie Johnston) still has the same game, and that includes a talent for scoring an impressive goal on occasion. Playing in the center midfield – a positon she played in college and early in her Youth Women’s National Team career, Ertz tallied her first goal of the season, and first for Chicago, in front of her home crowd. She timed her run perfectly to sweep home a cross from Sofia Huerta in the 41st minute past former WNT goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who proved tough to beat all afternoon. The goal stood as the game-winner in 1-0 victory for the Red Stars which earned its first points of 2017. Christen Press missed a penalty kick in the 49th minute that would have made it 2-0.
FC Kansas City had several chances in stoppage time, but was unable to break through the Red Stars defense and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who recorded three saves in the game.
The DFB-Pokal Semifinals take place in Germany this week, and both games will have potential involvement from U.S. Men’s National Team players.
Here are five things you should know about the German Cup.
A bonus fact to begin: the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the equivalent tournament in the United States, actually began competition 22 years before in 1913!
Founded in 1935 as the "Tshammer-Pokal", the knockout competition was originally named after the highest ranking sports official in the Third Reich, Hans von Tschammer. FC Nürnberg took the first title, and the tournament ran for eight seasons before being suspended in 1944 due to World War II.
Following the collapse of the Nazi regime, the cup restarted in the 1952-53 season and was renamed the “DFB-Pokal” after the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund).
- READ MORE: Five Things to Know About Christian Pulisic
Rot-Weiss Essen were the first winners of the newly-named competition, which has run uninterrupted ever since. Additionally, there was an East German Cup that ran from 1949-1991, but following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the league and cup competitions merged in 1991-92 as part of German reunification.
Bayern Munich won the tournament for the first time in 1957 and unsurprisingly have been the most dominant, lifting the trophy 18 times (including three out of the last four years). They are followed by Werder Bremen (six), Schalke (five) and FC Köln, FC Nünrberg and Eintracht Frankfurt (four each).
Anyway, wonder what the actual trophy looks like? See below from the competition's official Twitter account:
Not unlike the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup or English FA Cup, the tournament is a straight knockout competition. A field of 64 features all 36 clubs from the top two divisions of German football. The top four finishers in the third division also automatically qualify, while 21 slots are given to cup winners from the regional associations, and the remaining three places are awarded to the regions with the most men’s teams -- currently Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Westphalia.
The competition begins in mid-August, a week before the first division campaign kicks off. The first two rounds are drawn so that first and second division teams face clubs from lower leagues, but from the third round all the way through to the semifinals the draw is conducted from just one pot, with any third division or amateur team automatically receiving a home match if drawn against a professional side.
MNT History in DFB-Pokal
While the list of U.S. Men’s National Team players with experience playing for clubs in Germany is long, only four have played in the DFB-Pokal Semifinals and only one has lifted the trophy.
Though he hadn’t yet played for the MNT at the time, future captain Thomas Dooley (pictured above) featured in the 1989/90 semifinal and scored the lone goal for Kaiserslautern in their 1-0 victory against Kickers Offenbach. Dooley then went on the play in the final – a 3-0 victory against Werder Bremen on May 19, 1990.
- READ MORE: MNT Player Scoring at Record Rate in Germany
Since then, three MNT players have appeared in the semifinals. Claudio Reyna played for Wolfsburg in their 1-0 defeat to Werder Bremen in the 1998-99 competition, Jermaine Jones was a substitute for Eintracht Frankfurt as they defeated Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 in the 2005-06 tournament, and most recently John Brooks appeared in Hertha Berlin’s 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in 2015-16.
Seven MNT players have taken part in the current competition, with four finding the back of the net. Though Hamburg was eliminated by Borussia Mönchengladbach in the quarterfinals, Bobby Wood’s four goals have him tied for second among the tournament’s leading scorers, just one behind Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Here’s how MNT players have performed thus far:
Round of 16
*Julian Green played for Bayern Munich before transferring to Stuttgart in December
As the semifinals approach this week, three clubs featuring U.S. MNT players are still alive: Borussia Dortmund (Christian Pulisic), Eintracht Frankfurt (Timmy Chandler) and Borussia Mönchengladbach (Fabian Johnson), though Johnson is unlikely to feature due to a continuing hamstring injury he suffered last month.
How to Watch the Semifinals
On Tuesday, April 25, Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt visit Borussia Mönchengladbach at 2:45 p.m. ET, with the match being shown live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
The following day, Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund head to the Allianz Arena in a rematch of last year’s final which saw Bayern Munich crowned champions after a shootout victory against BVB. That match will be carried at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The winners will face off in the final on May 27 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.Read more
CHICAGO (April 24, 2017) – Due to high demand, U.S. Soccer is adding additional seating for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Trinidad & Tobago, presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Bleacher seats are being added at the North Endline and other feasible spaces at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which will host the match on June 8 at 5:50 p.m. MT (FS1, Univision Networks). Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis through ussoccer.com starting Tuesday, April 25, at 10 a.m. MT. Individuals can purchase a maximum of four (4) tickets. [TICKETS]
As was the case for previous matches this year, U.S. Soccer will be utilizing mobile tickets for the event.
Beyond the newly-added seats, a small number of tickets remain available currently for the Midfield & Sideline Tables, as well as some limited-view seating. In addition, Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before the game, and other unique benefits) are available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
Coaches Circle and Presidents Circle members supporting the U.S. Soccer Development Fund can receive individual customer support and concierge services for their ticketing needs. Click here or contact email@example.com for more information.
The Hyatt Place Denver/Downtown will serve as the official FanHQ Hotel and is designated as the premier accommodation spot for fans looking to get the most out of the USA-Trinidad & Tobago experience. The hotel is the hub for activities, including a hotel bar takeover, merchandise sales and game day shuttle pick-up location. To make a reservation at the Official FanHQ Hotel, click here.
Enjoy pregame at the U.S. Soccer Fan Hospitality Tailgate in FanHQ for USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday, June 8. Located in the VIP East Lot, across from Gate D, the Fan Hospitality Tailgate will be open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and include food, drinks and music! Click here to purchase your Fan Hospitality Tailgate pass.
DSG Park is hosting a World Cup Qualifier for the third-consecutive qualifying cycle. The U.S. has posted two shutout victories, including the famous Snowclasico in 2013 against Costa Rica. Overall, the United States is 4-1-0 all-time in the state of Colorado.
Now sitting in fourth place after four matches, the home game against T&T presents a huge opportunity to #Get3 points and maintain momentum at the halfway point of the six-team Final Round of World Cup Qualifying, also known as the Hexagonal. Three days later, the MNT will seek to win a Qualifier in Mexico City for the first time when they take on regional rival Mexico at the famed Estadio Azteca. [HEX STANDINGS]Read more
The U.S. Soccer Patrons Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for guests to experience USA v. Mexico in Mexico City on June 11 as part of the official U.S. Soccer Delegation. The program includes:
- Match tickets as part of the official U.S. Soccer Delegation
- Accommodations at the official U.S. Soccer Hotel
- Exclusive behind-the-scenes access and opportunities
- Honorary one-year membership in the Captains Circle of the Development Fund
- Ground transportation to official events and airport transfers
- U.S. Soccer gifts, apparel and more
U.S. Soccer is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Part of the donation to participate is a special tax-deductible gift to the U.S. Soccer Development Fund that will help develop world-class players, coaches and National Teams that inspire a nation.
Donation to participate:
- Individual Patron: $4,950
- Couple (2 Patrons): $7,950
- A limited number of “at-cost” spots are available for U.S. Soccer Development Fund Coaches and Presidents Circle Members ($2,950 per person; $4,450 per couple). Click here to join an elite Circle and receive select at-cost pricing and other benefits for this and future matches.
Space is very limited for the Patrons Program, which is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Read more
About a month away from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s June World Cup Qualifying roster announcement, players continued to make their cases in club play this weekend.
The standout performance came in Portland where midfielder Darlington Nagbe rocketed a highlight reel effort from outside the area to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead against Vancouver in the 18th minute. Just before halftime, Nagbe got the ball rolling on the game-winner when he fed Diego Valeri, who connected with Darren Mattocks to give Portland the second goal of the 2-1 victory.
WATCH: Nagbe Leads Timbers Past Whitecaps in Cascadia Cup Clash
On Sunday, Clint Dempsey got back on the scoresheet for Seattle Sounders FC, heading home Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross from the left to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute at LA Galaxy.
Dempsey then laid off for Seattle and MNT teammate Jordan Morris, who tallied his second of the season to cap the scoring in the 3-0 shutout win.
WATCH: Dempsey, Morris Push Seattle to 3-0 Win in LA
In Mexico, midfielder Joe Corona tallied his second of the season, heading home a cross from Ignacio Malcorra to give Club Tijuana the go-ahead goal in a 2-0 victory against Toluca. The win keeps Xolos atop the Liga MX Clausura table, one point ahead of Monterrey with two matches to play.
WATCH: Joe Corona Header vs. Toluca
In Germany, while Christian Pulisic didn’t end up on the score sheet, he certainly had a big role in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach. In the ninth minute, the MNT midfielder drew a penalty kick which Marco Reus converted to put BVB up 1-0.
After ‘Gladbach took a 2-1 lead, Pierre Aubameyang equalized, giving the visitors momentum to push for the winner. Active throughout the match, Pulisic then drew an 87th minute free kick that saw Raphaël Guerreiro pick out Gonzalo Castro to give Dortmund an important 3-2 road win.
WATCH: Pulisic Guides BVB to Road Win at ‘Gladbach
Timmy Chandler collected his fourth assist of the season, heading across goal to find Marco Fabián for the 78th minute equalizer in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3-1 win vs. Augsburg.
WATCH: Chandler Records Fourth Assist of the Season
Some other highlights:
- Tim Ream and Fulham earned their fourth-straight win in a 4-1 victory at Huddersfield Town, moving the club into sixth and the final playoff position in the English League Championship with two matches to play. A win in next Saturday’s home clash with Brentford would most likely clinch the Cottagers place in the promotion playoffs.
- Jorge Villafaña helped fifth-place Santos Laguna extend their league unbeaten run to six matches in Sunday’s 2-1 win vs. Club América. The run began when the MNT left back was handed his first start of the Clausura back on March 17 at Club Tijuana.
- Midfielder Chris Pontius recorded his second assist of the season, heading back across goal to find C.J. Sapong in the 23rd minute of Philadelphia Union’s 3-3 draw against Montreal Impact.
- Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman each went the full 90 minutes as FC Dallas defeated Sporting KC 1-0 to become the lone unbeaten team in Major League Soccer.
- After sitting out last week with an injury, forward Bobby Wood returned to go 90 minutes in Hamburg’s 2-1 defeat to Darmstadt.
- John Brooks helped the Hertha Berlin back line keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win vs. Wolfsburg.
The full rundown of how MNT players performed this past week:
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Sporting KC (April 22)
Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution) – 78 minutes in 0-0 draw vs. San Jose Earthquakes (April 19); 90 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. D.C. United (April 22)
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) – 90 minutes in 3-1 win vs. Chicago Fire (April 21)
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana) – 66 minutes in 2-0 win vs. Toluca (April 21)
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo) – 90 minutes in 2-0 win vs. San Jose Earthquakes (April 22)
Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union) – 90 minutes in 3-3 draw vs. Montreal Impact (April 22)
Matt Besler (Sporting KC) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss at FC Dallas (April 22)
David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes) – 90 minutes in 0-0 draw at New England Revolution (April 19); 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss at Houston Dynamo (April 22)
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) – 90 minutes in 3-1 win vs. Chicago Fire (April 21)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Wolfsburg (April 22)
Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) – 90 minutes in 2-0 loss at Swansea (April 22)
Edgar Castillo (Monterrey) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Tigres UANL (April 22)
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 90 minutes, ASSIST in 3-1 win vs. Augsburg (April 22)
Joe Corona (Club Tijuana) – 87 minutes, GOAL in 2-0 win vs. Toluca (April 21)
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC) – 85 minutes, GOAL, ASSIST in 3-0 win at LA Galaxy (April 23)
Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC) – 72 minutes in 1-0 loss at FC Dallas (April 22)
Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC) – 90 minutes in 3-1 win at Real Salt Lake (April 22)
Julian Green (Stuttgart) – Monday, April 24 vs. Union Berlin – 2:15 p.m. ET
Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough) – 90 minutes in 4-0 loss at Bournemouth (April 22)
Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Sporting KC (April 22)
Emerson Hyndman (Rangers) – 70 minutes in 2-0 Scottish FA Cup Semifinal loss at Celtic (April 23)
Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy) – 90 minutes in 3-0 loss vs. Seattle Sounders FC (April 23)
Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls) – 84 minutes in 2-0 win vs. Columbus Crew SC (April 22)
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest) – 90 minutes in 3-2 win vs. Reading (April 22)
Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire) – 90 minutes in 3-1 loss at Toronto FC (April 21)
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt) – 90 minutes in 4-2 loss vs. Werder Bremen (April 22)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC) – 68 minutes, GOAL in 3-0 win at LA Galaxy (April 23)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) – 90 minutes, GOAL, ASSIST in 2-1 win vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (April 22)
Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union) – 73 minutes, ASSIST in 3-3 draw vs. Montreal Impact (April 22)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) – 18 substitute minutes in 3-1 loss at Monaco (April 19); 90 minutes in 3-2 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach (April 22)
Tim Ream (Fulham) – 90 minutes in 4-1 win at Huddersfield Town (April 22)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) – 58 minutes in 3-1 loss vs. Atlanta United FC (April 22)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) – 90 minutes in 2-0 win vs. Columbus Crew SC (April 22)
Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna) – 90 minutes in 2-1 win vs. Club América (April 23)
Danny Williams (Reading) – 52 minutes in 3-2 loss at Nottingham Forest (April 22)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – 90 minutes in 0-0 draw at San Jose Earthquakes (April 19); 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss at Houston Dynamo (April 22)
Bobby Wood (Hamburg) – 90 minutes in 2-1 loss vs. Darmstadt (April 22)
William Yarbrough (Club León) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Puebla (April 22)
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) – Monday, April 24 vs. Preston North End - 2:45 p.m. ET
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) – 90 minutes in 3-0 loss vs. Seattle Sounders FC (April 23)
Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Sporting KC (April 22)
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss at FC Dallas (April 22)
Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) – Concussion; Not in 18 for 2-2 draw at New England Revolution (April 22)
Jonathan Bornstein (Querétaro) – Not in 18 for 2-2 draw vs. Chiapas (April 22)
Terrence Boyd (Darmstadt) – Not in 18 for 2-1 win at Hamburg (April 22)
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) – Not in 18 for 4-2 FA Cup Semifinal loss vs. Chelsea (April 22)
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca) – Not in 18 for 1-0 loss at Atlas (April 22)
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) – 83 minutes, GOAL in 2-1 Premier League 2 win at Arsenal (April 22)
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) – In 18, DNP in 2-0 loss at Anderlecht (April 23)
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) – Suspended; Not in 18 for 1-0 loss at Minnesota United FC (April 23)
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen) – In 18, DNP in 4-2 win vs. Ingolstadt (April 22)
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – Hamstring Injury; Not in 18 for 3-2 loss vs. Borussia Dortmund (April 22)
Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) – Lisfrac injury; Not in 18 for 3-0 loss vs. Seattle Sounders FC (April 23)
Matt Miazga (Vitesse) – Hamstring injury; Not in 18 for 2-0 loss vs. Feyenoord (April 23)
Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana) – Right Leg Injury; Not in 18 for 2-0 win vs. Toluca (April 21)