The home win streak ends, but the home unbeaten streak continues!
So even though FCC didn’t take home the full points, things are still looking up as we move into the last few games before the Leagues Cup.
At Bat: July 8th @ Charlotte; 24 pts, 10th in the East:
Charlotte had the weekend off as the USMNT traveled to town for a match against Trinidad & Tobago. This may be a good thing as Charlotte has gone the entire month of June without winning and has rattled off three straight draws. Despite the consistent results, the team has struggled for consistency. Their offense failed to convert chances in the team’s most recent 0-0 draw result, but the defense failed to hold a lead in their previous two draws.
FCC will be looking to pounce on a team who will enter having played a midweek game and has the worst defense in the league. Despite the missing players, this looks to be the best chance to defeat the turf monster and get FCC’s first win on turf since leaving Nippert.
On Deck: July 12th v New York Red Bulls; 23 pts, 12th in the East:
The Red Bulls continue to be committed to the Red Bull way, with their high press trying to turn you over. Thus far it has led to mixed results with some teams being suffocated, and others passing through the midfield for victories.
Red Bull will be hoping for the former in their next three matches as they have New England, FC Cincinnati and surging Real Salt Lake before the Leagues Cup starts. So even though FCC has had their number winning the last two matchups, and unbeaten in the last four, expect the game to be closer than expected as neither team has won by more than one goal.
In the Hole: July 15th v Nashville SC; 38 pts, 2nd in the East:
In the final game of the MLS season before the Leagues Cup break, FCC will face off against the other team at the top of the East. This past weekend, Nashville was able to go back to the winner’s column with a 2-0 victory over DC. However, it wasn’t without a cost as Walker Zimmerman picked up a red card late in the match.
While certainly a rivalry for Nashville, they won’t be able to focus all of their energy on FCC in the lead-up as they have a midweek matchup with the red-hot Philadelphia Union prior to traveling to Cincinnati.
Checking in on the West
When we chose earlier in the season to follow a team in the West, we pitched you a team that would have good grassroots support, a young exciting core, and a coach that gets the most out of their players. And halfway through the season, I am pleased to confirm that the Portland Thorns are exactly the team we told you to root for.
The Timbers, however, are not that. There was a moment in May where it looked like they had overcome the injuries and were figuring out a formula to be competitive. But that is no more, as the team has been dreadful for the last month. They sit 12th in the West, and it seems like there needs to be a big reset for the team in the upcoming window.
One team they could look to for inspiration would be Real Salt Lake, who have been absolutely flying and unbeaten in their last seven games. More than that, ownership has decided to make a big move this transfer window, bringing in ex-LAFC striker Chicho Arongo for $6M and U-22 player Nelson Palacio from Colombia. This has helped them surge up to 4th in the West and become maybe the hottest team as LAFC has lost back-to-back games and four of their last six.
Best of the Weekend
The U.S. Women’s National Team announced its 2023 World Cup roster, and two players with ties to the Queen City represent the defending Champions.
Rose Lavelle made her second World Cup roster and will look to replicate her breakout performance from the 2019 World Cup in France. She was the recipient of the Bronze Ball (the tournament’s third-best player) and scored the game-winning goal in the Final.
Since the previous tournament, Rose has had stints at the Washington Spirit and Manchester City, before moving to play for the Seattle Reign where she has established a routine in the city. She has, however, been struggling for regular playing time this season thanks to a nagging knee injury, but appears to have earned coach Vlatko Andonovski’s trust and been a contributor throughout the tournament.
Aubrey Kingsbury was also selected as the third goalkeeper for the National Squad. While she may not expect normal playing time, she will be a steady option should she be called upon. Signing for the NWSL Sky Blue FC in 2015, she struggled to find a starting role in her first few years in the league, but became a mainstay in the net when she moved to the Washington Spirit in 2018.
Since then, she has garnered 67 caps as the first-team goalkeeper and received multiple awards for her play, including the 2019 and 2021 Goalkeeper of the Year trophy, the second of which was won while her team won the NWSL Cup.
The tournament will begin July 20th, with the US Women’s first game against Vietnam kicking off at 9 p.m. against Vietnam.