Tired of Men? Watch the NWSL Finals This Weekend
It was another miserable week for people who exist in this world and are not men. If you’re going to have a wild weekend yelling into pillows and drunken dialing members of Congress, can I offer myself to indulge in ninety minutes of rampant feminine prowess, courtesy of the Women’s National Football League? You deserve it.
Women’s football is hard to sell and it’s a shame because it rules. Everything that people think they hate about football is largely absent from women’s games: no diving, nostopping antics , no Oscar-worthy tearful addresses to officials. More specifically, unlike the major male leagues, Twitter, news, high-end television, the White House, most jobs and social life, NWSL games are completely devoid of overpaid adult males and give them bruising tantrums. to get wish. What a concept!
There are many more reasons to watch this particular game, and everyone from beginners to huge football nerds can find something to root for. The rookies are in safe hands with top-notch commentators Ali Wagner and Jenn Hildreth, who effortlessly combine expert analysis and genuine infectious enthusiasm for the game. If you came here just for the drama, I have great news: Saturday’s final is a rematch, and the defending champions have an edge at home. Moreover, this is a sold-out Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, which means that the atmosphere will be unreal. Will twenty-one thousand very high-profile fans be able to help the Portland Thorns defeat the North Carolina Courage – a feat they haven’t been able to do since last year’s finals? As a Portland fan, I don’t know – Bravery has lost exactly one game this season and it seems they are fundamentally not interested in losing another.
Regardless of the outcome, I’m ready for what promises to be a burning match. If you are, get ready to tune in for Lifetime this Saturday, September 22nd at 1:30 pm PT / 4:30 pm ET. (Yes, for life.) For more context, here’s a tutorial on teams and their outstanding players.
North Carolina’s Courage: A Terrifying Juggernaut Without Visible Weaknesses
Courage have scored more goals this season than any other team in NWSL history, and they have their own formula. Abby Dahlkemper dribbles into space and passes the ball to Jess MacDonald, who holds it as Lynn Williams runs into the box. Lynn Williams scores most often. Sometimes Crystal Dunn intervenes, and sometimes Dahlkemper takes a free kick instead of running from the field, but the basic strategy rarely changes. Why is this needed? This goal was William’s second goal in that game, thirteenth this season and the fifty-first for Courage in 2018:
Players to watch out for: It is quite difficult to beat the completely absurd Jess MacDonald / Lynn Williams combination, although I have not fully recovered from this amazing Sam Mewis goal yet. I’m probably the most excited watchingreigning Defender of the Year Abby Dahlkemper and the human Swiss Army Knife Crystal Dunn , but the whole squad is just complicated.
Portland Spikes: Patchwork, Beautiful Hot Riots in Championships
With two championships to their credit (2013 and 2017), the Thorns have always been at least competitive, if not completely dominant. However, it doesn’t exactly seem like their year: main attackers Allie Long, Amandine Henry, and Nagy Nadim all left behind for other teams, and injuries kept defender Emily Menges and world-class playmaker Tobin Heath from the starting lineup until early May. Also in April, front line goalkeeper Adrianna Franch underwent knee surgery. This is a lot of changes at once, but the Thorns realized it, started scoring more goals and earned a place in the second game of the championship in a row. That’s why I think this frustrating, sloppy, breathtaking show is Thorns’ goal for 2018:
Players, backed by the following: Favorite league MVP Lindsey Horan throughout the season scoredbadge forbeydzherom forbeydzherom mainly head and basically in cahoots with Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair. On the back row , Adrianna Franch is likely to make one or three ridiculous saves , and Emily Menges has long beenmaking huge blocks in big games.
Finally, we need to talk about Jalen Hinkle from North Carolina. She’s a great defender, but also a fierce, stubborn homophobe who turned down a spot on the national team because she couldn’t bring herself to wear rainbow numbers on her back . She received a lot of social media coverage for this choice, but the only real consequences were the screams of Portland fans. This is important: in a sport where groups of male supporters regularly engage in homophobic chants, hearing the crowd yell at an athlete because of his homophobia seems like a catharsis. Thorns’ sold-out match at Providence Park is the exact opposite of a homophobic safe place, so Saturday should be fun for Jaelene to say the least.
Courage coach Paul Riley and teammate Jess MacDonald defended Hinkle in interviews, but judging by the silence of everyone else, her comments put her many LGBT peers in an extremely uncomfortable position. As a fan, it’s at least comforting to know that NWSL culture doesn’t apply to fanatics. If that’s not a compelling reason to tune in after an unbearably long week of horror stories about horrible men, I don’t know what it is.
The 2018 NWSL Championship kicks off tomorrow, September 22 at 1:30 pm PT (4:30 pm ET) . You can look at Lifetime; Cord cutters can use their cousin’s friend’s cable login to stream to mylifetime.com or the Lifetime app.