The NWSL has good Twitter beef


Ashely Sanchez, first of her name, ankle breaker and heart breaker.

Ashely Sanchez, first of her name, ankle breaker and heart breaker.
picture: Getty Images

If Drive to survive Everything on Netflix taught us that people love the story behind the story and that allowing people to watch it can skyrocket a sport’s popularity. But you don’t need a Netflix special to get acquainted with personality and character. Twitter can do that for you as long as gamers feel comfortable being themselves (within reason. There’s an Aubrey Huff limit).

The NWSL has had top-notch Twitter beef over the past month, and it’s helped improve what’s been happening on the field. It also helps that there’s perhaps the league’s brightest star in Trinity Rodman and the overall narrative of how the USWNT is being handed down to a younger generation and pushing back the throwback to that as they start preparing for games that really matter are, ie the year 2023 World Cup.

It started a couple of weeks ago during the league’s Challenge Cup, which acts as a sort of preseason tournament for everyone before the regular season kicks off at the end of the month. The geographical and historical rivalry between New York and DC also plays a role. About two weeks ago Gotham FC was visiting the defending champion Washington Spirit when this happened:

This is Washington’s Ashley Sanchez, one of the silkiest playmakers in the league, pressing Messi’s Gotham’s Ali Krieger right up her ass. Pretty cool moment right? And certainly, the Spirit aren’t too shy to promote the exploits of one of their main stars.

However, every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Krieger’s wife, an Ashlyn Harris who is the Keeper of Gotham, ran to Krieger’s defense, although it would have to be said that it’s pretty weak sauce that she came to the fight armed:

Looking at the highlight, it doesn’t look like a slip up so much as a mess, but hey, nobody wants someone they love to become a national FoF unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Trinity Rodman certainly didn’t play this game:

That was not all. Harris ventured into know-your-roll territory and attempted to play the veteran card:

Look, here’s the thing, Rodman must I feel pretty confident these days and is hot shit indeed. She dragged the Spirit to victory in the NWSL championship game, won the league as rookie of the year, she’s no worse than a top five player in the league. She is certainly the future of USWNT and could seriously argue that she is the present.

But Rodman didn’t need people like me to say it for them, because thanks to the format of the Challenge Cup, it was only a few weeks before the Spirit traveled to New York to see Gotham again, where Rodman was fooling around and doing this:

Oh and this:

Speaking of which, Spirit’s first goal came from Sanchez with a beautiful free-kick:

Not only did The Spirit defeat Gotham 3-1, but they also fired 18 shots at Gotham’s sixes. And who is allowed to watch the ball gleefully and when a little brazenly darts past her three times? An Ashlyn Harris.

There’s something satisfying about watching a vet try to punch a precocious young player just because he’s young, and that player slams that horse shit right into the dumpster where it belongs on the field. Rodman is the truth and she’s quite keen to show everyone that this is the case. With that alone, this is a fun little event that the NWSL must be secretly glowing about, even if they can’t fully condone it.

At a deeper level, a struggle for the USWNT lies ahead over the next year. There are some established and previously established players who could find their place seriously threatened when it comes time to hop on the plane to Australia and New Zealand. Rodman could already be America’s most dynamic forward, and if it isn’t Catarina Macario, who is only 22 years old. Mal Pugh used to be a USWNT regular but now seems to want more than that. There are other names that will marginalize the names we remember. Carli Lloyd didn’t seem too pleased when this happened to her, although we can assume others will be a little more diplomatic about becoming Impact Subs for the benefit of younger players. Perhaps.

The rest of the world is catching up fast. For the USWNT to stay on top, they need the new dimension that players like Rodman offer. This might just be a glimpse of the last generation rampaging against the dying of the light.

Or it’s just plain fun, high-quality Twitter beef.

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