Racing Louisville, the NWSL's newest team, selected its inaugural roster in Thursday's expansion draft. While there are big names on their new squad list, things aren't quite that simple — and with the league's trade window now open, the team is widely expected to make even more moves.
The names that jump off the page are Tobin Heath and Christen Press, both stars for the women's national team and among the best-known soccer players in the world. That said, there's little chance that either Heath or Press ever dons a Louisville jersey; the pair is playing for Manchester United this season, and after that comes the Tokyo Olympics next summer, and after that, both will likely take a break (or go back to Europe).
Louisville also selected two Australian standouts who are in the same situation, forward Caitlin Foord (Arsenal) and defender Alanna Kennedy (Totteham Hotspur).
This is not to say that Louisville is bereft of talent. The franchise traded for Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill, two key pieces from Chicago's recent playoff teams. Defender Addisyn Merrick, the first pick of the draft, played more minutes than any other rookie last season. And Louisville still will have the chance to draft Stanford forward Catarina Macario — or trade the top pick to another team, if Macario's unwilling to commit to playing in Louisville rather than going overseas.
• For the first time that I can recall, two USMNT players chose to wear their first names on the back of their jerseys, Brazilian-style. It makes some sense for Johnny Cardoso to use this style, given that he was born in New Jersey to Brazilian parents and raised in Brazil. Konrad de la Fuente, raised in Barcelona, can claim a Spanish affinity for the style as well, after one-named Spanish greats like Raúl.
• Even though MLS is holding off on the playoffs until after this round of FIFA international games, nearly every team will be missing important players for the beginning of the playoffs because of the need for them to quarantine upon returning. This led to perhaps the oddest piece of lineup news I can remember: Seattle will likely have Raúl Ruidíaz for its opening game because he contracted COVID-19 during the last international break, and therefore won't have to quarantine this time around.
Game of the weekend
Women's Super League: Chelsea at Arsenal, 8:30 a.m. Sunday, NBCSN. Arsenal's high-flying attack, led by Vivianne Miedema, was stopped cold by Manchester United last week, the first league loss of the season for the Gunners. Chelsea, which also has yet to lose this year, is looking to double Arsenal's pain.
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org