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Sport Report: NWSL expansion team to move from Sacramento to San Diego, Jill Ellis still involved

20:25  06 may  2021
20:25  06 may  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

NWSL Challenge Cup takeaways from week 3: Portland clinch West division, East taking shape

  NWSL Challenge Cup takeaways from week 3: Portland clinch West division, East taking shape Portland Thorns FC punched their ticket to the 2021 Challenge Cup final with a game in handPortland hosted OL Reign at Providence Park where the Thorns defeated their Cascadian rivals 2-0 to lock up the West division with nine points. Houston and Chicago sit in second and third place respectively with two points each and are mathematically out of contention.

The NWSL expansion team that was bound for Sacramento may be headed south to San Diego instead. According to Meg Linehan Jeff Rueter of The Athletic, the ownership group headed by businessman Ron Burkle has enough support from the NWSL board of governors to approve a change in territorial rights from Sacramento to San Diego.

The Sacramento expansion team was originally announced by commissioner Lisa Baird during the NWSL draft in January. Baird said that both Sacramento and the new Los Angeles expansion team Angel City FC would be officially joining the league and starting play in 2022. However, no additional announcements about the Sacramento team ever came. There was no word on additional owners, a team name, or a logo, while Angel City FC was already off and running.

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The reason for that may have been related to the MLS expansion team in Sacramento that Burkle paired with his NWSL expansion team. Burkle pulled out as majority owner of the MLS expansion team in February, citing "issues with the project related to COVID-19." With no MLS team (and no dedicated stadium) in Sacramento, the status of the NWSL's Sacramento expansion team was unknown.

Now we know why. Burkle, who owns land in San Diego, was reportedly trying to engineer a move from Sacramento to San Diego.

Jill Ellis still appears to be involved

Ellis, the former UWSNT coach who exited the team in July 2019, has been connected to both Sacramento expansion teams since Jan. 2021. That's when she was reportedly hired to run soccer operations for both the MLS and NWSL expansion teams in Sacramento, but it was never officially announced. Despite the collapse of the MLS expansion team and the relocation of the NWSL team to San Diego, The Athletic reported that Ellis has stayed in her position.

OL Reign defeats KC in NWSL Challenge Cup finale

  OL Reign defeats KC in NWSL Challenge Cup finale Aerospace Engineer scores the match winner!Kansas City opened the scoring with a goal from forward Mallory Weber, but OL Reign goals from Jess Fishlock and Celia were enough to overcome the early deficit and Farid Benstiti’s side ended their Challenge Cup campaign on a two-match winning streak.

Ellis' involvement could be what's preventing panic about the move and the now-compressed timeline. There are concerns about this yet-to-be-announced team starting play in the 2022 season, which is barely a year away. There are also possible facilities issues with the team reportedly slated to play their games at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium, where they'll have to share the stadium with multiple teams.

The Athletic reported that Ellis' presence may be "assuaging some of these concerns."

a close up of a football ball: BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 16: NWSL game ball during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Jose Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 16: NWSL game ball during the 2020 NWSL College Draft at the Baltimore Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Jose Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

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Recap: Spirit share points after late equalizer by Orlando .
Richie Burke’s halftime changes helped the Spirit grab the lead, but Alex Morgan bailed out the Pride in a 1-1 drawDue to a slight back injury, usual starter and today’s goalscorer, Ashley Hatch, began the match on the bench, allowing Burke to move Saori Takarada — who played center back all Challenge Cup — into the forward line with Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman. Paige Nielsen and Sam Staab returned as the center back pairing, Kelley O’Hara slotted in at left back, and Emily Sonnett anchored the midfield with Dorian Bailey and Andi Sullivan ahead of her. The Spirit eventually reverted to their more comfortable 433 after beginning the match in a 4222.

usr: 0
This is interesting!