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Major Link Soccer: Viva Julie Ertz

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Vlatko Andonovski’s most important player lifted his team to a win.

USA vs. Nigeria: Photos by MikeRussellFoto

The Coronavirus understandably dominates the news, but there’s also been some soccer stuff that’s happened this weekend. The results didn’t exactly go the way that fans in the Puget Sound would have hoped, there were a couple of big first goals of the season. Reign FC officially became OL Reign, the USWNT beat Spain on the strength of a Julie Ertz goal, and several large sports organizations put their feet in their collective mouths for International Women’s Day.

Seattle/Tacoma/Greater Puget Sound

SI senior writer Greg Bishop lives just over a mile from the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington. This is his dispatch from the Coronavirus epicenter. Kirkland Life Care Center: Inside the Coronavirus epicenter - Sports Illustrated

A one-time UW player who competed in the 2016 U-20 World Cup, Hedge will add depth to the OL Reign midfield. Midfielder Kelcie Hedge Signed Through 2022 Season — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

The long awaited reveal of the OL Reign name and branding has finally come, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. Reign FC Reveal New Name and Brand Identity — OL REIGN: WE ARE THE BOLD

Drawing at home is always frustrating, but if the Sounders can get things going, we’ll probably look back more kindly on a game that saw the return of Gustav Svensson, Yeimar Gómez Andrade’s MLS debut, and Raúl Ruidíaz’s first goal of the season. Yeimar Gómez Andrade makes debut, Gustav Svensson returns as Seattle Sounders battle back for a point | Seattle Sounders FC

Hardly the start that Defiance wanted, but Chris Hegardt’s first goal gives them something to be proud of. Tacoma Defiance Opens 2020 Campaign with 3-1 Home Loss - Tacoma Defiance

MLS/USL

Sergio Rivas faces the same challenges as any young player trying to make it as a pro, but he also has to wrestle with the difficulties that come with his Dreamer status. The former Seattle U man now plays for Reno 1868 FC hoping to make the jump to MLS. An American Dream Deferred | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Phoenix seem to be doing all the right things to maintain their level of success in USL, and launching an academy is just the latest example. Phoenix Rising FC Launches Professional Development Academy

Chicharito is selling jerseys and filling seats, but through two games he’s not exactly fill up the score sheet. It’s probably too early to be worried, but LA Galaxy do need to figure out how to get him going. What's up with Chicharito and the Galaxy? LA players, coach face questions after shock loss | MLSsoccer.com

Three former Sounders make the list. Major League Soccer: 25 greatest players of all time

NWSL/WoSo

Iwabuchi just scored the goal of the year, and it’s only March. If Mana Iwabuchi doesn’t win goal of the year, I’m going to be pissed - SBNation.com

Santos Laguna Femenil forward Paleta Gómez left her hometown of Metztitlán and its population of just over 20,000 to pursue her dreams, now she’s making her name in Mexico’s top flight.Meet Club Santos Femenil’s Estela “Paleta” Gómez - FMF State Of Mind

On International Women’s Day, Liverpool FC made what feels like an empty gesture when they released a video about role models. Watch: Liverpool Women Release International Women’s Day Video About Role Models - The Liverpool Offside

Ellen White’s winner was a bright spot for a struggling England side who will face England in their next game in the SheBelieves Cup. Ellen White pounces as England limp past Japan in SheBelieves Cup | Football | The Guardian

LAFC are partnered with one of the top soccer academies in the US on the girl’s side of the game, as the LAFC Slammers help them to extend their reach. LAFC Slammers In A League Of Their Own | Los Angeles Football Club

USA

With Alex Morgan out, Vlatko Andonovski needs a new starting striker. Here’s the case for Lynn Williams over Carli Lloyd. Lynn Williams should be the USWNT’s starting striker vs. England - SBNation.com

Even the USWNT B-team is probably better than most of the team’s they’d face. I do have to quibble with Allie Long apparently not making the cut for this imaginary team when she did make the actual World Cup squad, though. How far would a USWNT B-team go in the World Cup? - SBNation.com

USWNT midfielder Julie Ertz made her 100th cap during a 2-0 win over England in the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday at Exploria Stadium. Vlatko Andonovski: Julie Ertz might be most important player on USWNT roster | Pro Soccer USA

In a letter to U.S. Soccer membership, president Carlos Cordeiro wrote it’s “not reasonable or fiscally sound” for the federation to make up the World Cup prize money disparity, which appears to a sticking point on both sides. U.S. Soccer fires back in equal pay saga, says USWNT won't meet with them over FIFA prize money dispute

Julie Ertz, doo doo doo doo doo doo Julie Ertz the difference in USA 1-0 defeat of Spain. - Stars and Stripes FC

Another round of he said, they said, but maybe with some misleading details? Carlos Cordeiro sends open letter on equal pay, USWNT responds - Stars and Stripes FC

World

Referee Jesus Javier Vera has started recording his games with a head-mounted camera, and the professional game could learn from his experiences. Forget VAR: Meet Mexico's GoPro referee, taking video technology on to the pitch

The President of Italy’s players’ union (AIC) has called for soccer to be stopped in the country amid reports that the entire region of Lombardy will be locked down as part of efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Head of Italy players' union calls for soccer to stop | Article [AMP] | Reuters

There are 364 other days to highlight men supporting women. On International Women’s Day, FIFA continues to be tone deaf about issues of equality - All For XI

It would be an absolute delight if Everton were the team to buy Luis Alberto from Lazio, and in doing so send a chunk of change to Liverpool. Sell-On Clause For Former Red Luis Alberto Could Net A Significant Sum For Liverpool - The Liverpool Offside

All of these suggestions are bad, the only change that needs to be made is in regards to goal celebrations: no more yellows for taking your top off or being too enthusiastic in your joy. Celebrations are fun, and fun is good. If you could change one rule in football, what would it be? – The Athletic

Scott McTominay helped earn Manchester United a solid win over City, but he also probably doomed them to another full season of Ole Gunnar Solskjær, so he’s both the hero and the villain. Unless you’re a fan of any other team, then he’s just a hero. McTominay embarrasses Ederson in Manchester United's derby win over City | Football | The Guardian

The Bundesliga is set to become the newest league to play games behind closed doors as Coronavirus continues to spread. Corona virus: Derby BVB against Schalke becomes ghost game - fan nightmare comes true! - Bundesliga - Bild.de.

What’s on TV today?

10:30 AM - Sassuolo vs. Brescia (Serie A) - ESPN+

1:00 PM - Leicester City vs. Aston Villa (Premier League) - NBCSN