NWSL Board of Governors approve sale of Washington Spirit shares to Y. Michele Kang

The National Women’s Soccer League has unanimously approved important changes to the structure and makeup of the Washington Soccer Properties ownership group, the entity that manages the NWSL’s Washington Spirit.

This decision comes after the months-long battle for control over the franchise. The fight began in October with fans calling on owner Steve Baldwin to relinquish control of the club after coach Richie Burke was fired for violating the league’s anti harassment policy.

The league’s investigation into Burke revealed a toxic working environment within the NWSL club, prompting fans to demand new leadership.

Minority owner Y. Michele Kang has been attempting to obtain the controlling interest, but Baldwin has previously refused to sell. 

Now, the league’s board of governors voted unanimously to allow the Spirit’s non-equity, nonvoting investors, to become shareholders. Their support and Kang’s purchase of other equity stakes puts her in the position to take ownership. 

“Our collective focus is to create the best environment for the Washington Spirit players, fans, and team employees, and to operate the NWSL in a manner that supports excellence on the field of play and in front offices around the league.

“Our priority is determining what is in the best interest of the NWSL, Washington Spirit, its players, and the D.C. soccer community,” said the NWSL Board of Governors in a joint statement.

“We believe Y. Michele is fully committed to elevating this club and delivering for its players and it is now a matter for WSP shareholders to determine who holds a controlling interest.

“We are committed to allowing the required ownership process to be resolved in the appropriate, orderly manner. We will provide any additional updates once that process has taken place.”

Players of the Washington Spirit have previously expressed their support for Kang as controlling owner.

Christian Eriksen set for Brentford medical

Brentford are closing in on the free signing of Christian Eriksen with the midfielder set to undergo a medical early next week, 90min understands.

Eriksen has been without a club after he agreed to the termination of his Inter contract last month as Serie A rules forbade him from playing with his implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which was installed following his cardiac arrest in June 2021.

And while he’s had plenty of other offers from Premier League sides, 90min understands that Eriksen is close to finalising a move to west London side Brentford with a medical planned early next week, though this process could last a few days.

It is not believed that financial terms have been an issue or a major factor in the player’s decision to join the Bees, who have a strong Danish contingent across all levels of the club.

Head coach Thomas Frank coached Eriksen for Denmark’s youth teams, and 90min were first to reveal that the 48-year-old is close to agreeing to a new contract at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Frank’s current deal expires in 2023 and Brentford had been keen to reward him for the marvellous work he’s overseen, leading the club to the Premier League for the first time.

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Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: Player ratings as Ziyech wizardry downs Spurs

Chelsea saw off Tottenham in a hotly contested London derby on Sunday afternoon, with a stunning strike from Hakim Ziyech the highlight of the day.

The hosts had the best of a feisty first half, but were fortunate to go in at the break level. Romelu Lukaku should have scored in the first minute but skied his shot after excellent work from the effervescent Mason Mount, before Callum Hudson-Odoi failed to direct a back-post header.

Thiago Silva twice headed over from corners either side of a some smooth footwork followed by a dipping strike from Ziyech, who forced a save from Hugo Lloris.

Spurs had their own opening on the break after a quarter of an hour, but Harry Winks’ weak shot was straight at Kepa.

The first of a number of flash points came just before the 20-minute mark, when Matt Doherty survived a swift VAR review after treading on Malang Sarr’s ankle.

The second arrived shortly before half-time, when Harry Kane’s celebrations were cut short as he was adjudged to have shoved Thiago Silva before finishing from a cross. Replays showed it was a one-handed push, and therefore soft.

Lukaku saw another half-chance quashed by a block, and the two sides went in level the break.

Chelsea finally made their pressure pay two minutes into the second half – and it was a stunning goal too. Ziyech shifted the ball out of his feet on the edge of the area before whipping an absolutely sublime, arching finish into the top right corner over a shellshocked Lloris.

Two minutes later he was at it again – this time smashing a loose ball towards goal but Lloris was able to push it away.

The Blues were in the ascendancy and Mount saw his own fine effort sail just over the crossbar, before Silva doubled their advantage. The Brazilian met Mount’s free kick with an inch-perfect header into the corner.

Chelsea remained on top throughout the half. Lukaku had his best chance saved as he rolled Davinson Sanchez and bore down on goal, but Lloris was equal to his low shot.

The hosts were almost made to sweat in the dying embers, but Kane’s header was acrobatically tipped away by the flying Kepa.

It ended 2-0 to Chelsea. Here’s how the players rated…

Thiago Silva, Steven Bergwijn

Thiago was heavily involved / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 7/10 – A safe pair of hands on the rare occasions he was tested. Brilliant save to deny Kane late on, clawing the ball away.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – 7/10 – Really solid at right-back, and managed to get forward to support the attack.

Thiago Silva (CB) – 8/10 – Booked for a cynical trip as Spurs broke. Went down easily before Kane’s goal was chalked off, which was lucky. Perfect header for 2-0. He loves playing Tottenham.

Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 7/10 – A real defensive pest as ever. Didn’t give his man an inch all afternoon.

Malang Sarr (LB) – 7/10 – Did really well in an unfamiliar left-back role, dealing with his double-defensive opposite numbers.

Mason Mount, Harry Winks

Mount was everywhere / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 7/10 – Unspectacular but got through a lot of important work and broke up Tottenham’s play.

Jorginho (CM) – 7/10 – Intelligently picked up pockets of space to receive the ball and play forward. Excellent tackling too. Subbed.

Mason Mount (AM) – 8/10 – Looked in the mood and like he had a point to prove. Absolutely everywhere, buzzing about with supreme confidence. Free-kick assist for Thiago.

Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech scored a stunner / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

Hakim Ziyech (RW) – 9/10 – Bright start. Dazzling footwork before testing Lloris. WHAT. A. GOAL. Masterful strike into the top corner, and zinged Lloris’ fingertips again moments later. His best game in a Chelsea shirt.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 7/10 – Should have scored at least once but this was still a very good centre-forward’s display. Grey in confidence and forced an excellent save after the break.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – 7/10 – Looked really bright and dangerous throughout in his favoured left-wing slot.

N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – Shielded the defence expertly and kept Chelsea ticking over.

Marcos Alonso (LWB) – N/A

Saul (CM) – N/A

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-TOTTENHAM

Dier struggled / JUSTIN TALLIS/GettyImages

Hugo Lloris (GK) – 6/10 – Made some good saves but questions will be asked about Ziyech’s goal. He didn’t even dive.

Japhet Tanganga (RB) – 5/10 – Better than his previous visit. Booked when he got too tight to Hudson-Odoi. Lucky not to get a second for holding the same man. Subbed.

Eric Dier (CB) – 4/10 – Loose with the ball under pressure. One of many defenders who should have done better as Chelsea made it two.

Davinson Sanchez (CB) – 5/10 – Given a really physical examination by Lukaku, and eventually was losing out regularly.

Ben Davies (LB) – 5/10 – Didn’t get tight enough to Ziyech as he whipped it home. Didn’t really do anything to help his side.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-TOTTENHAM

Winks spurned a half-chance / JUSTIN TALLIS/GettyImages

Matt Doherty (RM) – 4/10 – Survived a VAR check for a red after catching Sarr very late. Should have at least been booked. Not clear what his job was on the right, really.

Harry Winks (CM) – 5/10 – Dangerous early foray forward but shot was weak. Busy-ish but couldn’t really get into the game or affect play. Subbed.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (CM) – 5/10 – Tried to break things up but Spurs lost the midfield battle resoundingly.

Ryan Sessegnon (LM) – 3/10 – Strange selection from Conte – one of four full-backs on the pitch for Spurs. Hit a shot-cross out for a throw-in. That was it

Harry Kane, Paul Tierney

Kane cut a frustrated figure / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Steven Bergwijn (ST) – 5/10 – Physicality caused some issues but a bit chaotic and loose.

Harry Kane (ST) – 6/10 – Fed off scraps and forced to drop deep initially. Saw his finish chalked off for a slight push on Thiago. Looked dangerous when he had it, but that was rare.

Lucas Moura (LM) – 5/10 – Did very little of note.

Oliver Skipp (CM) – 6/10 – Tried to make things happen and played forward.

Byran Gil (RM) – N/A

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Man Utd players dedicate Spurs win to Millie Turner amid health scare

Manchester United players dedicated their WSL win over Tottenham to teammate Millie Turner, who has been ruled out of action for an ‘indefinite period’ due to an issue with an artery in her neck.

Having missed a portion of the season already due to a knee injury, Turner had returned to her best form in recent weeks, coinciding with United’s improved results and consistency.

But the 25-year-old centre-back, who was recruited upon the squad’s formation in 2018, was a notable from the teamsheet as Spurs arrived at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.

A statement from the club explained, “Manchester United can confirm that Millie Turner will be unavailable for today’s game and for an indefinite period, after recent medical investigations revealed an issue with the artery in her neck.

“Millie will continue to work closely with the club’s medical team and specialists, which will involve modified training and reassessments in the coming weeks and months. Everyone at the club wishes Millie a speedy recovery.”

Maria Thorisdottir deputised at the back alongside Aoife Mannion and United cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win thanks to goals from Vilde Boe Risa, Hayley Ladd and Leah Galton.

After the game, Mannion and Ella Toone both posted on social media in tribute of Turner. Boe Risa, Thorisdottir, Alessia Russo, Ona Batlle and Mary Earps all wrote similar messages of support.

“That was for you,” Toone said.

Russo posted, “Sometimes things are more important than football. A great win today to top of a quality week of important results. But just a special mention to Mils! We can’t wait to have you back, we got you.”

Turner herself responded to the support by tweeting, “Thank you for all the well wishes. I’m okay and taking it easy. Lucky to have the best, supportive people and medical team around me.”

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Aston Villa co-owners in talks with MLS over Las Vegas expansion team

Aston Villa co-owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are in talks to bring an Major League Soccer expansion team to Las Vegas. 

Commissioner Don Garber made the announcement on Friday, revealing the conversations are in their final stages to have Edens and Sawiris secure the rights to the possible new MLS team. 

“As we witnessed at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, at Leagues Cup and other marquee soccer matches in Las Vegas throughout the years, the city has a passionate soccer fan base, and we believe it could be a terrific MLS market,” Garber said in a statement.

“We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Wes and Nassef.”

If talks are successful, the Las Vegas side would be Major League Soccer’s 30th team. 

“As one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment markets with a fast-growing and diverse community, Las Vegas is the ideal home for an MLS expansion team,” Edens and Sawiris said in a joint statement. 

“We believe that the rising popularity of soccer and development of talent in the United States puts the MLS on a path to becoming one of the top leagues in the world. This is an important step to build on our relationship with the MLS. We’re optimistic we’ll reach a final agreement soon to bring a world-class franchise and significant economic and cultural benefits to the greater Las Vegas community.”

The ongoing discussions are set to include market analysis, the planning for state-of-the-art practice facility, corporate offices and stadium. Plans also include building a soccer-specific stadium with a capacity of approximately 25,000 seats and indoor playing capability, a requirement by Don Garber, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. 

The entire cost of the stadium, expansion fee and other startup costs could approach $1 billion.

Edens is no stranger to the American market, as he co-owns current NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks. Edens and Swiris are also part of a group who filed to trademark the name Las Vegas Villains tied to a professional soccer franchise back in June 2021.