3 Things: Tony DiCicco Passes, Drogba And Marta Make An Impact

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3 Things: Tony DiCicco Passes, Drogba And Marta Make An Impact

A good week to reflect on soccer history.

It’s been another busy weekend in American soccer, and it’s impossible to catch everything. What are the big things to know? We’ve got three things fo

Phoenix Downs Vancouver 2-1, in Strong Drogba Debut
Drogba Drops Galaxy II; Orange County SC Grab Draw At The Death
Phoenix Rising FC earns first clean sheet, draws Reno 0-0

It’s been another busy weekend in American soccer, and it’s impossible to catch everything. What are the big things to know? We’ve got three things for you.

Legendary coach DiCicco dies

Sad news to start things off, as legendary soccer coach Tony DiCicco passed away, as announced by his son Anthony on Twitter Tuesday morning:

DiCicco was head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1994-99, winning the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold medal and most famously, the 1999 Women’s World Cup. DiCicco also served as commissioner of the WUSA, coached the U.S. U-20s to the U-20 World Cup title in 2008, and coached the Boston Breakers from 2009-11. In recent years he had served as a color commentator on women’s soccer broadcasts, including the 2015 Women’s World Cup, where he was part of the premier commentary team for Fox.

He was 68. One of the pioneers who helped women’s soccer in the United States become the best in the world, he will be missed.

Marta lifts the Pride

Brazilian superstar Marta is just 31, but she’s been around once or twice, having played senior soccer since 2000 and carrying the rather unfair status of supposedly causing the demise of the NWSL’s predecessor, the WPS, because team owners were willing to pay her more than they could afford.

With that backstory, Marta joined the Orlando Pride this season. The team rolled out the, ahem, purple carpet for her, and she’s made an immediate impact on the field, tied atop the NWSL Golden Boot standings with 5 goals and 3 assists in 8 games, including a monster two-goal and two-assist performance in Orlando’s 4-2 road win over the Houston Dash this weekend.

Looks like it was absolutely worth it to bring Marta back to American soccer.

Drogba dines on USL defenses

Another superstar, Didier Drogba, has moved to the desert to play for USL side Phoenix Rising FC this year. After making a splash in his debut, he’s kept right on going, scoring a brace in a 2-2 road draw against Swope Park Rangers.

What’s impressive is that Drogba, now 39, is not simply getting on the field and running around a little bit, but actually playing a positive, key role in his team’s games. Obviously, USL defenses aren’t at the level of those in the Premier League, but we’ve seen many an aging superstar from abroad mailing in a late-career stint in the U.S. Kudos to Drogba for continuing to grind, no matter who the competition is.