Alex Morgan NWSL Has Huge Sexual Harassment Problem

One of the biggest stars in the National Women's Soccer League is calling out the organization's failures to address serious allegations of sexual harassment ... with Alex Morgan demanding major changes.

As we previously reported, the North Carolina Courage fired coach Paul Riley amid allegations of sexual coercion spanning multiple teams and leagues dating back to 2010.

Two of Riley’s former players -- Meleana "Mana" Shim and Sinead Farrelly -- were among some of the players who came forward to detail their alleged experiences with Riley over the years ... and on Tuesday, Morgan joined them on "Today" to discuss the toxic culture within the league.

"I'm here to support Mana and Sinead and to continue to amplify their voices, and just show the systemic failure from the league and how wrong they did in handling Mana's case and complaint and investigation and where they failed Mana and Sinead, and probably many other women," Morgan said.

Morgan claims there were times when the league didn't even have an anti-harassment policy, human resources department, anonymous hotline or any other way to report alleged incidents ... which made it challenging for players to speak up.

Shim also detailed her experiences with Riley, saying ... "He's a predator. He sexually harassed me, he sexually coerced Sinead, and he took away our careers."

"From early on, there was a possession not just from Paul, but from the team that I was playing for. They silenced me for multiple issues, my sexuality being the most important one, and I was just very, very uncomfortable the whole time."

She added ... "And, every day I showed up to work, every day I practiced, every game I played, I didn't have confidence and I was scared. The only thing that got me through was my teammates."

Riley is now out of the job ... and so is NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, who resigned amid the backlash.

Morgan is calling on the NWSL to be more proactive instead of reactive in these situations ... adding, "We're asking for transparency."

L.A. Galaxy Vs. LAFC Fans Get In Massive, Wild Brawl ... After Rivalry Game

2:54 PM PT -- The LAFC and LA Galaxy have released a joint statement in the wake of the violent brawl ... saying they're disappointed in their fans' actions -- and are investigating it all.

"LA Galaxy and LAFC are reviewing fan incidents that took place during last night's match with local authorities," the teams said, adding a probe into a separate incident earlier this year is ongoing as well.

"These incidents violate the LA Galaxy, LAFC and Major League Soccer's Fan Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated. Fans in violation of this code will face disciplinary action including ejections and bans."

The teams continued, "We ask all fans of both Clubs to respect each other and find common ground as Angelinos and passionate fans of the sport. Let's build together."

2:15 PM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Sports ... one person was arrested for battery for their alleged role in the melee.

The rest of the incident, sources say, is still under investigation.

Dozens of L.A. Galaxy and LAFC supporters were involved in a wild melee following the two teams' rivalry game Sunday ... and the entire, violent incident was caught on video.

A bystander captured the chaos at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles following the Galaxy's 1-1 draw with LAFC ... and you can see in the footage, multiple people threw and landed huge punches and kicks.

It's unclear what set off the altercation ... but even with security guards and what appears to be police officers present -- fans still tried to beat the hell out of each other.

In the two-minute clip, you can see several people were punched in the face, while others were kicked hard on the ground.

According to witnesses, multiple people suffered injuries in the fracas. Meanwhile, it's unclear if any arrests were made -- we've reached out to law enforcement, but so far, no word back yet.

We've also reached out to Galaxy for a comment, but no word back there yet either.

Story developing ...

Originally Published -- 10:00 AM PT

Major League Soccer Exec Claims She Got Axed for Speaking on Race Issues ... Sues for Retaliation

4:06 PM PT -- The MLS just released a statement to TMZ Sports ... saying, "Ms. Travieso’s allegations have no merit as her job, along with her entire department and 20 percent of League Office positions, was eliminated in November of 2020 as a result of the dramatic impact of the pandemic on Major League Soccer’s business."

"Ms. Travieso was not removed from her job duties for any other reason. Major League Soccer is committed to providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment and takes these allegations very seriously."

"We are constantly working to ensure our employees feel safe and supported in the workplace."

A former media executive for Major League Soccer claims she lost her job for speaking up about racial issues within the organization following the killing of George Floyd ... so she's suing.

Karine Travieso, who is Black, has filed suit against MLS along with 2 of her former bosses, alleging she was removed from job duties, excluded from meetings and unjustly blamed for other employee's mistakes after speaking at a Juneteenth event in 2020.

According to the legal docs, obtained by TMZ Sports ... Travieso began working for MLS in 2017 and worked her way up to a role of prominence ... despite what she describes as a work environment lacking diversity and inclusion.

She also describes multiple incidents of perceived racial stereotypes, such as one of her bosses allegedly implying in 2018 that there needed to be extra security at the 2 Chainz MLS All-Star Concert because Black people would be attending.

According to Travieso ... she mostly stayed silent about stuff like this until George Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, sparked nationwide protests and raised awareness about the plight of Black people.

She claims she encouraged MLS honchos to release a statement about Floyd's death like other major sports leagues after several days of silence, and they finally did ... but she points to it as another example of the soccer org dropping the ball.

Then, according to the docs, Travieso spoke at the Juneteenth event and "opened her heart about racial discrimination" and how she felt she couldn't raise race issues with MLS execs.

She says she cited the 2 Chainz incident as a reason MLS needed to incorporate unconscious bias training, called on "white allies" within the org to help, and pointed out there was "little to no Black representation in the decision-making positions and upper echelon of MLS."

According to Travieso ... her speech was met with praise by colleagues, but MLS did nothing to follow up on it. Instead, she claims she began to be treated differently by her bosses, was no longer invited to meetings she'd previously been a part of, and was removed from certain roles within the company.

She says she reported this to HR in October, and then a month later ... she was informed she was being laid off due to the circumstances with COVID-19 and some business restructuring.

Travieso's suing for race discrimination and retaliation, and she's seeking damages. We reached out to MLS ... no word back so far.

Originally Published -- 12:56 PM PT

USMNT vs. Mexico Soccer Match Marred By Anti-Gay Chants ... Violent Trash Throwing

The USMNT's soccer game against Mexico turned VERY ugly Sunday night ... 'cause fans in the stands yelled anti-gay slurs and also violently threw objects at players.

The disturbing scenes all went down late in the CONCACAF Nations League final in Denver ... when the game actually had to be paused over homophobic chants.

Fans in the stands could reportedly be heard screaming a Spanish word that translates into an anti-gay insult -- and the chanting grew so loud, refs had to halt play until it stopped.

But, the unruly behavior didn't end there ... 'cause throughout the end of the wild soccer match, players were hit by debris thrown from the stands.

Check out footage that the broadcast picked up ... players on BOTH sides were cracked in the face and head by full cups and bottles.

In fact, US player Gio Reyna was hit so hard in the face by one of the objects ... he collapsed to the grass.

It all got so bad, soccer legend Alexi Lalas said, "The crowd behavior in Denver was a disgrace to our sport and our country."

It appears all players avoided serious injury, though, despite the insanity from the fans ... and the U.S. was able to take home the victory over Mexico, 3-2.

Jonathan Suarez-Cortes MLS Player Arrested For Sexual Battery ... His Brother Busted, Too

UNDER ARREST

Pro soccer player Jonathan Suarez -- who just signed a deal to play in the MLS -- was arrested on Tuesday after a woman claims she was sexually assaulted by the athlete and his brother at the same time.

Officials confirm the 24-year-old Orlando City SC player and his older brother Rafael Suarez Jr. were taken into custody late Tuesday after an alleged incident at Rafael's apartment in the Orlando area.

According to an arrest affidavit from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, the alleged victim and a friend met with the Suarez brothers at a local Topgolf driving range ... and later went back to Rafael's apartment to play beer pong.

The alleged victim told police she went to Rafael's room to engage in consensual sex -- but Rafael let his brother in to "get in on the fun" and that's when things went sideways.

The woman claims she REJECTED both men and tried to stop the sexual activity -- but she claims the soccer player forced her to perform a sex act on him and then told his brother to resume having sex with the woman against her will.

After the incident, the woman went to police -- and the case was kicked over to a Special Investigation Detective.

Officials say, "The victim provided more information and evidence supporting the allegation to the Detectives. Based on the information provided by the victim, Detectives were able to positively identify Jonathan Suarez-Cortes and Rafael Suarez Jr., as the suspects involved in the incident and developed probable cause for their arrest."

Jonathan and Rafael were arrested and booked into the Osceola County Jail for sexual battery ... where they are being held without bond.

The OCSO posted video of the arrest ... showing the two men in handcuffs and white jumpsuits as they are taken to jail.

Major League Soccer released a statement on Jonathan's arrest ... saying he has been immediately suspended from play as the league investigates the situation.

"Major League Soccer will remain in close communication with the Orlando City SC, local law enforcement, and the MLS Players Association during this investigation."

"MLS will make further determinations concerning the player’s status as more information becomes available."

Jonathan Suarez was a high school soccer star in Fontana, CA and signed a pro contract to play in Argentina when he was 18.

He went on to play professionally in the top soccer leagues in Mexico -- with teams like Cimarrones de Sonora, Querétaro FC and Pumas UNAM.

He arrived in Orlando in February to begin a stint with the Orlando City SC team -- but now, obviously, those plans are on hold.

Story developing ...

Donovan Mitchell Slams MLS Team Owner Over Protest Comment ... 'Sell The Team'

Utah Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell is going OFF on MLS team owner Dell Loy Hansen for comments he made about player protests ... demanding he sell the team if he doesn't approve.

Of course, several MLS games were postponed following the Jacob Blake shooting ... including Hansen-owned Real Salt Lake's match-up with LAFC.

Hansen appeared on a radio show Thursday morning to express his frustrations with the game being postponed ... comparing the feeling to being stabbed.

"It’s a moment of sadness," Hansen told X96’s Radio From Hell. "It’s like somebody stabbed you and you’re trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. That’s what it feels like."

"The disrespect is profound to me personally."

Hansen also claimed the players do not care about local issues, the city or the organization ... and hinted at losing interest in improving the team.

"It’s taken a lot of wind out of my sails, what effort I want to put into recruiting players and building a great team," Hansen said. "It just seems that’s not a very good path to take."

Enter Mitchell -- who got wind of Hansen's comments and came up with a simple solution for his frustrations.

"WOW... if it’s taken 'the wind' out then sell the team... I stand with (Real Salt Lake) players,'" Mitchell tweeted.

Soccer star Jozy Altidore agrees with Spida ... and says he's even in the process of forming a group to buy the team.

"He needs to sell the team then," Jozy tweeted. "I’m involved in a group that’s ready to purchase it. Time for change."

Story developing ...

Major League Soccer Players Take Knee, Raise Fists ... In Pre-Game Tribute

TAKING A KNEE
ESPN

Powerful moment on the field at the Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC game in Orlando where ALL of the players took a knee in a powerful moment of silence right before kickoff.

Even the ref got down on a knee.

Some players raised a clenched fist -- including Chicago Fire striker C.J. Sapong.

As the camera panned around the field, we didn't see one person -- players, coaches, linesmen, etc -- who didn't participate in the tribute.

After roughly 30 seconds, the ref blew the whistle, people stood and clapped -- and play began.

Obviously, the kneeling is to put a spotlight on police brutality and racial injustice ... clearly inspired by Colin Kaepernick.

Interesting to note, the national anthem was NOT playing during the kneeling demonstration.

The game is part of the MLS is Back tournament -- currently taking place inside of a bubble environment in Orlando, Florida.

Just last week, players from Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF held a similar tribute before they kicked off ... only that one lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a way to put a spotlight on George Floyd.

MLS 'Fyre Fest' Sando Pics Are BS ... Not From Inside Disney Bubble!

Major League Soccer says its players are NOT getting the Fyre Festival treatment inside the Disney bubble -- claiming the players who posted sad sandwich pics are NOT inside the restricted area.

Toronto FC defender Omar Gonzalez posted a pic Tuesday showing an "MLS Is Back" In-Room dining menu which describes some delicious-looking, expensive food options ($65 for lunch!) ... cut next to an unimpressive sando in a brown box.

He tweeted out, "Yummm" ... leading people to believe the widely-touted Disney bubble was looking more like a sham than a glamorous experience.

Omar's teammate Eriq Zavaleta added fuel to the fire by posting another unappetizing sandwich pic. Not a great look.

But, our MLS sources tell us ... those two players are not yet in Orlando -- they're still in Toronto.

The league is unsure who shot the photos -- but reps say the food was served at a quarantine site OUTSIDE the official bubble where players are required to stay for 10 to 12 hours until they are cleared to enter.

There is basic food service at the quarantine site -- like sandwiches, etc -- but since it's essentially a layover spot, the food service isn't as robust.

Once players are allowed into the Walt Disney World bubble environment, it's a completely different story.

We're told players will get "banquet meal" service served in their club meal rooms -- and so far, the feedback on the food has been super positive.

Also, all players will have access to 4 restaurants in the bubble -- including Shula’s Steak House, Todd English Bluezoo, Il Mulino, and Kimonos sushi restaurant.

We're also told, "Players do not pay for meals."

So, yeah ... the travel meal might not be the fanciest food in the world, but MLS insists they're not pulling a Billy McFarland.

Kevin Durant Buys Ownership In MLS Team ... Philadelphia Union!!!

Add "team owner" to Kevin Durant's massive resume ... 'cause the NBA champ just bought a stake in the Philadelphia Union of the MLS!!

The Union announced the partnership on Monday ... saying KD bought 5% of the team ... with the option to take on another 5% down the road.

Durant's official title will be "investor and community partner" ... and the team will work with his Thirty Five Ventures on marketing and community outreach.

"I’m excited to partner with the Philadelphia Union for years to come," KD said in a statement. "My team and I connected instantly with the Union coaching staff and leadership, as well as the team’s story."

Durant says the team will work with his Kevin Durant Charity Foundation to make an impact in the communities surrounding Philadelphia as well.

Principal owner of the Union Jay Sugarman spoke about the new partnership, saying "The partnership between Kevin and the Philadelphia Union is based on a set of shared values and philosophies."

"We want to be known as an innovator in our league and a team that is never satisfied with the status quo. Kevin brings us unique perspectives as a person, as a champion, and as a sports icon."

"Combined with his competitive drive and forward-thinking mentality, we believe Kevin adds a key piece in reaching our ambitions for the club."

KD joins fellow NBA superstar LeBron James into the soccer world -- 'Bron bought a stake in Liverpool F.C. in 2011.

Major League Soccer Returns in July ... Tournament at Disney World

MLS is taking a page from the NBA -- returning to play in July with a tournament at Disney World in Orlando ... and all 26 teams will participate.

Major League Soccer announced the plan Wednesday morning -- the Welcome Back Tournament -- a World Cup-style competition consisting of a group stage followed by knockout rounds.

After the tourney, the teams will play the rest of the 2020 MLS regular season ... but tourney games WILL count toward regular-season standings.

And, get this ... the winning team will earn a spot in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League tournament!

FYI, the CCL tourney is made up of the top teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The Welcome Back tourney kicks off on July 8 -- with the Final set for August 11.

All games will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued a statement saying, "The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play."

"We also recognize that the death of George Floyd and others has focused our country on issues of racial injustice, inequality and violence against black men and women."

"Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Fires Crotch Grab At LAFC Fan ... After Postgame Taunts

Z'S NUTS
MLS

Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed a huge handful of his junk and aimed it right at an LAFC fan who was taunting him ... and the whole scene was captured on video!!!

The soccer star and his LA Galaxy squad had just taken a crushing loss to LAFC on Thursday night ... when a fan decided to showboat toward Zlatan on his way to the locker room.

You can see in the video ... the LAFC ride-or-die makes some throat-slashing signs and appears to make a groin choppin' gesture toward the 38-year-old as well.

That's when Ibrahimovic responded by getting a grip of his franks and beans ... and giving a head nod to the fan!!!

Zlatan was asked about the incident after the game, and he downplayed it, making a joke by saying, "How many fans came? 30,000?"

"That was like a training for me. This stadium is too small for me ... I'm used to playing in front of 80,000 people. Come to Inter Milan where 85,000 are whistling at you."

As for if he was irritated by the fans, Zlatan said, "No, no, no. I enjoy it! They give me adrenaline."

Zlatan also took a shot at the MLS -- saying if he doesn't come back to the league next year, NOBODY will watch the games.

"[If I stay], then MLS is good, because the whole world will watch it. If I don't stay, nobody will remember what MLS is."

Zlatan only has 2 months left on his contract, so the playoff exit this might have been his last MLS game ever.

If it was ... hell of a way to go out!!!

U.S. Women's Soccer Team Teammates Engaged ... We're Going Public!

Two members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team are more than teammates -- they're engaged to be married!!

Defender Ali Krieger and goalie Ashlyn Harris just revealed they've not only been dating for the last 9 years, but Ashlyn actually proposed in September ... and Ali said, "Yes!"

It all went down in Clearwater Beach, Florida -- where Ashlyn busted out a pretty impressive rock.

The two are now planning to tie the knot at the end of 2019, according to People.com.

Ali and Ashlyn met on the USWNT in 2010 -- with Harris explaining, "We always sat next to each other on the bus and on flights, and we kind of just talked about our dreams and our hopes and what we wanted to do one day when we grew up. Because at the time, we were kids."

The couple wasn't exactly hiding their relationship, but they didn't flash it around either because they didn't want to be a distraction.

"We wanted to be professional and make sure that we showed up every day and did our job and it wasn’t just because we were together, it was because we love what we do, and we’re really good at what we do,” Krieger told People.

"We became more and more confident within and ourselves and then clearly within our relationship," Harris said ... adding, "Finally, after all these years, I just feel like I don’t have to hide anything or feel like I’m not living up to the community I’m in."

Congrats!

MLS Champs Trophy Goes to Booty Club ... It's Twerk Time!!

TWERK, TWERK, TWERK ...
TMZSports.com

Ever seen a championship trophy get a lap dance before?!!

Well, the guys from the ATL United soccer team made it happen Monday night -- taking the MLS Cup to the legendary Magic City booty club just days after winning the title.

Cup got lit -- getting pulled onstage where it got an up-close and personal twerk session from one of the dancers while people in the crowd made it rain.

Some of the players who accompanied the trophy to the club included Chris McCann, Miles Robinson and Jeff Larentowicz.

The team had a championship parade in Atlanta on Monday -- after beating the Portland Timbers in the MLS championship game on Saturday.

It's ATL's first MLS cup -- in just their 2nd season in the league -- so, why not go big?!

Magic City is probably the most famous strip club in America -- having hosted huge stars like Jermaine Dupri, T.I., Usher, Drake, Future and more.

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