Flying Kiwis – August 22


Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)

He might not have been the main focus lately among kiwi footy folks but Winston Reid had himself one rollercoaster of a week, that’s for sure. A massive new contract extension… and then he got stretchered off in warm-ups the next day.

Contract first though. If Winston Reid signing a big extension sounds like déjà vu, that’s because he signed a new deal in March 2015 – the timing of that one suspiciously soon after it was confirmed that Sam Allardyce wasn’t gonna be getting a new deal of his own. Big Sam strongly suggested that Winnie was leaving the club but instead he signed a six and a half year contract within months.

Winston Reid in 2015: “It’s one of those things that took a bit of time, but we got there in the end and I’m very happy to be here for the next part of my career. I’m looking forward to it. At the end of the day, for myself I feel comfortable here. I was speaking with the joint-chairman David Sullivan and everybody and felt like I was valued here. He was clearly very committed to getting the deal done and keeping me at the club, so I’d like to thank him for that and I’m delighted to sign for the next six years. My family are happy living here too. We’ve been part of the club living in London, so we weighed all the factors up and I’m delighted to be staying here.”

Now two and a bit years later he’s done it again and he’s inked in another six years. Which… seems excessive for a dude who turned 29 in July but you have to consider the previous contract there. He was already booked until the end of the 2020-21 season so he’s only actually added two more seasons to that. Presumably with a lot more cash in hand too, of course. There were rumours towards the end of last season that he was due another deal and the money was probably a big part of that – Jose Fonte had come in and was earning like £70k+ per week and if he’s getting that then their top defender probably deserves something similar too. Now he’s got it.

Winston Reid in 2017: “I’m very happy. I’m pleased we’ve got it sorted so I’m obviously looking forward to the seasons ahead. It’s going to be a big amount of time I’ve spent at the Club and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been here a long time now! I think with the business we’ve done over this summer and the players we had here before, I think we can go on to have a good season and seasons ahead. It’s all about trying to get better. I enjoy being here and my family does as well so I’m very happy I’m able to stay here.”

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Given he’ll be 35 at the end of it, you’d figure this means he’s at West Ham for the rest of his career. Transfers being what they are there are no guarantees. Still, big commitment and big news. Gotta say congrats. According to he’s played 17,107 minutes over 204 appearances (150 in the PL), scoring 10 goals and winning one Hammer of the Year award.

But then warming up for the Southampton game, something went wrong. Next thing you knew Winnie was getting stretchered off before the match had even begun. Having started next to Angelo Ogbonna last time he now found himself being replaced by the Italian in the line-up. Which in itself woulda been a point of interest what with Jose Fonte back into the XI but apparently that won’t be a drama in the short term now.

Yeah… didn’t wanna say it but also not at all surprised to have to: this makes his All Whites return very unlikely. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet. It’s a calf injury of some description but apparently isn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

Slaven Bilic: “It was like irony, when I was talking to one of the physios, ‘On Monday, we were expecting the whole team to be fit,’ every player which hasn’t been the case for the last five years and while we are talking in the dressing room, the other physio comes and he say, ‘Winston hurt his Achilles.’ And in the end, it wasn’t the Achilles. It was the calf. They say it’s nothing serious, but we will see how things have to go with this. At least it wasn’t a rupture, at least we hope.”

Without him they were largely crap. Or… you know, at least a little sloppy. Michail Antonio played a nice ball in for Marko Arnautovic who shot wide early on but then Manny Gabbiadini was more fluent in front of goal as he gave the Saints the lead. Arnautovic then threw an elbow into Jack Stephens and he saw a straight red with Dusan Tadic doubling the lead from the penalty spot soon after.

It’s not as if the Hammers looked like a well-oiled defensive machine with Winnie in there last week but the positioning of Ogbonna and Fonte for the first goal and then the mistake from Fonte in pulling Steven Davis’ jersey for the penalty that became the second goal were hardly glorious. Where’s Ginge these days?

Nevertheless, if their record signing got sent off and their new keeper had already leaked six goals in three halves, at least West Ham know they got a good one in Javier Hernandez. The perfect poacher that he is, Antonio ripped one from distance and Fraser Forster parried it. Chicharito was on it in a flash to make it 2-1 going into the break. Then 74 minutes into things sub Diafra Sakho’s header was saved by Forster into the crossbar and guess who jumped on the rebound? Hernandez, 2-2.

Then Southampton scored from an injury time penalty. Pablo Zabaleta gave away the foul and Charlie Austin buried the spottie. Lost 3-2. Ah well.

Aaron Cresswell on Winston’s injury: “I think it was his calf as he’s pulled up in the warm up. It’s obviously not a good situation for us. But these things happen in football and hopefully he’ll recover quickly.”

Up Next: Away to Cheltenham in the League Cup (Thurs 6.45am) and then at Newcastle (Sun 2.00am) (Both NZT)

Chris Wood – Leeds United (English Championship)

One last update for Woody as a Leeds player (though the Burnley move will probably be done by the time you read this). Fee accepted, medical confirmed, transfer all done and back in the Premier League. How’s he gonna fare third time around in the big time? Can he overcome the Championship Standard tag? Will Sean Dyche give him the opportunities? Is he taking a big risk in leaving Leeds after so much success? All those questions and more… here read this thing:

Leeds won 2-0 without him against Sunderland and have two wins and two draws from their first four Championship games and they’re looking far less reliant on their kiwi striker these days (he’s only scored one of their five Champo goals so far), which is handy considering he’s about to get the hell outta there. When he does he’ll leave with 44 goals in 88 games for Leeds, 41 of them coming in league competition.

So the angle here is more about how the club has reacted to Chris Wood’s departure and as you’d expect there’s been some rallying. There’s also, naturally, been some distaste about the way he backed out of that last game – although it should be said that Burnley almost certainly asked him not to play a day before they wanted him in for a medical.

As for the gaffer who Woody endorsed (in his usual semi-bland way – hey, he’s still more animated than Winston with a mic in his face) while away at the Confeds with the All Whites…

Thomas Christiansen: “The possibility to go to a Premier League club is interesting for him, and probably the money is also much better. But he was recognised and appreciated player at this club and everyone has to respect his decision. I personally hope he will do fine. I don't have anything against him, he's a good guy, a good player and he's given until now what I expected of him.”

Rightio, now let’s switch back to Burnley where someone at Burnley Express managed to get their captain/keeper Tom Heaton chatting about the imminent move:

Wood scored a screamer past Heaton for Leicester in a game between the Championship’s top two three years ago at Turf Moor, and Heaton smiled: “Did he score a rocket past me a couple of years ago for Leicester? Is that what you’re trying to get at? [Laughs] If it is him, he had a fantastic season last year. “One thing I can say is that every player loves the culture we’ve got at the football club. That environment we’ve set certainly gives everyone a base to get better and develop. If we get him in, it will be a very good addition, and we hope he will be pleased with what he sees.”

Aaaaand this’d be the goal he’s referring to. Absolute belter.

Up Next: …

Katie Bowen – Kansas City (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Right place at the right time, in comes the slick cut-back and Katie Bowen is there to put it away. New contracts and big money transfers are fun but the best part of Flying Kiwis every week is the goals (and these days there’s usually at least one or two). Shout out to Katie for her second of the NWSL season – this one put FCKC well on the way towards what ended up a 3-1 win away from home against Chicago Red Stars. Slight Midwestern rivalry there too so bonus points for the derby goal. Coincidentally her other goal came in the 29th minute of that match too.

It’s also a handy goal for Bowen because lately she’s been having trouble getting into that starting team. The previous two games she’s had to come off the bench and with KC winning both of them there wasn’t a lot to do but wait. Four games in 11 days means changes have gotta come, however, and we’ll see if she’s back in the first XI next time out.

Sydney Leroux scored the first goal and although Julie Ertz put one away in the 64th minute (after Christen Press had missed a penalty for Chicago), making for a few nervous moments with what until then had felt like a comfortable lead, Maegan Kelly locked up the three points in the 80th minute – by which time Bowen had been subbed off.

The win leaves KC six points out of the playoffs with five games remaining – they desperately needed these three points and they got them. By the way, Rosie White has three goals this season and Abby Erceg has one. Poor Stotty is yet to rustle the net.

Up Next: KC vs Orlando Pride at 7.30am on Sunday

Ryan Thomas – PEC Zwolle (Dutch Eredivisie)

Happy days for Zwolle. They may not have beaten Sparta Rotterdam but they also didn’t lose and that means they’re picking up points to start this season – something they didn’t do last time out when it took until their eighth game to finally win one. Well they won last week against Roda JC so an away draw this time goes down fine.

Thommo played the full match on the left side of a midfield three. Didn’t find the chances going forward that he threatened last week but there was one shot sent off target. More impressive was his 88.5% passing success for the match. Did get tackled a couple times but also won three fouls so you know he was in the trenches. George Dobson was lucky not to get a red for a late challenge on Thommo in the first half.

So, Youness Mokhtar gave Zwolle the lead with his first of the season 13 minutes into things but Robert Muhren had equalised within ten more minutes. A game the PECers might feel they should’ve won but as long as those points keep ticking over they should be okay with it.

Up Next: PEC Zwolle vs FC Twente at 5.45am on Sunday (NZT)

Marco Rojas – sc Heerenveen (Dutch Eredivisie)

It’s been bench-work so far for Marco. Two games and only 48 minutes on the park yet both times he’s come on he’s been lively and made a difference. This week he was the first lad off the bench against Heracles. 60 minutes gone and in he came. Also, their Serbian winger Nemanja Mihajlovic was part of a double sub a shade under quarter of an hour later - he was signed at the same time as they got Rojas in there so you can see a pattern there of easing them both in.

At the moment Rojas was introduced, Heerenveen were 1-0 down thanks to a Robin Propper goal in first half stoppage time. Despite a majority in both shots and possession they were 50% of the way towards deservedly losing their first home game of the season and it was Rojas who the manager tapped on the shoulder and said ‘go do this’ to.

Although… it was Mihajlovic who scored the 93rd minute equaliser, to be fair. It was only in the last half hour that Heerenveen really threatened to score and only in the last few seconds that they did. Saves a point against a team they probably thought they could beat – although Heracles beat Ajax last week so no taking things lightly. Really, they were lucky to only be one down when they scored because they’d already seen their keeper tip one onto the crossbar amidst a couple other saves.

Rojas had his own chance to be the hero. 92 minutes gone and hot on the attack, a bit of head tennis ends up at his feet on the edge of the box. Dancing shoes and he beats his marker and slams one towards the goal… but well over the bar. Never mind, they scored 45 seconds later. A long ball from the keeper was allowed to bounce and Mihajlovic guided it inside the far post with his head.

(Don’t expect those youtube highlights to last long)

Also better add here that Mike den Heijer was an unused sub for NEC Nijmejen as they began their own season down in the level below with a 3-1 win over Almere City. Mikey had to earn that contract and he did, now he’s gotta wait out his chance to shine with the first team.

Up Next: Sunday 5.45am, Heerenveen are away to ADO Den Haag (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

That’s nice… although it might have been a nicer birthday had Minny been able to beat Seattle. But nah, that Clint Dempsey jerk went and scored an injury time penalty to snatch a 2-1 win for the team that doesn’t have a New Zealander in its ranks. Shades of Winston’s West Ham there but Boxall at least made it through warm ups. Made it through 90 minutes in fact which is worth a clap – while other All Whites are trying to force their way into their new MLS teams he’s gone right into the starting XI and played every minute of the four games he’s been available for.

Unfortunately Minny Utd aren’t all that good so three of those games have been defeats. Yeah… they were unlucky to lose this one though. Took the lead in the 21st minute thanks to Ethan Finlay but then some jerry called Boxall slipped over in the box and allowed the chap he was marking to head home. Oops.

Defending valiantly for the point that would lift them off the bottom of the table they held on for 92 minutes before Jermaine Taylor handballed in the box and Dempsey stepped up to win the game. That, in the common kiwi parlance, can be summed up in one word: Bugger.

Up Next: Chicago vs Minnesota, Sunday 12.30pm (NZT)

Anna Green – Reading (English Super League)

Another club kind enough to offer a bit of birthday recognition – seems like with every passing year Yaya Toure’s legacy becomes even more influential.

This seems like a good enough time to quickly run over the kiwi lasses out there in England preparing for the new season. There’s still a month to go so no getting carried away yet but this is gonna be a big season for women’s footy in England. First of all because of the success of their national team there’ll be more of a focus than ever but even before that they were already reshuffling the women’s leagues to run concurrently with the Premier League – which for the first time this season they will.

Little bit confusing though, the FA Women’s Premier League is not the top flight. The WPL is actually a combination of 72 clubs playing over six divisions and atop those two are the Northern and Southern Divisions, the winners of each going into a playoff to earn promotion to the FA Women’s Super League 2. There are ten teams in WSL2 and then ten at the very top in the proper Super League.

Amongst those ten teams at the top are Reading and Everton. Reading who have Anna Green in their ranks and Everton who have Olivia Chance. Two kiwis there playing at the top and while there are none in WSL2, the WPL Southern will feature Beth Weller (Charlton) and Rosie Missen (West Ham) with Laura Merrin (Fylde Ladies) playing in the WPL North.

Again, the WSL doesn’t start until late September but the WPL kicked off on the weekend. Fylde won 3-0 with Merrin subbed off after 61 minutes, Charlton won 6-1 with Weller an unused sub while West Ham fell 1-0 and didn’t update their website in time for deadline, the bastards.

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Only Billy T this week because Jake Gleeson’s still injured after getting subbed off last week. The hammy is playing up and he hadn’t trained all week so along with Liam Ridgewell and Fanendo Adi he was never gonna be a part of the clash with the New York Red Bulls. Neither was Bill Tuiloma but at least he had the second team to plug away with, doing what he can to settle into the club and get noticed. In that regard, this is probably a good way to go about it:

Bingo, beauty of a header and didn’t he bloody love it!

Also copped a yellow card a few minutes before he scored which made it three bookings in three matches. This one mighta been harsh though, looked like he got the ball even if he did slide in from a tricky angle. He didn’t rate the call.

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It was the usual deep midfield role for him too, looking to sit back and shield that defensive line and knock the ball around smoothly. Dude logged 86 minutes before being subbed off but the Timbers 2 side lost 2-1 to Seattle’s seconds. Meanwhile the main team were able to force out a 2-0 win over NYRB which gives their playoffs chances a nice boost.

Up Next: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids, 2.30pm Thursday (NZT)

Stefan Marinovic, Deklan Wynne, Myer Bevan & Francis de Vries – Vancouver Whitecaps (American Major League Soccer)

Okay so Marinovic sat on the bench for the top team, having started his first game last week. They grabbed a good win over the Houston Dynamo which is good news for James Musa who also sat on the bench unused for Sporting Kansas City but with SKC beating Dallas easily enough they’re now three points clear of Houston at the top of the Western Conference.

Obviously it would’ve been nice to see both Marinovic and Musa waltz right into regular starting roles but while both did fine in their debuts, those were also both largely rotated XIs so no surprise to see each settle down the pecking order. That’s probably where Musa will have to fight from, Marinovic might get a few more rotated starts though.

As for the All White-caps, they were down a man with Myer Bevan serving the first of his three game suspension for kicking out at that joker last week. So he wasn’t there but Francis and Deklan were in full attendance as VW2 scrapped their way to a 1-1 draw down in steamy Texas against Rio Grande Valley FC. VW2 started well and took the lead into HT but really had to dig in down the stretch in some sweltering heat. Good draw, though. “The ‘Caps went ahead in the 23rd minute when Marco Bustos laid a through ball onto Gloire Amanda’s path along the right lane, which the 18-year old forward then directed across the box. With striker Thomas Sanner drawing defenders in front of net, Wynne banged in the goal from the other side for the 1-0 lead.”

Wynne with the goal? As in New Zealand’s Deklan Wynne?

Yup, none other. That’s his second goal of the season and, just like Bill Tuiloma, a decent way to get ya name mentioned in first team tactic meetings.

Francis de Vries captained them again and also picked up a yellow card early in the second half. Dragged down a bloke outside the box after he’d been beaten for pace. Of course, Francis didn’t think he’d done anything wrong and he let the ref know but a yellow was probably fair. Both he and Wynne played the full game.

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Up Next: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders, 2.00pm Thursday (NZT)

Abby Erceg, Rosie White & Rebekah Stott (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Already gone deep on Katie Bowen’s exploits, the other trio didn’t quite have heroic weeks of that pedigree but all three started and did some work.

Abby Erceg first of all, her North Carolina Courage are opening up that gap at the top now with four straight wins – the latest coming by 2-0 at home to Washington Spirit. Ashley Hatch with the first and a late own goal sealed it. Given that was first versus last on the table, no dramas there at all.

Next up Rosie White although this wasn’t so flash. Two home games and the Boston Breakers lost them both – 2-1 to Orlando Pride and three days earlier they went down 3-1 to Houston Dash. White played all 180 minutes but couldn’t add a goal or assist to the tally. Guts, but here’s some more positive stuff from teammate Tiffany Weimer about Rosie’s creative side from her blog:

“Rosie and I have gotten into the little routine of sitting down and doing our “work” together in the mornings. She’s working on some really cool things, including her most recent project where she created posters to share positive messages and support the Boston Children’s Hospital. It’s a great cause to support, plus Rosie is a gem and a half!”

Check in here for more on all that inspiration.

Then we have Stotty. Rebekah Stott probably had the worst week of any of them because her Seattle Reign probably felt rather comfortable at 3-0 up against Sky Blue. On the road and everything, about to open up some breathing room between the two sides on the table and edge up into the playoff spots. But no, then came the second half. Instead of going all in on the madness, just watch the highlights. But suffice to say that no player had ever scored four goals in one NWSL match before Sam Kerr did it in one half, including the 94th minute winner for the 5-4 Sky Blue victory. Worst of all… she’s Australian. Yuck.

(Of course, Stotty played U17 and U20 for Australia herself, but she soon returned to the land of her birth – shout out to the fine town of Papamoa).

You can always trust Flying Kiwis to bring you the good stuff first thing on a Tuesday morning. Give a quick smack on one of them badverts to help the Cache on route to World Domination (via Aotearoa).