Flying Kiwis – August 29

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Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

The work has begun. Only a few days after being announced as a signing, Woody was making his debut for Burnley. Didn’t get named to start against Blackburn in a feisty League Cup match but he was on the bench and from there he would’ve had a decent view of Jon Walters limping around with an injury early on. Wood was stripped and warmed up and ready to go on but Walters, to his credit, tried to battle through. He did… but he didn’t last until half time.

It was a subtle way to make a club debut. Off the bench a few mins before the break in a League Cup match against a team two divisions below. The result was never in any doubt – hell, the Burnley clean sheet was barely even in doubt. Blackburn did put one in the net but it was ruled out for a blatant offside and that was easily as close as it got. Jack Cork had already put Burnley up when Woody entered the contest and Robbie Brady soon made it 2-0 which was how it stayed.

Through no lack of effort on Woody’s part, however. He headed one over the bar from former Leeds teammate Charlie Taylor’s cross, he smashed one about three miles over the top from the edge of the box, he pummelled a volley on a tight angle at goal which drew a top quality save… he had a few chances. Couldn’t put one away but he got involved which is promising. Granted, the opposition was actually weaker than he was playing against at Leeds.

Lancashire Telegraph: “A goal for Chris Wood would have been the icing on the cake of his debut. Perhaps he was trying too hard. But in the 50 minutes or so that he was on the pitch he made a menace of himself and gave manager Sean Dyche food for thought ahead of Sunday’s trip to Spurs. Wood almost had an immediate impact, testing David Raya within minutes of replacing Jon Walters. There were other opportunities. But he was involved in the goal and showed glimpses of the threats that he can pose Premier League defences with his movement off the ball and instinct on it”

Say and who did Burnley draw in the next round of the Cup? None other than Leeds United. Hehehe.

Aaand then, you may have heard, Woody and the Eagles then had the small matter of playing Spurs at Wembley in the Premier League. So, a Premier League debut at Wembley Stadium, there’s one for ya next pub quiz. You may have also heard that Woody scored a goal. On debut. At Wembley. In stoppage time. To salvage a draw.

Not really worth going all in on the intimate details when it’s been all over the news lately anyway. Dele Alli put Spurs in front and you can’t really argue with that on performance. Burnley brought a predictably conservative game plan to London and Spurs bossed most of possession and had far more chances to score. But they never killed it off.

They never killed it off and Woody was introduced off the bench (hit eleventh Premier League appearance and his eleventh as a substitute) straight after Alli had put Tottenham in the lead. Harry Kane then wasted a few opps and Tom Heaton had to be on his game to deny Christian Eriksen. But Burnley held on. And then Robbie Brady played this flippin’ pass – damn! – and Woody went on and did this:

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The Guardian: “The finish from Wood was calm and low under Hugo Lloris, his run off the former Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier catching the defender napping. But the goal was made by Brady’s pass; the Irishman having switched from his natural left flank to the right bisected the entire Spurs back line with just seconds of the match remaining.”

Wood’s introduction marked a change to 4-4-2, with the All Whites lad joining Ashley Barnes up front. Sam Vokes had started the game but he came off for Woody at the same time Woody came on – Barnes also introduced at the same time with Johann Berg Gudmundsson also exiting the contest. Tactical options, aye? Top work, Dychey.

Sean Dyche: “I’m really pleased for Chris Wood, he’s come into a good group, he’s enjoying it but I must say what a fantastic pass from Brady. I felt as the game wore on we were deserving of it, they dominated the first half but I think overall we just about deserved something today.”

Up Next: All Whites duty, The Woodsman’s gotta captain ‘em

Ryan Thomas – PEC Zwolle (Dutch Eredivisie)

For a day there the PECers were on top of the league, staring down on all those other muppets in their dominance. A 2-0 win over FC Twente made it seven points from three matches and while their stay at the summit didn’t last (and was mostly thanks to playing earlier in the weekend than the big clubs), it continues their flipped script from last season’s early struggles.

Twente have gone in the opposite direction with a tough start and this was about the same. Younes Namli hit the bar early and Youness Mokhtar eventually stuck the opening goal in there midway through the first half after a sharp one-two with Bram van Polen. Twente were a bit better after the break but when Kingsley Ehizibue won a spottie with 75 mins gone, van Polen stepped up to secure the 2-0 victory. Good stuff.

Thommo’s played every league minute so far for Zwolle, starting this time on the left of a midfield three (he tends to play on one of the sides there and John van’t Schip seems a fan of the 4-3-3). They overwhelmingly dominated possession here too which meant he got to whip the ball around plenty and, like last week, his passing percentages were top notch (he found a teammate on nine outta ten of them). No shots at goal but he had a decent penalty shout early on that got turned down. Frankly, he was pretty superb. Like, one of the best players on the park superb. The news excerpt below reckons he was man of the match though that could be a google translate snafu.

The question now is whether he’s still there after the international break when the transfer window shuts. Having just re-signed on new terms, it was strongly suggested that he was here for another season if not any longer – see, Thommo’s never been shy of his ambition to play at a higher level and, guess what, he’s still saying those things…

De Swollenaer: “With a large bunch of flowers after being selected as man of the match, Thomas (22) sought the catacombs of the MAC3PARK stadium. Glittering, after another strong performance. Just like against Roda JC (4-2 win) and Sparta Rotterdam (1-1), the international showed that his position is in central midfield. With Erik Bakker and Mustafa Saymak, Thomas forms a trio full of footballing ability. The New Zealander also adds a dose of workload and running power. In almost every attack he is involved, if a ball has to be won he is at the forefront.”

Up Next: From Holland to North Harbour

Marco Rojas – sc Heerenveen (Dutch Eredivisie)

Lil Marco won’t be playing for the All Whites. Nope, his Heerenveen team pulled off a decent 2-1 win away at ADO Den Haag but he wasn’t even on the bench and there’s a reason for that. Lad’s got a quad strain. His manager had acknowledged Rojas was in doubt but two days before the match it sounded more likely than not that he’d be okay, so to be missing All Whites duty now he must’ve aggravated it again or something. Eh, so it goes. After his Stuttgart stint was ruined before he’d even had a chance to do anything because of a foot injury, can’t really blame him for being cautious at this stage.

A shame too because he’s done quite well in limited opportunities so far with his new Dutch club and when given a run with the reserves earlier in the week he took that one with open arms, scoring a double. Drew 2-2 with Young Heracles. Here’s one of those goals:

Up Next: Next fixture’s not until September 10 against Excelsior so plenty of time to recover

Katie Rood – Juventus (Italian Serie A)

“Juventus Women’s forward options have been bolstered by the signing of attacking midfielder Katie Rood from Glenfield Rovers. The dual passport-holder (UK and New Zealand) had been trialling with Guarino’s side in recent days.”

Hey, when you’re looking to sign your first pro contract, heading over to Juventus is not the worst option out there. Yes, *that* Juventus. That’s what Katie Rood has done after smacking in goal after goal for Glenfield Rovers and progressing through the Football Ferns youth ranks. The 24 year old was a part of the first ever group of players in that Fern Development Programme and, credit where it’s due, she joins C.J. Bott in already having signed professionally out of it.

Rood is yet to become a full international – which is even more of a boost for the state of the players New Zealand is producing. While it’s surely only a matter of time now until she gets on the park for the Ferns is just shows that it isn’t only the most capped players able to earn overseas contracts.

As for Juve, storied though the club may be this is also their first campaign with a women’s team. The Women’s Serie A has existed since the 60s (shout out to Italy) and there have been clubs with the Juventus name before but never officially affiliated. Up until now they’d had women’s youth teams but nothing at the top level until the club’s GM Giuseppe Marotta revealed back in May that they were planning on changing that. Within a month they’d bought the licence of A.S.D. Cuneo and away we go.

Rood joins a team made largely of Italian players, naturally, with quite a few youth internationals among them. There’s also former Liverpool midfielder Katie Zelem, 87-cap Finnish international defender Tuija Hyyrynen and Norway’s midfielder Ingvild Isaksen. The team they inherited, Cuneo, finished seventh last season while Fiorentina swept to the title with 21 wins and a single defeat.

And their season began with a cheeky cup tie away to Torino.

Up Next: Home leg of the Coppa Italia against Torino, 2.30am on Monday Sep 11 (NZT)

Olivia Chance – Everton (English Super League)

On that same topic…

Olivia Chance: “I’m really happy to go back to being a professional. The Spring Series was nice to allow me to get used to England and the game here. It was good to come in and train a few times a week but to go full time and be able to be at USM Finch Farm more regularly is great. We’ll be training more so we’ll be fitter and we’ll get more touches of the ball so it will have a huge benefit on the team.”

Last week’s Flying Kiwis had a fair bit on the girls in England with that season still a couple weeks away. As far as Chance goes, she’d already been with the club, scoring three goals as they earned promotion to the top level last season in the Spring Series (which was a one-off shorter season meant to bridge the gap between the seasons being yearly and aligning them with the men’s Premier League). Everton also made the fifth round of the FA Cup. Hence Livvy’s been there since February but getting that pro deal signed now

Olivia Chance: “I am feeling a lot more like an Everton player. The girls have been getting used to me and I have been getting used to them. That definitely helps, but I am also learning the style of play here in England. It’s great that we are back in WSL 1. Everyone always wants to play in the best leagues so being back in the top division is going to be a really good challenge. I’m excited to see how we get on.”

Up Next: Everton vs Liverpool… no biggie… 4.00am on Monday 25 September (NZT)

Monty Patterson – Ipswich Town (English Championship)

Look who made their club debut this week, aye? Good thing too because this was the opportunity. The Python had done some work with the main team during preseason but soon took his expected place with the U23s. Town then went on to win their first four games of the season – thriving even after Tommy Smith got injured, somehow – but Mick McCarthy is known for working with cheap and slim squads and being the pragmatic fellow that he is he often plays experimental squads in cup matches.

So for a midweek League Cup tie against Crystal Palace you knew he’d get weird but perhaps picking the youngest starting XI in the history of the club was a step beyond expectations. The average age of them was 20 years old – and that’s with a 32 year old reserve keeper in there too. Seven starters were teenagers and ten fit senior players were left out entirely. But with a number of injuries Mick figured he couldn’t risk any more – right down to only naming five subs… one of them being 20 year old kiwi winger Monty Patterson. (Aussie teenager Ben Folami started up front).

East Anglian Daily Times: “Monty Patterson - The New Zealand-born forward turned down a scholarship at a Chicago University to join the Town academy in 2013. A right-footed player who likes to drift inside from the left, he was handed his first senior Kiwi call-up last summer and netted his first international goal, against the USA, in October. Scored twice in 13 appearances on loan at Braintree Town last season.”

The Ipswich Kids battled hard at Selhurst Park but a couple second half beauties from James McArthur made the difference. Bersant Celina’s injury time goal was too late to force anything and that meant Ipswich tumbled out of the cup with a 2-1 defeat. No dramas seeing as they didn’t prioritise it at all but that does mean it might be Monty’s best chance to play first team for a few months. Good thing for this, then:

That didn’t leave too much time to do much but he was on the park for the Ipswich goal and then, deep into injury time, he had the chance to send things into extra time with a glancing header but he couldn’t get it on goal.

The Tractor Boys finally lost on the weekend though. Went down 2-0 to Fulham but Monty was nowhere near that one and Tommy Smith is still injured for another month or so, meaning it holds little relevance in the halls of Flying Kiwis. Moving on now.

Up Next: All Whites duty, yo

Jeremy Brockie – SuperSport United (South African Premier Soccer League)

Two games into the new league season, there’s been good and there’s been bad. Things began with a 2-0 home defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns but they sharply improved as SSU toppled Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in their next one. Brockie didn’t do a whole heap in either game but he did cause a stir by handing in a transfer request. Nah, seriously. There’s been interest in him from the top couple clubs for ages now and apparently he’s been tempted.

They rejected the transfer request but best wait and see where this one goes from here. Sundowns are the team that are supposedly trying to get him. If they do they won’t be able to register him for the CAF Champions League because he’s already playing continentally in the other comp with SSU but, jeez, that’d be a good gig. Mamelodi Sundowns were at the last Club World Cup… normally a kiwi’s gotta play at Kiwitea Street for that honour.

SSU manager Eric Tinkler: “It’s an internal matter. The CEO is the right person to speak to.”

That was after Brockie was left out of a 1-1 draw against Maritzburg Utd in the MTN8 semi-final first leg. He’d started the previous league game but that was before, you know, he went and stirred the transfer pot.

Up Next: SSU vs Platinum Stars, 5.30am on 13 Sep… maybe (NZT)

Tyler Boyd – CD Tondela (Portuguese Primeira Liga)

He hasn’t been starting lately. Boydy’s had to work his way into things at Tondela and sure enough he was a sub again as they went to Moreirense. Didn’t get on the park until 80 minutes were already down and the team was 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Tomane and Ricardo Costa. Also, the home lot had seen Andre Michel sent off for two bookable offences within about two minutes of each other – dumb bugger.

Ten minutes was more than enough to grab a goal though, yeah buddy. His first in the Portuguese top flight and everything. Nothing fancy, just got to the near post to divert one in but a goal is most certainly a goal and he scored one. There ya go.

That keeps Moreirense without a win this season while Tondela get their first three-pointer on the board. They’re expected to be fending off relegation so an early victory against a fellow battler is a solid way to start – a win, a draw and two defeats in their first four league games. Tyler’s played 132 minutes of them, one start and two subs apps.

Up Next: No All Whites for Boyd so he’s gotta wait until Tondela’s next one against Pacos de Ferreira on S11, 3.00am (NZT)

The NWSL Quartet

No major happenings this week so we’ll roll through these ones. Put it this way: none of them won and the only one who didn’t lose was Abby Erceg whose North Carolina Courage were meant to play in Houston but the storms meant that one got postponed. Rosie White’s Boston Breakers fared a little better against Aussie goal-scoring machine Sam Kerr than Rebekah Stott’s lot did, only letting the Jillaroo score once but that one goal was enough for a 1-0 win and, being her 16th of the season, matched the all-time record for goals in one campaign. And that’s with four games still left. Kerr’s strike came in the fifth minute and the Breakers gave a good go of it but couldn’t find that sneaky equaliser.

The Bent Musket: “Boston had yet another great chance in the 82’ when Chapman put in a cross that drew Sheridan off her line. The ball popped out to Rosie White, whose one-time volley flew over the bar. Boston had more good movement through the midfield, but somehow the forwards were just missing in front of goal.”

Stotty’s turn now, the Seattle Reign are probably sick of dirty Aussies by now. Kerr put five past them last week and this time they went down 2-1 to Portland Thorns thanks to a pair from Hayley Raso – another one hailing from the land of the dingoes. Not a good result that, with four games left they’re two points out of the final playoff spot. Stotty didn’t play this one though, she was left on the bench and didn’t get the nod.

Finally we have Katie Bowen and FC Kansas City. Well, they lost 2-1 as well. Went down at home to Orlando Pride. Breaks a three-game winning streak and everything. Bowen got the start and played 73 minutes before being replaced by Maegan Kelly, the score sitting comfortable at 1-1 at that stage. But American international star Alex Morgan only went and scored the winner with three minutes to play. Guts after Katie had laid down the challenge in previews.

Hannah Wilkinson – Vittsjo GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

Goal for Wilko? Yeah sure thing, that’s what she does. This goal was in a 1-1 draw against Kristianstad which keeps both teams in that mid-table range after thirteen games.

Up Next: Off to Rosengard to take on those jokers (one of whom being Ali Riley!) at 1.00am on Monday (NZT)

Ali Riley – Rosengard (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

… wait, did someone say Ali Riley? That’d be the same one who just won the Swedish Cup, aye?

Yes… yes it would. Speaking of trophies, this one was only from preseason but still…

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

A happy week for Boxall, in his fifth game for the club he was able to taste his second sip of victory having played the full match at centre back against Chicago Fire in a 2-1 win. Abu Danladi scored two first half goals to shake things up and while Bastian Schweinsteiger was able to set up David Accam in the 77th minute to make things nervous down the final stretch, Box and his mates held on for a win that jumps them up a couple places in the standings and off the foot of their conference table.

This was not a result that many predicted. Minny have never won a game away from home in the MLS (it’s their first season, be gentle) before and this was the team with the cash to whip up that German legend and all. Chicago had lost three on the bounce but still. Minny scored with their two shots on target while Boxall was able to block three shots. Starting to find his feet there, aye?

The other thing here is that Boxall was primarily a right back at SuperSport Utd and also at the Welly Nix before that. He’s been seen as a centre back with the All Whites although that’s in a back three but here he’s playing CB in a flat back four and that’s a bit different. Cool to see he’s settling in.

Up Next: Another one in the All Whites

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

The Whitecaps played twice this week and, ooh what’s this? They split goalkeeping duties again. David Ousted played as VW drew 1-1 with Seattle at home. Solid enough result against a top team, especially equalising after Tony Tchani had been sent off. Ousted was good too, the only goal conceded coming from the penalty spot.

But bugger that guy, how about Stefan Marinovic in the 2-1 win over Orlando City?

There were nine changes for that match so good thing they got the win. Mari’s obviously benefitting from a manager who doesn’t mind mixing up his XIs. Just two players started both games this week. Tommy Redding’s early own goal had Vancouver in the lead and Brek Shea doubled that in the second half, punishing his former team with a slick finish. Cyle Larin cut it back to 2-1 but Marinovic was strong in goal and the Caps went on to win it.

AFTN.com: “Orlando then came to within the width of the crossbar of levelling things up four minutes later when former Whitecaps Giles Barnes rattled the woodwork with a long range strike. Marinovic then produced a point blank stop to deny Dom Dwyer, but the striker was flagged offside, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. Still, it showed what the Kiwi keeper is capable of.”

As for the other jokers, Myer Bevan is just polishing off his suspension but both Deklan Wynne and Francis de Vries played the full thing against San Antonio in a 1-0 defeat for the All-Whitecaps 2 side. That was in the midweek and then they played LA Galaxy 2 on the Sunday for a 2-1 victory, again each getting full games. Hey, look at Francis’ head wound!

Up Next: You know the drill

Andrew Blake – Hibernian (Scottish Premiership)

Another kiwi getting another pro gig. Blake was a Phoenix youngster back in the day and was a part of the NZ U20 side that competed at the World Cup in Aotearoa in 2015. He can play as a midfielder though has been more of a right back lately, particularly with Hibs where he’s been trialling in the preseason. Still only 21, Blake will launch into their development team in the meantime.

Andrew Blake: “I'm delighted to have signed for Hibernian. I've enjoyed my time at the club so far - I've been here a couple of months now and it's been a great experience. Hibs have a reputation for developing young talent and there's a lot of talented players in the current squad. We had a good start against Kilmarnock on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to developing my game further over the coming season.”

See, look, he’s playing for the academy team already…

Up Next: The Hard Yards


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