Flying Kiwis – September 5

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Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Most of the Flying Kiwis were back in Aotearoa for All Whites duty so this week might be a bit of a slim one, but just because Chris Wood wasn’t in action for Burnley doesn’t mean he wasn’t making waves. His hat-trick for New Zealand broke an insane drought for Clarets players at international level. Ever heard of Jack Yates?

Burnley FC: “Wood, who opened his Clarets account with a dramatic late equaliser against Spurs at Wembley last weekend, struck three times for the All-Whites [sic] in the two-legged Oceania section of World Cup qualifying. The treble was the first at international level by a Burnley player for over 120 years, since Jack Yates scored a hat-trick for England in 1889.”

Old man Yates was an FA Cup winner with Blackburn Olympic way back in 1883. In those nascent footy days, the club was a collection of ‘tradesmen and weavers’. After a spell with Accrington, Yates joined Burnley in 1888 for the first ever season of the football league. He scored a few goals from the left wing and then got the call-up to represent England in March of 1889. The Three Lions won 6-1 and Yates bagged a treble. But then he was dropped for their next game six weeks later and never played for his country again, only occasionally playing for Burnley after that as he returned to his true vocation: cotton weaving.

Coincidentally 6-1 was also the score as Woody scored his hatty for his country. Even more coincidentally is that Yates is one of FIVE players to have scored debut hat-tricks for England and never played again (Frank Bradshaw in 1908, Albert Allen a few months later in 1888, Walter Gilliat in 1893 and John Veitch in 1894). But save the rest of that for Flying Poms.

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Burnley were pretty active in the transfer window and right before it slammed shut (it always slams, it’s never gentle) they managed to grab themselves another striker: Nakhi Wells. The Bermudan international joins from Huddersfield Town for £5m. He was in his last year of his contract there and despite scoring ten goals on the way to promotion he’d fallen down the pecking order with new signings coming in at Hudders. Wells is also recovering from ankle surgery so it might be a few games before he’s available.

Clearly another striker means more competition for Woody, with Sam Vokes, Jonathan Walters and Ashley Barnes already there to compete with. But Wells isn’t really a direct rival for them, he’s more of an alternative. When Burnley sold Andre Gray and brought in Wood, they gained plenty in size and strength but lost plenty of speed. Wells is the antidote to that. He’s fast and skilful, while still being a good finisher – just the kind of player who can cause all sorts of trouble running off a player like Wood, as we’ve seen Marco Rojas and Kosta Barbarouses try for the All Whites.

Here’s the gaffer talking about Chris Wood last week (before they agreed anything for Nakhi).

Sean Dyche: “I think [Wood] adds to the quality of the squad, particularly with the loss of Andre. They’re different in style. Woody’s probably slightly more rounded in his play, with what he can offer the team’s performance, whereas Andre’s got certain weapons that are very powerful on any given day. I like both players for different reasons, but we think Woody’s maturity as a player is an important part of it. There’s still development in him, but I think he’s rounded a bit more now. He’s 25. He’s been around a few different clubs and a few different situations at the top two levels, not quite getting regular football at the top level at Leicester, but had moments within it. I just think he’s a good player for us at this time. He’s another healthy player who does add to the group.”

Burnley aren’t necessarily a team that’ll start two strikers either though Dyche has shown a tendency to chuck a few blokes forward as the game progresses – Wood’s league debut saw him introduced alongside Barnes off the bench with the team down 1-0. You know what happened next. Vokes remains numero uno and Walters is injured but the most experienced of the lot. Barnes was rumoured away to Wolves though has stayed on, Wells probably jumps in ahead of him on the charts. It should be said that before they signed Wells, Burnley were hotly linked with Ghanaian forward Abdul Majid Waris but that never ended up happening. Probably down to the international clearance – Wells seems to be the alternate option to him.

More Sean Dyche: “Woody got on and started stretching the pitch even though he was offside a couple of times he put doubt in their minds, opened up the pitch and I thought we played into the pockets very well after that… I think he has got an ability to score different kinds of goals and that is a tremendous thing to have and he will feel much better for getting his first goal of course.

I thought Barnesy played his part and I thought Vokesy ran ever so hard and affected the game. I like the strikers we work with. I want a team that can be effective in many different ways. Sometimes it is a tactical game, sometimes you have to play great football and sometimes it is blood and guts.”

Up Next: Burnley vs Crystal Palace, 12.30am on Monday (NZT)

Rosie White – Boston Breakers (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Count it, goal number four for Rosie this season.

Unfortunately the Breakers poor form continued and by the time she scored, White’s team were already down two goals thanks to a Rachel Hill double within 17 minutes, Alex Morgan out there running the show and leaving Boston lucky to still be as close as they were. White’s goal came soon after HT and might have had them back in the contest.

The Bent Musket: “Initially, it looked like more of the same coming into the second half, but Boston put pressure on the Pride four minutes in, as Rosie White notched a goal to cut the lead and give the Breakers a boost. White’s goal was a reversal of sorts from Orlando’s first goal, as some terrific build-up, including a good cross beyond the far post and a low cross from Amanda Frisbie, led to White’s tap-in from right in front of the net.”

Nah, that didn’t happen though. Marta and Megan Oyster each scored to make it 4-1 and Julie King added a consolation in the last few minutes. That’s nine games without a win for the Breakers, while Orlando rise up to third on the table. Could probably use a couple more Footy Ferns in defence as well by the looks of it.

By the way, Rosie leads the NWSL in yellow cards, with seven of the buggers this season.

And here’s a must-read from New England Soccer Journal, looking at Rosie White’s transition into an attacking playmaker role this season but also her creativity off the field, which is continually impressive and inspiring.

Rosie White: “I feel like I’m now finally at a stage where I can start using that experience and try and just keep the calm on the field, and also try and help drive the team and be a leader. I think the biggest way I can lead is by example and just working really hard.”

Up Next: Home to Portland Thorns, 10.00am on Monday 11 Sep (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers II (American United Soccer League)

It’s not quite Major League Soccer yet and he still hasn’t tasted a victory there but Tui is really establishing himself with the second team in Portland. In five games since he arrived in America he’s started the lot of them, subbed off once but otherwise ever-present in there. It’s all about small steps so far and Billy T is making a slow but assured start.

Having lost all three of his starts prior, Tui was on hand to give them a late, late lead against Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Scrappy ball in the penalty area and Tuiloma puts it away opportunistically with his head. In his first three games he picked up three yellows. He’s also scored two goals in his first four now.

Eh, but Kai Greene scored a minute later to rob the T2 side of a rare win. They’ve only won two of their 25 matches so that rot goes way deeper than Bill Tuiloma’s arrival, clearly. The 1-1 draw leaves them still sitting way back in last place in the Western Conference – the team directly ahead of them being the Vancouver All-Whitecaps 2 side, sadly enough. But they didn’t play this week while Tui and the T2’s played twice.

T2 boss Andrew Gregor: “I was very pleased with how the team played tonight, minus the last two minutes. We dominated possession for the majority of the game. We played the way we wanted to play. We defended well. I was pleased with it. I think it’s obviously a deserved point, but I felt like we had three points slip out of our hands there at the end of the game.”

The second game came at home to Tulsa Roughnecks and, yeah, that was also a 1-1 draw. Jack Barmby scored early but Juan Pablo Caffa equalised from the penalty spot just before half-time. Interestingly Tuiloma was used as a centre back the last two occasions, having been in the midfield every other game. This has also coincided with midfielder Villyan Bijev being loaned out to Sacramento after starting in 22 matches.

Up Next: T2 vs Real Monarchs, 2.00pm on Sunday (NZT)

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

The international break has arrived at a nice time for SSU because things with their kiwi striker are getting strange. Last week it was revealed that with interest from a couple top clubs, Brockie had submitted a transfer request. But that got declined by the club who were desperate to keep him. Now SuperSport have gone as far as Doing A Southampton and filing a complaint against Mamelodi Sundowns for their approach.

SSU CEO Stan Matthews: “There is a charter with rules and a constitution that governs us. I can say watch this space because for sure we will be laying a complaint with the PSL after this transfer window. You tell me what you see around the country at the moment… And then you tell me whether we as clubs should be happy that coaches from other teams call our players directly? That terms, prices and fees are negotiated when you haven’t had the decency to get permission from a club to talk to their player.

These are things that no football administrator should be happy about. They are not proper. The lack of activity in the transfer market speaks a lot to the fact that it’s not only about money anymore. It’s not a case of pitching up with a big cheque book and thinking you can throw your wallet at it and we are all going to roll over and rebuild our team season after season while few people run off with the silverware.”

Yowza. Clearly that’d been festering but the window did close and Brockie did stay. With his contract as it is, with the club in the middle of a continental campaign, with the new season only just underway it was expected that he would say. This bloke from his player agency said as much a day or two before the window closed and CEO Stan has echoed similar sentiments.

Mike Makaab (ProSport International): “It is highly unlikely that is going to happen (Brockie joining Sundowns). It looks like he is staying with SuperSport. Eric Tinkler doesn’t want to release him. He believes that Brockie is important, since they are challenging for honours in Africa. The player has a contract with SuperSport United, and there’s nothing we can do if they want to keep him.”

Stan the Man: “Not every player can expect to be sold whenever he wants to be sold. We're standing by our commitments, and we expect him to do likewise. The thing is the longer he's on the sidelines it's going to hurt him as well us. So he's got to decide what kind of professional he is now. There’s nothing to manage. He’s a professional player under contract earning millions of rands, and we expect him to do his job to the best of his ability.”

Rumour is that Brockie had a release clause of around 10 million rand – which is worth roughly NZ$1.1m or UK£597k- but that’s just a rumour. No proof on that one.

(Stuart Baxter being the old manager who left to take over the South African national team).

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

Abby Erceg – North Carolina Courage (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Five wins in a row but that streak was snapped by Erceg’s lot losing 2-1 away to Chicago Red Stars. They’d even taken the lead through Lynn Williams (of course) and while they’d missed the odd chance to go up by two, including one ruled out for offside, they still held that 1-0 lead at half-time. Now, the Courage are full of title winning players from the franchise’s previous incarnation. Abby Erceg captains the side and that’s no token gig – she leads the best defence in the league. No team has conceded fewer goals and Abby’s lot have been responsible for 12 clean sheets this season in 25 matches.

SB Nation: “The Courage’s front line, with Williams and Jess McDonald, has plenty of support now. McCall Zerboni and Sam Mewis have dictated most of North Carolina’s game from the midfield, both in forcing turnovers defensively and setting up offensive chances. Ashley Hatch has, in her rookie season and despite not starting consistently, put up five goals. Abby Dahlkemper, Abby Erceg and non-Abbys Taylor Smith and Jaelene Hinkle have formed one of the strongest backlines in the league.”

But then Yuki Nagasato equalised and Julie Ertz stole the win with six minutes remaining. First defeat since July 16 for the Courage. Might have been different if this apparently sure-thing spottie had been given though…

Hey, they’ve already qualified for the playoffs though. They made that sure with a 3-2 win over Washington Spirit, making NCC the first team booked for that postseason stuff. Had to come from behind to make it happen too but that’s what champions do, after all.

Sports Illustrated: “Abby Dahlkemper and veteran Abby Erceg anchor the backline, and have formed an excellent center-back partnership. The tactical understanding between the two is nearly flawless, executing the necessary pressure and cover whenever opponents do manage to get past the Carolina midfield.”

Up Next: Home to Houston Dash, 11.30am on Sunday (NZT)

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

Not too much to say because Katie didn’t get on the scoresheet or anything but she did play the first 71 minutes, subbed off with the game well in the bag. That’s because FCKC pulled out one of their best performances of the season in beating Sky Blue 4-1. Shea Groom got a double and it was 3-0 when Bowen took her seat. Considering how the other kiwis have gone against Sam Kerr and Sky Blue lately, this was huge. Gives KC their fourth win in five games and probably eliminates Sky Blue from the semis.

It wasn’t as dominant as the scoreline suggests but Kansas City took their chances was all. Bowen played a little part in the third goal too.

FC Kansas City.com: “Kansas City began a nice counter that led to their third goal of the match. Midfielder Desiree Scott started the attack with some help from midfielder Katie Bowen. Scott went down the left side and sent the ball into the box for Groom whose initial shot was blocked by Sheridan, but the third-year forward put away the rebound for a brace.”

Up Next: 7.30am on Sunday against Chicago Red Stars (NZT)

Rebekah Stott – Seattle Reign (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Seattle can still make the playoffs, but their hopes were dwindling after a couple defeats. So good thing to be playing Houston then, a team that they’d beaten in all nine previous contests. True to form, they beat them again. It was only a 1-0 win but it’s the three points that they needed more than anything else.

The match was moved into Dallas because of the flooding and damage in the Houston area and proceeds from the game went towards hurricane relief. Megan Rapinoe made her return from knee surgery as a late sub, giving the Reign their star player back, while Stott was good at the back, almost grabbing a goal too with a rebounded effort from a corner but it was cleared off the line. No matter, they got the win and are five points out of the playoffs with three games left to play. Still a chance.

Up Next: Orlando Pride vs Seattle Reign, 11.30am Sunday (NZT)

Tamati Williams - Aalborg Boldspilklub (Danish Superliga)

Having performed third goalie roles at the Confederations Cup, Tamati Williams was then notably absent from the All Whites squad for the Solomon Islands games. His contract with Waalwijk had expired and the dude was more or less waiting around to see if another contract came his way or if he’d have to fall back on his modelling career instead. He’d already told reporters he was happy to stay living in Holland. Then this happened.

Williams will spend the rest of 2017 in Denmark with AaB, making good use of his Dutch passport. He probably won’t be playing much and he’s really only there to back up Jacob Rinne with their other keeper injured and another been sold. Seems like a good gig, though.

AaB sports director Allan Gaarde: “Michael Lansing's back injury and the sale of Nicolai Larsen have meant that we have to find a qualified back up for Jacob Rinne, in a relatively short time, and it has luckily fallen in place with the signing of Tamati Williams. Tamati is aware that he is primarily associated as a reserve but he is also very focused on professionalism and his routine to contribute positively to our training environment.”

With five draws and two defeats from their league season so far, AaB probably need the goals more than they need the clean sheets – although Larsen had started all seven of those games so Williams ought to wander straight in onto the bench.

Up Next: Viborg vs AaB, Danish Cup, 5.30am on Friday (NZT)

Ali Riley – FC Rosengard & Hannah Wilkinson – Vittsjo GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

Fresh off winning the Swedish Cup, this week gave Ali one of those feisty occasions that are usually only withheld for the American based Ferns. It was a head to head Flying Kiwis derby, defender Ali Riley against striker Hannah Wilkinson… and guess who scored?

Pretty insane goal too, obviously 100% intended and everything. Although incredibly not everyone saw it that way…

Riley’s Rosengard then went on to draw from 2-0 up. Wilkinson came off the bench with 29 minutes left and the score at 2-1, before Linda Sallstrom equalised in the 75th minute from the penalty spot. The draw still keeps Rosengard firmly in the Champions League spots and only four points off top. Wilko’s Vittsjo are back in mid-table.

Up Next: Riley’s at home to first-placed Linkoping at 2.00am Monday while Wilko’s at home to Pitea two hours earlier (NZT)

Harry Edge – West Bromwich Albion (English Premier League)

Check this one out, another kiwi at a Premier League club… sort of. Harry Edge has been trialling with the U23s lately, taking part in a game against Wolves while there. The West Brom website lists him as one of two trialists, alongside Kyle Jameson (some English dude, not the fast bowler from Canterbury Kyle Jamieson). Actually Jameson briefly used to be in the Chelsea system and was with Everton and as a kid. He also trialled with Celtic and WBA have signed him up on a proper deal after two trial performances.

There were also three U18s players promoted, with West Brom clearly looking to reinvigorate the reserve team or something, especially being loan season – WBA were no different in sending a few young’uns out for experience. Edge started the game and played the full ninety. Wolves won it 2-0.

Edge is the son of former All White Declan Edge whose Ole Academy has had a lot to do with an increasingly strong list of current kiwi footballers in the Flying Kiwis stocks – Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd, for example. Harry’s bounced around a bit looking for a home, playing in South Africa, Holland and, you know, for Auckland City.

West Brom is also the club where Chris Wood began his professional career. Fingers crossed this isn’t the last we hear of this.

Up Next: …

Andrew Blake – Hibernian (Scottish Premiership)

Up Next: Umm, more developing, apparently

Dan Keat – GAIS (Swedish Superettan)

Sweden looks like fun.

Up Next: Away to Trelleborg at 5.00am next Tuedsday (NZT)


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