Flying Kiwis – November 6

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Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Once upon a time West Ham vs Burnley would’ve been appointment viewing for any self-respecting kiwi footy fan. It sure was last season as Chris Wood scored late and he and Winston almost had a friendly tussle about it all tangled up in the goal net. But Winston Reid is injured and Chris Wood has been playing off the bench so understandable if you slept through it.

It was Sam Vokes and Matej Vydra who got the start up against the Hammers, Woody once more on the substitute chairs. Up front Sean Dyche’s troubles are in finding the right combination with his options. At the back the issue has nothing to do with combinations – Ben Gibson is out injured so its Ben Mee and a hobbled James Tarkowski regardless – it’s not even clear exactly what the issue is… but there’s definitely an issue. A formerly brilliant defensive team has become pretty rubbish at the back and when you concede goals like Marko Arnautovic’s opener here in the tenth minute then you get what you deserve. Tarkowski took his eyes off the ball and Arnautovic ran in and stole it to score.

West Ham should’ve had a penalty for a sliding challenge from Steven Defour but Burnley got away with it and managed to level up against the run of play through Johann Berg Gudmundsson to be tied at the break. Felipe Anderson put West Ham back on top in the 68th min and the Hammers would’ve felt like normal service was resumed… and then came the master plan…

Chris Wood was subbed on and five minutes later he’d scored. His first goal of the Premier League season, his first in any competition since he scored against Olympiacos in late August. It had been ten games in between without a goal (eight subs appearances and two starts). The goal came from a Robbie Brady corner kick, himself on a comeback after a long injury layoff, this was only his second game back, and it was a trademark dominant header from The Woodsman. Pure Chris Wood.

Of course, it didn’t last. Anderson scored another from a cheeky deflection and Javier Hernandez came off the bench for a fourth. They were much better and they got the scoreline they were worth in the end. Chris Wood had a great chance for a second at 3-2 but his header came back off the crossbar, unable to get over it and guide it on target.

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4-2. Burnley lose another and have now conceded 13 goals in their last three games. Man City and Chelsea are one thing, West Ham are another.

Lancashire Telegraph: “Dyche still looks to be searching for the right combination in attack as well. Sam Vokes has come from nowhere this season to lead the line, earning a new contract in the process, and he kept his place at the London Stadium. But Jeff Hendrick was dropped to the bench after his disappointing performance last week and Matej Vydra was given another chance to shine. The £11million man was rarely in the game through and it was no surprise when Vydra and Vokes were hooked together, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood coming on. Wood scored to press a claim for a starting spot at Leicester City next week and surely the attack has to be built around the record signing. He might not always possess the physicality that Dyche so likes from his front men, but his record in front of goal speaks for itself. It would be no surprise to see another new look attack at the King Power Stadium next weekend.”

Yeah so big issues with the Clarets at the moment, however they do have their kiwi striker scoring again so no need to overcomplicate things. He’s a confidence player. He’s now got some confidence and you could tell from his workrate after the goal was scored, he was buzzing to have broken that… drought seems a bit harsh when it’s only been a couple months and he mostly hasn’t been starting since then but buzzing to have gotten underway for the season anyway. Get him in there.

Chris Wood: “We had these times last year, but it masked it because we had a great start to the season but it doesn’t take it away from the group of the lads here. We are going to fight and work hard and get back to winning ways and I know we will do that. It shows our character and resilience and we are a team like that. To come back twice away from home is fantastic and that’s a positive to take from it. It was nice to get back into the game because it felt the momentum changed. We’ve just got to learn from it and shut up shop and be a bit more street-wise. We needed to shut up shop, take a point and move on. But unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

Up Next: Away at Leicester City on Sunday at 4am (NZT)

Meikayla Moore – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

Home to league leaders Wolfsburg, this could have been a scheduled loss. In the end it was a loss, though not one without some celebrations. Emma Rolston might have scored her first league goal a week ago but she didn’t make it onto the bench here, however Meikayla Moore continued her ever-present campaign at centreback. And you know what? For a full hour MSV kept the leaders scoreless. They frustrated a team with seven wins from seven and a +34 goal difference prior to this game and it was starting to look like they might even get something from the contest. Meikayla Moore did once make a mistake that almost cost them but Claire O’Riordan was there to clear the shot off the line. To be fair, Moore had also made at least one incredible sliding block in the six yard box.

And then Wolfsburg finally found a chink in the armour. Tired though they appeared after a cramped fixture list, balancing league stuff with cup stuff with Champions League, Noelle Maritz finally gave them the lead in the 61st minute. You might have thought the floodgates would open with that. Oh no. Instead…

WAZ.de: “So everything as expected? No, because the MSV struck back. In the 66th minute Geldona Morina lobbed a free-kick from a central position into the area, where she found the head of Meikayla Moore. The New Zealander continued to lead the ball and overcame the injured Almuth Schult substitute Mary Earps for fiercely acclaimed 1-1.”

Sloppy google translate aside, that’s Meikayla’s first goal for the club and a huge one in her career. This is the only goal Wolfsburg have conceded in eight league games. The only goal they have conceded in thirteen games in all competitions this season. They put six unanswered past Atletico Madrid earlier in the week, the team that eliminated Man City from the UCL. But Meikayla Moore found a way.

The 1-1 scoreline didn’t last. Pernille Harder scored the winner a few minutes later, albeit with a fair bit of controversy involved. The move began with a corner that never should’ve been given. Then a handball was missed in the build-up. But Harder scored and Wolfsburg won. Nonetheless, the Wolfsburg gaffer called it a proud performance and said that while they didn’t get a point out of it, maybe they still deserved half a point.  

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🚨Attention long appreciation post🚨 • This year is turning out to be pretty crazy for me... • Until today, VFL Wolfsburg were 58 goals for, 0 goals against, across all competitions including the champions league... • Today i scored my first goal for MSV Duisburg and my second in the Allianz Frauen Bundesliga. In doing so breaking VFL Wolfburgs clean sheet record that they had held for 12 appearances... • It’s the stuff i could only imagine as a kid...it really is for me what dreams are made of...i am beyond thankful for this incredible journey i am on... • From scoring my first goal for the New Zealand national team (Football Ferns) against japan, to bring the score to 1-1 (despite eventually losing 3-1) to scoring today against the best women’s team in Germany currently, to again bring the score to 1-1 (despite the game finishing 2-1) you can see from the pictures what it means to me.... • This team fought to the bitter end today...and i believe we were extremely unlucky to not come away with at least what would have been a very well deserved point but sometimes calls are made that you cannot control...however everybody gave 110% and i’m extremely proud to be a member of this zebra family, it’s only up from here for this group 💙🦓 • For me this is just the beginning... • #watchthisspace #msvfrauen #dieliga #whatdreamsaremadeof #gratefulheart • 📸 @martinmeier_foto and @pese26

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Up Next: Duisburg vs Turbine Potsdam, Saturday 17 November (NZT)

Ali Riley – Chelsea FC (English Super League)

A 1-0 lead going into the away leg of a Champions League R16 clash doesn’t sound like the safest proposition. Particularly not when your team has been struggling to score goals and turn dominance into results. But for Chelsea against Fiorentina last week it was no trouble whatsoever.

Ali Riley got her first start in a Chelsea jersey in the first leg so it was a bummer not to see her named to kick off in this one, Emma Hayes instead going with the tried and true. Ali was instead introduced in the second half off the bench, immediately after her team had just made it 5-0. Just a few minutes later Ramona Bachmann, a fellow sub and the most recent guest on the legendary Girls With Balls poddy, made it six and that was the way it stayed – even after Chelsea’s Millie Bright was a 74th min red card. Fran Kirby scored a hatty, while Drew Spence and Erin Cuthbert scored the others. A 6-0 win, mate, it doesn’t get much more comprehensive than that.

Chelsea will find out who they play in the quarters in a couple days when the draw is made but they can already pride themselves on being the last remaining English team after Man City were unexpectedly knocked out by Atletico Madrid last round. As you know, Ali Riley is no stranger to the latter stages of this competition. She and her old club Rosengård made a bit of a habit of such things. Last season they were knocked out by none other than Chelsea Football Club in the R16, little did Ali Riley know she’d be playing for her opponents a year later. The season previously Rosengård fell 3-0 to Barcelona in the quarters, while the 2015-16 saw them beaten on penalties by Frankfurt, also in the quarters. It was quarters and out the year before with an away goals defeat to Wolfsburg and it was that same opposition who did them in 5-2 in the R16 of 2013-14. And before that, in AR’s first season in Sweden, they were smashed 8-0 by Lyon in the quarters. So actually this is the seventh straight season that Ali Riley has played in at least the R16 of the Champions League and she’s made the quarters in five of them… but never gone deeper than that.

Hold up though, there was another game to get to this week. Chelsea vs West Ham in the WPL, with Ali Riley again named on the bench while Ria Percival got the start for the opposition. Chelsea kept up the confidence from midweek and Becky Spencer in goal for WHU had to make a couple decent stops to deny Fran Kirby and Hannah Blundell. Rather one sided in the first half yet still scoreless at the break. Then West Ham came out of the sheds looking enthused with a few half-time oranges in them and it was time to go to the bench, Ali Riley introduced in the 62nd minute. Almost immediately this happened…

Ramona Bachmann doing as Ramona Bachmann does. She didn’t get to be the latest guest on the esteemed Girls With Balls podcast for no reason. Bachmann ended up with a double and Chelsea won 2-0. Ninety minutes in there for Ria Percival too, playing at right back. She got pretty close to stopping Bachmann’s second goal… until that finish. Geez. West Ham are looking to stay up in the top flight in their first season there and so far so good in that regard, despite the defeat.

Up Next: International break, as you know

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

The only kiwi to make the MLS playoffs despite the proliferation of battlers out there making their way in the States, Bill Tuiloma has spent all season primed up and waiting for his moments to shine. Staying ready to be the next man up. Such was the case against FC Dallas. A little over half an hour to play and Larrys Mabiala dragged down Dominique Badji, an ex-Rapids striker if you recognise the name, and out came the red card from the ref’s pocket. Minutes later, this happened in response…

Gotta have a centreback out there, after all. The Timbers were 1-0 up at the time. They were briefly 1-0 down early on after Matt Hedges had whacked the ball in from close range after a header from a deep free kick and ran off celebrating until the VAR butted its head in and correctly disallowed the goal for offside. Ten minutes later Diego Valeri did that thing that he does when he breaks a game open with a stunning bit of genius, this time a curling free kick for the lead. Dallas almost equalised immediately but Portland held on until Mabiala’s red without taking too much pressure back on themselves.

Then, as you might expect, it got quite frisky. Dallas threw the proverbial kitchen sink at them and Jeff Attinella in goal had to make a few saves after going relatively untested to that point. But the Timbers are getting to find their groove on attack and they can hit you very smoothly on the break. 71st minute and Valeri had a double after some nice work from Sebastian Blanco. Matt Hedges did get one back in injury time yet it was too late. Timbers advance with a 2-1 win… and Bill Tuiloma had himself a likelihood of starting a playoff game next up against the in-form Seattle Sounders.

Stumptown Footy: “Of course the Timbers will be without the services of Larrys Mabiala, who picked up a red card with about 30 minutes left in the match against Dallas. While it looked to me like he’d got tripped up in the turf, DOGSO is DOGSO, and that means Gio will have a choice when it comes to his center back pairing. [Oh, and the Timbers are winless (3) with Mabiala out of the line up.] It looks like Bill Tuiloma is most likely to get the start alongside Liam Ridgewell. It seems that Tuiloma has jumped ahead of Julio Cascante on the depth chart for Gio.”

Sure enough, an hour before kickoff and Tuiloma was named to start alongside Liam Ridgewell at the back. The Timbers started on the front foot but were quickly put under pressure by Seattle. That meant lots of Tui holding his position at the back, making sure not to make a mistake that’d let a striker in behind him. He’s never really played CB for the All Whites but it’s been where he’s spent most of his time with the Timbers and he’s really starting to get it down, playing switched on positionally but also never hesitating to charge out if the ball is there to win. Plus he’s excellent in the air despite not being especially tall – which makes every attacking corner a potential goal scoring opportunity. Tui didn’t get a shot off in this one but he was close to a fair few of those swirling corners (the most notorious being when he sent his marker colliding into a teammate and there was a break while they each were attended for a head clash).

Yet it was Seattle who took the lead in the tenth minute. Tuiloma went wide to close down Christian Roldan and he did get a few sprigs onto the low cross but Raul Ruidiaz adjusted and smacked it in from six yards out on the run. A familiar face to Tui, that Ruidiaz bloke. Same as he will be too many Flying Kiwis readers… he’s a striker for Peru.

Then some crazy stuff happened. Jeremy Ebobisse is a guy who spent a lot of time with Bill Tuiloma in the reserves in 2017. He won’t be playing much more reserve footy after a superb goal in the 17th min, showing a clean pair of heels and stabbing the ball over the advancing keeper to tie the game up. Was he offside? It kinda looked like it but VAR didn’t even bother to look. Within half an hour Sebastian Blanco had another one and Portland led 2-1.

They play some fast, aggressive footy on attack and the pace and skill of that front trio allowed their defence to sit back and plug holes. It’s a formula that’s beginning to work for Portland. With that, they were able to largely blunt the Sounders. Tuiloma gave away a couple fouls with his hard-arse defensive however he also read the game nicely and basically just didn’t make any errors. Ridgewell was excellent next to him and Seattle had three shots in the first ten minutes and only six in the entire remaining eighty. A 2-1 win and a first leg lead, not too bad.

As astute defensive performance and now the Timbers have to do it again in the difficult setting of Seattle in a few days. Away goals will be necessary as keeping a clean sheet against Seattle away from home is not something you can bank on being able to do. Not sure if Tui will play that one, Mabiala should be back although Ridgewell is 34 and doesn’t always play back to back games in a single week. Then again, it’s the playoffs so you make do. Tuiloma will be there ready and waiting as always if he’s needed.

Coach Gio Savarese on Bill Tuiloma’s Performance: “He played very well. We knew already Bill could do the job. [Julio] Cascante could step in and do the job. [Modou] Jadama if he had to play he could do the job. We believe in our players. Our players have been working very hard this season. To make sure when they get the opportunity they take advantage of it. Tuiloma had a great match today as well.”

Up Next: Leg two in Seattle, Friday at 4.30pm (NZT)

Stefan Marinovic – Vancouver Whitecaps (American Major League Soccer)

The season is over for the Cappies but the drama continues, with a few players dropping lines about an apparent divided dressing room. The coach was fired a couple months back so you know there were issues, but having a few blokes openly admit that was a surprise. Even more so when there’s talk from the boardroom about ‘culture’ problems. Stefan Marinovic had a bit of a yarn about the situation although he later clarified those comments in an IG post.

MLS.com: “Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic noted that the cultural divide between players of different backgrounds that, to some extent, is inevitable in all dressing rooms in MLS, was more pronounced in Vancouver.

"In the teams that I've been with before, I've never seen a team that had such a lot of cliques," Marinovic said. "From what I understand from talking to players here and around the league, that is synonymous with MLS that you're going to have certain cliques. You're going to have the North American clique or you're going to have a Latino clique. That definitely was apparent here and I think there's a lot of clubs in MLS that are like that. Here it became difficult because we weren't doing too well. It became more apparent when certain people got away with things that they shouldn't, in the eyes of the rest of the team. It doesn't really build a strong team culture."

Vancouver ended up missing the postseason by two points, and Teibert had previously criticized some of his teammates for "giving up" as the season wound down. Marinovic suggested, at the very least, some didn't rise to the occasion. "I think it was pretty apparent this year that when the going got tough, players didn't come together as we should have," Marinovic said. "Your true nature comes to the forefront I think, and that's what happened so some players here."”

Ooh, scandalous. Here’s the full exit interview he did, which has way more interesting insights than just the personality troubles that the club may or may not have had to deal with…

 

Up Next: Offseason, baby, live it up

Katie Rood – Bristol City (English Super League)

It’s been a little while since Katie Rood had a good run but she got her second WSL appearance this week off the bench against Reading. Not the happiest occasion, she came on after Fara Williams had scored twice and set up another for Brooke Chaplen to give Reading a 3-0 lead and ultimately a 3-0 victory, but it was a solid 24 minute camo. Previously most of her time for Bristol City had come in WSL Cup stints.

Not fantastic times for Bristol City though. They could use a bit more Football Ferns flavour in there because sine their brilliant result in September drawing 2-2 with Man City, they’ve lost three out of four, the only win coming against strugglers Yeovil Town.

Up Next: Bristol City vs Liverpool on Sunday 18 November at 4am (NZT)

Tyler Boyd – Vitória de Guimarães (Portuguese Primeira Liga)

A football season has many ups and downs. Just as Tyler Boyd had opened his goal-scoring account in a cup game and launched back into the starting XI for V. Guimarães a week ago, this week he wasn’t even in the travelling squad for the 0-0 draw with Boavista. He wasn’t dropped, don’t panic. He picked up a left thigh injury in training and you’d have to imagine that has him in doubt for next week’s game too, we can only wait and see.

In the meantime here’s Tyler getting the bollocks scared off of him on Halloween…

Or not. What a tough guy.

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Up Next: VSC vs Santa Clara, Monday at 4am (NZT)

Jeremy Brockie – Mamelodi Sundowns (South African Premier Soccer League)

It’s now been over a year since Jeremy Brockie last scored a PSL goal. It’s a stat that’s getting plenty of traction in South African footy twitter but it’s a rough one when you consider he’s only playing scraps of games of the bench late on at the moment. Pretty hard to score a goal when you’re not getting any minutes. Also worth pointing out that his goal struggles started in the last few months of his time at SuperSport, not the moment he moved to Mamelodi Sundowns, but it has definitely been Sundowns where he’s struggled to fit in and play his natural game.

He did get a good half hour this week. Brockie was subbed on for a tiring Toni Silva in the 59th minute of a Telkom Cup game away to Baroka FC but this was a shambles of a game. Baroka were excellent and should’ve scored a few more goals but in the end a 2-0 victory eliminating South Africa’s strongest club in the quarters was enough. Brockie did glance a header off the outside of the post from a corner soon after the second goal and that was as close as he (or his team) got (unless you count Reyaad Pieterse’s own goal). Afterwards MS’s manager, who had rotated a number of players for this game, admitted his side had taken their opposition too lightly.

Up Next: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Free State Stars, Thursday at 6.30am (NZT)

Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

It was another defeat for FCGB. Went down 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain, with goals coming from Marie-Antoinette Katoto in the ninth minute with an easy header at the far post and then Kadidiatou Diani in the 82nd minute, gassing onto an errant back pass with too much pace for the defence and then again for a diving Erin Nayler. Not a terrible performance at all, they had their moments (and Nayler made an excellent diving save from a free kick in the second half), but it means a fourth defeat in a row after going undefeated through their first five. That four-game losing streak has not coincidentally come as they’ve face three of the four teams above them but it’s concerning that they now haven’t scored for five straight games.

The loss to PSG was expected. The loss to relegation-threatened Metz in the midweek not so much. On that occasion it was a first half penalty from Meryll Wenger that was the difference in a 1-0 result. It was a game they should’ve won but couldn’t find the goals they needed and an errant handball cost them the points. Bugger.

Up Next: A week off and then Erin Nayler’s off to the Oceania Nations Cup

James Musa – Phoenix Rising (American United Soccer League)

Guess who’s off to the USL grand final? Yeah mate. Although… The Moose hasn’t actually played since early October, taking no part in the USL playoffs due to injury. That lower body thing still lingering. He didn’t get to play when they knocked Portland out 3-0, didn’t play as they won 4-2 against his old team Swope Park Rangers and wasn’t able to go as they wrapped up the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over Orange County. Chris Cortez scored early and they led the entire rest of the way, all 88 minutes of it. Didier Drogba doubled that lead in the 73rd and Koji Hashimoto pulled one back in the 82nd but it wasn’t enough. Phoenix Rising lift the Conference title and will meet Louisville City in the grand final.

There’s a bit of history there as Louisville City is the team Elliot Collier scored his second goal for Chicago Fire against, a lovely trike in the US Open Cup quarter final. They’re also the defending USL champions having beaten Swope Park 1-0 in the final a year ago. A Swope Park team which featured James Musa in the midfield. If he’s able to go in the final then it’ll be a serious revenge game for The Moose. (Swope Park knocked Phoenix out on penalties in the conference quarters last year, probably a part of why they wanted to sign Musa). This is Phoenix’s first time going this deep in the playoffs, they’d never even won a postseason game prior.

James Musa: “It's special because it's very new here. It's kind of a new feeling and people don't really know what to expect.”

Up Next: Friday at 2pm, Louisville City vs Phoenix Rising (NZT)

Rebekah Stott – Melbourne City (Australian W-League)

Melly City are here to win and a blip defeat against Canberra Utd last week didn’t really show that. So they bounced back nice and comprehensively with a 3-1 win over Sydney FC on Friday night. They came out much sharper and were immediately on the front foot, Jasmyne Spencer deservedly putting them ahead in the 13th minute, before Amy Sayer equalised against the run of play.

It was still 1-1 at the break and Sydney nearly took the lead but for a quality save from Aussie keeper Lydia Williams. Swiftly after that, however, City went down and took the lead, Spencer putting it away, and then Spencer had herself a hat-trick an hour in. This was a rematch of last season’s final but City were much too good. They even held on in there after Chelsea Blissett saw a red card for cutting down Savannah McCaskill when through on goal with twenty mins left (McCaskill a teammate of Stotty’s at Sky Blue). It means a 3-1 win for City, who get their season really churning now. Rebekah Stott’s gonna see a change to her defence next week with teenager Blissett suspended but should be good. Stott almost had herself a stunning goal in the first half after blocking a clearance and cracking one towards goal but it was saved.

That’s the current situation and it looks like Stott will be a key player for Melbourne City all season as they seek to win yet another W-League championship. However there’s a chunky bit of news out there that maybe should’ve led this segment. Reports in Norway suggest that she’s signed with Avaldsnes IL for next year’s Toppserien, rather than returning to America. Avaldsnes were runners up in 2017 and qualified for the Champions League with that… but had a shocking 2018, earning just 21 points from 22 games.

Avaldsnes Damer Elite: “Stott plays in defence and will be able to contribute much experience and a high level despite young age in Avaldsnes. For New Zealand's national team, she has 57 caps and has played her club team throughout her professional career. Rebekah Stott is an exciting centreback with very good international experience. She will be able to help shape the match in the season of 2019. Stott is a typical tough defender who is good at winning the ball, reading games and having the ability to create an imbalance in opponents by carrying the ball over halfway. We look forward to getting Stott on the team!”

Up Next: Melbourne Derby against the Victory, Friday at 9.30pm (NZT)

Ryan Thomas – PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)

Up Next: More of that good rehab action

Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)

Just so you know.

Up Next: Not much

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