Flying Kiwis – January 29

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Katie Rood – Bristol City (English Super League)

Transfer season continues with the Flying Kiwis. This time it’s Katie Rood on the move, joining Lewes FC on loan for the rest of the season. This is a move that means a drop down from the Super League to the Championship division below it but for a player who has only played 106 minutes in the league this season (scoring a goal in that time, mind you), it makes a lot of sense. This should be an opportunity to play a heap of games, score a heap of goals, and hit up Bristol City again for preseason with plenty more confidence and experience. At both Bristol City and Juventus before it Roodie’s mostly had to wait for cup games for extended minutes and at some point you just need to play, especially in a World Cup year, so fair play to all parties.

BCWFC: “Katie Rood joins Lewes FC Women on loan until the end of the season. The New Zealand international striker, who has scored one goal in four appearances for Bristol City Women, will benefit from game time in the Championship under Fran Alfonso’s guidance. This temporary move will see Rood play out the remainder of the 2018/19 season on the South Coast with the Rooks. The 26-year-old is eligible to feature in the Rooks’ home league fixture with London Bees on Saturday (January 27th), subject to the relevant clearance.”

Lewes could use a few goals too, they’re currently ninth out of eleven teams in the Champo, with only 16 scored in 13 matches. Lost their previous three games before Roodie signed by a combined scoreline of 9-0. As for the positive value system of the club, that’s down to the fact that they pay their men and women’s team equal amounts, which is pretty progressive for the ol’ entrenched English footy system.

Obviously not something that clubs with Premier League affiliates could do (Lewes are in the Isthmian Premier Division) but for a club in their position it’s a great initiative. The men play in the seventh tier, the women play in the second. Lewes FC take that further though, it’s not just some token approach to equality. They give the men’s and women’s teams the same training facilities and they play at the same home ground. The club is also 100% community owned and run not-for-profit… plenty other clubs out there could learn a lesson.

Katie Rood: “It is obviously a club with a strong community behind it and an ethical approach, which I really value. It takes strong leadership to be at the forefront of an initiative like Equality FC, so I am thrilled to be joining the club and very much looking forward to contributing to its success both on and off the field. Additionally, Fran is a coach with lots of ambition and I am looking forward to working under him and developing my game.”

Lewes FC Manager Fran Alonso: “Katie is a very dynamic, talented and hard-working footballer who has joined us from WSL1 Bristol City and has previously played for Juventus. I am sure she will adapt quickly and fit in well with our team. Lewes fans can get very excited not only because we are able to attract top players to the Club, but because we will have the chance to see Katie, if she is selected, this June in the World Cup in France. How exciting is that!”

That first game didn’t quite go as planned with a 2-0 defeat to London Bees. Lewes looked solid in a relatively eventless first half but were undone in the second and that’s the way it goes. Still, a full debut for Roodie, playing all ninety in the front three and getting pretty involved in things too.

Up Next: FA Cup footy, away to Millwall Lionesses at 3am on Monday (NZT)

Stefan Marinovic – Unattached

Weirdness reigns in the courtship of Stevie G and Big Stef. The trial process seems like a fair plan since the Gers are on the brink of snapping up American trialist Matt Polster, who has had a work permit granted, but possibly not so much for Stefan as the club quite unexpectedly went and signed a lower league keeper from right out underneath him.

HITC: “Bizarrely though, Rangers signed another goalkeeper on Friday. Barrow stopper Andy Firth joined the club in a surprise move, reuniting with Gerrard having worked together at Liverpool. Firth's move brings Marinovic's future into question. Even when Firth's move was done, Marinovic was still spotted training with Rangers, suggesting there is at least a glimmer of hope for him. Yet Rangers already have Allan McGregor and Wes Foderingham. Longer-term, loaned-out Robby McCrorie is in the plans, Jak Alnwick is still a Rangers player even if he's on loan at Scunthorpe United, and now Firth is in too.”

Clayton Lewis could do a favour regarding the bloke at Scunthorpe, leave one in at training or something. Might not do his own career too much good but you never know, they love a good midfield enforcer in the English lower leagues. But yes, not looking the most likely for Marinovic at Rangers. And so, most likely, now we await the next move…

Up Next: …

Ali Riley – Chelsea FC (English Super League)

Own it, Ali. It was a proper blinder.

Unfortunately she wasn’t able to add another contender to the clip this weekend at home to Birmingham, as the Blues lost their recent momentum with a surprise 3-2 defeat. Erin Cuthbert had put them in front early and it looked like she’d saved a point with her second in the 84th minute. Only for Ellen White (an ex-Chelsea striker) to score in the 90th minute and condemn Chelsea to a first defeat in bloody ages. Thirteen games to be specific. Which takes us back to October 15th. That’s a real dent in Chelsea’s hopes of defending the title, though they’re not out of it yet. Plus there’s cup footy to play for with the FA Women’s Cup up next, as well as the semis of the Conti Cup, both in the next two weeks. There’s some Champions League on the horizon too.

But if you’re wondering why Ali Riley hasn’t had a mention and why we’ve kinda breezed over that game, it’s because she wasn’t even on the bench. Chelsea made a few January signings so might be more competition for places, or there could be a slight injury. Saved for the cup games perhaps. –Dunno, wasn’t really any explanation. But heaps of footy coming up so they’ll need all the depth they’ve got.

Up Next: Fourth round of the FA Cup, 3am on Monday away to Everton (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Cup weeks aren’t always the exciting ones for clubs in Burnley’s position. A nice run in the FA Cup gets the fans dreaming but then it’s also a distraction from the league stuff where the bread gets buttered so it’s often the case that the cup competitions don’t get taken particularly seriously… especially when you draw Manchester City in the fourth round.

Which means there honestly isn’t much to say about Chris Wood. He was left on the bench until the 62nd minute with Sean Dyche using the opportunity to give Matej Vydra a run up top – poor fella’s not had much to shout about in terms of game time this season. By the time The Woodsman came on it was already 3-0 to City and they went on to score a couple more for the fun of it. Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, a Kevin Long OG and a Sergio Aguero penalty responsible for the goals. Burnley had just four shots all game and none were on target.

Don’t bother with the highlights if you’re only here to see what Woody did. He’s in the background of a couple clips but that’s about it. However if champagne football is your thing regardless of where you find it then this is a treat…

Funny story, here’s what Chris Wood had to say to Burnley Express in the days before the game…

Woodsman: “There’s never a free hit in these games. There’s always a chance, it’s the cup, they’ll make changes, we’ll make a few changes but we’ll go out there to win the game. We know they’re a quality side and they can do that to anybody. They can do it to a Premier League side, score six or seven past them. It doesn’t matter that they’ve scored so many goals, we’ve just got to try and nullify their strengths and capitalise on their weaknesses.”

Well they didn’t score six or seven so that’s a bonus.

Things should be busier next week as Burnley travel to Manchester for the Solskjaer Experience against Manchester United before hosting Southampton in the weekend. A glamour game and a winnable game (although the Saints have been way better since Ralph Hasenhüttl took over).

Up Next: 9am on Wednesday morning away to Manchester United (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish SuperLiga)

Biggest news of the last week was probably lil’ Marco getting his transfer to Denmark. Snapped up by SønderjyskE and you can get a proper old write-up on that one over here…

The common idea that Rojas’ European career has been some kind of failure so far is a bit of a misguided one. He played regularly at FC Thun, remember, including a taste of Europa League qualifiers. Stuttgart was a non-starter but while he didn’t get many chances at Heerenveen he did score a few goals when he did get a decent run late last season. It’s not like he’s done nothing. Far from it. Some people just get lazy with their narratives.

So far so good with the new folks, already dishing out assists in friendly games…

Rojas played the first 75 minutes with the first team before they made a bunch of changes for the final fifteen minus. Seems promising. It’s now off to Turkey where there’s a training camp. They’ve got two more winter break friendly games while they’re in Turkey (against Zlin and Vozdovac) before the league resumes in two weeks.

Up Next: Velje vs SønderjyskE, 4am on Sunday 10 February (NZT)

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

It seems that we might be slipping back into troubled times for Jerry. A couple games this week, a league win over Highlands Park and then a last second defeat in the Nedbank Cup against Chippa Utd and Brockie was an unused sub in each of them. That’s because lately the gaffer’s worked out a new strike partnership and it involves Lebohang Maboe, fair enough since he’s their best striker… but it also involves Thapelo Morena. And that bloke was signed as a winger and more recently played as a right back, now he’s a striker and that means one more joker getting in the way of Brox.

It worked. Morena scored the first and set up the second in the 2-1 win over Highlands Park. But that doesn’t do much for Brockie and his role at the club, where he’s always felt a bit like a square peg in a round hole to be honest, and it’s been a bit frustrating that the club hasn’t done more to adapt to a major signing like him – why sign him if he doesn’t fit the system, right?

Pitso Mosimane, MS manager: “At Sundowns we don’t normally have nines – history says it. The nine we had was (Leonardo) Castro and he was the only one we had for the last three years. We used Percy (Tau) there. We used Khama (Billiat). We’ve tried Mame Niang before and it didn’t work out. If I feel you have the quality to move around the way we want you to, I can take you like Thapelo and put you up there – sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing.”

This comes soon after the rumours that Brockie had been dangled out as bait in the transfer window, with Sundowns hoping to add to their squad with another forward. Names suggested include Thabo Mnyamane, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Luckyboy Mokoena… and Emiliano Tade (as mentioned last week).

Soccer Laduma: “Mamelodi Sundowns are believed to have offered out Jeremy Brockie as part of potential swap deals as they look to add to their already impressive squad before the window closes. The 31-year-old striker had a fantastic goalscoring record at SuperSport United prior to a big-money switch to the other side of Tshwane, however, hasn’t managed to slot in as Pitso Mosimane will have hoped at Masandawana. Brockie has 45 domestic goals to his name in South Africa since making the move from New Zealand but has been given just 12 starts in the Absa Premiership over the past 18 months as Mosimane struggled to get the best out of the former Wellington Phoenix star.”

Brockie was also the talk of the town when he got a bit of sledging from the Highlands Park manager after the game. Asked if he was disappointed in how his star striker Mothobi Mvalah had settled into the club, he responded: “Well‚ if that's disappointing what about Brockie‚ who they [Sundowns] paid R8m for? How many has he scored? Sorry man‚ please. Let's be realistic and optimistic about it. There are other big players who are not even scoring five goals.”

A comment which lit up the ol’ social media… and which he promptly apologised for at his next presser…

Owen Da Gama: “It was in no disrespect to Brockie. He's a wonderful player. I think he's a great goalscorer and he proved that at SuperSport‚ and I think he'll still prove himself at Sundowns. It was just a lighthearted comment‚ when somebody said‚ 'Are you disappointed about Mvala having scored seven goals in 17 [15] matches. He's a midfielder. He's not a striker. He's playing for a team that's new in the PSL. And then I just compared him. I mentioned Brockie but I mentioned [Downs' Gaston] Sirino also. I mean these are players who Sundowns have spent big money on... It was meant with no disrespect to Brockie. And I'd like to apologise to Brockie if that was the case. But it was not meant in that way”

Laugh a minute, that bloke, aye?

Up Next: Sundowns vs ASEC, 8am on Saturday in the Champions League (NZT)

Rebekah Stott – Melbourne City (Australian W-League)

Quick word from the old club to begin things…

Stotty has already signed in Norway after she’s done with the W-League, she’ll be a teammate of fellow Footy Fern Vic Esson there at Avaldsnes so no dramas. No breaking news. We’ve only got three kiwis in the NWSL for 2019 as it stands but we’ll see how that goes.

No game for Melbourne City this week, they had the bye. But eyes will have been glued to screens with several games crucial towards their hopes of making the semis. A 4-0 win last week over Newcastle Jets kept it alive but only just.

First up was Perth Glory away to bottom placed Western Sydney, the fourth placed team looking to put some distance between themselves and City… each were on 16 points. Well that one didn’t go the right way. Sam Kerr scored a double and Perth won 5-1.

Okay then, how about the Friday game with Brisbane against Canberra? Brissie on 17 points and Canberra out of the running. Yeah nah, that one went the wrong way too. Brisbane won it 4-1 to move out of reach of Melbourne City altogether. One of the goalscorers was Japanese international Yuki Nagasato, a teammate of Rosie White at Chicago Red Stars.

Nothing on the line when Adelaide lost 2-1 to Newcastle but the Melbourne City vs Sydney game was a biggie. Victory hit it up on 19 points, Sydney on 18. Any team that lost would be in range of City, though for goal difference reasons it’d be easier if it were Sydney that lost. Instead Sydney took a 1-0 lead into HT, scored again with twenty to play after MV had equalised… but conceded in the 78th for a 2-2 draw which keeps Melbourne City in it but only just. They play Sydney in their final game and absolutely must win to overtake them… and by at least four goals to cover the goal difference margin. Or they could hope Perth loses to Melbourne Victory at home and that they lose by enough (and City wins by enough) to overcome a six-goal difference. Pretty unlikely, gotta say. Still, it’s possible and there’s something to play for.

Up Next: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City, 9.30pm on Thursday (NZT)

James McGarry & Michael Woud – Willem II (Dutch Eredivisie)

Both fellas spent time sitting on the bench this week but no time out on the field, as it goes. Gotta keep on grinding. But there is some exciting news for Woudy as fellow backup keeper Mattijs Branderhorst has joined NEC Nijmegen on loan for the rest of the season. Only a temporary stay (at Mike Den Heijer’s club!) however it means that Woud is positioned as the second choice goalie now ahead of 18 year old Luuk Brand. It’s easy to look at McGarry and Woud not getting many minutes and think they’re sliding but all the words we’ve heard from out of the club have been positive so far. Feels like they’re laying the foundations right now.

Up Next: 7.45am on Sunday at home to Groningen (NZT)

Meikayla Moore – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga

Up Next: Werder Bremen vs Duisburg, 2am on Monday 18 Feb (NZT)

Ria Percival – West Ham United (English Super League)

All good with the way that Ria Percival’s going at the moment. She’s an every-game starter for West Ham and playing damn well too, creating plenty going forwards form right back. But the Hammers need a little more cash up front because they let far too much slide against Liverpool and it cost them with a 1-0 defeat. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk scored soon after half-time. Four wins in a row to close 2018 have been followed by four defeats to start 2019 so work to be done. They were good enough to have won this one though.

Up Next: 2am on Monday at home to Blackburn in the FA Women’s Cup (NZT)

Laura Merrin - Fylde Ladies (English Premier League Northern Division)

Up Next: Sheffield FC vs Fylde, Monday at 3am (NZT)

Tommy Smith & Deklan Wynne – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

Up Next: New season kicks off at the start of March

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