Flying Kiwis - March 20

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Stefan Marinovic – Bristol City (English Championship)

Some pleasant news to wake up to last Wednesday morning. Stefan Marinovic named to start for the Championship clash with bottom of the ladder Ipswich Town. Big Stef with the gloves on. Within a week of earning that contract after a brief trial, right on in there after one game on the bench.

We found out afterwards that the plan was always to give the keepers one game each, with Niki Maenpaa’s calf injury now feared likely to keep him out for the rest of the campaign. Their regular backup Frank Fielding is already out for the season with a broken hand so… yeah, bit of a crisis. So it’s Stefan Marinovic vs Max O’Leary the remainder of the way – although they’re trying out blood spinning techniques to try get Maenpaa’s leg to heal quicker. More on that wider situation later though, first we’ve got the game. An open audition for the gloves. Big Stef. Here we go…

And, mate, it almost started in the worst imaginable way. His first touch was a gentle backpass which needed a hoof up-field towards their target man striker. Instead it got a hesitant touch followed by a panicked touch as striker Kayden Jackson gassed through and took the ball off his feet. It was only the quick recovery of fullback Lloyd Kelly that saved the day and spared Marinovic a nightmare. How’s that for an introduction to the rapid pace of the Champo?

Marinovic got better after that, obviously. He’s a great keeper and he had a couple moments he had to get down low and parry or snatch away a shot on target. When asked to do those shot-stopping duties he was pretty excellent. No dramas there whatsoever, that’s always been his strength as a keeper. But his touch with his feet was nervous the whole night through. There was another moment in the second half when he caught out of his area by a looping bobble off his shin and had to slide out to stop a shocking concession. With the ball in his hands it was a simple roll out to a defender basically every time. With his set pieces, goal kicks and free kicks, it was mostly always a long ball and some of those were on target, others were not. He actually copped some boos at the end when he hoofed a ball deep and it drifted into the stands with stoppage time running out.

Bristol City took the lead after about half an hour when Adam Webster headed in a cross from Eliasson. Beautiful header and a goal that spurred City on after a slow start. Cool story there is that Webster spent some time playing for Ipswich not that long ago where he was s regular CB partner of a certain Tommy Smith.

For the rest of the half BCFC were pretty solidly on top and pushing for that second. Then half-time came. Ipswich returned from the sheds fired up and took back control of the game in the second half, finally equalising when Lloyd Kelly hacked one into his own net. 1-1 was a decent result for Bristol City based on the slack performances but a horrible one in the context of the two points dropped in that race for the playoffs. The point put them back up to sixth but only for a few days as an FA Cup weekend bye saw them slip back three places, albeit with at least one game in hand on all those above them and only three points separating them from Middlesbrough in fifth.

Bristol Post Player Ratings: “Stefan Marinovic (5/10) - Made two good saves in particular but looked far too nervy at times, such as being closed down quickly by Kayden Jackson in the first minute. Looked to get the ball out quickly, but ended up putting the defence under pressure.”

The upcoming international break will keep the team out of action until the end of the month. With the diagnosis on Maenpaa, that meant that Lee Johnson had a decision to make and with two games before a big old rest and a closed door friendly game happening last weekend, the plan was to give both potential keepers a chance to shine and then make an informed decision later on. What’s clear from Marinovic’s game is that not playing football for more than four months left him rusty as hell even before the trickiness of adapting to the quicker pace of play in the Championship. But he showed some positives as well and there are plenty of training sessions between now and the next game. And the gaffer was pretty understanding about all that.

Lee Johnson: “I thought his goalkeeping was excellent, in terms of his handling and his saves. But obviously his kicking left a lot to be desired. It was a baptism of fire considering that he hasn't played a load of games. In the Championship you don't get time to take a touch. MLS for example, you probably get a bit more time and he'll have learnt a lot from that, in terms of the speed of the play. But his goalkeeping was good. He's going to be rusty. He was brave, his handling was good. He made a great save down to his left, he punched well a couple of times and it was really good distribution from his hands, it was just unfortunate that he had his boots on the wrong feet...”

“Look we're in a situation where our two number one goalkeepers are out for the season. I say out for the season but he's had a blood-spinning treatment. It's a difficult area to get blood to. That will accelerate it down four or five weeks best case scenario. I wanted to see what we've got and I was very clear with both goalkeepers that Max would play in that one and Stefan would play in that on. Then we've got a behind-closed-doors game against Cardiff of which they'll both play 45 minutes each, we've then got 10 days training and at that point I'll declare who is the number one until Niki Maenpaa's back.”

Up Next: Away to Sheffield Utd at 4am on Sunday 31 March (NZT)

Elliot Collier – Memphis 901 FC (American USL Championship)

Despite a 1-0 defeat in their first ever game last week, Memphis 901 pulled in a sellout crowd of over 8000 people and they were still up at around 7250 this game. Yet another city building a football culture in America, slowly but surely. And Elliot Collier shapes to be a crucial part of that as one of the team’s leading strikers.

But the early days are always pretty tough for a team trying to establish itself. Against Loudon they fell behind after half an hour when a 16 year old with a fantastic name Griffin Yow cut inside onto his right foot and unleashed a shot which took an unkind deflection right over the keeper and into the net. The Memphis 901 defence has looked quite decent so far, the goal they conceded last week was a penalty and this one a deflection, but if you’re held to nil it doesn’t mean much. Collier nearly did something about that just before the break with a snapshot at the near post but it was saved.

Of course, like all kiwi footballers this week, Collier was playing with the spectre of what happened in Christchurch in his mind. And that horrific event has created waves of sympathy and solidarity around the globe. In the 49th minute, in honour of the then-current number of confirmed victims, the entire crowd fell eerily silent as a mark of respect. Twenty minutes later as if by the designs of destiny Elliot Collier took a clever touch to beat a defender, arced his run into the box, cut back sharply, and slammed his shot into the bottom corner beating the keeper at the near post. To celebrate, he kissed the black armband he wore on his arm. The goal was the first ever scored by the club and it earned their first ever point in a 1-1 draw. He dedicated it to the victims on Christchurch.

USA Today: “The pained look at Elliot Collier's face captured his mixed emotions following Memphis 901 FC's tie with Loudoun United. Collier scored the 901 FC's first goal in team history in the 78th minute at AutoZone Park Saturday. Yet the New Zealand native's heart was heavy following a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people. Saturday morning, Collier found out a friend who was shot during the attack did not survive surgery. He played Saturday's match with a black armband to honor the fallen.”

Update: Please take the time to read this, an open letter from Elliot Collier to Atta Ellayyan, one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch. It is stories like this that help us retain our essential humanity in times of grief and fear. The lives that were lost, like Atta’s, must be remembered.

Up Next: Bethlehem Steel vs Memphis 901 at 11am on Monday (NZT)

Ali Riley – Chelsea FC (English Super League)

Bouncing back with a couple games in the space of five days, it was Chelsea at their best away to Liverpool. Fran Kirby scored a hatty within an hour of football and Ali Riley was introduced off the bench at left back for Joanna Andersson with 18 minutes left. They went on to add another goal through fellow sub Adelina Engman and there you go, a 4-0 win. Keeps the heat on the two teams ahead of them… although it’s unlikely they can overturn a six point gap to the top in their remaining three league games. A six point gap that could be beyond them anyway if Arsenal wins their two games in hand and overtake Man City (who Chelsea plays next in the league).

However that’s hardly all that the Blues have to play for. With the league probably goners, instead attention turns towards the Champions League and the FA Cup. The Champions League is going to be brutal, two games coming up over the next two weeks against PSG with Ali Riley hoping to finally make the semi-finals of the competition after years of quarter/R16 exits with Rosengård (who again lost in the round of 16 this season without her).

That’s coming up. First there was an FA Cup quarter-final against Durham and the second tier side put up a massive effort in frustrating Chelsea. Ali Riley was one of five changes to the team that beat Liverpool, named to start on the left of defence in a very aggressive 4-1-2-3 formation. However some difficult weather and one of those annoying turf surfaces led to a game without a whole lot of attacking quality. However Chelsea did take the lead about half an hour in, Erin Cuthbert picking out Ji So-Yun and not so long after scoring against Ali Riley’s Footy Ferns for South Korea, that goal ended up being the only one in getting the both of the into the semis. Chelsea probably should have scored another to make sure of it and that inability almost cost them when Durham went close in stoppage time. But there you go.

Chelsea will play Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final.

Up Next: Chelsea vs PSG, 8.05am on Friday (NZT)

Michael Woud – Willem II (Dutch Eredivisie)

He hasn’t actually played an Eredivisie game yet but Mike Woud has already established himself as the backup keeper for Willem II so it’s only a matter of time. And if you doubted the impact he’s made behind the scenes there and thought his lack of game time was more telling than the news that he’s re-signed through until 2022 should snap you out of that delusion.

Joris Mathijsen, Technical Director: “That is why we want to keep Michael on our side for longer and we are very happy with this extension. Michael is an incredibly large talent with a lot of potential.”

Mike Woud: “I feel the club's confidence. That is of course very nice. Last summer I came to the club to develop further and to take my chance if it happens. Hopefully I will get that this season.”

Fellow keeper Timon Wellenreuther also extended his contract with the club two weeks earlier the 23 year old German goalie who has started 25 league games this campaign. Pretty clear number one and two there but even just to be a backup keeper for a top division club in Holland is massive for a 20 year old New Zealander (with Dutch heritage). James McGarry is also with the club too, of course, though he isn’t a lock for the first team bench. However he has made five appearances including two starts in the Eredivisie this season. Hoping there’s a contract coming his way soon enough too.

Willem II just beat Feyenoord 3-2 this weekend to lift nine points clear of the relegation playoff and there’s still a decent chance they can catch up on the top seven and make the Europa League playoffs. They’re five points back at the moment. Also Willem II are in the final of the KNVB Cup to be played in a month and a half against Ajax. They beat AZ Alkmaar on penalties at the start of the month. A little Flying Kiwis history… it was the KNVB Cup when Ryan Thomas truly announced himself within Dutch footy, scoring a double in an upset win against… Ajax. Coincidence? Methinks not.

Up Next: Sunday at 6.30am against Fortuna Sittard (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

What we had here was yet another game where Chris Wood played a quiet one and Burnley fell to defeat. After his beautiful goal scoring streak in January-February, he’s not gone scoreless in four games and Burnley have lost all four of them. The latest was a 2-1 defeat at home to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City in which Harry Maguire was sent off in the extremely early stages of the game for dragging down Johann Berg Gudmundsson who was through on goal.

Gudmo then put the free kick off the crossbar before James Maddison showed him how to do it properly thirty minutes later with a magnificent free kick of his own to give the ten men the lead. But it only lasted another five. Chris Wood was involved in the build up, getting onto the ball after Jonny Evans had made a mistake and holding it up well until support arrived. Burnley switched the ball over to the right and Dwight McNeil was able to squeeze the ball under Kasper Schmeichel to have the Clarets level before the half.

Yet into the second stanza, they just couldn’t figure out a way through despite their advantage. They could only muster two shots on target all game and Chris Wood, gotta say it, was not at his best. The offside flag continues to follow him around like a shadow and it’s not even close any more for his lead at the top of the league ranks there. Woody’s had 43 shots this season and been flagged offside 42 times. Doesn’t help when he’s missing these ones either…

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It was sloppy enough that Sean Dyche went to Plan B earlier than usual. Plan B, of course, being exactly the same as the way they usually play except with Peter Crouch subbed in for Chris Wood. That happened with twenty mins left, so no goal against his old club for Woody. Charlie Taylor then had what looked like a clear penalty shout ignored to the fury of the home crowd and just as it looked like a disappointing draw was on the cards… Wes Morgan rose up to head in a winner for Leicester in the 90th minute. They played for 86 mins with ten men and still won. Full credit.

Lancashire Telegraph: “Chris Wood is a strange sort of player, he’s big and imposing yet many defenders in the Premier League will feel they can bully him and move him off the ball too easily. Wood needs to look at his strike partner, Ashley Barnes, and put himself around a bit more - be more of a nuisance for defenders. When he’s not scoring, it seems as though his confidence in himself drops off a lot and that is when defenders get the better of him. The New Zealander has shown he can score goals in this league and be a threat for his side, but he needs to do it when Burnley are relying on someone to step up. When Burnley were winning games, he was scoring goals, but it’s about who gets them goals when things aren’t going so well for the team.”

The concern now is that if Cardiff wins their game in hand then Burnley will slip into the relegation zone. Southampton are also on 30 points along with Burnley and Brighton and Crystal Palace are three points further clear. If the Clarets are going to make it to that fabled 40 point mark then they cannot afford to lose more than three of their seven remaining games, a fixture list that reads like this:

Wolves (H), Bournemouth (A), Cardiff (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H), Everton (A) & Arsenal (H)

Considering how awful those last four games are, the next three are absolutely crucial and none more so than the homer against Cardiff on April 14. If they don’t win that game then they’re looking a hefty bet for Championship football next season. Woody better start putting those goals away again immediately because there are no more last chances from this point on.

Up Next: Burnley vs Wolves, 4am on Sunday 31 March (NZT)

Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

Continually one of the best Flying Kiwis performers this season, Erin Nayler had a tough task this week against… well, she can tell you…

That’s the one. Against Lyon, her former club. And also kinda sorta one of the best teams in Europe right now. So while Bordeaux might have been on a bit of a win streak of their own… yeah, nah. They had nothing compared to Lyon who came to town and scored seven. A 7-1 defeat for Bordeaux. They were already 3-0 down when Viv Asseyi scored with half an hour gone to get the home side on the board. Always a game they were likely to lose but this was probably a bit beyond acceptable. Still, they remain level on points with Montpellier for third on the table.

The third goal was a bit of Erin’s fault, though it was a tough one. A looping cross was dropping into the top corner and she had to scramble back to get to it. The ball came off the inside of the post and sort of hit her on the leg but it fell to an attacker for a simple finish. The first two she had absolutely no chance to stop following some poor defending and amazing finishing. Asseyi then scored her one with a nice counter attacking move, but it was 4-1 soon after the second half began and only got worse from there. Nothing else that you could blame Nayler for, if that’s any consolation.

Up Next: Sunday 31 March, 2.30am away to Soyaux (NZT)

Meikayla Moore & Emma Rolston – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

Bit of a shame there, however having only played six times for the club, four of those coming off the bench (scoring three goals), you’d have to assume that this was all about getting game time and match fitness ahead of the World Cup. Remember that Rollo was left out of the last two Ferns squads despite a pretty impressive Nations Cup and frankly when the World Cup is at stake, you do whatever you’ve got to do. Rolston played for Sydney FC two W-Leagues ago so getting a club there was always a good bet.

It goes deeper than that, though. Footy Ferns coach Tom Sermanni is based in Sydney and it’s notable that several players on the fringes of the squad have signed with Aussie club teams. Rolston joins Malia Steinmetz and Aimee Phillips, for example. While Rosie White has opted out of her contract in the USA to train in New Zealand and Hannah Wilkinson’s recovery is all taking place in Aotearoa too. On that note…

That Ferns squad might not be as settled as it seems.

As for Meikayla Moore, she’s a regular at the back for the Zebras so nothing to worry about there. Although they did have their game postponed this week which is tricky since they were mean to be playing bottom placed Borussia Monchengladbach and they desperately needed the points having slipped into the relegation zone last defeat. They’ll have another chance for points next week when they host Bayer Leverkusen, who they’ll go ahead of with a win.

Up Next: MSV Duisburg vs Bayer Leverkusen , Sunday at 2am (NZT)

Tyler Boyd – MKE Ankaragücü (Turkish SuperLig)

Another annoying one for Ankaragücü fans as they met Yeni Malatyaspor, a team that had lost its previous four league games, and weren’t able to take advantage. They had more possession and shots but the game turned ten minutes into the second half when a penalty was awarded very harshly for a foul in the box and Adem Buyuk stepped up to open the scoring. Ankaragücü then conceded a stupid goal soon after and they were in trouble.

Dever Orgill pulled one back in the 72nd min and looked to have tied us up when he headed in after a fantastic cross from Boyd had been nodded across… but he was offside. Ankaragücü weren’t slowing down and they threw everything at that elusive equaliser. But instead they conceded a third on the break to lose 3-1. Hey, they’re heaps better now than before Boyd joined them. But making progress up that Turkish SuperLig table has been tough. Ninety more minutes for Boyd though, let’s hope none of those pesky American soccer association folks were paying attention – USA has two friendlies this window and as far as I can tell Boyd was nowhere near consideration, worth pointing out that all the chat there has come from himself leaving the door open and American fans so we don’t know how serious the interested team is about his status. One to ponder upon.

Up Next: Next SuperLig game is at home to Fenerbahce but not until next month

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

With two straight wins to start the campaign, Minnesota Utd have got people paying attention. A 3-2 win away to Vancouver Whitecaps and then a 3-0 away in San Jose and things were looking sweet. Michael Boxall playing every minute of those two as well. But it’s always worthwhile to remember not to get ahead of yourself in these things.

The one area where Minny have struggled so far has been in defending set pieces. So the perfect way for them to concede the opening goal away to LA Galaxy was for some disorganised set piece defending to lead to a penalty which Jonathan dos Santos happily dispatched. Mike Boxall was caught out of position at first, though only because they weren’t able to clear the ball from the initial cross. He then hacked a shot off the line in the process but the whistle had already blown.

After 40 minutes it was 2-0 with Chris Pontius scoring. Caught out down the left side of defence and it was a little too easy. Boxall made an important block early in the second half as the Loons stabilised things but it wasn’t really until the last fifteen minutes when they looked like they had a goal or two in them. Even then they only scored that one because GK Dan Bingham made a howler of Jan Gregus’ shot. Sebastian Lletget scored with ten minutes left to pretty much book the points, though a late tap in from Angelo Rodriguez meant the last few moments were a little sweaty. 3-2 to LAG. Minny suffer their first defeat of the new season.

Also… lol…

Up Next: New England vs Minnesota United, Sunday at 7am (NZT)

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

Denver Post: “The Rapids’ best defender is back. Well, almost. There’s no guarantee Tommy Smith will suit up with Colorado hosts Sporting KC on Sunday at Dicks Sporting Goods Park, but it’s not out of the question. Smith, who has missed this year’s first two games with a knee injury suffered during preseason training, returned to practice Tuesday. Smith was a full participator in practice to start the club’s week. Toward the tail end of last week, he was doing some endurance drills. The defender played in all but one of last year’s 34 games, where he was suspended due to a red card.”

Anthony Hudson: “We need to see how he is. Like a large number of our players, he didn’t have a good preseason, he missed a large portion of it. Tommy hasn’t had a full 90 minutes yet so we need to see physically where he is at and if he’s ready for Sunday.”

Tommy Smith: “It was good (to be back out there). I trained a bit toward the back end of last week so I feel like I’m good to go this week. I like to think that I can bring some stability and leadership to the backline. It’s tough for the lads stepping in too there isn’t that regular partnership.”

But naturally that’s not what happened, naturally. Smithy wasn’t available for the Sporting KC game. Instead Axel Sjöberg and Deklan Wynne were at CB, with Smithy on the bench. Good to see Sjöberg back because he’s one of their better defenders himself. Also good to see Deklan Wynne looking a lot more comfortable this game compared to the last two weeks.

They got a positive enough result too. Diego Rubio nicked one off the keeper to give them the lead and they were in position to win until Johan Blomberg got booked for time wasting then a minute later gave away a foul on the edge of the area for a red card and Johnny Russell, who had started the game on the bench, stepped up to curl it into the top corner. 1-1 the final score. Still without a win but at least they didn’t lose.

Up Next: Sunday at 10.30am away to FC Dallas (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Billy T, back in amongst the starters. Go on my son! Problem was that the Timbers have not been anywhere near their best so far in these early stages of the season. Tuiloma was picked in central midfield, which was a surprise. They needed to make a change there after Diego Chara was sent off last game and therefore missed this one with suspension. You’d have figured guys like Cristhian Paredes and Andres Flores were a better bet to replace him but after conceding seven goals in their first two games it was the more defensively minded Billy T instead. Good-o.

He’s a good shot to start next week too although not because he locked down the midfield or anything. Nah mate, the Timbers were pretty mud and although Tui did force a save with a long range effort which would have been an utterly incredible goal… but they went down 3-0 in the end. Not really worth going all in on. The reason Tui’s a good shot to start next week is that Larrys Mabiala picked up a second yellow with twenty to play and he’ll miss a game for that. A hole at centreback then, and even after that there’s a large chance that changes might happen in the backline the way things are going anyway. Ten conceded in three games is a mess.

Up Next: Away to LA Galaxy on Monday at 2pm (NZT)

Ria Percival – West Ham United (English Super League)

Two games, two 1-0 results. The first was a 1-0 defeat against Everton in the ESL. Pretty devastating as WHU conceded in the 88th minute to lose to a team that’s second to bottom on the table. They made a heap of chances, many including a marauding Ria Percival getting forward from right back and swinging in those crosses, but Hannah Cain’s late goal was the only one that counted.

But then they bounced back to beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup quarters. Again Percival played well with a strong attacking edge to her play from fullback and Jane Ross’ first half goal was the difference. A goal which Percy played a big part in too.

WHUFC.com: “Cho found Ria Percival out wide, and the New Zealand international’s good work saw the ball fall to Leanne Kiernan. The No8 unleashed an excellent strike, which was well stopped by Rogers, but Ross showed her striker’s instinct; tucking home on the rebound.”

So yeah, sweet as. Both Ria Percival and Ali Riley will feature in the FA Cup semis adn there’s a chance they could each meet in the Final too, with West Ham drawing Reading in their semi.

Up Next: Chelsea vs WHU, 2am on Monday 1 April (NZT)

Clayton Lewis – Scunthorpe United (English League One)

It’s hard to fathom why Clayton Lewis hasn’t gotten more opportunities for Scunthorpe when he seems to do at least as well as anybody else on the fringes of the squad whenever there’s a friendly game or some cup competition or whatever. But lately, to be fair, he’s beginning to get more and more of these little chances to showcase what he can do. Twice he was used off the bench this week. 79 of his 155 league two minute this season have come in the month of March. Very promising.

First was at home to Southend and this was one of the club’s top performances all season. Exactly what they needed, a 4-1 win that snapped a four-game stretch without bagging a single three-pointer. And yet it started off in the worst possible way as Simon Cox scored in the third minute to give the visitors the lead. But the Iron responded strongly after those clumsy beginnings. They forged a number of early chances before Tom Pearce floated a bit of a fluke into the top corner to tie it up and they could easily have been up at the break.

So what did they do? They subbed on Clayton Lewis straight after half-time. And it was from Clayton’s in-swinging corner that Toby McMahon somehow bundled it in for the lead. Not quite an assist but close enough. George Thomas then snuck in to score soon after and James Perch then made it three goals in ten minutes with a firm header on the end of a deep free kick. Get in there.

Grimsby Live Player Ratings: “Clayton Lewis (for Sutton 46) - The game changed when he came on the pitch. It's not that he was the player that changed it, but the change of shape. Having said that, Clayton Lewis linked up play excellently and took his chance to shine in the first-team – 7/10”

Then they went away and lost 2-0 to Portsmouth. Not great, one more poor away result for the tally. They struggled to create hardly anything on attack and while they held their hosts scoreless for seventy dogged minutes, they then let in a couple quick ones to go down in a hurry. Clayton Lewis was introduced just after the third goal as the final sub but wasn’t able to do much. Ah well.

Up Next: Rochdale vs Scunthorpe, 4am on Sunday (NZT)

Steven Old – Morecambe (English League Two)

Following on an excellent win midweek at home to MK Dons, taking the points with a 4-2 scoreline, Morecambe then travelled to Notts County where they… didn’t win, didn’t lose. Steven Old actually went close to scoring with a header at the far post but a 0-0 draw and a point away from home against a team below them does mean that Morecambe don’t lose any ground, within Macclesfield the only team below them to win this weekend and they’re nine points back. Nothing much has been pretty for Morecambe this season but they’re looking good to remain in the EFL for next season. Two wins and a draw in their last three. Two clean sheets in that time. Shot, Steve.

Up Next: Sunday at 4am away to Swindon Town (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

Up against Winston Reid’s old club, Marco Rojas was back in the starting lineup following an unused sub experience in the previous game, the first that he hasn’t been a part of since joining the club. That’s the good news. He went on to play 72 minutes before he was replaced. The bad news is that his team lost 2-1 against a much better squad and that’s the way it goes. But he played more league minutes in this game than he did all season for Heerenveen.

SønderjyskE had taken the lead in the fourth minute thanks to a hilariously scrappy Mart Lieder goal but they leaked one at the far post to Rafa Kurzawa twenty minutes later and then fell behind on the hour as Ogochukwu Frank scored an acrobatic winner. Not a lotof Marco on the highlights other than some standing around up front while his team defender. He played as a central attackign mid, by the way.

Up Next: Not sure yet – that was the last game of the regular season and Sondy now find themselves in the relegation round so they should have some more winnable games from here on out

The (rest of the) USL Crew

James Musa (Phoenix Rising) – Crazily for a team that had an almost immaculate defence last season, the Rising had their second straight 3-3 draw. At home to New Mexico Utd. Solomon Asante scored a couple spot kicks and Jason Johnston struck in the 71st as Phoenix equalised on three occasions. James Musa didn’t play for some reason. Unused sub.

Kyle Adams (Rio Grande Valley) – Captained the lads again but their attack let them down in a 2-0 defeat to Fresno. Fifteen shots and only one on target. Adams played ninety mins at centre-back.

Sam Brotherton (North Carolina FC) – Bagged a solid 1-0 win away to Bethlehem Steel with Brotherton playing the whole thing at CB. He also got out into the community with the young ones, the legend.

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