Flying Kiwis – April 17

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Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Speak it into existence. Chris Wood knows the trick. Saying the words aloud is the first step towards success and the first hurdle to overcome in that process. The rest may as well be inevitable.

It took less than two minutes before The Woodsman made his intentions clear, when he nodded one onto the post from a set piece move. Probably should have score that one, to be honest, but regardless it was a sign of things to come. With two straight wins at the exact perfect time, Burnley had the chance to make their survival all but certain against 18th-placed Cardiff. Dwight McNeil had swung in the free kick that led to that first chance. He was just as clinical with his delivery a little while later when his corner kick was met by Wood again and this time he made no mistake.

Both teams were a little desperate so the early lead was massive in giving Burnley control of this one. As the game got scrappy, the Clarets were always in control. And mate did it get scrappy. Ashley Barnes was booked for kissing Joe Bennett in an all-timer bit of shithousery. However the real talking point of this game was when Ben Mee seemed to commit handball in the box twice within ten seconds and despite initially whistling for a penalty, the ref changed his mind after talking it over with the assistant. Neil Warnock was pissed. Burnley were relieved. Chris Wood went on to kill it off with a second goal, also assisted superbly by Dwight McNeil, in stoppage time and that was that, 2-0 to Burnley who only need one result over their last four games to secure another season of top flight footy… and even then that’s supposing Cardiff can win all their remaining games.

For all intents and purposes, that’s Burnley safe now. And not a moment too soon as their last four games are against Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, and Everton. They’ll give as good as they get in those ones for sure but the pressure is now off thanks to a timely trio of wins.

Lancashire Telegraph Player Ratings: “Chris Wood (7) - Saw an early header hit the post but then went on to claim both goals. A constant handful for the Cardiff defence.”

Tell you what else is that this brace takes Woody to double figures in the Premier League this season. 10 goals in consecutive seasons for the man. Ashley Barnes hit that mark last week now Woody’s matched him a week later. He has 13 all up for the campaign including one in the FA Cup and two in the Europa League. Considering he didn’t actually score a league goal until November, that goes to show how well Burnley as an entire team have improved over the back half of the season. Their last 15 games they’ve taken 27 points since losing 5-1 to Everton on Boxing Day. Wood has scored nine times in those 15 games.

The Woodsman: “It’s fantastic. It’s another little milestone for myself. Having two strikers around the double figures mark is fantastic for the club. It’s put us in a good position. They were both three yards out, which is nice. It’s nice getting those tap ins. Cardiff came and basically needed to win. They didn’t want to get opened up too early. So it was good for us to get the early goal, we could have had a few more by half time but that’s the way it goes.”

LancsLive: “Wood scored both goals for the Clarets in this one, taking his tally to 13 for the season. His opener came from a good arching run to meet Dwight McNeil's corner, although the Cardiff marking was slack to say the least, while he was on the spot to nod in the second from almost on the line in added time. He's a player who can frustrate Burnley fans at times, not least the number of times he is caught offside, but you can't argue with his goals return. He netted 13 times in total last term, including one for Leeds, and he now has nine since the turn of the year, the fourth best return of any Premier League striker. That record can't be sniffed it and it is one reason why the Clarets are now on the brink of securing another season of top flight football.”

Up Next: Tuesday at 7am away to Chelsea (NZT)

Ria Percival – West Ham United (English Super League)

Check who’s going to Wembley then, aye? West Ham came through their FA Cup semi-final against Reading with a win via penalty shootout. Gilly Flaherty had to step up and nail her spottie to take things to sudden death and avoid defeat for the Hammers, before Jade Moore’s attempt was saved for Reading and Cho So-hyun converted for a 4-3 penalty victory.

Earlier it’d been a typically tense semi-final in which Rachel Furness gave Reading the lead soon after the break but Alisha Lehmann levelled within ten minutes of that strike. There was hardly anything between the two sides and penalties looked likely as the second half spilled into extra time and that was exactly what we got after a 1-1 draw… although Reading’s Fara Williams did miss a penalty with twenty left in regulation. Hey, that’s football for ya.

Only bummer is that Ria Percival wasn’t available. You may recall she went off injured early in the Footy Ferns game against Norway, there’s been no word on the severity of that knock but it did look precautionary at the time. The West Ham website wrote an international roundup which didn’t even mention her being substituted, so clearly they didn’t latch onto the livestream then. “Percival and her New Zealand teammates were able to secure a 1-0 victory at home to Norway. The only goal of the game was scored after just three minutes, with Rosie White turning home for the Football Ferns. West Ham’s right-back – and New Zealand’s record cap holder – helped her side to a clean-sheet as they continue their preparations ahead of the World Cup in France.”

Comprehensive, aye? That’s why you read The Niche Cache instead, folks. Anyway, fingers crossed that Ria’s fit and healthy by the time of the final. A kiwi in an FA Cup final would be historic.

Up Next: Monday at 2am at home to Everton in the WSL… hopefully both Percival (for WHU) and Olivia Chance (for Everton) are playing in that one (NZT)

Ali Riley – Chelsea (English Super League)

Over to the other FA Cup semi-final now except the news wasn’t so great for Ali Riley and Chelsea, who played Manchester City in their match but fell 1-0 to a late own goal. Riley was an unused sub as Chelsea twice hit the woodwork. Both teams had their chances in a competitive game but a Fran Kirby header off the crossbar with fifteen minutes remaining and an Erin Cuthbert strike off the post had Chelsea fans gasping but it’s no use if it doesn’t cross the line and when Magdalena Eriksson accidentally diverted a cross into her own net, well, that was the difference on the night.

Absolutely ruthless coming in the second minute of stoppage time and you can’t say the difference was that City took their chances while Chelsea didn’t because City didn’t either. It’s always a feisty one when these two teams meet though. City had the luck on the day. Chelsea fail to defend their FA Cup crown just as they’ve failed to defend their Super League crown but they do still have the Champions League to play for, with the first leg of their semi-final next Monday morning away in France to Olympic Lyon, then again the weekend after that in the second leg. Barcelona and Bayern Munich play in the other semi-final. Lyon are the favourites of the four teams left, having won the Champions League last time in 2018. And also in 2017. And also in 2016. In fact Lyon have won five and been runners-up in two of the last nine Champions Leagues. That’s pedigree right there.

Up Next: Monday 3am, Lyon vs Chelsea (NZT)

Tyler Boyd – MKE Ankaragücü (Turkish Süper Lig)

Another game and another goal for Tyler Boyd. He’s insatiable at this point. The Ankers were away to Kayserispor and with quarter of an hour to go this thing was heading for a goalless draw, both sides throwing all they had at each other but unable to find a way through. Ankaragücü had already survived their goal-frame getting rattled as well as two penalty shouts. But then this happened…

77th min and Tyler Boyd has now scored in four of his last six games. He’s been remarkable since moving to Turkey on loan and the last two months have been the best of it. Once again it was that explosive speed of his that helped create this one, dashing in front of the keeper to flick it over the top of him. A quick throw-in from Boyd then helped lead to a second in injury time and a lovely 2-0 win for the lads.

These three points mean Ankaragücü are now eight points clear of the relegation zone with six games left to play. They actually got a decent shot at rising up into the mid-table on this form. The European places are basically out of reach however the incredibly compacted rest of the table means that the Ankers are only three points off fifth despite sitting 13th themselves. That’s insane.

Quite like how he always shouts out the teammate who assists him too. Good manners go a long way.

Up Next: Home to Konyaspor on Sunday at the tasty time of 10.30pm (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

This one was sheer madness. New York City FC dropping to town for Minnesota’s home opener and the grand unveiling of their new, beautiful stadium. And after a positive start it was the Loons who christened it with an Ozzie Alonso volley for the first goal at the new venue. The roar was immense to say the least. But that was only the opening act of this game, and within ten minutes they were trailing.

Mike Boxall’s been extremely solid to start 2018 but his poor giveaway from defence left him out of position as Valentin Castellanos slammed in an equaliser a few minutes after Minnesota had scored. There was a superb little flicked volley over his head from NYC but his fault for inviting it all. Then three minutes after that one Ismael Tajouri-Shradi had a shot blocked but it fell right back to him to score and make it 2-1. But wait because right on twenty mins, Ethan Findlay broke the offside trap and set up Angelo Rodriguez and bloody hell, quite the way to open the new stadium.

No but sit still a second because it gets EVEN BETTER. The game had settled down in pace, thanks in no small part to a stoppage for Mike Boxall to get tended to for a bloody nose. But then 32 minutes gone and NYC FC keeper Shaun Johnson scores an absolute classic of an own goal. Like, you see these sometimes where a bobble goes under or over the keeper’s foot but he’s actually dragged that pass into the goal when it was going safely wide. What a moment. Wow.

The drama continued as City tied it up in the second half through Castellanos got through and evading Boxall’s desperate challenge. But after a video review it was established that he’d used his arm to gain control of the ball and it was disallowed – while Minnesota had already had a penalty un-awarded by VAR for an offside in the build-up. Five mins later a thumping free kick from out wide off the boot of Tajouri-Shradi took a deflection for an own goal and we really were level at 3-3. Another crap set piece concession from Minny. That was the way it ended, finally, exhaustingly, although there was some concern late on for Ike Opara and Castellanos who collided heads and both dudes were replaced. Opara is Boxall’s CB partner so that could be a lingering concern if he’s forced to miss any time.

Up Next: Away to Toronto FC, midday on Saturday (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

They’re not happy chappies in Portland at the moment. A 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas means they’ve now gone winless in their first six games and sit rock bottom of the Western Conference, below even Colorado, despite having been Conference champs in 2018. Lots to ponder, aye Bill?

The Timbers actually played quite well in this one, they just aren’t getting the luck their way. Bill Tuiloma was there in central defence yet again, his fourth start in a row, and given the defensive dramas this team have had so far (conceding 15 goals in their first five games) it was a back three that he found himself in. Which worked fine except for when the Timbers put themselves under pressure, as they did in the ninth minute when Jeremy Ebobisse’s back pass led to Billy T having to rush out of the line to clear, but his clearance was stabbed back towards the front and somewhere in there a Portland defender deflected the ball in behind for Jesus Ferreira to run on and score the opening goal of the game for Dallas. It was flagged for offside at first but the ball behind was actually played by an unwitting Diego Chara.

Portland have now conceded the opening goal in all six of their games and they’ve conceded it within 16 minutes in five of those. Incredible. They continued to exhibit that sloppiness at the back but they did have a good spell in attack after conceding and were well in this thing until Jorge Moreira fouled Pablo Aranguiz in the box and Reto Ziegler scored to make it 2-0 with half an hour remaining.

Christian Paredes scored in the 67th min heading in a cross from Blaco, which got the Timbers back into it. They then were pretty bloody harshly denied the chance to draw this thing. First Tuiloma nodded a free kick on target but too close to the keeper who made an easy save. 84 mins gone and that was the warning. Ebobisse then copped a shove in the back which wasn’t reviewed but if it had then there’s a decent chance they overturn it for a penalty. Rough call there but really rough was the handball in stoppage time from a Tuiloma header which was really was reviewed but still the ref decided no deal on the spottie and the Timbers dropped this one 2-1. Safe to say they were extremely pissed, Tuiloma was also possibly tripped in the area right at the end which was waved off by the ref.

iSportsWeb: “Tuiloma has been thrust into a starting position fairly quickly, but he has shown that he can be a solid center back in Major League Soccer, which is more than almost anyone else on the team can say. Yes, he was partly to blame on the first goal, but no one saw the deflection off of Diego Chará coming. Tuiloma will probably continue to start in the sweeper role as part of a five-man back line going forward.”

Up Next: Columbus vs Portland, Sunday at 11.30am (NZT)

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

Back in business looking to repeat the greatest ever NWSL team season, the Courage hit a bit of a hurdle against their semi-final opponents of 2018, the Chicago Red Stars. Once home to Rosie White. That hurdle specifically being Sam Kerr who in the 26th minute split the defence with her pace and then rounded the keeper and slotted home past a recovering Abby Erceg. Super goal from the Aussie star, especially as the Courage had largely controlled the game up until that point.

And would largely control it the rest of the way too. NCC finally equalised through Crystal Dunn in the 66th min and went extremely close to winning it as Erceg had a header tipped away by the fingertips of the oppo goalie from a header off a corner (of which they had 13 compared to just one corner kick for the Red Stars). With 24 shots and 6 of those on target, as well as 60% possession, the Courage should have done more than enough to win. Yet if it weren’t for Abby Erceg clearing one off the line at the end after Sam Kerr had struck the underside of the bar, they’d have been leaving with nothing. That wasn’t the only time Chicago nearly snuck it in that second half either, just the closest one.

So a 1-1 draw to begin the campaign. Bit of an annoying one but the Red Stars should be one of the major challengers to North Carolina’s title, along with the Portland Thorns. In happier news, the 2018 players got their championship rings before the game… because that’s a thing that they do in the USA.

No game for Katie Bowen’s Utah Royals, by the way. They had the bye first up but they kick things off against Washington Spirit this weekend. Interesting to see where Bowen ends up. Last season she began as a midfielder, in her preferred position, but fell to the bench and ended up working her way back in at right back. Super impressive to be able to reinvent yourself on the fly like that but she’s good enough to be a CM in this league so we’ll see how it goes with a preseason. With most of their team returning though it looks like right back again.

Up Next: North Carolina Courage. Thursday at 11am. At home to Orlando Pride (NZT)

Greg Draper – The New Saints (Welsh Premier League)

They did it. A run of comprehensive wins had TNS knowing that a win against Barry Town would win them the league and they barely had to worry about it as Greg Draper scored early and they went on to win it 4-0. That’s an eighth WPL title in a row for this team, remarkably. “The current – and looking to retain it as well this time round – JD Welsh Premier League (JD WPL) Golden Boot got The New Saints off to a perfect start as he opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Including the Barry Town United win, three consecutive league games on the bounce have seen 17 goals scored with none conceded, as the team continues to find the net at one end and keep them out at the other.”

It ain’t over yet either because there’s still the Welsh Cup final to play as well as the last few league games. Connah’s Quay Nomads are their opponents in the cup. With two trebles and three doubles in the last five seasons, they’ll be pretty keen to win that second trophy for 2018-19 as well. Connah’s Quay are their closest rivals for the league and they play them in their final WPL game nine days before meeting them again in the cup final.

As for Drapes, he’s scored 18 goals in his last 12 games in all comps. The dude’s a marvel. 18 of his 27 appearances have come off the bench too, which just goes to show how clinical he’s been. A goal every 44 minutes in the WPL this campaign. Incredible and with his 25 goals he’s miles ahead of Liam Thomas of Carmarthen Town in second with 19 on the golden boot standings. TNS haven’t lost a game since going out of the League Cup in November in extra time away to Cambrian & Clydach – that was 19 games ago.

Up Next: TNS vs Caernarfon Town, 6.30am on Sunday (NZT)

Nikko Boxall – Viborg FF (Danish Division 1)

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Some sneaky developments here as Silkeborg lost 3-1 at home to Næstved despite having taken a 12th minute lead. This was the first game of the week and Næstved were played their second game in four days but a Kristoffer Munksgaard double did the trick and that left Nikko’s lot knowing a win would put them two points clear at the top again. Næstved are now only three points behind them though, with a game in hand but a much worse goal difference.

They rose comfortably to the challenge against bottom-placed Thisted. Going into the break at even stevens, they then scored four second half goals including a double for Andreas Albers and that 4-0 win has them in the sole automatic promotion spot. Even if they slip back, it’s likely they make the promotion playoff between second and third place but you don’t really wanna take that risk. Nikko Boxall played the full thing, making one mistake in the first half where he gave away possession leading to a shot for Thisted but was otherwise solid.

Meanwhile in the top flight Marco Rojas’ SønderjyskE lost 1-0 away to Vejle with Rojas as an unused sub. Not looking good for them, they’ll probably have to compete in the relegation playoffs. Been frustrating seeing Marco in and out of the team, especially as they struggle for goals.

Up Next: Guess what? Viborg vs Næstved at 11.45pm on Sunday – it’s a big one (NZT)

Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

What FCGB really needed was a win against Lille, following a couple defeats which had left their chances of finishing third in some jeopardy. Ideally a win with a clean sheet for Erin Nayler too. They got one of the two. Erin Nayler was an unused sub having only just returned from playing for the Footy Ferns in the international window. Romane Bruneau started instead and conceded midway through the first half when Carla Polito took a big punt from out on the sideline and it chipped right over Bruneau and into the top corner.

But FCGB responded to take their half-time oranges with a 1-1 scoreline. Viv Asseyi followed up a goal-mouth scramble from a corner in the 39th min and there you go. Both teams then had their chances in a competitive second half but as Lille threw players forward looking for a win that would lift them out of the relegation zone, they didn’t really have a choice, they got hit hard on the break by Bordeaux, with Asseyi breaking the line and sliding the ball over to Claire Lavogez for the simple finish and the winner in the third minute of injury time. The 2-1 win combined with Montpellier going down 2-1 to last-placed Rodez means that Bordeaux and back in third by head to head tiebreaker (despite having a way worse goal difference, like 26 goals worse than Montpellier). Their next game is against PSG though, the Champions League semi-finalists, so they’ll need Montpellier to drop points elsewhere too, most likely. Expecting Erin Nayler to be back for that one though.

Also, if you noticed the Bordeaux captain in a face mask in these highlights, that’s from a collision with Nayler a little while back. Don’t stand in the way of a kiwi keeper is all there is to say about that. Get out the way when that call goes up.

Up Next: Away to PSG on Thursday at 4.30am (NZT)

Meikayla Moore – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

A stalemate is perfectly fine at this stage of the season. SC Sand are two points ahead of Duisburg so a win would obviously have been huge, but a point from a 2-2 draw keeps the Zebras four points clear of the drop zone with four games remaining. Barbara Dunst scored first to have Duisburg up 1-0 at the half but a quick double from Milena Nikolic and Nadina Prohaska soon changed things. They were extremely lucky it wasn’t three goals in ten minutes when their keeper spilled a simple one too, only for the loose ball to get blasted over the top of the goal. Lucie Harsanyova tied it up again from the penalty spot with twenty left and neither side was able to find a winner. Highlights available here.

Another game at right back for Meikayla Moore. Played the full ninety. Seven points from their last three games has basically saved their season now, although it ain’t over yet and one more win along the way might come in handy.

Up Next: Away to league leaders Wolfsburg at 11pm on Monday (NZT)

Clayton Lewis – Scunthorpe United (English League One)

Half-time of Scunthorpe’s game against Burton and something had to change. The Iron were trailing 1-0 at home to a Kieran Wallace goal and basically playing rubbish. So on came Clayton Lewis to be the hero, subbed on for the final 45 mins by caretaker manager Andy Dawson. Sloppiness in defence had put them under heaps of pressure and the goal was definitely coming when it arrived, six mins before HT.

The idea was that Lewis would bring so creativity to the game, a bit of quality in possession. Instead they conceded twice more to Lucas Akins with a strong header and Liam Boyce with a bit of a fluke cross that floated into the top corner. Not really how it was supposed to go. According to the Grimsby Telegraph, Clayton Lewis: “Looked bright early on but quickly faded and did not have much influence”.

The 3-0 defeat means they’re now just three points clear of relegation with four games left to play. It’s now or never and if Clayton can bag a goal or two that keeps the Iron in League One then that could do wonders for his future at the club. Be the hero, mate.

Up Next: Scunthorpe vs Blackpool, Saturday at 2am (NZT)

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

Did the Rapids win? Nope. Tommy Smith came back into the starting team with his suspension served and Deklan Wynne dropped to the bench. Lucky for Deklan, who didn’t have to deal with Wayne Rooney and DC United. They took the lead early on through Benny Feilhaber which was nice, but then conceded three quick goals before half-time and yeah that’s the Anthony Hudson Rapids for you, compounding their own errors.

But here’s the thing… the Rapids dominated this game. They had way more possession, way more shots, way more corner kicks… they just suck at turning that into goals while their own defensive mistakes continually cost them. Kei Kamara’s second half goal gave them hope but ultimately they lack the quality up top to put their chances away. Kamara’s the only guy doing it.

Smithy’s mostly getting away with it as the best defender in this side but his work for the second goal was kinda weak as he dropped out of the line and played his bloke onside, then for the third goal he got pretty much turned inside out. But he did win the header that led to the opening goal. That’s something.

Eight wins out of 44 games for Anthony Hudson now. That seat must be getting rather hot.

Up Next: Away to Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at 5am (NZT)

Steven Old – Morecambe (English League Two)

An 80th minute penalty should have won it for the Shrimps as Aaron Collins stepped up and scored. But an 88th minute equaliser from Charles Vernam ensured that Grimsby took home a point as well. Really not much of a game, this one. 13 combined shots. Grimsby mostly shooting at the keeper, Morecambe mostly shooting off target when they did. And the penalty looked like a dive too.

No worries, both teams are in that lower mid-table safety zone so they’ll be fine. Four games left and Morecambe are 10 points clear of relegation. Steven Old with another ninety minute effort at CB... which is relevant because Sam Lavelle is back from injury now yet Oldie held his spot at the expense of new signing Ritchie Sutton.

Up Next: Away to Mansfield at 2am on Saturday (NZT)

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

This was after a 5-0 win over Bradford which has Lewes up to sixth on the ladder in the English third tier, although to be fair Bradford have a -109 goal difference this season so it was a game they were expected to win. But Laura Merrin, out there doing great things for Fylde. Not one who gets massive Footy Ferns wraps yet maybe she oughta be in those conversations.

Up Next: Doncaster Belles vs Fylde, 1am on Monday 29 April (NZT)

Tyler Lissette & Francis De Vries – IFK Värnamo (Swedish Division 1 Södra)

Tyler Lissette’s been with Värnamo a little while now, though he fell out of favour last season as they strode towards relegation. However now that they’ve dropped to the third tier, not only is he back in favour but he’s been joined by fellow kiwi Francis De Vries too! Both defenders played the ninety as Värnamo began their season last week with a 0-0 draw against Oskarshamns and it was the same deal this week as they bagged three points away to Skövde.

That’s all sweet as but it gets better because Francis De Vries actually scored the first goal for Värnamo too. Sixth minute and get that into ya. Paolo Marcelo, a Brazilian import, then made it 2-0 just before the break and he added an insurance goal in the last ten mins after Skövde had dragged one back. A 3-1 win away from home and that’s a decent way to start things. De Vries also got a yellow card in the second half. Looks like he might’ve played midfield too.

De Vries isn’t new to Sweden, he played the second half of last season with Nyköping after he got done with Canterbury United. Played 11 games there on the Northern side of Division 1. As for Lissette, this is his third season with Värnamo but the first two were in the second tier Superettan.

Up Next: Home to Tvååker, 2am on Tuesday 23 April (NZT)

Harry Edge & Owen Parker-Price – Torslanda IK (Swedish Division 2 Norra Götaland)

This got some words in the last Premmy Files but Ole Academy have strung up a partnership with Torslanda IK in Sweden in a pretty exciting avenue for future Euro pros from Aotearoa. There’s a lot going on here so read this thing for more. But know that in their first games of availability, both Harry Edge and Owen Parker-Price went straight into that midfield for Torsy.

They lost 4-0 though. So it goes, it’s only the first step of this journey.

Up Next: Away to Örebro Syrianska on Sunday at 1am (NZT)

Moses Dyer – Florø SK (Norwegian Division 2)

Moses Dyer’s Florø got relegated last season. He’s still there though and he scored their first goal of the new season in a 2-2 draw away to Oppsal, playing a full game in the midfield. He scored once in seven appearances last year as injuries and that natural settling in period meant he only started three times but by the looks of it he should be much more of a factor now. Which is exciting. Not used to having so much positive news in a single edition of Flying Kiwis.

Up Next: Florø vs Sotra, 2am on Tuesday (NZT)

Monty Patterson - Hønefoss BK (Norwegian Division 3)

This is getting exhausting at this point but Monty the Python Patterson got a double in a 6-0 win over Bodø/Glimt 2. Hell of a way to begin the new campaign. So yeah, sweet as. Haven’t been able to find video of it, or indeed of Moses Dyer or Francis De Vries’ goals, but you can feast upon this bit of meme-ery from last week instead.

Up Next: Away to Tromsø II on Tuesday (NZT)

The USL Crew

James Musa (Phoenix Rising) – Still sitting on the bench for some reason, but this time he did get to play as he was introduced for the last two minutes of a 2-0 win away to El Paso.

Elliot Collier (Memphis 901 FC) – Got a full game against a strong Nashville side, playing on the right win and getting a yellow card near the end, but Memphis were beaten 2-0, despite it still being scoreless with quarter of an hour left. But to be fair Nashville had all the chances.

Kyle Adams (Rio Grande Valley) – A win! And Kyle Adams was back in there as captain with the Houston Dynamo dudes all back with the MLS team. Did the business at CB in a 2-1 win over OKC Energy.

Sam Brotherton (North Carolina FC) – Got in 84 minutes before he was replaced with NC chasing an equaliser near the end, which they never caught up with. Lost 2-1 to Atlanta United’s reserves.

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