Flying Kiwis – May 14

Screen Shot 05-13-19 at 10.56 PM.JPG

Tyler Boyd – MKE Ankaragücü (Turkish Süper Lig)

Guess who was at it again? Seventeenth minute of the game, Istanbul Basaksehir vs Ankaragücü, and Tyler Boyd cuts inside with a few stepovers, a few shimmies of the shoulder, and then smack right into the bottom corner. That’s his fifth goal to go with his four assists this season and he only joined the club in January. What a lovely goal it was too.

Didn’t quite work out the way they wanted though. Up against a team scrapping it out for the title, with the likes of Gael Clichy, Arda Turan, Demba Ba, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Robinho on their books (Turan and Ba didn’t play, while Adebayor was an unused sub), the Ankers’ lead lasted about a minute into the second half before Riad Bajic slipped a cheeky flick into the net from close range and as the tackles went flying in, the home side ramped up the pressure. Eventually Robinho scored the winner on the follow up, in the 66th minute, which is quite shocking to those of us who thought the former Man City fella retired five years ago. He’s still only 35, somehow.

Anyway, Boyd was replaced with six minutes remaining, probably to protect him from a crunching slide tackle to the shin or two the way that game was going. His goal turned out to be their only shot on target. Basaksehir stay tied top of the table with Galatasaray but behind on goal difference, while Ankaragücü are three points clear of relegation with two more games to play. One more result could do it.

By the way, the USA name their squad for the Gold Cup in a couple weeks, with that tournament a month away. Here’s hoping that nobody involved in selecting that lot watches Turkish football and they can keep on picking mud MLS veterans instead.

Up Next: Tuesday 21 May, 5am, home vs Sivasspor (NZT)

Andre De Jong – AmaZulu FC (South African Premier Soccer League)

Fresh from a brilliant Premiership campaign with Eastern Suburbs which culminated in a national title, Andre De Jong has joined the growing list of players from that squad to find their way into the professional ranks. Owen Parker-Price and Harry Edge are with Torslanda in Sweden. Elijah Just and Dalton Wilkins are with FC Helsingør in Denmark. More on that pair in a sec. Callum McCowatt is waiting until after the U20 World Cup to decide on his future. And ADJ is off to South Africa.

There’s a cool twist to this signing. AmaZulu were in the market for a new striker since they sold their last fella to Mamelodi Sundowns, the club that Jeremy Brockie’s at. That striker pretty much edged the already out of favour Brockie to the very fringes of that squad to where he’s expected to be transferred before next season, with interest from elsewhere in the PSL being talked up while the Wellington Phoenix have also thrown their hat in the ring for what that’s worth. That striker’s name is Emiliano Tade. A superstar of the kiwi Premiership and now ADJ has been signed from the same league to replace him at the club next season. Love that.

Andre De Jong: “I am really looking forward to my time here and happy to join a team with plenty of ambition. I think the level here is really high. The intensity, technical demands and pace is high. I want to work hard for the team and hopefully consolidate a place in the line-up soon. I can’t wait to get back here for preseason. The team and coach helped me settle in well. The trial was thoroughly enjoyable.”

De Jong spent time on trial with AmaZulu and impressed the crew there with his abilities. The 22 year old has signed on a three year contract, and he’s expected to play as a second striker for Bongi Ntuli. AmaZul just wrapped up their season finishing 11th out of 16 teams with 31 points. Mamelodi Sundowns won the title again, so shout outs to Brockie on that one. Brox didn’t play that one but he did get a run the week before, just his second PSL appearance in four months.

Up Next: New season starts in August

Elijah Just & Dalton Wilkins - FC Helsingør (Danish Division 1)

Now for the other couple Eastern Suburbs champions to wander into the pro ranks this week. Midfield maestro and assist king Eli Just and energetic fullback Dalton Wilkins – both in the U20 World Cup squad – have found their way into the books at FC Helsingør in the second tier in Denmark. Same division as Nikko Boxall is currently trying to get promoted from… although Helsingør needs a bit of a push over the last two games of this current season to avoid relegation. A draw this week got them off bottom but they’re still two points adrift of safety.

Just and Wilkins have signed on three year deals and will join the club in July once they’re done with the U20 World Cup with plenty of time to get a full preseason in. The curious thing about Helsingør is that a couple months ago they were purchased by a group of Americans looking to provide American players a pathway into European football… pretty much the same as what Ole Academy have done with Torslanda in Sweden. Now they’ve signed two Ole Academy heroes to get things going. Sounds like those parallel ventures got the two parties talking and one thing led to another. Just and Wilkins had been trialling with the club since April, while Callum McCowatt was also there and naturally they were keen on getting him locked in too but CMC’s waiting ‘til after the U20 World Cup to assess his next direction.

Eli Just: “I got a very positive impression of the club. There is a long-term plan and a new great stadium to play next year. I'm really looking forward to getting started in earnest.”

Dalton Wilkins: “We have been in Denmark for a while, and it has been very positive. People are hugely sweet up here. I don't think I've met a single person who hasn't been kind and welcoming. The people of the club and the other players have taken tremendous good to us. We have already learned the first Danish words as "thank you" and of course some football expressions such as ‘back’ and ‘alone’.”

FCH Director Janus Kyhl: “Both Dalton and "Eli", as he is just called, are some hard-working players who can run the sun black. They are both creative, modern players who are very flexible. Eli can play all the seats across the centre, and Dalton is a modern wingback that manages the edge as well and can also play in the central defence. They are both players I expect are in play for our first team already next season.”

Up Next: U20 World Cup, baby

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

Down their USA internationals, the Courage are looking a little less than their best these days. They weren’t able to put away a couple early chances away to the Chicago Red Stars, who they beat in the semis last season, and Sam Kerr made them pay for it with her 13th minute strike. Abby Erceg nodded one off the post before Lynn Williams equalised in the 33rd but then Michele Vasconcelos made it 2-1 to Chicago going into the break and then at the end of a game in which both teams hit the frame of the goal multiple times, Kerr finished it off with a fantastic strike in stoppage time, celebrating with a dose of acrobatics.

Incredibly this was NCC’s first defeat for 330 days, a streak which spanned 17 games… but to be fair a defeat like this was coming and against a title contender in Chicago they can’t really complain. The worry is that it’s only gonna get worse for NCC as Erceg and Brazilian forward Debinha leave for international duty in the coming weeks.

Up Next: Monday at 9am, North Carolina Courage vs Utah Royals (NZT)

Katie Bowen – Utah Royals (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Half an hour into their game against Houston Dash, the Royals were up 1-0 thanks to an Amy Rodriguez goal and on track for a fourth straight 1-0 win to begin their 2019 season. A slick finish past the keeper after Rodriguez had broken the defensive line. But a defensive mistake a few mins before the break coupled with a brilliant finish from outside the box courtesy of Rachel Daly and things soon changed. The English international then scored again quickly after the break, the first two goals that Utah have conceded this year, and although Daly got a late red card for a swinging elbow the Royals weren’t able to exceed their standard one goal per game this year. A 2-1 defeat then, with Katie Bowen getting a fairly uneventful ninety at right back. Utah were without their five USA and Canada internationals as they prepare for the World Cup.

Next week is a Flying Kiwis Derby between Abby Erceg and Katie Bowen although the Ferns are playing USA in Missouri on Friday our time so not sure what’s going on there. It had been reported that Erceg (and supposedly Bowen too) would join up with the national team in late May so if this game isn’t in next week’s Flying Kiwis it’s because there were no Flying Kiwis involved.

Up Next: Monday at 9am, North Carolina Courage vs Utah Royals (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

That’s another season in the books. Burnley weren’t up to a while lot as they hosted Arsenal in their final game, going down 3-1. All the drama was happening elsewhere on the Premier League’s final day but there was a little of it in Burnley when Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno ran an NFL blocking play on Ashley Barnes… which Barnes was then booked for after he retaliated. Chris Wood then had his big chance of the night when a long ball bounced clear of the Arsenal defence and Woody was through, holding off Konstantinos Mavropanos, but his shot from the edge of the area rocketed back off the inside of the post and ripped clear. An inch away from one last goal this season.

Into the second half and a poor pass across the defence from Jack Cork let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get through and he showed the Woodsman how to do it to open the scoring. The same bloke made it 2-0 after 63 mins when he whacked in a lovely volley at the far post. Ash Barnes struck back immediately with a header from close range (after Woody had only been able to glance his own attempt) but Eddie Nketiah scored a late one through Tom Heaton’s legs to polish it off in stoppage time.

Burnley finish in fifteenth place on 40 points, having had some severe ups and downs this season but coming up with the big results when they really needed them. Chris Wood played all 38 PL games this season. He came off the bench nine times and started 29, playing the sixth most minutes in the Burnley squad. His 10 league goals were second only to Barnes in the side – he also scored twice in the Europa League and once in the FA Cup for 13 bangers in total. Only 32 players got to double digit goals this Premier League season, old mate had as many goals as Leroy Sane and Marcus Rashford. There were also only 29 players who appeared in 38 games this season.

And of course there’s the one that matters most…

Up Next: No All Whites games on the horizon so a big long offseason for Woody

Max Crocombe – Salford City (English National League)

The tale of Salford City has been a crazy one. Founded 79 years ago, it had never been close to the Football League when it was taken over in 2014 by a bunch of old mate Manchester United fellas (Giggsy, Scholes, Butt, and a couple Nevilles) as well as Singapore billionaire Peter Lim who took on 50% of the club a few months later. The target then was four promotions in eight years to gain League Two status. Well, with a 3-0 win over Fylde in the National League playoff final this weekend they’ve done it in five. Four promotions in five years. Amazing.

Max Crocombe signed with the club in 2017 and has spent the last two seasons there, starting in 31 games in the National League North in his first campaign but dropping down the pecking order this latest effort. Chris Neal stole his starting gig and that fella got a little greedy in playing every minute of all 48 league games this term, Crocombe literally an unused sub in every single one. He got some games in cup stuff so not too bad there. Plus he gets to go wild in yet another promotion celebration – Salford City gonna meet Steven Old’s Morecambe and Clayton Lewis’ Scunthorpe in League Two next season… assuming all three are still at their current clubs by then. Crocombe’s contract ends after this season so we’ll see if they keep him around.

Up Next: Slam back a few brews before the tough stuff begins again

James Dunn – Woking FC (English National League South)

Ah look, another promotion! A 3-2 win over Wealdstone, in which Woking had to come from 2-0 down with quarter of an hour to play, got them into the playoff final and they took care of that thing against Welling United with an Armani Little free kick just before the half in a 1-0 victory in the final. Woking had finished second on the ladder of the NL South (despite stumbling over the last couple months) having been relegated a year ago. They’ll return to the National League proper now (which Max Crocombe’s Salford just got promoted from).

James Dunn didn’t play a league game after joining the club in January, though he was on the bench nine times and the 21 year old did play a bit in some of the cup stuff. Definitely one who’s being thought of for the future – here’s hoping he gets that contract extension soon.

Up Next: See above

Greg Draper – The New Saints (Welsh Premier League) “Following on from another successful season with The New Saints FC, where the team lifted the JD double of Welsh Premier League (JD WPL) and Welsh Cup, leading goal scorer, Greg Draper, has put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal. Opening the scoring in the 3-0 victory against Connah’s Quay Nomads on Sunday just gone, the New Zealand international ended the season with 37 goals overall and 27 in the league. The latter earns him the JD WPL Golden Boot accolade for the second year on the bounce.”

TNS Chairman Mike Harris: “It’s great to see Greg committing an extension to his contract and I foresee the goal machine continuing to lead the way with his goals.”

TNS Manager Scott Ruscoe: “Greg has earned his new deal through continued hard work and goals which has helped us secure another double this season.”

Greg Draper: “It’s a great feeling to know that I’m going to be here for another two years. All I’ll be focusing on is helping add more league titles and cup trophies to the seventeen that we’ve won in the last eight years, along with progressing further in Europe.”

Up Next: A much deserved break

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

Remaining in the starting team for the second leg of their Europa League playoff (well, playoff for the playoffs) against Randers, Marco Rojas and his lot had to score away from home to have any chance of progressing. That hope took a shot after nine minutes when a defensive slip allowed Marvin Egho to stroke in the opener, yet just two minutes later a penalty for a shove in the back of 10 let captain Johan Absalonsen to get us back on level terms. 1-1 in the first leg and 1-1 after 13 minutes in the second.

Didn’t last though. A trick corner routine and Egho’s shot squeezed in to have Randers back up 2-1. Still only 18 mins played. Things settled down after that but Kevin Conboy’s got ten minutes into the second half had Sonders on the brink. However this game had plenty more action in it yet. A Johnny Thomsen own goal in the 68th made it funky before Mart Lieder’s near post header got it to 3-3 and Sonders were going through on away goals. That advantage lasted all of five minutes before Marvin Egho completed his hatty and Randers took this thing 4-3.

Unfortunately here that means the end of SønderjyskE’s season. No European footy next season… but they avoided relegation which was the most important thing. Marco Rojas’ half season there wasn’t a complete success but he got his foot in the door with 11 appearances, six starts and five off the bench. He played all 180 minutes of their playoff versus Randers. Scored one goal with one assist in his time. Rojas only signed for this one season but the club has an option for one more year which they said at the time that they’d discuss after things wrapped up. Which now they have, so watch this space. With a lot of seasons finishing these last two weeks we’re getting into transfer season again, matey.

Up Next: Not much bro

Nikko Boxall – Viborg FF (Danish Division 1)

Nikko and the Viborgers were a goal down after seven minutes at home to Fredericia and were still a goal down going into half-time. This against a team that was scrapping to stay in contention for a top three space and possible promotion so no easy deal. But Viborg are plotting a championship here so coach Steffen Højer wasn’t pulling punches when he subbed off Boxall at HT in order to get another attacking option out there.

Nikko can’t complain. The goal was his fault, giving the ball away in defence with a sloppy touch and then watching helpless as he chased while Ago Mucolli chipped the ball over Ingvar Jonsson to score. He picked up a yellow card too, Viborg’s first 45 spoiled by their own messiness.

The change at the break didn’t reap immediate benefits so more attacking subs followed. Eventually, finally, one of those subs made a difference. Andreas Albers in the 83rd minute. Glancing header on the end of a good old fashioned long throw. There was the equaliser and that mate Albers saved the big moment until the second minute of three stoppage time mins with a close range header from a scrappy corner that gave Viborg a stunning late victory and got them back within a point of Silkeborg who had won 5-0 the night before against bottom placed Thisted (doing good things for Eli Just and Dalton Wilkins’ Helsingør).

Fredericia bounced back with a win a couple days later that kept them in fifth but losing to Viborg means they can no longer catch them on the ladder (could still get third though – second and third playoff for promotion). A draw for Næstved also opened things up and with three games remaining Viborg are still in a brilliant place to get promoted to the top flight… and it could all come down to Wednesday morning if they can beat Silkeborg away from home and leap into first.

Up Next: Silkeborg vs Viborg, Wednesday at 5am (NZT)

Meikayla Moore – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

MSV Duisburg lost 2-0 this week. Went down to a couple first half goals for visitors Frankfurt, with Meikayla Moore playing the full game in central defence. She’s played in a few different positions this season, at fullback, centreback, and even as a defensive midfielder. But that game didn’t matter too much other than as a way to thank the fans, the Zebras had already booked their top flight safety for another year.

They end things ninth out of 12 teams with 19 points from 22 games. Not too sure about that -41 goal difference but they were able to grind out the wins they needed when it mattered most. Moore might have filled in at a few different positions but she still started 20 out of 22 games (Footy Ferns duty interrupting things briefly). She scored one goal and picked up three yellow cards. After playing eight games across the second half of the season and experiencing relegation with FC Koln a year ago, safe to call this one a success.

Up Next: Best focus on that little matter of the World Cup now, aye?

Ali Riley – Chelsea FC (English Super League)

Two final games to close things out in a season in which Chelsea lost some ground against Manchester City and Arsenal and despite a run to both the Champions League and FA Cup semis they finish up without a trophy. A rough month of April which came and went without a win was the killer. But they finished things off with a bit of force.

Away to bottom placed Yeovil town, who had kiwi born Samoan international Monique Fischer on the bench as an unused sub, Chelsea mixed things up with their selections and that meant a start for Ali Riley, just her second start of the WSL season. The Ferns captain has been a backup left back to Jonna Andersson the whole way so the minutes haven’t always been forthcoming. This was the first time she’d got on the park in a WSL game since the end of March. First appearance in any comp since then, frustratingly. But the Chelsea rotations cashed in big time with an 8-0 win. Beth England scored a hat-trick while Erin Cuthbert and Fran Kirby each scored a brace and Adelina Engman got the other one. Pretty comprehensive.

Chelsea then closed it out with the top string girls again, with Beth England scoring a second half winner away to Reading in a 3-2 result that lifted the Blues ahead of Birmingham for third on the table. Ali Riley played 15 times all up this season, with six of those being starts. Two goals to show for it in the cup stuff.

Emma Hayes, CFC manager [on whether the season has been a disappointing one or not]: “Yes and no, the progress in terms of having trophies yes that’s the disappointment. But if we think back to 12 months ago and playing a game in the Champions League and being destroyed against Wolfsburg to that development, then there’s progress made. We could very well be talking about being in the European Champions League final today, that’s where the margins were and I couldn’t have even said that 12 months ago, so progress has been made in that area. The rest of the league have improved after six years there had to come a point Arsenal were going to compete and they have been the outstanding team all year, they are deserving of their title and now it’s their time to have a marker on their back and our time to be in the chaser position.’”

Up Next: World Cup yarns again

CJ Bott – Vittsjö GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

A 21st minute goal from Clara Markstedt was one of a whole heap of chances to score that Vittsjö fashioned against Ekilstuna Utd on the weekend. They absolutely dominated this thing but somehow Markstedt’s was the only goal. Never mind, it was all they needed. The 1-0 win was their third in four games and keeps them sitting pretty in fourth place. Vittsjö play twice more this week before the Swedish league follows suit with a few others around the world and takes a break for two months to suit that whole World Cup thing.

And at this point you shouldn’t even need it said that CJ Bott had another impressive outing at left back. Who put the cross in for the goal? Please, you already know.

Clara Markstedt: “We created more chances and that makes it dangerous for the opponents. Bott hit a long ball and I got a toe on it. She is good at hitting those balls. The people around us are very important. They are heard and felt and then you want to do well.”

Up Next: Away to Djurgården on Thursday at 5am (NZT)

Deklan Wynne – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

How’d the Rapids go this week? They lost again, of course. The worst team in the MLS continues to put distance between themselves and all other MLS futility. Granted the VAR-awarded penalty that had them behind to Real Salt Lake after 25 mins was pretty unlucky, in fact a borderline awful decision to be honest. All shoulder to shoulder but whatever. Even still it was pure Rapidry to then concede a second a single minute later.

Deklan Wynne was at CB again which meant he had a great view as left back Sebastian Anderson, a 16 year old local who finds himself playing these days, was beaten for both goals. Things swung after 32 mins when a ruthless challenge from Justin Glad saw a red card produced and RSL were down to ten... but then VAR decided that it was only worth a yellow so another one that went against them. When you’re down on your luck you’re really down on your luck. But a Kellyn Acosta goal in stoppage time gave them hope.

Suddenly the Rapids had some momentum and they made it 2-2 straight after the second half kicked off when Danny Wilson finished off from a corner. Woulda been a nice comeback had they not conceded five minutes later, Deklan Wynne getting skinned around the outside and Sam Johnson supplying the finish. Tommy Smith was an unused sub. With 2 points from 11 games this is now the worst start to an MLS campaign in league history.

Up Next: LA Galaxy away, Monday at midday (NZT)

Ria Percival – West Ham United (English Super League)

The FA Cup final hangover was real. With Percy in the midfield, West Ham took on Brighton in their final league game but they kinda got smoked. Kayleigh Green and Megan Connolly scored first half goals and Amanda Nilden and Ellie Brazil scored a couple late ones as WHU fell 4-0 to end their season. A hugely successful season, establishing themselves in the top division in England while making a run all the way to Wembley and the FA Cup final, but a bummer of a way to close it out. Nothing really left to play for and that’s what can happen.

Ria Percival ends her first season as a Hammer with 16 appearances out of 20 in the league (the Nations Cup last year cost a fair few Ferns a couple club games), starting 15 of those games. She mixed it up between midfield and right back, setting up a couple goals. Surprisingly just the one yellow card in the WSL. Most impressive was that Percy went in as a new signing and was immediately a key player for the club. Plenty to build upon from here.

Up Next: World Cup fever

Michael Woud – Willem II (Dutch Eredivisie)

The KNVB Cup final didn’t go the way they hoped but with Europa League playoffs still within reach there was plenty left to play for. Although keeper Timon Wellenreuther wasn’t able to be a part of it as they hosted FC Emmen. His hip injury, which recovered enough to start the cup final, was too much and that meant Michael Woud with another start between the sticks. His fourth start for the club, all within the last two months.

Unfortunately, just like with the West Ham women, there was more than a little cup final hangover on display. The first half was decent enough, with Vangelis Pavlidis making a nice run to the near post to stab in the opener – the first shot on target for either side – in the 35th min. Willem then doubled that through a deflected effort from Alexander Isak.

2-0 up and Woudy hadn’t had a save to make. But within five mins of the break the visitors were back in it as some sloppy defence caused the ball to bounce precariously in behind them and Woud rushed out only to be beaten to it by Luciano Slagveer who scored on the follow up despite lying on his arse at the time. Any way you can get them. Two minutes later Woud showed good hands to catch a rough one from distance… but he made a mess of a ball at his feet early in the second, dwelling on it too long and getting charged down only for the ball to bounce to safety. Bit like Stefan Marinovic the other week.

By this point Willem were really looking tired and they weren’t helped by their kiwi keeper spilling the ball at the feet of Hilal Ben Moussa to make it 2-2. It was a decent diving one-handed save the first one but he couldn’t keep it away from the striker following it up. And then in the 79th min a rocket shot from Caner Cavlan came flying in and Woud parried it away firmly except once again a forward got on the end of it. Michael de Leeuw with the goal, a former Willem II youth teamer, and Willem go down 3-2 in a result that ends their European hopes.

They have one more chance to salvage a bit of pride on Thursday morning when they face ADO Den Haag, which is a cheeky matchup to close on because third string keeper Luuk Brand is supposedly in chats to sign with them next season. If Woud gets injured and Brand plays then he’ll be up against his future employers. More pertinent is that Willem II are willing to offload a keeper in the same age range as Woud which feels like a nod of approval. Clearing out the competition.

Up Next: ADO Den Haag vs Willem II, Thursday at 5.30am (NZT)

Betsy Hassett - KR Reykjavik (Icelandic Úrvalsdeild kvenna)

Slightly scary one here. Five weeks out from the World Cup, the Icelandic season began with KR going down 1-0 away to HK / Víkingur. Thorhildur Thorhallsdottir scored the only goal late in the first half, which is crazy because she’s only 15 years old. Kids these days, aye. But the scary bit wasn’t the opening day defeat (which was followed by a 3-0 defeat at home against Valur), it was that Betsy Hassett was subbed off after 58 minutes with what was later confirmed to be a broken wrist.

Bojana Besic, KR assistant coach: “I don't really know. Betsy had to be substituted straight away but we’ll know more when we have a look back into the changing room. I hope this is not serious, this is a player who is going to the World Cup and one of the key players for us.”

But it turns out it wasn’t too bad. A broken scaphoid, whatever that is, however she’s got the cast on it now and they reckon she’s fine to play with the cast on so that’s a relief. Hassett missed KR’s second game but isn’t expected to miss too much more time… until she joins up with the Footy Ferns that is.

Up Next: 7.15am on Tuesday away to Fylkir, assuming she plays (NZT)

Rebekah Stott & Vic Esson – Avaldsnes IL (Norwegian Toppserien)

Goals! Four of them! And a clean sheet as well!

Avaldsnes have been scoring goals alright this season, to be fair. This wasn’t even the first time that they’d scored four in a game. But after going seven games without a win to begin their 2019 campaign and having conceded 12 goals in their last three games that clean sheet, in a 4-0 win over Stabæk, is about the most exciting thing they’ve done this season.

Especially for Flying Kiwis considering they had a kiwi international in goal and a kiwi international in their defensive line. A quickfire pair of goals from Olaug Tvedtne and Giovana made it 2-0 at the break and then Brena scored straight after the resumption and Robyn Decker polished it off in the 66th min. Stabæk are the bottom team in the division so it was a game they expected to win. Esson made two notable saves and neither was too much hassle. Important win for Avaldsnes, finally getting three points on the board after four draws and three defeats until now. This was Esson’s second start after being on the bench the first six games. Stott is one of two players in the side to have played every minute so far. Avaldsnes have one more week of footy (including a midweek cup game) before the Danish league takes two months off for the World Cup.

Up Next: Cup footy away to Bryne on Thursday at 4am (NZT)

Stefan Marinovic - Bristol City (English Championship)

Bristol City were always going to shake things up having come so close and yet missed out on the playoffs for promotion. Stefan Marinovic, having been signed on a short term deal to cover an injury crisis at goalkeeper, was always likely to be a part of that shaking up. Sure enough that news was confirmed by the club within the last week. “Meanwhile, goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic has been released following the end of the short-term contract that saw him make one appearance after arriving in March, following injuries to Fielding and Niki Mäenpää.”

One game, a couple months, all done in Bristol City. Fellow keeper Frank Fielding has also been released after the emergence of Max O’Leary with the gloves. O’Leary was pretty much pitted head to head with Marinovic and the local academy product won out to keep Big Stef on the bench the rest of the way out. Safe to say his little cameo with the club won’t be remembered too well amongst the fans over there but can’t worry about that now. Onto the next.

Up Next: ???

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Sometimes one mistake is all it takes in football. A defensive error from Jorge Moreira, taking a heavy touch in defence and letting Russell Teibert pick out Freddy Montero and then bang 1-0, not even ten minutes into the game. The Vancouver Whitecaps have been having a right old mess of a season lately but they beat Deklan Wynne’s Colorado Rapids last week and this time beat Bill Tuiloma’s Portland Timbers.

That goal was the only one, despite decent chances for both sides. One was a couple minutes after the goal, as Tuiloma got his head to a cross and it floated achingly close to the goal, copping the top of the crossbar with help from keeper Steve Clark’s fingertips. He had a similar chance up the other end from an attacking corner later in the half with the same result.

The Timbers buggered this one up. They should’ve got a couple goals for all of it and they didn’t, hence they lost to a rubbish team and that’s the way it goes. 27 shots and nothing to show for it. Ends their three game winning streak, but at least Billy T’s keeping up his recent prominence. Even took an attacking free kick at one point… couldn’t get it on target though.

Up Next: Thursday at 12.30pm away to Houston Dynamo (NZT)

Ryan Thomas – PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)

Up Next: Looking good to be fit for preseason

The USL Crew

Elliot Collier (Memphis 901 FC) – Back with a lovely week for the USL crew and it’s led by Collier, who scored his second on the season as Memphis 901 beat Hartford Athletic 2-1 for their second win of the season. Perseverance seems like an appropriate word for this goal.

James Musa (Phoenix Rising) – Hmm yeah, that’s the good stuff right there. A 3-1 win over Kyle Adams’ RGV Toros (so that part was a bit stink) and The Moose was finally back in the starting eleven for only his fourth start in ten games and first for nearly a month but with strikes like that you can’t keep him out. Surely not. Just a third win for the Rising as well who’ve been a tad disappointing so far. Maybe Moose just sparked their season.

Kyle Adams (Rio Grande Valley) – After five games undefeated that loss to Phoenix was a tough one to take for a much improved RGV, with Adams still a key player at the back as always. Doing it all for a good cause to, the champion.

Sam Brotherton (North Carolina FC) – Lost 2-1 away to Ottawa. Brotherton played a full game and got a yellow card. Brotherton has started every single game for the club this year, only missing six total minutes out of 810.

Okey doke, if you’re a fan of the kiwi underdogs then please support TNC on Patreon. It takes a fair bit of time to do all this so if we aren’t cashing cheques then it all gets pretty dicey

You can also say cheers for the yarns by whacking an ad whenever you read something decent

Keep cool but care