Flying Kiwis – July 30

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Abby Erceg – North Carolina Courage vs Katie Bowen – Utah Royals (American National Women’s Soccer League)

It’s always a pleasant way to start with a couple kiwi footballers going head to head and this week it was Abby Erceg versus Katie Bowen in the NWSL over in the States. North Carolina Courage against the Utah Royals. Both Footy Ferns were picked to start, Erceg captaining NCC from the back while Bowen was on the right of defence for the Royals. Not positions that allowed them to really mix it up directly but okay. Here they are challenging for the same header off a corner kick…

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The Courage started sharply with their dangerous pressing game… yet it was another Press – Christen Press – who opened the scoring with a beauty of a strike that left NCC’s keeper rooted to the spot. The Royals had never lost to the Courage (in three games last season, tbf) and with two top shelf defensive units in action here it was always going to be fine margins that decided it. Those fine margins were provided by the in-form Kristen Hamilton, who scored a stunner of her own to make it 1-1 ten minutes before the break and then set up what proved to be the winner ten minutes into the second half. Jess McDonald putting the finishing touches on the move.

Katie Bowen was subbed off in the 81st minute as Utah pushed for a little more attack in their quest for a leveller, though it wasn’t to be. Following on from a sloppy performance last week the Courage were so much better here in what really was a crucial win. Buys them some breathing room, sitting seven points ahead of Utah now (Utah who haven’t won in their last five games) in second place, with a five point buffer between them and fifth place. Utah does have a game in hand on the top three, but they’d better get a move on. Oh and also this game was on ESPN as part of the new broadcast deal! Which means no YooToob highlights but the full replay is here on the NWSL website as always.

Up Next: NC Courage vs Washington on Saturday at 11am & Chicago Red Stars vs Utah on Sunday at midday (NZT)

Tom Doyle – Chemnitzer FC (German 3 Liga)

Oh there he is! Doyle had popped off to the Newcastle Jets for a cheeky trial after the Wellington Phoenix let him go but now he’s surfaced with a contract in the German third tier with promoted side Chemnitzer FC. Promoted which means that they’re in the same position as the Bayern reserves that Sarpreet Singh has signed for – each moving upwards from their respective regional leagues. So Doyle could find himself defending his old mate Sarpreet later on in the season, what a small world, aye?

Thomas Sobotzik, CFC Sporting Director: “With an unhealthy lack of left-footers in our squad, Thomas Doyle will help solve that. Tom will increase our competition in the team once again, he can also be used in central defence and in the left of midfield and brings good athleticism and speed. His strengths have already been on display against top European teams at the international level.”

Tom Doyle: “After 27 years in New Zealand, I wanted to experience playing in Europe as well. I am here to make the next step in my career and hopefully add to my chances of getting more opportunities with the national team.”

Doyle didn’t play this weekend, probably a little too soon for a fella who only joined the team midweek. Without him Chemnitzer lost 3-2 to Viktoria Koln, two late goals not enough to overcome a 3-0 deficit after 47 minutes of this one. A fella called Paul Milde played at left-back and picked up a yellow, although he seems to be a naturally more attacking player so fingers crossed he’s just keeping the seat warm.

Up Next: CFC vs SV Meppen, Thursday at 5pm (NZT)

Sarpreet Singh - Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)

You already know this drill, it’s just Sarpreet Singh continuing to make a name for himself on Bayern preseason duty, this time against AC Milan. This game was the fewest players that Bayern had used on their USA tour with only six subs used although they did mix it up by resting Robert Lewandowski, Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng, and Serge Gnabry completely. Singh was subbed on in the 59th minute to replace Renato Sanches… which gives him an unofficial preseason minutes total of 96 mins (by loose estimation) which is 40 mins more than any of the other eight academy players to get a run. More minutes than Martinez, Lewandowski or Gnabry too… for what it’s worth (which is nothing since they’re guaranteed first teamers).

The AC Milan game was easily his least prominent cameo but that’s to be expected. In each of his appearances it’s not like he was out there pulling the strings, he was just working hard and trying to be an option for his teammates, doing his best not to make any dumb mistakes. And he was solid too, albeit a little in and out of things.

That was the end of the USA tour, yet it wasn’t the end of Sarpreet Singh’s time with the first team. As the Bayern reserves pulled out a dominant performance to win 2-1 against Uerdingen, Singh was still with the seniors even after they returned to Germany… the club posted a live stream of a full training session on Sunday NZT and there was Sarpeet doing warm-up laps along with the rest of them. Not the only young fella involved either. Which keeps him in the mix for the Audi Cup friendlies coming up – starting with a semi-final against Fenerbahce and either a third-place game or a final against Real Madrid or Tottenham (the Audi Cup takes place over two days so squad rotation will be a necessity). The proper season then begins on Sunday as Bayern plays Dortmund in the DFL Supercup.

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Up Next: Wednesday at 6.30am against Fenerbahce (NZT)

Dan Morgan – Maritzburg United (South African Premier Soccer League)

Dunno what it is about Premiership players going over to the South African PSL but here are two more getting pro deals. Jeremy Brockie must seriously be one of the most influential kiwi footy players in recent times just from the impact he’s made in that country. Since he started scoring goals in South Africa (with Michael Boxall as a teammate, let’s not forget) we’ve seen Sam Mason-Smith spend some time there, Jack-Henry Sinclair was on trial for a spell, Emiliano Tade has been a superstar, Kris Bright popped up there briefly, Andre De Jong is looking like a starting eleven guy as his first season over there draws close, and there are probably some other obvious ones forgotten too. Now Auckland City duo Dan Morgan and Micah Lea’alafa have been signed by Maritzburg, the pair joining alongside 11-cap South African international winger Daylon Claasen. All three have signed on two-year contracts with the option of a third. “Morgan and Lea'alafa have been signed from Auckland City. Morgan made 18 assists and scored eight goals in 57 appearances and can play as a defender or midfielder on the left-hand side while he possesses great quality from dead-ball situations. Lea'alafa netted 33 goals and assisted a further 22 in 66 appearances and plays as a midfielder.”

By the way, now would be a good time to mention that the new gaffer of Maritzburg is Eric Tinkler who was the boss at SuperSport during Brockie and Boxall’s time there, although he wasn’t the manager who signed the pair – that was Gordon Igesund who is currently out of a job - it was Tinkler that got the best out of the All Whites pair at that club though, which is an exciting prospect.

Known as ‘The Team of Choice’ (which is awesome), Maritzburg finished second to last in the previous season with only six wins from 30 games… however they were able to win all four of their promotion/relegation playoff legs (semis and final) in order to book their place in the top flight once more. Clearly with only 22 goals scored in 30 games, creativity was a priority which explains Claasen and Lea’alafa’s arrivals, plus left-sided players are apparently a bit hard to find.

For Solomon Islands international Lea’alafa, he’s been on the fringes of pro footy for a little while now so it’s fantastic to see him getting this opportunity, not only for the Premiership but also for Oceanian footy. Dan Morgan is a little more of a surprise but they came looking for a leftie and they found a good one, a dependable and versatile player with veteran instincts who can pop up with a goal or two when needed. Things are gonna look very different at Auckland City next season but these are exactly the pathways that you want the kiwi league to be providing.

Club chairman Farook Kadodia: “The club has struggled for a while for a specialised left-footed full-back. We believe Dan Morgan will give us the attributes required in this position, and this will increase the coach’s options in terms of defensive formations as the season progresses. He comes with good pedigree and will also be an asset when defending set pieces.”

“Micah is an attacking midfielder or winger and we believe he will be a good fit for the team and combine well with the other midfielders we have and will provide the X-factor we’re looking for on the front line.”

All we need now is that Jeremy Brockie transfer and we’re good to go. (Maritzburg have also snapped up Mamelodi Sundowns forward Ali Meza on loan, though that shouldn’t have much of an effect on Brockie’s future as neither of them played much during the second half of last season anyway. Brockie was included in the squad for a couple friendlies in Zambia this week having returned from compassionate leave).

Up Next: First game of the season, Golden Arrows vs Maritzburg, Monday at 1am (NZT)

Rosie White – Seattle Reign (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Just a bit of Aotearoa reppin’ with the NZ flag before a Sounders MLS game there. Things got more exciting a few days later too as Rosie White was named on the bench for the Reign at the first available opportunity (and in front of a home crowd)… up against her old teammates for the Chicago Red Stars. She got a decent run out there too, subbed on for Morgan Taylor in a double change on the hour mark which gave her plenty of time to do some damage in an attacking midfield role.

Only problem there was that they were already down 3-0 by then. Arin Wright and Vanessa DiBernardo had scored inside the first 15 minutes before Yuki Nagasato added one early in the second half and by the time Rosie White got out there it was basically game over. Still, she had a trio of decent attempts at goal with a deep header that was on target but called back for offside, another header from a corner which she got solid contact on but wasn’t quite able to direct it on target, and earlier there had been a crack off the left boot from the edge of the area but she ballooned it over.

Didn’t look off the pace despite her time out of the professional environment. This game came ten months after her previous NWSL game (granted with plenty of top notch international footy in between) and even then she only played 376 minutes for the Red Stars last season as she recovered from that foot injury. But already White was linking up pretty nicely with teammates here and showing a bit of the ol’ feistiness that saw her earn the most yellow cards in the NWSL with the Boston Breakers in 2017. With the likes of Jodie Taylor and Megan Rapinoe in this team, to go with White’s midseason addition, it’s probably unlikely that she’s much more than an impact sub at least to start with… but a couple goals would change that status pretty swiftly. Also Rapinoe, who missed this game with Achilles soreness, is about to bugger off with the USA team again as they go on this post-WWC victory lap of friendly games thing. Which sucks all the USWNT players out of the NWSL once again… guts to all the NWSL media & promo crew who’ve been doing great work in driving up crowds to capitalise on the World Cup buzz.

Anyway, Sam Kerr slipped the offside trap to score a fourth late on and that was the end of it. Chicago win 4-0, Seattle lose their first home game of the year. Seattle remain three points out of the top four as things stand.

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Up Next: Saturday at 11am, Houston vs Seattle (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

There you go, another game and another goal for The Woodsman as Burnley beat Fleetwood Town 2-0. They’re only friendlies, most of them against weaker opposition, and so they don’t really matter and they certainly don’t count… but that made it six goals in four preseason games for the big fella. Didn’t quite repeat the dose against Wigan later in the week however – as Woody was named on the bench while Ashley Barnes played off of James Rodriguez up front for the first hour before Wood came in for Barnesy. The two starting strikers combined for Jay-Rod to score the opener before Dwight McNeil added another one… thought that lead disappeared as Wigan came back. Wood had one huge chance to maintain his scoring excellence in preseason but after Jeff Hendrick played him in, he wasn’t quite able to get his finish on target, lifting it wide with the keeper right on him. 2-2 the final.

Burnley have two games remaining, one against Nice and one against Parma, before the Premier League begins so it’ll be interesting to see how these three strikers are balanced. Up until this Wigan game it looked like the Barnes and Wood combination would be at the topskees but Rodriguez, the new signing and England international, does offer something different. He’s quicker and sharper than the bulldozing Chris Wood which allows for some tasty variety. And any manager wants competition for places.

At this point it’s Rodriguez (who is still easing into the squad) who has the most to gain from playing more minutes… would be nice to see him and Wood get some extended time together as a partnership over these last two games. One thing’s for sure: these are the three strikers at the top of the charts for Sean Dyche. Matej Vydra only played ten minutes of this game while Nakhi Wells has barely played all preseason. Here’s the gaffer on the Barnes/Jay-Rod combo…

Sean Dyche: “It’s partly what we do, but partly them working each other out, new players work out who they’re playing with and the feel of the group, but there are a few laying down strong markers with their performances, almost picking themselves the way they’re going about it. So I’ve been really pleased with them, that’s what you want as a manager, in an ideal world you almost want the team to pick itself on form, to look so hungry for what it is, they almost pick themselves. So that’s a great position to be in, and a few are showing real strong signs.”

Up Next: Nice on Wednesday at 6.45am, then Parma on Sunday at 2am (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

Things are usually sweet with a clean sheet. For a defender like Mike Boxall, that’s all in a day’s work and shutting out the Vancouver Whitecaps with his CB mate Ike Opara was one more positive outcome in an extended run of quality form from that pair. However the issues came further forward as a pretty sloppy performance from the Loons meant they ended up with only a point against a team that’s down there amongst the bottom sides in the comp this year. This with Minnesota on such sizzling attacking form too. But nothing really happened of much note so don’t worry about it. In the end a point is still a valuable commodity… should have been three is all. Keeps Minnesota unbeaten in nine straight competitive games though.

Elsewhere it sounds like Boxall is on the brink of getting his green card, which would qualify him as a domestic player under the MLS roster rules. That wouldn’t change much in terms of his role or anything but it’d mean they free up an international spot to acquire a new player before the transfer window closes. They had already hoped to have done that but there’s still time… plus Americans are weird so you can also trade for an international roster spot.

Adrian Heath: “We think we are very close with Boxy for his. We thought we would have it by now. Until that comes through, we are a little bit hamstrung. But if the right player becomes available, there is probably still enough (MLS) clubs that we could go and get one (international spot) from.”

Up Next: Minnesota United vs Portland Timbers, Monday at 8am (NZT)

Greg Draper – The New Saints (Welsh Premier League)

After a second half Dean Ebbe goal gave them a 1-0 win away to Feronikeli in Kosovo, TNS had themselves a little bit of a glamour tie in Champions League qualifying against Danish side FC Copenhagen. Greg Draper was a 56th minute substitute (having started both legs of the previous round) as they lost 2-0 thanks to goals from Pieros Sotiriou (18 min) and Robert Skov (61 min - pen) in their first up home leg which puts them in a rather difficult situation travelling to Denmark on for the second leg on Thursday (NZT) … but things are all still on track for TNS.

See, even if they lose this tie – and against a much stronger side like FC Copenhagen they were always expected to – then they’ll still drop into the Europa League qualifiers. Draper had a couple nice moments, almost setting up a goal at one point, while TNS overall were unlucky not to snatch one back and make it more interesting in the second leg… overturning this is extremely unlikely so their chances of advancing to meet either Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) or HJK (Finland) are pretty bloody slim. If they do then the winner of that tie advances to the final round of qualifying before the group stage so even then there’d be work to do. As it is they’re probably falling into the playoff round for Europa League which means one two-legged tie away from the EL group stage… which would be incredible for TNS. Like, if that’s your consolation prize then sweet as.

First gig is to try and beat Copenhagen to advance and keep the ultimate dream alive of Champions League football… but if that doesn’t work then the backup plan is still tasty.

Up Next: Copenhagen vs TNS, Thursday at 5.45am (NZT)

Max Mata - Nõmme Kalju FC (Estonian Meistriliiga)

And Drapes wasn’t the only kiwi striker getting a taste of Champions League footy either. GC Zurich are in an unfortunate place these days after the former giants of Swiss footy were humiliatingly relegated last season which then put Mata’s role in their youth side in a tricky place. That situation has since been dealt with as he’s popped off to Estonia on loan with Nõmme Kalju for the rest of the year.

Mata made his debut off the bench against Paide and he almost scored with quarter of an hour to go but it wasn’t to be with the game ending 1-1. It was a game that they should have won but it was also a game where they rested almost the entire team on account of the small matter of facing Scottish giants Celtic in the next round of Champions League qualifying a few days later.

Roman Kozuhhovski, Kalju manager: “I changed most of the team because they needed freshened up after our game in Macedonia against Shkendija [in the first qualifying round]. We are in a situation where we have our league season in the middle of Champions League matches and that’s very hard. There was no way I would play the same team here than against Celtic. We should have won of course, but I can forgive them because the whole squad is fatigued. We have a recovery session and then we will fly to Scotland on Monday. A plus point was giving our new signing Max Mata his debut. He is a young and ambitious footballer who adds a variation to our attack.”

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How about that then, aye? Here was Max’s take on the whole thing…

Max Mata: "The game was very intense and the level of aggression pretty high. I am satisfied with some aspects of my performance, but the most important was getting the win for the team and we weren’t able to do that. I always go out on the field and try to win the football game. And also hopefully net game I’ll get that first goal for Kalju. I consider myself a team player, but it must be kept in mind that the attacker must also be somewhat selfish, as it’s a different role compared to the other positions. The task is, after all, to score goals. But of course, there are games where you have to do what it takes to win.”

He also basically admitted that wasn’t too familiar with the country of Estonia, and certainly not their foot leagues, when his agent offered him the opportunity, but with first team minutes looking unlikely at Grasshoppers, this loan deal would able to provide him with that. Kalju are sitting fourth on the ladder a little over halfway through the season, with a 14-point gap between them and fifth but a 12-point gap between them and first. Should be a few goals on offer for Mata then.

As for the Champions League? Well sure enough he was on the plane to Scotland and named on the bench for the game against Celtic. Hell, he was even subbed on at half-time! But by that point they were already 4-0 down and would go on to lose 5-0. Goals for Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie (x2), Leigh Griffiths, and Callum McGregor doing the damage. Same as Draper though, they’ll still fall safely into Europa League qualifying regardless of what happens in the second leg.

Up Next: Nõmme Kalju vs Celtic, Wednesday at 5am (NZT)

Ali Riley – Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)

One game, one trophy. That’s it right there. It wasn’t a real trophy, just a glorified friendly match between Arsenal and Bayern which was classed as the Emirates Cup, with the women playing before the Arsenal men’s team’s friendly against Roma at Emirates Stadium in London. Familiar sights for Riley after she spent last year in London with Chelsea. It should be added that Arsneal were without a number of their World Cup stars but more importantly Ali Riley started at left-back and played the first half before being one of three HT changes (they made five subs in all), while Melanie Leupolz scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in the 25th minute.

Should bode pretty well both for Riley and also for Bayern as they prepare for the new season, which starts in a couple weeks. Bayern were runners up to Wolfsburg last time so pretty clear what their target will be this time: seeking to win a fourth Bundesliga title and a first since 2016. There’s also a Champions League campaign to balance in there too (Bayern were semi-finalists last time, beaten 2-0 on aggregate by Barcelona).

Hey and there’s also another one of these been released to the big wide world, get amongst…

Up Next: First game of the new Bundesliga season, Freiburg vs Bayern at 11pm on 17 August (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

Third game of the season and the best one yet for Sonders, who cruised to a 3-0 win over Lyngby. Mart Lieder scored twice and set up the other one for a wonderful result away from home that keeps the lads undefeated. All three goals came in the second half. Only drama there? Marco Rojas was named on the bench for the first time this season as Iceland’s Eggert Johnsson took his place – those two have a bit of a tag team thing going with Johnsson replacing Rojas after 60-something minutes in the first two games now Rojas getting the last half hour at the expense of Johnsson this time. Rojas was introduced pretty much immediately after the first goal went in.

Lyngby did hit the post twice along the way so far from one-way traffic but with a strong showing at the back and some clever counter attacking footy ol’ Sonders were able to get the win. A win that briefly put them top of the table albeit after only three weeks. They’re now fourth after other results were completed, one of five teams that remain undefeated at this early stage. Hey and next up they face FC Copenhagen who will have just gotten done with Greg Draper’s TNS in midweek Champions League qualifiers. What a world.

This was Marco speaking with local media earlier in the week about his more prominent role with the team so far: “You can start playing good football when you have a good run of matches and hopefully I can continue on the way things have begun this season. If you start doing well, you gain momentum, and then it just flows from there.”

Up Next: SønderjyskE vs København, 2am on Sunday (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Might have to pump the brakes on Billy T’s comeback just briefly because while he sat comfortable on the bench his mates out on the paddock rolled to a 4-0 win over Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy in one of their best performances of the season. Following a strong start to the game, Portland finally broke through in the 38th minute through Christian Paredes and Diego Valeri then quickly added a second. When Paredes completed his brace it was all over and frustration boiled over for Efrain Alvarez who was sent off for LAG after kicking a dead ball at a bugger’s head. Both sides also had a red card just after the final whistle as a bit of pushing and shoving broke out. Jeremy Ebobisse had, obviously, already made it four by then.

So an excellent result there with Tuiloma watching from the bench as Larrys Mabiala and Julio Cascante earned the clean sheet against Zlatan and company and with the Timbers rising into the playoff spots with that one, there’s no emergency need to change anything as it stands. Because of that, and with the fella a little short on match practice lately, Tui was then given the chance to keep his legs going when he was named to play for the ressies this weekend. He was one of nine Timbers contracted players to take part in this one and in his third start for T2 this year he finally got ninety minutes in one of them. However it wasn’t quite the dream game. The Timbers weren’t able to take their chances despite the quality of their eleven and fell 2-1 to LA Galaxy with the winner coming deeeeep into stoppage time.

Meanwhile, here’s a thing…

Just gonna leave this here because it feels like it might come in handy down the line…

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Up Next: Minnesota United vs Portland Timbers, Monday at 8am (NZT)

Clayton Lewis – Scunthorpe United (English League Two)

This is shaping like a do or die season for Clayton Lewis, who finally got a solid run of games at the end of last season but it was for a team that was unable to avoid relegation so now entering the final year of his Scunthorpe contract he’s a fella getting a close eye kept on him by this column. Yet there’s been bugger all to write about him and why’s that? Coz he’s injured. Did a thigh strain on training camp in Spain and has been missing ever since with the gaffer since confirming that he won’t be available for the start of the season. Not really the momentum you want to be carrying into the real stuff but that’s where we are.

Paul Hurst: “We’re hopeful Kyle might be back for the start of next week. Clayton got injured in La Manga and it’s quite a bad thigh injury, so he’s probably another three weeks away from joining in training. He’s started doing a bit of running, but he’s still some way from getting fit.”

Up Next: League Two kicks off with Scunthorpe vs Swindon Town, 2am on Sunday (NZT)

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

Nothing changes with Dekkers. Still out with that foot injury. And nothing much changes for the Colorado Rapids either as they appear to have sunk back into the old ways, the post-Huddo bounce now looking more like a thud as they conceded an own goal through Lalas Abubakar in the second minute of the game versus San Jose and went on to lose 3-1 – their goal coming via Diego Rubio in the 88th minute. Ninety minutes for Tommy Smith in there… but that’s now four games without a win, conceding 10 goals in the process. San Jose have been playing well lately but when you have the second worst record in the MLS then every team looks like they’re in better form than you, generally speaking.

Up Next: Colorado vs Montreal Impact, Sunday at 1pm (NZT)

Jana Radosavljevic - BV Cloppenburg (German Bundesliga 2)

We’ve got one more week before the second tier in Germany kicks off. The Bundesliga itself is going to be a fun one this upcoming term as Ali Riley (Bayern) and Meikayla Moore (Duisburg – although she’s out injured until at least December) are joined by first time professional Paige Satchell (SC Sand). Here’s a thing from a few days ago where Satchell handed out a few trophies at a local youth tournament, settling in nicely ahead of the season.

But drop down one division and Jana Radosavljevic is a bit of an undercover Flying Kiwi. The Serbian/NZer is uncapped by the Football Ferns but was included in their 2017 tour to Thailand and might have been a very outside chance to make the World Cup squad had she not busted her ACL in the third game of last season. Rado had scored in a 3-0 win the previous contest but then came the old nightmare scenario. But she’s back in business now with Cloppenburg once more, which is fantastic to see for a player who scored 10 goals in 22 games the season previous.

Up Next: Cup footy away to RB Leipzig to begin it all, midnight on Monday (NZT)

Ryan de Vries – FC Gifu (Japanese J2-League)

Another goal for RDV. Running a nice angle on the counter after a turnover in midfield and his finish did take a bit of a handy deflection but they all count, especially for a team struggling as FC Gifu have been. This goal tied things up at 1-1 late in the first half away to Kyoto Sanga… although a second half penalty doomed them to another defeat. Unsurprisingly, since this was the top team on the ladder up against the bottom team.

Gifu have won just four of 23 games and are sitting four points clear at the foot of it all. For De Vries this was his third goal of the season (he also had a fourth that was reclassified as an own goal… so he didn’t technically have it but you get the idea) and although he’s been starting most games for the side, it’s pretty hard to make the chances count when you have so few of them. The quest now is pure and simply to avoid relegation. Still got a few months left of this thing though, plenty of time to turn it all around.

Up Next: Home vs Omiya Ardija on Wednesday at 10pm (NZT)

Kyle Adams – Rio Grande Valley (American United Soccer League)

For the third time this season, Kyle Adams was on the bench for the Houston Dynamo in a cup game. This time it was a Leagues Cup game, which is a new idea where four teams from the USA and four teams from Mexico take part with the teams selected based on invites… which seem kinda random although if it takes off they might make it league standings-based. Anyway Adams was called up to help fill out the bench but just like with those two US Open Cup games he was an unused sub, with Houston going out on penalties against Club America.

And that’s about all that’s worth adding to the USL crew this week. Adams went on to play 90 mins for RGV but they lost 2-1 Las Vegas Lights. Bill Tuiloma got his game, we already did that one, but Elliot Collier was absent for Memphis 901 as he deals with the ankle injury that forced him off last game. Still considered day to day with it though, so shouldn’t miss too much time. Memphis won 2-0 against Ottawa FC. Then there was much happier news for Sam Brotherton’s North Carolina FC as they were victorious 4-2 against Atlanta FC 2 while James Musa’s Phoenix Rising struggled past a 10-man Tulsa team 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Kevon Lambert, the Jamaican international who had kept The Moose out of the starting team for a while until he left for the Gold Cup and Musa re-established himself with a strong month or two of games in Lambert’s absence. Lambert was a second half sub here as Musa played a full game (with a yellow card). Brotherton also played a fullie for his side.

Up Next: RGV Toros vs Reno 1868, Sunday at 12.30pm (NZT)

Katie Rood - Lewes FC (English Championship)

Almost ready for Championship footy, and Roodie’s looking sharp too. She scored the opener in a 2-1 friendly defeat against Watford on the weekend, one of a few early chances that she had. It was still 1-0 when the subs started rolling and Rood was replaced in the second half, though Watford bagged a couple goals late on to win it. All building towards the footy that really counts.

Also funky, how about the two kiwi women currently on the books with English clubs being drawn in the same Conti Cup group? Ria Percival’s Tottenham will face Katie Rood’s Lewes in Group D of that one, with Percival also getting an extra run against her old team West Ham in that group. Hey and if Ali Riley had still been at Chelsea then guess what? That lot are in that group too! Crystal Palace and Reading are the other two rounding things out.

Up Next: Lewes vs Blackburn, midnight on Monday 19 August (NZT)

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