Flying Kiwis – August 27

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Ali Riley – Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)

There it is, the official debut. Wasn’t from the start but after Lineth Beerensteyn had given Bayern the lead against Frankfurt in their first home game of the season, the Dutch forward’s strike partner Jovana Damnjanovic picked up an injury and needed to be replaced. This was in the 35th minute and despite it being a striker who came off it was left back Ali Riley who was introduced, necessitating a cheeky reshuffle around the park. The fear for Damnjanovic is that she might have a broken nose after a collision left her leaking claret from the ol’ snozz. But it could just as likely be nothing much. Bayern have been pretty careful with easing their new signings into things so far and they do also have a German international left back in Verena Schweers so can’t get carried away with Riley’s role… but a solid run around on debut here.

Bayern went on to win the game 3-0. Beerensteyn added her second before an absolute fluke of an own goal floated into the top corner off a sliced clearance from the edge of the area. It was a comprehensive win all the same and it gives them back to back wins to begin the campaign ahead of an international break next week. Here are the highlights. Here are the goals…

Hey and uh… remember Sarpreet Singh’s battling rendition of Justin Bieber’s Baby for his initiation at Bayern? Well here’s Ali Riley doing a little ABBA for the squad along with fellow signings Simone Boye, and Amanda Ilestedt (by the way, Bayern have also just signed Aussie international Emily Gielnik). Sarpreet vs Ali: Who did it better?

Up Next: Second round of the DFB Pokal away to Eintracht Frankfurt, midnight on Sunday 8 September (NZT)

Sarpreet Singh - Bayern Munich II (German Liga 3)

Back wearing that #31 shirt because Sarpreet Singh has finally made his debut for Bayern Munich… reserves. Eh, it’s regular footy so can’t argue. And although he had a mostly quiet game on Tuesday in a 2-1 win away to Hallescher FC he was sizzling against Chemnitzer on the weekend. Specifically that moment there when he almost pulled off a Maradona turn of outrageous proportions but settled instead for a gorgeous ball in behind the defence to set up Leon Dajaku’s goal. BM2 then took the lead through Jannik Rochelt but conceded an equaliser with five minutes remaining. 

The opponents here were Chemnitzer FC which meant a run against his old mate Tom Doyle too, although Doyle was an unused sub. Ol’ Doyle hasn’t found the minutes easy to come by as he seeks to prove his place at his new club, getting only six total minutes across two subs appearances so far… though he did get a yellow card in one of them. Hopefully he cracked a beer with Sarpreet afterwards at least.

But peep at the highlights because Sarpreet was all over this game, looking a class above with all his time spent training with the top side. He pulled off a delicious turn and pass early on that could have been a goal if his buddy had kept his shot low. And he might have scored himself later on to make it 3-1 if the ball had come back to him quick enough but the keeper rushed out and made a fine save.

Plenty more where that came from. Not content with that for a week’s action Singh played in his third game in six days when he featured for the senior side in an exhibition game against a select amateur side from Vilshofen in the eleventh annual edition of the ‘Dream Match’. This one celebrating former Bayern libero Klaus Augenthaler who is from the region and whose name is featured on the stadium there. The 61 year old even played the last ten minutes for Bayern which is evidence of what kind of game this was.

Singh was on the bench as Niko Kovac played an extremely strong starting team to give the amateur opponents the full dream experience. A few subs were then made after twenty minutes, and a few more at half time as most of the guys who played against Schalke in a 3-0 win (Lewandowski with a hatty) a few days earlier were understandably limited to cameos. This game is probably most notable for the fact that recent signings Ivan Perisic, Coutinho, and Mickael Cuisance all got on the scoresheet, with Cuisance playing his first game for the club (while the other two came on as subs in the last Bundesliga game). But it’s also notable down this end of the world for Sarpreet Singh getting a goal as well. His second in friendly competition. Singh was subbed on for Coutinho at half-time and played the whole second half as Bayern went on to win 13-1.

Tell you what else they did, they sold a grumpy Renato Sanches to Lille. Not a direct competition for Sarpreet Singh minutes at this stage but he’s a guy who’d have been clogging up a place on the bench so there you go.              

Up Next: Bayern II vs Unterhaching at midnight on Sunday (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Burnley were away to Wolves this week in a clash between the last two seventh placed finishers in the Premier League. An unchanged team for the Clarets for the third straight time this season, though another extremely tricky game given how good Wolves’ form at home has been lately. But Burnley had a trick up their sleeve that would bust this one wide open: the good old fashioned long ball.

After an opening spell in which Wolves settled into possession and control, Burnley kinda stunningly took the lead as Ashley Barnes continued his superb form to begin the campaign with a wonder goal on the chest and volley, right into the bottom corner from comfortably outside the box. A magnificent strike and another bit of evidence that preseason doesn’t matter because back then it was The Woodsman scoring all the goals yet here’s Barnesy with four already in 2019-20 before Wood had barely had a decent attempt at goal. But this one came about from a bit of Woodsman presence, can’t forget that. It was a long ball over the top towards Wood running behind the defence that created the opportunity, even if Wood didn’t hardly end up getting a challenge in, as it dragged the backline deep and created that pocket of space for Barnes to shoot from after a flick on header from Dwight McNeil.

That long ball tactic and the physicality up front from Wood and Barnes changed the course of that first half. Once Sean Dyche’s men figured that trick out they kept at it and were comfortably the more threatening side in pretty sweaty conditions (there were drinks breaks mid-half). They almost doubled the lead soon after when Ben Mee’s backpost header came down off the crossbar and Wood was there amongst the scramble before keeper Rui Patricio got his hands on it. Then in the 32nd minute the chance that Wood had been waiting the last three weeks for as once again he outmuscled Ryan Bennett then he showed great composure to skip inside Conor Coady only to snatch at his shot and Patricio was able to smother another one after getting his foot to it. Wood unable to pick the corner like you’d expect. Still 1-0 at the half.

Wolves came out improved in the second stanza but Barnes should really have made it 2-0 when he got free at the near post after a deep curling cross from Ashley Westwood only to pick out the wrong side of the post. Nonetheless the longer the game went on, the more Burnley began to settle for the single goal, drifting deeper and looking to stifle things. And through the excellent work of James Tarkowski it looked like they would too. Ash Barnes was replaced by Jay Rodriguez with a dozen minutes plus stoppage time remaining so Woody got himself a full game, left up top to try and hold the ball up and keep it at the right end of the park. But a few cheeky set pieces towards the end ensured that Wolves had a direct line to deliver the ball into the area and they so nearly got their reward with Raul Jiminez popped a spinning strike off the base of the post.

We weren’t quite done there though. Wolves might have played midweek in the Europa League – a feeling Burnley can sympathise with – but they didn’t let up. After Ruben Neves smacked one from range towards a crowded penalty area there were bodies and footballs flying all over the show but it was the ref’s whistle and his arm pointing to the spot that was crucial. Erik Pieters caught the leg of Jiminez as he tried to clear the deflected shot and with twenty seconds of the five minutes of injury time left the penalty was awarded. Jiminez stepped up and scored. 1-1 was the way it ended.

Burnley Express Player Ratings: “CHRIS WOOD - Linked play well again, but really should have made the Clarets' margin far more comfortable. Went close twice in the first half; he should have done better with the second attempt when denied by Patricio. – 7/10”

Elsewhere, some yarns…

Chris Wood on his partnership with Ashley Barnes – which dates back to their days at Brighton together: “It’s fantastic which is nice. It’s good to see that at least one of us is scoring when we’re playing up top together which is the best thing. That’s what you want when you’re in a striker partnership. Hopefully, mine are around the corner and we can score a lot more together. It’s been like that for a number of years, especially here and then back at Brighton. We’ve always had a good relationship when we play up top. It works well and long may it continue.”

Up Next: Burnley vs Sunderland in the League Cup on Thursday at 6.45am and then they back it up at home to Liverpool in the league on Sunday at 4.30am (NZT)

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

The injuries have been piling up all season for the Reign, a drama made worse by the World Cup unavailablities along the way. Yet somehow they’re still in the mix to make the playoffs. That’s despite being down to their third string keeper and with Megan Rapinoe yet to play a game this season and with Jess Fishlock out for the rest of the year and then last week Shea Groom broke a rib as well. Plus they’ve also been busy in the trade market and with a few other signings adding more (but necessary) turmoil into the pot.

Allie Long: “We’ve gotten past the point that we know [Jess Fishlock] is not going to come back. There’s no player like her. But I think as a team we’re going to continue to try every single game to figure out a way to win without her even though we wished she were on the field. I think Rosie’s come in and done great.”

Sure has. White has scored twice already for Seattle, both goals coming in 1-0 victories that could be essential to whether they make the top four or not. She was probably lined up more as an attacking player, perhaps on the wing until Rapinoe is back available, but has instead chipped in wherever she’s been needed in midfield. Playing deeper and also in that central attacking mid role.

Rosie White: “They needed an attacking midfielder and I’ve kind of been filling that role so far. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it was nice to get a couple goals in and help the team get those wins. This team’s got a lot of resilience and those wins were a true testament to that.”

Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski: “You can see [Rosie] finds herself in dangerous spots and goal scoring opportunities. She just needs more minutes and consistent games. She’s got a good soccer brain and can figure out ways to break teams down.”

And with Groom out for a little while now she was needed as a right winger against the North Carolina Courage, another case of giving the team what they need. Safe to say she’s been a bit of a crucial addition for a midseason free agent. As for that game against the Courage, well… let’s let Abby Erceg handle that one next.

Up Next: Seattle Reign vs Orlando Pride, Sunday 8 September at 2pm (NZT)

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

Yeah so we might have had Abby Erceg defending against Rosie White for this one but to be honest the action was all down the other end. The Courage were at their aggressive best with eleven shots in the first 35 minutes and fair enough too considering NCC were welcoming their four USA internationals back for a home game for the first time since the World Cup. Crystal Dunn in particular was pretty influential. Debinha was a constant force as well. They threatened from open play and from set pieces and yet… they weren’t scoring. Chance after chance and things were still level.

Then Rosie White was subbed off in the 80th minute, Seattle looking to lock it down. Eighty minutes with just the one shot off target although she did win a few corner kicks trying to deliver that ball in from out wide. White’s on the record herself as admitting she feels more comfortable through the middle but this was a matter of helping out where needed.

However just two minutes after she was replaced the Reign conceded. NCC finally breaking through and it was Jess McDonald who scored it. Some lovely ball movement in the attacking third and Dunn slid it across to Macca for the winner. Quiet one from Erceg but that clean sheet is always useful. With Portland beating Chicago, that means NCC rise up to second on the ladder, five points behind Portland but with two games in hand.

Up Next: Sky Blue vs NCC, Sunday 8 September at 7am (NZT)

Ryan Thomas – PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)

The injury happened in training. A four on four drill, young fellas against old fellas except that new signing Thommo had been teamed up with the oldies. There were no slide tackles in the game but reaching out to block a shot, Ryan Thomas’ leg took the brunt of the impact with a loud bang. He tried to run it off but something was wrong. A member of the medical staff had seen it and they warned him it didn’t look good. A week after undergoing his medical at PSV for his transfer he was going through the same tests again, followed by an MRI which confirmed an ACL tear in his knee.

That’s the tale as told by the man himself in an extended feature about the injury and his recovery process, in which Thommo covers pretty much all the bases. From the medical aspect of having a knee reconstruction to the emotional toll it took on himself and then by extension upon his family. There’s a focus on the progression of his recovery, plus he reveals some of the advice he picked up along the way – including from former PSV striker Ruud van Nistelrooy who is an example of a fella who copped a similar injury at a similar stage of his career (it ruined a proposed transfer to Manchester United which ended up going down a few years later instead) and he came back even stronger… one of RVN’s main bits of advice was how that season was a unique opportunity to work on himself, not just the knee but all aspects of his strength and fitness, which he’ll likely never get again in his career.

Thommo then confirms that he’s back ready to go, feeling “like a footballer again”. He spent two weeks with the PSV U19s to manage the final stages of his comeback but has been back with the top squad for two weeks now and is just waiting on that belated debut. “The trainers may not want me to take on defensive duels but I’m ready”.

Elsewhere PSV are well on their way to qualifying for the Europa League group stage – it ain’t the Champions League but it’s at least a consolation prize and should hopefully provide Thommo some extra opportunities – after they beat Israeli side Apollon Limassol 3-0 in the home leg, with goals from Mohammed Ihattaren, Cody Gakpo, and Denzel Dumfries. They’ve also signed Greek attacker Kostas Mitroglou on loan from Galatasaray, he comes in as a direct replacement for Mexican star Hirving Lozano who has joined Napoli for €42m.

Up Next: Friday at 5am in Israel, Apollon Limassol vs PSV (NZT)

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

Just Katie Bowen being a delightful person alongside how well she’s playing for Utah these days, as per normal. Dishing plenty of instructions out there too which is something she’s been doing a fair bit in games too. Being a leader and all that.

Right so the Royals had themselves a game away to Washington with all points crucial at this stage as they try to stay in the playoff hunt. But in a game that featured an hour long weather break in the first half – why does America have so many of them? – and at the end of a three-game run of away contests, they just didn’t have the heat to break through. Each team had chances but nothing particularly exciting. Amy Rodriguez probably had the best of them even though Washington had considerably more shots (each team only had the mere two on target though). Still, the Royals kept it all tidy at the back there and the point could prove valuable down the line.

RSL Soapbox Player Ratings: “Katie Bowen: 6 - Bowen didn’t really stand out but helped keep the opposition form scoring.”

Up Next: Utah vs Portland, Saturday 7 September at 1.30pm (NZT)

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

First peek at Willem II since the new season started and it’s James McGarry getting his first minutes of the term. He got six big ones off the bench at the end of their game against FC Emmen, having been a presence on that bench in all four of their games so far. McGarry replaced double goal scorer Mats Kohler for a little extra defensive mindset as they held on to a 2-1 lead to win their third game of the season already. Solid work from the lads.

Not much work for McGarry to do in that time, obviously, but they held onto the points so job done. McGarry played five times in the Eredivisie last season including starting the first two games however those two starts kinda skewed the impression of his involvement as he’d only feature in three more subs appearances over the rest of the season. So it’s a positive to see him nailing down a bench role and being called upon late in a close game like this in his second campaign.

No sign of Michael Woud yet though. He picked up a shoulder injury in preseason which has ruled him out of footy up ‘til now. He’s back training but not quite ready to take his place on the bench – 18 year old Connor van den Berg has been carrying the spare gloves on the bench in his place.

Up Next: Willem II vs Feyenoord at 2.45am on Monday (NZT)

Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

Getting ready for that first game of the new season there, Bordeaux vs Fleury 91, and with new signing Jamaican star Khadija Shaw going straight in to start and take some of the goal scoring pressure off of French international Viviane Asseyi, as well as a kiwi international keeper and Brazilian centreback Kathellen Sousa, there are some pretty excited Bordeaux fans for this new season.

So how’d that opener turn out? Rather nicely, actually. Some pressure from Asseyi and Shaw saw Fleury concede a comical own goal in the fifth minute of the game, the keeper and defender on completely different pages for a back pass – the kind of goal you don’t even celebrate. A giveaway in midfield saw Nayler called into action for the first time but the Fleury shot was easy to handle, straight at her. Asseyi and Shaw continued to threaten with their speed and strength with Shaw hitting the post later in the half and she’d finally get her debut goal with a header from a corner with quarter of an hour to go.

That opened the game right up. A sloppy back pass of FCGB’s own allowed Marina Makanza through and after a slick stepover to beat the last defender she placed her shot past Erin Nayler as the kiwi keeper rushed out to close her angle down. But another corner led to another goal, a penalty for handball allowing Viv Asseyi to open her account, before Bunny Shaw made it 4-1 right at the end. No clean sheet despite the dominance but if their strikers are gonna score goals at this rate then maybe they won’t be so reliant on those ones this time.

Up Next: 12.45am on Monday 9 August, away to Dijon (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

You wait ages on the sidelines for somebody to get injured and offer you your spot back in the starting eleven – after you lost it in the same way - and then when it finally happens they all get injured at once. All of a sudden Tui’s about the only fit centreback left, it’s just him and Claude Dielna at the moment. Larrys Mabiala is working his way back from a hamstring problem and with Bill Tuiloma only just back starting regularly again after his own injury, his CB partner Julio Cascante was stretchered off in the 79th minute of their 2-1 defeat to Seattle Sounders this weekend. Dielna’s been very inconsistent this season too so that puts some serious pressure on Tuiloma to be the man back there.

It doesn’t help that the two goals they conceded against Seattle were pretty sloppy as well. Twenty minutes in and the right back Valentin got waxed inside the penalty area, Tuiloma sprints over to cover but not in time to stop the low cross, then Cristian Roldan taps in easy after Cascante makes a mess of trying to clear it. Then real early in the second half Valentin got beaten again and Tuiloma was a split-second slow to close down Raul Ruidiaz on the cut back and he made it 2-0. In fairness to Tui it would have helped if his midfield wasn’t ball watching.

Anyway, they did get one back when Diego Valeri scored from a heavily deflected free kick. It was only then that Portland started mustering anything going forwards and they did have a few decent efforts. Brian Rodriguez thought he’d equalised with ten minutes remaining but it was ruled out for offside. Tui got to spend a decent amount of time hanging forwards as they pressed for one that’d count (and he was right there when Rodriguez ‘scored’ too) but alas, you already know the score. Second straight defeat at home for Portland and they drop out of the playoff zone with eight games remaining. This game was also a bit weird as for the first 33 minutes there was a notable lack of atmosphere – fans of both sides protesting the new MLS regulations preventing overtly political signs and chants at games.

Up Next: Portland vs Real Salt Lake, Sunday at 2.30pm (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

Bummer result over here. The Loons were maybe due one of those but yeah, they fell 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City, a team desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive. Minnesota had started quite well with a few saves demanded of their opposing keeper but as the game progressed SKC became more and more threatening and it got to where the Loons were really clinging. And with just a few minutes remaining it finally tolled with Mike Boxall misjudging a pass in behind as he tried to keep up with Erik Hurtado. Boxall tried to shield it for his keeper but Hurtado got on the wrong side of him, got to the ball first, beat the keeper, and then slotted in the winner.

Minnesota do remain entrenched in the playoff spots with two months left – five points clear of eighth placed Portland who have a game in hand. So it’s gonna go down to the wire but you can probably accept the Loons taking their eye off the ball for this one game considering their first ever bit of silverware is potentially on the line in a couple days when they face Atlanta United in the US Open Cup Final. James Musa won this thing as an unused sub two years ago. Let’s see if Boxall can repeat the dose with a few more minutes to his name.

Up Next: US Open Cup Final, Atlanta United vs Minnesota United, Wednesday at midday (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

No Rojas heroics this time. He was on the bench as Sonders opted for more midfield power against the superior FC Midtylland (Winston Reid’s old club). Which didn’t work, they lost 2-0 as Awer Mabil (yes, the Australian international) and Evander scored the goals. Sonders didn’t have a shot on target and only four in total… although they nearly took the lead only for that one to be ruled out for a handball amidst the scramble. Rojas was subbed on after the second goal was conceded, playing the final thirteen minutes. The third and final sub. Nothing much to report upon.

Up Next: Away to OB on Saturday at 5am (NZT)

George Stanger - Hamilton Academical (Scottish Premiership)

A busy week here for the kiwi U20 defender. Stanger began things by learning that he was drawing some serious interest from Leeds United over a possible permanent transfer. Chris Wood’s old club have lost a few young CBs lately and would like to stock the depth up again but of course the transfer window is closed now so they’d have to wait until January. However the Accies see Stanger as a valuable player for the future even if he’s not in their current plans and are considering sending him out on loan for senior footy.

That’s what was reported anyway but the whole not being in the first team plans thing seems to have changed sharply because he made his senior debut a few days later against Motherwell. The debut came about due to defensive injuries all over the show apparently – and on the bench, funnily enough, was Markus Fjortoft, the Norwegian striker/defender who played as an import for Southern United in the kiwi Premiership last season. Those two started together for the ressies a week earlier.

BBC: “George Stanger, the son of former Scotland rugby international Tony, makes his debut for Hamilton. The centre-back gets the nod because Brian Rice “is down to the bare bones” with defensive players but is backed by the manager to grab his chance.”

Whether or not Stanger made a great impression or not got lost in the midst of a wild game. The Accies were down 2-0 after twenty-odd minutes with a centreback already sent off for a handball on the goal line that led to the penalty for the second goal. Surprisingly they pulled one back almost immediately (also a penalty from a handball) but playing with ten men they weren’t able to muster much else and went on to lose 3-1. With a CB now suspended on top of the injury crisis, Stanger might even get another crack next week.

Up Next: Away to Hearts on Sunday at 2am (NZT)

Steven Old – Morecambe (English League Two)

Mixing it up a little in the midweek game away to Macclesfield Town, the Shrimps brought defender Ritchie Sutton into the starting lineup as a third CB in a back three and it worked a bit of a treat. Sutton held down the fort with Steven Old and Sam Lavelle at the back there and then popped up in the second half to score his first goal for the club as they held on to win it 1-0 – Morecambe’s first three-pointer of the season.

And who, pray tell, set up the goal? Old mate Steven Old, mate. Swinging one in from the left wing which Sutton almost had no choice but to score from. Old had been dragged wide from a deep free kick that drifted off target (unless this was the plan all along) but he had no dramas backing up his marker and curling in a wonderful ball for the assist. Morecambe then came closest to adding to the lead but on a wet and windy midweeker the 1-0 scoreline was enough.

Can’t be so positive about the game on the weekend against Exeter City on the other hand. Morecambe kept the same back three but nobody put a body on Jake Taylor as he stabbed in from about ten yards out before Lee Martin skipped between a couple defenders to double the lead in the 25th minute. But the Shrimps got back in the game at a great time, scoring deep into first half injury to get a boost before they dug into the oranges, Lewis Alessandra slamming in a stunner from range just after Exeter had had a third goal disallowed for offside.

Morecambe then started the second half brightly and drew level in the 63rd minute through Alessandra again. On pace for a scrappy point after all… until they lost their heads at the end. Nicky Law scored an 85th minute winner for Exeter as he somehow poked the ball through a crowd of players and then Sam Lavelle was sent off in injury time just to rub it in, chopping down an attacker for his second yellow and he’ll miss the League Cup game in a few days. Means that even if Steven Old wanted a rest there he won’t be getting one now. Old has played all but two minutes this season, more than any other player in the squad.

Up Next: Burton vs Morecambe, League Cup second round, 6.45am on Weds (NZT)

Nikko Boxall – Viborg FF (Danish Division 1)

3-0 win over Nykøbing and Viborg are top of the table after six games, with 14 points. Still undefeated. Ninety minutes in there for Nikko and he’s still been ever-present amongst all that. Carry on then.

Up Next: Vejle vs Viborg, Friday at 4am (NZT)

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

With an important 1-0 win over Roa, Avaldsnes are climbing their way up clear of trouble following that rotten start to things. What’s more is that it halts a minor slide where they’d lost back to back games conceding three goals in each including a 3-0 cup quarter final defeat a few days earlier away to Vålerenga. The third goal there had been pretty clearly Rebekah Stott’s fault too – a rare one from her but she got beaten initially then failed to clear as the ball bounced off her shin and back to the striker.

But they rebounded with this Roa victory. Esson and Stott each played full games on the way to the clean sheet while Ylinn Tennebø’s second half strike was the difference between the two teams. Gives them a nine point buffer between them and the relegation zone.

Up Next: Away to the delightfully named Fart, 1am on Sunday 8 September (NZT)

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

It wasn’t enough to earn the win but another quality showing for ADJ earned himself some man of the match honours as AmaZulu held Orlando Pirates to a 0-0 draw. De Jong was an influential figure all night as he rocked one off the crossbar ten minutes into it and drew a decent save out of the keeper from range with quarter of an hour left, working tirelessly as always. AmaZulu are still without a win this season but a point here against a more fancied side is something they can build from. ADJ was a bit disappointed they couldn’t snatch it though.

Andre De Jong: “Tough game, I thought both teams showed the willingness to win unfortunately goalkeeper made a couple of good saves, like ours. For that game to end nil-nil it’s a bit surprising but again it’s just unfortunate we didn’t get a goal. That’s a bit disappointing. But after last week, we showed a good fighting spirit today. It’s been tough, we did a lot of work in pre-season, the first two games didn’t go our way. But tonight we showed the fight and the willingness to play. I think against other teams, that would [have] gotten us the three points today. We’ll go work in the training pitch, the whole strike-force is working hard, so hopefully next game we can break the duck.”

Elsewhere in South Africa, Dan Morgan played ninety minutes as Maritzburg drew 0-0 away to Stellenbosch while Jeremy Brockie was once again nowhere to be seen for Mamelodi Sundowns… although his agent has confirmed publically that they’re looking for a way to get him out of there, whether he leaves for another South African club or somewhere overseas.

Up Next: Wednesday at 5.30am away to Highlands Park (NZT)

Tommy Smith – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

Guess which was tied scoreless going into the 89th minute of the game and still managed to lose by multiple goals with a red card? The Colorado Rapids of course. Luckily it wasn’t Smithy who got sent off, he played the full game though he did lose his man for the first goal which came soon after Kei Kamara had been walked for a stompy high boot. Only, lucky boy, that goal was disallowed for offside. But there was still time for a 96th minute penalty for handball and this one wasn’t overturned, instead it was scored. Then with all that drama there was still enough time for Real Salt Lake to score another one. Just another typical day at the office for the Rapids then.

Up Next: NY Red Bulls away on Sunday at 11am (NZT)

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