Flying Kiwis – September 4

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Jeremy Brockie – Maritzburg United (South African Premier Soccer League)

Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns coach: “There are players who want to leave and we want to allow them to get the space, especially when you are not playing otherwise we are killing somebody’s career. But coming to Sundowns is always easier, and players ask for the money that they want. And they are right to ask for the money that they want because we want them. But the challenge is that when you don’t really make it, then you are stuck. Now you no longer want the money that you got before, or not even a slight increase because you are in a different space now and we should respect that from the players. But don’t only complain about game time because you can get game time. We should be saying it is game time plus the money, that you don’t want to earn less. (Mogakolodi) Ngele didn’t want to leave, but when the contract finishes, that is reality. You have to leave now and you can’t tell me Black Leopards (his new club) is paying him the money he was earning at Sundowns. The transfers here are different to Europe.”

Mosimane also added that Sundowns were keen to add two more players which could take them to the next level as the transfer window drew to a close in South Africa… but that convincing clubs to sell is the difficult part, just as convincing them to pay the money for their own unwanted players – like Brockie – is difficult. Which brings us more or less up to date on why he was still there going into the final day of that transfer window.

But what about that final day? Yeah mate, that’s when the good stuff happened…

After falling completely out of the picture in his 21 months at Sundowns, something had to change. And with no team willing to stump up a transfer fee for Jerry that last minute loan was a pretty decent idea. He only scored one league goal in a season and a half with Sundowns… but get him back playing regularly in a team that suits him and the goals will hopefully flow once more.

Brockie signs with the Team of Choice on a season long loan deal where he’ll reunite with coach Eric Tinkler who got some of his best footy out of him at SuperSport United which is enough to graduate this into an excellent deal even before you add that who else happens to be on the books at Maritzburg these days? A couple kiwi Premiership veterans in Dan Morgan and Micah Lea’alafa. The deal was completed with a little over an hour remaining before the deadline passed.

By the way, Morgan started on the wing for Maritzburg in their most recent game and played ninety minutes just as he has the two games previously (after missing the opening game of the season soon after he transferred). Solomon Islands international Lea’alafa came off the bench this week for his second appearance for the club (playing 30 mins in total so far). But they lost 1-0 to Black Leopards and are still winless after four PSL games. There’s now a bit of a break between games with an international window getting in the way so plenty of time for Jeremy Brockie to settle in and meet his new mates. With just one goal scored in those four contests they could really use him at his peak form, that’s for sure. Oh yeah and their next game is against Brox’s old club… we’ll see if they let him play that one otherwise he’ll have to wait four more weeks and he’s been waiting long enough already, having not been involved at all yet this season.

Also without a win this season are Andre De Jong’s AmaZulu. ADJ played 78 minutes away to Highlands Park and came closest in the eighth minute with a shot that was blocked after he’d done well to get into the penalty area, but they went on to lose 2-1. Took the lead through Bongi Ntuli but then gave up a penalty in first half stoppage time and the winner in the 62nd minute. With one point from four games they’re bottom of the table as it stands.

Up Next: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Maritzburg United, 4am on Sunday 22 September (NZT)

Sarpreet Singh - Bayern Munich II (German Liga 3)

How about this as a way to get off the mark for the ressies?

Mate, that’ll do. And what’s more is that against ol’ SPVGG Unterhaching – Stefan Marinovic’s old club – he was once again just a class above the rest of the pitch. This is probably a standard not too dissimilar to the A-League, in fact the best A-League teams would be a fair bit better than German third tier, and this dude’s been chilling with Lewandowski and Muller lately so he’s a much improved player from his Welly Nix days already. But just seeing the way he’s taken control of these last couple reserves games has been so impressive. The goal is one thing but watch the full highlights and see how often he’s involved in Bayern’s attacking moves.

Singh played ninety minutes as at the top of the midfield triangle though unfortunately wasn’t able to spark anything else that counted with Bayern II losing 2-1 in the end – the winner coming from a 58th minute own goal. Which means they’ve only won one of their last five games as they head into the international break although it’s still way too early to be looking at the table as BM2 try to establish themselves in this division after promotion. Singh has played three games so far, with a goal and an assist.

Here’s the full game if anyone’s got the time, keep an eye out for those cheeky YooToob streams, aye. The German footy folks know how to do things – maximum content for maximum interest.

Up Next: Away to Sonnenhof Großaspach on Sunday 15 September at midnight (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

About that US Open Cup final then… not quite the spectacle that the Loons were hoping it would be. It was a spectacle alright, the boisterous Atlanta United fans made sure of that with a record crowd of 35,709 in attendance but Minnesota struggled to compete in the early stages and found themselves down 2-0 after less than twenty minutes. It began with a fluke of an own goal from Chase Glasper where he partially blocked a cross but it somehow looped over the goalie and went in despite the angle. Pity Martinez then chucked his left peg on a cutback six minutes later to double the lead and although Minny did scrape through to half-time without any more damage there weren’t too many folks envisaging a comeback.

Yet just a minute after the game resumed, Robin Lod scored his first goal for the club and they were back in it. Kevin Molino went extremely close to tying it but Brad Guzan saved his shot, then with a bit more than quarter of an hour left the chances got even better when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was sent off for a second bookable offence (both in the space of about three minutes). But Ike Opara’s shot was tipped wide and then three minutes into injury time the ball was nodded back for Mike Boxall to be the hero… only his side-footed volley went over the bar. In stoppage time of a cup final down by a goal, argh man. The anguish!

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Atlanta United won it 2-1. They lift the trophy. The defending MLS champions and the winners of the Campeones Cup of Mexico’s Club America just two weeks prior. ATL beat Bill Tuiloma’s Portland Timbers in the MLS grand final game last year too, the buggers.

Twin Cities: “As the trophy presentation was set up, Boxall didn’t move from the spot he was at when the final whistle blew. He thought about how he should have tied it and how it would have forced 30 minutes of extra time. The New Zealand defender was one of the last Loons players to slink into the locker room, but he was first to speak to the media. He became emotional, his voice cracked and eyes welled. “Everyone worked their (butts) off to get us in that position,” he said. “It just didn’t go our way obviously. I thought we had a few other chances there. It just hurts to, uh, let the boys down.”” Quote Sheet: MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER MICHAEL BOXALL

On their mindset after coming up short …
“The mindset is that we should still be playing. Obviously, Atlanta came out in the first half pretty strong. We had a few issues containing their front four or five. But then at half time when we spoke we knew that if we got one we would give ourselves a chance of bringing the trophy home. We responded very well. The boys played their hearts out the second half and I just hurt that we are not still out there. I feel like if that goes in, all of the momentum is on our side and it is a different story. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world of shoulda, coulda, woulda.”

On if he feels they had an advantage in the second half …
“Yeah, I think after the first half they made a few adjustments and we were able to read the runs that they were making a bit better. Obviously, Ike [Opara], Chase [Gasper] and Romain [Metanire] were able to mop-up a few loose balls and everything else was being hit through to Vito [Mannone], so, we had a lot more joy in that second half.”

On his last chance to score …
“As I said before, we should still be playing. Everyone worked their balls off to get us in that position and it just doesn’t go away. Obviously, we had a few other chances there and it just hurts to let the boys down. We will refocus and lock down our playoff spot now.”

Well, just gotta do that then. Bank that inaugural playoff spot and try win that trophy instead. They had a chance to get that rebound going when they travelled to LAFC and… they did. A pair of beautiful goals from Mason Toye ensured a 2-0 win and dealt LAFC their only home defeat of the season so far.

Rolling out that back three with Boxall, Kallman, and Opara, they were lucky not to have to contain the runaway best player in the league in Carlos Vela who was injured and even then they still only had 23% of possession and five total shots. But young fella Toye brought the goods and the Loons grabbed a brilliant win to reinvigorate their season after that cup final defeat. Gets them up to third in the West now and just one point behind Seattle… and 17 points behind LAFC still.

Up Next: Away to Houston Dynamo next Thursday at 12.30pm… plus they have a friendly game against Pachuca on Sunday at midday during the international window (NZT)

Olivia Chance – Bristol City (English Super League)

Yes, now this is what we’re talking about! Olivia Chance was released by Everton at the end of last season having missed almost all of the campaign as she recovered from that knee injury, but then was brilliant for the Footy Ferns at the World Cup and surely it was only a matter of time until she picked up another professional contract. And here that contract is… with Everton’s WSL rivals Bristol City. Chance will be the second kiwi in the WSL this upcoming term after Ria Percival at West Ham and she follows Katie Rood in signing for BCFC (Roodie’s now at Lewes a division down).

Olivia Chance: “I’m really excited to be involved with Bristol City. I’ve heard a lot of positive things from both players and coaches from around the world, so I’m looking forward to getting started. The club and team environment seems really positive, and Tanya seems to have brought a new level to Bristol City and she seems like a very good coach and I look forward to getting started under her.”

We’re just days out from the start of the new season now too. It kicks off this weekend with Bristol City taking on Brighton & Hove at the same time as a Manchester Derby to begin it all. Percy’s Spurs are away to Chelsea at 11.30pm on Sunday. And Bristol City’s second game of the season is against Everton. Last time BCFC finished a very credible set on the ladder though with the league expanding to 12 teams this time and Spurs and Man United joining the crew (as well as Yeovil getting relegated) it’s going to be more competitive than ever.

Up Next: Bristol vs Brighton, 2am on Sunday (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Honestly, you bide your time waiting for that first goal of the season and when you finally put one in the back of the net it’s an own goal. Chris Wood with the OG against Liverpool… bugger.

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Complete fluke is about right too. This wasn’t some sloppy backpass or a shanked clearance, a cross from deep caught his shoulder as he was standing outside the penalty area and the keeper was simply wrong-footed as it floated into the top corner. Flukes don’t come much more flukey than that and to fall behind against a team as strong as Liverpool in that manner… the writing was pretty much on the wall from that point onwards.

Chris Wood actually had the first proper chance of the game though. Busting the offside trap from deep, he latched onto a long ball from Matt Lowton, took it down nicely, cut inside a recovering Virgil van Dijk… but his left footed shot was saved by Adrian in goal. Would have been a dream one for The Woodsman. Anyway then he went and scored his oggie and next thing Sadio Mane had doubled that lead on the break and it definitely wasn’t happening after that. Roberto Firmino added a third one late in the second half which was the way that it ended, 3-0 to Liverpool.

It was another ninety minute performance from Wood, though he spent a lot of that time defending or running around to no avail. Only 24 touches of the ball, he didn’t have another shot after that early one, and he was flagged offside on three occasions. It’s been that kind of season so far as Wood toils hard without reward but he has started every Premier League game so far.

Sean Dyche on subbing off top scorer Ashley Barnes instead of Chris Wood:  “We left him on because Barnesy has his fair share (of goals) and Woody has got that little bit more pace over the top and we put Jay Rod on for a similar thing. They kept coming high which must be part of their game plan this year because it is a big difference for Liverpool and we looked to affect that by getting some legs on. He (Wood) has worked hard and he nearly had a couple of really good chances, the first one was a good chance which he makes himself by the way with some really good play. It was a great ball from Lowts and some good play to turn and open up the goalscoring chance.”

He also got a little run in the League Cup last week too. Brought on as a substitute with twenty minutes left against Sunderland in a game where the Clarets made eleven changes to their previous league game line-up and they flexed a bit of that depth by taking an early lead through Jay Rodriguez. But Will Grigg levelled for Sunderland before Tom Flanagan and George Dobson each scored within five minutes of the second half kicking off. So by the time Wood was chucked on Burnley were getting a bit desperate to avoid an embarrassing defeat to a lower league opposition. But it didn’t work and they lost 3-1. Damn.

Up Next: Brighton vs Burnley on Sunday 15 September at 2am (NZT)

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

So it’s an international break for the men next week but it was an international break for the women this week which severely limits which Footy Ferns/Footy Ferns hopefuls are in the mix for write-ups. And… that’s left us with basically none. Just in case you were wondering what was up with the gender disparity, know that next week it’s gonna be just as skewed towards the ladies instead. International breaks, aye? They’d be a lot less annoying if New Zealand teams are actually involved.

Up Next: Sky Blue vs NCC on Sunday at 7am (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

That’s the way, Billy old son. And amidst a bit of a defensive crisis those three points were hard earned as well, but they got there against Real Salt Lake despite having only 40% of the ball at home and despite getting a red card deep into the game. Renzo Zambrano making things harder for next week by being a silly bugger and putting his hands on the ref after Portland had conceded a free kick on the edge of the area in the sixth minute of injury time.

Steve Clark saved the ensuing free kick though (after Tuiloma had blocked a shot before the free kick was conceded), which allowed the Timbers to survive with a battling clean sheet. Despite being down to pretty much their last two available central defenders – Tuiloma and Claude Dielna, with zero defensive cover on the bench – they actually defended kinda great. Diego Valeri scored the only goal of the contest in the 16th minute with a rocket from outside the penalty area. A ripping goal and a worthy way of separating the two teams in a 1-0 result.

Also… smash him up, bruh!

Here’s a refresher on exactly what the Timbers were up to with that injury crisis…

The Oregonian: “Tuiloma, who has made 14 starts this year and likely would have made more if he hadn’t been sidelined with an injury of own earlier this season, is expected to take on a key leadership for the Timbers at center back while Cascante and Mabiala are out. Alongside Tuiloma, center back Claude Dielna will likely get his seventh start of the year Saturday. Dielna is a veteran center back with a strong resume, but he has struggled in big moments for the Timbers this season. Portland will have very few other options at the center back position Saturday. Modou Jadama (left foot injury) is still coming back from injury and it is unclear whether he will be healthy enough to play. Jadama has made just one MLS start in his career. Zarek Valentin has also played center back in the past, but has been used mostly as an outside back during his time with the Timbers.”

Bill Tuiloma: “It’s frustrating and we want them to get back as soon as possible. They are going to go through their recovery and rehab with the medical staff and we’re just going to keep our heads up, train hard, work as a team, keep the positive vibes during training and then put that into the game. I think, for me, I have to step up now. I have to step up and take the backline and communicate to my other center back, the left back and right back and the two midfielders in front of me. I need to make sure we’re compact and ready for any situation.”

Job done this week. Now on to the next.

And how about a bit of this? Some minor league opening pitch duty…

Up Next: Portland vs Sporting KC, Sunday at 2.50pm (NZT)

Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)

Manuel Pellegrini: “Winston Reid continues to be injured but for only a couple of weeks more.”

There you go. It’s a small update but after nearly eighteen months now since his last Premier League game a few more weeks isn’t that much longer to wait. Reid was involved in a few cheeky preseason games but then disappeared from vision toward the end of those preparations and despite rumours that he’d suffered (another) setback it turns out they were just wisely taking it slow and since then he’s remained on an inidivualised training programme. Dunno exactly how long it’ll be until he’s back training without limitations but we’re almost there.

The Hammers beat Norwich 2-0 this week, having also advanced in the League Cup by the same scoreline against Newport County. Since losing 5-0 to Manchester City in the opening weekend they’ve bounced back with seven points from a possible nine since and with an international break up next week that’s one less game until Reidy’s back at it.

Up Next: 7am on Tuesday 17 September at 7am, away to Aston Villa (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

Another game which Sonders failed to take maximum points from. A 0-0 draw away against OB is pretty decent after Jonas Absalonsen was red carded in the 65th minute (Mart Lieder was lucky not to see red for a stompy foot after only a minute too) but that still makes it five games without a win. Marco Rojas started and played 70 minutes before he was replaced with the lads down to ten men. No Rojas highlights to really mention and they’ll take the point for sure after OB had a winning goal disallowed in the sixth minute of stoppage time for an offside that clearly shouldn’t have been flagged.

Up Next: Away to Viktoria in the Danish Cup at 4.45am on Friday (NZT)

Nikko Boxall – Viborg FF (Danish Division 1)

First defeat of the season for Viborg and it was a big one. They went down 4-1 to Vejle with an Adam Jakobsen double doing the damage, Casper Gandrup’s late consolation goal only coming in the 89th minute. Pretty sure a defender like Nikko Boxall won’t be loving seeing his side concede two goals from corners and another from a counter attack after a cheap giveaway of possession. Fourth goal was a ripper, at least.

Vejle do have a bit of a Flying Kiwis connection though. Matt Palmer spent a season there last time around while NZ U20s winger Matt Conroy – who also played for Waitakere United in the last Premiership – is there at the moment and got a game off the bench for their reserves team this week.

Up Next: Away to Sønderborg in the cup next Wednesday at 4.30am (NZT)

Tommy Smith – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)


Colorado Rapids: “Jonathan Lewis and Tommy Smith were named to the MLS Team of the Week (Week 26) presented by Audi after their respective performances at Red Bull Arena on August 31 against the New York Red Bulls. Lewis stole the show as he scored both goals in the Rapids 2-0 win over RBNY. The 22-year-old striker started the scoring in the 14th minute as he broke away from RBNY's defense and slotted home his fourth goal of the season. He added his second of the night in the 87th minute. Smith had a superb performance as he led the Rapids defense. Overall, the 29-year-old center back made 10 successful passes and made 12 key defensive actions (interceptions, clearances, tackles, recoveries).”

Yeah alright. Go on, my son. Smithy was excellent as the Rapids beat the Red Bulls 2-0, a fair way to celebrate the first game in charge of their new manager Robin Fraser. Considering Anthony Hudson didn’t win any of his first eleven games in 2019 that’s a decent old start from the Jamaican-born gaffer. And Tommy Smith was as good as he’s been all year, the first kiwi to earn a Team of the Week selection this season (although Bill Tuiloma did win goal of the week in week nine).

Up Next: Home vs Seattle on Sunday at 1pm (NZT)

Clayton Lewis – Scunthorpe United (English League Two)

It was a terrible time to get injured, leading into contract season, but sure enough Clayton Lewis is rounding the bend back to full fitness again. In the last couple weeks he’s been named in two separate NZ U23s squads as well returning to training with the top side and even featuring a couple times with the reserves. Lewis played a quality ninety minutes this weekend for that academy team, another milestone in his recovery. Even set up a goal in a 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the Premier League Cup and he created plenty more than that too, both from open play and with his set piece delivery. Good signs.

Up next: U23s action against Australia on Friday evening at 5.30pm (NZT)

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