Sauerbrunn goal lifts Kansas City over Houston

The Equalizer Staff June 19, 2016 72

United States Women’s National Team central defender Becky Sauerbrunn’s first goal of the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League season was the game winner in FC Kansas City’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dash Sunday night in Texas. Though the two-time defending league champion Blues (2-4-3) are in eighth place and currently well out of playoff position, another strong second half of the season could catapult them into the top four by September.

“We know we have to go one game at a time,” Sauerbrunn said after the game. “Three points is huge for us. We are starting on an upper trend right now and we have to keep the momentum going.”

Sauerbrunn’s scoring play began with Heather O’Reilly’s corner kick in the 80th minute. The USWNT midfielder sent the ball backpost, where Yael Averbuch was waiting. The rebound off her attempt made its way to Sauerbrunn’s head about eight yards in front of the goal and the world class center back directed it inside the right upper 90.

“Yael got a side volley and it ricocheted and landed on my head and I was wide open,” Sauerbrunn said of her second career NWSL goal. “I would hope I wouldn’t miss from there.”

Sunday’s loss marked Houston’s (2-5-1) fourth consecutive 1-0 defeat. But the Dash, playing without USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd, who is still recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament in her right knee, kept Kansas City’s backline under pressure for the majority of the contest.

Both teams tallied 11 shots and six corner kicks but it was Houston that spent most of the game building on offense. Despite several potentially dangerous crosses from Kealia Ohai and charges from Chioma Ubogagu, Morgan Brian and Denise O’Sullivan, the Dash could not find the right final touch to break Kansas City’s Sauerbrunn-led backline; goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart also made several quality saves.

Allysha Chapman nearly gave Houston a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute with a 30-yard shot right off the crossbar. Then in the 66th minute, three minutes after entering the game, Rachel Daly launched one off the post.

But by the 70th minute the Dash’s high pressure tactics seemed to take their toll as fatigue appeared to set in, allowing the Blues to build some momentum. And it culminated in Sauerbrunn’s game-clinching goal.

FC Kansas City is scheduled to host sixth-place Seattle Reign FC June 25; Houston will look to snap its losing streak in Orlando June 23.

  • Cc W

    Broon needs to work on her celebration!

    • Paul Klee

      I thought it was adorable!

      • I loved it! Her excitement in that moment is infectious. 😀

    • F0OtballNowAndAlways

      Wouldn’t that be like buying a tuxedo? You’d hardly get to use it.

  • Paul Klee

    Brooooooooon!

  • Paul Klee

    We now have a situation in which two USWNT center backs have scored as many NWSL goals this season as the 3 USWNT starting forwards. btw Christen Press is not a USWNT starting forward.

    • Steglitz49

      The woodwork seems to have played a big role in this match.

      • Paul Klee

        Lately, it seems, it always does.

      • I think there have been more “saves” by the woodwork this season than there have been goals scored.

        • Steglitz49

          Indeed.

    • Anndroach3
    • Guest

      Morgan – 2, Heath – 1

      Engen 1, Broon – 1

      How is that the same?

      • Paul Klee

        Heath is a midfielder for USWNT.

        • Guest

          You said ‘the 3 starting forwards’ though. And the starting front line for USWNT is Heath-Morgan-Pugh. One of them does not play in NWSL, and you said Press does not count, so who would the third be if it was not Heath?

          • #1Fan

            Dunn probably .

          • Guest

            Well the wings also have a total of 9 assists which dwarfs any other two player’s totals. It would be nice to see wings who score more consistently in WoSo but there really aren’t any. Pinoe on form is the closest though.

          • Paul Klee

            Morgan – 2 goals
            Dunn – 0 goals
            Pugh. – 0 goals

            It is a fact that Pugh has scored 0 NWSL goals is listed as a USWNT forward and is a starter.

            Morgan obviously is a forward and a starter.

            Dunn is listed as a forward and has started the last 5 USWNT matches.

          • Reality

            Press is listed as a forward and, mirabile dictu, she actually started and played as a forward in the last NT Japan game with Morgan. More of that please.

          • Paul Klee

            If Press starts a couple more in a row I’ll consider her a starter but she only got that last start against Japan because Mal had The sniffles or something.

          • Reality

            I’m not holding my breath given that Lloyd will soon be back to disrupt the lineup.

          • mockmook

            “Morgan – 2 goals Dunn – 0 goals Pugh. – 0 goals”

            That analysis is as bad as when HoF castigates Press for not scoring when she isn’t playing.

          • Paul Klee

            You think, jus’ sayin’ 😉

          • #1Fan

            The Pugh part is . Have not watched the other 2 in NWSL enough to know if they are playing well or poorly.

          • Guest

            It is also a fact that Brandi Chastain has scored 0 NWSL goals. Including Pugh in statistics regarding a league she does not play in is deceiving to say the least.

          • Paul Klee

            I don’t believe that Brandi is a starting forward for the USWNT, Mal is. Facts are Facts you can do with them as you wish. I’m drawing no conclusions just making an observation one that I thought to be interesting.

    • Reality

      We now have a situation where Christen Press, a USWNT non-starting forward, has more NWSL goals than the so-called “…3 USWNT starting forwards”.

      • #1Fan

        Scoring is a lot harder when you face decent coaching and organized defenses. Unlike 90 pct of WNT games. Apart from financially, being on the NT is the best way to pad stats and be considered great.

        • Reality

          The USSF system dictates the priorities of the players. They must participate in the U___ since they know that NWSL performance is secondary to that. However, they also must play in the NWSL instead of overseas. This does raise the level of play and create greater equality in the league but Ellis is more concerned with what goes on in her interminable training camps. And even if a player is lucky enough to get a look in the training camp, they are often just there to provide quality opposition to the contractual NT players.

          It is ironic that NWSL play is considered inferior to our international play. The USWNT has only have 3-5 opponents that give us any challenge internationally whereas in the NWSL any team can win in a given match. Goal scoring is low in the NWSL as a result. In contrast, as you point out, stats are often padded on the NT thanks to many tomato can opponents. Players who do well internationally don’t always perform as well in the NWSL as a result.

          More credit and emphasis should be given to club play but that would take a significant reorganization of the USSF system.

          • #1Fan

            Does it raise the level ? I would argue that only happens if play is meaningful in terms of selection. As of now one could argue it is simply “training” and exposure for the chosen few

          • Reality

            There are some NT players who do not play for their NWSL clubs at times if they think it will expose them to any aggravation of injury that will jeopardize their NT status. Others NT players may hold back in their play for fear of injury.

            However, I was talking about the many quality players not on the NT who toil in the NWSL under difficult financial handicaps. If these U.S. players were allowed to play overseas for other clubs without an NT exclusion penalty and receive greater remuneration than the NWSL, I think that their migration would diminish the pool of quality players in the league.

            It is ironic though that successful foreign players actively seek admittance to the the NWSL to obtain a higher level of play.

          • #1Fan

            Im a bit confused. Why are these players who you say are toiling away not on the NT if good enough? And do you think its fair for players to play within themselves or not play in league play for fear of injury? I think it is unfair to everyone , but it happens. Pulling marquee players from games at short notice does re-enforce the view that the NWSL is for show and WNT for dough. Hard to take the league seriously the way the USSF has set it up.

          • Steglitz49

            The USSF priority is for the WNT to do well and continue to do well. That is where the inconme is, not the NWSL.

            The American people are interested in their WNT so USSF pimps it for what it is worth. Make no mistake: these people are Blatter’s spiritual heirs. If skimpier and tighter outfits would increase the revenue, such will be provided — and worn.

          • Reality

            “Hard to take the league seriously the way the USSF has set it up.” I agree. It is extremely difficult for even a superior NWSL player to move up to the NT. The path from the U___ system is the favored route for the USWNT. And once you gain a contract, it is like obtaining tenure at a university…it is highly unlikely that an NT player will lose their status unless they retire or suffer a career ending injury. The path to the USWNT is a narrow one and must be played by USSF rules.

          • Steglitz49

            I wonder whether the foreign players simply are keen on experiencing life in America? The American people do not always appreciate how positive their country is viewed abroad and how much foreigners of all ages would like tot try it out for a year or two.

          • Reality

            That is undoubtedly a bonus factor with some players.

          • Guest

            I disagree with this I think most if not all non-NT player give their all every week. They certainly aren’t playing in the league because they are well compensated. I think most NT players are trying every week as well. I think relatively strong league play has helped some of the NT players elevate their skills too.

          • mockmook

            “They certainly aren’t playing in the league because they are well compensated.”

            Sure they are. They have to play in the NWSL to keep their NT gig.

          • Guest

            That part of the comment was in reference to non National Team players. The NT players are very well compensated in comparison to the entire sport

          • mockmook

            My bad. That’s why I should always include the quote in my comment (then, maybe I would have noticed).

          • #1Fan

            I am asking the question. I would ask you then if this is true, then why is the WNT essentially a closed shop? Why are we not seeing new players getting a chance based on NWSL play?

          • Guest

            That most likely has to do with the contract situation and marketing. I think there has been a lot of new players over the last year. Not as many as a men’s camp prior to a major tournament or when sermanni was in charged but a lot compared to Ellis’s first year.

            I don’t know why ellis insists on not letting others get caps? Did any of the starting XI in the first colombia friendly need to play in the second? I don’t think so. I also don’t know why Ellis didnt experiment with her lineup and tactics at SBC. I’m also tired of Ellis ‘letting’ her starter figure it out. Just look at how that worked for Belgium against Italy at the Euros but I digress.

          • guest

            limited uswnt guaranteed annual salaries.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            I think the NT players, those with any pride anyway, have an added incentive to perform well in the NWSL. Doing so affirms their statuses as truly elite players worthy of NT membership. Playing poorly might not earn the player a demotion on the NT, or even on her club, but the loss of respect among her peers and in soccer fandom will be an unpleasant and maybe even humiliating experience an NT player wouldn’t want to do with.

          • #1Fan

            USSF values camps higher than ANYTHING else. Fact.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        Yeah, I thought Mr. Klee was being rather slippery in his defense of his post above. You can eat your cake, or you can have it. But you can’t eat your cake and have it too. Or so the wise men tell us.

    • mockmook

      Who do you count as the three USWNT starters?

    • Tom F

      Ellis seems to favor Horan & Pugh over Dunn & Press. Maybe she learned something for the Japan series; tie when Pugh & Horan started, easy win when Dunn & Press got the starting nod.
      In a way, you can’t blame or Ellis using Dunn & Press as super subs. But sometimes it also makes it harder for those two to get into the game.

      As for Rio, not sure if the opposition is that good this time around. Both Germany’s & France styles are similar and made to order for the US since they both bring their fb’s way up and out of position and leave the flanks way open to counter attack.
      Australia, Brazil & Canada might have a better chance, but as we can see from their players in the NWSL, their good, but not good enough to make an all star NWSL 1st team(which is what the USWNT is mostly made of).
      The only NT I can see upsetting the US is…….yes EQ haters……the Steg meister’s Sweden

      • Steglitz49

        The two goals in the second match were both off-side. Referee — really touchjudge — errors gave the easy win. Can’t count on that always.

        At least Iceland will not be in Rio and neither Albania.

        • Tom F

          now c’mon, stop being bias, the US dominated J in the second game, out shooting them by something like 13-2, thus winning the two game series
          I understand, you Swedes are tired of the blond,tall, athletic look, That’s why 1 out every 7 Swedes go to vacation in Thailand(as to be closer to short. brownish people)

          I say be happy with what you got! which was the hottest babe ever to play the game, Josephina Oqvist

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. There is one of her in the water too.

            Otherwise she is best known for giving her jersey to a German fan during WC-11:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cT3NXR1kW8
            (there may be better versions available)

      • Ethan

        Pugh (along with Morgan’s movement and positioning) was the US’ saving grace in that first match. It would be nonsensical for Ellis to put any blame on Pugh for the tie in that match.

        • Guest

          Pugh and Morgan combined for a good goal but I think the saving grace for the US was poor keeping. One of the goals was a set piece where the US has a ridiculous advantage. By far the biggest difference between the two games was that the US decided to play defense in the second game.

          • Ethan

            True. Less than stellar goalkeeping from Yamashita was critical in the US getting a tie.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        Out of all the teams she played, Sweden was the only one the U.S. could not score against or defeat in last year’s world cup.

        • Tom F

          beyond that, Sweden beat the US in the 2011 WC group game as well at the 2014 Algarve Cup, They also tied the US at the 2013 AC. Not sure when the last time the US has had a win against them, but they seem to be made to order for Sweden. Some of the reason’s
          A coach that knows the US inside out(Pia)
          Arguably the fastest player in the world in Sofia Jacobsson
          More physically build players to stand up to the athleticism of the US

          Yest surprisingly, the Swedes usually get murdered playing a slower but more technical sides like JA, GER & FRA

    • Gary Diver

      Your comment would be easier to respond to if it was easier to understand. The two USWNT center backs have scored only 1 NWSL goal this season. Dunn has scored 0 goals and Pugh does not play in NSWL. And I thought the Morgan when healthy is usually the only starting forward for USWNT. So I don’t understand the different pieces in your comment.

      • Paul Klee

        It’s all in the thread I’m not gonna explain it again. I just made a factual statement, I did not draw any conclusions from that factual statement.

        • F0OtballNowAndAlways

          However, your “factual statement” made implications that invite the reader to draw all kinds of conclusions from it.

          • Paul Klee

            Conclude away.

  • Paul Klee

    Did Becky throw some shade on the front and mid lines about their inability to finish?

  • newsouth

    randy keeping the chip kelly subpar professional coaching dream alive. i guess if it wasn’t for the cushings, ohai would have tried to jump ship. she can kiss the NT goodbye under randy’s lack of guidance. when will that baylor offer be on the table?

  • smallchief

    Sauerbrunn: the player of the week.

  • Steglitz49

    For those who believe that male refs is a solution to WoSo’s woes, here is a cautionary tale:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/male-referee-banned-creating-fake-8233358

  • Tom F

    Waldrum needs to read the, coaching 101, book. He got 3 fwds on top who obviously there to play the high pressure game, but actually are standing around waiting for a pass not never seems to come when their team got the ball. In the meantime, Waldrum thinks that Briab & Andressa can carry the load of covering the entire midfield. But the correct way to do it; if you got only 3 mids, then it’s best to forgo the midfield and start long balling it up to the 3 fwds. Instead Waldrums wants the ball to go directly up to Brian & Andressa, who are usually out numbered in the center. It’s really bad when they loose the ball, and get caught in transition. Bottom line is you really don’t want to try to take control of the midfield with so few players no matter how good Waldrum thinks they are.

  • Guest

    So has this 4-6 week injury become Lloyd’s excuse to not play in the NWSL until after the Olympics? Still no news on her status?

    • mms

      Just as the sideline magically cures a Brazilian’s injury, the Olympic Send-off games will cure Lloyd.

      • Observed

        But she hasn’t played anywhere in months. Not the best form to be in for OG in Brazil.

  • Rdalford

    Houston attendance 4570 (from box score on NWSL site Stats page)

    Houston YTD (7440, 5081, 6293, 4570) YTD total=23384 YTD avg=5864

    • Steglitz49

      Is that a falling trend or simply rattling about around 5,700?

      The next few matches will be without USWNT players but seeing that Lloyd has not played and nor Brian much, it may be a fair reflection of reality nevertheless.

  • MurderOnZidanesFloor

    Great to see Sauerbrunn score a winning goal! Apart from one poor giveaway she was excellent. As was Desi Scott. HAO and Groom put a lot of effort in while seeing very little of the ball so deserve plenty of applause too. FCKC are starting to work out how to win games even with their very much depleted side compared to previous years.

    Houston looking in a bad position now. I had reservations before the start of the season about their lack of proven goalscorers, and its really looking like trading away McDonald was a terrible decision now. Daly looked the most likely to score and she only touched the ball about 3 times, Ohai/Ubogagu/Beckie were fine in possession but I never felt they were likely to beat Barnhart no matter how much of the ball they had.

  • Seeing Broon so excited after that goal makes me very happy.

    Also, I thought her comments after the match were a bit modest.
    “I would hope I wouldn’t miss from there.”

    Players miss easier headers than that in every game. I thought it was a very well-struck and well-placed header. Williams is a very good keeper, so kudos to Broon for landing that shot.