Fleming scores twice, wows, but loses first UCLA game

The Equalizer Staff August 28, 2016 153

Jessie Fleming scored twice and provided the first of surely many NCAA career viral highlight clips in her debut for UCLA, a 4-3 loss to Florida.

Fleming’s first goal was a header which leveled the game at 2-2 in the 65th minute, and four minutes later she put UCLA ahead from the spot:

No. 6 Florida, however, would equalize three minutes later before an own goal cost UCLA the match five minutes into extra time. The real highlight of the night was a nifty and confident move by Fleming to break pressure in her own defensive third:

Fleming, 18, missed UCLA’s first two matches of the season due to international duty with Canada, which won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Fleming started all six matches for Canada at the Olympics en route to the bronze medal. She’ll miss time later in the NCAA season for the U-20 World Cup in Papa New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3. The NCAA College Cup final is scheduled for Dec. 4.

  • brdn08

    Soooooooooooo…….we’re just going to act like Savannah Jordan didn’t score a brace and cause the own goal that won UF the game. I mean damn……..what does she have to do to get the credit she deserves? The media pulled this same bs to somehow ignore the year that Jordan had last year. Totally ridiculous.

    • Steglitz49

      Winning makes more of a statement than losing. Ask the Swedes if you don’t believe me — or the USWNT.

      • sudeep das

        But that footwork and the thought process behind it is really fascinating.
        BTW it seems that college defenses are weaker compared to say a pro outfit or am I wrong?

        • Steglitz49

          The Swedish backline and defensive midfield were all seasoned players from top clubs like Linköping, Rosengård, Lyon, Wolfsburg, Montpellier and PSG among others.

        • #1Fan

          They are clearly weaker. UCLA would do well to accept there is only ONE ball on a soccer field at any given time. I am very interested to see if Fleming and Pugh can co-exist in a successful team..

          • mockmook

            They seem to be team players, so I don’t think there will be a problem.

            But, I’m still not sure if Pugh might not back out of UCLA.

          • #1Fan

            Time will tell I guess.

          • guest2

            I think one of the reasons Pugh has been so successful the the US team is because they don’t play her as the focal point of their offense. Her job is relatively simple relative to some other US players. The US also has a few players around her capable of dominating the ball.

          • #1Fan

            i agree 100%

          • Steglitz49

            What went wrong in Brasilia then?

          • Guest

            Sweden played a smart tactical match and came away better by exploiting one of the US’s biggest weaknesses. Mexico basically did the same thing in qualifying but were unlucky when the US was awarded an undeserved penalty. Sweden are a much better team than Mexico and deserved the result on that day.

          • Steglitz49

            The USWNT underestimated Sweden. Judging by Sweden’s group play, the USWNT not unreasonably expected to be able to beat those turnips with a hand tied behind their backs.

          • sudeep das

            Really looking forward to that.
            Along with Ashley Sanchez the trinity of FPS should draw big crowds – UCLA may start charging for attendance, if allowed (Good things are happening in troikas it seems – MSN of Barca, BBC of Real).
            They can play against the USWNT even – pipe-dreams.

          • #1Fan

            SD. you are a fanboy. I have no idea how you can possibly compare them. Ill be controversial and say I am not convinced Sanchez has what tit takes to be a top player at the highest level.

          • Steglitz49

            She has a Hispanic surname. That is enough. Ask ARod and Lopez.

    • Paul Klee
      • mockmook

        brdn08 seems to be commenting on the “disrespect” of Jordan by the media — I’m not sure how the posted clip is relevant to that criticism.

        • Paul Klee

          Oh I’ll take it down right away I’m so sorry I put that up I thought that somebody just my want to see a clip of Jordan as they posted clips of Jesse but I’ll take it down thank you for the reminder.

          • mockmook

            Even though you won’t see this, it was quite reasonable to believe that you were posting the clip as some sort of a refutation of brdn08’s point.

            And, I can remember just a day or two ago you were “instructing” Gary Diver on what was appropriate to post — curiously, he didn’t threaten to block you for your “advice”.

          • another guest

            It was also quite reasonable to believe (as at least I did) that the Jordan clip was posted to support brdn08’s point (not enough media attention – including this EQ article – paid to Jordan) by adding a positive highlight clip of Jordan.

            Childish reaction (take my ball and go away) by paul klee
            but whatever

            I appreciate how well Fleming played in her first game for UCLA but Jordan scored 2 and her shot caused the own goal by UCLA player(s) and won the game for Florida – so a more even handed EQ article might have featured highlights of both Fleming and Jordan.

          • mockmook

            Right, unfortunately by not adding context, Paul left the reason for his post up to interpretation.

            I guess since I rarely post to merely support someone’s point of view, I assumed he was countering brdn08 — “Oh look, see, you can find clips of Jordan, so what’s the problem?!!” — something like that.

        • Paul Klee

          I love this block thing bye bye

    • mockmook

      To be fair, this was Fleming’s first game and it was against a top team — so it was an outstanding debut.

      (Fun Fact: Jordan also scored a brace in her Freshman debut, but it was against an overmatched FGCU)

      • brdn08

        I think the bigger story is Savannah Jordan’s senior season where she has the chance to eclipse Abby Wambach’s goals scored record at UF. It’s expected for Fleming to excel at college level soccer. She’s already getting Caps for her national team.

        • mockmook

          If Jordan is lucky, she will have about 20 games left (likely less) to get 27 goals — she has averaged a little less than 1 Goal Per Game over her career.

          Bottom line: She is a very long shot to get to Wambach’s record.

          Speaking of Jordans, everybody expected Michael Jordan to be a scoring machine — doesn’t mean it was any less noteworthy when he was. Or Tiger Woods. Etc.

          For career accomplishments. of course Savannah is the bigger story — but for this game, the bigger story was Fleming’s outstanding debut.

          • #1Fan

            I dont agree, but thats fine. She is young, in game shape and well ahead of the kids she is playing against n terms of sharpness. I would be stunned if she played poorly.

          • Gary Diver

            “The bigger story was Fleming’s outstanding debut.”

            People seem to forget that Fleming debuted on her national team when she was 15 years old and has about 30 caps, which means she has been playing against the best in the world for 2 3/4 years. Mallory Pugh has had similar experience for only a little more than 1/2 year.

        • Paul Klee

          That would be a quite impressive goal total if she were to achieve that milestone. Should be a lock for the Herman trophy.

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    • #1Fan

      It is. But its all about the hype now. I hate it.

  • newsouth

    fleming is the only standout on their 26 woman roster. the days of the speed force are long gone.

    • rkmid71

      Sad about speed force. No comeback? She’s dual citizen.That girl has options.

      • Breakers fan

        yeah, I was hoping to see her play pro. Does anyone know what she’s up to now? She wouldn’t be too old to make a comeback as you say.

  • anon

    Jordan is going to get called up soon, right?

    • Steglitz49

      With all the dead wood to be hewn out of the USWNT, it will not be like crossing the Rubicon or even the Jordan to reach the promised NT.

  • Guest

    This is why I do not get why people say Pugh will benefit from college play.

    • anon

      who knows if she’s even good enough to have a wambach or morgan style career though… everyone thought she was going to BLOW UP in Rio but… womp womp womp.. we all know how that turned out. i honestly think she should take the free education. she can leave if she wants to if she doesn’t like it.

      • Guest

        This is why I wonder if Horan is going to regret her decision not to go to college if she doesn’t end up “Making it” on the NT. She seems to have lost her starter spot on the NT and she hasn’t exactly been amazing for the Thorns.

        • Tikitaka

          She can still get her degree at any point. Also gone are the days when going to college means you’ll get a good job. Horan’s soccer career is more limited than any job she’ll have in the future, I think her decision to make a good amount of money young and further her soccer career was great for her.

          • guest

            I agree that college /= good job, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable as an older person IF you find yourself in the postiion of needing to go back. im assuming she weighed all of these decisions years ago though.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.

        • Guest

          She could always reclaim her 6 figure contract at PSG. And she’s only 21, she is not going anywhere for a while. She lost her starting spot at holding mid, yes, but she is a center forward, does not make sense why she was there in the first place. She should be given time to play the #9. She’s scored 4 or 5 goals for Portland this year in a more advanced position

          • guestt

            Yeah but Jillogical is the coach. She will never, ever play Horan at the #9 while Morgan or even Press are around. pugh and Dunn are probably also ahead of her at forward. I also don’t think she is fast enough to play forward for our current team… those other four are lightning fast.

          • Guest

            Well maybe lighting fast isn’t the answer. Was not at OG. That is the beauty of this next 2-3 years, they have the freedom to try new things, and not just play Morgan and Lloyd for 90 minutes every game. They could try endless combinations of Morgan/Press/Pugh/Heath/Dunn/Horan/Brian in the attacking positions with some other new faces mixed in

          • Guest

            Bingo. A whole lot of good all that speed did against a side that defended well in 2 blocks of 4 right around their penalty area for 60 out of 90 minutes. What that game desperately needed was a CF that could create space for others in the box and could win some headers against the Swedish center backs and a CAM who could create chances from the hole. The US had neither in that game.

          • Steglitz49

            Press is history. Alex does not play #9. Crystal gives away almost 10″ to Lindsey.

            Dream on but stop inhaling.

          • Guest

            I’m not a Press superfan or anything but she is the best forward in the NWSL right now. She’s not going anywhere whether you like it or not, at 27. 30 is still “soccer prime” and Press is a low mileage player with no history of injury. The ones in danger are the CURRENT over 30s. The turnover between OG and WC is historically not all that drastic , especially due to the nature of their contracts and the way tenure on the NT works. I mean, Sydney Leroux and ARod are still on on the roster and I don’t think either has scored a goal in at least two years.

          • anon

            I really think Alex has lost some of her form too. And Playing in Orlando is going to be a huge detriment to her development. She has horrible NWSL stats for a starting forward.

          • Guest

            Alex’s end product has been non existent since week 4. I don’t think she’s really played that well either especially compared with the other top offensive players in the league

          • guestt

            I find Press extremely frustrating to watch on the national team, but when you watch her in Chicago, compared to Alex in orlando (I know she is working with far less talented supporting players, to be fair) it’s crazy to me that she hasn’t been utilized more… she is so incredibly dangerous and is much more capable of shooting from a distance than Alex is. I also think she is every bit as fast as Alex at this point in time, who I know has unfortunately dealt with a lot of injuries.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex has the track record and campaign medals going back to 2010 at least. What has the other one have? The Swedish Cup with Gbg, the team that she abandoned in a midnight flit.

          • Reality

            Consider that at CRS, Dames has made her Captain, utilizes her appropriately at forward and starts her in every game for 90″. His confidence in her supports her confidence in herself…quite the opposite is the case with Ellis’s treatment of Press. It is a perfect example of wise v. foolish coaching.

          • Steglitz49

            Scored that poacher’s goal against the turnips in the QF.

          • guest

            jill ellis is not concerned with good form with the uswnt. actually it doesn’t even matter if you haven’t played any competitive games in the last nine months.

          • anon

            Watching Pinoe completely out of breath after 10 minutes during the Seattle game was seriously painful. I mean, nice goal but… unreal that she went to Rio

          • Reality

            While Horan is tall and could be helpful for headers on set play free kicks and PK’s, her other skills do not match Press as a forward. Of course, we could go back to Abby ball, bring back O’Reilly and rename it Lindsey ball. I think that Horan, like Lloyd, should be used in specific situations, but she is not a starter at forward.

          • Guest

            I haven’t seen Horan enough (at all?) at forward to know what she can contribute there, to be honest. I didn’t follow PSG.

          • Reality

            She performed credibly at PSG at forward, but was not played there regularly as a starter. I think the experience was a valuable one for her, but the only other decent team in the league, Olympique Lyonnais, was generally dominant over PSG and the rest of the teams were poor competition.

          • Reality

            Speaking of PSG and European soccer, the seedings for the UWCL just came out…

            https://twitter.com/UWCL/status/770159165222313988

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. The division into seeded and unseeded is based on a mathematical formula which puts at a disadvantage new clubs or clubs with little history in the Champions League.

            For example, LSK, Twente, Chelsea, Man City and Avaldsnes could be considered reasonably as seeded, not least Twente who put Bayern Munich to the sword last season.

          • Reality

            Seeding and particularly matching teams, as we well know, in observing both the WC and OG is at best a rather questionable business despite the claim of mathematical formulas.

          • Guest

            She was a regular until the club signed Christine and Mittag before last season. Both of those players are better than she is currently. She also had a bunch of injury issues while with the club.

          • Steglitz49

            She avoids injury by not being assertive.

            After this abysmal OG, there will be turnover. Real turnover. That CBA expires in a couple of months.

          • anon

            There will be some turnover but Press isn’t on the chopping block. You can’t cut the best forward in the professional league… that would be ridiculous, even if you don’t like her.

          • Guest

            I think USSoccer has flexed their muscles with Solo and I do think lloyd is on the chopping block. She might come to WC19 as a mascot like Boxx, which would be a shame but not surprising.

          • Steglitz49

            It is 3 years till the next WC in France and lot of players are knocking on the door. The abiding image is of an unsure player walking with dread on her face up to the 11m spot and flouncing her kick above the bar.

          • TrollWatch

            who are these “upcoming” players who are competing for the forward spot? Press has the best statistics, objectively, by a long shot, in the NWSL. That counts for something. Especially compared to our current NT players who are abysmal this year. ill make a judgment on sanchez, who hasn’t even taken her freaking SATs yet, in a couple years. plus she plays wing anyway so she’s probably more in competition with those girls.

          • Steglitz49

            Simply compare Canada and the US and marvel. Heads must roll.

          • lol

            Dude.. come on. It’s just a PK. Lloyd was the only reason she wasn’t getting more PT and Lloyd’s role is going to be reduced going forward.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            She will always have Paris. The Emir was not stingey. Lindsey is a natural #9.

          • guest

            she wasn’t starting at psg the last year either. but that was enought for a uswnt contract.

      • Guest

        She played in like 2 games. Not enough to make a judgement

    • Breakers fan

      Did you watch the Florida-UCLA game? I was VERY impressed with the speed of play and the quality of a lot of the players. It looked every bit as good, if not fairly often better than some NWSL games I’ve seen. I was pretty stunned but then I remembered the college cup last year and remembered how good soccer is at the highest levels of US college play. That’s my honest reaction. So along those lines yes I think Pugh will benefit from college play and she can also benefit more fully as a human being from being with her peers and not just become soccer-being. It’s cruel to deny her that if that is what she wants. Every USWNT player save Horan went to college, as you know. Didn’t kill their careers. And I know all the financials. One just hopes against injury for her. But of course that can happen at any level, as we saw in the OG for her.

      • guest

        Not sure the defenses are as good. Flemming’s first goal was a mixture of poor defending and poor keeping.

        • rkmid71

          Not as good as NWSL, but a heck of a lot better than most int’l games the US plays.

          • guest

            Not better than South Africa or New Zealand who are not considered top teams. Mexico was also very well organized in qualifying. You are right about some of the international teams the US plays but I think there are plenty that also defend well. Many opponents simply have no way to attack the US when they play 9 behind the ball.

        • Breakers fan

          And an excellent cross. It was in the exact perfect spot. I haven’t read the article but if it basically says “Fleming dominated, clearly” — I would strongly disagree with that. She was very very good but so were many other players. Her first goal — I’d praise the crosser of the ball as much as Fleming and her 2nd goal was courtesy of some brilliant technical play from a teammate which drew the PK. I’m not downplaying how she played, just downplaying the hype and giving praise to the many other good players who were on that field. If you didn’t see the game – not you — it’s impossible to comment on this assertion.

          • #1Fan

            I happen to agree. Its why I hate the way the media rush to anoint one payer. I guess its the way journalism now works. There are a lot of quality players entering College soccer. The way many get ignored just contributes to this closed door policy that ends up in NT selection. I have said it many times here. The top colleges are very good and better than most INTL teams in the world

          • Breakers fan

            It’s amazing the power of one sort of sensational technical trick can have. I loved it too, but in the end what it was, effectively, was a way of getting past one player in the run of play. Anytime any player did that during the game one could say was just as good, or just as effective.
            I agree with what you say in your post. It amounts to lazy viewing. One wants to have to only focus on a couple players. It just makes it “easier”. To really have a feel for, say, this UCLA team one would have to watch every game of their season and watch it really closely, maybe even go back and watch games twice. Then you will be able to speak about the abilities of all their players with some amount of authority, assuming you have no agenda.

            Think of the maybe 1000s of hours these girls have played soccer in their lives. And now we, as almighty fans, can judge them all, fully, in an hour and a half?? It’s ludicrous to think that’s remotely possible. Just relax, keep your mind open and don’t feel you have to make super-quick decisions about these players.

            I was very impressed with Savannah Jordan – saw a side of her I hadn’t seen before in this game, but that just is because I saw very little of her before now.

          • Steglitz49

            Jessie Flemming played for Canada both in WC-15 and in OG-16. I can’t remember which matches she played in but such experience is worth its weight in soccer cleats.

          • #1Fan

            its rare that coverage consists of talking about a good GAME. A game well played by all. Instead its all bout picking out one random highlight out of a game and telling us how this makes a player great. Consistent high level performance against top[ opposition makes a player great for me. I guess that process is too boring and takes too long. Its why i refuse to buy in to the greatness of any of these young guns until i see them tested, knocked down and bloodied. When the path is smoothed for these kids as much as it is, its very hard to get a read. Many of these kid are literally NEVER on the weaker team.

            I enjoy watching these kids mature, but I will not anoint any onf them just yet.

          • Steglitz49

            Jessie Flemming has played 25 times or so for Canada. That is a decent tally by all measures. In Rio, she played the whole match against France in the QF, Germany in the SF and Brazil in the bronze match.

          • #1Fan

            I know this. But we are now led to believe she is the future because she dribbled by a Fla defender and scored 2x. one a penalty

          • Steglitz49

            It bears repeating because the other commentators seem ignorant of the actuality.

          • Breakers fan

            I don’t think you’re referring to me but if you are I’ve been aware of Fleming for 2-3 years now.

          • Steglitz49

            The article clearly states that Jessie started all 6 matches for Canada in Rio. Infact she palyed the whole games in the knockout stages at least.

          • Breakers fan

            Let’s say you’re an NWSL GM and you watch a team – say UCLA or UVA or any other top team or a top player on a weaker team – in 2, 3 games……sure you have some sense of her or them, but compare that to how many hours and in how many situations the head Coach of that team has seen his players. That’s why, assuming the Coach is being completely honest and is not playing favorites, NWSL GMs have to be able to rely on these coaches’s honest appraisals of his players when deciding whom to draft. Tough part is when you get each coach praising his best players to high heaven then you have to decide “ok, which players, all of whom are getting high praise, do I select?” It’s tough and at that point you can step in and watch film yourself and try and make up your own mind.

          • Steglitz49

            They can use local scouts and watch some videos too if they are really interested. It is true that Zlatan once quipped that “Zlatan does not do auditions” but there are other ways of evaluating players.

          • Breakers fan

            I like the idea of “local scouts”. I think a good NWSL team would try to see if they can find them, create them all over the country. Great point and idea, Steg. And yes videos are available as well. It’s just that a head coach really knows his players like no other,

          • rkmid71

            Yes. Like any other team, mainly the UCLA coaches and players know which players are contributing the most to the team. Maybe it will be Fleming. You don’t know after 1 game — particularly one they lost. The bottom line is winning. It’s what is effective to win the game. “Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring” and “Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” ~ Johan Cruyff.

          • #1Fan

            Amen.

          • Steglitz49

            The Swedish WNT and Pia must have remembered Cruyffä’s musings in the nick of time. Nevertheless, better a silver medal than be sent packing in the QF.

          • rkmid71

            Yep. Another Cruyff musing is “if you can’t win, make sure you don’t lose” The Swedish WNT did even better than that — despite the lopsided stats, they had good chances to win outright against both USA and Brazil. Even the final against Germany they opened up when they got down 0-2, scored and had their chances to even things up. They played very smart soccer and deserved their silver medal.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden would have won the match against the US but for the inept referee crew who almost stole it from them.

            As for the final, you could criticize Pia for not starting Stina Blackstenius but most of the blame must be on not playing in their all blue “lucky” change strip. It is as good an explanation as any.

          • rkmid71

            Yes. The end result of US match was just. And I don’t think the FIFA rankings are that critical are they? I guess maybe for seedings in future events, but then again don’t they ignore them if it suits them? And what were they thinking on their kit. A lesson learned for the future I guess.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point that FIFA ignored their own rankings for WC-15, shafting Sweden for to make benefit for Brazil is well taken.

            Nevertheless, Had the 1-0 or 2-1 score stood, Sweden would have gained a lot of points while the US would have lost some.

            In short, Germany would be #1 and Sweden #4. Tough cheese, European donkeys.

          • Reality
          • Breakers fan

            I did, thank you! I wish her the best!

          • Steglitz49

            According to the same site, US Soccer has announced on that the WNT will play against Switzerland x2 in October: first on Oct 19 in Sandy, Utah and Oct 23 in Minneapolis.

            Oddly enough in their article they use a picture with a Swedish player (Elin Rubensson?) competeing with a US player (Carli?) for the ball. Sweden ain’t Switzerland. One is the land that gave us Zlatan, the other gave us the cuckoo-clocs in Orson Welles classic line.

          • Reality
          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. It is a good and clear announcement. Trust that the fans will do the needful and trot along and cheer.

          • guest3

            “And now we, as almighty fans, can judge them all, fully, in an hour and a half??”
            Sorry, not gonna watch ’em for a 1,000 hours. If they’re fortunate enough to get their moment in the spotlight, they should grab it.

          • Breakers fan

            I see what you’re saying and of course you’re right we don’t have time to watch every good team play every game. I wasn’t suggesting you should have watched their lifetime development. I was only suggesting we shouldn’t feel a need to feel that we have evaluated a player, quickly.

            Yes, realistically, unless we’re getting paid to do it or unless it’s one’s only passion and way he/she chooses to spend his free time we can’t keep tabs on all the good college players in the country and make small distinctions about who’s better than whom and who should be drafted and in what order. Here I was just saying that there were a lot of good players on that field and Jesse Fleming was just 1 of them.

          • Breakers fan

            One should add to your statement about “grabbing their moment in the spotlight” — “and hope someone’s watching when they do.” Of course by “moment” you mean about 20 x 90 x 4 – if a player played every minute of every game for 4 years.

          • rkmid71

            Not only the top college “teams”, but can you imagine if you created 10 teams comprised of the best players from all the colleges combined?

          • Steglitz49

            There is one WNT for the US like there is one for Sweden, Norway and Iceland. The population ratios are roughly 1000 : 33 : 17 : 1. Thus, it is 1000x more difficult for an American girl to get a cap than an Icelandic girl.

            A smart American lass checks out her family tree.

        • Breakers fan

          Why would you say it was poor goalkeeping? Do you think the keeper had time to come out and knock the cross away? It happened quickly so I’m not sure that’s the case. Then, Fleming was close to goal and she headed to where the keeper wasn’t and that happened very quickly too. A keeper obviously can’t be everywhere across the goalmouth. What’s your criticism of the keeper there?

          • guest

            The keeper needs to be able to correctly judge if she can get to the ball or not when the ball is crossed. If she can’t get there, she can’t leave her net. She also takes a bad angle to the ball and Flemming gets to the ball at a higher point than the keeper was planning to get to it herself.

            Here is a video that talks a little about goal keeping errors, The examples are from an NWSL game.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR1tBfpnfNs

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks for the video. I’ll have to watch the goal again. You may have something. Seemed like a pretty common sort of goal to me, but I haven’t analyzed it in depth as you may have.

          • Steglitz49

            The defnding was abysmal. The goalie had little hope when the defenders let Flemming do as she pleased in the box.

          • guest

            I’m not claiming she would have definitely saved the header has she stayed home but being slow to react to the cross and taking a bad angle to the ball is a pretty standard example of poor keeping.

          • Steglitz49

            Where was the marking? Granted, with Jessie’s experience at senior international WoSo it is not a fair fight, but she was given far too much space. It was not like she stole half a yard off a defender. She had meters in all directions.

          • guest

            I agree with you on the marking, I just don’t think that absolves the keeper of making a mistake. Had she stayed in her goal and still given up the tally, I would have said, she did all she could and the defense let her down.

          • Steglitz49

            It was poor defending. Flemming was left totally free. In that I agree with “guest”. The goalie did not stand a chance.

        • Breakers fan

          I just saw that they have a video of this above. I agree – poor goalkeeping. Worse offender than the defender. It was a decision she had to make quickly and she misjudged it, you’re right. She should have stayed put. I don’t blame the defender so much — the cross was so precise and good. I remember in a video HOFC posted of Brunn getting beat on a corner like this. She was there, she jumped as high as she could, she just couldn’t quite reach it and the header by the opposing player scored a goal. The defender’s biggest “sin” in my eyes there is not being tall enough.

          If you pause the play as it happens every half second you can track what the defender does. I don’t think it was that bad. It’s possible in retrospect to criticize anything that leads to a goal, of course, from some intellectual, theoretical perspective, but I think sometimes you just have to give the lion’s share of the credit to the offense for making a great play.

          • Steglitz49

            The defense let the goalie down. Abysmal.

            The cross was spot on accurate — the article does not note who put that beauty in but it is the cross that makes the goal. That does not absolve the poor marking. Jessie did not steal half a yard — she was given meters of space.

          • Breakers fan

            We disagree, Steg. And I disagree with the guest above. If she had been RIGHT ON Fleming as you are advising then Fleming could have slipped behind her during the cross. She did close on her as she saw the cross come in. The cross was just too perfect. That’s all I have to say about it.

          • Steglitz49

            It was never a fair fight. Jessie has much more experience against top players that those defenders. For example, in Rio, Jessie played the whole match against France in the QF, Germany in the SF and Brazil in the bronze match.

            It still does not excuse the poor marking.

          • guest3

            Right, Flemming’s been playing with the big girls for a while now. She may have mistook the defender for a pylon.

          • Steglitz49

            Forsooth.

          • guest

            Flemming needs to be marked before the cross is served if a defender wants to have a chance of defending it. The Florida CB who jumped for the ball wasn’t holding the line and was slow to mark Flemming. Once it was served it is too late to make up the separation. Anyway you look at it, I think there is a break down in defending when a forward gets a free header 6 yards out from the keeper. The only question is where the break down occurred.

          • Breakers fan

            You criticize the defender more than I do. I praise the cross more than you do. Could it in an ideal world have maybe been a little different? Sure. The way I see it the defender is marking Fleming. Pause it at the very beginning, then hit play/pause as often as you can as the play develops. We don’t know what happened right before this by the way, why players are where they are. The defender is marking Fleming she’s just not right on top of her. She’s waiting to see where the cross will go. and maybe doesn’t want Fleming to get in behind her. She sees the cross and she at first backs up as was correct, following Fleming who is running back.

            If you keep pausing it every few feet of the ball you see the defender following the flight of the ball quite well. She backs up and jumps. The ball clears her head barely (which is why I said her biggest sin is not being taller or not being able to jump like Spud Webb). She’s a foot or so from Fleming. She’s very close to her. Poor defending would be her not being even close. The cross was SUPERB and Fleming read it and responded to it SUPERBLY. All of that, in my view, outweighs the play of the defender. Every header that is struck by just one player is “a clean header”. Do you call EVERY goal made a header a result of “poor defending”. A player can’t predict what’s going to happen at every instance and she can’t move as fast as the ball. She can position herself well, but I think there are times when the offense can simply make a superior play that beats human limits and doesn’t always point to a great error being made by the defense. Abby’s header vs. Brazil from Pinoe’s cross would be another example. Blame isn’t always required in my view, sometimes it’s praise that is called for above all. You don’t have to agree.

            It’s fine that we see this differently.

          • guest

            First I want to preface my comment by stating that I believe that goals are typically the result of defensive errors and/or individual brilliance. The majority of all goals scored include both individual skill and a defensive error. Rarely is a goal scored where I think there was nothing the defender could have done better or where individual skill played no part in a goal.

            In general most high crosses are fairly easily dealt with when defenses are organized well, man mark well, and when the CBs are not physically overmatched. Even inch perfect crosses can be cleared with relatively little trouble if all attacking players in the box are marked well enough. The exception is when crosses are whipped in low from inside the 18. Those crosses result in goals at a much higher rate than long crosses for reasons like defenders having much less time to react and clear them. Cutbacks inside the 18 are also deadly.

            This play is a pretty standard high cross into a dangerous area that either the Keeper or Defender needs to deal with. The Keeper tries and fails to deal with the cross and that’s already been acknowledged by both of us I believe. Where I think the defending needs to be better is the marking by the CB closest to Flemming. The man marking should be much tighter to Flemming because at it’s core football is a game of manipulating and exploiting spaces while attacking, and taking away those spaces while defending. The CB fails to take that space away from Flemming and it results in a header where Flemming didn’t have to fight anyone in the air or on the ground to get get into position to attack the cross. If the CB is marking Flemming tightly and in between her and the ball, Flemming has to fight for position and the ball in has to be near flawless. If she scores a goal in those conditions I call that individual(two individuals actually) brilliance and a very good goal. When the defender defends the space instead of the man, they occasionally find themselves in no mans land like she did on that play. When you talk about the ball just clearing her head, I view that as the CB not being in the correct position to defend the cross. You also make a great point about the defender not knowing where the ball will end up and while I agree, I believe that is what makes tight man marking all the more important in the penalty area. If she covers Flemming well enough often times it doesn’t matter where the cross is because the CB is in position to get to the ball first. If the CB is defending a zone, perfect ball can find an attacker since there are always gaps in zones.

            Great players are always going to find ways to create space for themselves and impact games. On this specific play I think the Florida defense made Flemming’s job easy in that regard. Like I said in an earlier comment, conceding a free header from six yards out right in front of goal is an undesirable shot to allow. I’m not sure there is any situation where I would accept Flemming being that wide open when the cross was served if I was the coach and I think the header could have been prevented or disrupted with better man marking.

          • Breakers fan

            Well-stated, thanks. You’ve won me over to your side….somewhat, a little more, but not completely. I don’t want to continue this too long but I would want to know 2 things. I’d want to see the 30 seconds of play before this video begins. I deleted the game from my dvr otherwise I’d look there but maybe I can find the video on espn. I’d want to see the build up to see where Fleming was in relation to this defender before this point. My recall of Fleming in this game and I remember being surprised was how deep she was playing…made me think she was at DM at times, but maybe she moved up to CAM, but she wasn’t at forward so maybe some other Florida player should have been marking her. I also think there are plenty of crosses where players are marked well but the crosses are hit so well that even with the tight marking and a jumping defender the cross goes to the head of the desired offensive player. There’s no law of nature or physics that says “if marked tightly the defender will *always* get her head on the ball before the offensive player.” They’re at 2 different physical points and the cross is going to end up at one of those points more so than the other one, regardless of marking. Sometimes it ends up where the offensive player is. That’s my view anyway.
            If I can see the 30 seconds before this play I’ll report back on it.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Verily and forsooth.

          • Reality

            Here are some other archaic words you might consider using to provide variety…:)

            http://phrontistery.info/archaic.html

          • Steglitz49

            It is more efficient to brush up your Shakespeare and remembering your AV.

          • guest

            I agree with Steglitz on the marking. There were two Florida players in the area and neither got within a yard and a half of Flemming to make her life difficult on the play. She ended up with a free header from 6 yards out which is a dangerous chance even if the keeper plays it correctly.

      • guest

        My guess is we lose a lot of good college players to other careers depending on what their options are. The NWSL doesn’t really seem all that great of an experience tbh. But yeah still better than most games the National Team plays… so one sided they aren’t even entertaining

        • Steglitz49

          Like the QF in Brasilia?

        • #1Fan

          agreed on this as well. For example look at the players who have chosen NOT to red shirt for the U20 WC. This is a rough approximation of the number of good payers who would probably pass on a soccer career for other options. BTW, i happen to feel it is really excessive to have a 3week camp to prepare. It si getting to the point with YNTs, that we need to question the balance. prep takes so much time and we are talking about a sport/league that id not really financially viable for the majority of its players. We need to regain perspective here.

  • WOSO Fan

    Flemming is really, really good. Hope she has a great college career!!

  • Forgedias

    Why are people raining on Jessie Fleming’s parade? She had a great debut in football. Lets savor this amazing talent. Her ball skills, technical talent is what we want all girls to aspire to. Its great to see it in action.

    This article is about Fleming’s debut, why are people trying to muddle it with Savannah Jordan and what she did? Sure she had a great game as well, but this isn’t about that game or about the Florida Gators. Its about a freshman that made a spectacular debut that frankly I have never seen before. This is great for College.

    • Steglitz49

      Because Jessie is Canadian? Imagine if she had been Swedish!

    • WOSO Fan

      They’re raining on her parade because she’s Canadian. Your post is one of the very few that is complimentary and on-topic. Kudos to you. Not too many posters on this site are willing to give props to the CWNT or Canadian players.

      • Guest

        I think people want to tone down the hype just like they do with Pugh. Both are talented 18 year olds. I thought Flemming was good in this game, but so were many others. Personally, I’m not going to overreact over her first game because she scored two goals. One was a free header that would easily be dealt with by most, if not all NWSL back lines, and the other was a converted penalty. I thought Flemming like Pugh had some exciting moments in international football this year but like some others have stated both benefit from not being focal points of their NTs yet.

        • Steglitz49

          You type — “her first game” — yet this young lady started and played all 6 of Canada’s games in Rio, including the matches against France, Germany and Brazil. I guess she is an NCAA virgin but pretty experienced in the theatre of senior WoSo going back to WC-15.

      • Steglitz49

        I see quite a few positive ones, not just mine from 13 hours before yours.

        • WOSO Fan

          I acknowlwedge your positivity… and verbosity 🙂
          But quite a few positive ones? Not so sure about that.

      • #1Fan

        just dont see the need for a parade. She is a god payer with great potential. I could list you 20 of those. maybe more. being an Olymp[ina is a huge honor.

        I have a question, would Fleming make the US team ?

  • Gary Diver

    Please Control the Hype

    The hype and need for future soccer superstars is getting embarrassing. I agree with #1Fan who has convinced me that this preoccupation with “A Star is Born” is not good for either the young players or for WoSo in general. This reflects OUR need to have superstars we can anoint, fixate upon and worship. (It is the “Hollywood System” of soccer which unfortunately is the basis of USWNT.)

    Let’s not hyperventilate – let’s wait and see what is accomplished by these players at the end of the college season and be not fixated on a few plays at its beginning.

    So Fleming had two goals in her first NCAA: first due to major defensive miscues and the second a PK. Why get excited about a PK?


    Next year, Mallory Pugh, Ashley Sanchez, and 3-4 other top American prospects are going to join Fleming at UCLA. Too bad there can only be one ball on the field at a time.

    I sense unconsciously that a lot of people are dreaming of a great future Pugh-Fleming rivalry to replace the great past Wambach-Sinclair rivalry. The masses do need to be entertained.

    Is Fleming the Second Coming? Is she the next “Christine Sinclair”? Will she be greater than Marta?

    “Jessie Fleming: The Next Christine Sinclair?” (CBC Sports; 4 March 2015) Including video of Fleming’s first senior goal against Scotland.

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/jessie-fleming-the-next-christine-sinclair-1.2982275

    As I posted yesterday: “People seem to forget that Jessie Fleming debuted on her national team when she was only 15 years old and now already has about 30 caps, which means she has been playing against the best in the world for 2 2/3 years. Mallory Pugh has had similar experience for only a little more than 1/2 year.”

    John Herdman put Fleming on the field at WC15 as a 16-year old. She looked like a little ant running around in all directions. In the past 15 months she has matured, gained more composure, and is a much better player.

    A number of people here didn’t feel comfortable with Jill Ellis putting a 17-year old Mallory Pugh on the senior team. It is interesting that nobody seemed to have a problem with Herdman putting a 15-year old Fleming on his senior team.

    Do we really need superstars to worship? Should that be the basis of USWNT or WoSo? Let’s try to take one day at a time and separate hype from reality. I do realize that we are impatient and it is hard to wait for the future to come.

    P.S. Don’t forget that Fleming is an example of the Canadian soccer program being subsidized by Americans through our Title IX scholarships. Almost every player on the Canadian senior team has benefited from these scholarships. (Leah Galton and Rachel Daly on England’s team have also benefited.) People tend to not be aware that the Canadian team consists of players who mostly have been developed in the American NCAA system.

    • Steglitz49

      If you go through the Swedish WNT that beat the US you could argue that Sweden’s victory was subsidized by France.

      After all, Lotta Schelin, Linda Sembrant, Sofia Jakobsson, Kosse Asllani, Caroline Seeger and Lisa Dahlkvist all have played a big chunk of their careers for French clubs.

      Nilla Fischer and Olivia Schough in Germany. Come to think of it, I think both Jakobsson and Schough hung out in Russia too, and Jakobsson, Lindahl and Asllani in England.

      It was the blue change strip that did the damage. To make it easier for Germany in the final, Sweden were put back into yellow and for good measure without their blue shorts.

    • #1Fan

      the one BIG advantage these kids have is they are getting more touches on the ball via camps and games than almost all their peers. I am very keen to point out that I rate all three players, BUT we need to see it play out. when Pugh and Fleming play at the senior level, they are not the no1 options. They can still fall back on the “well she is only ???” excuse IF they play poorly. They are in the benefit of the doubt stage. Domination of College soccer is not easy. Ask Brain – no College Cup or many others who have played there. The mantle of expectation weighs heavy and its single elimination to a title. All three of these players may be fantastic players in College and never win the big one. Its not easy at all.

      • Steglitz49

        Jessie Fleming has played 26 times for Canada and Mallory Pugh 17 times for the US. Jessie helped defeat Germany while Pugh lost to Sweden.

        • Gary Diver

          We are argue over whether Ellis is using Pugh wisely and to her best advantage.

          • Steglitz49

            Canada collected bronze and beat both Germany and Australia (with 10 players) in their group games. The US tied with Colombia. Sweden was the snowleopard who changed her spots and became a tigress.

          • Gary Diver

            “Sweden was the snowleopard who changed her spots and became a tigress.”

            Made me laugh:)

      • Gary Diver

        Getting back to what I said earlier, I think part of the problem is that WE are too impatient and WE have bought into the superstar USWNT system. There is no major WoSo events for us for over two years and we can fixate and hope that Fleming, Pugh, and Sanchez will show up at WC19 and light up OUR lives with Mia Hamm-type performances.

        • Steglitz49

          “the USWNT superstar system” — but how many suoerstars do they really have?
          — Imho there is one MegaStar, Alex Morgan, while Carli had name recognition from being POTY which was based on her goals in the WC-15 finals, and Hope.

          So, are the new kids on the block Stina Blackstenius, Lisa Dahlkvist and Hedvig Lindahl?

          • Gary Diver

            Oops, I should have said “star system”. Thanks and you are right that they don’t have too many superstars at this point.

      • Breakers fan

        Excellent post with some very good points – about the importance of simply “getting touches” in front of influential eyes and how they each have a built-in safety net at this point in time – their youth.

        I don’t think *any* current USWNT player *dominated* college soccer, did they? Who would be the closest ? Probably Dunn or Press, if I had to name any. I mention Dunn first because she led her team to a championship. Pugh won’t do it and I don’t mean that as a slight at all. I hope she proves me wrong. But what does “domination” even look like? The reason why I think she won’t is that there are just too many other good, very good athletes/soccer players who have put in about the same amount of hours of work as she has to date. She isn’t another species or genus of being, she’s a human and so she has human limits just like her college competition. If she goes and plays for 3, 4 years we’ll find out.

    • Steglitz49

      You ask if Fleming “will be the new Marta”? — Unlikely, because Marta is, was and has been something else. There is WoSo BM and AM.

  • Rdalford

    re “Fleming started all six matches for Canada at the Olympics en route to the bronze medal. She’ll miss time later in the NCAA season for the U-20 World Cup in Papa New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3. The NCAA College Cup final is scheduled for Dec. 4.”

    Canada announced U-20 WWC roster – without including Fleming
    appears that Canada roster skews younger (two 16 yr old and six 17 yr old players)

    Canada Soccer U-20 Women roster:
    GK – Rylee Foster, 18, West Virginia University, from Cambridge, ON
    GK – Patricia Koutoulas, 19, Miami University, from Toronto, ON
    GK – Lysianne Proulx, 17, AS Varennes & Québec Soccer REX, from Boucherville, QC
    D – Victoria Pickett, 20, University of Wisconsin–Madison, from Barrie, ON
    D – Bianca St-Georges, 18, West Virginia University, from St-Charles-Borommée, QC
    D – Mika Richards, 19, York University, from Brampton, ON
    D – Sura Yekka , 19, University of Michigan, from Mississauga, ON
    D – Marike St-Pierre Mousset, 19, Ohio State University, from Montréal, QC
    D – Emma Regan, 16, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite BC Soccer Rex, from Burnaby, BC
    D – Hannah Taylor, 17, Eastside FC, from Edmonds, WA
    M – Ashley Moreira, 20, University of Pittsburgh, from Maple, ON
    M – Sarah Taylor, 20, Boise State University, from South Shore, NS
    M – Sarah Feola, 18, University of Louisville, from Montréal, QC
    M – Sarah Stratigakis, 17, Unionville-Milliken SC, from Woodbridge, ON
    M – Anyssa Ibrahim, 17, AS Varennes & Québec Soccer REX, from Repentigny, QC
    M – Vital Kats, 16, Scarborough GS United, from Toronto, ON
    F – Alex Lamontagne, 20, Syracuse University, from Whitby, ON
    F – Marie Levasseur, 19, University of Memphis, from Stoneham, QC
    F – Gabrielle Carle, 18, Dynamo Québec & Québec Soccer REX, from Lévis, QC
    F – Deanne Rose, 17, Scarborough GS United, from Alliston, ON
    F – Lauren Raimondo, 17, Unionville-Milliken SC, from Niagara Falls, ON