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Preseason roundup: Leroux, A-Rod score on returns

In other weekend action, the Spirit and Pride both win in three-back setups and Kealia Ohai scores for the Dash

Sydney Leroux wasted little time getting on the scoresheet in her preseason bow. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Sydney Leroux wasted little time getting on the scoresheet in her preseason bow. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez, both of whom missed all of 2016 for maternity leave, scored a goal apiece in FC Kansas City’s 7-0 preseason rout of the University of Missouri on Sunday. Leroux started and scored a 21st minute goal on an assist from Shea Groom. Rodriguez played the second half and scored on an assist from Jenn Hellstrom in the 78th minute before returning the favor to Hellstrom in the 89th.

The goals were the first in competition for Leroux since May 15, 2015 and for Rodriguez since October 1, 2015 when her goal lifted the Blues to the NWSL Championship. Rodriguez has been in the last two camps with the national team but was not rostered for the SheBelieves Cup. Leroux has yet to get back in with the national team but should be called in soon, possibly as early as the camp ahead of next month’s friendlies against Russia.

Leroux started on the right side of a three-front that was centered by Groom with Katie Bowen on the left. FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski used Desiree Scott as a lone holding midfielder with Lo’eau and Alexa Newfield as attacking midfielders. Among second half substitutes were Rodriguez and Hellstrom playing up top with Erika Tymrak.

Groom opened the scoring and Brittany Taylor added a pair before halftime. Bowen also scored for FC Kansas City.

Spirit, in 3-5-2, defeat Penn State

The new-look Spirit got their first taste of game action on Saturday against Penn State and knocked off the Nittany Lions, 3-0. Offseason acquisition Kristie Mewis scored twice and Katie Stengel added a penalty in the match played out over three 30-minute periods.

Katie Stengel working for possession against Penn State. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Katie Stengel working for possession against Penn State. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

The Spirit spent the entire afternoon in a three-back with Whitney Church anchoring and a few different pairs of teammate on her flanks. Shelina Zadorsky and Estelle Johnson were outside Church for the first hour in what could be a glimpse into what head coach Jim Gabarra is thinking for the season.

Caitlin Buckley put together this useful review of the action for blackandredunited.com.

Pride rout Stetson in closed door match

The Orlando Pride put 9 goals on Stetson on Saturday, using a three-back formation to tear up their overwhelmed opponents. New acquisition Ali Krieger, currently battling for playing time in Jill Ellis’s new three-back system with the national team, made her first appearance in a Pride jersey and played the opening 45 minutes.

The Pride scored three times in the first half through Carol Rodrigue, Chioma Ubogagu, and Camila from the spot. Kristen Edmonds also hit a penalty which opened 2nd half scoring before Sarah Hagen, Tabitha Tindell, Toni Pressley, and Jasmyne Spencer got in on the fun. Spencer doubled up for a two-goal day. Christina Burkenroad notched three assists.

“You’ve got to be very careful to not get carried away with preseason games, but I was pleased with the tempo we played at,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said. “I was pleased with the way we were able to mix up the teams and have good continuity between the players. And I was just generally pleased with how we went about doing our jobs on the field today.”

Ohai scores in Dash win

Kealia Ohai started preseason the way she ended last season—scoring goals. Ohai put the Dash ahead near halftime and trialist Amber Munerlyn scored in the second in a 2-0 win over Baylor. Rookie Nichelle Prince provided the final pass to Munerlyn.

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