Yanks instrumental in European clubs’ successes

Kieran Theivam March 25, 2017 19
Carli Lloyd's header lifted Man City over Fortuna Hjorring in their UWCL quarterfinal match. (photo: Manchester City)

Carli Lloyd’s header lifted Man City over Fortuna Hjorring in the first leg of the UWCL quarterfinals. (photo: Manchester City)

It was a clean sweep of wins for members of the U.S Women’s National Team in Europe this week, with Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn all enjoying victories in three different competitions.

Last weekend Lloyd and Dunn helped their respective clubs progress to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, with Dunn gaining a goal and an assist in a 7-0 win over FA Women’s Super League 2 side Doncaster Rovers Belles with her club Chelsea Ladies.

Lloyd played the full 90 minutes on her debut for Manchester City Women, playing in an advanced midfield role behind three forwards. She played her part in a 1-0 win over Reading Women in the FA Cup, with the goal coming courtesy of England defender Lucy Bronze.

Chelsea Ladies will face Sunderland Ladies on Sunday in the quarterfinals, while Lloyd and City will travel to Bristol City Women.

Former USWNT legend Heather O’Reilly will join Lloyd and Dunn in the quarterfinals of the competition after her Arsenal Ladies side won 10-0 over north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur Ladies. O’Reilly bagged two assists in the game, which was quite a mismatch with Tottenham an amateur side playing in the third tier of women’s soccer in England. Arsenal face a much sterner test in the quarterfinals, where they will travel to fellow FA WSL 1 side Birmingham City Ladies.

“We wanted to put a performance on for our fans,” said O’Reilly after the game.

Lloyd went onto score her first goal for Manchester City in the week, and it was an important one, as her 36th minute header away at Danish side Fortuna Hjorring proved to be the winner in the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg. The second leg takes place next Thursday at City’s Academy Stadium, with the winner facing either Wolfsburg or Alex Morgan’s Lyon in the semifinal.

Morgan, who has recently found her scoring touch with her new club, played the full 90 minutes away at two-time Champions League winners Wolfsburg, playing a central role in the first-half before being moved out wide left to accommodate Ada Hegerberg, who came on at halftime to play through the middle.

The U.S. forward came close to scoring after hitting the post in the opening 45 minutes, but it was a free-kick by French international Camille Abily and a strike from distance by German captain Dzsenifer Marozsán that gave the current holders a crucial 2-0 first leg win in Germany.

Morgan, who scored twice last week in a 5-0 win over ASPTT Albi in the French Feminine Division 1, told Women’s Soccer Zone after the game that she was “less attack oriented and attack minded, and focused on playing it safe,” but her all-round play was crucial in helping her side overcome a very strong Wolfsburg team.

It wasn’t such great news for fellow American Ella Masar McLeod, whose Swedish side FC Rosengard crashed to a 1-0 home defeat to FC Barcelona in the Champions League with an uphill struggle now awaiting them in Spain next week in the second leg.

McLeod’s side did reach the semifinals of the Swedish Cup last weekend, however, after a 1-0 win away at Pitea. They have avoided league champions Linkoping in the last four, having been drawn at home to Kvarnsvedens IK – who knocked out Kristianstads DFF, the team former Orlando Pride midfielder Becky Edwards currently represents.

  • Steglitz49

    Is this the beginning of a beautiful relationship?

  • Ethan

    Morgan did play much more like a wingback than a winger in the second half, and I think she produced one of her best ever performances over a half. With her playing very defensively and Marozsan (who in particular seems to have developed a good playing rapport with Morgan) sending a lot of time higher than her on the left, Majri didn’t get forward much in the second half apart from the first few minutes.

  • wosofan

    Very good game from Morgan. Haven’t seen her so engaged in offense AND defense before. French air suits her?

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  • Dennis Nguyen

    What? Where’s the usual negativity? Something is wrong with this forum. I’m waiting for the Carli sucks, Morgan sucks, Ellis sucks, USWNT players spoiled and washed up comments. Not the same without the implied “I can do a much better job than Ellis” posts.

    • Steglitz49

      Simple. Alex had a great game both in attack and defense while Carli scored the one and winning goal, and JE was not involved nor was some people’s favorite player.

    • Tom F

      maybe if there were a full game replay of the Lyon/Wolfsburg match, the forum threat would be busier, but looks like the UEFA internet police is out in full force to make sure there aren’t any

    • ARED

      You have a point, although it’s fair to remember that a national team -especially one like the USWNT -will have more possible options and so when things do not go well you can look for other answers. At a club, you are more stable and must use what you have (or can get in the window). If Lloyd and maybe one alternative is all you have, you can stay with her more easily. If you have 10 other elite players waiting for a chance in attacking roles, well, it’s harder to accept when the team and the payer are not performing well.

      I would not criticize Ellis much for one or two matches, or one or two decisions. But over these years there are many decisions in many moments of many matches and tournaments, and it’s not as if Ellis is struggling for options like perhaps some of her opponent managers who don’t have 30 top-level players to choose from.

      • DNG

        Ellis, Snow, French, and Heinrichs deserve all the criticism they get. I have seen no evidence that any are competent tacticians. I would say the Heinrichs has been a poor TD as well. She’s the one overseeing all of this mess.

        • ARED

          Yep. The management of US Soccer has always brought questions for me, but the past 10 years has been mostly a disaster I would say -and any successes on the field have come despite the problems on the sidelines and in the boardrooms.

          All decisions involving coaches can be questioned if not proven to be clearly wrong, at least in timing if nothing else. So I’d add that Gulati and US Soccer are actually overseeing the mess above the USWNT mess. ; )

          • DNG

            Not much anyone can do to get rid of Gulati right now though and even if he was replaced I have no faith that he would be replaced with someone who understands how to facilitate soccer development in this country.

          • ARED

            True. A bit like FIFA, you aren’t ever sure if you should be happy about a change since the odds of the replacement being worse are about 50/50. Maybe let Bruce Arena win the WC in Russia, then come home to run the federation…

  • dw

    Propaganda score on 10 point scale: 11.

    • Steglitz49

      Provided that the FA and the other wealthy leagues and clubs in Europe play their cards right and UEFA don’t query their pitch, all important senior club WoSo will belong to Europe — like it does for BroSo.

      • dw

        Not necessarily true. A lot depends on the USWNT CBA. Most WNT players would earn more playing in NWSL, and/or they could be contractually bound to play in NWSL, at least at certain times or a certain proportion of the time. Lastly, there’s talk of caps and international limits over in Europe which would further curtail this sort of thing. If the CBA goes heavily tilted against WNT players, then yes, all USWNT veterans will be playing for the top 10 European club sides.

        • Steglitz49

          Many EU WoSo leagues, though not all, already have a cap on the number of non-EU members in a team (usually 3 or 2).

          I would not call Alex, Crystal and Carli “Veterans” in the commonly accepted use of the word; HAO maybe. Anyway, they are only doing what Jess Fishlock did a couple of years ago when she played for Frankfurt.

          • dw

            You must not know the use of the word veteran then, clearly…

          • Steglitz49

            “Veteran” in US WoSo is a term of abuse. It identifies players well past their prime who get a free ride to a World Cup, thereby earning a lot of money while keeping out a young deserving player.

            In contrast, the Nadeshiko of 2010-15 are known as the “Golden Generation”.