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Yanks instrumental in European clubs’ successes

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 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.

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