Thursday Roundup: Man City advance to UWCL semifinals

The Equalizer Staff March 30, 2017 67

Also in today’s roundup, Thorns fall to U-23’s, Red Stars defeat Dash, Orlando remains undefeated in preseason, Renard signs contract extension with Lyon, and the Dash add Morales to coaching staff.

Manchester City Women defeated Fortuna Hjørring, 1-0, to advance to the UWCL semifinals. (photo courtesy Man City)

Manchester City Women defeated Fortuna Hjørring, 1-0, to advance to the UWCL semifinals. (photo courtesy Man City)

Manchester City produced a second straight 1-0 victory over Fortuna Hjørring to advance to the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinals where they will face holders Olympique Lyonnais. Lucy Bronze scored close to halftime to double the aggregate, and Karen Bardsley turned aside all three shots she faced for another clean sheet.

The win for Manchester City sets up a mouthwatering semifinal showdown for American fans. Carli Lloyd, who made her fourth straight start on Thursday, will be up against Lyon’s Alex Morgan. The first of those two legs will be in England and the tie will take place over the final two weeks in April. Barcelona faces Paris Saint-Germain in the other semi.

The winners meet for the trophy on June 1 in Cardiff. Lyon are attempting a clean sweep of their available trophies for the second year running. They are also in the semis of the French Cup and sit arop the domestic table.

Last-second goal lifts U-23’s past Thorns

The Portland Thorns dropped their preseason match against the U.S. U-23 women’s national team last night thanks to Stanford commit Sophie Smith.

The match started out much like most everyone expected, with the Thorns gaining the advantage in the opening 10 minutes. In just the 8th minute, Christine Sinclair ran into traffic and sent the ball out to Ashley Herndon, who spotted Mallory Weber making a run for the far post. Herndon’s service found Weber just above the six, and Weber headed the ball past U-23 goalkeeper Casey Murphy for the goal.

The U-23s had several very dangerous chances around the 18th minute. The first came after Savannah McCaskill sent a backheel pass to Brianna Pinto, who went uncapped after being named to the USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster. Pinto put a hard shot on target from the top of the box, only to have it blocked by center back Emily Sonnett. The deflected shot went back out into play, but McCaskill put the rebound back on target before it was deflected out for a U-23 corner kick. Franch prevented Pinto from scoring the olimpico by punching the ball free, only to have to make a second block immediately after to preserve the Thorns’ lead. 

{MORE: Tobin Heath ruled out of USWNT camp | NWSL, Lifetime broadcast schedule announced}

Sinclair started knocking in the last 10 minutes of the half, taking advantage of the lack of pressure being put on by the U-23 defense. Her first shot sailed just wide of the far post, her second deflected off a defender and her third shot was stopped by Murphy. Despite Sinclair’s efforts, Portland was only leading by one at the half.

The scoreline remained unchanged until the 63rd minute when the U-23s got a break. Sophia Smith was fouled in the box by Celeste Boureille, and the ref pointed to the penalty spot. Smith lined up to take the shot, but Franch dove right to make the save. However, Michelle Xiao, who had just entered the game, scored on the follow-up to level the score.

In the final seconds of regulation, defender Meghan Cox passed the ball back to Franch to reset the play. However, Smith read Franch’s positioning and intercepted her pass intended for Cox, went 1v1 with the keeper, and sent a rocket right on target. Franch was able to get a touch on the ball, but the deflected shot still went into the back of the net to give the U-23s the win.

The Thorns Spring Invitational tournament concludes on Saturday, April 1. The U-23s close out the tournament against the Chicago Red Stars at 8 p.m. EST, followed by the Thorns taking on the Houston Dash at 10:30 EST. The Thorns match will once again be livestreamed on the team’s website and YouTube pages.

Portland Lineup: Adrianna Franch; Celeste Boureille, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges (Meghan Cox 76’), Meghan Klingenberg (Kendall Johnson 60’); Amandine Henry, Allie Long, Ashley Herndon (Mana Shim, 60); Kelli Hubly, Christine Sinclair (C)(Nadia Nadim 72’), Mallory Weber (Caroline Flynn 60’)

U.S. U-23 Lineup: Casey Murphy; Alana Cook, Tegan McGrady, Kaleigh Riehl, Ellie Jean; Jaelin Howell (Tierna Davidson 62’), Brianna Pinto (Sandra Yu 84’), Mallory Eubanks (Ashley Sanchez 66’); Sophia Smith, Savannah McCaskill (C)(Jordan DiBiasi 73’), Tziarra King (Michelle Xiao 62’)

Chicago Red Stars defeat Houston Dash, 2-1

Christen Press scored a brace in Chicago's 2-1 preseason win over the Dash. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Christen Press scored a brace in Chicago’s 2-1 preseason win over the Dash. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

After a 1-0 loss to hosts Portland on Sunday, the Chicago Red Stars rebounded to defeat the Houston Dash, 2-1 on Wednesday night in the team’s second preseason match.

The Red Stars would not take the lead until the last minutes of the first half off a penalty kick awarded after Jen Hoy, who was making a run towards goal, was taken down in the box. Christen Press converted the penalty for the opening goal of the match.

Houston then got on the board after converting a penalty of their own after Taylor Comeau, who up until that point had successfully defended Kealia Ohai to prevent last year’s Golden Boot runner-up from getting a solid look on goal, fouled Melissa Henderson inside the 18. Henderson took the penalty herself and put it past Alyssa Naeher to put the Dash on the board in the 82nd minute.

{RELATED: Lee: How the Red Stars won the NWSL off-season}

The score would not remain even for long though, as just two minutes later Summer Green, who was traded to the Red Stars after a knee injury suffered during the 2015 NCAA tournament caused her to miss her rookie season in Seattle, connected with Press for the game winner. Press’s two goals were the first of her preseason since she missed Sunday night’s match to attend teammate Julie Ertz’s wedding.

The Red Stars next take on the U.S. U-23 WNT, followed by the Dash facing off against preseason tournament host Portland. Both matches will be played on Saturday, April 1.

Chicago Red Stars Lineup: Alyssa Naeher; Casey Short, Katie Naughton, Morgan Proffitt (Mary Luba 46’); Taylor Comeau, Danielle Colaprico, Brittany Ratcliffe (Summer Green 65’), Vanessa DiBernardo (Lauren Kaskie 87’); Sofia Huerta (Simone Kolander 82’), Christen Press (C), Jen Hoy (Alyssa Mautz 46’)

Houston Dash Lineup: Jane Campbell; Poliana, Bruna Benites, Janine Van Wyk (Cari Roccaro 74’), Claire Falknor, Amber Brooks (Cami Privett 77’); Andressa (Caity Heap 62’), Denise O’Sullivan (Melissa Henderson 69’); Kealia Ohai (C) (Megan Crosson 69’), Janine Beckie (Rachel Daly 69’), Nichelle Prince

Orlando Pride continues undefeated preseason streak

The Orlando Pride improved to 3-0-0 in their preseason, defeating the University of Florida, 3-0, in a closed-door match on Wednesday afternoon. The match was the second preseason meeting for the two teams and the second win for the Pride, who beat the collegiate team 5-1 last year.

“I was pleased with the showing from the squad today, especially since it was our first look at real Florida heat,” Tom Sermanni, head coach of the Pride, said after the match. “It was a good test for our new players and a reminder for our returners that this is what we need to be used to this season.”

Christina Burkenroad opened up scoring for the Pride just five minutes into the contest. Chioma Ubogagu put an initial shot on goal, only to see it tipped off the crossbar by Florida’s goalkeeper. The ball landed at Burkenroad’s feet, and she sent it into the back of the net to give the Pride an early lead.

Ubogagu found her way onto the scoresheet just seven minutes later, moving the ball through the Gators’ final third beating the goalkeeper with a low shot. The last goal of the day came in the 41st minute when Sarah Hagen drew a foul to earn the Pride a penalty kick. Kristen Edmonds took the penalty and easily converted.

The Pride next hosts Florida State University on Saturday, April 1, but the match is closed to the public.

Orlando First-Half Lineup: AshlynHarris; Jamia Fields, Ali Krieger, Alanna Kennedy, Camila; Monica, Dani Weatherholt, Kristen Edmonds; Chioma Ubogagu, Christina Burkenroad (Sarah Hagen 23’), JasmyneSpencer (Danica Evans 31’)

Orlando Second-Half Lineup: Aubrey Bledsoe; Jordan O’Brien, Laura Alleway, Toni Pressley, Monica (Carol Rodrigues 61’); Maddy Evans, Dani Weatherholt (Christina Burkenroad 64’), Nickolette Driesse; Danica Evans, Sarah Hagen, Jasmyne Spencer

Rendard inks long-term extension with Lyon

Renard gestures to her defense during the first half during a Germany throw-in. (MEG LINEHAN/Equalizer Soccer)

Wendie Renard signed a 5-year contract extension with Lyon. (MEG LINEHAN/Equalizer Soccer)

Lyon have locked up defensive centerpiece Wendie Renard through the bulk of her prime years by agreeing to terms on a contract that will keep her with the club through 2022. Earlier this year Renard was briefly linked to the Orlando Pride but the sides were never in talks beyond the preliminary stage.

Known for her oft-changing and sometimes outrageous hair, Renard is one of the top defenders in the world and uses her size expertly to be a factor on set pieces at both ends of the pitch. At the SheBelieves Cup earlier this month Renard helped set France on course to the title by heading in a corner kick to beat England with the final touch of the opening match for both.

Renard serves as captain for both Lyon and France. She is in her 11th season with the Lyon. The club has won the domestic league in her first 10 and are on course for an 11th straight title. The club have also won the last five French Cups and six overall with Renard plus three UEFA Women’s Champions League titles. Lyon won the treble last Spring and is alive to do so again this uear.

The extension will keep Renard at Lyon until just before her 32nd birthday.

Dash add Omar Morales to coaching staff

The Houston Dash announced today that they had hired Omar Morales as an assistant coach. Morales will join the Dash in early April following the team’s return from Portland, where they have been competing in the Thorns’ preseason tournament.

Besides working alongside head coach Randy Waldrum full time throughout the NWSL season, Morales will also serve as liaison to the Dash academy team.

Morales comes to Houston after serving as the head coach at Eastern New Mexico University from 2014-2016. In his first season at the helm of ENMU, Morales led the team to the second-most wins in program history (16) and a third-place finish in the Lone Star Conference. Last season the Greyhounds secured a new record for most goals in a game in their 11-0 shutout of the University of the Southwest.

  • Constant Weeder

    So at the Thorns Spring Invitational after day 2 each team has a win and a loss, for a four-way tie on 3 points (if anyone were keeping score).

    • Som Termanni

      Houston is out of the tie as the only team with a negative goal differential, and U23 has an edge in goals scored.

      • Constant Weeder

        And I thought I was the only one paying attention!

      • Bruce

        It that mathematically possible?

        I mean, that would imply that the total of goals scored and the total of goals received across all teams would not be equal.

    • All 4 teams have zero goal differential. Houston and U23s 3 scored and conceded, Thorns and Chicago 2 of each.

  • Som Termanni

    USL’s St. Louis FC wants an NWSL team: http://saintlouisfc.com/mls/National_Women's_Soccer_League_Release

    > “If our group were to operate an NWSL expansion team, we feel strongly that the team must play downtown in the new stadium along with a companion Major League Soccer team that we hope to be awarded later this year,” said Jim Kavanaugh, SC STL vice chair. “Of course, it will require passage of Props 1 and 2 on Tuesday for the stadium, an MLS team in 2020 and possibly an NWSL team to all become reality. Without a stadium, none of it will happen. But, it is fair to say that if we are successful on Tuesday, we will consider next steps as to the potential of bringing NWSL soccer to St. Louis.”

    > There are more than 9,400 registered female soccer players between the ages of 3 and 19 in the Eastern District of the Missouri Youth Soccer Association, plus thousands more who participate in CYC and various municipal programs.

    > Becky Sauerbrunn, the co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team and graduate of Ladue High School, plays for FC Kansas City of the NWSL. Recently retired Lori Chalupny, a graduate of Nerinx Hall High School and former USWNT star, played in the league for the Chicago Red Stars.

    > “NWSL is proving to be both sustainable and promising,” said Dan Flynn, secretary general and CEO of the United States Soccer Federation. “We have a number of success stories such as the Portland Thorns, who draw around 16,000 fans per game, and a new television deal and equity partner with A+E Networks. Recalling that our U.S. Women’s National Team drew 35,000 fans to downtown St. Louis two years ago, I think an NWSL team in St. Louis would have potential for success in the new stadium.”

    • Bruce

      I wonder of expansion can happen when the league doesn’t have a commissioner. This might be a lost year.

      • mockmook

        This is a long term thing in StL — they aren’t looking at next year.

        But, they can certainly announce other expansion(s) toward the end of the 2017 season.

    • Steglitz49

      They need another team to go with St Louis to keep it an even schedule.

  • Bruce

    Chicago lined up in a three-back last night after starting the preseason in its traditional 442 with a diamond midfield.

    Halloran reported that Dames mentioned after the game that he was impressed with Comeau’s growth as a back, and that he thought that her skill set could allow her to compete with anyone in the league when placed at OB. Maybe we’ll see Gilliland or Short move up to the midfield this season.

    Lots of options with this roster.

    https://twitter.com/JohnDHalloran/status/847236930433540097

    • Reality

      1.Perhaps Dames will be more flexible in his formations this season…

      https://mobile.twitter.com/dames_rory/status/847472379362107392

      2. I wish that they were streaming all the games in this invitational…not sure who was responsible for deciding to cover only the Portland games.

      3. I do like Summer Green so far. She moves the ball forward and she apparently provided a nice assist for Press’s goal.

      http://chicagoredstars.com/category/news/

      4. It looks like Press will be the designated PK taker for the team.

      5. Looking forward to the U23 game to see how Dames will handle formation and tactics.

      6. Not sold on Comeau, but your thought about Gilliland and Short moving upfield is interesting. The midfield still needs to be resolved as regards playing wide.

      • guest

        Press as the PK taker – should nicely inflate her goal total for the golden boot.

        • yikes

          UH OH you in danger from the Pressgang Guest!

        • guest

          well…we certainly know alex morgan becoming the orlando PK taker won’t be any competition for the nwsl golden boot award.

          • guest

            that would just serve to inflate the nwsl goalie save stats.

        • Reality

          Press is off to a good start with the brace in this game. Getting some PK’s during the course of the season will certainly help. Kim Little did well in 2014 for Seattle with her PK’s when she won both the Golden Boot and the NWSL MVP.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            But Chicago for the last two seasons are lousy at generating PKs and weren’t that the year before.

          • Reality

            This is true. More work is needed in teaching the players how to do La Liga quality flops.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Outside of Huerta, no one is really that threatening in the box. Gilliland has potential and Hoy has the some near moments but that’s about it. I recall only to 2 PKs last year, and they were a by-product opposition stupidity and not CRS aggression.

          • Reality

            Press generally tries to go around the opponent rather than through them and is generally successful in her style. However, Green may provide a more physical approach which could result in higher PK opportunities.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            But Press’s Run-around-Sue routine is usually a by-product of a counter. Press isn’t the issue- it’s DiBernardo (and to certain extent Gilliland and Colaprico).

          • Reality

            Huh? Besides getting behind the defense on a counter, Press’s expertise is in exploiting the seams where she creates opportunities for goals. It is up to DiBernardo and Colaprico to get the ball to her at that moment. This is a valuable tactic that every team should employ assuming they have the players to do it. It is also nice to have a brute to crash the box when necessary. Green looks like she could add that dimension to the CRS attack.

          • guest

            can you even read or are you just a press-propaganda bot? that’s what “a dog” was saying.

          • Steglitz49

            He is a paid-up founding member of the Pressgang. Their wizard-in-chief, NYRick, has the sense to keep quiet.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Press usually dipsy-doodles for space to generate a shot at distance. There have been very few instances her exploiting seams to pass to crashing player because the team isn’t that well coordinated. Also, it is not like Huerta and Hoy don’t do a good job crashing in, but the deliveries are just (Ferris Bueller vomit SFX).

            Chicago is really the only team in the NWSL last year in which the thought “Who are you passing it to?” was a major issue.

          • Reality

            Your caricatures of Press do not serve your argument. We were discussing the lack of PK’s for CRS in the box. It is the job of the midfielders to get the ball to the forwards around and in the box so it is the forwards who are most likely to create PK opportunities. I have not argued that Press’s style necessarily creates these PK opportunities, but rather that she creates goal opportunities. It remains to be seen who Dames will select to partner with Press at forward that would be more likely to create both goals and more PK’s. My pick is Green.

            As regards the passing game for Chicago, their primary problem is in using the flanks more effectively and switching the point of attack. They still have not found the right combination for the flanks. Comeau was supposed to solve that last year and was injured. Then Vasconcelos was the heir apparent this year but is now on maternity leave. We’ll see how Dames attempts to solve this chronic problem this season.

          • Bruce

            I think you’ve got that right. Huerta’s game is built to draw PKs. Hoy actually drew a few in W-League if I recall.

            The wildcard may be Green. CRS haven’t had a player willing to engage physically in the box for the few years.

          • Steglitz49

            Abby can come to the rescue.

          • sam

            I’m not a huge fan of flopping but Press doesn’t do a good job of fighting for penalties when they are deserved. If you get up smiling when you are knocked down in the box, you aren’t helping your case. I remember when she was taken down by Fischer in the World Cup … any other player would have tried to get that call, and it could have won them that game.

          • Reality

            Press is not a flopper or a whiner. However, in that particular situation, I agree that Press and the whole team should have got in the ref’s face.

          • mockmook

            “Press and the whole team should have got in the ref’s face”

            And, that would have accomplished what?

          • Reality

            Typically protests never change the call. In theory, it is supposed to influence the ref in regard to future calls…depends on the ref.

          • sam

            If you look hurt or pissed off, you are more likely to get the call IMO. I guess it depends on the ref. We all know the reffing is BS in the womens game anyway. Unfortunately dramatics work, and even if she wasn’t angry or in the ref’s face, Press definitely could have attempted a verbal protest there.

          • Steglitz49

            The USWNT spent the match harassing the ref crew — if you can honestly describe that sorry excuse as referees. The ref crew did not know the laws and the few they knew they consistently applied in favour of the US. Carli only got booked in 110th min, not the 10th.

            The OG-16 QF was the worst refereed major WoSo match since the OG-12 final.

          • Steglitz49

            They continually did throughout the match and it paid dividends for them.

          • Steglitz49

            The ref — if you can describe that sorry excuse that way — was already biased in favour of the US.

          • guest

            ok

      • Bruce

        #3. CRS could use a player like this up top…

        https://twitter.com/babranski/status/847122563134304257

        • Reality

          Nice body check! The US Women’s Hockey team could use Green. Which reminds me…I wonder if the USWNTPA and Gulati have payed any attention to the successful conclusion of negotiations for the women in the hockey world. It is not exactly a direct parallel situation but it demonstrates that some progress can be achieved in mutual agreement.

          • Steglitz49

            The USWNT Hockey were prepared to boycott the WC. I doubt that the Veterans would have even considered that. In short, the USSF top brass know that the ladies have no gumption. They have them by their short and curlies.

          • guest

            lol. The only way they will get paid anywhere like the men is to drop the idea of tenure and guaranteed call ups. Given their recent failures, USSF has every reason to demand this. They aren’t going to agree to that.

          • Reality

            I was not saying that the USWNTPA should get the same agreement as the US Women’s Hockey team since I stipulated that it was “…not exactly a direct parallel situation…”. In fact, the PA appears to be no longer asking to be paid as much as the men. My point was that the women’s hockey team did conclude an agreement that improved their situation. This sets a precedent that could be studied and utilized by Gulati and the PA if they were so inclined.

        • Steglitz49

          How did the US ever not win the WC-11 final seeing that the Nadeshiko gave away 4″ and 15-20 lb in weight on average.

        • mockmook

          Beautiful!!!

    • mockmook

      I like that A LOT

      I guess Gilliland and Ertz would replace Comeau and Naughton.

      • Bruce

        Also, Green for Hoy (based on the little we’ve seen).

        Maybe leave sit Ratcliffe and move Gilli or Short to WB.

        And you’ve still got McCaffrey, Sam Johnson and Mautz. This roster is pretty deep.

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  • Steglitz49

    Lyon (Alex Morgan & Kadeisha Buchanan) play Man City (Carli Lloyd & Kosse Asllani) while PSG (Ashley Lawrence) takes on Barcelona in the ladies Champions League SFs.

    WoSo in Europe is safely in the hands of the wealthy men’s teams. Order has been restored in the soccer world.

  • guest

    Campbell isn’t that good. She’s also short. I think Murphy has more upside.

    • Steglitz49

      Careful! You re living dangerously. It is forbidden by some on the EQ to remark negatively on goalies as being short. Thou shalt not take height into account for goalies, All goalies are equal, some are just more equal than others.

      You have been warned. If you persist in your heresy the EQ-GESTAPO = Goalie Equally ShorT Assertion POlice will be in touch.

    • ABCDE

      She looks like a worse version of Harris to me. Haircolor excluded.

  • sudeep das

    So are the U23 WNT jointly topping the table of pre-season? They are tied with Dash on 3-3 whereas CRS & PT are 2-2.

    • Steglitz49

      once they have played England, France, Germany and Sweden, we shall know …

      • sudeep das

        … as well as Spain and Japan

    • guest123

      It is possible with no USWNT playing for the Chicago.

      • sudeep das

        Press, Naeher and Short played I think

        • guest123

          Chicago plays U23 tomorrow, April 1st. Press, Naeher and Short had to report to camp by yesterday for their April friendlies. My point was with no national teamers playing for Chicago, the U23 has a chance to beat them given that the U23 played well vs Portland & Houston.

          • sudeep das

            Yeah I agree now that you have explained your viewpoint

          • Bruce

            Add to that JJ Ertz off on her honeymoon and likely scratches for Sam Johnson and Gilliland, as both were held out of the Dash game.

            Even with 6 starters out, I think CRS has plenty enough depth to win this game. Despite the wins, U23 hasn’t shown the ability to do anything except capitalize on high-press turnovers.

          • sudeep das

            Now with Smith and Howell gone for full WNT camp the U23 have lost that finishing edge as well. Anyway could be a good match with all stars being absent from both teams.

  • guest123

    Off-Topic: Rosengard just sign Anja Mittag. Contract is only until June 2017 but she could extend it.

    The chances of Marta leaving might be increasing.

    https://www.fcrosengard.se/anja-mittag-klar-fc-rosengard/

    • guest

      Replace an over the hill player with an over the hill player

      • guester

        Apparently the german players were very interactive and friendly to fans at Red Bull Stadium… even moreso than the USWNT. THat kind of endeared me to them

        • guest

          USWNT are spoiled brats.

        • HOFCToDi

          The USWNTPA members are sore losers.

      • guest123

        Or this could be just a replacement for Schelin. Lotta suffered a hamstring injury during their UWCL game against Barca.

        • guest

          another over the hill player. SWE, GER need youth injections