Preseason roundup: Pride close preseason with U-23 shutout

The Equalizer Staff April 8, 2017 51

It’s the final weekend of the 2017 NWSL preseason, and that means many teams are trying to get one more competition under their belts before the regular season kicks of on April 15. It also means non-contracted players have one last opportunity to impress their coaches ahead of Monday’s 20-player roster deadline. Here’s a quick recap of what you may have missed.

Orlando Pride 3, U.S. U-23 WNT 0

Highlights courtesy of the Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride closed their 2017 preseason with a 3-0 win over the United States U-23 women’s national team Friday afternoon. With the win, the Pride remain undefeated in preseason play.

“It’s been a reasonably solid preseason. I think we’ve gradually improved as we’ve gotten into the games. Today’s game was the toughest game of the preseason and we worked very hard,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said after the match. “So, a lot of positive stuff, but we’ve got a lot of things to work on between now and the first league game [at Portland] next week.”

{PRIDE NEWS:  Five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Marta signs with Pride}

The win came largely thanks to the efforts of Kristen Edmonds, who scored the game’s first two goals and assisted the third. Her first goal came in just the 12th minute when she intercepted a pass from a U-23 defender and took the ball in alone before putting it in for the goal. She completed her brace in just the 25th minute when she collected a long ball from defender Steph Catley that was played on by a flick by rookie Danica Evans and again put it into the back of the net. 

In the second half, Catley once again played Edmonds the ball, sending in another long ball for the midfielder as she made her run down the line. Edmonds then sent in a cross from the left that was fired into the goal by forward Jasmyne Spencer for the third and final goal of the match.

As Sermanni said, the Pride will next travel to Portland for their season opener against the Thorns on Saturday, April 15. The game will be the first Game of the Week broadcast on Lifetime.

Orlando Lineup: Aubrey Bledsoe (Hannah Seabert 76’); Jamia Fields, Alanna Kennedy, Toni Pressley (Laura Alleway 46’), Steph Catley (Jordan O’Brien 76’); Maddy Evans (Nickolette Driesse 66’), Kristen Edmonds, Dani Weatherholt (Carol Rodrigues 76’); Christina Burkenroad (Cami Levin 66’), Danica Evans, Jasmyne Spencer

Chicago Red Stars 3, Notre Dame 1

The Red Stars downed the University of Notre Dame, 3-1, to finish out their preseason on a high after finishing 1-1-1 in the Thorns Spring Invitational tournament. Friday’s match, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed because of weather and changed to a closed-door match as a result.

Chicago came out with confidence, scoring in the game’s opening minutes when Jen Hoy sent in a perfect cross to Summer Green, who easily finished her shot for her first preseason goal. Defender Arin Gilliland next scored on a play originating on a set piece. Chicago was awarded a corner kick, which led to a scramble inside the box. Gilliland managed to head a bouncing ball past Notre Dame’s goalkeeper to double the Red Stars lead before the halftime whistle.

Notre Dame got on the board at the start of the second half when a member of the Irish sent in a ball into the upper net to prevent the shutout. The final goal of the match came in the last minute of regulation time when Notre Dame alum Katie Naughton got her head on another Chicago corner kick and perfectly placed it for the goal.

With the win the Red Stars improve to 2-1-1 for the preseason. They open the regular season on Saturday, April 15 in Houston.

Boston Breakers 6, UConn 0

The Boston Breakers wrapped up their preseason with a 6-0 shutout of the UConn Huskies thanks to braces by both Natasha Dowie and Tiffany Weimer. The Breakers were originally scheduled to face off against the UConn last weekend, but heavy snowfall the night before saw the game rescheduled for Friday night.

“Tonight was a good exercise for us to put in practice what we’ve been working on and what we’ve been talking about. It puts us in a positive frame of mind going into next weekend,” Head Coach Matt Beard said. “I’m glad Tats [Dowie] got a couple goals tonight. She’s had a good preseason. It’s good for her to get a few goals because she’s had a few chances in preseason where keepers have made some good saves. So for her, that’s positive.”

Dowie didn’t score the first goal of the match, but she did assist it when she headed a corner kick from Rosie White towards Weimer, who headed the ball past UConn’s keeper for the game’s opening goal. Dowie then got herself onto the scoresheet with a goal just seven minutes later.

The first half ended with the Breakers leading 4-0, with the third goal headed in by White followed by Dowie completing her brace. Boston would put two more goals in during the second half, with Weimer completing her brace in the 57th minute and rookie Hayley Dowd adding a single for her first goal of the preseason.

“I’ve been really pleased with preseason,” Beard added. “There’s still plenty to do, but we’re starting to see some of the detail we’re talking about and seeing them come together, which is very pleasing.”

Boston kicks off the 2017 regular season on the road against FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 16.

North Carolina Courage 1, UNC 0

The North Carolina Courage finished its first preseason in the league with a 1-0 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. Neither team had found the back of the net in the first half, but that changed in the second half when defender Jaylyn Odermann scored to put the Courage on the board. Odermann had previously been listed as in preseason camp with the Houston Dash.

The Courage kick of their inaugural season with a rematch against last year’s NWSL Final opponent, the Washington Spirit, on Saturday, April 15.

Washington Spirit 2, University of Virginia 0

Kristie Mewis chips UVA's keeper to score for the Spirit. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Kristie Mewis chips UVA’s keeper to score for the Spirit. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

The Washington Spirit rounded out their preseason schedule with a 2-0 win over Virginia with Kristie Mewis and Joanna Lohman each scoring. Mewis’ tally was her fourth of the preseason, tying her with Katie Stengel for the team lead.

The opening 20 minutes of the match lacking any really threatening chances as an easily handled shot by Cheyna Williams was the only chance recorded by either side. In the 21st minute, however, Mewis broke the deadlock when left back Kasey Kallman played the ball to Mewis in stride. Mewis then chipped the keeper from close range for the score.

The Spirit didn’t muster too other many dangerous chances in the first half as the team struggled to connect passes. Washington ended up registering only two shots on goal before halftime.

In the second half, Washington held possession better and generated more opportunities offensively. Unfortunately for the home side, a lot of these chances were off target. Before Lohman’s goal in the 65th minute, Tori Huster,  Stengel, Williams and Lohman herself would all record chances that either hit the woodwork or went wide of goal.

Lohman’s goal started when Franny Ordega, who had entered the match just moments before for Williams, sent a cross into the box from the right side. After the Cavalier defense failed to smother the opportunity, Lohman bounced on a rebound and tapped in near the left post.

Defensively, the Spirit performed well, denying Virginia much possession in or around their 18 yard box.  The team held Virginia without an attempt on frame until the 86th minute of play when Alissa Gorzak fired a shot from the top of the box that required a full extension save from Didi Haracic.

Overall Coach Jim Gabarra was thought his team applied the press better than in previous games, but was unhappy with the tempo.

“I liked the organized press. It was a lot better than in previous games. We were more connected and pressing as a unit. I didn’t like that we were taking too many touches and not really playing to our style of play in possession but it got better as the game went on. It was a lot better in the second half.”

Washington will open the 2017 season next Saturday at home against North Carolina Courage.

Seattle Reign 3, University of Washington 0

The Seattle Reign closed out preseason competition last night with a 3-0 shutout over the Washington Huskies. The Reign have played the Huskies in each of the last four preseasons, winning each contest.

“First clean sheet of preseason and I think that’s again a good omen going into next week’s game,” Head Coach and General Manager Laura Harvey said. “Pushing us on to do that was a big thing tonight. We spoke about [it] after UCLA and said that’s something we’ve got to be very proud of.”

That clean sheet was partly thanks to goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel, who made her debut for the Reign when she subbed in for Haley Kopmeyer in the 56th minute. Schiffel signed a contract with the Reign in January after her rights were traded by the Washington Spirit in November 2016 in the trade that also brought Christine Nairn back to Seattle

Forward Beverly Yanez scored the game’s opening goal in the 22nd minute on a play originating with Japanese-international Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi slotting in Merritt Mathias behind defense. Mathias then sent a low cross to a wide-open Yanez near the back post where the forward easily tapped the ball into the back of the net for her first preseason goal.

Just seven minutes into the second half, the Reign would double their lead thanks to Kawasumi, and Kiersten Dallstream scored the final goal in the 64th minute. For both Kawasumi and Dallstream, it was the second consecutive matches for them to score, as both also scored in the Reign’s 3-2 win over UCLA on Tuesday, April 4

“We’ve really challenged ourselves tactically on a lot of things that we need to be good at, and I think we’re starting to now get into a bit of of a rhythm moving forward [to] next week’s game,” Harvey said. “We’re moving into the right direction for sure.”

Up next for the Reign is their 2017 home opener against Sky Blue FC on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

Sky Blue 3, Penn State 0

Sam Kerr scored twice to lead Sky Blue a a 3-0 victory over Penn State to close out an impressive preseason in New Jersey. Newcomer Daphne Corboz also scored in the match played at Georgian Court University where Sky Blue call their training base.

“First of all, we would like to thank Penn State for presenting us with such a fantastic challenge to finish off our preseason,” Sky Blue head coach Christy Holly said. “We knew they would be exceptionally disciplined on the defensive end and create some issues for us from an offensive standpoint. I felt that our team dealt with those difficulties very well and created some excellent opportunities. We are very excited about our potential for this season.”

Kerr scored in the 28th minute after Kayla Mills made an aggressive run from the back and Kerr turned on the pass and scored from just inside the 18-yard box. She made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute on a sequence that started with Sarah Killion and went through former Penn State star Maya Hayes who got the assist.

Corboz tallied in the final minute on a pass from rookie 4th round pick McKenzie Meehan. Corboz, known more for her passing than her scoring, signed with Sky Blue over the winter after spending two seasons at Manchester City. She played her college soccer at Georgetown.

Caroline Casey got the start in goal and shared the clean sheet with Tori Corsaro. It was likely the end of the line for Corsaro who is not expected to be part of Sky Blue’s final roster when it is announced on Monday.

  • Reality

    Chicago getting 2 goals on corner kicks! Johnston never carried over her USWNT performance in this to CRS, but perhaps the team has found a way to make it work.

    • mockmook

      Naughton!!!!

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      Johnston was great set pieces her rookie season, but her and CRS went to to the wayside the following two years.

      • Reality

        Johnston is another player suffering from USSF-PTHD (Post Traumatic Hype Disorder)

        • Steglitz49

          JJ is getting married so she will be alright.

        • kernel_thai

          We’re going to have to start using Ertz

          • Reality

            What about Carrasco?

          • mockmook

            As in, the Ertz is the unit of measure PTHD?

            Ex:

            Lavelle generated 3 Ertz in her latest game against Russia

            😉

          • Ethan

            Is that for Steglitz49’s benefit?

            Edit: But I will be using Ertz if I can remember.

    • Breakers fan

      There are so many factors, elements on a corner or free kick….that unless she (JJ) is missing good chances with her head on them then other factors are primarily to blame in the reduction of her goals with CRS and the USWNT, mainly probably service to her being poor and other teams marking her better. Scoring headers on set pieces….you’re very much at the mercy of the deliverer of the kick. You’re not at the primary causal point. Has she had opportunities she’s missed? Good chances she mis-hit with her head, that you recall?

      • Reality

        Giving Johnston the benefit of the doubt, Dames has remarked in the past that the team needs to get better on corner kicks and set plays. It is a hopefully a team effort and not a free for all. As you say, much depends on the service being well placed. But I would think that there has to be some discipline in not only the target player’s positioning but also her teammates in terms of blocking or decoying. And the other team is not going to cooperate so it is not a simple exercise.

        However, I do think that there are times with the USWNT where a new player may have a big game and the specific elements that they exhibited in their play become hyped to the point of being expected and other virtues may be overlooked. I think this happened with Johnston in her rookie year at the WC as regards her offensive capabilities. Both the NT and Chicago have work to do on improving their set plays and hopefully Johnston will be a part of that.

        • Breakers fan

          I’m basically a pro-JJ fan. I know she can make bad passes on occasion but I like her game -being a tenacious, fearless, aggressive defender and competitor is the trait I admire most in her. I haven’t analyzed her game in depth but I recall her being very effective against the Breakers last year, saving some possible good goal chances.As far as set piece goals until someone tells me that she blew a chance or more directed well to her head then I won’t criticize her in this realm.

          • Reality

            Since Naeher along with Johnston will be with CRS for the entire season, assuming no NT friendly interruptions, I want to see how they work together this year. I’m primarily focused on her doing a good job defensively and I agree that she is tenacious, fearless and aggressive. I think she is still learning the subtleties of her positioning both on offense and especially on defense.

          • Steglitz49

            Seeing that JJ is getting married, maybe she will try to fit in a sprig between now and WC-19? She already has won the WC once.

  • Steglitz49

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pond England had a 1-1 draw with Italy.

    Jodie Taylor scored the opening goal on 70 min but Valentina Cernoia nabbed an unlikely draw for Italy soon after. The Lionesses dominated the match for the majority of the game and carved out a number of opportunities but were ultimately made to pay for wasting chances.

  • Silver Frost

    I’d put Edmonds in the WNT midfield instead of Horan. More pace, better defender. Wicked free kicks.

  • Steglitz49

    Meanwhile, did you know that Northern-Ireland has had a WoSo league for 40 years?

    The NIWFA’s 2017 season was launched at Belfast City Hall, marking the 40th anniversary of the Northern Ireland WFA League. 40 years!

  • Calci0

    Glad to hear Summer Green put one in the back of the net! It’s been a long road back!

  • tonysocref

    Come on NWSL and A+E.
    Opening day is one week away and still no streaming information 🙁

    • mockmook

      You just don’t understand AE’s art of seduction — they tease you and tease you and then finally reveal their plans….

      Either that, or they have no idea what they are doing.

      • JL

        Or they want to make sure they get it right the first time rather than crap out some half-arsed product that doesn’t work well just because people are complaining.

        • mockmook

          I don’t get it — no reason to re-invent the wheel here — this has already been done a billion times.

          So, I suspect that a solution is ready to go.

    • mockmook
      • Olivedpeacock

        Google is paying $97 per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !fr147c:
        On monday I got a great new mclaren f1 from having earned $12778 this last four weeks.. 3 to 5 hours of work a day… Weekly paychecks… Bonus opportunities…Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • Steglitz49

    In an on-line poll in England, people were asked what they would prefer for the FAWSL: They answered:
    — Stricter (and enforced) salary cap. (35%)
    — More evenly allocated England players around WSL1 clubs. (44%)
    — Both. (21%)

    A bit like the NWSL. (NB The salary for plying for the EWNT is only about 30,000 USD, that is a lot less than a USWNT allocated player gets.)

  • mockmook

    CAN vs GER women is live now (kicked off ~ 9 AM EDT)
    No commentary:

    https://www.youtube.com/c/canadasoccertv/live

    • sudeep das

      Thank you so much. Should be a cracker of a game.

    • Ethan

      Kailen Sheridan experienced a goalkeeper’s worst nightmare.

  • Ethan

    USWNT vs Russia:

    Same starting lineup with the exception of Harris in for Naeher.

    • mockmook

      Indeed. Gary Diver, again, please note the placement of the semicolons, i.e., a 4-4-2:

      Starting XI vs. Russia:
      24-Ashlyn Harris; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 14-Casey Short, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 16-Rose Lavelle, 20-Allie Long, 3-Sam Mewis, 2-Mallory Pugh; 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.), 19-Crystal Dunn

      Lavelle out wide — WHY???!!!!

      Oh JE JE won’t you talk to me?

      • Ethan

        Well, in this setup, I prefer Lavelle out wide over her being central because it keeps her higher up the field where she can impact offensive play more frequently.

        Edit: Plus she played like she was given a free role in the match on Thursday. So that’s really just her given starting position.

        • mockmook

          You’re not JE 😉

    • DNG

      Pugh’s ball was excellent but that’s a ball that any decent RB cuts out easily. Not sure we can take anything meaningful from these matches. There is just no resistance at all and Russia is extremely unorganized at the back.

      • Ethan

        Yeah, on that play where Lavelle turned nicely and found Pugh on the left, there was no Russian player in sight. Way too much space at times on Russia’s right for the US.

  • guest

    I think it is frightening to think about how dominant Crystal Dunn would be if she was even average height. When I think about how tiny she is it kind of boggles my mind.

    • Ethan

      Well, if she was average height, would she be as quick and have as low a center of gravity?

      • guest

        I guess I don’t know that much about the biomechanics of running but there’s a reason why soccer players tend to be taller than average. Mewis can look like she’s jogging and still beat players, same with Alex with her long strides. I do think it affects Crystal’s ability to be a forward agaisnt competent tall defenses which is why she won’t play there against a good team.

      • ABCDE

        The low center of gravity definitely makes her harder to knock off the ball, which is why she is a great winger and can play both offense and defense well. She won’t cut it as forward agaisnt the top teams imo.

        • guest

          She reminds me of getting tripped by a supersonic Roomba lmao

    • guest123

      It’s russia. Chill. She isn’t the answer to the offense.

    • guest

      It is frightening to think about how dominant Christen Press could be if she could be the offensive centerpiece of this team. It is what it is.

  • Kate

    DIdn’t watch the game after the first half because I had to go back to work (nurse… no sunday funday for me:()… How did the vets look in the second half?

    • mockmook

      Not much good — game got choppy as subs broke up the flow.

      • guest

        Why did she start the same line up? In addition to Russia being a tomato can, the starting lineup has more time to get into the flow of the game. Now we are lavishing praise on Dunn, Pugh and Lavelle when really Press, Morgan, Ohai, etc. could have been just as effective.

  • guest

    2017 Orlando Pride Roster:

    “…Defender Mackenzie Berryhill, who was acquired by the Pride last season via waivers, has been placed on the season-ending injury list and will not compete in the 2017 NWSL season. Rookie Rachel Hill, whose rights the Pride acquired in January, is currently finishing up her senior year at the University of Connecticut and will join the team at a later date….”

    ROSTERED PLAYERS (20 of 20 spots filled)

    GOALKEEPERS (2): Aubrey Bledsoe, Ashlyn Harris (FED-USA)
    DEFENDERS (8): Laura Alleway (INTL-AUS), Mackenzie Berryhill (SEI), Steph Catley (INTL-AUS), Monica Hickmann Alves (INTL-BRA), Alanna Kennedy (INTL-AUS), Ali Krieger (FED-USA), Cami Levin, Toni Pressley
    MIDFIELDERS (5): Nickolette Driesse, Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans, Camila Martins Pereira (INTL-BRA), Dani Weatherholt,
    FORWARDS (7): Christina Burkenroad, Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Alex Morgan (FED-USA, OOM), Jasmyne Spencer, Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva (INTL-BRA, OOM),

    FEDERATION PLAYERS (FED): 3
    INTERNATIONAL ROSTER SPOTS FILLED (INTL): 6

    Key:

    ACTIVE ROSTER:
    FED – Federation Player
    INTL – International Roster Spot

    ROSTERED PLAYERS NOT COUNTED AGAINST ACTIVE LIMIT:
    D45 – 45-Day Disabled List
    SEI – Season Ending Injury List
    GKR – Goalkeeper Replacement
    MAT – Maternity
    LOA – Loan
    OOM – Out of Market