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The Kronick Report: Sam Kerr heroics lock in NJ win

NWSL action returned from the FIFA break with goals! Twenty goals to be exact. Let’s check out three of them from this past weekend- Sam Kerr’s well-timed breakaway, a rocket from Camila,  and Naho Kawasumi’s composure-filled finish.

Kerr steals the show in Sky Blue FC’s 3-1 win over Portland Thorns

Sam Kerr scored two goals and added one assist in Sky Blue's 3-1 victory over the Portland Thorns this past weekend (photo courtesy of Sky Blue)

Sam Kerr scored two goals and added one assist in Sky Blue’s 3-1 victory over the Portland Thorns this past weekend (photo courtesy of Sky Blue)

What Happened: In the 88th  minute, Australian international and Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr put in her second goal of the night, and fourth on the season, to increase her side’s lead to 3-0 over the Portland Thorns at Providence Park on Saturday night. The NJ side went on to win by a score of 3-1.

How It Happened: With two goals and one assist in the bag, there was no question that Sam Kerr won the night. But first, we have to talk about the ball that was played to Kerr from midfielder Madison Tiernan. Tiernan is able to lift up her head and with precise vision and accuracy, send a perfect ball to Kerr, who’s already on the run against the Portland back line. Tiernan sends her long ball close to 25 yards and it lands right past the three Portland defenders. In addition to a great long ball from Tiernan, Kerr times her run just right so that she’s able to stay onside yet still get in in front of all three Portland defenders. Kerr catches up to the ball after two bounces and it appears she’s being closed down from both angles – by Emily Menges on her back side and by goalkeeper Adrianna Franch out in front. Kerr takes the ball out of the air and with that first touch pushes it past Franch. This touch is key because it allows Kerr to get out of danger easily and efficiently. Once she’s past Franch, all it takes from Kerr is a minor squaring of her hips and a bit of technique to keep the ball low and near post, so no defenders are able to intercept, to slot the ball home from just inside the box.

Camila 40-yard blast opens scoring for Orlando Pride

Camila scored the first of four goals on Saturday as the Pride beat Houston Dash 4-2 (photo: Orlando Pride)

Camila scored the first of four goals on Saturday as the Pride beat Houston Dash 4-2 (photo: Orlando Pride)

What Happened: It was individual brilliance in the 16th minute that opened scoring for the Pride as Camila rocketed a shot into the back of the net and Orlando went on to defeat the Houston Dash 4-2 at BBVA Compass Stadium for Orlando’s second consecutive win and Houston’s sixth consecutive loss.

How It Happened: First of all, what a shot from Camila! But let’s back up first. Marta plays a ball into Camila who’s got her back to goal and is positioned in between two Dash players. Camila knows she doesn’t have any pressure directly on her back, so she’s able to to use her first touch to face up which is great as it puts her in more of an attacking position. Once she does face up, her next touch is super important, primarily because a Dash defender is coming on her right, trying to close her in. She is able to see that pressure and take a touch wide to avoid the defender and with one more touch towards the center of the pitch, she’s able to completely free herself up which gives her an open look at goal. The one minor challenge with her positioning at this point, is that she’s got the ball at her feet 40 yards from goal. This ends up actually posing no issue for Camila who rockets the ball with her right foot from exactly that far out and zings one past Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams and into the top right corner. Camila sets herself up perfectly for her finish in the center of the field, but her shot from that far out, placed so perfectly, was pure brilliance from the Brazilian midfielder.

Naho Kawasumi uses great composure to put in her 2nd on the season

Seattle, Washington - Saturday, July 2nd, 2016: Seattle Reign FC forward Nahomi Kawasumi (36) during a regular season National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match between the Seattle Reign FC and the Boston Breakers at Memorial Stadium. Seattle won 2-0. (ISI Photo)

Naho Kawasumi gave Seattle a late lead over FC Kansas City on Saturday in a match that ended in a 2-2 tie. (ISI Photo)

What Happened: Naho Kawasumi put one away for the Reign in the 80th minute with her second goal of the season, taking a 2-1 lead over FC Kansas City, in a match that later resulted in a 2-2 tie.

How It Happened: They always say that composure in the box is important and Naho Kawasumi showed us just that with her finish Saturday night for the Reign. This attacking effort really started with Katie Johnson. Johnson takes on her defender from the wing and with one move, is able to get ahead of her and start to break inside. This is really smart from a positioning standpoint as she brings the outside defender with her, leaving the right flank open. Christine Nairn recognizes this and starts to overlap Johnson into the open space on the right flank. After a few more touches inside, all the while continuing to draw her defender inside, Johnson finds Nairn with a ball on right side into open space. Nairn, who’s now in a great position to set up a chance on goal, knows exactly where she’s going to put the ball before it even comes from Johnson. She uses one touch to send a first-time ball across the box to find Naho Kawasumi who’s on the run at far post. Kawasumi, who feels pressure from an FCKC defender uses such composure next. She uses two touches to cut back across her body, leaving her defender off balance, which sets her right foot up perfectly for a shot on goal. Now on top of the six yard box, with only goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart to beat, Kawasumi places her shot right through Barnhart’s legs to lock one in for the Reign and take the lead. Her decision making here is so important because it would have been easy for Kawasumi to try and finish Nairn’s ball first time – which she may have been able to do, but her angle on goal was tough. By settling the ball, she’s able to create a much better angle for herself, ensuring her shot hits the back of the net.

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