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The Kronick Report: Nairn rockets home the first of six for the Reign

This week’s NWSL action many awesome goals- let’s take a deeper dive into the Leah Galton- Sam Kerr combination play, Christen Press’ last-minute header, and Nairn’s rocket against her old club.

Nairn rockets home first of 6 for the Reign at Spirit

What Happened: Christine Nairn scores her first goal since 2013 in the 20th minute on Saturday, against her former club, the Washington Spirit. Her goal was the first of six as the Reign routed of the Spirit by a final score of 6-2.

How It Happened: The combination play between Nahomi Kawasumi, Beverly Yanez and Nairn is picture perfect leading up to this goal. Let’s break it down. First, Kawasumi steals the ball off Kallman and starts driving directly to get inside the box. She gives a square ball to Yanez at the top of the box. Kawasumi continues her run into the box and Yanez, with great vision and instinct, uses a one-touch pass to work a give and go and get the ball right back to Kawasumi inside the box on the right of the goal. Kawasumi receives the ball with her body between her and the defender and masterfully shields the ball on her turn. With the goalkeeper coming out, instead of blasting the ball near post, which the keeper and Spirit defender had covered. Kawasumi lays the ball off for Nairn behind her. On Kawasumi’s part, it’s key that she knows Nairn was behind her at a better angle (than she was). Nairn then does step up and rockets a shot far post.

Galton-Kerr combo helps Sky Blue lock in 3-1 victory over Dash

Leah Galton put one away for Sky Blue over the weekend as they defeated the Dash.(photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Leah Galton put one away for Sky Blue over the weekend as they defeated the Dash.(photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

What Happened: In the 53rd minute, a Sam Kerr pass to Leah Galton gives Sky Blue a 2-0 lead on the way to a 2-1 win at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.

How It Happened: The combination of Sam Kerr’s through ball and Leah Galton’s run are so instrumental to this goal. The build up to the goal starts when Kerr gets the ball in her own half. She then makes a run with the ball at her feet, that crosses the half way line in a central position. The way she uses her speed here is critical as it creates a quick counter attack to give her (and Galton) the advantage. With one pass (and some pretty awesome vision), Kerr is able to beat three defenders. She draws the defenders towards her which opens up a perfect lane for Galton to get in behind the defense. Kerr and Galton actually cross paths as Kerr brings the ball to her right, Galton goes left right into the open space. The through ball sets Galton up in a perfect 1v1 situation with the keeper. Once she’s in behind the defense and catches up to the ball, she takes a large touch outside to get away from Houston goalkeeper Lydia Williams and give her an open look at goal. Galton fires away and locks in the 2-0 lead for Sky Blue.

Last minute Press header salvages point for Chicago

What Happened: Christen Press finishes a header inside the 6-yard box off a Sofia Huerta cross to tie up the game in the 89th minute as the Red Stars tied Boston 1-1.

How It Happened: With one minute of regular time left in the game, Sofia Heurta, from 20 yards out, launches a beautiful cross from the right side of the pitch. The ball she hits is perfect from a distance and placement perspective. The cross finds Press in a position where defenders are beat (as it has gone over their heads) and in a position where she can run onto the ball and add some power there. Press positions herself in an attacking position and perfectly times her run to align with Huerta’s ball so that she is in motion and meeting the ball with her head inside the six. She heads the ball down as well so that it bounces before hitting the back of the net- something that keepers struggle with saving since it’s not pointblank from that close up. The additional power helps ensure that there’s no chance the header can be saved from that distance and at that angle.

Every week throughout the NWSL season, the Kronick Report will break down three important goals from the week in a tactical and technical analysis of the art of goal-scoring.


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