NWSL Friendly Recaps
By JJ Duke
With the first kick of the NWSL season about only a few weeks away, teams have begun their preseason friendly schedules playing a plethora of different college teams. And for one team, a trip to Japan to play three matches against professional clubs was in store. Here is a recap of all the matches played through this past weekend including video highlights from some matches:
Chicago Red Stars traveled to a snowy Marquette University for a friendly on Sunday March 24, and the Red Stars came away with a 2-0 victory. Despite playing in challenging conditions and against one of the best defenses in the NCAA, Alyssa Mautz was johnny on the spot, grabbing two goals in the contest. The first goal came in the 27th minute as Jessica McDonald found Mautz on a through ball and Mautz slotted it home far post. The halftime score was 1-0 but Chicago grabbed their second of the day ten minutes into the second half, when Jen Hoy found Mautz on a low cross. Canadian WNT ‘keeper Erin McLeod kept the clean sheet and the Red Stars will look forward to their next friendly on April 3 against Notre Dame after they return from a week of training down in Austin, Texas.
Their Starting XI plus subs: Erin McLeod (GK); Michelle Wenino, Lauren Fowlkes, Taryn Hemmings, Lydia Vandenbergh; Alyssa Mautz (Rachel Quon 60’), Leslie Osborne, Jen Hoy, Julianne Sitch (Zakiya Bywaters 46’); Ella Masar (Mo Smunt 70’), Jessica McDonald (Hanna Gilmore 70’).
FC Kansas City traveled to face the University of Missouri last Tuesday night and came away with a convincing 6-2 victory. With the USWNT allocated players still to report to camp by game time, the player who took advantage of the opportunity was Mexican WNT forward Renae Cuellar. After an active start, she scored the opener 20 minutes into the match, beating the keeper in a 1v1. Cuellar then assisted the next two goals, the first to Sinead Farrely and the second to Courtney Jones. After a Missouri goal, Leigh Ann Robinson scored from left side and at halftime, Kansas City went into the locker room leading 4-1. The Tigers put in a second right after halftime, and the substitutions came in mass for the Blues. Two more Kansas City goals came in the second half, one from trialist Missy Geha, assisted by Erica Tymrak and the final goal came from Merritt Mathias on a shot from outside the box. Overall, a solid result for Kansas City and here are post-match interviews with Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski and Courtney Jones.
Their next match will take place on March 30 against University of Kansas at FC Kansas City’s home stadium, Mission District Stadium. Starting XI (substitutes came in 2nd half): Bianca Henninger; Leigh Ann Robinson, Lauren Sesselman, Nia Williams, Kaite Kelly; Jen Buczkowski, Desiree Scott, Kristie Mewis, Sinead Farrely; Renae Cuellar, Courtney Jones. Subs Used: Dana Moreno (GK), Erica Tmyrak, Whitney Berry, Merritt Mathias, Natalie Norris, Missy Geha, Casey Berrier, Lisa Silwinski.
Seattle Reign FC are currently on tour in Japan and had a three match friendly schedule lined up for their preseason trip. The first match was on Saturday March 16 against INAC Kobe Leonessa, one of the top club teams in the world. Despite Seattle losing 2-0 on two first half goals, it was a good performance for Seattle, who were only in Japan for a couple of days before the match. Their starting lineup for the INAC match was: Michelle Betos (GK); Elli Reed, Kate Deines, Lauren Barnes, Kiersten Dallstream; Keelin Winters, Christine Nairn, Kristen Meier, Tiffany Cameron, Lindsay Taylor, Liz Bogus.
On Tuesday, Seattle took to the field to face Fukouka J Anclas and Head Coach Laura Harvey made nine changes to the starting lineup from Saturday. The only returning players were Deines and Barnes in defense and among the additions to the starting lineup included Welsh International Jess Fishlock, Canadian International Emily Zurrer and Mexican International Teresa Noyola. Seattle came through with a 3-nil victory with first half goals from Laura Heyboer and trialist Marissa Mykines and a second half tally from Liz Bogus. The starting XI were: Haley Kopmeyer (GK); Victoria Frederick, Emily Zurrer, Kate Deines, Lauren Barnes; Jess Fishlock, Lyndsey Patterson, Teresa Noyola; Cat Barnecow, Laura Heyboer, Marissa Mykines and 2nd half substitutes used were: Liz Bogus, Kaylyn Kyle, Kristen Meier, Christine Nairn, Mallory Schaffer, Lindsay Taylor.
Seattle’s final match of their Japan pre-season tour pitted the Reign against Nojima Stella Kanagawa, a second division Japanese professional team on Saturday, March 23. Tiffany Cameron got on the board in the 31st minute with a goal off of a corner kick, the only goal for the first half. Then Seattle exploded for three more in the second half, the goals provided by Kaylyn Kyle, Emily Zurrer and Kristin Meier. The shutout was almost broken in the 75th minute when Seattle committed a penalty inside the box, but Seattle substitute keeper Michelle Betos stopped the spot kick and the 4-0 scoreline was a final. This was the final starting XI used by Seattle on their Japan tour, with a successful 2-1 record upon returning back to Seattle a few days ago: Haley Kopmeyer (GK); Kiersten Dallstream, Emily Zurrer, Lauren Barnes, Elli Reed; Keelin Winters, Kaylyn Kyle, Jess Fishlock; Lindsay Taylor, Tiffany Cameron, Christine Nairn.
Sky Blue FC traveled up to New York City, the Queens borough to be exact as the New Jersey outfit faced off against St. Johns University of the Big East on Saturday March 23. It was one way traffic for the majority of the afternoon as Sky Blue came away as 5-0 winners. USWNT defender, now potentially turned forward, Kelley O’Hara grabbed the first goal in the 15th minute of the first half. A couple of minutes before halftime, Kendall Johnson was taken down inside the St. John’s box and stepped up to take her own spot kick and scored. The second half was cluttered with a lot of substitutions for both sides but Sky Blue scored three more in the second half. Johnson scored her second of the game right around the 75th minute with a shot from the outside. In the last quarter hour of the match, Katy Frierson grabbed two as well to make it 5-0 for the visitors. Lineups were not provided but we do know that Sky Blue will travel to face fellow NWSL side Boston Breakers in Massachusetts this coming Wednesday night.
Washington Spirit hosted NCAA College Cup runners-up Penn State on Sunday March 17 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in pretty chilly conditions. There was a lot of back-and-forth action with both keepers (Washington’s Chantel Jones and Penn State’s Britt Eckerstrom) having to make several big saves throughout the match. It looked like the match would end nil-nil but four minutes from time, trialist Olivia Wagner got onto a loose ball in the box from a corner kick and buried the shot, giving the hosts a 1-0 win. Plenty of trialists in action for the Spirit but all credit given to Penn State for giving a great effort. Highlights and interview with Head Coach Mike Jorden right this way. Lineup for Washington: Jones (GK); Weigel (Siegel 45′), Toulouse, Anderson (Cooke 70′), Hubka; Roberts (Wagner 55′), Hodak, Wells (Calderon 70′); McCarty (Brandt 64′), Mischler (Miller 30′), Ochs (Williams 45′).
On Sunday, March 24, Washington hosted Duke University to the Maryland SoccerPlex on another chilly Sunday. And many of the US and Canadian WNT players were in action for Washington, but that did not deter their ACC opponents either. While most of the play was dictated in the Duke half of the field, the Spirit could not put one in the back of the net and the final score was 0-0. And while the goals weren’t coming for Washington, the injuries did come as Kika Toulouse and Colleen Williams both had to be subbed out early. Starting XI for Washington plus subs: Harris (GK) (Jones 62); Anderson (Huster 45), Toulouse (Wiegel 6 / Hubka 45), Gayle, Krieger; Wells (Williams 62 / Siegel 70), Matheson, Lindsey (King 75); Ochs, McCarty (Mischler 77), Miller (Roberts 45). Also, there were post-match interviews with Diana Matheson and Lori Lindsey after the draw with Duke.
Western New York Flash hosted Canisius College at the indoor Sahlen’s Sports Park facility on Friday March 15. While not much information about lineups or players was listed, the Flash opened their preseason slate with a 3-0 victory over the Golden Griffs. Two goals in the first half and the third goal came in the second half, Ashley Grove scored the first goal from a Vicki DiMartino cross and then the final two goals came from McCall Zerboni. The first was finished off of a Jodi-Ann Robinson cross and the midfielders second goal came from a free kick. Postgame interviews and some highlights right here.
On Saturday March 23, the Flash continued their preseason winning ways with a 7-0 drubbing of Penn State. After the Nittany Lions gave an impressive performance against Washington a week ago, their momentum could not be carried to the Sahlen’s Sports Park as the Flash dominated all 90 minutes of this contest. Adriana and Jodi-Ann Robinson each had two goals while Abby Wambach, Sam Kerr and Tina DiMartino each had one goal. The starting XI for the Flash: Adrianna Franch (GK); Brittany Taylor, Alex Sahlen, Bryana McCarthy, Angela Salem; McCall Zerboni, Adriana, Estelle Johnson, Vicki DiMartino; Veronica Perez, Abby Wambach.
Boston Breakers and Portland Thorns FC did not hold preseason matches up to this point. But as mentioned earlier, Boston will host Sky Blue up at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass. on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:15pm. And Portland will be playing a friendly against the University of Portland at Merlo Field on Saturday, March 30 at 7pm PT. While the match will be free, fans will have the opportunity to donate towards the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute’s Play Smart Young Heart Screening program that night, a program that offers free heart screenings for youth ages 12-18 along with informational resources about sudden cardiac arrest and heart disease prevention.
Check back in a couple weeks for another recap of NWSL preseason matches as we get closer the NWSL first kick on April 13.
JJ Duke graduated from Rider University in New Jersey with a degree in Digital Media Studies. While his playing days may have ended back in high school, he still prides himself of being a decent shot-stopper and an all-around fanatic of the beautiful game (fervent supporter of Manchester United and the founder of a Rider supporters group, the 206 Ultras). He is the Student General Manager at 107.7 The Bronc at Rider and has contributed to various local newspaper and Web sites in the Trenton, NJ area of high school and collegiate sports including The Rider News and Fish4Scores.com. He became involved with Our Game Magazine early in 2012 when upon following OGM on Twitter, he was contacted within minutes (which caught him by surprise) by Tiffany about working with the team. After spending the summer covering the USL W-League and the WPSL-Elite league as an intern, he is looking forward to continue working with the OGM team, especially on games in the US.