English in Action: Weekend 8-10 May

A busy weekend for Englishmen abroad saw some important contributions from the expatriates.

On Friday night in Austria, striker Gary Noel bagged a brace for his side First Vienna, as they defeated Donaufield 3-1 in the country’s third tier. It was the English forward’s sixth goal in eleven appearances since he made the move to Vienna in March.

On Saturday, newly-promoted PS Kemi Kings hosted their first game of the season against Haka. Starting up front was Billy Ions, now in his third season at the Finnish club. The former Newcastle United youth player scored his club’s third in a 3-2 win to secure back-to-back wins in the country’s second tier.

In Japan, ex-England international Jay Bothroyd failed to extend his scoring streak to four games but his side Júbilo Iwata still managed to defeat Mito HollyHock 2-1. The former Cardiff City striker has five goals in eight games since the move to Asia and his side currently sit top of J. League 2 after 13 games.

Over in America, there were impressive performances from a couple of Englishmen. First, midfielder Luke Mulholland fired home his second goal of the season to guide Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 away win over Chicago Fire. Then in Florida, Luke Boden provided the assist for Aurelien Collin’s 90th minute equaliser as Orlando City secured a late point at home to New England Revolution. Former Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines also played the full ninety for Orlando.

Sunday was a prolific day for England’s ex-pats, with no fewer than eight exiles on the score-sheets for their respective clubs.

In Belgium, John Bostock scored OH Leuven’s only goal of the game as they drew 1-1 with AS Eupen in the Second Division playoffs. After finishing fifth in the league, Bostock’s side are in a four-way battle to play Belgian Pro League football next season, with three teams from the Second Division competing with one from the top tier.

Former Walsall defender Netan Sansara opened the scoring as his side Fredrikstad secured a much-needed 3-1 win over Ranheim. Fredrikstad, now in their third season in Norway’s second tier, had started the season poorly, failing to win any of their first six games of the season but a goal from club captain Sansara helped secure maximum points for the first time on Sunday.

In Sweden’s top tier, Hakeem Araba continued his fine form, making it four goals in four games as he scored the only goal of the game to secure victory for Falkenberg over Halmstad. The English striker has now scored in four games in a row, having previously failed to find the net in his first four games of the season. The video below shows highlights of the match.

In the country’s second tier, Östersunds FK managed by former West Brom defender Graham Potter, secured a 2-1 away win over AFC United helped by a goal from Jamie Hopcutt. James Sinclair was an unused sub for Potter’s side.

In the MLS, it was the usual suspects making the headlines. Dom Dwyer‘s third goal of the season picked up a point for Sporting Kansas City who drew 1-1 away to DC United. Elsewhere, a brace from Bradley Wright-Phillips was enough to secure victory for Red Bulls over City in the first ever New York derby. Lloyd Sam was also involved, assisting Wright-Phillips’ first of the night.

Finally, in the NASL, the country’s second tier, goals from Tomi Ameobi and Ritchie Jones were not enough to prevent a 4-2 loss for FC Edmonton away to New York Cosmos, who had Spanish legend Raul on the score-sheet. The English pair now both have three goals each this season.

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English in Action: Weekend 21-22 March

As he so often is, Bradley Wright-Phillips was the stand-out performer in a busy weekend for Englishmen abroad. The forward has carried his form over from last season as he bagged a goal and an assist to guide the New York Red Bulls to a 2-0 victory over DC United on Sunday. The 30-year-old showed a ice-cold composure to control and long ball and slot home before setting up his compatriot Lloyd Sam to wrap up the victory for the Red Bulls.

The New York duo were among eight Englishmen who featured in the MLS the past weekend. Featuring for the other team in the Big Apple, Manchester City loanee Shay Facey did not have the full debut he was dreaming of. The young defender picked up two yellow cards during the second half of New York City’s goalless draw with Colorado Rapids to earn career-first red card.

Elsewhere in the US, Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer and Portland Timbers’ Liam Ridgewell faced each other as their sides battled to a 0-0 draw, which was the same scoreline over in the match in New England where Nigel Reo-Coker featured for Montreal Impact. Seb Hines‘s Orlando City suffered their first MLS loss as they went down 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps and Giles Barnes and co. at Houston Dynamo secured an impressive draw away to last year’s champions LA Galaxy.

There were two other English players on the score-sheet across the globe. Adam Burnaby-Atkins‘ second goal of the season was enough to secure a 2-2 draw for Dender in the Belgian Third Division. The 19-year-old midfielder is in his first season in Belgium, having previously featured for DC United’s academy in America.

The other goalscorer was Saul Hapin of Hawke’s Bay United in New Zealand but his first half penalty was not enough to prevent a 2-1 loss at home to Team Wellington. English ‘keeper Josh Hill also featured for Hawke’s Bay.

Another appearance of note was Khurram Shazad, who debuted for Austrian third-tier side WSG Wattens. The young forward entered the game as 55th minute substitute and saw his side won 1-0 over bottom club Bizau. Shazad is a former US college student, having attended Young Harris College in Georgia.

In Slovakia, Trenčín went top of the Super Liga table after a 3-0 win over DAC. 22-year-old midfielder James Lawrence played the entire match, his 15th appearance of the season.

In the Singapore S. League, Craig Fagan is still looking for his first goal for Brunei-based side DPMM FC, as he made it three starts without registering a strike. However, Steve Kean’s DPMM did still manage a 2-2 draw with Home United.

Finally, Medy Elito played the last 16 minutes as VVV Venlo secured a late draw away to Fortuna Sittard. The result means Venlo remain just one point outside the play-off spots in Holland’s second tier.

2015 Season Preview (March Edition)

Although March usually sees English football edge closer to its nail-biting finale, for many leagues it signals fresh optimism as the local domestic scene kicks off.

Across Scandinavia, footballing hibernation is over as the spring beacons those who have been locked up all winter to brace the outdoors and play ball once again. Several competitions across Asia and the Americas also see the turn of the month as the ideal time to kick off their 2015 campaigns.

Here’s my preview for the countries which begin their campaigns in March. An April edition will follow.

Singapore: S. League
Opening match: 1st March
Singapore’s top domestic league, the S. League, kicks off the 2015 football-fest with its opening round taking place at the weekend. Both English players feature this Sunday, with former Hull City forward Craig Fagan set to make his debut for Steve Kean’s DPMM side.

The S. League has slimmed to ten teams for this year, with each side playing each other three times. Although the competition is the domestic league of Singapore, three sides from outside the country compete. Japanese side Albrix Niigata have a sister side which compete in the league, as well as Brunei-based DPMM and Malaysian side Harimau Muda B.

Warriors FC lifted the title last season, their first victory since 2009, and they boast the most English talent. As well as being managed by Stoke-born coach Alex Weaver, they also include compatriot midfielder Tom Beattie who is set to feature in his third consecutive season in Singapore. Weaver impressed many in his first full season in charge of the Warriors, becoming the first non-Asian manager to win the S. League title and only the second ever foreigner. Beattie also dazzled under Weaver’s leadership, having been re-united with his former coach after a spell together at Hougang United. The pair will be looking to hold on to their title this season when the campaign kicks off this weekend.

Elsewhere, the only other English player set to feature in Singapore this year also begins his campaign this Sunday. Former Derby County forward Craig Fagan joined Brunei-based side DPMM earlier this month, linking up with ex-Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean. DPMM will be looking to recover from a disappointing campaign last season, in which they finished 8th, and will be hoping that Fagan can provide the spark needed to guide them towards the top of the table.

USA: Major League Soccer and United States League
Openings match: MLS – 7th March, USL – 22 March
March marks the start of two of the US’s leagues as the country’s first and third tiers begin within the next four weeks.

Major League Soccer, the country’s premier competition, begins on March 7th and will include expansion sides New York City FC and Orlando City for the first time.

It’s fair to say they are not the only two notable additions to the MLS this year. Both Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will make the move across the Atlantic to join LA Galaxy and New York City respectively following the conclusion of the Premier League season. Although that means the pair will both miss the opening months of the season, it has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of their arrival to the country.

The highly decorated pair will join ten Englishmen already plying their trade in the rapidly expanding league. They include ex-Villa players Luke Moore and Nigel Reo-Coker, midfielders Giles Barnes and Lloyd Sam and last season’s top scorers, Dom Dwyer and Bradley Wright-Phillips. English boss Adrian Heath also continues to take charge of Orlando City as they compete in the MLS for the first time.

The league kicks off its 20th season next week with two ten-team conferences and culminates in the end-of-season playoffs, which will include twelve teams this year.

Just bumped into myself in Hollywood, standing next to TH too 👏 #LuckyBoy

A post shared by Dom Dwyer (@ddwyer14) on

Dom Dwyer with Dom Dwyer…

The newly rebranded United States League also begins next month, with its first match taking place on March 22nd.

The league has had a major overhaul during the off-season with the competition increasing from fourteen teams to twenty due tot he fact that every MLS franchise now has a reserve side, or an affiliate side, competing in the competition.

The increased number of teams means the division will now split into eastern and western conferences, adopting the structure of the MLS.

Two English managers will feature in the league, with Leigh Cowlishaw and former Everton player David Irving taking the reigns at Richmond Kickers and Tulsa Roughnecks respectively.

There are also several Englishmen on the rosters of the USL sides. One of those is former Manchester United youth defender Mark Howard who, after five seasons in Denmark, joined Oklahoma City Energy last season.

In addition, with many second sides in the division, players can easily drop down from the MLS. This will both increase the quality of the division and also give chances to Englishmen who may not be featuring regular in the top tier.

Read my piece on why you should watch US soccer here.

April
Several other divisions, especially those across Scandinavia, begin their league campaigns in April. There will be a separate post for those leagues. However, in Finland and Sweden, competitive football has already begun with cup competitions starting as early as last week in Finland and yesterday in Sweden.

 

 

English in action: 29th November

In a busy Saturday, fifteen Englishmen made appearances for their overseas sides.

Belgium: Waasland-Beveren 2-1 Mouscron-Péruwelz (Pro League)
English midfielder Jonny Rowell played the full ninety minutes as his side Waasland-Beveren defeated Mouscron-Péruwelz 2-1 in the Belgian Pro League..

The result means Rowell’s side move up to 13th in the league table, one spot above compatriot Chuks Aneke’s side, Zulte-Waregem.

Belgium: OH Leuven 3-0 Racing Mechelen (Second Division)
Another English midfielder in Belgian also saw his side his side win. John Bostock played the full match as his Leuven team strolled to a comfortable 3-0 win over Racing Mechelen.

The result means Bostock’s side remain in sixth place in the Belgian Second Division.

Cyprus: Ayia Napa 1-1 Nea Salamis (1. Division)
Two English players lined up against each other in this Cyprus top tier match.

Defender Michael Felgate and goalkeeper Corrin Brooks-Meade started for Ayia Napa and Nea Salamis respectively.

In the end, the points were shared between the two expatriates as a goal in each half saw the game end 1-1.

Germany: Hallescher 2-1 Osnabruck (3. Liga)
English forward Osayamen Osawe came on for his 12th substitute appearance of the season as his side Hallescher shocked Osnabruck by winning 2-1.

Osawe came on in the 91st minute, as the hosts looked to see out the final moments of the game by bringing on the former Blackburn Rovers forward.

Germany: Carl Zeiss Jena 4-0 Auerbach (Regionalliga)
13th place Auerbach travelled to 4th place Carl Zeiss Jena with two Englishmen in their squad.

Defender Korede Aiyegbusi started for Auerbach with his compatriot midfielder Moses Makinde on the bench.

However, the match turned out to be one to forget for the two expatriates, as even though Makinde came on in the 69th minute, Auerbach fell to heavy 4-0 loss.

Francis Williams.

Germany: Rot-Weiß Oberhausen 3-1 Rödinghausen (Regionalliga)
Two Englishmen played against each other as Rhys Tyler‘s Rot-Weiß Oberhausen hosted Francis William‘s Rödinghausen in Germany’s fourth tier.

Tyler started the game on the bench but Williams started up top for the visitors.

The game turned out to be bitter-sweet experience for Williams as the forward scored his first goal of the season, in his twelfth appearance, but could not prevent his side from losing 3-1.

Tyler came on as an 88th minute substitute for the hosts, with his side already 3-1 up.

India: Pune City 1-1 Atlético de Kolkata (Indian Super League)
Jermaine Pennant made his fourth start for Pune City as they hosted Atlético de Kolkata in the Indian Super League.

The English winger was subbed in the 84th minute with the match at 1-1, and that was how it finished.

Malta: Tarxien Rainbows 0-6 Valletta (Premier League)

Lateef Elford-Alliyu grabbed a brace

Valletta made it two comfortable wins in a row, as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 6-0. The result meant Valletta have now scored 11 goals and conceded none in their last two games.

Lateef Elford-Alliyu was on the score-sheet once again as he bagged his fourth & fifth league goals of the season when he scored Valletta’s third and fifth goals of the match.

Portugal: Belenenses 0-0 Arouca (Primeira Liga)
English goalkeeper Matt Jones started for Belenenses as they looked to move into the Primeira Liga’s top three with a win.

The three points didn’t come though as, although Jones did his job by keeping a clean sheet, his outfield team-mates did not manage to get a goal, as the game ended 0-0.

USA: New England Revolution 2-2 New York Red Bulls (MLS Playoffs)
Two Englishmen did start for New York Red Bulls in their MLS Eastern Conference Playoff final second-leg but all the talk was about the English striker that didn’t start.

MLS top-scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips missed New York’s biggest game of the season through suspension.

The two Englishmen who did start though were Richard Eckersley and Lloyd Sam. The pair played the full ninety as the game ended 2-2, meaning New England went through on aggregate after a 2-1 win in the first leg.

English in action: 23rd November

It was a busy Sunday for English players abroad, with fourteen players being involved across the globe.

Belgium: Kortrijk 3-1 Zulte-Waregem (Pro League)

A crazy nine minute spell saw Zulte-Waregem go from leading by a goal to playing with ten men and losing 3-1.

The away side took the lead after just six minutes and were leading by a goal when English midfielder Chuks Aneke came on for the visitors in the 62nd minute.

However, just six minutes later, Kortrijk equalised. This then lead to a disastrous spell for Zulte-Waregem as they conceded another two goals and had a man sent off in the next nine minutes.

Former Arsenal man Aneke and his team-mates will be hoping to put this match behind them, after they suffered an eighth loss of the season.

Belgium: Tienen 1-2 Union La Calamine (Third Division)
Another Englishman in Belgium also suffered defeat yesterday. Amardeep Singh made his fifteenth start of the season as he lined up for Tienen against Union La Calamine in a game between two mid-table sides in the Belgian Third Division.

However, despite playing the full ninety minutes, Singh was unable to prevent his side from losing as they fell to a 79th minute winner from defender Dylan Biersard to lose 2-1.

Malta: Valletta 5-0 Mosta FC (Premier League)

English forward Lateef Elford-Alliyu was on the scoresheet as his side Valletta thrashed Mosta FC 5-0.

The 22-year-old former West Brom youngster scored his side’s third goal in the 37th minute as the victory moved Valletta up to second in the Malta Premier League. It was Elford-Alliyu’s third league goal of the season, having made the move to Malta from Tamworth in November last year.

New Zealand: Wellington Phoenix Reserves 1-2 Waitakere United (ASB Premiership)
Waitakere United started with two English forwards as they defeated Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2-1 with two late goals.

The visitors lined up with Adam Dickinson and Derice Richards up top as they looked to bounce back from two losses in a row. However after just twelve minutes, Dickinson was forced off through injury.

Richards remained on the field for the full ninety though, and was involved as his team scored twice in the final three minutes of the game to secure a 2-1 away win.

New Zealand: Canterbury United 2-2 Team Wellington (ASB Premiership)
Two more Englishmen started as Canterbury United lined up with Tom Schwarz and Mark Peers in another match with late drama.

The pair played the full ninety minutes and were joined by compatriot Danny Schwarz on the field by the time Aaron Spain scored his 89th minute equaliser to secure a point for Canterbury United.

USA: New York Red Bulls 1-2  New England Revolution (MLS Playoffs)

Wright-Phillips in action yesterday.

The New York Red Bulls topped the bill yesterday for the number of Englishmen starting as they fielded three in their MLS Eastern Conference Playoff final against New England Revolution. Richard Eckersley, Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips were the men tasked with securing a win for the Red Bulls in the first leg.

The visitors went one-nil up early on but the hosts soon hit back through an unsurprising source. Bradley Wright-Phillips was the man who headed home an equaliser for New York in the 27th minute, his 31st goal in a record-breaking season.

However, the Revolution were to have the last laugh as they scored four minutes from time to take a 2-1 lead back home to New England going into next week’s second leg.

On the bench
Micah Richards was an unused sub as Fiorentina won 2-1 away at Hellas Verona in Italy. Goalkeeper Corin Brooks was not required by his side Nea Salamis as they lost 1-0 at home to Ermis in the Cyprus 1. Division. Finally, Osayaman Osawe watched his side Hallescher FC win 1-0 against Mainz II in Germany’s 3. Liga from the bench.