Sky Blue signs high scoring Melis for 2012
Arsenal LFC (England) v Rayo Vallecano (Spain) 5-1, 6-2 on aggregate ZFC Rossiyanka (Russia) v Energya Voronezh (Russia) 3-3, 7-3 on aggregate Olympique Lyonnais (France) v Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) 6-0, 12-0 on aggregate Sassari Torres (Italy) v Brondby IF (Denmark) 1-3, 2-5 on aggregate Paris St Germain (France) v 1.FFC Frankfurt (Germany) 2-1, 2-4 on aggregate LdB FC Malmö (Sweden) v SV Neulengbach (Austria) 1-0, 4-1 on aggregate Göteborg FC (Sweden) v Fortuna Hjorring (Denmark) 3-2, 4-2 on aggregate Glasgow City (Scotland) v 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam (Germany) 0-7, 0-17 on aggregate
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The quarterfinals will be played next March. The following teams are still in the competition:
Canberra United FC is on top of the W-League table but check out how the other teams stand in the race to the top.
In Malmo’s 1-0 defeat of Austrian champion SV Neulengbach, Sky Blue FC’s recently signed Dutch international scoring sensation Manon Melis (see below) scored the only goal of the game in the first half.
Frankfurt had tried to leverage the largest budget in the league to try to recapture the title but their recent two-game losing streak, including a 1-0 road defeat to Freiburg in round eight, left them chasing both Potsdam and Duisburg. Despite the most league crowns in German women’s soccer with seven their last title was in 2008. They have picked up two international caliber defenders: Japanese World Cup winner Saki Kumagai and New Zealand’s Ria Percival, the former FC Indiana and Ottawa Fury W-League player. They also acquired the face of many Women’s World Cup promotional efforts this summer, midfielder Lira Barjamaj, who formerly played with Potsdam. Another German World Cup player, Kim Kulig, also came to the country’s economic capital (from Hamburg), but is recovering from a ruptured ACL. Forward Ana Maria Crnogorcevic of Switzerland also moved over from Hamburg. These newcomers will integrate with some strong returnees, including two Americans: defenders Gina Lewandowski, who played in eight games and started six for the 2011 WPS Champions Western New York Flash, and U.S. National Team starter Ali Krieger, who both joined Frankfurt back in 2007. Two German national team veterans, Nadine Angerer in goal and midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes, line up with two Swedish internationals, forward Jessica Landstrom—who played with Sky Blue FC in 2010--and defender Sara Thunebro.
Vfl Wolfsburg is making a play to contest the title after signing experienced Conny Pohlers (an ex-WUSA veteran) from Frankfurt—who led the league in scoring last season with 25 and is second this season with 9, and Lena Goessling from Bad Neuenahr. American Goalkeeper Jaime Souza is in her second year with Wolfsburg. Other international players are defender Rebecca Smith of New Zealand, midfielders Martina Moser from Switzerland and Katri Nokso-Koivisto of Finland, and two forwards: Leni Larsen-Kaurin of Norway and Zsanett Jakabfi of Hungary.
Another team with a strong upside is SC Bad Neuenahr, with German U-20 forward sensation Celia Okoyino da Mbabi along with young New Zealand national team members Katie Hoyle (midfielder--age 23) and Sarah Gregorius (forward--age 24). Gregorius scored a sensational goal against England during the World Cup for a lead that the Kiwis lost in the last quarter of the game. Celia Okoyino da Mbabi has three goals thus far this season while Gregorius has chipped in two. Bad Neuenahr is currently tied for seventh with Hamburg on 8 points.
Potsdam, who have won five German League titles, were runners-up in last season’s UEFA Champions League Final to France’s Olympique Lyon, after defeating the same side in the 2009-10 championship match. American Alyssa Naeher has been playing well in goal, joining the German powerhouse after a strong season with the Boston Breakers. Potsdam also brought in forwards Chantal de Ridder from Holland and Margret Lara Vidarsdottir from Iceland via Swedish side Kristianstads. Swedish 2011 World Cup team midfielder Antonia Goransson came over from Hamburg. Another top profile import signing was Equatorial Guinea’s World Cup sensation Genoveva Anonma, who has already scored 14 goals this season, the highest total in the league. Anonma played with FF USV Jena last year. 2011 World Cup Winner Yuki Nagasato of Japan returns to the front line and is tied for fourth in the league in scoring with five goals, half of her final total during the 2010-11 season.
UEFA Champions League
This week, we examine Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga which has completed roughly one-third of its 2011-12 schedule, Australia’s W-League which is halfway through its fourth season and the UEFA Champions League round of 16 results, highlighting a number of former and current North American-based players abroad. We also review a major international loan agreement for Sky Blue F.C. for the upcoming season
SG Essen-Schonebeck has American defender Katarina Tarr returning. The former University of Missouri player (2005-2008) and W-League Buffalo Flash member (2009) joined Tennis Borussia Berlin in 2009/2010 and then played for SG Essen-Schonebeck the past two years. Melanie Hoffmann (ex-WUSA Philadelphia Charge WUSA player) is a key midfielder for Essen.
Perth Glory added experienced Norwegian International forward Lisa-Marie Woods after her Danish League season ended with Fortuna Hjorring. The 27-year-old Woods, who played for FC Indiana in the W-League in 2009, joins Perth’s other imports, English youth international midfielder Katie Holtham and New Zealand international forward Emma Kete, who played for the Ottawa Fury in the USL’s W-League and briefly for the Lincoln Ladies this summer in England’s FA WSL.
By Tim Grainey
WPS continues to be a prime destination for top international talent as Sky Blue FC leveraged their working relationship with Swedish side Malmo to acquire high scoring Dutch international Manon Melis on loan for the 2012 season. Melis was the top scorer of the Swedish league Damallsvenskan in three of the past four seasons, where she has registered 64 goals in just 63 career appearances for LdB FC Malmö. Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra said: “We think Manon will be one of the fastest forwards in WPS, and that is basically a requirement in this league because the defenses are so quick and physical. We expect her to be a goal scorer at this level, and she has a proven track record of doing that in the Swedish league and with her national team.” The 25-year-old Melis is the leading light of the Dutch National Team, which has improved greatly in the past few years. She has 83 international appearances and her 40 goals are the most in national team history.
Of players familiar to American fans, Brazilian international and former Chicago Red Stars forward Cristiane scored in the first minute for Russian champion Rossiyanka in their second leg Russian derby. Nigeria’s Emueje Ogbiagbevha scored for Voronezh along with Elena Danilova, who played for FC Indiana in 2007.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (3 points), FF USV Jena (5 points) and FC Lok Leipzig (6 points) are the bottom three sides,Jeremy Maclin Jersey, with the last two at the end of the season relegated to the German second division.
Germany (2): 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam, 1.FFC Frankfurt France (1): Olympique Lyonnais Russia (1): ZFC Rossiyanka Sweden (2): LdB FC Malmö, Göteborg FC England (1): Arsenal LFC Denmark (1): Brondby IF
FCR 2001 Duisburg, the third traditional German title challenger behind Potsdam and Frankfurt, won a single league crown in 1999-2000 and finished second in five of six seasons from 2004-05 through 2009-10. Duisburg has a strong core of returning German internationals including Alex Popp, Simone Laudehr,James Harrison Jersey, Inka Grings and Linda Bresonik. Japanese World Cup midfield star Kozue Ando is also back. There were a few notable changes however: head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg was fired and is now in charge of Jena, after they won promotion to the top league last spring. Another significant departure was Inka Grings, the all-time leader in goals in the Frauen-Bundesliga with over 350 goals. Despite reported interest from reigning European Champions Olympique Lyon and Russian power Rossiyanka, the 33 year forward joined FC Zurich in Switzerland, not noted as a bellwether league in Europe,Miles Austin Youth Jersey.
A trio of North Americans play in the second division with Cloppenburg, currently second in the Nord (North Region) and chasing a promotion berth: defenders Jackie Cruz of Puerto Rico (WPSL’s Sacramento Storm) and Caitlin Howard (University of Florida) and forward Chelsea White. Defender Allison Scurich plays for TSV Crailsheim, which is third in the Sud (South Region). Scurich, who played at Washington State University from 2004-2007, has been with Crailsheim since 2009 and has recently started to play with Croatia, qualifying through her family. Also with Crailsheim is American defender Jeannette Dyer and goalkeeper Rachel Howard of New Zealand.
In the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League, the quarterfinalists are set after the round of 16 were completed in mid-November after the second leg ties:
Freiburg, located in the Black Forest near the French border, lies sixth with 13 points and has signed midfielder Chioma Igwe, who played in WPS with the Boston Breakers in 2010 and the Chicago Red Stars in 2009. She lines up along with a French trio: forward Marina Makanza, midfielder Lydia Miraoui, both 20 years old, and 31-year-old defender Stephanie Wendlinger. Other imports include two from Switzerland: defender Caroline Abbe (23) and goalkeeper Marisa Brunner (29) along with Finnish midfielder Essi Sainio.
The German Frauen-Bundesliga, which is about one-third of the way through the 2011-2012 season, started in mid-August. The German Women’s League top division has seen a huge bump in attendance so far the season (nine rounds), averaging 1,183 fans after 54 games, up from a per-game average of 834 during the 2010-11 season, an increase of 30%. The excitement of the Women’s World Cup this summer in Germany no doubt has helped to drive more fans to league games, even though the host nation lost to eventual winners Japan in the quarterfinals. FFC Frankfurt attracted 5,200—the largest crowd by far this season--for their round nine match against table topping FFC Turbine Potsdam. Potsdam, the reigning champion for the last three years, defeated Frankfurt 2-0. If this attendance increase holds, Germany will surpass Sweden’s Damallsvenskan for the title as the highest drawing league in Europe. The Damallsvenskan recently finished its 2011 season with an average attendance of 924 per game. After nine rounds, FFC Turbine Potsdam leads the table with a perfect record of 9-0-0 on 27 points, with a league-leading 28 goals for and only 2 against. FCR 2001 Duisburg is five points behind on 22 points with a 7-1-1 record. FFC Frankfurt, after acquiring a number of new players in the offseason, has fallen off the pace a bit after two consecutive losses and is third with 21 points. VFL Wolfsburg is fourth with a 6-1-2 record for 19 points and perennial strugglers SG Essen-Schonebeck are surprisingly in fifth with 17 points from a 5-2-2 record and still in the chase for one of two European Champions League spots for the 2012-13 season.
In reigning champion Olympique Lyon’s second leg win,Charles Woodson Youth Jersey, former Ohio State University forward Lara Dickenmann scored as did former LA Sol and FC Gold Pride’s midfielder Camille Abily. Fellow French internationals Louisa Necib and Laura Georges also tallied along with Swedish international forward Lotta Schelin.
Though not moving on, Paris Saint-Germain won the second leg against Frankfurt with former magicJack and Chicago Red Star forward Ella Masar assisting Sky Blue FC’s Allie Long for one of her two tallies in the game.
Australia’s W-League hit the halfway point of their season after round six on Saturday November 26, 2011. Canberra United are undefeated and are well poised to capture the regular season title, as they sit five points ahead of reigning champion Brisbane Roar and last year’s Grand Finalists Sydney FC. American import goalkeeper Allison Lipsher has played well for Sydney and former WPS forward Sarah Walsh scored in their round four 4-1 win versus Newcastle Jets. In another round four game,Tracy Porter Broncos Jersey, two Americans were prominent as Taryn Hemmings scored for Canberra while Kendall Fletcher countered with a tally for Melbourne in United’s 2-1 win over the Victory.
FF USV Jena replaced powerful forward Genoveva Anomna with New Zealand forward Amber Hearn (a former Ottawa Fury player) but their most important signing may be Duisburg’s former coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. Young Italian import Katja Schroffenegger (age 20) has been starting at goalkeeper. Jena needs to string an unbeaten run together to climb out of their current eleventh place position, which would find them relegated at the end of the season
In Brondby’s tie-clinching victory over Sassari Torres of Italy,Steve Smith Panthers Jersey, former FC Indiana and University of Nevada Reno’s Australian international Aivi Luik scored.