West Ham Women 2-4 Manchester United Women: Alessia Russo doubles down and a fine strike from US import Tobin Heath helps Casey Stoney’s team continue undefeated start to the season
- Manchester United Women beat West Ham 4-2 in the WSL to remain unbeaten
- Alessia Russo scored twice while Tobin Heath and Christen Press were on target
- Emily van Egmond and Rachel Daly scored to narrow the deficit for the home team
Socks around her shins, on the right sidelines, Tobin Heath looks like a throwback to English football as it was in the 1970s, not one of the league’s new American glitterati.
The focus on the game’s US arrivals has actually been out of proportion to their contribution thus far. Sam Mewis didn’t set the world on fire in Manchester City, where Rose Lavelle has barely played. Alex Morgan will not appear in Tottenham for the next two weeks, referring to a ‘minor setback’ yesterday. But Heath delivered the first performance consistent with all the talk, revealing in the process that opponents must be much better prepared for her than this.
Only bigger clubs may have the resources to attract such players, although there can be no excuse for the time and space the 32-year-old was given to dominate the match and win for Manchester United, which is still undefeated and a of the divisions. new powers.
Tobin Heath was influential when Manchester United Women beat West Ham 4-2 on Sunday
Alessia Russo was on target twice, as Casey Stoney remained unbeaten in the WSL this season
She was free to stand up and judge the options when Katie Zelem arrived to take her pass and loop the ball that Leah Galton put back for Alessia Russo to score an opener. There was the same hospitality when Heath took a short ball from Russo and shot a shot past Mackenzie Arnold three minutes later.
It helped Casey Stoney’s side that West Ham was determined to play from the back at every opportunity, despite the lack of the ability to consistently pass under pressure. The same one-track mind that did for Phil Neville’s England at last summer’s World Cup. Manna from Heaven for Zelem, the highly influential midfield technician.
United, like Chelsea, shows the ability to mix it up and go long too. They also have an excellent attack balance, with striker Alessia Russo taking advantage of the breadth that Heath and Leah Galton provide from the right and left flanks. A throwback to how United’s men’s team used to play.
The American international scored her team’s second goal with a fine right-footed attack
Russo scored her second goal just before half time to put the Red Devils at the wheel
Russo, of Italian descent, is the one that Neville and his English successor Sarina Wiegman should be excited about. Putting others in the game, connecting to Heath and scoring United’s technically outstanding third with a run over goal to meet Galton’s cross with a strong header – the 21-year-old looks like a ready-made successor to Ellen White in the international ranks. She also took refuge from the chaos in the US this summer, moving to the UK six months ahead of schedule as she originally planned to complete her studies at the University of North Carolina while playing for North Carolina Tar.
“We watched her for a long time,” manager Casey Stoney said last night. “Her availability was one of the few positive aspects of what’s going on everywhere.”
United’s defense, plagued with injuries, can leak, as West Ham proved. Emily van Egmond beat Amy Turner to a cross to bring things to 2-1. Rachel Daly, the team’s most dangerous threat, made a cross / shot from the right and looped over Mary Earps for 3-2. The home team went long after the break and threatened more. United failed to pressurize the ball for the two goals.
Emily van Egmond pulled one back for the hosts while Rachel Daly with a cross / shot brought the score to 3-2
But the Americans were in charge. It was occasional football from Heath, running the ball under her studs, shaking it over her head with her heel, and riding a Laura Vetterlain. Her World Cup teammate Christen Press arrived off the bench in 76 minutes and quickly scored United’s fourth – a nice volley from Lucy Staniforth’s free kick.
The new stars have had an impact on a number of levels. United sold six times more merchandise for the women’s team than their previous month record after Heath and Press arrived. But Stoney is more concerned about Arsenal, who destroyed Tottenham yesterday and will give a more accurate barometer in two weeks’ time of whether United can claim a top three spot this season. “It’s going to be a really big test for us,” said Stoney. “They are an exceptional team.”
Christen Press was introduced for the last 15 minutes and volleyed home to make four