Christen Press isn’t a stranger to finding the back of the net but her Utah Royals FC career hadn’t seen that aspect of her game. Until now. Before the Women’s World Cup, Press had scored just three goals in her thirteen appearances for Utah but since July 19th, Press has four goals in three matches. If the Royals are going to make the playoffs, it may just come off the back of Christen Press finding the form that had deserted her in the National Women’s Soccer League since she had moved on from the Chicago Red Stars in 2017.
If you are unfamiliar with Press (which at this point, there is no excuse to not know who she is), let me present you with four goals she has scored that illustrate just how good she is.
1 - Press announces her return against the Portland Thorns
If someone asked you to describe exactly what Christen Press can do on the field, show them this goal. The positioning, the touch, the awareness and then the finish all exemplify what makes Press such a special player. She created room for herself out wide, nut-megged her marker before out-foxing the goalkeeper with her eyes and finishing at the near post.
Elizabeth Ball is in her rookie season in the NWSL and has done well all things considered. Unfortunately for her, on this night, Press decided to show her just how far away she was from being able to stop the very best and essentially embarrassed her in front of over 10,000 people. She will not want to remember this goal any time soon.
2 - Even her USWNT teammates can’t seem to stop Press
The North Carolina Courage rolled into Rio Tinto Stadium a week after the Thorns and Press was up against Abby Dahlkemper, someone she had spent the last two months training with and against on the USWNT. That did not phase Press at all and she made Dahlkemper look less like the seasoned player she is and more like someone who just discovered just how good her opponent is today.
The pass by Vero Boquete was smooth and Press’ finish was even smoother. I could be quippy here and say that it should be “Bend it like Press” and not “Bend it like Beckham” but this finish deserves better than that. One touch and bang is more apt. Short, sweet and to the point.
3 - Press puts on the after burners
By the way, did I mention that Christen Press is fast? So not only is she technically gifted and clearly possessing a high soccer IQ, she can also speed by players like they’re traffic cones.
Once she picked up the ball and built up a head of steam, the French defenders had no chance and Press kept her composure to finish coolly past Sarah Bouhaddi.
4 - Score off a bouncing ball? No problem.
Volleys are probably the hardest goals to score and when you add in a volley off the bounce, that makes the goal even greater. Christen Press makes those look easy as she did in 2014 against Switzerland.
Press took a scruffy clearance and brought it down with one touch before looping the ball over the goalkeeper in one sequence. Not only was her first touch beautiful but the top spin she put on the ball to make sure it came down quickly enough over the goalkeeper was impeccable.
Scoring in the World Cup seems to have awoken Press’ goal-scoring prowess again and she has brought that form to her club season now as well. With still some time left in the season, Press’ hot streak could lead Utah right into the NWSL playoffs for the first time in franchise history. With the quality she possesses in both feet, don’t be surprised if Christen Press does just that.