On June 11 in Sandefjord, Norway, U.S. WNT forward Christen Press scored the game-winning goal in the 60th minute, but it was her overall performance that earned praise from U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis.
“Her finish [on that goal] was fantastic, but really, in her whole 90-minutes she was involved, she was active and she was energized on both sides of the ball,” Ellis said. “It was one of her best performances I’ve seen.”
Press is known for her ability to hover on the defensive line with well-timed runs and her burst of speed, once the ball is served, can often catch defenders on their heels. Against Norway, defender Becky Sauerbrunn sent a driven diagonal ball from a few steps inside her own half over the defense and to Press, who was running hard into the left side of the penalty area. Press caught up to the ball in the middle of the box and sent a hard, first-time left-footed shot past the left foot of the onrushing goalkeeper.
“[Norway] had a high line, and I told the team at halftime, I’m always on the diagonal, and the players that have been here know that about me,” Press said. “Becky saw me on the blind side, clipped it over, I think Rose challenged for the first ball, but it went through everybody.”
It was her 42nd international score in her 87th cap. Press said the lofted ball from Sauerbrunn and the ensuing danger that is created is a situation in which she thrives.
“I’m best behind the line driving towards the ball,” she said.
But Press didn’t just make an impact on the offensive end. She completed 36 of her passes, a 72.2% accuracy, a number that got slightly higher when in the opposing half (73.1%). Press’ involvement in the game was also obvious when it came to one-on-one duels, as she finished with 16 in the game. Her closest teammate had 11.
Following these friendlies with the WNT, Press now returns to her NWSL team, the Chicago Red Stars, who sit in second place in the NWSL standings. With the Red Stars, she has started every game so far and scored three goals through seven games. She leads the league on both shots (31) and shots on goal (18) as the Red Stars prepare to take on the Washington Spirit on June 17 in the Lifetime Game of the Week (3:30 p.m. ET).