However, that type of poacher’s goal is what Ellis would like to see more of from her striker. The coach met with Press this camp and, while praising Press’ technical quality, laid out some clear expectations.
“What I said to her is, ‘If you’re here to score goals, then obviously that has to be the execution piece.’ She agreed and I was pleased for her to get a goal the other night,” said Ellis. “What I said to Christen is, it’s not just being able to score goals from the top of the box—which she scored a lot in the NWSL because that space isn’t often available at this level. Now is it, ‘Can she score the poacher’s goal, can she get on the end of something, is she prepared to physically take risks inside the box?
“Is Christen six feet tall? No, but she can still compete for balls in the air,” explained Ellis. “It’s adding to her game. It’s not just a transition goal, it’s a goal she can get on the end of. That’s why I was pleased the other night. In terms of her and our belief in her, she’s still a tremendous asset for us. For a goal scorer, it becomes more important that you finish those chances and she understands that.
Press, for her part, is trying not to read too much into her misses of late and just focus on her future chances.
“As a forward, it’s always nice to score. That’s kind of my job. Goals come in waves. I’ve learned not to get frazzled by any missed opportunities. I tell myself, ‘Every time you miss, you score.’ So, it’s sort of like, ‘Got that out of the way, now it’s time to score”