04/28/2016 2:49 PM
The Western New York Flash (1-1-0) take on top of the table team Washington Spirit (2-0-0) for their first match at Sahlen’s Stadium this season on Friday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. The Flash are looking to bounce back after dropping a close 1-0 game in Chicago, with the Flash leading the Chicago Red Stars with 18 shots and nine corners, but failing to capitalize on any of their chances.
The Flash and the Spirit last met in August 2015 at the Maryland SoccerPlex where the teams battled to a 1-1 draw. Washington opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Diana Matheson pounced on a deflected shot in the box, but the Flash put on the pressure until Lynn Williams found the back of the net in the 90th minute with a strike just outside the penalty area.
The history between the two teams has been favorable to the Flash side, having scored 11 goals all-time at home while only conceding four. The Flash lead the all-time series 5-2-2 and have not lost a game to the Spirit since July 12, 2014.
The Spirit roster is highlighted by USWNT stars Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger. Dunn was the 2015 NWSL Golden Boot winner and has already recorded two assists this season. In the Spirit’s last match, Krieger scored a long range shot to lift her team 2-1 over Sky Blue FC.
The Flash have international star power of their own, including USWNT midfielder Sam Mewis who most notably scored the game-winner in the SheBelieves Cup Final against Germany. Other roster highlights include Canadian National Team goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo who helped Canada to win the 2016 Algarve Cup and currently leads the NWSL in saves (10), New Zealand and Flash captain Abby Erceg, and Colombian star Lady Andrade.
The young Flash team are excited to get the chance to play at home for the first time this season. More than half the team have yet to call Sahlen’s Stadium home, including first-year head coach Paul Riley, who looks to build a fortress in Rochester.
“Opening day is always a special occasion for any team,” said Riley. “With a brand new surface and many new faces we are tremendously excited to get our home season underway. We have talked a lot regarding the process and creating an environment that embraces the process.”
With many new names and faces, there is a sense of freedom for the Flash. Everyone wants to make sure the Flash name is known around the Western New York area and feared around the league.
“There is no pressure on the team, and that gives us the opportunity to concentrate on incrementally improving our performance every week,” Riley added. “We have a hungry, humble, young group eager to improve and with a desire to validate themselves in the NWSL. We want our fans to be excited to watch our young team, and one thing is for sure: we are playing for the name on the front of our shirts – not the back.”
Tickets for the Western New York Flash’s home opener on Friday, April 29 at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:00 p.m. are available at wnyflash.com/tickets. Season tickets are still available by contacting Kayla Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.