04/20/2013 10:25 AM
The Western New York Flash earned their first point of the season, playing to a 1-1 draw at the Maryland SoccerPlex. With her 85th minute goal, Sam Kerr became the first player to score for the Flash in NWSL history. However, a converted penalty kick by the home team just two minutes later tied the game.
The Spirit put the pressure on early in the match, jumping out of the gates in their home opener. Seven minutes in, Ali Krieger sent a cross from right to left through the Flash box, but the ball was unable to find the foot of Diana Matheson who was waiting at the far post.
But 20 minutes in, the Flash began to take control and put some quality chances on net. Abby Wambach had two solid chances in the first half but couldn’t get the ball to cross the goal line.
In the 19th minute, Kerr sent a chip in to Wambach who connected with the inside of her right foot. The attempt went past Spirit, and former Flash, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris but rocketed off the crossbar. Nearly 10 minutes later, Harris denied Wambach on what may have been the save of the game. Another cross came from the right side to Wambach and, this time, she got a hard header on goal but Harris made an aerial fingertip save to her left, keeping the game blank.
Two minutes into the second half, Wambach sent Kerr on a run down the right side when she threaded a pass through the Spirit defense. But Kerr’s strike went just high of the net.
With the game still scoreless, Spirit captain Lori Lindsey took a hard shot from 20 yards out, but Adrianna Franch was able to punch the ball away in the 72nd minute. That save set up one of the Spirit’s seven corners, but they were unable to convert on any.
Thirteen minutes later, the Flash were granted a free kick after Wambach was taken down hard by Tori Huster. Following Huster’s booking, Veronica Perez sent a ball into the box that Wambach flicked to the right post with her head, landing at the feet of Kerr who easily touched it in.
Just when the Flash thought they had the momentum, the Spirit countered and drew a penalty kick only two minutes later. Jasmyne Spencer, a halftime substitute, was fouled in the box by Brittany Taylor, resulting in a yellow card and the penalty kick. Matheson stepped up to take the attempt and fired a shot past Franch to the left.
The Flash tried to regain the lead, and drew a number of corners in the final minutes, but could reclaim the lead.
After the Spirit worked five corner kicks in the first half, the Flash got seven in the second with the teams finishing even in the stat. WNY held a 12-7 advantage in shots, with Franch making three saves and Harris finishing with four.
The Flash will next face the Boston Breakers at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. Tickets are still available for the 2013 home opener and can be purchased online or by calling the Sahlen’s Stadium box office at (585) 454-KICK.