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Late Rally Not Enough as Flash Fall 3-2 in Portland

09/11/2016 11:55 PM -


McDonald, Williams Each Add Tally

PORTLAND, OR (September 11, 2016) --- The Western New York Flash (8-5-6) entered Sunday night trying to clinch the final playoff spot and break a 4-game streak of consecutive draws as they traveled to the second-place Portland Thorns FC (11-3-5),. After an exciting finale that included a furious rally by the visitors to erase a 3-0 deficit, Portland was able to hang on for a 3-2 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144.

The game started out in similar fashion to other recent Flash games, as WNY was able to create and sustain pressure with a flurry of offensive opportunities over the first 25 minutes. The first quality chance for the Flash came in the 4’, as Samantha Mewis was able to get off a shot that got blocked by Portland. Soon thereafter, in the 6’, Lynn Williams able to put a header on net from a Jessica McDonald cross, but Portland goalkeeper Michelle Betos was able to make the save. In the 7’, Williams was once again able to get a shot off, launching a rocket that just barely went over the crossbar. Williams once again found the ball coming her way in the 8’, but Betos was able to catch the ball before Williams could connect on the header.

Portland did not get their first offensive chance until the 11’, but the chance was quickly thwarted thanks to Elizabeth Eddy. The Flash were able to get the ball back and McDonald crossed a pass intended for Williams in the 15’, but Betos stopped the ball before it could find Williams. Portland countered quickly in the 16’, as a Tobin Heath free-kick found Amandine Henry, whose header went wide of Sabrina D’Angelo and the Flash goal.

The Flash and Thorns continued their high-octane battle, as McDonald fired a shot from around the sideline that went over the Portland net in the 23’. McDonald fired another shot off a Jaelene Hinkle pass just minutes later, but it was blocked. Portland finally got their first high-quality chance, as Nadia Nadim was awarded a penalty shot in the 27’ on a questionable foul by Hinkle, who received a yellow card on the play. Nadim wouldn’t waste the opportunity given to her, as she was able to fake D’Angelo and convert to put the Thorns up 1-0. Nadim got another chance in the 31’ on a free-kick, as she put the ball just over the crossbar near the top-left corner of the net.

As the Thorns started to gain some momentum, they created another chance in the 36’ that would pay off. After the ball skirted down the sideline, Nadim caught up to the ball and took it into the corner. Once there, she crossed the ball into the box for Christine Sinclair, who fired off a shot that hit the post before finding the back of the net, giving Portland its second goal of the game.

The teams continued to trade chances in the final 10 minutes of the half, as Nadim found the ball in the corner again in the 38’, proceeding to weave through a double-team by the Flash and crossing the ball in the box, where Abby Dahlkemper was able to clear it out. Dahlkemper then had a corner kick in the 43’ which was blocked. Then, a minute later, Sinclair crossed a ball that barely went over the head of a jumping Nadim.

The half would end with the Thorns having the 2-0 lead despite the two teams being tied with 5 shots each.

The second half would start with a Mewis pass to Williams in the 48’, with Williams’ shot going wide of Betos and the Portland net. The Thorns would then have a few chances of their own, as Sinclair led a pass for Lindsey Horan, who got tangled up on the play and went down with an apparent injury. Horan would stay in the game. Sinclair then fed pass to Heath in the 55’, who almost got to it after beating the WNY defense, but D’Angelo got to the ball first and punted it downfield to clear the ball out.

The Flash were able to get some momentum back, as D’Angelo punched the ball out to safety off a Heath corner kick in the 62’. Williams was then able to get the ball to recent-substitution Lianne Sanderson, who was not able to get a clean shot off and sent it high and wide. Portland matched it a minute later with a Horan shot off a spin move on captain Abby Erceg, but D’Angelo made the point blank save to keep the deficit at 2 goals.

Unfortunately for D’Angelo, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who entered the game in the 67’ for Horan, got the ball on a give-and-go in the 69’. D’Angelo ran out to cut off the shot, but Brynjarsdottir still beat her, putting the Thorns up to a comfortable 3-0 lead. Eddy would attempt to get the Flash going soon thereafter, as she had a shot blocked off a Dahlkemper corner kick in the 74’. Eddy then was able to get the ball a minute later in the corner and put a cross into the box that Taylor Smith dummied before the ball was cleared out.

The Flash finally broke through in the 77’, as Eddy once again crossed a looping ball that found the head of McDonald. The ball went to the top-left corner of the net and out of the reach of Betos for her ninth goal of the season. The Flash got the ball back and almost had their second goal in under 2 minutes, when Williams was called offside as McDonald found the ball come to her in front of the net. However, it was not long before the Flash struck again. Williams fed the ball up to McDonald, who passed it back to Williams in the 80’. The second-year forward out of Pepperdine University took a shot from the left of the box that found its way in, giving Williams her tenth goal of the season and moving her into a tie for the Golden Boot Award with Houston’s Kealia Ohai.

After closing the gap to 3-2, the Flash’s intensity was clearly elevated and the sellout crowd was quickly chanting and pushing the home side back into the game. Eddy created another chance in the 82’, as she used a spin move to create some space and cross a ball to Williams. An awkward sequence of shots followed before Henry was able to clear the ball from danger. McDonald then faked out Portland in the 88’, giving her room to shoot, but the shot went wide.

4’ of stoppage time was added, which gave both teams some final chances. Heath got a pass to Allie Long, but the chance was stopped as Eddy fouled Long. Then, Williams was able to turn around on a ball and acrobatically fired a shot that Betos made a quick-reaction save on. Finally, around 90’+4, The Flash had their last chance to tie the game on a corner kick, but Betos elevated to make a big save, preserving the 3-2 Portland win.

With the win, Portland clinched a home match in playoffs, the first-ever home playoff match for the organization. The win also put the Thorns only one point behind the first-place Washington Spirit, giving Portland a chance at the NWSL Shield. The loss means the Flash did not clinch the final playoff spot, leaving them in a battle with the Seattle Reign FC for the 4th playoff spot.

The 3-2 loss gave the Flash their first loss since July 30, following 4 consecutive draws. The Flash have scored 10 goals over the course of their last 5 games.

The Western New York Flash will be taking on the Thailand Women’s National Team in a friendly at the Demske Sports Complex at Canisius College on Saturday, September 17. The match is set to kick off at 7:00 p.m. ET and all tickets for the match are $10.

The Flash will be back to NWSL action on Saturday, September 24, when they travel to Boston to face the last-place Breakers for the regular season finale at 7:00 p.m. ET.


NWSL Match Report

Match: Portland Thorns FC vs. Western New York Flash
Date: Sept. 11, 2016

Venue: Providence Park, Portland, Ore.

Kickoff: 9:36 p.m. ET

Attendance: 21,144

Weather: 70 degrees, clear.


Scoring Summary:
                                                1          2          F 
Western New York Flash            0          2          2
Portland Thorns FC                     2          1          3

POR: Nadia Nadim (Penalty Kick) – 27’
POR: Christine Sinclair - 37’
POR: Dagny Brynjarsdottir (Tobin Heath) – 69’
WNY: Jess McDonald (Liz Eddy) – 77’
WNY: Lynn Williams (Jess McDonald) – 80’

Misconduct Summary:
WNY: Jaelene Hinkle (Yellow) – 27’
POR: Tobin Heath (Yellow) - 58’
POR: Michelle Betos (Yellow) – 71’

POR: Michelle Betos; Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Emily Sonnett, Katherine Reynolds; Amandine Henry, Allie Long, Lindsey Horan (Dagny Brynjarsdottir, 67’), Tobin Heath; Nadia Nadim (Hayley Raso, 60’), Christine Sinclair

WNY: Sabrina D’Angelo; Jaelene Hinkle (Kristen Hamilton, 79), Alanna Kennedy (Lianne Sanderson, 64’), Abby Dahlkemper, Liz Eddy; Abby Erceg, McCall Zerboni, Samantha Mewis, Makenzy Doniak (Taylor Smith, 58’); Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald.

Stats Summary: POR / WNY

Shots: 10 / 13

Shots on Goal: 5 / 4

Saves: 2 / 2

Corner Kicks: 3 / 5

Fouls: 10 / 12

Offsides: 6 / 2


Misconduct Summary:
WNY: Jaelene Hinkle (Yellow) – 27’
POR: Tobin Heath (Yellow) - 58’
POR: Michelle Betos (Yellow) – 71’


Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referee 1: Arienne McDonald

Assistant Referee 2: JJ Blodgett
4th Official: Jason Perlewitz

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