09/23/2016 6:04 PM
FLASH LOOK TO CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE
WNY is 2-0-1 Against Breakers This Season
ALLSTON, MA (September 23, 2016) --- The Western New York Flash (8-6-5) are entering Saturday’s game in control of their playoff destiny, as a win or tie would clinch a spot in the National Women’s Soccer League Playoffs for the Flash and would eliminate Seattle Reign FC from the playoff race. Standing in the way of Western New York’s playoff hopes are the Boston Breakers (3-14-2), who the Flash have played three times already this season. The game at Jordan Field will mark the regular season finale for both teams.
The Flash were last on the pitch on Saturday, September 17, in a friendly against the Thailand Women’s National Team. In the game held at Canisius College, the Flash battled hard on a rainy night but neither side could find the back of the net through 90 minutes. With the friendly ending in a 0-0 draw, the Flash were able to work in most players on the active roster, with some starters either not playing or being taken out early. Samantha Mewis missed the match, as she was was with the USWNT for the week and started in the United States national team’s game against the same Thailand squad on Thursday, September 15.
In their last match of NWSL action, the Flash traveled to Oregon to face the Portland Thorns FC on Sunday, September 11. In their second and final match of the season against the Thorns, the Flash came out on a mission and dominated possession. The visiting side created numerous scoring chances throughout the opening 25 minutes to quiet a sellout crowd of 21,144 at Providence Park. It took until the 27’ for the Thorns to garner a quality scoring chance, when Nadia Nadim was given a penalty shot after Jaelene Hinkle was called for a foul inside of the 18-yard box. Nadim capitalized on the opportunity, faking out Flash goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo to score the first goal of the match. Portland added another two goals as Tobin Heath sent a shot off the post and in during the 36’, and Dagny Brynjarsdottir beat a charging D’Angelo in the 69’.
The Flash roared back in the final 20 minutes, as Jessica McDonald headed a beautiful cross from defender Liz Eddy to the top-left corner of the net to put WNY on the board in the 77’. Lynn Williams quickly followed that up with a goal in the 80’ on a give-and-go with McDonald that cut the lead to 3-2. The game would end with that score, clinching Portland a home playoff match and leaving the Flash in a battle for the last playoff spot.
In the Breakers’ last NWSL match, they headed to Houston for a match with the Dash on September 11, where they dropped the match to Houston for their fourteenth loss of the season. Carli Lloyd recorded two goals and an assist to lead Houston to the victory. Elise Krieghoff scored the lone goal for the Breakers to cut the lead to 2-1 in the second half before the Dash scored 2 more insurance goals from Kealia Ohai and Janine Beckie to win the match 4-1.
The game against Boston will mark the fourth game of the regular season between the Breakers and the Flash. Western New York leads the season series 2-0-1 and have outscored them in the three matches by a total of 13-3. The Flash’s last match against Boston ended a 2-2 draw in Boston. The two earlier meetings resulted in a 4-0 Flash win on May 27 and a 7-1 Flash win on June 24, with both games being played at Rochester Rhinos Stadium.
After 19 matches, the Flash sit in fourth place in the NWSL standings with 29 points, only one behind the Chicago Red Stars. The Flash trail the second-place Portland Thorns FC by nine points and the first-place Washington Spirit by ten points. Western New York currently leads Seattle Reign FC by 2 points, meaning a win or tie in their regular season finale would clinch the final playoff spot for the Flash. A tie or loss by Seattle against Houston on September 25 would also clinch a playoff spot for the Flash. The Flash would only miss the playoffs if WNY loses against Boston and Seattle defeats Houston.
The NWSL regular season will end on Sunday and the 2016 playoffs will begin with the first semifinal match on September 30 in Washington. The second semifinal match will be hosted by Portland on October 2. The NWSL Championship is October 9 in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.
This week’s match kicks off at 7:00 pm ET at Jordan Field in Allston, MA. A live stream of the game will be available at youtube.com/NWSL. You can also follow live updates on Twitter at @WNYFlash.