09/24/2016 7:54 PM
FLASH CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT WITH 4-0 WIN
WNY Will Face Washington or Portland Next Weekend
ALLSTON, MA (September 24, 2016) --- The Western New York Flash (9-6-5) entered the night holding their own destiny, knowing a win or tie against the Boston Breakers (3-15-2) would launch them into the fourth and final spot for the National Women’s Soccer League’s postseason. The visitors were able to come through and take advantage of the opportunity, defeating the Breakers 4-0 at Jordan Field on Saturday night.
The Flash opened up the match with a bang, as Makenzy Doniak took a ball up the right flank and fed it right in front of the net to a waiting foot of Jess McDonald for the team’s first tally. The goal marked McDonald’s 10th of the season and put her in a tie for the league lead with teammate Lynn Williams and Houston’s Kealia Ohai.
The pressure from the Flash did not lose any steam in the next couple of minutes, as the visiting side continued to apply constant pressure. Boston goalkeeper Libby Stout was forced to make a point-blank save on Williams to keep it a one-goal match in the 4’.
Crosses became key on the Flash’s attack during the first half, as numerous balls were fed through the box to keep Stout on her toes. Williams and McDonald each exchanged shots in the 14’ and 15’, and then McCall Zerboni found a leaping Williams in the 17’ to keep constant pressure on the keeper. Stout held tight, however, making save after save.
In the 25’, a flurry of confusion off of an Abby Dahlkemper corner kick ended with the ball in the back of Boston’s net. Mewis fed a ball back into the box where McDonald turned on a dime to force a shot into a diving Stout, where the rebound found a waiting Williams for the forward’s 11th goal of the season.
Doniak, McDonald and Williams continued to be crucial for the Flash attack in the rest of the first frame as the visiting side created numerous chances with looping crosses and high-flying opportunities. It seemed as though the Flash were going to enter the break with a two-goal lead, but the team was able to add a third tally just before the whistle.
With seconds remaining in the first half, Zerboni was able to juke her defender and create some space for herself on the left wing. The veteran midfielder fed a beautiful cross to the head of Mewis, who put the ball past Stout for the Boston native’s 5th goal of the season. The Flash entered the half with 16 shots registered and 3 tallies on the scoreboard, while the Breakers were left scoreless.
The Breakers came out of the break forcing possession and settling often in the Flash’s defensive zone, but Sabrina D’Angelo was able to hold her own. The Canadian keeper was able to cut off all crosses by Boston and made a couple point-blank saves to keep a clean sheet for the Flash.
The two sides continued to trade opportunities over the next 15 minutes, until McDonald was taken down inside of the box and the visitors were awarded a penalty kick in the 67’. Abby Dahlkemper stepped up to take the kick and put it just past the outstretched left arm of a diving Stout to give the defender her second goal of the season and the Flash a 4-0 lead.
The Flash cruised to a victory over the final third of the game, going back and forth with Boston and making it a battle for possession. Meredith Speck had the only real chance in the final 20 minutes, when she tried to finish a pass from Williams and barely missed the frame. D’Angelo made two saves and recorded a clean sheet in the Flash’s shutout.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks, obviously,” Flash Head Coach Paul Riley said. “But, in all fairness to the players, they’ve been in the top four for the majority of the season and they’ve been pretty consistent. I think we deserve to be in and the work put in was worth it.”
As the regular season concludes, the Flash will be entering the first round of the playoffs next weekend. The team will either travel to face the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Friday, September 30, or the Portland Thorns at Providence Park on Sunday, October 2. The Flash will join the Spirit, Thorns, and Chicago Red Stars as the four teams in the 2016 NWSL Playoffs.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Boston Breakers vs. Western New York Flash
Date: Sept. 24, 2016
Venue: Jordan Field, Allston, Mass.
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Weather: 72 degrees, clear
1 2 F
BOS 0 0 0
WNY 3 1 4
WNY – Jessica McDonald (Makenzy Doniak) - 2'
WNY – Lynn Williams - 24'
WNY – Samantha Mewis (McCall Zerboni) - 45'
WNY – Abby Dahlkemper [Penalty Kick] - 68'
BOS: Libby Stout; Brooke Elby, Whitney Engen, Kassey Kallman, Kylie Strom (Julie King, 54’); Angela Salem, Katie Schoepfer (Stephanie Verdoia, 79’), Kristie Mewis, Kyah Simon; Natasha Dowie, Eunice Beckmann (Brittany Ratcliffe, 76’).
WNY: Sabrina D'Angelo; Liz Eddy, Abby Dahlkemper, Alanna Kennedy, Taylor Smith; Abby Erceg, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni (Kristen Hamilton, 77’), Makenzy Doniak (Meredith Speck, 80’); Jess McDonald (Michaela Hahn, 83’), Lynn Williams.
Stats Summary: BOS / WNY
Shots: 5 / 20
Shots on Goal: 2 / 10
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 3 / 6
BOS – Angela Salem (Yellow) – 45+3'
WNY – Alanna Kennedy (Yellow) – 61'
BOS – Katie Schoepfer (Yellow) – 70'
BOS – Whitney Engen (Yellow) – 71’
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referee 1: Amanda Ross
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Felice
Fourth Official: John Spicer-Escalante