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O’REILLY, BREAKERS SPOIL FLASH HOME OPENER

04/28/2013 10:27 AM -

Two goals from Heather O’Reilly spoiled the home opener for the Western New York Flash, as they fell 2-1 to the Boston Breakers in front of 4,065 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday night.  Samantha Kerr scored her second goal in as many games in the loss, which also happened to be the Flash’s second goal this year.

The Flash were the first to strike in the game, but O’Reilly netted a goal in each half to put the Breakers past WNY, with her final coming in the 83rd minute.

Early on in the 6th minute, Adrianna Franch broke up a give-and-go play in the box that found Julie King open, but the sliding keeper was able to deny the opportunity.

An excellent counter attack gave the Flash the early lead just seconds later.  Starting in the place of the injured Wambach, Laura Heyboer took the ball away from Rhian Wilkinson deep in the Breakers territory.  After the steal, Heyboer laid a ball to the right side of the box for Kerr who buried it into the net for her second goal of the season.

Breakers’ goalkeeper and Mexican international Cecilia Santiago was able to get a mitt on the shot, but the hard strike was too much to stop and it bounced into the back of the net, putting the Flash up 1-0 just seven minutes in.

But, for the second straight game, a Kerr goal was followed by an equalizer tally from the opponent as US Women’s National Team teammates Sydney Leroux and O’Reilly combined to make the game even at 1-1 in the 16th minute. 

On the left side, from just outside the box, Leroux sent a low right-footed cross through the defense, finding O’Reilly on the right post.  The forward then struck the ball to the left corner of the net, past Adrianna Franch.

The teams would only score one goal each in the first half, but the action was continuous throughout the first 45 minutes. 

The Flash defense held strong to keep just the lone goal on the board in the half.  In the 14th minute, Lianne Sanderson collected the ball near midfield and found O’Reilly streaking down the right side.  O’Reilly’s high cross went over the head of Franch but was cleared away by Brittany Taylor before any more could come of it.

The Flash looked to add their second goal of the game in the 23rd minute, with Adriana Martin heading a ball to the feet of captain McCall Zerboni, but her strike from the top of the box went just wide to the left.

Kerr played a strong match on the right side and created a number of opportunities for her team.  Twenty-five minutes in Kerr took the ball at midfield and beat Cat Whitehill in the box, but her shot was pulled in by Santiago.  Later, in the second half, Kerr looked to return the favor to Heyboer with a cross that went through the hands of Santiago, but Heyboer’s sliding attempt trickled just wide.

With the game still 1-1 40 minutes in, Adriana connected on a Zerboni corner kick but her aerial effort sailed wide of the goal.

The Breakers ended the first half with chance when Leroux got to the left goal line and looked to find Joanna Lohman, but Estelle Johnson stepped in to keep the ball away.

The second half featured the same back-and-forth action.  Western New York looked to break the tie in the 57th minute when consecutive corners created two scoring opportunities.  On the first, Zerboni sent a high ball into the six that was muddled around before being cleared out on the right side.  On the following attempt, the Breakers cleared the ball but it went right to Angela Salem whose strike from the top of the box was denied by Santiago.  Salem entered the game in the 33rd minute, replacing starter Veronica Perez.

The midfielder followed that shot with a solid defensive recovery one minute later when she chased down O’Reilly to break-up an opportunity in the box.  But that wouldn’t be the last opportunity for O’Reilly as she rocketed a shot off the post in the 75th minute. 

After collecting a cross from Sanderson in the box, O’Reilly cut back to her left foot, faked a cross and instead fired short side on Franch.  The keeper made a dive at the ball, but the post was able to keep the ball out. 

Minutes later, O’Reilly was again found by Sanderson, this time with a through ball on the left side of the field.  After fighting off a defender, her shot went low and through the legs of the contesting Franch, putting Boston ahead 2-1. 

That score would hold despite numerous attempts in the final minutes for the Flash.

Kerr led her team with four shots (three on goal) and recorded the Flash’s lone score.  Alex Sahlen finished with two shots for the Flash.

Franch totaled six saves in the defeat.

The Flash will remain home for their next two contests, starting with a rematch with Sky Blue FC at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night.



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