05/01/2013 10:28 AM
The Western New York Flash took down undefeated Sky Blue FC on Wednesday night, but more importantly picked up three points with its first victory of the season. The Flash (1-1-2) was aided by the return of Abby Wambach who made her hometown debut after missing a game due to a concussion. Sky Blue (2-0-1) beat the Flash in the National Women’s Soccer League season opener, 1-0, back on April 14th.
After scoring the Flash’s first two goals of the season, Samantha Kerr helped the team to its third by assisting on Adriana Martin’s first goal of the year. It was another early goal for the Flash, who opened scoring on Saturday with a seventh minute score; tonight it was in the sixth minute.
But Kerr didn’t stop there. In the 20th minute the Matilda sent a dangerous cross into the Sky Blue box that was mishandled by defender Christie Rampone. But Wambach was waiting on the other end and she made sure to capitalize on the opportunity. Wambach quickly collected the ball and sent it past Brittany Cameron for her first goal in a Flash kit, which would prove to be the game-winner.
The Flash had solid opportunities on the set piece all night. In the 9th minute, McCall Zerboni received a short pass off a free kick and, running toward the right goal line, took a quick cut to her left foot and sent a cross into the Sky Blue six. But Cameron came off her line to intercept the threat.
Five minutes later, Veronica Perez sent a high ball to the head of Wambach but Cameron jumped over the forward to snag the ball away.
In the 18th minute Sky Blue looked to get on the board when Kelley O’Hara sent a through ball to Danesha Adams who snuck past the Flash defensive line. But Adrianna Franch came out and slid on top of the ball to smother the chance.
Adriana had another great goal scoring opportunity just a minute later as she sealed off an oncoming Cameron and trapped a cross down to her feet. With Cameron out of the net, she took a step towards the end line but couldn’t get her body around the ball to shoot and Cameron recovered to make the save.
A cross from Adriana in the 28th minute found the right foot of Wambach who beat the Sky Blue defense but the ball went off the crossbar. Kerr dove for the rebound and made contact with a header that, again, was denied by the bar. An offside was called before a third Flash attempt could be made.
The crossbar haunted the Flash again in the 40th minute when Perez chased down a failed clear from the Sky Blue defense and, noticing Cameron out of position, attempted to chip the ball over the keeper. But the crossbar got in the way and kept the Flash lead at two.
Instead of it being 3-0, Sky Blue cut the Flash lead to one with just minutes to play in the first half on a goal from Sophie Schmidt. Western New York’s goalkeeper Franch came up with a save seconds before, but the forward O’Hara collected her rebound and found Schmidt running onto the play. She put it past Franch for a 2-1 score entering the locker rooms.
Western New York looked to build on its lead in the second half, with Zerboni setting up a cross for Wambach. She, however, chose to touch a pass over to Perez who connected in-stride but was denied by Cameron.
After entering as a substitute in the 66th minute for Sky Blue, Monica Ocampo created an opportunity with her first touch, working a give-and-go with Lisa De Vanna. But De Vanna’s one-touch attempt went wide to the right, keeping the Flash ahead.
The Flash defense tightened up in the final minutes of the game and shutdown any chance Sky Blue tried to generate. With 11 minutes to play and a free kick just outside the WNY box, the defense blocked two shots and cleared the ball away. Then, in stoppage time, Alex Sahlen denied O’Hara’s cross attempt from the left side as Sky Blue desperately sought an equalizer.
The defender then recovered to the box and threw her body in front of another shot, which would prove to be the visitor’s last true chance.
With all three goals coming in the first half, the game was fairly balanced throughout. Sky Blue recorded 12 shots compared to the Flash’s 11, but was granted five more corner kicks than the home team (8-3). Cameron finished the game with five saves, while Franch made three for WNY with her defense preserving the second half shutout.
Wambach led her team with four shots, all of them on goal. Adriana recorded three and Perez had two attempts.
The Flash will continue a four-game home stand on May 11th when they welcome FC Kansas City to Sahlen’s Stadium for a 7:35 p.m. contest.
GOALS 1 2 F
Sky Blue FC (2-1-0) 1 0 1
Western New York (1-2-1) 2 0 2
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 6 Western New York Adriana Martin Samantha Kerr
2 20 Western New York Abby Wambach
3 44 Sky Blue FC Sophie Schmidt Kelley O’Hara
CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS
Time Team ## Player Card Reason
45 Western New York 4 Samantha Kerr Yellow Card Reckless Foul
72 Sky Blue FC 19 Kelley O’Hara Yellow Card Reckless Foul
Time Team Out In
66 Sky Blue FC #5 Kendall Johnson #8 Monica Ocampo
80 Sky Blue FC #17 Kay Freels-Frierson #6 Taylor Lytle
84 Western New York #4 Samantha Kerr #11 Laura Heyboer
84 Western New York #17 Veronica Perez #5 Kimberley Yokers
93+ Western New York #8 Adriana Martin #15 Vicki DiMartino