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Flash fight to 0-0 draw in Kansas City

The Western New York Flash played to their fifth tie of the inaugural National Womens Soccer League season, drawing a scoreless 0-0 tie at FC Kansas City on Sunday. With both teams earning one point in the decision, the teams will retain their respective positions in the league standings as the Flash (6-3-5, 23 points) hold at fourth place and the Blues (7-4-4, 25 points) at third place.

Kansas City had the upper hand offensively to begin the match as the Flash were held without a shot attempt until the 33rd minute.  Just three minutes in, Erika Tymrak sent a throughball to teammate Courtney Jones who raced in toward the Flash net.  With defender Katherine Reynolds sliding to cover, Jones fired at Western New York goalkeeper Adrianna Franch who blocked the shot down.  However, the save gave up a juicy rebound and Jones was able to get a second shot away that Franch fought away.

About eight minutes into the game the Flash appeared to get started offensively on a tic-tac-toe play, but Veronica Perez was called offsides on the effort. McCall Zerboni played a ball into the box that was headed from Perez to Abby Wambach, but Wambachs header rang off the woodwork as the offsides flag was raised.

The Flash had back-to-back opportunities around the 33rd minute mark, with Wambach first crossing to Samantha Kerrfrom the left side.  However, Wambachs ball took a sharp bounce and Kerr was only able to get a toe on it, hitting the ball wide.  The two then looked for each other seconds later on a mirror image play with Kerr feeding Wambach from the right, but Abbys header was blocked by Becky Sauerbrunn.

Kerr forced Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart to make a big play in the 40th minute off a corner kick from the right side. Kerr headed it and Barnhart had to punch over on a shot that most likely would have rebounded off the crossbar and back into play.

Despite the Flash putting up a number of quality scoring chances at the end of the first half, the Blues won on quantity, forcing Franch to make nine stops in the first 45 minutes.  The keepers first half save total was more than her season high (eight saves).  She would go on to finish with 13 stops after the Flash were outshot 16-8 in the game.

Both teams looked for the go-ahead goal in the second half but neither defense could be broken.  Wambach and Zerboni accounted for the Flashs two second-half shots, both that were tests for Barnhart.  In the 54th minute, Wambach sent a laser shot with her left foot that Barnhart had to dive to punch away.  Minutes later, after a Carli Lloyd free kick was blocked by the wall, Zerboni found the ball and struck hard to the left post making Barnhart dive low to save.

Kansas City had four shots on target in the second half, all past the 70-minute mark.  However, all of them were routine saves for Franch, who earned her fourth clean sheet of the season with the 0-0 draw.

It was just the second scoreless game of this NWSL season, but it didnt come easy as the days temperature was hovering in the mid-90s with on-field temperature estimated at 105-110 degrees.

Wambach led the Flash with three shots, all of them on target.

Western New York will next face Seattle on July 11th, the third game of a four-game road trip for the Flash.  The game will kick-off at 10 p.m. ET at Starfire Stadium on Thursday.

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Washington Times