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Flash double up Chicago at home
The Western New York Flash opened the second half of the season with a 2-0 shutout win over the third-placed Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday night in Rochester. The victory moved the Flash to 5-6-2 (17 points) with the win, and jumped the club into fifth place in the NWSL standings.
“I said to the group after the game, ‘this was a big game.’ This was the start of the second half of the season for us and we finish the season with eight of the final 12 games at home,” said Flash General Manager and Head Coach Aaran Lines. “It was important that we get this one off on the right foot. It was a solid performance for us defensively. We didn’t allow much tonight; we were solid. I thought we looked to play. It was very nice to be able to see us create two wonderful goals and finish it out with three points.”
After playing three games on the road, it did not take long for the Flash to welcome back the home crowd. Brittany Taylor put her team ahead 1-0 in just the third minute with her second goal of the season. On Western New York’s second corner of the match, Vicky Losada sent a ball that went over the head of Red Stars’ goalkeeper Taylor Vancil and to Taylor who was waiting on the far post.
It was the second time this season the tandem of Losada and Taylor combined for a goal, as Taylor capitalized on a Vicky set piece for the first goal of 2014. The goal moved Taylor’s career points total against the Red Stars to six, having posted a goal and two assists against Chicago last year.
Then, with Chicago pushing for a late-game equalizer, Samantha Kerr turned the tables and added an insurance goal in stoppage time to give the Flash the 2-0 victory. After collecting the ball at the midfield line, Kerr traveled to the Chicago penalty line and, from the upper corner, powered a shot over the head of Vancil.
Kerr nearly doubled the Flash lead in the 17th minute when she charged Chicago goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, blocking a delayed clear attempt from the goalkeeper. However, the ball deflected wide of the net. The Australian forward also had a stellar chance in the 78th minute, but Vancil came up with a save to keep the game 1-0.
Kerr tracked down a Sonia Bermudez clearance and, after heading the ball to herself in stride, went one-on-one with Vancil. However, the second-year keeper was able to time her approach and blocked the shot with a sliding save.
The speedy duo of Kerr and Jasmyne Spencer produced a solid scoring opportunity for the Flash in the 25th minute, after Spencer ran under an arching ball from Taylor. The forward drove toward the right byline before sending a cross in toward Kerr, but the Australian international could not fully connect on the volley. Spencer also nearly scored late in second half injury time, but her distance shot went wide of the net.
Adriana Martin was dangerous on free kicks Wednesday night, first forcing Vancil into a diving save just before the end of the first half. Then, in the 51st minute, the Spanish international rocketed a 25-yard free kick off of the left post.
The win marked the second clean sheet in three games for Lydia Williams and the Flash defense, who faced eight shots from Chicago Wednesday night. The Flash, however, led the category with 11.
The Flash will next host Seattle Reign FC on Sunday afternoon in a 3 p.m. contest. It will be the team’s second-straight home game in a span that sees the team play seven of the next eight games at home.