NWSL: Western New York Flash continues surge
The National Women’s Soccer League returned to action over the weekend. The Western New York Flash continues surge with 1-0 win over Orlando Pride.
The NWSL’s Western New York Flash continued their excellent form by beating Orlando Pride 1-0 on Saturday. The win moved the Western New York Flash to 15 points, second to top of the NWSL table Chicago Red Stars, due to goal difference. Western New York Flash has now won three matches in a row, and the win over Orlando avenges the team’s loss in mid-May.
Western New York’s three straight wins have all come at home in Rochester where the club has made Rochester Rhinos Stadium a fortress. Flash rookie Makenzy Doniak tallied the only goal of the match in the fourth minute when her shot bounced off the post and into the back of the net.
Western New York Flash’s defense saw the match out with few problems, and goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom collected back-to-back clean sheets.
Washington Spirit, who were the NWSL’s pacesetters early on, dropped points for the third time in the team’s last four matches. The Boston Breakers were able to take a point from the Spirit in a 1-1 home draw thanks to a penalty from Breakers midfielder Louise Schillgard. The Spirit had taken the early leadthrough Katie Stengel, but in the 15th minute Washington’s Cali Farquharson brought down Boston’s Brooke Elby in the 18-yard box. Schillgard’s penalty was only the second goal of the season for the hapless Breakers.
Only three points separated Sky Blue FC and FC Kansas City before kickoff on Saturday, and that is how it remained after the 90 minutes. The fixture between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw as Kansas City remain two points ahead of last place Boston.
Kansas City opened the scoring just before the half hour-mark as Shea Groom blasted a left-footed shot into the Sky Blue’s net. However, the lead would last only a matter of minutes. Sky Blue’s Sarah Killion played a ball over Kansas City’s backline for US international Kelley O’Hara to chase. Kansas City midfielder Heather O’Reilly sloppily took down O’Hara in the box, giving Karen Abt cause to point to the spot. Killion converted the penalty, drawing the score level at one. Despite a few chances in the second half, the match finished level. Both Sky Blue and FC Kansas City are fighting to find form that will improve their chances of a second half of the season playoff push.
The Chicago Red Stars are still top of the NWSL table, but the ladies from the Windy City missed an opportunity to go two points clear for Western New York Flash. Chicago drew 1-1 with Portland Thorns at home thanks to goals from Christine Sinclair and Christen Press.
Portland’s Sinclair opened the scoring in the 24th as she notched her first goal of the season with tenacious pressing. Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher attempted to clear a backpass, however, her clearance went straight into Sinclair, ricocheting into the back of the net.
The Red Star’s Press would draw level just after the hour-mark. Alyssa Mautz chested down a long ball straight to striker Press, who volleyed the ball toward goal. Portland goalkeeper Adriana Franch did her best to keep the shot out, but it was too strong, bouncing off Franch’s fingertips before striking the crossbar and settling in the back of the net.
Both teams would go in search of a second goal, but the match ended squarely at one apiece.
In the final game of the weekend, Seattle Reign ended a four match winless streak by defeating Houston Dash 1-0. Seattle moves to sixth in the table, four points ahead of Houston. Seattle got the game winner in the 66th minute from Havana Solaun from 25-yards out. The Dash offered very little going forward after that, and Seattle saw out the win, with Hope Solo picking up a clean sheet.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @DrewMFarmer. Check out his latest book, Soccer Travels, in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com.