Flash Extend Unbeaten Streak to Eight Games

11:16 PM, Jun 23, 2013   |    comments
Courtesy US Presswire
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(WNY Flash)-  Playing their third game in nine days, the Western New York Flash drew a 1-1 tie to Seattle in front of a season-high 6,347 fans Sunday afternoon at Sahlen's Stadium.The tie keeps the Flash's unbeaten streak rolling, as the team has now earned at least a point in each of its last eight games.

It was also the first game back in Rochester for native Abby Wambach who, on Thursday, became the world's all-time leader in international goals. Wambach was honored before the game and earned a loud reception from the hometown crowd.

Down by a goal, the Flash tied the game in the 57th minute when a penalty kick was awarded to Wambach. Wambach was taken down in the box, which resulted in the second yellow card to Seattle's Kiersten Dallstream, and stepped to the line to face USWNT teammate Hope Solo. With Solo committing to her left, Wambach hit a hard shot to the opposite side that nicked the underside of the crossbar and fell in.

The Flash jumped out of the gates quickly to begin the game, generating a chance on an opening minute corner kick that found its way to Sarah Huffman, who hit the crossbar. The rebound went to Vicki DiMartino, playing in her third-straight start, but she fired over the net.

Seattle, though without a win thus far in the year, played an aggressive game against the Flash and earned their second point of the season. The Reign were bolstered by the addition of Megan Rapinoe who made her NWSL season debut on Sunday. It was also the third appearance of the season for goalkeeper Solo, who has allowed just one goal in each game she has played.

The Flash's goaltender was also something to talk about on Sunday, as Adrianna Franch made five phenomenal saves in the game. Though Franch had just one of her five saves in the second half, it couldn't have been any bigger as, with the score 1-1, she denied a point-blank shot from Keelin Winters in the 85th minute. Streaking into the box, Winters received a delayed pass from Rapinoe but her shot on-the-run wouldn't go in.

Seattle opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a goal that bounced off defender Estelle Johnson and past Franch. The shot came from the foot of Winters and caromed off Johnson on its way toward the net, tripping up the Flash keeper.

That score would hold until the end of the first half despite an opportunity for the Flash to equalize in stoppage time. DiMartino hammered a shot from the left side toward Solo, who punched it away to the opposite side but right to Huffman. Huffman, in her first start for the Flash, looked to fire it back into the middle but Elli Reed slid to preserve the Reign's one-goal halftime lead.

Earlier in the half, defender Reynolds setup a chance for McCall Zerboni with a chip that was misplayed by the Reign defense, however Zerboni's shot was deflected out of play.

In the 19th minute, Jessica Fishlock received a ball in the box from Rapinoe and after backing down her defender laid it out for Teresa Noyola but Franch dove to the left to keep it out.

Right at the start of the second half, Kennya Cordner nearly doubled the Reign lead when she cut into the box but her shot went off the left post. The chance didn't end there though, as the ball bounced off Brittany Taylor and rolled back toward the goal line, but Franch smothered the ball before it could do any damage.

Midway through the second leg, the Flash had four corner kicks in a row, as they upped their pressure on the Seattle defense and Solo. On the second of four, Zerboni sent a high-arching ball in that was punched over. Then, on number three, Zerboni took a short kick from Carli Lloyd and danced her way through the defense to take a shot to the short side, which Solo punched out for the final kick. The series came to a close when Angela Salem sent a distance shot high of the cage.

In the 77th minute, Noyola nearly picked the upper 90 but her shot from the left point hit the corner bar.

Minutes later, Zerboni cut-off an outlet throw from Solo and looked to test the keeper off her line, but the attempt went high.

Following the red card to Dallstream, the Flash played man-up for the final 34 minutes of the game and generated numerous late chances with the advantage. In the 48th minute, Samantha Kerr dove to make contact on a cross from Veronica Perez but her header went straight to Solo. Both Kerr and Perez entered as second half substitutes.

One minute later, Lloyd and Wambach worked a give-and-go, with Lloyd ultimately receiving a quick pass in the box from Wambach, but Lauren Barnes slid to block Lloyd's six-yard shot.

Canadian international Jodi-Ann Robinson entered as a 65th substitute and put herself in scoring position numerous times toward the end of the game. In the 88th minute, Robinson chested down a cross-field pass from Lloyd but her hard shot sailed wide to the left.

A minute later, Perez claimed the ball at midfield and broke out on a 3-on-2 chance with Wambach and Kerr, passing to Kerr on the right side. However, the Australian could not get enough lift of her cross to Wambach, and the Reign cleared.

In the game's final chance, that shaped up to be much like the end of Wednesday's draw at Chicago, Alex Sahlen sent a ball into the box that was flicked on by Wambach, falling at the feet of Robinson. She took the shot, but Solo shifted in time and positioned herself to make her sixth and final save of the half. Solo would total eight saves in the contest.

The Flash (5-2-4, 19 points) are now tied with FC Kansas City for third place in the NWSL, as the Blues beat Washington Sunday to draw even with Western New York. Seattle moves up to 0-9-2 (2 points) on the year.

The Flash end the month of June with a game at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, facing the Washington Spirit for the first time at Sahlen's Stadium. The two teams have played twice in Washington this season, with the Flash picking up a win and a draw.

Click here to view a photo gallery of Sunday's game.

 

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