On a night full of screaming fans and some of the world’s best women soccer players on one pitch together, the Western New York Flash inched closer to securing first place in WPS and the right to host the championship with a 2-1 win over host magicJack. For magicJack, Puma’s Project Pink night took place to support and provide awareness of breast cancer. The team decided to donate their proceeds to the local Susan G. Komen charity.
In anticipation of a packed house, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) added an additional set of bleachers to their stadium in order to increase attendance at the magicJack home games. FAU also provided extra security, including campus and local police for the game. In front of a sold out crowd of 4,011, Marta’s two second half goals led the Flash to win their fourth game in a row. Much of the first half was wide open, with not many scoring chances coming from either team.
The tempo of the game picked up greatly in the second half. Both goalkeepers, Jill Loyden for magicJack and Ashlyn Harris for the Flash, played strong games for their clubs. In the 65th minute, Western New York went up 1-0 after Flash captain Caroline Seger found Marta on a through ball in the middle of the field, Marta then slotted the ball in the right corner past Loyden. The magicJack defense made up, of Marian Dalmy, Becky Sauerbrunn, captain Christie Rampone, and Tina Ellerton did a solid job of marking Western New York’s powerhouse forward trio of Christine Sinclair, Marta, and second half sub Alex Morgan.
MagicJack broke the tie six minutes later in the 71st minute off a Sophie Schmidt goal. Midfielder Sarah Huffman played in a corner, which was headed away by Sinclair. The clearance went right to Rampone who found Schmidt and the Canadian placed the ball near post past Harris. That was Schmidt’s first professional goal in WPS.
In the 74th minute, Marta took a corner kick for the Flash and the initial kick was cleared by magicJack player/coach Abby Wambach. Seger kept the play alive by finding Marta on the right flank and Marta sent the ball in looking for one of her teammates to tap it in, but instead the well-placed cross bounced into the back of the net.
In a display of rare player management, magicJack kept all their starters in the match the full 90 minutes, making no substitutions. In attendance was U.S. Women’s National Team and magicJack goalkeeper Hope Solo who is out recovering from shoulder surgery for the rest of the season. Solo addressed the fans at half-time thanking her teammates, fans, and magicJack owner Dan Borislow. Solo said it that this time she wants to recover naturally.
“My goal is obviously to be 100 percent for the Olympics with no medicine,” Solo said.
With third place already locked up, magicJack will play their first play-off game next Wednesday, August 17th, at home in Boca Raton, FL. magicJack will find out who its opponent is after the Boston Breakers/Sky Blue FC game on Sunday. The Western New York Flash continues to fight with the Philadelphia Independence for first place in WPS. The Flash’s next match is against the Atlanta Beat in Rochester, NY on Sunday night at 6 p.m. on Fox Soccer.