ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Western New York Flash defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-1 at Sahlen’s Stadium on a chilly Friday night in front of 3,152 fans. Flash defender Brittany Taylor was a key player in tonight’s match, assisting in both of the Flash goals.
A second half goal by Lori Chalupny was erased within two minutes by an Abby Wambach strike before McCall Zerboni found the winner for Western New York.
The match started off slow, with both teams trying to gain momentum on the pitch. The Flash dominated possession throughout the first half, but failed to connect with the back of the net. The Red Stars defense started off strong, breaking up many offensive runs by the Flash. However, Western New York didn’t back down and Chicago soon started scrambling to break up the offensive line. The WNY presence in the box tested Chicago’s rookie goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, who was in for an injured Erin McLeod (incomplete fracture in her right hand).
Katherine Reynolds played a nice through ball to a sprinting Samantha Kerr in the 35th minute, but Kerr was denied the opportunity by a charging Vancil. Alex Sahlen nearly had a goal in the 36th minute when she took a shot from the flank and the ball sailed perfectly to the corner of the net, but was punched away by Vancil just in time.
Carli Lloyd was hungry for a goal tonight. In the 31st minute she took a free kick that went just wide of the net. In the 37th minute, she launched a bullet to the left post, but a diving Vancil knocked it out of play.
It was an aggressive half resulting in a 0-0 score at halftime.
Both teams came back from halftime eager for goals. The Red Stars struck first in the 52nd minute when Jessica McDonald found Chalupny, who knocked the ball into the back of the net. The Flash netted the equalizer two minutes later in the 54th minute when Taylor chipped a ball into a diving Wambach, who headed the ball right past Vancil.
Flash coach Aaran Lines was impressed with Taylor’s play on the evening.
“Offensively I thought she was brilliant,” Lines said. “She engaged in the midfield, looked comfortable on the ball and distribution was good there. A lovely cross into Abby and Abby does what Abby does in the box.”
Zerboni got the second goal of the night off of a corner kick. Adriana took the corner and found Taylor who headed the ball in Zerboni’s path and she finished with a beautiful header into the back of the net.
“It was excellent work by my teammates to win the corner,” said Zerboni, when asked about her goal. “It was a great win in the air by Brittany Taylor and I was able to delicately touch it into the net.”
Chicago’s Lauren Fowlkes was going for the equalizer in the 70th minute when she headed a shot to the back post and just missed.
Lloyd was denied another shot on goal in the 77th minute when her shot ricocheted off a defender and then the left goal post.
The Red Stars pressed hard in the last few minutes of the second half looking for the equalizer, but were unable to connect.
Vancil, who made her professional debut for the Red Stars tonight, played a phenomenal game. Though two goals slipped by her, she denied the Flash quite a few goals, especially in the first half, by making some remarkable diving saves.
The Flash are off for the next 11 days and will head to Boston next to face the Breakers on June 5.
“We want to keep the momentum going that we have,” said Zerboni. “Three straight wins in a row and we’re getting better and better each day in training and every time we step on the field.”
Video by Danielle Lorenzo.
52’ | Chalupny (McDonald)
54’ | Wambach (Taylor)
65’ | Zerboni (Taylor)
43’ | Lori Chalupny | Yellow Card – Reckless Foul
74’ | Carli Lloyd | Yellow Card – Reckless Foul
Lineups & Substitutions:
WNY Flash Starters: Franch, Taylor, Johnson, Sahlen, Reynolds, Lloyd, Zerboni, Salem, Kerr (Huffman 77’), Adriana (Perez 87’), Wambach
Chicago Red Stars Starters: Vancil, Santacaterina, Hemmings, Vandenbergh, Quon, Mautz, Chalupny, Sitch (Bywaters 78’), Fowlkes (Moscato 87’), Dominguez (Masar 69’), McDonald
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