ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It was an aggressive game at Sahlen’s Stadium on Sunday when the Western New York Flash hosted Sky Blue FC and after returning from a four-game road trip, the Flash came out on top with a 3-0 victory.
Sky Blue took two big hits within the first 30 minutes of the match when Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Foord were sidelined with injuries. Foord injured her left ankle and De Vanna injured her hamstring. Coach Jim Gabarra didn’t have any additional details about the players’ injuries, but will know more within the next few days.
“It’s always a physical battle against them,” Gabarra said. “We didn’t have good pressure on the ball, so they allowed them good service into the spaces that they’re very good.”
After losing the season opener 1-0 to Sky Blue FC, the Flash have dominated the New Jersey side, winning 2-1, 3-0 and 3-0 again on Sunday in front of 4,664 fans.
Jill Loyden, who made her NWSL debut for Sky Blue, was tested early on as the Flash came out strong with many dangerous opportunities, as they pressed hard on the Sky Blue defense.
Wambach made her way down the left flank toward goal in the 13th minute, when she passed to an oncoming Carli Lloyd, who finished the first Flash goal.
In the 35th minute, the Flash scored their second goal off of a corner kick taken by Sarah Huffman. The sequence of the goal was a bit tricky: Wambach headed the ball, Zerboni kicked it towards goal and the ball was deflected by a defender before it hit the post and bounced back to Brittany Taylor, who finished with a rocket into the back of the net.
Sky Blue was eager to retaliate in the 39th minute when Taylor Lytle played a beautiful ball to Monica Ocampo, who crossed to Brittany Bock, but Bock’s shot went just wide of the right post.
In the 56th minute Huffman found Wambach down the line and she dribbled through the defense and passed to a wide open Samantha Kerr, who easily finished.
There were opportunities for both teams throughout the second half. Sky Blue’s offensive momentum picked up some, but not enough to earn them a goal. Ocampo, who subbed in for the injured Foord, pressed hard in the second half and was part of many close opportunities that almost resulted in goals, but Franch ultimately won all of the challenges.
Defensively, Sky Blue struggled to stop the Flash offensive line for a good portion of the match. Sequences from Wambach, Lloyd and Kerr were a force to be reckoned with.
Huffman also had a great match for the Flash. She played an integral part in helping get the ball forward to create strong sequences and generating opportunities with crosses into the box.
“This season didn’t start off the way I wanted with my injuries and it kind of takes a while to get back and get the ball going again,” said Huffman. “Our team has been doing well and I was happy today to be able to contribute and be more involved.”
The Flash will return to the pitch on July 31st when they host the Washington Spirit at 7:05 p.m. ET.
13’ | Lloyd (Wambach)
35’ | Taylor
56’ | Kerr (Wambach)
Sky Blue: 13
Shots on goal:
Sky Blue: 6
WNY Flash starters: Sahlen, Kerr (75’ Perez), Salem, Zerboni, Lloyd, Johnson, Taylor, Huffman (75’ Wells), Reynolds, Wambach, Franch (88’ Tajonar).
Sky Blue FC starters: Goodson, Rampone, Foord (31’ Ocampo), Johnson, Adams, Bock, De Vanna (19’ Lytle), Schmidt, Loyden, Makoski, Thompson (61’ Freels).
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