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Flash dominate Spirit, pull closer to third

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Western New York Flash defeated the Washington Spirit 3-0 on Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium in front of a crowd of 3,967.

Flash forward, Adriana, returned from her Spanish national team duties for the European Championship and subbed in for an injured Sahlen in the 25th minute, the first minutes Sahlen has missed this season. Flash head coach Aaran Lines said that Sahlen has a plantar fasciitis injury – though the extent of her injury is not known at this point.

It didn’t take long for Adriana and Sam Kerr to connect up top to create the first goal of the night. In the 35th minute Kerr crossed to Adriana in the box and the Spanish international finished with a nice chip into the back of the net.

The Flash celebrate Sam Kerr's goal in a 3-0 win over Washington. (Photo Copyright Danielle Lorenzo for The Equalizer)

“She’s come in nice and confident, she’s so easy going and easy to integrate back with the girls,” Lines said of Adriana’s return. “She had an immediate impact on the game for us tonight.”

Flash defensive powerhouse Brittany Taylor, who had previously started every other match and played every minute along with Estelle Johnson and Sahlen, was sidelined during tonight’s match due to a groin injury. Amy Barczuk took her place on the field. Lines said he chose not to play Taylor as a precautionary measure.

The Flash dominated possession throughout the entire match. The Spirit defensive line struggled to break down sequences from the Flash front line. Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, Kerr and Adriana all made their presence known up front tonight, each generating many opportunities — Western New York out-shot Washington 23-1.

Lloyd, particularly, was hungry for a goal. She had a total of eight shots in the first half, though was unable to net any points. However, she bounced back with a goal in the 68th minute. Ingrid Wells took a shot on goal that was blocked and bounced into Lloyd’s path, where she finished with a low shot into the back of the net.

“With the role that I’m playing I’m seeing myself higher up on the field, creating more chances and getting myself into the box,” said Lloyd. “I was very frustrated at myself just because I take accountability and if I’m going to create that many chances I’ve got to put at least a couple away. Luckily, one finally did trickle in.”

Katherine Reynolds found a wide-open Kerr in front of goal the 60th minute and Kerr easily finished the ball to give herself a goal and an assist on the night.

A corner kick late in the second half set the Spirit up for an opportunity on goal. Lori Lindsey sent the ball into the box and found Julia Roberts, who headed the ball toward the net, but Adriana Franch was there to make the save on Washington’s only shot of the game.

The Flash (8-4-6, 30 pts.) are now just 1 pt. behind third place Sky Blue FC, who lost to Portland 3-1 on Wednesday night. Western New York will return to the pitch on Saturday when they travel to Boston to face the Breakers at 6 p.m. ET.

Side notes:

— Ashlyn Harris was tested early on and throughout the entire match. Despite giving up three goals, she made some great saves that denied the Flash additional points.

— Marisa Abegg made her Washington Spirit debut when she subbed in for Lindsay Taylor in the 31st minute.

Goals:

35’ | Adriana (Kerr)
60’ | Kerr (Reynolds)
68’ | Lloyd

Shots:

WNY Flash: 23
Washington Spirit: 1

Cautions:

72’ | Sarah Huffman | Yellow Card – Reckless Foul

Starters:

WNY Flash: Franch; Sahlen (25’ Adriana), Johnson, Reynolds, Barczuk; Salem, Zerboni (C), Lloyd, Huffman; Kerr (66’ Wells), Wambach (73’ Perez).

Washington Spirit: Harris, Toulouse, Lindsey (C), Matheson, Roberts, Pohlers (74’ McCarty), Taylor (31’ Abegg) , King, Ochs, Huster, Spencer (69’ Krieger).

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