ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Nadia Nadim netted a late goal in the second half to lift Sky Blue FC past the Western New York Flash, 3-2, officially eliminating the Flash from playoff contention.
The goal marks seven in six games for Nadim, and it keeps Sky Blue’s playoff hopes alive.
“Awesome,” Nadim said of the statistic. “We have this amazing understanding, me, Kelley (O’Hara), Katie (Freels), Sophie (Schmidt), Maya (Hayes), everyone. I have been playing with these guys for a month and it seems like we’ve been playing all our lives together.”
The Flash nearly netted their first goal in the 20th minute when Sam Kerr put a header into the back of the net only to see the offside flag fly up denying her of the goal.
But Adriana Martin put the Flash on the board in the 23rd minute when Abby Wambach found her wide open in the box and she easily put the shot passed Jill Loyden.
Sky Blue netted the equalizer seconds later right after the kick off with a sequence through Kelley O’Hara. Maya Hayes sent a low cross into Nadim, who scuffed a shot toward the back post that O’Hara tapped in.
Brittany Taylor looked to put the Flash on top in 35th minute when she curled a long distance cross into the box for Wambach, who sent a header directly at Loyden.
Nadim put Sky Blue up early on in the second half in the 47th minute when she took advantage of a deflected shot by O’Hara and drilled the ball into the back of the net.
Wambach nearly equalized in the 50th minute when Carli Lloyd found her in the box and she sent a powerful shot toward goal, but it deflected off the top of the crossbar, and Wambach was then called offsides.
In the 56th minute, Hayes had a breakaway down the right flank and sent a low cross into the box, but Flash goalkeeper Kelsey Wys was there to deny any further opportunity.
Lloyd missed an open net opportunity in the 67th minute when Wambach placed a beautiful through ball and Lloyd dribbled around Loyden, but was unable to convert on an empty net.
Sonia Bermudez netted the equalizer for the Flash in the 79th minute when she chipped a beautiful ball into the upper right corner, sailing it right over Loyden.
But a draw would have eliminated both teams, so each pushed for the winner. Nadia Nadim scored that game-winning goal late in the second half to put Sky Blue on top, keeping the team’s playoff hopes alive.
“Nadia has been exactly what we needed coming in here – a goal scorer – but more than that she has really provided a lot of good energy and connected really well with the team and I certainly think she did enough in the game to earn the winning goal,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said of Nadim’s play.
1 – 23’ WNY Flash: Adriana Martin (Abby Wambach)
1 – 24’ Sky Blue FC: Kelley O’Hara (Nadia Nadim)
2 – 47’ Sky Blue FC: Nadia Nadim
2 – 79’ WNY Flash: Sonia Bermudez
3 – 88’ Sky Blue FC; Nadia Nadim
WNY Flash: Wys; Edmonds, Taylor, Williamson, Zerboni; Barczuk, Lloyd, Salem; Kerr, Wambach (C), Adriana
Sky Blue FC: Loyden; Foord, Goodson, Rampone (C), Levin; Nick, Schmidt, Freels; O’Hara, Nadim, Hayes
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