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Flash cling to playoff hopes with dramatic win in NJ

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Western New York Flash kept their NWSL playoff hopes alive with a late, 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC on Saturday at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University. Elizabeth Eddy scored the game-winning goal for the Flash, leaving fellow hopefuls Sky Blue second from bottom in the league table.

Lynn Williams found space on the right flank and floated a cross over the head of stranded Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron. Eddy was there waiting inside the six-yard box for the tap-in header in the 89th minute.

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Kelley O’Hara had scored the equalizer in the 52nd minute on a counterattack that she helped created and finish. The Flash took a corner kick and got caught with too many numbers forward when the ball kicked out to the top of the box. O’Hara dribbled about 35 yards, dished the ball to her left to Sam Kerr and surged forward to collect the return pass and bury it high at the near post, over the left shoulder of Flash goalkeeper Chantel Jones.

Colombia forward Lady Andrade scored her first career NWSL goal midway through the first half, capitalizing on Sky Blue’s defensive mistake. Rookie Kristen Grubka played an errant pass to Cameron, who was pressured and eventually gave the ball up toward the top of the box. Andrade was there to collect the ball and calmly tuck it past a backtracking Cameron and Sky Blue defense.

Sky Blue (3-7-5, 14 pts.) will next face the Houston Dash on the road on Friday. The loss snaps a three-game unbeaten streak for the New Jersey side.

The win for the Flash (5-7-3, 18 pts.) is a major rebound from Wednesday’s loss at home to Portland Thorns FC. Western New York now sits in sixth, ahead of Portland, who has a game in hand after sitting idle this weekend. Saturday was the first of four straight home matches for the Flash, who travel to Kansas City next Saturday for clash with the defending champion Blues. FC Kansas City currently sits fifth in the NWSL table.

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