After a 75-minute weather delay in Rochester, the Western New York Flash and Chicago Red Stars played the lone NWSL match on Friday night.
In a matchup of two of the top three teams in the league, Western New York earned three points with a 2-0 victory.
Both teams played shorthanded with the absences of U.S. national team players. The Flash were without Jaelene Hinkle and Samantha Mewis while the Red Stars were missing Julie Johnston, Christen Press and Aylssa Naeher.
Early on in the match Chicago put pressure on the Western New York defense highlighted by a Vanessa DiBernardo shot off the crossbar.
Late in the first half, the Flash took the lead thanks to a goal by the newly acquired Lianne Sanderson. Sanderson made her debut for the Flash tonight after being traded by the Orlando Pride. After some nice buildup play by Western New York, Jess McDonald got on the end of a cross and sent a header off the post. Sanderson was in the box to clean up the rebound and score to make it 1-0.
The Flash established control early in the second half putting consistent pressure on Chicago’s goal. Western New York had a header saved off the line by a Chicago defender and saw a shot hit off the post in a wild scrum off a corner kick.
It seemed like only a matter of time before the Flash broke through and in the 74th minute, Lynn Williams volleyed home a McDonald cross to double her team’s lead.
The Red Stars could not create many scoring chances to try to get back into the game and the Flash played out the clock to get the win.
Western New York is now in sole position of second place with 21 points. Chicago stays at 18 points and is now in third place.
Next up for the Flash is a home matchup against the Seattle Reign on Saturday, July 9, while the Red Stars will face the Washington Spirit on the road on the same day.
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