Flash shut out Sky Blue, advance to NWSL final
Updated: Sunday, August 25 2013, 12:57 AM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. (Saturday, August 24, 2013) – The NWSL Shield winning Western New York Flash will host the first-ever NWSL Championship game next Saturday, booking the ticket after beating Sky Blue FC 2-0 in the semifinal. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the home team in front of a crowd of 7,316 on Saturday night in Rochester.
The No. 1 Flash will now have the opportunity to win a fourth-straight championship, facing Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair and the No. 3 Portland Thorns FC next Saturday at 8 p.m. As the regular-season champions, the Flash will host the game at Sahlen’s Stadium. Ticket information will be announced at a later time.
The Flash got on the board in the 33rd minute, after defender Katherine Reynolds was able to drive the end line. Reynolds crossed in to Lloyd where the midfielder was unmarked in the box and able to run through with her head, putting the Flash up 1-0.
After another 60 minutes of scoreless play, Lloyd put the game away in stoppage time. Off a set piece, Abby Wambach played a quick pass over to Lloyd who carried the ball uncontested through the defense and blasted a shot past Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron.
The Flash controlled the majority of play in the first half, outshooting the visitors 9-2. Sky Blue’s first shot came in the 13th minute when Monica Ocampo took aim from 25-yards out, but the ball floated enough that Adrianna Franch was able to easily collect it.
The Flash defense got a scare three minutes later with Ocampo again hitting the target. After a scramble in the box, the Mexican international found the ball six-yards out and fired on Franch, but it was again straight to the keeper.
The Flash came mere inches from taking a 1-0 lead when Lloyd’s one-touch attempt just missed the right corner. After Reynolds used a crafty move to cut inside on her defender, the right back found Lloyd in the box but her shot could not find the back of the net.
The home team strung together a third near chance on its next trip down with Adriana Martin finding Wambach on the far post. However, Wambach’s inside of the foot effort went into the right side netting.
Down by a goal, Sky Blue’s Lisa DeVanna had a chance to level the game, running in stride with Brittany Taylor on a breakaway. But the defender put enough pressure on to cause a large touch and Franch was able to track down the ball, despite a hard collision. Both players were uninjured on the play.
In the second half, Wambach nearly got on the board off a Taylor free kick. After the Sky Blue defense parted to leave the ball for Cameron, Wambach was able to cut it off with a diving header. However, the attempt went wide of the net.
Sky Blue looked to equalize in the 67th minute after DeVanna tracked down a long clear and made her way into the box. One-on-one with Taylor, the Australian used a number of cutbacks to get a shot off, but she couldn’t send the shot on target.
Two minutes later, Lloyd was able to muscle her way past the Sky Blue defense and into the penalty area, but Cameron made a great save on the midfielder’s laser shot, keeping the game 1-0. However, the USWNT allocation was able to complete the brace before time expired.