Confident, shorthanded Flash takes on unbeaten Chicago tonight
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • June 13, 2012 @ 9:06am
Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the New England Mutiny was a welcomed result for the Western New York Flash, who’d only taken one point from its previous three games. The three points were particularly valuable as a confidence boost, as Wednesday’s opponent, the Chicago Red Stars, is the only unbeaten team left in WPSL Elite.
“We took Sunday off, but when the players came in Monday, they were pretty chirpy,” Flash head coach Aaran Lines said. “It’s good to get back on track with the general feeling.”
The match: Western New York Flash (2-2-1) vs. Chicago Red Stars (5-0-0)
The venue: Sahlen’s Stadium, 460 Oak St., Rochester
The time: 7 p.m.
Last match: WNY downed New England 3-1; Chicago spanked ASA Chesapeake 5-0
Tickets: Ticketmaster or by calling (585) 454-5425
FLASHcards for this week’s match
In each installment of the weekly ‘Flashcards,’ we’ll examine any roster moves for Western New York, take a gander at the week’s opponent and absorb insight from Lines or a player.
1) Off the schneid vs. quality opponents: The Flash sits 0-2-1 against WPSL Elite’s top three teams in the standings, but it’s not necessarily because Western New York has been outmatched.
“[Chicago] is a different caliber of opponent,” Lines said. “The players are eager to impress, though, and we’ve been a little unlucky against good teams. If we can play a full 90 minutes like we played in the first half against New England, we’ll be fine.”
Western New York’s first half against New England was marked by fine combination play all over the pitch, composure and intelligent distribution from defenders, and even a cunning scoring touch around goal that had eluded the Flash recently.
2) Shorthanded survival: The Flash’s representatives on the United States national team, Lori Lindsey and Meghan Klingenberg, will miss Wednesday’s game against Chicago, while U-23s Stephanie Ochs and Toni Pressley are in Norway on international duty as well. These absences, however, will allow the remaining Flash players to make an impression.
“If we get nine points over the next three games,” Lines said, “I won’t change the lineup when [the internationals return]. The players have to earn their places; I want to create a competitive environment like I faced for 17 years.”
“Players – international or not – will be rewarded for good performances in games and training,” he added, “as it takes a total squad performance to win championships.
3) Red Star explosion: Asked if he was surprised by Chicago’s scorching start to the season, Lines admitted he was.
“It did surprise me a little,” he said, “because they went to WPSL last season after two years in WPS. But they’re in a big market, and considering their geographical location, they should be competitive.”
For Chicago, top contributors Lauren Fowlkes, Lori Chalupny, Jen Buczkowski, Jamie Forbes and Alyssa Mautz all hail from either Illinois or Missouri.
“In 10 years, I’d like to have that blessing of people coming back [home to WNY] to play for the pro club,” Lines said hopefully.
The Red Stars own wins over Boston (1-0) and New York (2-1), and have only conceded one goal as a team. Goalie Forbes has been impenetrable, while striker Fowlkes notched a hat-trick against ASA Chesapeake last Sunday.
(Courtesy of WNY Flash press release)