Unbeaten in 10, Flash faces WPSL Elite co-leader Chicago
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • July 14, 2012 @ 8:00am
The Western New York Flash wasted little time in dispatching FC Indiana on Thursday, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes en route to a 5-0 win. The victors received two goals from Adriana – now tied for the league lead – and solo tallies from Katy Frierson, Jodi-Ann Robinson and Emily Van Egmond (on her 19th birthday).
After Thursday’s offensive explosion, the Flash now have scored the most goals in the league (27) and allowed the fewest (6).
“[The win] was pretty impressive,” admitted head coach Aaran Lines. “We had good preparation, and the girls were really focused. [It was] great to earn a win like that on the road.”
The path gets rockier Saturday, however, as the Flash rolls to Benedictine University for a match against WPSL Elite co-leader Chicago. Western New York thumped the Red Stars 3-0 at Sahlen’s Stadium in the teams’ first meeting, but two road games in three days will pose a challenge for the Flash against well-rested Chicago.
The match: Western New York Flash (8-1-3) vs. Chicago Red Stars (9-2-0)
The venue: Benedictine University, Lisle, IL
The time: 7 p.m. Saturday
Link to online streaming: http://chicagoredstars.com/ (select Live Webcast along nav. bar)
Last result: WNY beat FC Indiana 5-0; Chicago nipped Philadelphia 1-0.
1) Explosive start saves legs: The Flash’s game-plan was to jump out to an early lead, and behind goals from Adriana and Van Egmond, the margin was 2-0 in a jiffy.
“We wanted high pressure in the first 10 minutes to try to get one or two [goals],” Lines said. “It’s a big mental hurdle for the other team to come back when they’re down early. We had the game under control at all times.”
The 3-0 halftime margin allowed Lines to make five substitutions at the break, conserving the energy of workhorses like McCall Zerboni, Omolyn Davis, Angela Salem, Adriana and Stephanie Ochs for Saturday’s tilt.
2) Meaningful match: Despite having already clinched a playoff berth, Saturday’s match against Chicago holds considerable value for Lines’ club.
“There’s a lot of character and will forming on this team,” Lines explained, “and we’re still playing for the prestige of the top spot [in the league] and for pride.”
While Western New York and Chicago – along with the Boston Breakers – have 27 points, the Red Stars have played one fewer game than both competing clubs. If a tie-breaker is needed to determine the #1-4 seeds in the WPSL Elite postseason, here are the categories in order:
—Head-to-head record between tied teams
—Goal differential between tied teams (an aggregate score, essentially)
—Goal differential (overall) within WPSL Elite
—Most goals scored within WPSL Elite
—Fewest goals allowed within WPSL Elite
3) Additional notes: The Red Stars are led by striker/defender Lauren Fowlkes, creative midfielder Lori Chalupny and WPS 2011 Best XI selection Jen Buczkowski, then of the Philadelphia Independence.
Flash captain McCall Zerboni is battling the flu, and her availability for Saturday night is undetermined. Lines has yet to name the starter between the pipes, as Alli Lipsher preserved a clean sheet against the ASA Chesapeake Charge while Brittany Cameron shut out FC Indiana.
“I’ve never really been one for mixing up [the starting keeper] much,” Lines said, pointing back to 2011 when Ashlyn Harris was the unquestioned starter. “This year, we feel like we really have two #1s. They’ve both been very professional in their approach when they’re called upon and when they’re not.”
Will the Flash improve its playoff position with a road win Saturday?