The Western New York Flash and FC Kansas City played to a 1-1 draw in front of 2,916 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium on Friday night. Both goals came within a five-minute span in the first half with WNY’s Samantha Kerr notching her seventh goal of the season, a team high for the Flash.
With the one-point finish, the Flash remains in sixth place in the NWSL standings, just two points out of the fourth and final playoff position.
Western New York (7-9-3, 24 points) was outshot 20-9 in the game but was able to hold the Blues (10-5-4, 34 points) to just a single goal, from the foot of Sarah Hagen in the 17th minute.
Hagen put the visiting Blues ahead with a chip over goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Hagen, in her fourth appearance with Kansas City, got behind a long pass from Lauren Holiday and used one touch to lift the ball over Wys, who came off her line to challenge.
However, the Kansas City lead didn’t last long as Kerr equalized the game just five minutes later with a headed goal. After a cross from rookie Haley Palmer on the left side, Carli Lloyd sent the ball up to Kerr with a header from the top of the penalty area before the Australian knocked it past Nicole Barnhar
“We showed a good response to get back in it,” said Flash General Manager and Head Coach Aaran Lines. “We addressed a few things at half time and changed things technically… and I thought we looked more comfortable. We had more control of the game, we were able to defend better, we were able to get closer.”
Lloyd nearly got on the board in the 13th minute after creating space off a pass from Kerr, but her shot from inside the box went wide of the net. The midfielder also had a chance in the 36th minute after a foul from Nikki Phillips setup a free kick from 30-yards out. The Flash captain let go a laser shot that forced Barnhart to make a fingertip save, punching the ball over the crossbar.
Kansas City’s Amy Rodriguez looked to put the visiting team ahead just minutes after Kerr’s goal, running onto a pass from Holiday. Wys came out to challenge the U.S. National Team forward, but Rodriguez’s chip shot caromed off the left post and out.
After starter Lydia Williams suffered a torn ACL during the Flash’s previous game against Washington, Wys earned her fifth start of the season. The rookie goalkeeper made a career-high 10 saves on Friday night, including a 44th minute diving save to deny Rodriguez on a header attempt.
In the 68th minute, Kerr collected a pass from McCall Zerboni and used a quick cut-in move to create space near the top of the 18. The forward unleashed a shot on Barnhart, but the 5-10 goalkeeper was able to deflect the ball out for a corner kick.
Wys came up with her final save in the 87th minute, again denying Rodriguez from close range. After a Flash turnover in the midfield, the Blues marched quickly down the field with Rodriguez able to get open on the left side. Her shot was on target, but the former Florida State goalkeeper knocked the ball away with a falling save.
Western New York finishes a three-game homestand Friday, July 25th in its second-to-last home game of the regular season. The Flash host the Boston Breakers at 7:30pm.
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