The Western New York Flash jumped three spots in the NWSL standings with a 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers on Friday night at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Flash moved from sixth in the league to a tie for third place behind two goals from U.S. National Team allocation Carli Lloyd. The Flash, who sits alongside Chicago and Portland in the table, is now 6-7-2 (20 points) while Boston falls to 3-10-1 (10 points).
“I liked they way we came out in the second half and we were more effective in the final third of the field. It was just lovely to see us finally get rewarded at that stage of the game,” said Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines. “It’s been taken away from us, certainly in that last one against Seattle, so it’s nice to see that response from the group in that stage of the game.”
Lloyd put the Flash on top in the 59th minute after she finished a perfectly placed set piece from center back Brittany Taylor. Taking advantage of a foul drawn by Jasmyne Spencer, Taylor found the Flash captain in the penalty area for her fifth goal of the season. Lloyd was able to get around her defender and head the ball back across the goal, beating Alyssa Naeher into the left side netting.
The Breakers leveled the game on the foot of Nkem Ezurike 71 minutes in. Ezurike took advantage of a well-paced through-ball from Maddy Evans and dipped a shot around Flash goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
However, Lloyd finished her brace in the 83rd minute on a give-and-go with Vicky Losada. The second-year Flash midfielder laid the ball inside to her Spanish teammate before making a run in front of Vicky, through the penalty area. Upon receiving the pass, Lloyd wasted no time, blasting a shot top shelf past Naeher. It was Vicky’s sixth assist of the season, an NWSL high.
Though Lloyd was the only Flash player to score, the team was not short on chances, totaling a season-high 22 shots.
Samantha Kerr broke free in just the first minute of play, after collecting a pass from Angela Salem, but her shot went wide of the left post. The Australian was denied 12-minutes later, as her shot off the Flash’s first corner kick was cleared off the goal line by Cat Whitehill.
Vicky tried to catch Naeher off of her line in the 29th minute with a chip from outside, but the crossbar was there to keep the game scoreless. Vicky later tried a nifty shot from 15-yards out, using the outside of her foot, but Naeher was able to make the save.
Lloyd nearly completed her hat trick on a number of occasions, first off an opportunity on a 55th minute corner kick. McCall Zerboni was the first to touch the Vicky service, sending the ball backwards to Lloyd on the far post. The midfielder unloaded a hard, close shot, but Naeher was able to parry the ball away. Later, Lloyd blocked Evans’ clear attempt at the top of the box, but her shot trickled just inches wide of the net.
The Flash’s three Spaniards put together a series of strong passes, forcing Naeher into an acrobatic save in the 79th minute. Sonia Bermudez, a second-half substitute for the Flash, was found on the left flank by Vicky. Sonia carried the ball to the byline before finding Adriana Martin, also a second-half sub, open eight-yards out. The forward took a quick shot but Naeher came up with a huge save to keep the game at 1-1.
Williams finished with three saves in net for the Flash.
Western New York will close out a four-game homestand on Wednesday night when it welcomes the Seattle Reign for the second time in less than two weeks.
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