Western New York Flash Beat Undefeated FC Kansas City
By Kim Tate
For the second-straight game, a team has entered Western New York's Stadium and has been handed its first loss. Goals by Abby Wambach and the debut of Carli Lloyd were the talking points of the evening, after Western New York Flash won its second game in a row with a 2-1 victory over FC Kansas City.
Wambach put the Flash on the scoreboard with two quality finishes in the first half. Her second goal of the year came in the 34th minute when a long ball from Brittany Taylor found Veronica Perez who was waiting at the top of the box. She chested the ball to Wambach in the middle of the 18, who fired a left footed shot past Nicole Barnhart in goal.
Five minutes later, Wambach's instincts kicked in and she capatalized on a defensive mistake by Kansas City's Leigh Ann Robinson, who dropped a pass back into her own 18 yard box in an attempt to clear the ball. Wambach nabbed the ball and quickly put it away, putting the Flash up by two.
Wambach was hungry for her hat trick, attempted with her head, but was denied by Barnhart in the final minutes of the first half. Defender Katherine Reynolds collected on an overlapping run on the left side, and crossed the ball to Wambach who was left unmarked. She struck a hard header but Barnhart dove the right way and denied the third goal.
The Flash's quest for a home shutout was denied by the Blues in the 52nd minute, when Lauren Cheney connected on a cross from Robinson and headed the ball past the left hand of Adrianna Franch, putting them on the scoreboard.
Flash forward and Mexican international Renae Cuellar was held goalless by the Flash defense, after scoring a goal in each of her first three appearances with Kansas City. She was held to only one shot, which went off target in the 59th minute.
US national teamer Carli Lloyd made her season debut, entering the game in the 64th minute, and drew a free kick just outside the box upon her first touch. Her attempt almost beat Barnhart but was punched away. That shot led to a corner kick for the Flash and another Wambach hat trick bid which was denied by Kansas City's backline. Wambach made her typical dangerous aerial attempt at goal, and actually beat Barnhart, but Desiree Scott was there at the line to clear it.
Lloyd collected a pass from about 20 yards out and skillfully weaved her way through the Blues' defense before firing a shot on goal, but the ball went straight into the arms of Barnhart.
Kansas City attmepted two more chances in the following minutes, but Angela Salem broke up the first attempt between Cheney and Erika Tymrak. In the 74th minute, an unmarked Jen Buczkowski received a pass from Lloyd and shot at Franch, who was able to make the save.
Franch finished the game with six saves while Barnhart ended with three. Despite being outshot 12-9, Western New York was able to move into fourth place in the National Women’s Soccer League, tied at seven points with Kansas City.
Wambach led the Flash with four shots in a complete game effort, while Lloyd totaled three in her 26 minutes.
The Blues entered the game riding a 2-1-0 record, but fall to 2-1-1 on the year. The Flash, however, improve to 2-1-2 with the win.