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WNY Flash Slowed but not Conquered on First WPS Meeting with Philly

Posted on May 30, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Caroline Seger returned to Philadelphia to face her former team.

Philadelphia’s Megan Rapinoe drew first blood early in the match, at home in a hot, humid Quick Stadium. Coming into today’s first confrontation with league leading Western New York Flash, the Independence was riding a three game win streak and appeared to be the only club left in Women’s Professional Soccer that might have a realistic chance of beating Marta and company. Rapinoe scored on a long, high shot from right to left, catching Flash keeper Ashlyn Harris dozing while the ball sailed hard into the upper left netting. With that goal, it looked as if the Flash may have indeed met their match.

It didn’t take long, though, for Western New York to even the match with a typical front third assault, capped off by a beautiful header from Becky Edwards into the right corner. Edwards had scored a similar strike against Magic Jack at home last week on her birthday.

It was another short interval before Philly defender Nikki Kryssyk was carded for taking down McCall Zerboni in the penalty box. Marta made easy work of the free kick for the lead, and with little more than 20 minutes gone, that was the end of all scoring.

The heat and humidity seemed to take its toll on both clubs down the stretch but the most impressive observation was Philly’s ability to take the Flash off their game. The last 70 minutes of the match was the most balanced contest in which the Flash has played this season. Given the fact that these two teams will meet again twice in their next three outings, Western New York may have reason for anxiety. That is especially true when one factors in the eight internationals who will be unavailable to play for the Flash next time, due to World Cup action. Philly will be missing only four.

Other notes of interest: McCall Zerboni’s Player of the Week performance two weeks ago, when her team was missing their eight internationals for pre-World Cup activity, and her impressive performance on defense last week against magicJack has earned her a spot in the starting 11. Zerboni replaced rookie Alex Morgan today and put in another admirable performance. Morgan subbed in early in the second half, but was relatively quiet.

Megan Rapinoe, who has been a prolific scorer on the US Women’s National Team had difficulty finishing in club play during her two years as a Chicago Red Star, but has obviously found her groove now that she’s relocated.

Swedish international, Caroline Seger faced her former team mates for the first time this season, and was managed quite well by the Philadelphia back side. Familiarity breeds defense.

The Flash return home to Sahlen’s Stadium for their second meeting with New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC, Friday June 3rd at 7:30PM EDT.

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