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Flash Forward: Will WNY Collapse in WPS? 2

Posted on June 24, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Will Marta and the Flash be able to turn things around when they return from the World Cup?

Because the WNY Flash has a month off for the World Cup break after losing their first match this season, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the significance of that loss.

The loss occurred at home, 1-0 against Philadelphia, with the only goal being scored near the end of the game. The goal was scored by Danesha Adams, who has not had much playing time in Philly, or on her previous WPS clubs. She had just returned from a loan-out to the W League to sharpen her game. She was wide open close to the right side of the goal (keeper’s left).

Adams was close enough to absolve Flash keeper Ashlyn Harris of responsibility. Responsibility goes to a defense that let Adams get that close. Harris has let a few go through that shouldn’t have, especially early in the season, but she’s grown into her starting role. And when her club has lapsed on defense, Harris has saved their necks more than once. She remains the league’s leading goaltender with a 1.14 goals against average.

The loss was the continuation, even acceleration, of a slide that began with a tie the previous week against New Jersey, when the Flash blew a 2-0 halftime lead, including allowing a goal in the 89th minute by Sky Blue’s Casey Nogueira. Read the rest of this entry →

Are the WNY Flash Starting to Flame Out? 2

Posted on June 06, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

The Flash settled for their second tie of the season after having a commanding lead in the second half.

When Sky Blue’s Allie Long connected on the penalty kick to pull her club within a goal of WPS leading WNY Flash last Friday night, those fans who shrugged it off would learn soon enough how dangerous such complacence could be. Perhaps it was because the Flash shrugged it off, continued to play uninspired as if the match was already in the bag, as if it would take a penalty kick in order for this team or any to score on them, that Sky Blue’s Casey Nogueira was able to get close enough to have a virtual penalty shot against Flash keeper Ashlyn Harris in the 88th minute to tie up the match.

That certainly woke up the home team, inducing a new sense of intensity, urgency, even desperation for the remainder of the match. But it was too late. Not only had Nogueira’s goal awakened her competition, it seemed to thrust her team mates into a higher level of play that countered the notch up of activity on the part of Western New York. Read the rest of this entry →

WNY Flash Slowed but not Conquered on First WPS Meeting with Philly 1

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. Read the rest of this entry →

Western New York Flash Dominate Before a Record Crowd 2

Posted on May 23, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

The Flash stayed undefeated with their win over the magicJack.

The stars were back in action in Women’s Professional Soccer this weekend after being gone on international duty last weekend, setting the stage for a titanic matchup and a warm homecoming for mJ’s Abby Wambach  in Western New York.

As Florida’s magicJack took the pitch against the home side, Western New York Flash, the leagues two remaining undefeated clubs faced off before an all-time league record attendance for a single game.

After averaging well below 2,000 for their first three home matches, the return of Rochester native Abby Wambach with the visiting team helped boost the crowd. Wambach has her own fan base in the area and drew rousing applause at introduction, as well as some intermittent chanting of her name throughout the match, but it was also obvious that the large crowd was there for their own team as well. Read the rest of this entry →

WPS Troubles: Here We Go Again 3

Posted on May 14, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Action on the feld has been good in 2011, but off the field issues persist for the WPS.

It seems a decade ago but it was only last Fall, when rumors abounded that two WPS Franchises were on the verge of folding. One: The Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride, had just captured the league championship. The rumors turned out to be true. The other: Washington Freedom appeared to be rescued by telecom startup mogul, Dan Borislow, who would eventually move the club to South Florida and re-name it after his company: Magic Jack.

A third franchise, The Chicago Red Stars, not even rumored to be in trouble, was unable to attract additional investors and suspended play for the 2011 season.

Chicago and Gold Pride joined Los Angeles and St. Louis in the dumpster of defunct original league franchises, leaving only Boston, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) and Magic Jack of the original seven clubs, along with expansion teams Atlanta and Philadelphia. League officials had already stated that they needed six clubs in order to have a season. Enter Buffalo Meat Mogul Joe Sahlen, who upgraded his W-League Champion Buffalo Flash to the WPS as the sixth franchise. That move appeared to save the league for the 2011 season.

Now comes the announcement from WPS that Magic Jack is non-compliant and under sanction. At issue is the team’s staging its first three home games without complying with several league rules, including those requiring display of sponsor field boards and submission of match video. Read the rest of this entry →

No Marta, No Matter: “Star-less” Flash Breaks Boston’s Breakers as a New Star is Born 1

Posted on May 14, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

With some of the top stars out of the lineup, McCall Zerboni shined with two goals against the Breakers.

WNY Flash went a long way to prove they are the world’s best women’s soccer club, by beating the Boston Breakers 3-2 on Friday night, without seven starters and a total of eight players, called up for international duties. Among those missing were Marta, Christine Sinclair, & Alex Morgan, who together account for eight of the nine goals the Flash had scored leading up to Friday’s contest.

The undefeated Flash took the pitch at Sahlen’s Stadium without missing a beat, continuing their trend of scoring early. Brittany Bock scored first in the tenth minute, fed by McCall Zerboni.

WNY’s second goal came 15 minutes later in the 25th minute with a header by Zerboni, assisted by Protugese international Kim Brandao.

The Flash dominated most of the first half, keeping the action on the offensive side of the pitch. However as the period progressed the Flash appeared to tire. In the 39th minute Boston was able to penetrate the Flash defense, and made the most of the opportunity. Liz Bogus scored on an assist from Nikki Washington, connecting on the Breaker’s first shot of the game.

The play continued to be more balanced in the second half, but in the 69th minute the Flash found the back of the net for the third time. McCall Zerboni scored on a feed by Gemma Davison. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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