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WNY Flash Claim WPS Regular Season Title 5

Posted on August 15, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

The WNY Flash have claimed the WPS regular season title and will host the championship game on August 27th.

Pundits have been saying it all season: on paper Western New York Flash is the world’s best women’s club soccer side, bar none. Sunday evening, the Flash earned the honor for now, by taking the regular season championship of the world’s best women’s league, defeating The Atlanta Beat 2-0 in front of more than 5,000 fans on a rainy night in Sahlen’s Stadium.

Last place Atlanta came to play, however, containing a legendary front line to two goals while frustrating four times as many good attempts. The Flash will have to play better to win the championship match when they next take the pitch, at home, on August 27th.

Despite beating each WPS club at least once, and losing only to Philadelphia, it would be foolish for anyone to assume the Flash will waltz to the overall championship.

By virtue of winning the regular season championship, the Flash will “enjoy” a quirk of the WPS playoff format—a double bye and a guaranteed appearance in the championship match, with home field advantage. So while the Flash get a two week break, their opponents will have played one or two elimination games. As the opposition get sharper, the Flash will have to work hard to stay sharp and focused.

That is especially challenging since the Flash’s current starting lineup still hasn’t had an opportunity to gel completely, especially on the front line. Their starting front line at the close of the season is the holy trinity of Women’s soccer today: Brazilian phenom Marta on the left, Canada’s best, Christine Sinclair, the league leader in goals and assists coming into the final week, at center, and the newest United States weapon, Alex Morgan on the right.

No other front line in the world, including national teams, can match this one, and while World Cup preparation and play prevented them from being together consistently for their club team, since the Cup they have started to get their rhythm.

The operative term is started. Perhaps no WPS club suffered more from the disruption of the World Cup than the Flash. While some or all of the eight internationals on the Flash roster were out of the lineup, the club suffered both of its two defeats and two of its three draws. Read the rest of this entry →

Western New York Flash Make Successful WPS Debut 3

Posted on April 18, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Women’s Professional Soccer’s newest team came away from their season opener with a decisive win over Boston’s Breakers in front of more than 4,000 fans in Harvard Stadium.

Despite the fact that Boston opened their season a week ago in Atlanta, roundly defeating the Beat by 4-1, and despite the fact that the expansion Western New York Flash was playing their first real game without their star striker, the new girls on the block dominated every aspect of the match, eventually winning 2-1.

Their play wasn’t always pretty and despite some chances, it took them 64 minutes to score their first goal, but considering their headliner, Brazilian phenom, Marta, was unable to join her team mates due to delays in processing immigration paperwork, and considering the fact that this new team had no preseason contests against professional clubs at any level, they did well by themselves.

The Boston Breakers (1-1-0) were unable to come back from a two-goal deficit Sunday night in their first home game of the season. In fact, the score doesn’t really tell the story. Boston was kept off the scoreboard until well into stoppage time. After Flash keeper Ashlyn Harris made an acrobatic stop, The Breakers’ Kelly Smith tapped the rebound into the box, seconds before the final whistle. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Earl Morrall: The Perfect Backup
      November 16, 2019 | 10:46 am
      Earl Morrall

      In a career that started in 1956 and ended in 1976, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was never really a leading man, but he seemed to be part of the supporting cast for many huge moments in NFL history.

      The second overall pick in the 1956 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, Earl Morrall joined a San Francisco 49ers team that already included the famous “Million Dollar Backfield” of Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson.

      Morrall started four games during his rookie season, but just before the start of the 1957 season was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks.

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