Photo: Mark Howard/ ISI Photos
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (Apr. 29, 2016) – The Washington Spirit (3-0-0, 9 pts) continues to sit atop the league table and remain undefeated after a 3-0 win over the Western New York Flash (1-2-0, 3 pts) tonight in Rochester, New York. In the Spirit’s second consecutive game on the road, Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson scored twice. Her first tally was a powerful shot inside the box within the first five minutes and the second was a successful penalty kick in the second half making the score 2-0. An own goal within the final fifteen minutes of the game further solidified the Spirit’s lead at 3-0.
In the 4th minute, USWNT forward Crystal Dunn earned her third assist in three games when Matheson scored her second goal of the season. Spirit midfielder Christine Nairn successfully kept a ball in play that was nearly out of bounds on the right flank. She passed the ball to the feet of Dunn who sent a through ball that split defenders across the field to Matheson. Matheson took a powerful shot from inside the penalty box and sent the ball into the back of the net.
In the 36th minute, the Flash had an opportunity when Canadian keeper Stephanie Labbé came off her line to snatch a ball sent into the box but was unable to get a hand on it. Flash midfielder Halimatu Ayinde took a shot on the open net but it sailed over the crossbar. Western New York had another promising look on goal just five minutes later when a foul called on Joanna Lohman just outside of the box provided Abby Dahlkemper with a free kick opportunity a few yards outside of the box, however it landed right in the arms of Labbé.
In the 49th minute, Megan Oyster cleared a ball in the penalty box and was called for a foul, giving USWNT and Flash midfielder Samantha Mewis the opportunity to take a penalty kick. Her shot deflected off the post and was cleared by the Spirit defenders. Shortly thereafter in the 53rd minute, forward Taylor Smith made a breakaway run, but her shot also hit the post and the rebound was collected by Labbé.
In the 70th minute, rookie forward Cheyna Williams was taken down in the penalty box by Jaelene Hinkle, earning the Spirit a penalty kick. Matheson stepped up to take the kick and earned her second goal of the night and third of the season, furthering the lead over the Flash to 2-0.
“Matheson is one of the best PK kickers in the league,” said Spirit general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra. “I was confident she was going to put it in the back of the net.” After giving Williams her first professional start, coach Gabarra added that “we have a very deep team and a lot of players who are all ready to step in.”
Ten minutes later the first yellow card of the match was issued to Flash midfielder Elizabeth Eddy after a dangerous challenge against defender Alyssa Kleiner. Free kick specialist Christine Nairn stepped up to take the kick for the Spirit and sent the ball into a crowded penalty box. Oyster and forward Katie Stengel both had touches on the ball, but a Flash player had the misfortune to tap it past her own goalkeeper, making the score 3-0.
With tonight’s victory, the Spirit remains in first place in the NWSL with nine points through three games (3-0-0) while Western New York Flash drops to eighth with a total of three points (1-2-0).
Washington Spirit Lineup: Stephanie Labbé, Ali Krieger, Megan Oyster, Shelina Zadorsky, Alyssa Kleiner, Joanna Lohman (62′ Katie Stengel), Tori Huster, Christine Nairn, Diana Matheson (85′ Whitney Church), Cheyna Williams (77′ Cali Farquharson), Crystal Dunn
Subs not used: Kelsey Wys, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco, Estefania Banini
WNY Flash Lineup: Sabrina D’Angelo, Elizabeth Eddy, Alanna Kennedy, Lynn Williams, Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Jaelene Hinkle, Halimatu Ayinde (46′ Adriana Leon) , Abby Erceg, Makenzy Doniak (84′ Lady Andrade), Taylor Smith (77′ Kristen Hamilton)
Subs not used: Britt Eckerstrom, Michaela Hahn, Courtney Niemiec, Meredith Speck
|Western New York Flash||0||0||0|
|1||4||Washington||Diana Matheson||Crystal Dunn|
|80||Western New York||4||Elizabeth Eddy||Yellow||Reckless Foul|
The Spirit returns home next next Saturday, May 7th at 7 PM at Maureen Hendricks Field. Tickets are available now by calling 301-337-8579 or visiting the Washington Spirit website.