Flash fall 3-2 in home finale; drop out of playoff contention

Updated: 08/13/2014 11:01 PM
Created: 08/13/2014 11:00 PM WHEC.com

The Western New York Flash was eliminated from National Women’s Soccer League playoff contention on Wednesday night with a 3-2 loss at the hands of Sky Blue FC. The two teams entered the game as a must win, and Sky Blue will remain in the hunt for the final playoff spot as it owns tiebreakers in a three-way tie at 34 points.
With the game level at 2-2 late, Nadia Nadim scored her second goal of the match in the 89th minute to lift the visitors to their seventh win of the year. It was Nadim’s seventh goal in just six appearances for Sky Blue.
In front of 4,339 fans, Adriana Martin opened the scoring 23 minutes in with her second goal of the year. After a well-timed run from Abby Wambach on the right side, the forward was able to find Adriana wide open in the penalty area. With one touch, Adriana calmly knocked the ball past Jill Loyden to put the Flash up 1-0.
However, off the ensuing kickoff, Sky Blue was able to find a quick answer. After sending a ball to Maya Hayes down the right sideline, Hayes sent the ball centered toward Nadim. Nadim flicked the ball to Kelley O’Hara who slid behind the Flash defense to level the game at 1-1.
The visitors went ahead in the 48th minute, with Nadim notching her first of two goals on the night. After a corner kick went long to the far side, O’Hara sent a ball in that was bobbled by goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. The ball fell to the feet of Nadim, who was waiting just feet away to put the ball in the net.
Then, for the second-straight game, Sonia Bermudez entered the match as a second-half substitute and made her presence known. Just six minutes after hitting the pitch, Sonia made the game 2-2 with a perfectly placed shot from nearly 30-yards out. After Carli Lloyd won the ball in the defensive zone, she fed the ball to Wambach who laid the ball back to Sonia, who blasted in her fourth goal of the season.
The Flash finished ahead 15-11 in shots, with 10 in the second half. Early on, Samantha Kerr had a close attempt, but Loyden blocked it on the goal’s doorstep.  Kerr created another solid opportunity for the Flash midway through the second half after collecting a long pass from Lloyd. The Australian forward lofted a distance shot over the head of Loyden, only to be denied by the crossbar. Adriana was waiting for the rebound, but a Sky Blue defender was able to clear before anything could come to fruition.
Lloyd later had her own close shot on Loyden, but the goalkeeper made herself big to block away the Flash attempt.
The Flash had its best equalizing opportunity in the 67th minute, when Lloyd found herself in alone on Loyden. After a quick give-and-go at the top of the box with Wambach, the US midfielder touched the ball to the left side of the Sky Blue keeper but she could not turn on the ball to knock it into the open net.
Jasmyne Spencer entered late for the Flash 81st minute, and forced Loyden into a tough save off the bat. The speedy forward chased down a ball in front of the Sky Blue net and almost lifted it over the head of Loyden, but the goalkeeper came up with the save. Sonia almost added a second goal just three minutes later after a series of passes by the Flash attack, but the ball dragged wide right.
The Flash will close out the 2014 campaign on Saturday night when it travels to face the Chicago Red Stars. The game will kickoff from Benedictine University at 8 p.m. ET at the home of the Red Stars.

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