Abby Wambach and McCall Zerboni both notched second half tallies to lead the Western New York Flash in a 2-1 comeback win over the Chicago Red Stars in front of 3,152 fans in Rochester.
The visiting Red Stars struck first early in the second half. Chicago built an attack out of the back, with Lauren Fowlkes and Lori Chalupny combing nicely in their own half. Chalupny found Mexican international Maribel Dominguez who sent a cross out wide to Jessica McDonald.
McDonald found Chalupny at the top of the box and she slotted her shot far post past Flash goalkeeper Adrianna Franch to give Chicago a one goal lead. It was the first lead that the Red Stars have had all season.
It lasted all of two minutes.
Flash forward Samantha Kerr dropped a pass back to Brittany Taylor at right corner of the box. Taylor lofted a cross behind the Red Stars backline. The ball hung in the air, allowing Wambach to stay onside with a looping run before finishing with a header from eight yards out.
Kerr connected with Carli Lloyd in the 65th minute, but her header was cleared out for a corner kick. On the ensuing restart, Adriana found Taylor who was able to flick the ball to McCall Zerboni. Zerboni managed to get a head on it and redirected the ball past Taylor Vancil. It was Taylor’s second assist on the night.
The Flash had several opportunities to take the lead in the first half, but Vancil was able to keep the Red Stars in the match coming up huge in her professional debut. She replaced Canadian international Erin McCleod who suffered a broken hand against the Boston Breakers on May 4.
She was tested early on in the match when United States internationals Lloyd and Wambach connected in the 9th minute but Vancil was there to pull the ball off of Wambach’s foot.
Western New York had two golden chances to take the lead in the final eight minutes of the first half. Lloyd found some space in the box and fired a shot on goal in the 37th minute. Vancil, who was screened by two of her own defenders, was able to pin the ball on the ground and didn’t give up a rebound.
Four minutes later, Taylor put a pass over the top for Adriana to run onto. Adriana got a foot on it to chip it over Vancil but the Red Stars keeper was able to get a hand on it to tip it out of bounds.
The Red Stars best chance to equalize came in the 70th minute when Lauren Fowlkes got her head on a corner kick that had Flash keeper Franch beat but went just over the crossbar.
On what was likely the most bizarre play of the game, Lloyd got free on the left side of the box and fired a shot on goal that was headed away by Julianne Sitch. The ball bounced off the goalpost before being cleared by the Red Stars in the 76th minute.
Sarah Huffman made her debut for the Flash, coming on for the final 13 minutes of play. Huffman almost got herself onto the board after a Wambach cross found her foot but her shot was deflected wide of the goal.
The Western New York Flash return to action when they take on the Boston Breakers on June 6 in Boston.
Chicago will travel to Portland on June 1 when they meet the Thorns for the third time this season. Both teams will be without their United States and Canadian internationals for this match as both teams will be preparing for the June 2 friendly in Toronto.
Goals by Half 1 2 F
WNYF 0 2 2
CRS 0 1 1
CRS – Lori Chalupny (Jessica McDonald) 52’
WNYF – Abby Wambach (Brittany Taylor) 54’
WNYF – McCall Zerboni (Brittany Taylor) 66’
Chicago: GK Taylor Vancil, Lydia Vandenbergh, Taryn Hemmings, Jackie Santacaterina, Rachel Quon, Alyssa Mautz, Julianne Sitch (Zakiya Bywaters 79’), Lauren Fowlkes (Carmelina Moscato 87’), Lori Chalupny, Jessica McDonald, Maribel Dominguez (Ella Masar 69’)
Subs not used: Erin McLeod, Michelle Wenino
Western New York: GK Adriana Franch, Brittany Taylor, Estelle Johnson, Alex Sahlen, Katherine Reynolds, Lloyd, McCall Zerboni, Angela Salem, Samantha Kerr (Sarah Huffman 77’), Adriana Martin (Veronica Perez 87’), Abby Wambach
Subs not used: Amy Barczuk, Vicki DiMartino, Laura Heyboer, Bryanna McCarthy, Pamela Tajonar
CRS: Lori Chalupny (Yellow Card 42’), WNYF: Carli Lloyd (Yellow Card 74’)
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: David Mon, Raymond Tam
Fourth Official: Christopher Trottier
Weather: 51 degrees, windy