National Women's Soccer League / Western New York Flash

SEASON PREVIEW: Western New York Flash

WNYFlash

In five days, the Western New York Flash will suit up for the team’s opening match of the 2014 campaign with a roster that only includes nine of last season’s players.

After facing a serious blow in losing starting goalkeeper Adrianna Franch due to an ACL injury, it was announced that Australian international Lydia Williams and former Florida State University standout Kelsey Wys would be battling it out between the sticks for the 2013 regular season champions.

Just three of the team’s current seven defenders—Amy Barczuk, Katherine Reynolds and Brittany Taylor—suited up for the Flash last season, where they helped the team concede the least amount of goals (20) in the 22-game regular season.

The trio is now notably joined by former Portland Thorns standout Kat Williamson, a fan-favorite who clocked 1,944 minutes in 22 games for last season’s championship-winning team.

Williamson was recently brought to the Flash alongside former Thorns teammate Courtney Wetzel in exchange for Flash defender Sarah Huffman and the rights to Spanish international Veronica Boquete.

Wetzel joins a midfield of returning Flash players Carli Lloyd, Angela Salem and McCall Zerboni, along with newcomers Vicky Losada and Kristen Meier.

Losada last captained FC Barcelona, leading the team to two Superliga titles and four Catalan Cups. Meier last played for the Seattle Reign, where she saw four starts in six matches.

Salem and Zerboni were standouts in last season’s campaign, providing a powerful presence in front of the team’s back line. Lloyd, who missed the first few matches due to a shoulder injury, notched in eight goals (three of which were game-winners) in just 15 appearances for the team.

Up front, the Flash brought back Adriana Martin, Sam Kerr and Abby Wambach. The trio combined for 20 goals, 14 assists and 133 shots last season.

Joining the three up front is former New Zealand international Emma Kete along with Jasmyne Spencer, who last played with the Washington Spirit.

Just two months ago, Kete and Kerr helped lead Sydney FC to the Australian W-League semifinals, where the team lost on a penalty kick (taken by the Seattle Reign’s Lauren Barnes) to the Melbourne Victory.

The Flash’s first match of the season is scheduled to take place on April 13 at the Maryland SoccerPlex against the Washington Spirit. The two teams faced off four times in the NWSL inaugural season, with the Flash picking up 10 of 12 possible points.

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