After dominating the first half, a second half substitution and formation change by Western New York Flash head coach Aaran Lines pushed the Flash to a 3-1 victory to end the Chicago Red Stars’ unbeaten streak.
The halftime adjustment came in the form of Elizabeth Eddy who replaced Kristen Hamilton and made the Flash change from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1. The move paid dividends quickly as the Flash scored three goals in the second half to take the match.
Eddy, whose rights were acquired in the offseason from Sky Blue FC, entered the match having played just 13 minutes all season but her impact was instant as she found Flash’ leading scorer Samantha Mewis for the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute. The No. 4 draft pick got the ball from Eddy and dribbled past two Chicago defenders, leaping one, to place a left-footed shot inside the far post. The goal pushed the rookie’s goal total to three for the season and gave Eddy her first-career assist in professional soccer.
Eddy’s night wasn’t over as she found the back of the net for the first time as well. After a steal from Jamia Fields, the ball would be passed out wide toward Lynn Williams. Using her speed down the far side, Williams crossed the ball low toward Eddy who turned a poor first touch into a spectacular goal as she tipped it over Chicago goalkeeper Michele Dalton.
The scoring continued minutes later on another mistake by the visiting Chicago. After a poor touch, Becky Edwards found a wide open Fields on the far side of the field. Fields looked up to find space and fired a laser from 25-yards out to place it in the upper far post.
Chicago avoided the shutout thanks to rookie sensation Sofia Huerta’s lead-leading sixth goal of the season. After having a penalty kick saved seconds earlier by Flash keeper Chantel Jones, Huerta tracked down a corner kick that was saved multiple times by the Flash defense and slotted it home.
Before Eddy entered the match, Western New York had Chicago on its heels with Mewis nearly scoring in the opening minutes. Off a service by Edwards, Mewis found space on the near post but Chicago goalkeeper Dalton made the save.
Sahlen’s Stadium remains a difficult place for the Red Stars who drop to 0-4 all-time at the Flash’s home turf and ends their unbeaten streak at 10 games, tied with FC Kansas City for the second best in NWSL history.
Both teams will take a 12-day break from action for the Women’s World Cup before returning to action on June 20. The Flash will head south to battle the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium at 8:30 p.m. ET. Chicago returns to the Windy City to battle the second-place Washington Spirit with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Chicago Red Stars at Western New York Flash 1-3
Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, N.Y., 7 p.m. ET
CHI: Michelle Dalton, Arin Gilliland, Samantha Johnson, Michelle Lomnicki, Taryn Hemmings, Rachel Quon, Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, Alyssa Mautz, Cara Walls, Sofia Huerta
WNY: Chantel Jones, Kristen Edmonds, Brittany Taylor, Abby Dahlkemper, Jaelene Hinkle, Becky Edwards, Sam Mewis, Jasmyne Spencer; Jamia Fields, Lynn Williams, Kristen Hamilton
WNY: Mewis (Eddy) – 51’
WNY: Eddy (Williams) – 72’
WNY: Fields (Edwards) – 75’
CHI: Huerta (DiBernardo) – 93+
CHI: Lomnicki – 57’ (caution )
WNY: Mewis – 85’ (cautionl)