June 12, 2011

Adams Goal Lifts Independence over Flash

Danesha Adams' goal in the 90th minute gave the Philadelphia Independence a 1-0 victory over a shocked Western New York Flash.

It looked for all the world that this match was destined to end in a scoreless tie, but Lianne Sanderson hit a well-placed cross from the left wing to an inexplicably wide open Adams, who calmly headed the ball into the right side of the goal past Flash keeper Ashlyn Harris. The Flash seemingly fell asleep as they had several defenders back, but nobody marked Adams on the play.

Adams, who had seen only 40 minutes of action for Philadelphia this season, came on in the 64th minute of the contest for a hobbled Tasha Kai. It was Adams who got the winning goal in last year's WPS semifinal match against Boston, but she has seen less action this season after Philly acquired Kai and Laura del Rio.

With several players missing for both sides, not many scoring chances were created during the match. Neither side were able to make the final pass or hit a proper shot to score. Only seven shots were placed on frame for the entire match.

Philadelphia had an early scare when Val Henderson missed a back pass from Nikki Krzysik, but it only cost the Independence a corner kick. In the 20th minute, Marta placed a nice pass into the penalty area for Yael Averbuch, but her shot rolled just wide.

The Independence had very few opportunities in the opening half. Late in the half, an Estelle Johnson cross hit the top of the crossbar, but Harris appeared to have it covered in any case.

Kia McNeill drew the unenviable task of marking Marta for most of the match and was able to keep the Brazilian striker in check, as the two had a rather spirited battle for most of the evening. McNeill was able to limit Marta's chances and when she did gain opportunities, McNeill usually was able to force her to her less-lethal right foot.

Marta's best chance came in the 56th minute as she was able to cut to the right side of the box just past McNeill, but Henderson came out to grab the ball before she could get a shot off.

Tasha Kai came up lame after a collision for a head ball in the 57th minute and appeared to hurt her right ankle. She continued on for five minutes, before leaving the match.

A little later, Frida Magnusdottir took advantage of a Flash turnover and let go of a hard shot from the right side of the box. Her attempt went just wide, with Harris grabbing the shot as it was already past the end line.

With the game apparently heading for a tie, Philadelphia was able to force a turnover in the midfield and it was time for Adams' heroics.

Val Henderson earned her second shutout in three starts for Philadelphia.

Western New York suffered their first loss of the season, falling to 6-1-2, but still in possession of first place. They are now on a four week hiatus while the World Cup is being played.

Philadelphia improves to 3-2-3 and leapfrogs Boston into third place. They now trail second place magicJack by three points, a team they will now face twice in a row. They host magicJack in a regularly scheduled match next Saturday and then make up the April 16th match that was postponed on June 25.

WPS Standings
(1) Western New York 6-1-2, 20 pts; (2) magicJack 5-2-0, 14 pts; (3) Philadelphia 3-2-3, 12 pts; (4) Boston 3-5-2, 11 pts; (5) Sky Blue FC 2-3-3, 9 pts; (6) Atlanta 1-7-2, 5 pts.