Monday, April 25, 2011

Atlanta and Western New York draw in WPS week 3

A classic tale of two halves.

After surprisingly earning three points against Sky Blue last week, Atlanta squared off against the Flash who themselves got a W in week 2.

Just two minutes in, Christine Sinclair scored her second goal of the season. Brttany Bock stole the ball from Atlanta, sneaking it to Sinclair who took one touch stepping just outside the 18 and shot the ball without even looking at the net.

The match looked like it was going to go according to plan. Flash dominating play and Beat struggling to keep up.

On the contrary.

After the opening goal, the game was no more exciting than watching Donald Trump's hair fall off.

WNY did dominate the first half, but their forwards weren't producing much. It seemed like the same thing happened over and over again. Atlanta gain possession and made their way down the pitch. Flash break-up play. Ali Riley brings the ball up. Forwards don't connect. Repeat. Needless to say, I don't blame my baby cousin for falling asleep.

However, the bottom half was a completely different game. Right from the get-go Alex Morgan and Flash captain, Caroline Seger connected in the 47th minute and almost produce a goal but the shot whistled high.

Finally, in the 57th minute after being shut down all afternoon by Flash defense, Lori Chalupny tied it up with a screaming strike 20 yards out that hit the inside of the post and in.

Just nine minutes later, second half sub Marta scored a rare header when Sinclair crossed the ball in the 6 yard box, putting the Flash back in the lead.

Back and forth action continued.

Similar to Chalupny's goal, Carli Lloyd leveled the score cutting inside and firing her shot 20 yards out that dipped just under the cross bar.

Play only picked up from there and it became a battle of the 'keepers.

In the 78th minute, Harris tipped Kristina Larsen's bullet over the net.

Then a series of WNY opportunities were turned away by WPS Player of the Week, Alli Lipsher. Most notably she just barely got her finger tips on a hard left footed shot taken by Sinclair that hit the crossbar.

The last minute effort from each side was too late as the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Breaking down Canadians play:

Candace Chapman: In her second straight start of the season, Chappy had little to do in this match due to the lack of Atlanta offense. She took two free kicks. Stepped up late in the game saving Flash from a late Beat goal and made a few offensive runs. Routine game for Chapman.

Kelly Parker: Coming off the bench in the 80th minute, Parker made an immediate impact. Battled hard for the ball, and speedy as usual. Shooting a one-timer shot off a Sinclair pass nearly gave the Flash a goal. Ok, it was offside, but it's nice to see Parker's skill still there after coming off an injury. I feel like a one-woman-Kelly-Parker-ad, she needs to be considered for Canada's WWC roster. At least the next training camp in May.

Christine Sinclair: Also getting her second start of the season. Right from the opening minutes, Christine continued to prove she is one of the world's best by scoring the early goal for WNY. She wasn't able to get too many touches but made the most of what she got. Sinclair set up a beautiful cross on Marta's goal. She also produced many shots on target. She even came back to help out the back line a few times.

Player(s) of the match: Couldn't pick one.

Ali Riley: Continuously made runs up the left flank causing trouble for Beat defense. Created dangerous plays for the forwards and playing physical. Everything you could ask from her, she delivered.

Alli Lipsher: Once again coming up big for Atlanta. Despite giving up 2 goals, Lipsher made big saves for the Beat securing the draw. Don't be surprised if she starts next week.

Lloyd and Chalupny's 1-man show goals deserve a mention. Two incredible snipes that fooled the 'keeper from well out.

Marta also gets a shout out. Coming on in the second half, we got to see that Brazilian flare. Not looking as fit as we normally see her but she still made some great plays. Most notably showing some great technique with her flick on header goal.

WNY didn't come out stomping Atlanta like we all expected. The forwards weren't connecting with Caroline Seger like we saw last week. A lot of the miscommunication probably has to do with the fact these women don't get to play together that often due to international commitments. This team would be unstoppable with more time together.

Credit to Atlanta for holding their own. Playing a 4-1-4-1 format, they completely shut down WNY disallowing them space. The Beat came out to play and with the help of players like Whitehill, Chalupny, and Lipsher they were able to get 1 point over the much acclaimed Flash.

No comments:

Post a Comment