Philadelphia has now picked up points in nine of last ten matches
(Image courtesy of Howard C. Smith/ISI Photos via equalizersoccer.com)
CHESTER, Pa. - The Philadelphia Independence continued their incredible hot streak with a 2-1 win over the visiting Western New York Flash on Saturday night, extending their consecutive victory mark to five in a row. Having surpassed the Flash with a win over Sky Blue F.C. on Wednesday night, the Independence took advantage of being in the driver’s seat of the Women’s Professional Soccer table by adding three crucial points to their season total.
“We played Wednesday night and they (Western New York) came in fresh,” said head coach Paul Riley. “You’ve got to be happy with that result. It’s a great result for us and hopefully it’s another season-changer.”
Following the match, Philadelphia sits atop the WPS table with 24 points through 12 matches while Western New York occupies the second spot, having earned 20 points in 10 matches.
For the sixth consecutive match, Philadelphia found the back of the net before their opponents. Tasha Kai scored her league-leading eighth goal of the season when she beat Western New York goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris on a short breakaway. The forward was making a very nice vertical run through the top of the 18-yard box when her teammate Christina DiMartino lofted a nice ball over the top of the defense. Holding in line with the defense until the very last moment, Kai collected the ball and shot it over the sliding Harris and into the back of the net.
The Independence very nearly made it 2-0 in the 36th minute when DiMartino had a chance to add a goal to her name. The midfielder was played in for a long breakaway and fired a shot just wide of the far post. Harris did a very good job defending the breakaway, coming out to the penalty spot to completely cut down on DiMartino’s angle.
Merely eight minutes later, the hosts did take that 2-0 lead when Sinead Farrelly slammed home her first career goal from very close range. Kai collected the ball at the side of the 18-yard box and made a nice move to get past a Flash defender. The forward then fired a hard, left-footed shot to the far post. The attempt rang squarely off the post and fell right to the foot of Farrelly, who made no mistake with it and hit a hard shot into the back of the net.
Each club put together a few quality chances in the second half. Philadelphia’s Kai fired a dipping shot in the 59th minute that just skimmed the top of the crossbar to narrowly miss her second goal of the evening.
New York had a great chance in the 80th minute when a Western New York attacker was brought down in the penalty area. Canadian international Christine Sinclair stepped up to the spot a minute later and buried the kick, shooting left while Henderson guessed in the opposite direction. The goal was Sinclair’s sixth of the season.
“You saw tonight, Sinclair came off a flight (from the World Cup) and she wanted to play,” Riley said. “God bless her. My hat’s off to her. She almost changed the game single-handedly in the second half; she gave them momentum.”
Philadelphia will play four of its final six league matches on the road this season, with a July 16 date at the Atlanta Beat next on the calendar. New York, meanwhile, will play at Sky Blue F.C. on July 17.
PHI – Tasha Kai 8 (Christina DiMartino 1) 8’
PHI – Sinead Farrelly 1 (Tasha Kai 2) 44’
NY – Christine Sinclair 6 (Penalty) 81’