Sky Blue FC smoked by Western New York Flash, 5-2

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by TOM SLATER

This one was over before it really got started.

The Western New York Flash scored four times in the first half and added another in the second to take a 5-2 victory over Sky Blue FC at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester Saturday night.

The Flash moved to 3-3 for nine points while Sky Blue FC dropped to 2-4-1 and held at seven points.

The hosts used three set pieces in the first half and some poor clearances to take a 4-0 lead after one half. All four goals came from plays that were started with serves from the flanks.  Jess MacDonald had a pair of goals and Jaelene Hinkle set up two goals to lead the Flash.

MacDonald got the Flash off to an early lead in the sixth minute by heading in a corner kick from  Hinkle. MacDonald was able to get to the serve and cleanly head the ball down. Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Stanley couldn’t prevent the header from going in.

In the 20th minute, the Flash doubled the lead with a header goal. Hinkle took a free kick from the right sideline and boomed it far post. Sky Blue midfielder Nikki Stanton got her head on the ball but paced it square right to Sam Mewis. She headed it back across the goal into the far post.

In the 23rd minute, with Sky Blue coach Christy Holly desperately trying to get Shawna Gordon on for the hurt Maya Hayes, Western New York struck again.

Mewis penetrated on the right side and dished to Makenzy Doniak on the right wing. The Flash forward took on rookie back Erin Simon one-v-one and beat her to the endline. Doniak send a sharp cross through the box. After MacDonald dummied the ball, Lynn Williams easily slotted a shot inside the post for a 3-0 lead.

The onslaught continued in first half stoppage time. Hinkle again started things off with a corner kick from the left side. Kelley O’Hara tried to clear but didn’t head it far enough. Alanna Kennedy headed the ball back in and off the near post. The ball bounded to MacDonald, who slid it in.

The Sky Blue didn’t go quietly.  O’Hara got one in the 54th minute. With Leah Galton making her professional debut to start the second half, the recent Hofstra grad and British international worked a give-and-go with Sarah Killion before squaring a ball to the outside back. O’Hara got a great first touch and swerving shot into the far corner in the 54th minute.

Galton nearly cut the deficit to two minutes later but her hard shot was handled by Sabrina D’Angelo.

But Western New York got one back minutes later when Hinkle again set up the play. She sent Michaela Hahn in all alone on a borderline offside call. The goal was Hahn’s first as a Flash and enabled the Western New York side to tie a club record for goals in a match.

In the 85th minute, O’Hara made another run into the box and got tangled with Taylor Smith and a penalty was called. Killion juked D’Angelo and slotted it home for her first professional goal and a 5-2 final.

Sky Blue FC played its first game of 2016 without first-round draft pick and Costa Rican international Raquel Rodriguez. The Penn State grad and Sky Blue midfielder was held out of the game with a hip flexor.

Western New York played without coach Paul Riley. Riley was suspended and fined by the NWSL for chasing down officials after last weekend’s loss to Orlando. Scott Valley assumed the coaching duties. The Flash were also without midfielder Abby Erceg who had a pair of yellow cards against Orlando.

Tasha Kai played with her left hand heavily wrapped to protect a finger injury suffered in training during the week.

United States Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis was on hand and flipped the coin between the two team’s captains.


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