Flash jump to third with convincing win over Dash

The Equalizer Staff July 5, 2014 60

Carli Lloyd served as playmaker in the Flash's big win in Houston on Saturday. (Copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

The Western New York Flash got back on track on Saturday, going on the road to defeat the Houston Dash, 4-1, at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Jasmyne Spencer, Samantha Kerr and Sonia Bermudez all scored for the Flash, in addition to a Becky Edwards own goal for the visitors’ final tally of the evening.

Spencer opened the scoring in the 13th minute, lobbing Dash goalkeeper Erin McCleod after Kerr provided a lofted through ball. Kerr got a goal of her own in the 28th minute thanks to Carli Lloyd’s masterful orchestration in midfield. Lloyd created the build-up before slipping Kerr in behind the Houston defense for the finish.

Kerr and Lloyd were also involved in the Flash’s fourth and final goal of the night. Lloyd played a low cross into the box toward Kerr, and Edwards slid to block the cross but the ball redirected into her own net.

“I thought the team was lightning tonight. We know, having played them twice, that they are an aggressive team at times. We dealt with that really well, we won individual battles,” Flash coach Aaran Lines said. “I thought our midfield today was the key. We were very good in the midfield and we defended well.”

The lone goal for the Dash came in the 81st minute, some 30 seconds after the Flash went up 3-0. Lloyd played a ball into Bermudez, who broke the Dash’s offside trap, sitting between Houston’s two center backs, and Bermudez dribbled around McLeod for the finish.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Dash immediately sprayed the ball wide to Kealia Ohai on the left flank. She dribbled forward, cut inside and sent a right-footed cross into the box for Jordan Jackson to tap in, giving the home side momentary hope.

Jackson also saw a left-footed effort go off the post in second-half stoppage time.

Defender Meghan Klingenberg made her long-awaited Dash debut, one that was delayed by international paperwork issues, U.S. national team call-ups and, earlier in the week, a thunderstorm that postponed the team’s game vs. Sky Blue FC in New Jersey.

With the win, Western New York improves to 7-8-2 (23 pts.) and sits in third place, above the Washington Spirit on goal difference. Those two clubs meet next Saturday in Rochester, N.Y.

  • Guest

    Ohai could have like 10 assists this season if anyone on her team could finish

    • Guest

      She could have like 10 goals as well, if she know how to score at 1:1 situation.

      • Guest

        Totally agree but I see her as more of an upgrade to HAO, the stereotypical “cross the ball into the box player” with the right players around here she could be awesome. I have been so off and on with deciding if I like her as a player but damn does that girl cover a lot of ground and get some good crosses into the box. She’s not a forward, would be great as a winger in the right system with a good finisher

        • kernel_thai

          The big gotta love Ohai moment was when she ran down Kerr on a breakaway and battled her until she got the ball away.

          • Rdalford

            Agree

          • xman22702

            That was insane!

  • Calci0

    Quite the bounce back performance!

  • AshleyZ

    Having a hard time understanding why a defense of Klingenberg, Ohale, Engen and Ochs was so laughably bad tonight. I lost count of how many times Kerr or Spencer burned them. Yes they’re fast but seriously…… McLeod, not my favorite keeper by any stretch, was the one that kept it from being 8-1 tonight.
    I wanted WNY to lose anyway, but I just felt sorry for the Dash, worst luck of any NWSL team by far, not just tonight but all season. The own goal, the deserted stands, the one off the post in stoppage time. And the injuries and late arrivals have been too much. Klingenberg was decent tonight (did they move her to midfield in the 2nd half? seemed like it, she was more effective there), but it will take too much time for her to fully integrate into the team.
    Oh and the “Carli Lloyd is not happy, as usual” by the commentator after a foul was hilarious.

    • Guest

      Klingenberg sucks she was getting beat left and right tonight and kept turning over the ball I have no idea why anyone thinks she is NT caliber literally is average even in the NWSL

      • guest

        Injuries, late arrivals, bad luck. This years seattle.

    • Sydonia

      Klingenberg, Ohale, Engen and Edwards. Maybe it was a weak and ineffective midfield that allowed so many chances.

      Agree about WNY in the playoffs. PLEASE NO! NOT AGAIN.

    • Robin

      RE: Deserted Stands — I wish they’d pan the camera below the announcers. I really do. I was there at the game, and there was a decent turn out. Unfortunately, all that shows on the stream is the far side, which was none too impressive.

      Klingenberg had a really disappointing first half, but I felt that moving her out of that right back spot in the second half really created more opportunities for her to do something positive.

      Romero and Ohai were the bright spots for the Dash last night, but they were no match for Sam Kerr’s steamroller.

    • romel dias

      yep…Ohale was off..Kling was terrible and Kyle was horrible..they kept losing the ball close to their own goal and that was crazy! Apart from some good passing now and then…there was no solidity at the back at all..sanity only resumed once Romero got back and she also carried a good offensive threat…I am glad Waldrum sucked it up and brought her on in the second half…unlike I-am-always-right-Riley!

      Being in India I had no insight into the draft and how good these girls were..apart from having a look at a few of them at the U-23 world cup and the only standouts for me at the World cup were Hayes and DiBernardo! So I wasn’t really sure about the hype around Ohai! In fact with all the marketing tie-in’s because of her brother-in-law i also put it down to the American style of buying into the girl with good looks and connections that can carry a marketing campaign…but she has really proved herself!

      I am a fan now of the Dash with player like Ohai and Romero…they just need some solid experience in the mid-field (and I was really saddened that Kyle hasn’t stepped up and put her stamp on this team…i thought she had a solid year at the Reign…but has just been really careless and sloppy in a Dash jersey) ..a leader who can calm things down and punish the opposition.

      the rest of the ingredients seem to be in place!

      • mike

        What I would give to see ALEX MORGAN traded to Houston to play alongside KEALIA OHAI. Both have speed, both have the passing game, both are hard wired to compete, and both are so attractive to watch. This pair will fill the stands at BBVA, no problem.

  • Rdalford

    Kind of rough first NWSL game for Kling. Ari Romero has been fairly effective as RB for Houston so I was glad to see Ari back as RB for 2nd half. WNY took advantage of some disjointed play and turnovers by Houston back line and midfield and WNY earned/deserved the win. Ohai work rate (including tracking back on defense even late in the game) continues to impress. Houston is not likely to reach playoffs but they may win a couple more games before the season is over.
    NWSL match report list attendance of 3693.
    Houston attendance thur first 8 home games YTD total=38,172 YTD avg=4772

    • Guest

      for a first year franchise,I don’t think those numbers are horrible. Yes i realize it’s a MLS franchise but it’s still a brand new franchise. I expect the numbers would have to be slightly higher for MLS clubs to be seriously enticed into having there own NWSL club. If they can add some big names in the off season and do a little more marketing and promotion, they can bump those numbers significantly up. I think the base line goal for all NWSL teams should be 5,000 (excluding portland).

    • Silver Frost

      NWSL is lying about attendance. Did you see the lower bowl just before kickoff? It should have been half full, if 3600 people showed up. But there were hardly any people in the seats. A few hundred? Dynamo will pull the plug on this experiment in the off season.

      • guest

        If houston was thinking about pulling out after a year they wouldn’t have been awarded a franchise.

        • JL

          When the league was being formed, all the owners that wanted in had to commit to owning their respective teams for 3 years. Houston would have had to make a similar commitment to get in.

      • Rdalford

        My understanding is that NWSL reports paid attendance (tickets sold) which is consistent with attendance reported by MLS and other professional leagues in the us. There is a comment in this thread by someone who attended the game and noted that most fans were seated on same side as announcers/cameras. Regardless, my understanding is attendance reported is tickets sold.

  • TN

    Klingenberg is not better than Romero. She might have more experience and played in Europe, but she’s definitely a weaker defender than Romero, maybe it’ll take some time for her to acclimate.

    I like this quote from the color commentator when Lloyd got “fouled”, “Lloyd is not happy, as usual”, don’t think she meant for that to sound disparaging, but that was funny. What was wrong with Ohale, I know that she was sick, but she seemed t o be cleared by the injury report: she was just not good today.

    • Lance Scallop

      Ohale has been hit and miss all season, and last night was a big miss. Kerr burned Ohale and Engen straight down the middle what, like 10 times?

      Houston should never take the field without Romero if she is healthy. I don’t know what Randy was thinking. If he feels he has to play Klingenberg then she should be in the midfield somewhere – where maybe she can bring some sort of link to the forwards which has been the main offensive element the Dash have been missing this season.

      • TN

        If Klingenberg has to be somewhere, then I prefer her to be in the attacking midfielder like in the 2nd half, the girl was a turn over nightmare on her side of the field when she was supposed to be defending.

  • Steglitz49

    The question remains, which of WNY, Chicago, DC or Portland bag the 2 remaining play-off slots?

    The play-offs are WNY’s to join and one for the three little pigs to lose out on. The safe money is on DC not making the grade but the odds are jolly even.

    • guest

      When the dust clears it will be Seattle; KC; WNY; and, Portland – same as last year except Seattle replaces Sky Blue. Class and better players and coaching will out.

    • Rdalford

      Agree that WNY, Chicago, DC, and Portland all have a decent chance to make the play-offs. Meanwhile Houston, NJ and Boston all have chances in the bottom of league Morgan Brian first draft pick completion. Credit to Houston and other lower ranking teams that compete hard (even when they may not match up well on paper) and are capable of upsets. Regardless what the standings and odds are, as a fan I enjoy watching the competitive NWSL games. Odds may be against the lower ranking teams but each team still has to play the game and unexpected results are part of the fun.

  • john

    Didn’t get to watch the game so this is reading (between?) the lines stuff. I don’t particularly like Lloyd, but she is currently playing very well. Also, I note Lloyd is doing this sans Wambach. They often get linked together as 2 players rated as an unit. I’m thinking it’s time to give Ohai another look. She had faded from my radar through ineffectiveness but the potential seems to be becoming effective action. Furthermore, Spencer who didn’t get ahead of Ochs and McCarty in DC and who didn’t bring DC much when she left is slowly becoming a contributer in WNY. Lastly, whatever the “true” attendance in Houston it is probably a more realistic measure of the MLS effect than Portland. Sadly that most likely means there won’t be a stampede of MLS owners to the party. Hopefully that might change post WC.

  • smallchief

    Well, to be positive about Houston, I’ve been impressed with Jordan Jackson all season long. Ohai has potential as a winger a la O’Reilly or Rapinoe. I don’t recall seeing Ochs do much last night but she’s been looking promising at left back.

    But the negative is that Houston was awful. Ohale especially — although she has had some good games this year. The midfield was nearly non-existent. Klingenberg was unimpressive. I don’t think she’s any threat to take Romero’s spot at right back. You know you’ve got a lousy midfield when your offense in the second half mostly consists of Romero banging balls toward the goal from 40 yards away hoping that somehow, sometime, pray for luck, somebody will get a head on it. Nobody did. .

    Kerr for WNY may be a world-class striker in the making.

    • romel dias

      Ohale has never had pace…but this match was just terrible!! she looked lost and the midfield was just not helping. The number of times Kerr, Spencer and Lloyd were in on goal was ridiculous!

  • VaFan51

    Random comments:

    In response to the commentators’ musing over just how much better the Flash will be when Wambach returns, I say that Abby’s return likely will just slow them down. In her absence, the Flash are a quick, attacking, feisty group, with danger all across the field. I am not at all an “Abby hater,” but the Flash are a more tentative team on offense when they are constantly looking for her as the primary option.

    The Flash MF absolutely dominated the Dash MF, which should not surprise since the Flash MF is very nearly the equal of the Reign’s group.

    The Flash has at least two players who really, really merit a look in the WNT, Brittany Taylor, as has often been mentioned on Equalizer, is a force on the field — I am not sure what else she could do to impress. I would take her over Van Hollebek any day.
    And McCall Zerboni gives the Flash a second boss (besides Lloyd) on the pitch. If Jill Ellis wants to use a true defensive MF, rather than a fabulously-skilled attacking MF (Morgan Brian) in a holding role, I think Zerboni is a better choice than Allie Long. Zerboni is fearless, strong, technical, tireless, and has attitude out there. She is not the threat to score that Long is, but that’s hardly required for that position. Every time I see Zerboni play, she seems to be in command of large areas of the pitch..

    Klingenberg seemed a bit taken aback by the speed of play and even the speed of the surface. Kind of like somebody who has not played competitively in a while.

    • Lance Scallop

      Can’t really disagree with any of this.

      I was thinking the same thing last night about how the Flash will probably take a step back when Abby returns.

      • mike

        It is Coach Lines call on WAMBACH. If the team slides back, does he have the balls to sit her. He is safe from her as far as I’m concerned. She will have to suck it up and be a bench player.

        • JL

          I would like Lines to not start Abby the second she’s cleared to play. I don’t care what she’s done in the past, she should have to prove that she’s currently a better option than the players that are playing now. If she can’t, then he’s under no obligation to give her starts just because she’s Abby.

    • Pai Knows Best

      Kling has only played 4 times since 28 May. Not enough to stay in form, and she was injured in Champions League final.

    • rockyraccoon

      I also would like to preface my post as not an Abby Hater…but seriously…how does flash incorporate Abby? I mean…they have figured out how to play without her. We know Rochester is Abby’s hometown and we also know that she is not sitting the bench when she returns. Does Lines still have time to work up a trade???

      I have to say that the Flash’s attack is fluid and fast and furious without her….I almost don’t want Abby to come back….I am so confused!!

      • guest

        Abby’s made it pretty obvious she’d much rather be in Portland. She made comments before the season started along the lines of just seeing out her contract with WNY because she felt obligated, not out of any kind of hometown loyalty.

  • Lindsay

    Anyone think the Dash should picked different people in the draft

    • JL

      Expansion draft, maybe. But you can’t be too hard on the Dash for that, since 2 of their picks were lost to ACL tears.

      The college draft did get them Ohai, Diggs, Souza, and Jackson, who have made good contributions this year, so that’s been more of a success.

      • Lance Scallop

        I don’t know. Souza has a huge upside but she is raw so she isn’t helping now and she burns an international slot. Diggs was overrated in college and hasn’t really shown much other than some speed this season. I would rather have kept Shim, but I know that was all kind of rigged with Portland anyway.

        Jackson was a steal.

  • STL Athletica

    WNY are not in third place. They are in sixth place, on a points-per-game basis–essentially the way baseball does it and the way soccer should do it. They have played one or two more games than every other team giving an unfair advantage in total accrued points.

    Baseball does not rank by total wins. In a round about way, they rank based on Wins per Games Played. Soccer should start doing the same (points-per-game).

    • kdm

      No thanks. Those of us who like soccer aren’t interested in turning it into an Americanized version of the game.

      • Pia Knows Best

        Who invented OT? Europe or USA?

      • STL Athletica

        If WNY had played 10 more games than Seattle, and had one more point than “second place” Seattle, I argue that virtually no one would consider WNY the best team and would argue that they do not deserve a first place ranking. PPG is the proper way to rank teams who’ve played different numbers of games.

        Proper statistical analysis isn’t “American.” Baseball, which constantly amends its statistical analysis, does its ranking analysis correctly, and soccer currently does not.

        • Guest

          Soccer isn’t a statistics-based sport so the need to incorporate statistics isn’t a necessary option. The rest of the world is fine with the way it is right now so I’m not sure why the sport should suddenly change for the NWSL.

    • Perplexed

      At the end of season it all evens up and we finally know what the standings truly are. Which sucks.

    • treehill

      Wow PPG seems like a much more logical way to arrange the table. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this before (not a long time soccer fan though). Much better than having to do mental gymnastics with “games in hand”.

      Probably don’t want to mention baseball though… you’ll get kneejerk reactions before people actually think about it.

      • STL Athletica

        Hi treehill. Thanks. :-) Would you agree that MPP and PPG-based rankings only differ very early in the season when teams who’ve played different amounts of games can actually have identical PPG? In those early-season cases I would agree to give ranking preference to the team(s) with higher MPP.

        And, yup, baseball essentially does this too. :-)

        I don’t mention baseball to start some sort of sports war. Baseball has the most advanced statistical analysis, and all other sports should look to it for how to think about proper statistical analysis. But I take your point about kneejerk.

        • treehill

          Well currently Washington is currently in 3rd place by PPG (1.44), but would be in 5th place by Max potential points (47). But 3rd to 5th places are close.

          Thinking about it more, MPP gives your best theoretical result if you could win out, but that of course is highly improbable. So PPG gives the most realistic placing. I like it.

          From my experience if you suggest anything that goes against tradition, you will get immediate, logic-free backlash.

          One thought is that since most soccer fans either hate, fear, or reject statistical analysis, there is surely some opportunity to take advantage of this weakness… like 538 did in politics. This is a project I’ve been meaning to look into :)

    • Guest

      The true current standings, based on PPG.

      NWSL RankPPG RankNWSLGPWLTPTSPoints Per Game11Seattle Reign FC151203392.60022FC Kansas City16943301.87533Washington Spirit16772231.43854Chicago Red Stars15663211.40054Portland Thorns FC15663211.40036Western New York Flash17782231.35377Sky Blue FC16367161.00088Houston Dash154101130.86799Boston Breakers153102110.733

      • Rdalford

        Well a little work on the stat table display format might be helpful.

      • guestimate

        What kinda algorithm is this?

    • AlexH

      MLS.net has PPG in their standings.

  • luke

    Becky Edwards was so bad in that one.
    Defensively – especially positioning, offensively – almost every aspect: bad first touch, HORRIBLE passing (it must have been some record % of bad passes) and turnovers – one after another.
    Whole Dash defence was a clusterf… (worse than before Engen and Kling???), but I took a deeper look at national team candidate. No good.

    Respect to Ohai, a rookie is their best player, enough said…

    • romel dias

      Ohai and Romero…make that two rookies and if you consider that their main goal scoring threat has been McCarthy..that makes her a sophomore!!

      (personally i think Ochs had done well so far..but she had a bad day at the office against the Flash)

      • JL

        Ohai, Romero, and let’s not forget Jackson. What a bargain for Waldrum getting Jackson in the 4th round of the draft.

    • JL

      Edwards was having to cover for Kyle’s general uselessness.

      • luke

        Probably, still doesn’t justify the fact her passing accuracy was at 15%.

  • Guest

    To date: the only time Kaylyn Kyle has actually looked like she wanted to play was when she was a part of Seattle’s backline. Maybe McLeod should ask Solo how she did it?

    • luke

      I disagree, she looks feisty and willing on the field for me.
      She is good in the air and with sliding finishing(!).
      She is just so bad in every other aspect of the game, it looks like she doesn’t care. :)

      • luke

        Oh, I forgot, she is decent penalty taker as well.