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Lohman’s late goal beats Atlanta in comeback win

The Independence looked like a team that was playing its fourth game in twelve days when they conceded two early goals to the league’s worst ranked offense.

By the end of the game, the Independence looked like the championship contender they are.

“A team has never come back from 2-0 deficit in this league,” Independence head coach Paul Riley said,  “and we have done it twice. But the pressure’s back on us. Boston won tonight.”

With their 3–2 come-from-behind win over Atlanta, the Independence have maintained their five point lead over third place Boston Breakers, who defeated Sky Blue FC 4–0 the same day.

Last place Atlanta took the lead quickly when Johanna Rasmussen scored in the fourth minute. Lori Chalupny finished her breakaway with a toe-poked goal past Karina LeBlanc to make it 2–0 in the 18th minute.

The Beat continued to enjoy the run of play until Philadelphia created two dangerous chances in the 36th minute. Lori Lindsey headed a Heather Mitts cross off the crossbar. Seconds later, Caroline Seger found an open Tina DiMartino and only a big save from Hope Solo kept her blast from the right from going in.

Five minutes later, nothing could stop DiMartino who, after a Lianne Sanderson free kick hit the wall, collected the deflection and fired a shot into goal.

“I think getting the goal before halftime was vital,” said Riley. “It gave us some spark going into the second half…the girls knew they were still in it. Plus, it was a brilliant goal from Tina.”

DiMartino shined again when she left-footed the equalizer off of a pass from Amy Rodriguez in the 60th minute.

Subbed into the match soon after DiMartino’s goal, Danesha Adams—who signed a full contract with the Independence last week— immediately began to create problems for Atlanta’s defense. An Adams shot over the crossbar in the 78th minute was quickly followed by an Adams corner kick that was headed just wide by a diving Johanna Lohman, who had entered the game just minutes before.

The hardworking Lohman had been given a break from starting the game. Coming on in the 74th minute, Lohman said after the game, “I felt a lot better . . . and just tried to give our team a spark.”

The wisdom of entering Lohman into the game became apparent in the 81st minute when she scored the game winner off of a backpass from Rodriguez.

“Lohman and Adams brought a great energy to the field tonight off the bench” said Riley.

Adams, whose pass to Rodriguez led to the game winner, was singled out for praise by Riley. “Adams is a tremendous striker and I think she’s very underrated. I think you’ll see a lot of her in the upcoming weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a couple of goals before the end of the season, as well.”

“We were off to a great start and we should have built on it,” Atlanta Beat coach Gareth O’Sullivan said. “We were disappointed in the goal at the end of the half.”

DiMartino, the scorer of that first half goal, said, “We are playing well. We all are in the box. We all want to score. There were two great passes by A-Rod. It was a team effort, and I am excited for the playoffs.”

Danny Califf, Kyle Nakazawa and Sebastien Le Toux from the Philadelphia Union were on hand for the game and received Independence jerseys during the pre-game introductions.

The Independence will take their 10–6–4 record on the road to face Sky Blue FC on Sunday, August 22. They return home on Sunday, August 29, to face Boston Breakers in what is sure to be a vital game.

Photo by Robyn McNeil, courtesy of the Philadelphia Independence.

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