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Philadelphia Independence 1-2 Western New York Flash

The Independence wasted Meghan Rapinoe’s early first half goal and were defeated 2-1 by the Western New York Flash on Sunday evening at Widener University. Rapinoe struck after just 9 minutes before Becky Edwards and Marta answered back for the undefeated Flash before half time.

Philadelphia coach Paul Riley started the game with Amy Rodriguez as a lone striker, possibly trying to cope with New York’s dynamic attack. But the USWNT player looked out of sorts and struggled to find the ball for much of the first half.

Only Rapinoe knows if what ended up being a brilliant far post chip over Ashlyn Harris was meant to be a shot or a cross. But after some good midfield play saw the ball worked through Rodriguez, Tina DiMartino,  and then finally out to the right side to Rapinoe, the winger was able to sublimely lift the ball from the edge of the 18 yard box beyond a stationary Harris into the far corner of the net. The Independence looked confident moving the ball in the early going and the goal was within the run of play.

But the lead was short lived. The Flash began to control the ball more and some good work from Christine Sinclair saw a good shot saved by Nicole Barnhart. The rebound of that shot fell to McCall Zerboni, who’s cross could only be weakly punched by Barnhart. The ball went straight to the head of Edwards, who was easily able to head back into the empty net.

With the Independence failing to deal with the building belief in New York’s attack, it was a mistake from right back Leigh Ann Robinson that directly led to the Flash’s second goal. Robinson failed to control a bouncing ball 40 yards from her own goal and attempted a long back pass to Barnhart, when the ball spun off her foot and straight back for a Flash corner kick. The kick was taken short and after a few quick passes, Zerboni burst into the box. She appeared to go down fairly easily under the challenge of Independence skipper Nikki Krzysik, but the foul was called and the ball was placed on the spot. Marta stepped up to take the kick and sent Barnhart the wrong way to give New York their first lead of the match.

The second half featured a lot of sloppy midfield play and very few chances for both teams. Tasha Kai was brought on at the start of the second half to take some of the burden off of Rodriguez, and the industrious striker provided a bit of a spark. It was Kai with Philadelphia’s best chance to equalize, when she headed an inviting DiMartino cross straight down and on target, but Harris was up to the task, palming the ball over the bar. Lori Lindsey and Laura Del Rio were also introduced, but could not find a way to impact the game and the Flash was able to hold on for the victory.

The match was played in front of 3,456 people, the Independence’s third highest total ever. It was also the final match for the players going to the World Cup for the US Women’s National Team: Rodriguez, Rapinoe, Lyndsay, and Barnhart.

Independence: Nicole Barnhart, Leigh Ann Robinson, Nikki Krzysik, Kia McNeill, Holmfridur Magnusdottir (Lori Lindsey, 57′), Jen Buczkowski, Tina DiMartino (Laura del Rio, 76′), Megan Rapinoe, Sinead Farrelly, Amy Rodriguez, Lianne Sanderson (Tasha Kai, 46′)

Flash: Ashlyn Harris, Ali Riley, Gina Lewandowski, Kandace Wilson, Whitney Engen, McCall Zerboni (Gemma Davison, 73′), Caroline Seger, Marta, Becky Edwards, Brittany Bock (Yael Averbuch, 62′), Christine Sinclair (Alex Morgan, 66′)

Conservative formation isolates A-Rod

Paul Riley started the game in a 4-1-4-1 (compared to the usual 4-1-3-2), using Rodriguez as a lone striker and allowing Rampinoe, DiMartino, Sinead Farrelly, and Lianne Sanderson to make runs off of the striker. But the lone striker role does not suit Rodriguez’ game, which is based on speed, the ability to take players on, and making runs behind the opposition defense. She was often isolated and the Flash center backs were able to keep the dynamic striker in check for the fist half rather easily. Kai’s introduction in the second half opened up room for Rodriguez, but with New York already ahead, they both found the Flash defense difficult to break down.

“Classy” Seger haunts her former team

Former Independence player Caroline Seger had a tremendous game against her former club. Even with defensive midfield stalwart Jen Buczkowski shadowing her for much of the match, she found plenty of room to operate. The central midfielder was all over the pitch, making late runs into the box, spraying the ball around the field, and even helping out on defense.  Riley said of Seger after the match: ““We talk about Marta and Sinclair, but she was class tonight.”

A good effort and a fair result

Midfielder Joanna Lohman called the game against the stacked Flash team “David vs Goliath”. But the Independence held their own against the first place Flash, and outside two defensive mishaps, played as equals against a quality side. But the Flash took their two chances when they came, while Philadelphia failed to create many chances of their own and didn’t to finish on the few times that they did.  And that was the difference in the match.

Player Ratings

GK Nicole Barnhart – 6

Made a few saves in the second half to keep her team in the game, but should have done better with her punch in the first half that gifted New York their first goal. Had no chance at the PK.

LB Homfridur Magnusdottir – 5

Another shaky game for the Iceland international. Again, the converted midfielder/striker took too many touches on the ball and lost out on possession in bad places on the field.

CB Nikki Krzysik – 6

Not a bad outing for the captain. Will consider herself unlucky on the PK call, as their wasn’t much contact. But her and partner Kia McNeill held the dangerous NY attack in check for much of the match.

CB Kia McNeill – 7

Given the difficult task of marking Marta, McNeill did an admirable job. Often she was right on the back of the diminutive Brazilian, forcing her to go back or pass the ball out wide.

RB Leigh Ann Robinson – 5

Mostly solid stuff for the right back, but New York’s second goal can be directly attributed to her terrible back pass that went out for a corner.

CM Jen Buczkowski – 6

The midfield sweeper was given the difficult task of marking Seger and struggled to shut her down for much of the evening. But she did succeed in breaking up quite a few New York attacks.

M Tina DiMartino – 7

Probably the best player on the pitch for Philadelphia. Consistently got the ball in good positions and dribbled at the Flash defenders.

M  Sinead Farrelly – 5

Had a terrible first half, misfiring on a number of passes. Found her legs a bit in the second half but did not have a large impact on the game.

M Lianne Sanderson – 5

Not the best effort we’ve seen from the offensive center mid. Was forced to play a bit more defense than usual. Subbed at half time.

M/D Megan Rapinoe – 6

Brilliant goal to open the game. Did well in the first half finding space on the right side and along with DiMartino was one of most active players on the field. Moved to left back after Magnusdottir was subbed and while her runs forward from outside back were well timed, she almost got caught out on a few occasions.

F Amy Rodriguez – 5

Not the best game for the USWNT striker. Struggled as a lone forward in the first half and was well marked in the second half with NY already ahead. Found more space when Kai entered but did not find her game.


Tasha Kai – 6

Provided some spark off the bench to start the second half. Maybe should have scored from DiMartino’s well placed cross, but did find the target at least. Her work rate continues to be impressive.

Lori Lindsey – 5

The central player looked off the pace of the game. Getting called up to the WNT and sitting the bench along with few minutes for Philadelphia have her looking rusty.

Laura del Rio – n/a

Came on late.

One Comment

  1. Ed Farnsworth says:

    Whether it was a cross or shot, Rapinoe’s goal was brilliant. I thought Barnhart should have done better to punch the ball out of the area in the play that lead up to the first goal. The foul leading to the PK was weak.

    What has happened to my Holmfridur? She looked so dominant last season and this season she seems either at times unfocused or like she’s making bad decisions about when to take a player on versus passing.

    I’m hoping the Independence can start picking up points and momentum now that national team players across the league are leaving for World Cup preparations.

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