The Western New York Flash of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite came from behind to defeat the NY Fury 2-1 in the semifinal on July 25 at Sahlen’s Stadium.
The Flash fell behind early in the eighth minute after NY Fury’s Allie Long scored off a corner kick. The Fury continued to control the majority of the first half, and Fury goalkeeper Michelle Betos prevented any Flash chances of equalizing. The team was able to regroup at half and started to press the NY Fury at the start of the second half.
Two key offensive substitutions in the 74th minute helped shift the momentum for the Flash. Head Coach Aaran Lines brought on Canadian International Jodi-Ann Robinson who wreaked havoc on the Fury from the moment she came on the field. Rookie Laura Heyboer was also subbed in.
Within seconds, Robinson played a left footed cross to midfielder Kary Frierson who was making a run across the goal. Frierson nailed the shot past Betos to equalize the score in the 78th minute. Just two minutes later, Frierson played a driven ball from the left side into the box to Laura Heyboer. The rookie eluded a defender and put the shot beyond the keeper's reach.
“[Heyboer] is a sneaky player,” Frierson said, “She made a great hard run.” Heyboer added that the pace that Frierson put on the ball made her job all that easier. “It was easier for me to redirect,” Heyboer said.
Prior to getting on the pitch, Coach Lines just told the substitutes what he always tells them when they enter the game. “He said, ‘Make an impact,’” Heyboer stated. “I try to make my 15 minutes the worst that that defender has ever seen.”
The Flash now advances to the league championship match on Saturday. Their opponents, the fourth seeded Chicago Red Stars, shocked the first place Boston Breakers 3-1 in the second semifinal of the evening to advance. The Red Stars are also the U.S. Open Cup Champions.
The WNY Flash play for its third straight title in three different leagues, previously winning in the W-League in 2010 and the WPS in 2011.
John Howell is an analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.