Flash Fall To Spirit, Wambach Hoping to Return in 2 Weeks

Abby Wambach could be returning to action for the WNY Flash in a few weeks. The US Women's National Team legend said she and her doctors are positive about the condition of the sprained lateral collateral knee ligament in her left knee.

"My doctors and my therapist in Portland were really positive about how it's healed, so that makes me happy. Obviously, being away from my team for a time has been hard."

She said it's possible that she could make a return to practice in two weeks. The Flash are 4-6 without Wambach so far this season.

For the ninth time this season, the Western New York Flash was defeated by a single goal, falling 1-0 to the visiting Washington Spirit in front of 3,134 fans in Rochester. With the win, the Spirit (8-7-2, 26 points) gain sole possession of third place in the NWSL standings, while the Flash (7-9-2, 23 points) drop two spots to fifth after Chicago’s win over Seattle.

A 53-minute penalty kick by Diana Matheson was the game’s deciding factor, coming after Flash defender Katherine Reynolds was shown a red card for fouling Kersten Garefrekes on a breakaway. Reynolds was sent off, leaving the Flash to play a man down for the final 37 minutes. Matheson stepped up to the spot and finished the ball to the right of Kelsey Wys.

Wys entered the game just 13 minutes in after starting goalkeeper Lydia Williams suffered an injury.

“I’m happy with the fight [from our team] and Kelsey Wys came in there and made some huge saves. But, I was happy with the fight,” said Flash General Manager and Head Coach Aaran Lines. “The group stuck together and tried to get something out of the game.”

The Flash had chances to get on the board early on, but two shots off the post kept the game scoreless until the second 45.

After Jasmyne Spencer drew a foul from 25-yards out, Carli Lloyd sent a free kick past the wall toward Ashlyn Harris, but the Flash captain was denied by the left post. The Flash were denied by the bar for the second time just 34 minutes in. Spencer was sent in from fellow forward Samantha Kerr and, after one step inside the 18, tried to push a shot to the left of Harris but the right post kept the score at 0-0.

In the ninth minute, Lloyd had her second opportunity on net after Reynolds sent a far post cross in from the left side. Reynolds’ ball took one hop in the box before Lloyd unleashed a volley, but the shot went wide on the far post. The pair nearly connected again in the 22nd minute on a lofted ball from the left, but Lloyd was unable to beat Harris’ punched clearance.

The Spirit opened the second half with a solid chance, but again the woodwork played its part, denying Garefrekes in the 47th minute.  The German international got on the end of Yael Averbuch’s lofting cross, but her headed attempt hit the crossbar.  Garefrekes looked to set up Jodie Taylor three minutes later, finding the English forward open just eight yards out, but Wys was able to get her body behind the ball for the block.

Wys, who started in four previous matches earlier this season for the Flash, made a number of stops to keep the Flash within a goal.

Minutes after Matheson’s goal, defender Niki Cross sent a long ball to Lisa De Vanna down the left side. The Australian looked to find Jodie Taylor on an open run into the box, but Wys laid out to cutoff the pass. The backup goalkeeper came up with another big save in the 66th minute to keep the Flash within one, denying Garefrekes with a fingertip save on the forward’s quick redirection.

Later, Matheson picked out Taylor with a well-paced ball through the Flash backline, sending the forward in alone on Wys. But the Florida State product stood tall, kicking the ball away on a falling save.

The Flash will remain at home for two more games, next hosting FC Kansas City on Friday night for Pride Night.  The game will kickoff at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7 p.m.

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