The Washington Spirit fell 2-0 to the aggressive Western New York Flash on Saturday as they struggled to overcome the Flash's back line.
The Flash started in their usual fashion, aggressive and possession hungry. The Flash defense did well to dispossess any oncoming Spirit traffic and push the ball into the midfield. Veronica Perez scored the opening goal in the ninth minute of action off an Adriana assist into the box that Perez was able to chest down and slot past Ashlyn Harris outside the six-yard box.
WNYF continued to execute pressure and put up 10 shots in the first half. The Flash took advantage of the Spirit's weakened back line as star players Ali Krieger and Robyn Gayle were away on international duty. The Flash continued to take up space inside the box, locating pockets and testing Harris. Vicki DiMartino shot a dangerous ball outside the six-yard box but couldn't rattle Harris.
Shortly after, DiMartino would strike again but Harris would not be able to keep the ball out. In the 30th minute, DiMartino scored her first goal in the NWSL, DiMartino headed a cross into the net from Alex Sahlen over the head of Harrris to notch the final goal of the night for a 2-0 lead.
The second half belonged to the home side as they took five shots to the Flash's zero. The increased possession and offense was enlightening. The Spirit looked like they would cut down the Flash's lead at any point. The Spirit offense couldn't crack Adriana Franch's concentration.
Washington had several opportunities to cut the lead and find an equalizer as they received five out of eight corner kicks in the early moments of the second half. The home side push the Flash into a defensive role throughout the second half but the Flash back line was prepared for the Spirit attacks.
Washington's best chance on goal was in the 67th minute from a one-on-one situation between Stephanie Ochs and Franch. Ochs advanced towards the box, forcing Franch to come off her line and make a crucial tackle to dispossess Ochs and maintain a clean sheet.