PREVIEW: FLASH vs. RED STARS
Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET | Shalen’s Stadium | Rochester, N.Y.
(May 23, 2013) – Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash return after two weeks off when they host the Chicago Red Stars on Friday.
Wambach scored twice in five first-half minutes in the last game for the Flash to lead Western New York to a 2-1 victory over FC Kansas City on May 11. The performance earned the Rochester, N.Y. native NWSL Player of the Week honors for Week 5.
After starting the season with a draw and two losses, the Flash have rebounded with consecutive victories to jump to fifth in the standings with seven points.
Wambach enters the game with the best goals per game average (0.75) in the league. Her three goals are one less than five other players tied for the league lead with four.
After recovering from a broken shoulder suffered at the Algrave Cup in March, Western New York midfielder Carli Lloyd came off the bench against FCKC in Week 5 to make her NWSL debut.
Despite playing only the final 26 minutes of the game, Lloyd had the second most shots (3) and shots on goal (2) for the Flash.
The Red Stars have also rested for two weeks and come into the game Friday as one of two teams, along with Seattle Reign FC, still in search of their first win.
Chicago were shutout 2-0 at home by Portland Thorns FC in their last game during Week 5 after salvaging a draw against Sky Blue FC earlier that week when Allysa Mautz scored in the 92nd minute.
Red Stars coach Rory Dames will be looking production from his team earlier in the game. The Red Stars haven’t led in 450 minutes of play this season. Fuss, a defender, joins a backline that has conceded 10 times in five games.
Chicago have played one of the toughest schedules in the early part of the 2013 season, with four of their first five games against teams currently in the top half of the league.
The road ahead isn’t any easier for Chicago. Four of their next five games are against opponents who also presently sit in the top four places of the standings.
The Red Stars will be hoping former Germany internationals Inka Grings and Sonja Fuss will be available for the stretch. The pair started training with Chicago on Wednesday following the end of their season at FC Zurich Frauen, which won the Swiss league.
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Photo courtesy of Chicago Red Stars / Elly Deutch