FLASH TAKE 2010 W-LEAGUE TITLE
Buffalo Defeats Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1
SANTA CLARITA, CA – On a clear, warm evening at Harry Welch Stadium in Santa Clarita, California, the Buffalo Flash met the Vancouver Whitecaps in a battle of undefeated teams for 2010 W-League Championship Presented by Umbro. In the end it was the Flash who were too much, defeating Vancouver, 3-1, to claim the 2010 W-League Championship.
Kelly Parker and Veronica Boquete led Buffalo all season and the 2010 Championship match would be no different. Despite being down 1-0 in the second half the Flash responded with three goals, including two from Boquete, to take the Championship.
The first half started tentatively, with both sides looking nervous to take too many risks. In the 10th minute Buffalo began to fall into a rhythm, controlling possession and sending prodding balls through Vancouver’s back line. The Flash seemed unable to make the last touch to set up a chance on goal.
Vancouver did well to smother W-League MVP Parker early, not allowing her to make the runs and passes she is accustomed to. After withstanding a wave of Flash pressure the Whitecaps began to turn the tide midway through the first half.
Vancouver showed their strength on set plays, orchestrating a number of dangerous throw-ins by Robyn Gayle. The Whitecaps thought they had taken a 1-0 lead as they buried a ball in the net off a thrown in, but the goal was called back for a shirt tug on an offensive player.
The team’s continued to trade possession for the remainder of the half, but neither could break through and the half ended scoreless.
The second half began with Melanie Booth coming on for Vancouver. Booth had scored a second-half goal for the Whitecaps in the semi-final and Vancouver was hoping for the same effort.
In the 57th minute the Whitecaps had their response, as the midfield played a ball forward and Buffalo defender Eartha Pond took a poor touch at the top of the box. Whitecaps midfielder Amy Vermeulan first-timed the poor touch into the back of net, making the Flash pay for their mistake. The 20-yard rocket caught Buffalo keeper Pamela Tajonar off her line, as the ball sailed over her head.
The high-scoring Flash responded quickly. In the 61st minute Parker finally broke free of the Vancouver defense and raced into the box and laid the ball off to her right to Gemma Davison, who tied the match at one.
Buffalo was not complacent with a tie, as they took the lead in the 64th minute. Boquete received a ball from Mele French, turned and raced at the Vancouver goal. Boquete cut through two Whitecap defenders and smashed the ball into the net to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead.
The Whitecaps refused to lie down and began to send players forward in an attempt to tie the match. Vancouver was able to draw fouls to set themselves up for a number of set plays, but they could not convert.
Having pushed many of their players forward, the Whitecaps became vulnerable to the counterattack late. In the 87th minute Parker pushed the ball forward on a breakaway and shot just wide. Parker broke free again a minute later and slipped the ball behind the Whitecap line to Boquete, who took the ball to the net and slammed it home for a 3-1 lead, sealing the championship for the Flash.
Four minutes later the referee blew the whistle and the Buffalo Flash were officially the 2010 W-League Champions. Boquete was named the Championship Game MVP on the back of her two-goal performance.
Earlier in the day in the consolation match, the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues faced the Atlanta Silverbacks. Coming off a disappointing performance Thursday, the W-League regular season champions rebounded to take out the Silverbacks, 3-0. Gabriela Demoner had a superb match, scoring two goals and controlling the run of play.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC GAME REPORT
Vancouver Whitecaps FC women (8W-1L-4D) saw their bid for a third United Soccer Leagues W-League championship title fall short, as they lost 3-1 to Buffalo Flash (14W-0L-2D) in the 2010 W-League Championship Final at Harry Welch Stadium in Santa Clarita, California, on Saturday night.
Amy Vermeulen opened the scoring in the second half for the Whitecaps, but Buffalo struck back with two quick goals to take a decisive lead. Spanish international Veronica Boquete then added her second goal of the game late on to seal the victory for the Upstate New York club.
It was Vancouver’s first loss of the season, and Buffalo’s 14th win in a row, as the second-year outfit claimed their first W-League championship title.
Goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain returned to Vancouver’s starting XI after missing the semifinals because of FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying duty with the England national team. Whitecaps head coach Hubert Busby Jr. retained the 4-3-3 formation that had defeated Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues on Thursday, buy with a few adjustments. Striker Julie Armstrong got her first start since mid-June, with Desiree Scott dropping to midfield, and Cheslea Stewart moving back to left fullback. The Whitecaps were still without leading goalscorers Melissa Tancredi and Jodi-Ann Robinson, as well as injured midfielder Kara Lang, who made the trip but did not dress.
The game’s opening moments were even, but Buffalo soon had Vancouver on the back foot. Ten minutes in, Boquete did well to make space at the top of the Whitecaps box before hitting a low shot that was comfortably saved by Chamberlain.
On 15 minutes, W-League Most Valuable Player Kelly Parker beat Vancouver’s offside trap on the right and was in on goal. However, instead of shooting, she tried to pass, and Whitecaps defender Martina Franko was able to intercept the ball.
Minutes later, Boquete turned and shot quickly from the top of the box, producing a diving stop from Chamberlain.
The momentum then shifted in Vancouver’s favour, for the balance of the half.
On 27 minutes, a curling shot by Scott from the top of the Buffalo box was stopped by Flash goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar. A minute later, Stewart fired an effort wide, with a stretching Kirsteen Buchan unable to get a touch and deflect it on target.
On 32 minutes, Vermeulen hooked the ball into the net, but the assistant referee had already spotted an infraction, and the play was blown dead.
Moments later, Scott beat Tajonar to the ball in the box, checked back, and squared it for Vermeulen. However, she was immediately closed down and her shot at an empty net was blocked off her boot.
Finally, just before the break, a corner kick from Kaylyn Kyle found defender Emily Zurrer, and she got a good header on goal which was saved by Mexican international Tajonar.
It was scoreless at halftime, with shots even at six apiece.
Both teams had good chances early in the second half. On 51 minutes, Kyle curled a free kick just wide of the post, on an effort that was similar to the one with which she scored in the semifinals. Minutes later, Flash winger Gemma Davison laid the ball to Boquete who was trailing, and she fired a rocket, which Chamberlain did well to parry.
Vancouver then took the lead on 57 minutes. Franko hit a long ball forward to Vermeulen, which Buffalo defender Eartha Pond misplayed. Vermeulen pounced on the loose ball and fired a quick 25-yard shot that curled over Tajonar and in. It was the striker’s fourth goal of the season.
Buffalo hit back quickly, however. Just four minutes later, Canadian international Kelly Parker played it to Davison on the overlap in the box on the right, and she fired it over top of the onrushing Chamberlain to make it 1-1.
Vancouver came close two minutes later, as a Kyle corner from the right again found Zurrer, but her header was blocked on the line at the near post by Mele French.
Buffalo then scored the winner on 64 minutes, giving the game its third goal in a seven-minute span. French played a through ball to Boquete, whose pace allowed her to get in behind the Whitecaps defence and fire home for 2-1.
The pace of the game then slowed, and though the Whitecaps had some good possession, they were unable to generate quality chances.
Buffalo then put the game away on 88 minutes, as Parker slipped it ahead to Boquete in space in the Whitecaps box on the right, and the Spaniard finished well to make it a 3-1 final.
90 FULL MINUTES
This was Vancouver’s fourth trip to a W-League final, as the team has twice won the championship and twice finished runners-up. The Whitecaps will now have to wait for another day to try and become the first team in league history to win the championship on three occasions. Vancouver’s 2004 win was in Ottawa, Ontario, and the 2006 championship was won at home, so winning the crown on American soil remains elusive. The ‘Caps were losing finalists in Virginia Beach, Virginia, back in 2001.
Busby was gracious in defeat, saying “We lost to the better team tonight, so credit goes to the Buffalo Flash. They move the ball very well and have a lot of good attacking options.”
However, the coach was pleased with how his young team performed, despite missing some key players, and is looking forward to preparing for next year’s campaign. “We had a great season, only lost one game, in the final, and so we’re looking to go back and improve upon this for next season.”
In Saturday’s third-place match, Hudson Valley (12W-2L-0D) were 3-0 winners over Atlanta Silverbacks (9W-4L-1D).
VAN – 57′ – Amy Vermeulen
BUF – 61′ – Gemma Davison (Kelly Parker)
BUF – 64′ – Veronica Boquete (Mele Fench)
BUF – 87′ – Veronica Boquete (Kelly Parker)
Shots: Vancouver 6 – Buffalo 6
Saves: Vancouver 5 – Buffalo 2
Fouls: Vancouver 12 – Buffalo 3
Corners: Vancouver 1 – Buffalo 3
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – Buffalo 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Siobhan Chamberlain; 2.Emily Zurrer, 16.Robyn Gayle, 17.Chelsea Stewart, 19.Martina Franko; 8.Kaylyn Kyle, 11.Desiree Scott, 13.Sophie Schmidt; 6.Amy Vermeulen (18.Monica Lam-Feist 64′), 7.Kirsteen Buchan (4.Melanie Booth 45′), 9.Julie Armstrong (23.Nikki Wright 83′)
Subs not used: 27.Stephanie Panozzo, 12.Kristen Funk, 25.Rachael Pelat
1.Pamela Tajonar; 2.Alexandra Sahlen, 3.Kimberly Brandao, 4.Eartha Pond (13.Analisa Marquez 85′), 5.Jenny Jeffers; 8.Katie Holtham, 9.Kimberly Miller (7.Jenny Hammond 90′), 11.Kelly Parker; 12.Gemma Davison (16.Nikki Lyons 90′), 23.Veronica Boquete, 29.Mele French (21.Alena Thom 82′)
Subs not used: 00.Lynzee Lee, 10.Carol Tognetti, 19.Mandy Moraca
United Soccer Leagues announced the W-League honors for the 2010 season, naming the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year, Coach of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year. The awards were presented at a banquet at the 2010 W-League Championship Presented by Umbro in Santa Clarita, California. Voting was conducted by W-League coaches and general managers.
Most Valuable Player – Kelly Parker, Buffalo Flash
Parker, who previously captured the W-League MVP in 2004, becomes the first repeat winner in W-League history. It’s hard to argue against the season Parker has enjoyed while leading the Flash to the 2010 W-League title game, which will be televised live at 10 p.m. ET Saturday on FOX Soccer Channel. Parker led the W-League in both goals (11) and points (27) in 2010.
Rookie of the Year – Rashidah Sherman, New York Magic
There wasn’t much doubt about the recipient of the 2010 W-League Rookie of the Year Award. Sherman, who made the Magic a dangerous team to face every night, finished second to Parker in goals and points and was also an MVP finalist.
Defender of the Year – Sue Weber, Long Island Rough Riders
Yet another repeat winner, Weber anchored the Long Island defense this season and added a goal and two assists in the process. An experienced and feared defender with WPS experience, Weber also captured the honor in 2008. A former U.S. U-17 National Team member, Weber was a two-time college All-American at Hofstra University.
Coach of the Year – Hubert Busby Jr – Vancouver Whitecaps
It’s not hard to figure out why Busby was selected by his peers as the 2010 W-League Coach of the Year. After posting only three wins in 2009, Busby has the Whitecaps on the verge of a title heading into Saturday night’s W-League Championship against the Buffalo Flash. Included in Vancouver’s impressive season are three wins against the two-time champion Pali Blues and a semifinal upset of the regular season champion Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues.
Goalkeeper of the Year – Alyssa Whitehead, Charlotte Lady Eagle
You can’t argue with the numbers. In 10 games played, Whitehead allowed only four goals while leading Charlotte into the conference playoffs after a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division.
Votes for the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year awards are submitted by W-League team management. Rookie of the Year finalists are determined by All-Conference voting, while the Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year are chosen based on total All-Conference votes.