July 22, 2012
FINAL TIE FOR FURY
Will face Western New York in semifinal
HEMPSTEAD, NY---The New York Fury and Chicago Red Stars battled to a 1-1 draw at Hofstra University Sunday night, leaving the WPSL Elite standings unchanged after the final day of play.
|Meghan Lenczyk scored her team leading sixth goal in the NY Fury's 1-1 draw with the Chicago Red Stars.
Photo by James Smith/Chciago Red Stars
The draw puts New York in third place, and Chicago in fourth. The Fury will face second-place Western New York Flash in a playoff semifinal at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, NY at 5 pm on Wednesday, while the Red Stars will play first-place finisher Boston Breakers in the other match at 8 pm.
"I thought we played our best game of the season," said NY Fury head coach Paul Riley. "We pressured well and we never gave players like (Lori) Chalupny a chance to settle on the ball and influence the outcome of the game. Sinead Farrelly, Merritt Mathias both had excellent games and (Kia) McNeill and (Estelle) Johnson were terrific in the back. "
Meghan Lenczyk scored her team-leading sixth goal of the season in the sixth minute. Gina DiMartino played a cross over the goal area, and Lenczyk chipped a right footed shot over Red Stars goalkeeper Jamie Forbes.
The lead didn't last long, however. Chicago scored on a counterattack in the 11th minute, with Ashleigh Ellenwood putting a shot into the lower left corner of the net.
"This was a great warm-up game for the playoffs, and the competitive nature of the game was very WPS-esque," said Riley. "We are excited for an opportunity to play the three WPS clubs and being in this group is certainly a feather in the cap for our young franchise," Riley said referring to the other three teams that have made the WPSL final four.
Riley will be guiding a team into its league playoffs for the third straight year, after two straight WPS championship game appearances with the Philadelphia Independence.
"It's going to be two classic matchups," Riley said, while noting that in six previous games he has coached against Western New York, they have only won once, in the 2011 WPS Championship game. "So we are certainly excited at the prospect of competing against the league's best."
The Fury created numerous chances to regain the lead, coming up just short. In the 27th minute, Mathias made a cross through the penalty area, but Kim Yokers couldn't connect. Just before the half, Leigh Ann Robinson sent a cross into the area. Yokers went up, but couldn't quite get her head on the ball.
Recently signed Casey Nogueira came into the game in the 49th minute, and almost immediately had an impact, threading a pass through the penalty area for Sinead Farrelly, who tried to toe poke it into the net, but instead sent it over the bar.
Jasmyne Spencer had a dangerous chance in the 67th minute, but her shot was stopped by Forbes.
Despite missing out on her eighth shutout, Michelle Betos came up with some big saves in goal for the Fury. In the 10th minute, she made a fingertip save on a shot by Michelle Weisenhoffer, and in the 82nd minute, she grabbed a header by Ellenwood.