Sunday, August 27, 2017

27 August 2011 - Last One Out Gets The Lights

On 27 August 2011, the Western New York Flash won the WPS Championship, beating the Philadelphia Independence on penalties, 1-1 (5-4). It turned out to be the last WPS Championship, as the league folded soon afterward.

The Flash were an expansion team playing in the first league season, but they had acquired several players from the previous season's champions, FC Gold Pride, who had dissolved in 2010. They picked up where the Pride left off, topping the regular season table with a record of thirteen wins, two draws, and two losses that sent them directly into the playoff final.

The Independence were not much older, having entered the league in 2010. They finished the 2011 regular season in second, which qualified them for a semifinal match against magicJack, whom the beat 2-0 to advance to the final.

Playing at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, former Pride forward Christine Sinclair gave the Flash a 64th-minute lead that they almost took to the final whistle. But in the 88th minute, Philadelphia winger Amy Rodriguez equalized to send the match into extra time. With the score still level at 1-1 after extra time, the match went to a penalty shootout.

There, both teams converted their first four kicks each. After Yael Averbuch scored on the Flash's fifth attempt, Western New York goalkeeper Ashlynn Harris made a diving save to deny Independence forward Laura del Rio and win the title.

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