Wambach's late goals lift Freedom in WPS
The Washington Freedom continued its late-season surge Saturday night, overcoming a second-half deficit to defeat Sky Blue of New Jersey, 2-1, at Maryland SoccerPlex.
Abby Wambach scored in the 79th and 84th minutes to extend the Freedom's unbeaten streak to five and bolster its Women's Professional Soccer playoff chances. Washington (7-8-7, 28 points) took sole possession of the fourth and final postseason berth ahead of Sky Blue (7-10-4, 25) and pulled within a point of the third-place Boston Breakers (8-7-5, 29).
"This is what our season has been like -- ups and downs," Wambach said.
The Freedom's final two matches are against the league's bottom teams, at Chicago next Sunday and home against Atlanta on Sept. 11. Sky Blue has three games remaining. With U.S. national team coach Pia Sundhage among the 3,143 in attendance .....
the brisk-paced match yielded decent opportunities for both sides in the first half, the best coming in the 26th minute when Freedom goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made a one-on-one save on Natasha Kai.
Kai, whose quickness was a menacing presence, was gifted another opportunity four minutes later. Shadowing the Freedom's backline, she pounced on Rebecca Moros's square ball along the top of the penalty area. With Harris stranded, Kai chipped it over the keeper and off the underside of the crossbar.
In the 32nd, Sky Blue goalkeeper Jenni Branam departed with a leg injury suffered a few moments earlier while making an awkward clearance.
Wambach threatened in the 74th minute with a ferocious, rising shot from 15 yards, but reserve goalie Meghann Burke sprung to her right. Five minutes later, after Burke under cut Wambach from behind in the six-yard box, the striker deposited a penalty kick just under the crossbar.
Sky Blue narrowly missed connecting with two teasing crosses before Allie Long's through ball led Wambach for a low shot that struck the right post and spun across the goal line for her 12th goal of the year. "Abby made a great run," Long said.
August 28, 2010; 9:11 PM ET
Categories: Freedom , Women | Tags: Washington Freedom
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