News

Aussies Abroad - Van Egmond wins WPSL

Wednesday, 1 August 2012 3:11 PM
 

Aussies Abroad - Van Egmond wins WPSL

Championships were won and lost in the final fortnight of US women's football action. Once again the Australians were in the thick of the action as the WPSL Elite and the USL W-League wrapped up their 2012 seasons.

The fortnight started well for Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt as their Boston Breakers clinched the WPSL Elite regular season title courtesy of a 1–0 win over the Western New York Flash. The first half was a tight contest between the top two sides with defender Elli Reed breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute and giving the Breakers a 1 – 0 half time lead.

The arm wrestle continued after the break although Simon went close to doubling the Breakers' lead on 78 minutes. The Matildas' striker expertly brought down a cross, cut inside and fired only to see her strike cleared off the line. A second half substitute for the Flash, Emily van Egmond went close to equalising five minutes from time as she rifled a shot just over the crossbar but the Breakers were able to hold on to claim their first premiership.

As the top seeds, the Breakers went into their semi-final against fourth placed Chicago Redstars warm favourites, however, it was the Redstars who struck early. Lauren Fowlkes opened the scoring on 14 minutes as she tucked away a corner for the sole goal of the first half.

At the restart, Boston created several half opportunities before Chicago snuffed out any chance of a comeback with goals in the 54th and 66th minute. Tameka Butt came close to pulling one back 56th minute as she pounced on a loose ball off a corner but her strike was saved by the Chicago goalkeeper. The Breakers eventually managed a consolation goal late in the match but it was season over for Simon, Butt and the Breakers as they fell short of the double.

Though their season was over, Emily van Egmond’s was anything but. The Western New York Flash won their way through the WPSL Elite final with a come from behind 2–1 win over local rivals New York Fury. Two second half goals in two minutes saw the Flash overhaul the Fury's 8th minute opener to take them through to the championship decider. While van Egmond was not involved in the semi-final, the 19–year-old did have a part to play in the final.

In the Championship final, the Western New York Flash defeated the Chicago Redstars 4–3 on penalties. After a tense opening, Chicago opened the scoring five minutes before the half time break through Ashleigh Ellenwood. While the Flash probed for an equaliser in the second half, it wouldn't come until the 5th minute of additional time through Toni Pressley.

With extra time unable to separate to the two sides, the title was decided on penalties. Van Egmond took the crucial fourth penalty for the Flash to give them a 3 – 2 lead, and with the Redstars missing their fourth, the title was sealed with Angela Salem's spot kick.

Despite her semi-final exit, Kyah Simon finished the WPSL Elite season as second top scorer with 12 goals in 13 games and second on the points table (culmination of goals and assists).

It was also finals time in the USL W-League with Australians in action for the Pali Blues and Ottawa Fury.

The first semi saw top seeded Pali take on the fourth seeded Quebec City Amiral, with the Blues making their way through the final with a 2 – 0 win courtesy of Liz Bogus’ brace.

As she had been all season, Servet Uzunlar was instrumental for the Blues and was involved in the lead up for their first goal. The Westfield Matildas star controlled a teammate’s cross before firing at the Amiral goal. The goalkeeper's reaction save fell to the oncoming Bogus who slotted home in the 31st minute. The match was then killed off in the 80th minute with Bogus cutting inside before sealing the match.

Katrina Gorry's Ottawa Fury wpuld also advance to the final after holding off a fast finishing DC United, with Lydia Hastings' 44th minute goal enough to see them advance to the Championship game.

In the Championship decider, the previously unbeaten Pali Blues stumbled at the final hurdle with the Ottawa Fury overhauling them to take their first title 4 – 3 on penalties.

The Blues started the match the stronger in the second minute Nikki Washington fired from distance to give them an early 1 – 0 lead. Led by Uzunlar (Pali) and Gorry (Ottawa), the game settled into an absorbing contest and despite several close calls the Blues couldn’t find the sealer and Fury were unable to fashion an equaliser.

That changed in the 88th minute when Gorry produced an excellent free kick forcing the Blue's goalkeeper to parry it into the path of Ashley Seal. From close range, Seal tied the game to take it into extra time.

In extra time, both Uzunlar and Gorry were instrumental. First Gorry rattled the crossbar from 30 yards out in the 96th minute while Uzunlar created two half chances for the Blues and numerous free-kick opportunities they came to naught, two diving saves by the Fury goalkeeper early in the penalty shootout was enough for Ottawa and Gorry to clinch the 2012 USL W-League title.

 
Poll
Which team will be crowned Champions of the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League season?