Freedom Win Final Home Game
The Washington Freedom faced one of the most resilient opponents tonight in the Long Island Rough Riders. Long Island came into tonight's rescheduled match with a 7-2-1 record and in prime playoff position. Needing only 4 points in their last three games the Rough Riders provided the Freedom with one of its most compelling matches of the season. The Freedom created 17 shots in the first half most of which were created by Sarah Huffman's persistent and very successful work at wide midfield. The Freedom forced Rough Rider goalkeeper Meghan Frey into 7 saves in the first half, three of which were of the spectacular reflex kind. The Rough Riders, not to be outdone, looked to counter attack and pressure the Freedom in midfield. This resulted in three shots in the half and one breakaway, but Freedom goalkeeper Chante Sandiford was up to the challenge and kept the game tied at 0-0. The Freedom had a string of 4 straight corner kicks but the Rough Riders would not break.
The Freedom came out in the second half and again carried the possession as the Rough Riders sensed that their tactics and defending could earn them a crucial away tie and a point in the standings. In the 60th minute it looked like the breakthrough had come for the Freedom. Sarah Huffman again was the catalyst as she dribbled into the penalty area and Sade Ayindo clumsily reached in and brought her down for a penalty kick. Lori Lindsey, who is 2 for 2 in penalties this year, stepped up to provide what looked like the deciding goal. Her shot to the lower left hand corner hit the post squarely and came back to her and she instinctively put the ball into the goal. Fans and some players did not realize that this is not a goal, as another player did not touch the ball before it went in the goal. The referee properly awarded a goal kick. The Rough Riders were inspired by their continuing fortune and created three corner kicks of their own and two good opportunities, but Chante Sandiford was again equal to the challenge. It now looked like the game would end in an exciting 0-0 draw. Sarah Huffman again proved to be the creative force for yet another attack and split the Rough Rider defense in the 89th minute with a perfectly weighted pass in front of Christie Welsh. Welsh shot the ball in her first touch and rocketed the ball into the upper right hand corner past a helpless Frey from 14 yards out. The Freedom held on for 5 minutes of injury time for the 1-0 win.
In other action tonight the Connecticut Passion upset the Boston Renegades 2-1. This results in the Freedom moving into first place and having a great chance at the Division title. With two games remaining at Boston and Connecticut this weekend, the Freedom only need one point to clinch the division title and a bye into the conference finals.
"This was certainly one the best games we have had here in the past two years. Our players were really challenged tonight and had to come up with a tremendous effort to get a very big win. Credit the Rough Riders with a very good performance. "-Head Coach Jim Gabarra
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Women's Professional Soccer Stories from July 17, 2008
- Freedom Win Final Home Game - magicJack
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