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Lloyd's Hat Trick Paces Flash to Shutout

June 28, 2013 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Western New York Flash News Release

Rochester, NY - A natural hat trick by midfielder Carli Lloyd carried the Western New York Flash to their sixth win of the season, a 4-0 victory over the Washington Spirit on a rainy Friday night at Sahlen's Stadium. It was just the second hat trick by an NWSL player this season, helping to improve the Flash to 6-2-4 (22 points) on the year. Washington falls to 1-7-3 (6 points) with the loss.

Pushing their unbeaten streak to nine games, the Flash now hold sole possession of third place in the NWSL.

Lloyd opened her scoring in just the third minute of the game with a header goal off a cross from defender Alex Sahlen. After overlapping Sarah Huffman, Sahlen sent a cross in from the right side and found Lloyd waiting just feet from the goal line to head the ball past Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. It was Sahlen's third assist over the last four games.

Lloyd added to the lead in the 22nd minute when she connected with USWNT teammate Abby Wambach to go up 2-0. From the left flag, Wambach sent a low cross through the 18-yard box that took a small deflection off the heel of Spirit defender Candace Chapman. That movement allowed Lloyd to lunge around her defender and get her foot on the ball, sending it back near post to beat Harris again.

The New Jersey native nearly scored all three in the first leg when, in first half injury time, she set up an open shot with a sharp cut back to her left foot and fired hard at the net. However, Harris was able to react quickly to punch the head-high shot over the bar and out for a corner kick. That corner nearly led to a header goal from first half substitute Veronica Perez, but the ball hit too high on her head to find the target.

Lloyd eventually completed the hat trick in the 55th minute when she chased down a pass from Wambach to go in alone on Harris. The goalkeeper was able to slide out and appeared to make the save, but the ball squeezed under her arm and out the other side. Lloyd hopped over Harris and sent the ball into the empty net to give the Flash a 3-0 lead.

Brittany Taylor added the Flash's final goal in second half stoppage time when she volleyed in a Wambach header, marking Abby's third assist of the contest. Taylor's goal was set up on a late corner kick that Wambach put toward the net from the top of the box. The defender Taylor, who now has two goals on the season, was able to find the ball and send it to the back of the net.

With six shots in the game, Lloyd generated a few other sound chances throughout the 90 minutes. Just before her second goal, her set piece attempt from the top of the box cleared a five-man wall but was denied by the crossbar. The ball came back out and she attempted to redirect with a low header, but it was cleared away.

In the 66th minute, Perez snuck behind the Spirit defense and was sent in alone with a nifty no-look heel pass from Lloyd, but Harris was able to come out and smother the scoring opportunity.

The Spirit, who have been held without a goal over their last five games, totaled four shots on goal but all were stopped by Adrianna Franch. It was the third Flash shutout of the season, and the second in two weeks against Washington.

Midway through the first half, Franch closed the door on two opportunities that were set up by Conny Pohlers, a recent addition to Washington. In the 29th, Pohlers laid a ball into the box for teammate Holly King but Franch was able to find the angle and save the shot.

Three minutes later, Pohlers flicked a ball on to Tori Huster who eventually sent Jasmyne Spencer charging at Franch. With defender Estelle Johnson running at her side, Spencer was unable to calm the bouncing ball and sent it over the net, ending Washington's best scoring opportunity of the game.

In the 40th minute, Spirit captain Lori Lindsey sent a touch pass inside the offensive box to Domenica Hodak, who turned and fired near post but Franch was able to dive for the save.

Franch's counterpart, Harris, was tested with 12 shots in the game including a lofty, but purposeful, McCall Zerboni shot in the 28th minute that nearly picked the corner but instead was again denied by the crossbar.

Ingrid Wells, who was released by the Spirit on June 20th, saw her first action in a Flash jersey Friday night, coming in as a 59th minute substitute against her former team. In the 68th minute Wells chased down a ball by the left flag and sent it into the box finding Sarah Huffman with her back to the goal. Huffman tried to turn on the defender at her back, but she was unable to get a shot away.

Now riding a nine-game unbeaten streak the Flash embark on a four-game road trip playing all four games between July 4th and July 14th. The trip starts with a 2 p.m. (ET) contest at Chicago on the 4th. The Flash beat the Red Stars 2-1 in their first meeting of the year before drawing 2-2 at Benedictine University in the second game.

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