SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - On a clear, warm evening at Harry Welch Stadium in Santa Clarita, California, the Buffalo Flash met the Vancouver Whitecaps in a battle of undefeated teams for 2010 W-League Championship Presented by Umbro. In the end it was the Flash who were too much, defeating Vancouver, 3-1, to claim the 2010 W-League Championship.
Kelly Parker and Veronica Boquete led Buffalo all season and the 2010 Championship match would be no different. Despite being down 1-0 in the second half the Flash responded with three goals, including two from Boquete, to take the Championship.
The first half started tentatively, with both sides looking nervous to take too many risks. In the 10th minute Buffalo began to fall into a rhythm, controlling possession and sending prodding balls through Vancouver’s back line. The Flash seemed unable to make the last touch to set up a chance on goal.
Vancouver did well to smother W-League MVP Parker early, not allowing her to make the runs and passes she is accustomed to. After withstanding a wave of Flash pressure the Whitecaps began to turn the tide midway through the first half.
Vancouver showed their strength on set plays, orchestrating a number of dangerous throw-ins by Robyn Gayle. The Whitecaps thought they had taken a 1-0 lead as they buried a ball in the net off a thrown in, but the goal was called back for a shirt tug on an offensive player.
The team’s continued to trade possession for the remainder of the half, but neither could break through and the half ended scoreless.
The second half began with Melanie Booth coming on for Vancouver. Booth had scored a second-half goal for the Whitecaps in the semi-final and Vancouver was hoping for the same effort.
In the 57th minute the Whitecaps had their response, as the midfield played a ball forward and Buffalo defender Eartha Pond took a poor touch at the top of the box. Whitecaps midfielder Amy Vermeulan first-timed the poor touch into the back of net, making the Flash pay for their mistake. The 20-yard rocket caught Buffalo keeper Pamela Tajonar off her line, as the ball sailed over her head.
The high-scoring Flash responded quickly. In the 61st minute Parker finally broke free of the Vancouver defense and raced into the box and laid the ball off to her right to Gemma Davison, who tied the match at one.
Buffalo was not complacent with a tie, as they took the lead in the 64th minute. Boquete received a ball from Mele French, turned and raced at the Vancouver goal. Boquete cut through two Whitecap defenders and smashed the ball into the net to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead.
The Whitecaps refused to lie down and began to send players forward in an attempt to tie the match. Vancouver was able to draw fouls to set themselves up for a number of set plays, but they could not convert.
Having pushed many of their players forward, the Whitecaps became vulnerable to the counterattack late. In the 87th minute Parker pushed the ball forward on a breakaway and shot just wide. Parker broke free again a minute later and slipped the ball behind the Whitecap line to Boquete, who took the ball to the net and slammed it home for a 3-1 lead, sealing the championship for the Flash.
Four minutes later the referee blew the whistle and the Buffalo Flash were officially the 2010 W-League Champions. Boquete was named the Championship Game MVP on the back of her two-goal performance.
Earlier in the day in the consolation match, the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues faced the Atlanta Silverbacks. Coming off a disappointing performance Thursday, the W-League regular season champions rebounded to take out the Silverbacks, 3-0. Gabriela Demoner had a superb match, scoring two goals and controlling the run of play.