By Joe Pantorno, Editor in Chief
Defense was the name of the game Sunday night at Hofstra Soccer Stadium as the New York Fury and Western New York Flash battled to a goalless draw.
"I was disappointed with our performance," said Fury head coach Paul Riley. "We did not play particularly well tonight, I think they [the Flash] were the better team, but neither team had much edge to them."
"For better words it was a spineless display."
The Flash (1-2-1) had the best chance to break the tie in the 90th minute when defender Toni Pressley's header was saved by keeper Michelle Betos, but her rebound was cleared as far as Lori Lindsey, whose cross found the head of McCall Zerboni but her attempt hit the crossbar.
"They had a really good game in the midfield," said Riley. "Lori Lindsey and Zerboni had a really good game...they ran all over us."
The backline and Betos were busy all evening, especially in the second half. Betos was called upon to stonewall Lindsey in the 49th minute off a header and a low shot from Stephanie Ochs in the 75th.
"I don't know how we got there sometimes. I mean, we're talking crossbars and missed flicks and blockages," said Riley. "It's always good to get a clean sheet...we have a pretty good defense."
The Fury (3-1-1) had an opportunity to take the lead in the 56th minute when Gina DiMartino's low cross was backheeled by Kim Yokers into the path of striker Meghan Lenczyk. With Flash keeper Allison Lipsher closing in, Lenczyk skied her chance and the Fury's hopes of the lead over the crossbar.
"There was that 10-15 minutes in the second half where we started to turn the screw," said Riley. "And that's when Meghan missed the chance."
The first half did not lack chances. Both teams provided spells of position that were threatening to break the deadlock.
In the 44th minute Meghan Klinenberg, who was a dynamo in the midfield for the Flash, had her header cleared off the line by the Fury's Sinead Farrelly.
The Fury's attacking duo of Merritt Mathias and Lenczyk were proving somewhat problematic for the Flash. A nifty one-two in the 23rd minute sent Lenczyk in on goal, but her shot was directly into the arms of Lipsher.
Lenczyk tried playing provider in the 33rd minute when her low cross from the right side just missed the out-stretched foot of Mathias in front of goal.
Their efforts tonight however were not up to Riley's standards.
"We need a striker badly. We don't have enough up front to win this league and we need that extra punch up front," said Riley. "We didn't create near enough chances to win the game."
Perched at second place in the league, Riley will take the point at the end of the day.
"It's a good point, we beat them up there, so for us it's four points out of six," said Riley. "We keep them behind us. As long as you keep teams behind you...it opens up the channel a bit."