Vancouver moves onto W-League Final|
Whitecaps down Chicago 2-1 in battle of unbeatens in first semifinal
Saturday, August 7, 2004
OTTAWA, ON - The Vancouver Whitecaps advanced to Sunday's W-League Championship match on the strength of a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cobras Saturday afternoon in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Whitecaps advance to the final for the first time since 2001 when they lost to the Boston Renegades 5-1 on a night in Virginia Beach highlighted by a severe thunderstorm that cancelled the consolation match and delayed the final about two hours.
The first half of the first semifinal was all Whitecaps as they outshot the a fellow unbeaten squad Chicago 5-1. Cobras goalkeeper Molly Schneider was forced to come off her line numerous times to snuff chances by the Whitecaps’ forwards.
After a fairly even first ten minutes, Vancouver started to press. Martina Franko just failed to connect on a diagonal cross in front in the 12th minute. In the 16th, Allen broke in, but was well marked and her weak shot was saved. Then at 17-minute mark a volley from Brittany Timko was stopped by keeper Molly Schneider.
While the majority of first half play occurred in Chicago’s penalty area, the Whitecaps were unable to put the ball in the back of the net until the 53rd minute when Randee Hermus crossed a ball in from the right side. While it didn’t find a Vancouver player, the attempted clearance by a Cobras defender fell right to midfielder Andrea Neil who tucked her one-time shot inside the right post, just out of reach of goalkeeper Molly Schneider to make the score 1-0.
Just five minutes later, Amy Apps threaded a pass through the Cobras defense to Amber Allen. Allen was able to get to the ball just ahead of Schneider to tip the ball over the ‘keepers outstretched hand from 12 yards out, doubling the Whitecaps lead.
The Cobras pulled one back in the 68th minute when Emily Janss turned and volleyed a shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Erin McLeod to make the score 2-1.
Schneider continued to make save after save to keep the Cobras in the match but despite upping the pressure in the final moments of the game, the Cobras weren’t able to pull even.
Vancouver came right back after Chicago's goal, first with a nice waist-high cross from Amy Apps to the right of goal that Martina Franko at the far post redirected just wide in the 69th minute. Then in the 71st, a quick turn and shot from Franko at the top of the box was well saved. And at the 77-minute mark a great curling left-footer from Andrea Neil was pushed wide on a one-handed save by the keeper.
Erin McLeod made two great saves to preserve the lead, first with a diving stop off a flashing header from Kristen Graczyk at 73', then making a good grab on a blast from Emily Janss at 77'.
The Caps have now won 13 straight and are undefeated in 28. Vancouver's all time playoff record is 5-1-2.
Championship match LIVE on Fox Sports World Sunday
The Vancouver Whitecaps will take on the New Jersey Wildcats for the W-League championship at 5pm ET tomorrow LIVE on Fox Sports World.
VAN: Neil 53
VAN: Allen (Apps) 58
CHI: Janss (Minnax) 68
Cautions / Ejections