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Impact Fall Short vs. D.C. United
D.C. United Women take battle of unbeatens 3-2

Fredericksburg Impact News Release -

Saturday, June 9, 2012

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The visiting D.C. United Women downed the Fredericksburg Impact 3-2 in W-League action on Saturday afternoon at the University of Mary Washington’s Battleground Athletic Complex.United, which controlled stretches of the game, earned its fifth win in five games this season and ninth in a row dating back to last season.

“I’m disappointed in the way we played,” said Impact coach Jen Woodie. “We had to be organized and we weren’t … we were just off the beat. We lacked some energy and were very reactant today.

“They’re a great team, and deserve respect. I’m looking forward to playing them two more times."

Fredericksburg (3-1-0) started the game tentatively, forcing goalkeeper Karen Blocker into several early saves. Despite the shaky start, the Impact notched the game’s first quality chance on goal. Midfielder Kara Blosser (West Virginia University) headed a cross just inches above the crossbar less than 10 minutes into the game. D.C. United’s pressure eventually paid off in the 13th minute, as Mikaela Howell found space on the left side of the penalty box. A quick cross to the back post found Ashley Herndon with the finish to give D.C. the early 1-0 lead.

After the early going, the Impact settled into a rhythm and found the equalizer.

Missy Wycinsky, who spent much of the first half finding space on the right side, whipped in a cross to fellow forward Becca Wann who knocked the ball home to make the score 1-1 in the 19th minute.

“It was a really good ball,” said Wann, who has three goals in her two games with Fredericksburg. “I just absolutely love crosses and that’s what Missy does well. It was kind of the perfect pass.”

The momentum didn’t hold long, as D.C. aggressively attacked the Impact defense. Blocker came up with an impressive one-handed save half way through the period to keep the game deadlocked.

As the half came to a close, Impact defender Nicole Marks collided with a D.C. attacker and was forced to momentarily leave the contest.

D.C. continued to press the attack, utilizing its numerical advantage on the field. Fredericksburg’s defense was unable to clear the ball away and it squirted out of the box to Carolyn Blank. The midfielder lined up a shot out and sent a low-flying laser into the lower left corner of the net, putting United on top 2-1 in first-half stoppage time.

Heading into the second half, the Impact looked to jump out to a quick start.

“The second half we wanted to come out and get a goal early, but they got it first,” Wann said. “After that we were a little hectic and started chasing the game.”

Despite the Impact’s attempts to stem United’s midfield possession, Lianne Sanderson still found room on the right flank, spinning through two Impact defenders and sending a ball to the onrushing Mikaela Howell. Once in possession, Howell cut sharply to the center of the field and laced a shot into the upper right side of the net for a 3-1 advantage in the 59th minute.

Down two goals, the Impact’s veteran leadership proved vital.

Wycinsky, still causing havoc on the wings, forced a corner kick. In the resultant scrum in front of the net, the co-captain drew a penalty kick. Fellow captain Sandra Matute stepped up and quickly buried the shot to bring the Impact within a goal in the 68th minute.

“I knew exactly where I was going to put it,” Matute said. “I’m here to take on responsibilities, and I’m definitely always going to step up to take [the penalty kick].”

Despite getting a goal back, the Impact still faced issues on the offensive end of the pitch.

“I’m glad we were able to come back and get a second goal,” Woodie stated. “We were attacking with two or three players instead of six, and that’s the biggest difference from our first three games to now.”

Woodie continued to explain her team’s difficulties: “The heat, the fatigue … that played a role too. For me, it’s a little frustrating that we couldn’t find that push that we needed. There could have been four or five more goals on either side. I’m glad the score was close, but we couldn’t find that energy.”

“They didn’t let us play our game,” Matute added. “They were just very accurate; strong deep, strong holding the ball.”

D.C. retained possession for the majority of the remainder of the game, and eventually ran out the clock. For United, the win solidified their first-place standing in the Atlantic Division.

For Fredericksburg, both players and coach expressed the room for improvement.

“As forwards, we weren’t playing well with the midfield,” Wann said. “We just need to work on connecting and staying compact when [the other team] has the ball and let them come to us.”

“With fitness we always have room to improve and I don’t think we’re too far away from where we should be,” Woodie said. “I think it’s just the mental piece of it, and I don’t know if that was the buildup, fatigue, the two o’clock start … We just couldn’t get all eleven players on the same page to work at the same time. That’s something we’re going to work on, and I’m looking to rolling that out on the field Thursday.”

On Thursday the Impact will return to action when they host the Dayton Dutch Lions at UMW, at 6 p.m. ET. 

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