The Atlanta Silverbacks Women fell 3-1 tonight in the W-League Championship against the Washington Freedom. The Silverbacks could not overcome a first-minute goal from the Freedom and Atlanta walked away from their first championship appearance as W-League runners-up.
The Freedom stunned the Silverbacks with an early goal about 40 seconds into the match. Rebecca Moros split the Atlanta defense on the right side of the box and sent a 16-yard shot over the reach of goalkeeper Courtney Cripps into the far side of the goal. Atlanta continued to work against the Washington offense, but the Freedom struck again in the 40th minute when Sarah Huffman set up the second goal to double the lead. Huffman sent a perfect through ball past the ‘Backs defense to an on-rushing Christie Welsh. Welsh, who spent part of the season in the Women’s National Team camp, put the shot past Cripps for what would later become the game-winner.
Atlanta attempted a comeback in the 67th minute when Sarah Steinman took the ball on the right flank from a pair of Washington defenders and sent a cross into the box. Krista Davey flew into the penalty area, successfully trapped the ball away from Washington's keeper and cut the lead in half from eight yards out. The Freedom drove home their third goal of the night in the 88th minute when second half sub Tiffany McCarty put away a mishandled save.
The Atlanta Silverbacks Women finished the 2007 season with a 12-3-1 record under the leadership of new head coach Keith Jones. The three-year old franchise made its postseason debut this year; Atlanta outscored its opponents 13-3 in the playoffs before suffering tonight’s 3-1 loss.
Atlanta’s starters: Courtney Cripps, Sharolta Nonen, Katie Eriksson, Ronda Brooks (Julie Augustyniak-Tuff – 79), Carolyn Ford, Monica Buff, Melanie Schneider, Krista Davey, Tara Minnax (Kay Harbrueger – 57), Christine Latham (Candace West – 84), Sarah Steinmann.
Goals: Davey – 67 (Steinmann)
Cautions: Schneider – 59; Buff – 71; Harbrueger - 90
Washington’s starters: Kati Jo Spisak, Sarah Senty, Emily Janss, Alexandra Krieger, Alexandra Singer, Kele Golebiowski (Jill Porto – 68), Sarah Huffman, Rebecca Moros (Tara Kidwell – 60), Casey Zimny (Ali Andrzejeski - 90), Lori Lindsey, Christi Welsh (Tiffany McCarty – 86).
Goals: Moros – 1 (Lindsey); Welsh – 40 (Huffman); McCarty - 88
Cautions: Welsh – 85
© Atlanta Silverbacks 2007 – All Rights Reserved.