A road trip to the Northwest came at the wrong time for the Pali Blues while clashes between unbeaten power clubs finished with good news for the Buffalo Flash and Ottawa Fury in this week's SNA W-League Power Rankings.
After suffering their first defeat in franchise history the week before at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps, a trek north added more misery. The Blues return home with a three-game losing streak on their record and their hopes of returning to the postseason to defend their two W-League championships in danger.
The first dagger came at the hands of the Seattle Sounders Friday evening. Kelly Irving scored twice in two minutes to give the Sounders a two-goal lead which was later pushed to three as they cruised to the victory. Two nights later, Vancouver picked up their second win over fellow two-time champions in as many weeks. Pali took the initial lead only to see an own goal start a run of three straight for the Whitecaps. Pali closed the game, but it was not enough as they fell 3-2.
The shocking three-game losing streak ushers Pali's exit from the list of the W-League's best and opened the door for Seattle to join the Top 10. Vancouver, meanwhile, stays in the top spot.
Maintaining the second spot behind Vancouver was Buffalo. The Flash also hit the road for a two-game trip, but experienced the exact opposite of Pali by downing the Kalamazoo Outrage 3-1 Friday and handing the Chicago Red Eleven, previously ranked third, their first loss Saturday, 3-2. Kelly Parker and Mele French dominated the match. Parker opened the scoring and then set up French for a 2-1 halftime lead. In the second half, French returned the favor for what would stand as the winner.
The other big contest saw unbeaten Canadian foes Ottawa and Toronto square off. Stoppage time proved a critical difference at Aivi Luik scored three minutes into extra play to give Ottawa a 1-0 win, sending them up four spots to number four in the rankings. Toronto dropped just one as they round out the list this week.
The SNA W-League Power Rankings
1 – Vancouver Whitecaps (5-0-2): 3-2 win against Pali.
2 – Buffalo Flash (5-0-2): Road wins at Kalamazoo, 3-1, and Chicago, 3-2.
3 – Washington Freedom Futures (6-0-1): 2-0 Win at North Jersey.
4 – Ottawa Fury (6-0-1): Wins against Quebec City, 2-1, and Toronto, 1-0.
5 – Chicago Red Eleven (5-1-2): Win 6-0 against London, 2-3 loss to Buffalo.
6 – Hudson Valley QLB (6-1-0): 4-2 win versus New York.
7 – Colorado Rush (1-0-3): Idle
8 – Seattle Sounders (1-1-5): 3-1 victory against Pali.
9 – Atlanta Silverbacks (6-1-1): 4-1 win against Northern Virginia.
10 – Toronto Lady Lynx (3-1-3): Stoppage time 1-0 loss to Ottawa.