For the third consecutive year, the team that scored first was unable to see it through to a W-League championship as the Vancouver Whitecaps fell, 3-1, to the Buffalo Flash in their bid to become the first three-time league champions. Buffalo finishes the season as unbeaten champions with Veronica Boquete scoring twice and league MVP Kelly Parker setting up two goals.
The Pali Blues trailed in the past two championship games before winning back-to-back titles, but were not as quick on the comback as Buffalo Saturday night. The Flash lived up to their name in answering Vancouver's go-ahead goal, a fantastic long-range strike in the 57th minute by Amy Vermeulen over the keeper and just under the bar, immediately on the night. Parker slipped a no-look pass off to her right as they entered the box and Gemma Davison, who was dangerous on the flank in the first half, put it away to level terms in the 61st.
Three minutes later Boquete ran through the defense to give Buffalo the advantage in an eventful seven-minute span since a defensive error gave Vermeulen the open opportunity. Boquete clinched the game in the 88th off a through ball from Parker, who finally captured the W-League title in her fourth appearance in the championship game and sixth venture to a W-League championship (Final Four) event after coming up short with the Ottawa Fury (2003-06) and FC Indiana Lionesses (2008).
The Soccer Barn SNA MVP for the W-League Championship Playoffs is Veronica Boquete. Both Boquete and Parker dominated the postseason as Buffalo, which defeated three Canadian clubs and Atlanta, romped to the title, each tallying four goals three assists. Boquete scored the first two and final two of the playoff run. With Parker having finished empty-handed so many times before, it appears having the strike partner of Boquete is what made the difference as the two teamed up for five of team's 10 playoff goals in one of the best performances by a duo in W-League playoff history.
Take a look for yourself. Here's the Buffalo Scoring Breakdown for the playoffs:
Central Conference Semifinal 3-1 vs Toronto
Central Conference Final 1-0 vs Ottawa
W-League Semifinal 3-1 vs Atlanta
W-League Championship 3-1 vs Vancouver
Other Reports: USL [+] Equalizer [+] Whitecaps [+]