Parsons, Welsh bring down Sky Blue Christie Welsh and Jenn Parsons each racked up a goal and an assist in an unsuspenseful 3-0 victory over Jersey Sky Blue. Sky Blue is, alas, not the team it was before coach Charlie Naimo went to the Pali Blues and took most of their best players with him. The Freedom dominated possession early and scored only twelve minutes in. Jenn Parsons brought the ball in from the left side, then from about twenty yards out from the left post slid it over to the right to Christie Welsh about fifteen yards out. Christie made a couple of fakes to get her defender enough out of the way to take a shot and knocked the ball into the lower right corner. Washington continued to control the ball for most of the half, though there was a scary Jersey possession around the 38th minute, when they got the ball to within a few yards of the goal but couldn’t get a shot off. The dominance finally paid off in the 43rd minute. Sarah Huffman brought the ball down the right flank, then began running cross-field about 25 yards out before passing the ball to an open Christen Karniski on the left flank. Christen brought the ball in a little before making a beautiful centering pass to Lori Lindsey at the right post. Lori was literally a yard out from goal but off-balance and unable to get a foot on the ball. It looked to be yet another of the teeth-gnashing missed opportunities the Freedom have been experiencing of late, but Lori finally managed to knock the ball just a yard or so out where Jenn Parsons was ready and waiting to knock the ball into the net. The scoring concluded early in the second half as Sky Blue got sloppy on defense, paying too much attention to Christie Welsh with the ball at the top of the box and completely ignoring substitute forward Ali Andrzejewski, who came in wide open toward the left post, got the ball from Christie, and slid it in under the goalkeeper for the final score. At this point in the match I was prepared to write a paean to the Freedom’s calmness under pressure. The scouting report on them seems to be to pressure their defensive line as much as possible, and Sky Blue had been doing a very good job of this. But the Freedom were putting on an exhibition of keep-away featuring crisp, one-touch passing, quick surveys of the field, and near-telepathic teamwork. One moment a Sky Blue forward is bearing down on a Freedom defender on the left flank, then a few touches later, and Sarah Huffman coming down the right flank with the ball and bearing down on a defense in full retreat. Well, that lasted about 50 minutes. The latter part of the game featured an extraordinary number of turnovers and instances of poor play: first passes from the back line to the midfield going to the other team, players with twenty yards of green in front of them in the middle of the field passing off to a player on the side with a marker six feet away, and just unbelievable sloppiness all around. Fortunately, the Freedom defense held its ground, and though many balls came into the goal area, few were dangerous, and all were gobbled up by an indomitable Chante Sandiford, who had ten times as much work to do in the second half as in the first. Sky Blue’s best chance of the match came with seconds remaining in stoppage time as one of their forwards broke through the back line and took a shot from about eight yards out that Chante had to make a reaction save on. She cleared the ball, and the game ended moments later. The Freedom began the day in fourth place in the Northeast Division of the W-League but leapfrogged over Sky Blue and the Long Island Rough Riders - whom they play on Wednesday - to move into second place beyond only the Boston Renegades, whom they play on Saturday. With games in hand on all of their competition, they’re in a position to win the division without needing help from any other team. Washington Freedom vs. Jersey Sky Blue July 12, 2008 - Maryland Soccerplex, Germantown, MD Summary: WAS - Welsh (Parsons) 12 WAS - Parsons (Lindsey) 43 WAS - Andrzejewski (Welsh) 47 Washington (4-4-2 formation) - Chante Sandiford, Sarah Senty, Alex Singer, Madison Keller, Emily Janss, Christen Karniski (Jillian Gilbeau 46), Rebecca Moros (Danielle Malagari 77), Lori Lindsey, Sarah Huffman (Heather Tomko 66), Jenn Parsons (Ali Andrzejewski 46), Christie Welsh (Meagan Lynch 73). Jersey - Jillian Loyden, Fanta Cooper, Stephanie Peel, Kim Brandao, Sarra Moller, Taylor Walsh (Kim Bonilla 72), Kelly Eagan (Domenique Esposito 46), Leah Robinson, Gina DeMaio, Michele O’Brien (Tricia Di Paolo 46), Daniela Molina (Marisa Brown 46).