What was hush-hush last week is now public knowledge: Amy Rodriguez and Tasha Kai are a double threat in the Independence attack.
The Western New York Flash (13-2-3), who will host Indy (11-4-3) on Saturday in the Women's Professional Soccer championship game, undoubtedly have taken note.
Kai and Rodriguez each scored a goal in the Independence's 2-0 victory over magicJack on Saturday in the WPS super semifinal at PPL Park in Chester. That was a first for the duo.
"We really didn't play them together until today," said a jubilant Paul Riley, the Independence coach, after the shutout. "We kept it quiet; we were working with them in practice. We spent the whole week working on their runs. I thought they were tremendous today."
Riley and the rest of the team hope for more positive results from the pair in Rochester in two days.
The Flash beat the Independence, 2-1, on May 29 with Rodriguez in the lineup. The next day, the forward from Lake Forest, Calif., and Indy teammates Nicole Barnhart and Lori Lindsey left for national-team training. During that trio's month-plus absence for the Women's World Cup, the Independence beat the Flash twice.
"I feel good right now because I feel that I've had a few weeks in a row with this team," said Rodriguez, who didn't see action for Indy again until the July 23 game at Sky Blue, a 2-0 loss.
"When I first came back from the World Cup, chemistry and my relationships with my teammates weren't as strong as last year. [In 2010] I was constantly training with them.
"Tasha and I work well together. We are both dynamic; a lot of running goes into our game. We're both pretty quick on and off the ball, and it causes defenders to pick and choose which player to defend.
"When defenders match up Tash, that opens me up and vice versa, and that situation is really good."
So good that it doesn't matter that Rodriguez, Indy's leading scorer last season with 13 goals, has scored only three this year while Kai has netted a team-leading 10.
Kai said the reason she and Rodriguez are playing well together is that they are the same type of player: fast and furious with a scoring mentality.
"We worked for a week and a half getting the timing on our runs right and our communication," Kai said. "As the days went by, things started clicking. It's always a pleasure having someone you can work with up top. I'd sacrifice my body for a goal or an assist, and a lot of people back off from that."
Kai added that she and Rodriguez are alike in another respect: Both had lost their passion for the game until they arrived in Philadelphia and played for Riley, the two-time WPS coach of the year.
"[Rodriguez] came here in 2010 and had a breakout year," Kai said. "Paul gave her confidence."