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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WPS Weekly by Rob Penner

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WPS Weekly – Tuesday, May 19

by Rob Penner, Communications Director of Women's Professional Soccer

Weekend Report

For the eighth weekend in a row, the Los Angeles Sol maintained their stranglehold on first place in the WPS standings, taking a 1-0 decision over Sky Blue FC on Friday night on a fantastic breakaway goal by forward Marta late in the game. The Chicago Red Stars dropped their second straight game at home with a poor offensive performance in a 1-0 defeat to surging FC Gold Pride, while the Boston Breakers drew 1-1 with the Washington Freedom, who played without Abby Wambach as she served a one-game suspension handed down for a reckless tackle in week six.

Shannon Boxx

Los Angeles Sol 1, Sky Blue FC 0

Carson, CA, (May 15, 2009) – The Los Angeles Sol defeated Sky Blue FC by a 1-0 margin Friday night at The Home Depot Center. A strike from Brazilian forward Marta was the difference as Los Angeles won its second straight match against their cross-country rivals and maintained their position atop the WPS standings for the eighth week in a row.

The Sol (4-1-2, 14 points) nearly opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Aya Miyama’s low shot slipped through Sky Blue (1-3-2) goalkeeper Jenni Branam’s hands and squirted to Aly Wagner on the end line, but her rebound went untouched across the goal mouth and Sky Blue cleared it out of danger.

The next close call for the Sol came in the 21st minute, as forward Han Duan played a low ball perfectly to Wagner’s right foot just inside the penalty area, but Wagner’s shot flew wide and high of the goal. Neither team threatened again in the first half and the game was scoreless after 45 minutes.

The Sol finally got on the board ten minutes from time on a spectacular individual effort from Marta. After collecting a long ball from Camille Abily at the top of the penalty area, she split two defenders and put her shot past a sprawling Branham to seal the victory. Los Angeles travels to Northern California for a Memorial Day Weekend match-up with rival FC Gold Pride. Sky Blue FC plays at Washington.

Marta

FC Gold Pride 1, Chicago Red Stars 0

Bridgeview, Ill. (May 16, 2009)– Christine Sinclair scored the lone goal as FC Gold Pride defeated the Chicago Red Stars, 1-0, Saturday night in front of 4,884 at Toyota Park. It was the second consecutive loss for the Red Stars after starting the season undefeated through four games.

Sinclair’s goal came unassisted in the 30th minute. Adriane drove into the box along the right side of the end line and crossed to Tiffeny Milbrett, whose shot bounced off Chicago goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson. The deflection went right to Sinclair, who was able to walk the ball across the goal mouth for her second tally of the season.

For the second consecutive game Chicago managed just three shots on goal, but the Red Stars still had several outstanding opportunities. In the 27th minute Megan Rapinoe’s cross from the left side of the box just missed a diving Cristiane, who would have had a clear header to the net. Seven minutes later Karen Carney put a shot off FC Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart; the rebound came to Lindsay Tarpley who just missed the net to the left.

FC Gold Pride outshot Chicago, 12-7, including five shots on goal for the visitors. A game-high six shots were credited to Sinclair. Carney and Cristiane, who played a full match for the first time this season, each led the Red Stars with two shots.

With the win, FC Gold Pride improves to 3-3-1 and passes the Red Stars (2-2-2) in the WPS standings for third place.

Boston Breakers 1, Washington Freedom 1

Cambridge, Mass. (May 17, 2009) – Boston defender Alex Scott scored the equalizer in the second half to ensure the Breakers’ kept their undefeated home record in a 1-1 draw versus the Washington Freedom in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) action on Sunday evening at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass.

Scott’s goal came in the 49th minute when Christine Latham played a ball forward toward Scott, who then sprinted past a Freedom defender on the right side into the box and blasted a shot over Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod into the top center of the goal. It was the first goal of the season for the England international, and Latham’s first assist.

Washington got on the board first with a goal in the 33rd minute. Australian forward Lisa De Vanna set up Rebecca Moros with a through ball to the right side of the penalty area, and Moros put the ball in the bottom right corner for the 1-0 lead.

With the draw, the Breakers (3-2-2) remain in second place, three points behind first-place Los Angeles Sol. Washington (1-2-3) moves into sole possession of fifth place.

“This was probably the highest level game we have played this year,” said Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco. “It was very fast and quick.

“I was proud of the way we played in the second half. We went for three points tonight, but give Washington credit for their exceptional first half. After their goal, we finally started to play our game and put together some good chances.”

The Freedom competed well without star forward Abby Wambach, who sat out due to a one game suspension. Washington enjoyed the better of the chances up until the first goal, and had nearly scored just moments earlier. A deflection in midfield in the 30th minute sent De Vanna on a one-on-one with Boston goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill, but Luckenbill dove for the save.

Boston responded for the remainder of the half with numerous opportunities, but was unable to get on the end of them. The Breakers continued their momentum into the second half, leading to Scott’s equalizer.

The Breakers out-shot the Freedom, 14-9, and dominated much of the second half but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities to come away with the three points.

Philadelphia Women’s Professional Soccer announce team name: Philadelphia Independence

Also unveiled are the Philadelphia Independence colors of Yellow, Steel Grey and Light Blue and the official team motto, “We the People”

PHILADELPHIA, PA, (May 18, 2009) Philadelphia Women’s Professional Soccer, (Philadelphia Women’s Pro Soccer LLC), is proud to announce the official team name, Philadelphia Independence, to the city and its passionate sports fans. Along with this announcement, the team also unveiled its colors and official team motto. “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of what will be a permanent and proud presence in Philadelphia professional sports,” said David Halstead, Independence CEO/President. “Through its play on the field, support of its communities, and commitment to its fans, the Philadelphia Independence will earn the right to be called a model sports organization. Such an organization is deserving of the name Independence, and all the history, character, and spirit that goes along with that name.”

Consistent with Philadelphia’s storied history, and with the determination and persistence of the country’s forefathers, the name Independence represents many of the admirable characteristics of Philadelphia, including foresight, leadership, bravery, loyalty to cause, and defeating common enemies. As General Manager and Head Coach Matt Driver explains, “the players will proudly wear the name Independence on their jerseys, as together we pledge our commitment to the fans of Philadelphia and to each other as we battle foes and make Philadelphians proud of the talent and toughness of the team. This confidence and attitude is illustrative of the tradition of Independence.”

Additionally, the selected colors of yellow, steel grey and light blue each depict a representation of Philadelphia’s history, hard-nosed attitude, and accomplishments. Yellow commemorates the Swedish settlers who first came to Philadelphia in 1638. Steel Grey represents the city’s rich history in manufacturing and heavy industry. Light Blue is borrowed from Philadelphia’s own city flag and symbolizes the proud work ethic of this city’s blue collar heritage.

Philadelphia Independence will build its foundation on strong leadership and vision for excellence, as well as team work and empowerment toward creativity, just as our founding fathers did as expressed in the first three words of our country’s Constitution. Thus, the parallel to our history brings the Philadelphia Independence official team motto, “We the People.”

Philadelphia Independence will begin play in 2010 and has already announced the accomplished Olympic gold medalist, Staci Wilson to the position of Assistant Coach. Fans are encouraged to sign up now for season ticket requests on the official Philadelphia Independence web site, www.wpsphillyindependence.com.

The web site will also provide updates and information about Philadelphia Independence team developments and activities. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and early sign on will offer sponsors the opportunity to grow and fully embed their brand in the full slate of opportunities available at the team’s professional, minor league, and youth level programs.

With team name, colors, and motto selected, the Philadelphia Independence continues to strengthen its identity. The team is currently in the process of designing and developing the official team logo and crest. Details will be released in the near future about the unveiling of the official logo as well as player signings during an Independence Weekend announcement event this July.

A complete electronic copy of the team’s media kit including detailed team information, bios, ticketing and sponsorship information is available on the press section of the Philadelphia Independence’s web site, www.wpsphillyindependence.com.

Boston vs. Los Angeles Match-up on August 9 Moved to National Television Game: WPS Sunday on FSC

WPS and Fox Soccer Channel have made a scheduling change to WPS Sunday on FSC with the final regular season game on Fox Soccer Channel switching to the August 9 match-up between the Boston Breakers and the Los Angeles Sol at Harvard Stadium, Cambridge, MA. The game will now kick off at 6pm ET/3pm PT and will be shown live on FSC.

The original national television game of FC Gold Pride vs. Saint Louis Athletica at Buck Shaw Stadium will now kick off at 8pm ET/5pm PT and will conclude regular season play in WPS.

Line Up Transactions

Boston Breakers: English outside back, Alex Scott secured her first goal of the season Sunday, lifting her team to a 1-1 tie in the second half against the Washington Freedom. WPS #1 Draft Pick, Amy Rodriguez, came in off the bench in the second half for the third consecutive match. Canadian, Candace Chapman, entered a match for the first time.

Chicago Red Stars: Jill Oakes made her second appearance with the Red Stars Saturday tallying her minutes played to 35. The FC Gold Pride #1 October draft-pick, was released from the Bay Area team during preseason roster selections, but the Red Stars later picked her up.

FC Gold Pride: After making her first appearance in a match in Week Six against Sky Blue FC and earning an assist, Brazilian forward, Adriane started her first match this weekend. Her starting position bumped fancy footed, Tiffany Weimer, to the bench until she later subbed in for Formiga in the 82nd minute.

Los Angeles Sol: After staying off the scoreboard since Week Four, Brazilian superstar Marta scored the only goal of the match last Friday, against Sky Blue FC. Canadian goalkeeper, Karina LeBlanc earned a league leading, sixth shutout.

Sky Blue FC: U.S. Women’s National Team star, Natasha Kai went down with what appeared to be a serious injury and exited Friday’s match on a stretcher. Jen Buczkowski replaced her in the 84th minute. Team officials have called the injury a quad contusion.

Washington Freedom: Long awaited Canadian goalkeeper, Erin McLeod, played the full ninety Sunday, after having just one week of training with the Freedom. Washington defender, Joanna Lohman, entered her first match in the 62nd minute of play. Lohman subbed in for Australian forward, Lisa De Vanna, but sat atop the Freedom backline in a defensive midfield position.

Quotables From Notables

A few words from players and coaches…

“Even though it was an individual play that I scored the goal on, it was the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of my teammates,” said Los Angeles Sol forward Marta.

“Overall, we were unlucky not to come away with a win,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Ian Sawyers. “The difference was Marta’s breakaway that led to the only goal of the game.”

“Well that’s why she was my number one pick in the international draft,” said FC Gold Pride head coach Albertin Montoya on Brazilian midfielder, Formiga. “Honestly, she’s the engine of the Brazilian national team and I knew that as a coach. If you were to speak with Jorge, the national team coach, if you were to start a team he would pick Formiga as his first pick. What she does goes unnoticed because it’s the work she puts in. The right plays at the right time, she tackles, she’s tough, she defends, she gets into the attack.”

“I think the first half our attacking play was exciting,” said Chicago Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes. “It’s the best we’ve been all season. Nonetheless we didn’t score. At the end of the day we just didn’t score a goal.”

“I really should have scored that one at the end,” said Boston Breakers’ Kristine Lilly. “It was a great ball and I just didn’t put it in. I would love to have that chance again.”

“This was probably the highest level game we’ve played this year,” said Boston Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco. “It was very fast and quick.”

WPS Player of the Week: Week 8

FC Gold Pride forward Christine Sinclair has been selected WPS's Player of the Week for Week 8 after leading the Bay Area club to a 1-0 triumph at Chicago. The Canadian star scored in the 30th minute, knocking home a rebound for her second goal of the season, and was constantly dangerous as Gold Pride had the better of the game. The WPS Player of the Week award is voted upon by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters.

The WPS Player of the Week award is voted upon by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters.

Week 1: Aya Miyama (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 2: Marta (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 3: Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers)
Week 4: Aly Wagner (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 5: Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
Week 6: Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom)
Week 7: Lori Chalupny (Saint Louis Athletica)
Week 8: Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride)

Note: Weeks 1-2 selected by The Soccer Magazine; weeks 3-7 selected by North American Soccer Reporters panel.

Goals by the Numbers

Top Scorers – Boston Breakers’ Kelly Smith (4), Los Angeles Sol’s Marta, (4)

Goals by Team – Washington Freedom (10), Boston Breakers (9), FC Gold Pride (8), Chicago Red Stars (7), Los Angeles Sol (7), Saint Louis Athletica (4), Sky Blue FC (3)

Total Goals – 48 goals scored since WPS Inaugural Match on March 29, 2009 with an average of 2.18 goals per game.

Quickest Goal in League Play: Kelly Smith in 2nd minute of play, Boston Breakers vs. Los Angeles Sol (5/2/09)

Quickest back-to-back goals by one team: 2 goals in 3 minutes – 42 minute, 45 minute – from Marta in Los Angeles Sol vs. Sky Blue FC match (4/5/09)

Most Goals in One Game by one team: 4, Washington Freedom 4-3 FC Gold Pride (4/26/09) and Chicago Red Stars 4-0 Boston Breakers (4/25/09)

Most Goals in One Game by both teams: 7, Washington Freedom 4-3 FC Gold Pride (4/26/09)

Most Goals in a Game by a player: 2, Marta (Los Angeles Sol – 4/5/09), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom – 4/26/09), Daniela (Saint Louis Athletica – 5/3/09), Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom – 5/3/09)

Current Longest Scoring Drought: 218 minutes over 3 games, Chicago Red Stars

The Weekly Forecast

Saturday, May 23

Chicago Red Stars vs. Saint Louis Athletica (8:30 pm ET)
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

The Midwest rivalry renews as Chicago and Saint Louis play for the second time this year. Chicago pulled out a late 1-0 victory at Saint Louis in Week 2 in the home opener for Saint Louis. The two teams have gone in different directions of late. Saint Louis is 1-0-2 earning five points in its last three games while Chicago is 0-2-0 recently and struggling to find the net since their 4-0 thrashing of Boston in mid April. With four players called up for national team, Chicago looks to be missing a formidable group of players to U.S. team duty this weekend, but Saint Louis will also be without key players Hope Solo and Lori Chalupny. A win by Saint Louis would pull the side even with Chicago in the standings at 2-2-2. Chicago is playing the fifth of five straight home games before going on the road for 4 games.

Sunday, May 24

Washington Freedom vs. Sky Blue FC
RFK Stadium, Washington DC (4:30 pm ET)

The first WPS-MLS doubleheader of the season will see Washington Freedom host Sky Blue FC in a match-up of east coast rivals at RFK Stadium. The Freedom will be without star forward Abby Wambach for the second consecutive week as she is out for national team duty but look for speedy forward Lisa DeVanna, midfielder Lori Lindsey and exciting Frenchwoman Sonia Bompastor to feel in adequately. Lifted by the arrival of Canadian international Erin McLeod in goal, the Freedom gave up only one goal or less on defense last week for just the second time this season in their 1-1 draw with Boston. Sky Blue FC has struggled to find the net with their 2-0 victory over Chicago their only real offensive outburst. A pivotal game between the #5 and #7-placed teams in the league as they slowly close in on the second half of the season with an eye towards that fourth playoff position in the WPS standings.

FC Gold Pride vs. Los Angeles Sol (7 pm ET – FSC) *Note: 1 hour later than usual
Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

The final game of WPS Rivalry Week sees FC Gold Pride hosting Marta and the Los Angeles Sol. The Sol’s possession-minded midfielder Shannon Boxx will be absent for U.S. team duty as will Karina Leblanc with Canada but perhaps the biggest hole could be Brittany Bock who has been a standout rookie this season on the Sol’s backline. Likewise FC Gold Pride will be without their starting keeper Nicole Barnhart who has come up big this season and a key defender in Rachel Buehler. Look for Los Angeles and FC Gold to both have offensive breakouts in a potentially high-scoring affair at Buck Shaw Stadium despite the 1-0 victory for LA the first time these two teams met at The Home Depot Center.

Off Week

The Boston Breakers are off this weekend.

On TV

Please note this weekend’s TV game starts one hour later than usual. The WPS Sunday on FSC match between FC Gold Pride and the Los Angeles Sol will air on the Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday, May 24 at 7 pm ET.

League Standings

TEAM W L T GF GA POINTS
Los Angeles Sol 4-1-2 7 2 14 points
Boston Breakers 3-2-2 9 9 11 points
FC Gold Pride 3-3-1 8 8 10 points
Chicago Red Stars 2-2-2 6 4 8 points
Washington Freedom 1-2-3 10 13 6 points
Saint Louis Athletica 1-2-2 4 6 5 points
Sky Blue FC 1-2-3 3 5 5 points

WPS: MAY 09 San Francisco FC Gold Pride at St. Louis Athletica

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