Home | About | Contact | Publisher's Choice | Book Reviews and Translated Excerpts
worldfootballcommentaries.com: Unbiased journalism and unique content since November 2006.
"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WPS Weekly by Rob Penner

WPS Header

WPS Weekly – Tuesday, June 16
by Rob Penner, Director of Communications for Women's Professional Soccer

WPS: JUN 13 Red Stars at Freedom

League Standings

Team G W L T GF GA Points

Los Angeles Sol 12 7-1-4 15 4 25
Saint Louis Athletica 9 4-3-2 8 8 14
Washington Freedom 10 3-3-4 16 18 13
Boston Breakers 9 3-4-2 10 12 11
Chicago Red Stars 10 2-3-5 8 8 11
FC Gold Pride 10 3-5-2 10 14 11
Sky Blue FC 10 2-5-3 6 9 9

Saturday, June 13

Washington Freedom 0, Chicago Red Stars 0
Sky Blue FC 0, Los Angeles Sol 0

Sunday, June 14

Saint Louis Athletica 1, Boston Breakers 0

Weekend Report

The Saint Louis Athletica were the biggest movers in Week 12 of WPS as they catapulted into second in the WPS Standings for the first time this season with a 1-0 road victory Sunday over the Boston Breakers. The win cut into the first-place lead of the Los Angeles Sol, who are still dominant atop the table, 11 points clear of Saint Louis. The Sol tied a determined Sky Blue FC team in New Jersey on Saturday. On a weekend that saw four WPS teams pick up a point from ties, two scoreless draws happened – the first scoreless games in WPS in over a month. Boston, Chicago and FC Gold Pride now find themselves in a three-way logjam for fourth place – the final playoff spot – with the Breakers having played one game less.

Washington Freedom 0, Chicago Red Stars 0

WPS: JUN 13 Red Stars at Freedom

The Chicago Red Stars (2-3-5) played the 2nd-place Washington Freedom (3-3-4) to a scoreless tie at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Saturday evening, the second consecutive draw between these two teams this season.

The Red Stars were forced to play one player down for the final thirty minutes of the match, following the ejection of English forward Karen Carney in the 60th minute for a tackle against Abby Wambach. It was the first straight red card in WPS league history and it is the second time in as many games against the Freedom that the Red Stars had to contend the final half hour with only 10 players. In that previous meeting with Washington on April 11th, the Red Stars secured a 1-1 draw down a player.

Chicago’s Swedish goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson had another impressive performance, recording eight saves, seven of which came in the second half. Jönsson has four clean sheets on the season and leads the WPS in saves with 46. Washington outshot Chicago 8-1. The tie featured the debut of Washington defender Ali Krieger, who played her first game with the Freedom after arriving on loan from 1. FFC Frankfurt in Germany’s top league.

Sky Blue FC 0, Los Angeles Sol 0

Karina LeBlanc, Natasha Kai

In a matchup of two teams at the opposite ends of the standings, the Los Angeles Sol – the top team in Women's Professional Soccer – were outplayed and outhustled by a seventh-placed Sky Blue FC that put together a possession-minded and attacking game, but couldn’t finish in the final third and had to settle for a 0-0 tie with the league leaders on a rainy night at Yurcak Field.

Sky Blue FC held a 14-5 advantage in shots and controlled the pace for much of the game. Both goalkeepers – Jenni Branam of Sky Blue FC and Karina LeBlanc of the Sol – finished the game with three saves.

"We played New Jersey soccer today, getting down and dirty in the mud," said Sky Blue FC interim Head Coach Kelly Lindsey. "Our team was prepared for the conditions tonight - I thought they did very well with the weather. I give our team a lot of credit, there was a ton of passion and energy today and I think that they deserved the result. We would have liked a victory, but today was a moral victory for us."

With the draw, Los Angeles now stands at 7-1-4 and has a seven-match unbeaten streak, while Sky Blue FC is 2-5-3, two points from fourth-position in the WPS Standings. Following the scoreless draw earlier on Saturday, the result was the fifth scoreless draw in WPS this season.

Saint Louis Athletica 1, Boston Breakers 0

Eniola Aluko scored the game’s only goal in the 44th minute as the Saint Louis Athletica defeated the Boston Breakers, 1-0, in action Sunday evening at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass.
The game winner was scored against the run of play, when Saint Louis midfielder Kendall Fletcher sent a long through ball to Aluko, who burst in behind the Breakers defense, and hit the ball low in a one-on-one past goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill. Aluko’s goal marked her team-high third for the season.

“I was proud of the way we responded,” said Boston head coach Tony DiCicco about the team’s effort after giving up the goal. “We defended well, but today we had a breakdown and it cost us. Give Saint Louis credit; they got the goal and defended it well”

The Breakers owned a commanding 17-7 advantage in shots on goal, and an 8-1 edge in corners. Boston also enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the game, but were unable to score.

“We are creating the chances, we just need to score,” said DiCicco.

The Breakers (3-4-2) dropped into a three-way tie for fourth place with Wednesday night’s opponent, FC Gold Pride, and the Chicago Red Stars, and are still one point behind the Washington Freedom. Athletica (4-3-2), meanwhile, moves into second place for the first time this season and play the Washington Freedom at home on Saturday.

Line Up Notables

Chicago Red Stars: Key midfielder, Karen Carney, was ejected on a red card in the 60th minute after a hard foul against the Freedom’s Abby Wambach and will be unavailable Sunday against the Boston Breakers.

Boston Breakers: Canadian international Candace Chapman stepped into the backline as right-center back, earning her first start after entering the season with an injury. Forward Jenny Nobis posted her first start with the team as frontline regular,
Christine Latham, was serving her second of a two-game suspension.

Los Angeles Sol: Just signed Keri Sanchez, started for the Sol for the second straight time. Manya Makoski, a Sol backline regular, was not present for Saturday’s match. Karina LeBlanc continued her league-leading stat, tallying her 8th shutout.

Saint Louis Athletica: Eniola Aluko scored her third goal this season and tallied the only goal of the weekend. Ashlee Pistorius got into her second-match this season replacing Christie Welsh up top in the 89th minute.

Sky Blue FC: In a back and forth competition for the starting goalkeeping spot, Jenni Branam won this week’s battle and started for the New Jersey team. Natasha Kai continued her upwards streak in the attack, posing a threat to the Sol’s seven-game unbeaten streak.

Washington Freedom: Freedom goalkeeper, Erin McLeod, earned her first and the team’s first shutout of the season. Midfielder, Allie Long, had an outstanding game posting seven-shots on goal. The defensive line presented Ali Krieger for the first time after arriving on loan from her German club, FFC Frankfurt.

Quotables From Notables

A few words from players and coaches…

“Absolutely brilliant ball from Kendall Fletcher,” said Saint Louis forward Eniola Aluko. “She put me right in to the channel and I just knew I had to finish. Thankfully it went through the goalkeeper’s legs and we got the win away from home. Now its onwards and upwards.”

“We always believed we could move up in the standings,” said Athletica Head Coach Jorge Barcellos. “It is very good for us right now and our supporters in St. Louis to be on this stretch of winning play.”

“I think we are digging in ourselves a hole and then we start playing,” said Boston Breakers team captain Kristine Lilly. “It makes it more difficult for us. We think we need to get more shots on goal. Then it’s getting that last chance in. We ended well but we didn’t play that well in the first half.”

"We played New Jersey soccer today, getting down and dirty in the mud," said Sky Blue FC interim Head Coach Kelly Lindsey. "Our team was prepared for the conditions tonight - I thought they did very well with the weather. I give our team a lot of credit, there was a ton of passion and energy today and I think that they deserved the result. We would have liked a victory, but today was a moral victory for us."

WPS Player of the Week: Week 12

Saint Louis forward Eniola Aluko has been selected WPS's Player of the Week for Week 12 after scoring just before halftime to lead visiting Athletica to a 1-0 triumph over the Boston Breakers. The Englishwoman finished a through ball from Kendall Fletcher, the only goal in three WPS matches this week and her third of the season – as Saint Louis vaulted into second place in the standings.

Aluko is the third Athletica player to receive Player of the Week honors, joining Lori Chalupny (Week 7) and Jillian Loyden (Week 9). The WPS Player of the Week is selected by a panel of writers from the North American Soccer Reporters.

WPS Players of the Week

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)
Week 9: Jillian Loyden (Saint Louis Athletica)
Week 10: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 11: Camille Abily (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 12: Eniola Aluko (Saint Louis Athletica)

Note: Weeks 1-2 selected by The Soccer Magazine; weeks 3-9 selected by North American Soccer Reporters panel.

WPS and U.S. Soccer Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary of 1999 World Cup

Women’s Professional Soccer and U.S. Soccer have joined to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the most famous moment in women’s soccer history: the 1999 Women’s World Cup. During the anniversary dates from June 19-July 10, WPS will feature several legends from the '99 team at WPS venues across the country including appearances from Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, Danielle Fotopoulos, Tiffany Roberts, Tisha Venturini and Lorrie Fair, among others. In addition, WPS and U.S. Soccer have worked with the National Soccer Hall of Fame to put together a 1999 World Cup trophy tour that will see the trophy and official duplicate trophy travel to all seven WPS venues.

Atlanta to Make Major Announcement

WPS Commissioner and Atlanta 2010 investor T. Fitz Johnson are scheduled to make a major announcement Thursday in Atlanta at a ceremony at the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce. For media inquiries and further details, please contact Ada Barber: Barber@hopebeckham.com.

SeeExtraordinary.com Launches

Women’s Professional Soccer’s version of YouTube soccer highlights, SeeExtraordinary.com, launched this past week. Clips include videos featuring amazing goals, crazy tricks and memorable moments from the backyard to the pitch. Filled with extraordinary clips from around the world, SeeExtraordinary.com lets fans watch and rate videos, upload their own extraordinary moments and share posts with friends.

Attendance Watch

With 35 of the 70 regular season games already in the books, Women’s Professional Soccer is currently averaging 5,008 fans per game in attendance at the midway point of its regular season. The season average does not include the WPS-MLS doubleheaders played on May 23 at RFK Stadium and May 30 at The Home Depot Center.

WPS Features Father’s Day Promotion: Tell WPS Why You Are Dad’s Biggest Fan

The month of June marks a time for celebration of Dad’s everywhere. This year, WPS is giving fans a chance to win a gift for Dad he’ll never forget. In 250 words or less, fans simply need to tell WPS why their dad deserves to be treated to a world-class weekend with WPS. Entries should be emailed to mydad@womensprosoccer.com. The most-deserving entry, as determined by a panel of judges, will win a VIP Trip Package for Two to either the WPS Championship Match or WPS All-Star Game. The Game you take Dad to is the winner’s choice! Visit fancorner.womensprosoccer.com to learn more.

International Goal Scoring Update

With Eniola Aluko’s goal on Sunday, Internationals have now scored seven more goals in WPS play than U.S. players. The totals are as follows: Internationals 39, United States 32, Own Goals 2. The top seven scorers in the league are all international players with no Americans having scored more than 2 goals in WPS play. Here is the latest tally of WPS goals by home country:

United States: 32
England: 10
Brazil: 9
France: 9
Canada: 5
Australia: 4
Japan: 1
China: 1
Own Goals: 2

Goals by the Numbers

Top Scorers – Los Angeles Sol’s Camille Abily (6), Boston Breakers’ Kelly Smith (5)

Goals by Team – Washington Freedom (16), Los Angeles Sol (15), Boston Breakers (10), FC Gold Pride (10), Chicago Red Stars (8), Saint Louis Athletica (8), Sky Blue FC (6)

Total Goals – 73 goals scored since WPS Inaugural Match on March 29, 2009 with an average of 2.09 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), Camille Abily (Los Angeles Sol – 6/7/09)

The Weekly Forecast

Wednesday, June 17

Boston Breakers vs. FC Gold Pride (7 pm ET)
Harvard Stadium, Cambridge, MA

Two WPS games being played simultaneously for the first time this season – and it happens to include the bottom four teams in the WPS Standings. With Boston and FC Gold Pride tied for fourth on 11 points, the game will be pivotal for both teams looking to end winless streaks that date back over a month. Boston hasn’t won since May 2 when it defeated top-ranked Los Angeles, and finds itself on a two-game losing streak while FC Gold Pride hasn’t won since May 16 when it defeated Chicago. FC Gold Pride dictated play against Boston when the two played in their season opener in early April in California: Kelly Smith’s strike late in the second half for Boston tied it up before Tiffany Milbrett won it in extra time for the Pride. Both teams are struggling to find consistent goal scoring recently and will hope that their veterans – like Kristine Lilly for the Breakers and Formiga for the Pride – can start putting the ball in the back of the net more often.

Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars (7 pm ET)
Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ

Just four hours drive south from the Boston-FC Gold Pride game, Sky Blue FC will host one of the three fourth-placed teams in the league, the Chicago Red Stars, in their third match-up of the season with Chicago. Following a 0-0 tie in late April, Sky Blue FC won 2-0 at Toyota Park three weeks later in one of their most complete games of the season. A victory Wednesday would pull Sky Blue FC out of last place in the WPS Standings and would guarantee them a head-to-head tiebreak edge over Chicago on the season were the two teams to finish tied on points.

Chicago continues to be the only team undefeated on the road in WPS and will look to pick up more points on their four-game road trip as they have tied all three previous away games in the month of June. The game will mark the return of former Rutgers star, Carli Lloyd, to the field where she played collegiately. Lloyd played 34 minutes Saturday against Washington, returning from an injury sustained with the U.S. National Team. She has struggled offensively this year with only one goal, much like her national team counterpart from New Jersey, Sky Blue FC’s Heather O’Reilly. Expect some one-on-one match-ups between the two on Wednesday.

Saturday, June 20

Saint Louis Athletica vs. Washington Freedom (2 pm ET)
Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park, Fenton, MO

The Saint Louis Athletica host the Washington Freedom Saturday in a re-match of a thrilling 3-3 draw between the two teams at Maryland SoccerPlex in early May. It was a game in which Saint Louis saw its three-game scoring drought come to an end – as did the season of talented Athletica midfielder Daniela, whose right leg was injured when it twisted awkwardly on a foul from Abby Wambach. An MRI the next day revealed that Daniela had two injured knee ligaments and a crack in her tibia. Both Wambach and Saint Louis Athletica defender Kia McNeill were later suspended for one game by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci for reckless play during that game – and this weekend’s game should be another tense affair. Both teams started the season at 0-2-1 and since then have gone a combined 7-2-4. Washington has lost only once in its last seven games and Saint Louis has won four of its last five – both impressive runs. The Freedom have scored the most goals in the league, while Saint Louis, led by goalkeeper Hope Solo, have the second-stingiest goals against average in WPS.

Sunday, June 21

Chicago Red Stars vs. Boston Breakers (4 pm ET – WEB)
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

Chicago plays at home for the first time since May 23 in a game against the Boston Breakers. These two teams faced off on April 25 in a 4-0 shellacking for Chicago that is still in the WPS record-books as the largest margin of victory in WPS play since the league kicked off in March. But despite spreading around the scoring on that day, not a single Red Stars player who scored in that victory has netted a goal since. Cristiane scored twice in Chicago’s first two games of their four-game road trip this month, but Chicago is just 1-3-1 at home and will need to get some points at home down the stretch if they want to be a legitimate threat for the WPS Playoffs. Boston is in the midst of four games in 11 days and this is their only road game during that stretch. Kelly Smith, who sat out the previous Chicago game in April after playing with the English national team, should make a difference in midfield possession if she can stay fresh during this grueling stretch of games for the Breakers. Caroline Jonsson, Chicago’s keeper, continues to be one of the top goalies in the league and has four shutouts through Week 12 prior to Chicago’s midweek game.

Los Angeles Sol vs. FC Gold Pride (6 pm ET - FSC)
Home Depot Center, Carson, CA

While the Los Angeles Sol have outscored FC Gold Pride 3-0 thus far this season in registering two victories against their Northern Californian rivals, the California Derby has not been as one-sided as the records might show. FC Gold played the Sol tough in their previous meeting at The Home Depot Center in April, while a PK by Camile Abily and a late goal by Han Duan were the difference for Los Angeles in the return match at Buck Shaw Stadium. The third of their fourth match-ups comes at a key point in the season for FC Gold, who will play Boston on Wednesday night and travel cross-country to play at Los Angeles in the national television game on Sunday afternoon. The game will feature three of the top four scorers in the league in Abily, Marta and Christine Sinclair for the Bay Area Side. But Karina LeBlanc and the Sol defense continue to stifle their opponents offenses and have kept their goals against average at a measly .33 goals per game.

Karina LeBlanc


The WPS Sunday on FSC match between the Los Angeles Sol and the FC Gold Pride will air on the Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday, June 21 at 6 pm ET.

No comments:

World Football Commentaries by Steve Amoia. Copyright © 2006-2019. All rights reserved.