May 13, 2009

WPS Midweek Notes-May 13th

The Australian Connection

The dynamic Aussie duo of Collette McCallum and Sarah Walsh connected for Sky Blue's first goal of the match on Sunday night in Chicago. McCallum sent a brilliant pass through to Walsh, who split the defense and sent the ball into the lower corner of the net, beating Caroline Jonsson in the 8th minute of the match. The goal gave Sky Blue their first lead of the season and turned out to be the team's first game-winning goal in its history.

The Matildas have made their presence felt in the WPS. Just a week earlier, Lisa DeVanna of the Washington Freedom scored on a header against Saint Louis. Two other Australian nationals, Heather Garriock and Lydia Williams play for the Chicago Red Stars. Unfortunately, Garriock has been plagued by injuries and has seen just 9 minutes of action. Williams, who celebrates her 21st birthday today, is stuck on the depth chart behind Jonsson, who is arguably one of the hottest keepers in the league to this point. Williams is the youngest keeper in the league. Happy 21st to Lydia!

Bye for Washington Means Bye Bye Goals

In last week's WPS action, only 3 goals were scored in 3 games. This is the lowest offensive output for any week so far, except for the first week when only one match was played. It's not surprising given the Washington Freedom had a bye week. 21 of the 43 goals scored thus far have been scored in games involving Washington. The Freedom lead the league in both goals scored and most goals allowed. They have scored 9, while allowing 12 in five games. This week, Washington travels to Boston where it will face WPS leading scorer, Kelly Smith. In the previous meeting between the two teams, Boston won 3-1.

Call Ups May Give Backups a Shot

The US Women's National Team will face Canada on May 25th, a game that replaces the friendlies that were scheduled by both teams against Japan. This means that several WPS backup goalies may see their first action of the year. The most likely candidates would be Jillian Loyden of Saint Louis, Allison Whitworth of FC Gold Pride, and Val Henderson of Los Angeles.

Loyden, a Villanova graduate, backs up Hope Solo for Athletica. Saint Louis is scheduled to play a Saturday night match in Chicago on May 23rd. Whitworth (Auburn) backs up Nicole Barnhart for Gold Pride and Henderson (UCLA) backs up Karina LeBlanc for the Sol. Those teams are set to face off against each other on the afternoon of May 24th in Santa Clara, California.

Rare Yellow Cards for Weber

If my research is accurate, Athletica defender Elise Weber did not receive a yellow card in her two seasons with Notre Dame. The last one she had received was when she wore the Cardinal and White of the University of Wisconsin in 2006. Weber has now received a yellow card in consecutive WPS games, both times for stalling and failure to complete a throw-in quickly enough, kind of an unusual way to accumulate yellows.

Card Accumulation

Speaking of yellow cards, Julianne Sitch of Sky Blue FC became the first WPS player to accumulate 3 yellow cards for the season. A 4th yellow card will mean a suspension, per league rules. However, if a player plays four consecutive games without a yellow, the accumulation for that player is reset to zero. The aforementioned Weber is also in danger of a suspension. League rules stipulate that yellow cards in 3 consecutive games also warrant a suspension. So far, the only players that have been suspended have been Frida Ostberg (for two yellows in one game) and Abby Wambach and Kia McNeill (by Commissioner Antonucci for plays in the Washington-Saint Louis match).