May 7, 2009

WPS Midweek Notes-May 7

United States National Team Call Ups

USWNT coach Pia Sundhage has announced her
call ups for the two games against Japan on May 20th and May 23rd. Those call ups affect WPS rosters as follows:

Boston Breakers (4 players)-Hucles, LePeilbet, Mitts & Rodriguez, but they have a bye week so it won't affect them.

Chicago Red Stars (4 players)-Marian Dalmy, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley

FC Gold Pride (2 players)-Rachel Buehler, Nicole Barnhart

Los Angeles Sol (2 players)-Brittany Bock, Shannon Boxx

Saint Louis Athletica (2 players)-Lori Chalupny, Hope Solo

Sky Blue FC (2 players)-Heather O'Reilly, Christie Rampone

Washington Freedom (1 player)-Abby Wambach

Note that while Chicago, Saint Louis, Sky Blue, and Washington play on the 23rd, Los Angeles and Gold Pride play on the 24th, so it is possible that their US team players may be available for their game. WPS players account for 17 of the 21 players. The other four players are Casey Nogueira (UNC), Lauren Cheney (UCLA), Christine Nairn (Penn State), and Kelsey Davis (Portland).

Coach Sundhage appears to be looking at some of the younger talent for these two contests. 12 of the 21 players are 25 years and younger.

Foreign Domination?

WPS international players have done more than their fair share of scoring. Internationals have scored 18 of the league's 40 goals (45%) so far this year. The league's two leading scorers are Kelly Smith (Boston and England) with 4 goals and Marta (LA and Brazil) with 3 goals. All six goals in the Washington Freedom/Saint Louis Athletica contest were scored by international players.

By country, the leading scorers have been England 6, Brazil 5, France 3, Canada 2, and Australia and Japan, one apiece.

This is all in spite of the fact that several of the international players have missed games due to a variety of reasons including international call ups, injuries, and visa problems. It must be noted, however, that most of the international stars are offensive players, either forwards or attacking midfielders. Still, it can't be denied how well these players have performed and how important they are for the league.

Using Their Heads

The Washington Freedom have scored 9 goals so far this season and 7 of them have come via headers. One might expect this might be the case with Abby Wambach on their roster, but others have joined the show. Wambach scored twice in that manner against FC Gold Pride, but Sonia Bompastor also added two headers in the Athletica contest. Becky Sauerbrunn scored Washington's first goal of the year on a header. Lisa DeVanna and Lori Lindsey have also scored via that method.

Athletica-Freedom Aftermath

The WPS League Disciplinary Committee reviewed the on-field incidents in last Sunday's Saint Louis/Washington match and concluded that there was no evidence that any of the game referee's decisions should be overruled. Per the
press release, Commissioner Tonya Antonucci has the power to "independently exercise her discretion to further review the match and assess penalties...". The Commissioner is expected to release a statement later today.

The game between the Freedom and Athletica was a particularly physical affair. There were a number of incidents of hard contact where fouls were not called, in addition to the play where Daniela was injured on a challenge by Abby Wambach. Wambach received a yellow card on that play. Earlier, Kia McNeill of Athletica was issued a yellow card for her foul on Wambach.

Wambach has released
a statement regarding the play in which Daniela was injured, stating in part that "There was no intent on my side to cause any harm. I wish Daniela nothing but the speediest of recoveries. My thoughts and prayers are with her."


Go Get 'Er Ray said...

Losing Daniela really hurts Saint Louis Athletica's slim playoff chances. Shame.

PSU said...

Christine Nairn is a solid player. PSU's program is/has been competitive for years.