May 8, 2009

WPS-Suspensions and Trades

Abby Wambach and Kia McNeill Suspended

WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci has decided to suspend both the Freedom's Abby Wambach and Athletica's Kia McNeill for one game for incidents in last week's game between the two teams. The press release is contained in
this link. Antonucci evidently felt that she had to do something to curb the overly rough play in the league, thus the suspensions. The decision isn't likely to make fans of either side happy. Freedom fans thought that Athletica had roughed up Wambach throughout the game, while Athletica fans felt that Wambach's challenge of Daniela was reckless and uncalled for.

Per a decision by the commissioner and in light of the timing of the decision, she is allowing Kia McNeill
to participate in this week's game and serve her suspension the following week.

By making her decision to levy suspensions, Antonucci also sets a precedent. The league's disciplinary committee had met and decided not to overrule any of the field official's decisions from the game, based on a review of the plays involved and per the strict guidelines they must work under. The commissioner decided to use her powers to independently make a decision involving play that was detrimental to the game.

Athletica Acquires Kendall Fletcher and Christie Welsh from Los Angeles

With McNeill's suspension looming and injuries to Daniela, Sara Larsson, and Amanda Cinalli, Athletica completed
a trade today that brings defender Kendall Fletcher and forward Christie Welsh to Saint Louis in exchange for future draft picks, a conditional pick in 2010 and a 1st round pick in 2011.

Fletcher has surprisingly received little playing time in Los Angeles. She has played just one half of soccer for the Sol this season. She is a member of the USWNT and appeared most recently for the team in the Algarve Cup in March. She is also a former teammate of Lori Chalupny at UNC. The Sol's defensive roster got even more crowded two weeks ago when they signed Martina Franko. This move apparently made Fletcher expendable.

Christie Welsh has made nearly 40 appearances for the USWNT and has scored 20 goals for them, last appearing in 2006. For the Sol, she has appeared in 3 games, starting 2 and has not scored. She was the 2001 Hermann Award winner and an All-American at Penn State. At 5-10, she makes an excellent target forward.

To make room on the roster for their acquisitions, Athletica released defender Sheree Gray, who had appeared in all four of their games. It is unknown whether either player will be available for tomorrow's game against FC Gold Pride.


S.G. on May 8, 2009 at 8:40 PM said...

Fletcher is a great addition for SLA. Nice write up, KC.