August 9, 2009

Boston Falls to Los Angeles; Sky Blue Takes 4th Place

The Los Angeles Sol came from behind to defeat Boston 2-1 and eliminate the Breakers from playoff contention. Boston, who came into the game needing a win to grab 4th place away from Sky Blue, took an early 1-0 lead on a goal from Kelly Smith and assisted on a well placed long pass from Kristine Lilly. The 1st half ended with Boston in front 1-0.

Marta scored her 10th goal of the season in the 61st minute to equalize. Boston desperately tried to score in the closing minutes and came close a few times, most notably on a free kick from Kelly Smith that appeared to graze the top of the crossbar. But a couple minutes into stoppage, Alex Scott was called for a foul in the penalty area against Marta. The call was hotly disputed by several Boston players, but to no avail. Shannon Boxx converted on a perfect shot in the upper right hand corner. The game ended with Los Angeles on top, 2-1.

For the Breakers, it was a disappointing finish to a promising season. With just three weeks to go in the season, they were in 2nd place, but they lost their last three matches to fall to a 7-9-4 record. Meanwhile, Los Angeles earned their first victory in their last four matches and they finish in 1st place, ending the season with a 12-3-5 record. The Sol will host the WPS Final in two weeks.

The Sol's victory means that Sky Blue FC finishes in 4th place and will travel to Washington to face the Freedom in a rematch of both teams' final regular season match which was won 3-1 by the Freedom.

FC Gold Pride 1, Saint Louis Athletica 1

In other action, FC Gold Pride and Saint Louis tied 1-1 in a match that had no bearing on the playoffs. Christie Welsh scored her 3rd goal in 2 matches for Athletica in the 1st half, but Rachel Buehler scored her first goal of the year to tie the score a few minutes later. Gold Pride outshot Athletica by a substantial margin of 17-6.

Probably the most notable thing that happened was that Hope Solo became the first goalkeeper in league history to pick up an assist. Solo's long punt set up Welsh for her goal.

Gold Pride finishes the season at 4-10-6 with 18 points and in 7th place. Athletica completes the regular season at 10-6-4 and 34 points. They will meet the winner of the Freedom-Sky Blue matchup in the Super Semifinal in St. Louis on August 19th.