February 13, 2010

The Los Angeles Sol-An All Too Short History Part 2

Part 2 - Rise to the Pinnacle

After winning the inaugural WPS game, Los Angeles dominated the league early on. Only in a home and home with the Boston Breakers in early May were they held in check. They had everything...scoring (Marta, Camille Abily, and Aya Miyama), defense (Karina LeBlanc and a fine back line), young talent (Brittany Bock and Allison Falk), and veteran leadership (Shannon Boxx and Aly Wagner).

April 5, 2009-Marta becomes the first player in WPS history to score twice in one game, leading the Sol to a 2-0 victory over Sky Blue FC at TD Bank Park in New Jersey.

April 16, 2009-Defender Martina Franko signs with the Sol. Franko, a veteran of the Canadian National Team, would strengthen an already solid back line.

April 19, 2009-Karina LeBlanc earns her 3rd consecutive shutout as Marta scores the only goal in LA's 1-0 win over FC Gold Pride. Aly Wagner assists on the goal.

April 25, 2009-With Marta and Camille Abily away on international duty, Los Angeles and Saint Louis battle to a scoreless tie. Wagner and Lori Chalupny are stopped on penalty kicks by Hope Solo and Karina LeBlanc, respectively. It's the first match that Los Angeles comes away with less than 3 points.

May 2, 2009-The Sol suffer their first setback, a 2-1 loss to the Breakers in Boston. After falling behind 2-0, Brittany Bock scores the only Sol goal, assisted by Aya Miyama.

May 8, 2009-Los Angeles and Saint Louis complete the first in-season trade in WPS history. The Sol send Kendall Fletcher and Christie Welsh to Athletica for a conditional draft pick in 2010 and a 1st round choice in 2011. The Sol later use the 2010 pick to select Casey Nogueira.

May 10, 2009-For the second straight week, Boston frustrates Los Angeles. The Sol have to settle for their second scoreless tie of the season. It runs LA's winless streak to 3 games, but LeBlanc earns her 5th shutout of the season.

May 15, 2009-In the league's first ever Friday night contest, Marta beats Sky Blue's offside trap and dribbles around goalkeeper Jen Branam to score the only goal in the 80th minute. Meanwhile, the Sol announce the signing of veteran Keri Sanchez and move Liz Bogus to full-roster status.

May 24, 2009-Behind a Camille Abily penalty kick and a late goal by Han Duan, LA defeats FC Gold Pride 2-0. Val Henderson gets the shutout in her only match of the season.

May 30, 2009-Los Angeles dominates Saint Louis in a 2-0 victory, with LeBlanc posting her 7th shutout. Shannon Boxx scores her first goal of the season.

June 3, 2009-In the first WPS midweek contest, the Sol tie Chicago 1-1. After falling behind on a Cristiane goal in the 88th minute, Camille Abily ties the game in the closing seconds of the match.

June 7, 2009-Camille Abily scores for the 4th consecutive game, this time hitting the back of the net twice. Brittany Bock adds a third goal to give the Sol a 3-1 victory over Washington. Abily converts her second penalty kick of the season.

June 10, 2009-Los Angeles signs Julia Schnugg as a developmental player.

June 13, 2009-The Sol play their 3rd scoreless tie of the season, this time against Sky Blue. LeBlanc gets her 8th shutout as SBFC badly outshoots LA by a 14-5 margin.

June 19, 2009-Los Angeles waives Greer Barnes and moves McCall Zerboni to full-roster status. In spite spending two and a half months on the roster, Barnes never plays for the Sol in a regular season match. She later signs with FC Gold Pride.

June 21, 2009-Los Angeles defeats Gold Pride for the third time, with LeBlanc again getting the shutout. Abily scores her league leading 7th goal, with Marta getting her 5th in the 2-0 victory.

June 22, 2009-Los Angeles signs forward Lyndsey Patterson.

June 24, 2009-The Sol win a hard fought contest in Saint Louis by a 2-1 score. Karina LeBlanc and the Sol defense survive 25 shots and 12 corner kicks to preserve the win. Goals are scored by Han Duan and Marta.

June 27, 2009-Los Angeles mauls Chicago by a 4-0 margin. In doing so, Los Angeles becomes the first team to clinch a playoff berth. Shannon Boxx scores the opening goal assisted by McCall Zerboni, her first assist of the season. Both Abily and Marta reach the 8 goal mark, with Aya Miyama assisting on two of the goals.

By the last week in June, Los Angeles has sprinted to a 10-1-4 record and have outscored their opponents by 23-5. They have a 16 point margin over 2nd place Boston and it is only a matter of time before they clinch the regular season title, which would give them an automatic berth in the WPS Championship Game at home. However, difficulties on road trips to Boston, New Jersey, and Saint Louis seem to prove they aren't invincible. Part 3 will examine clouds on the horizon as Los Angeles headed into the final two months of the season.

(Sources for some of the information in this story came from http://www.womensprosoccer.com/ and the 2009 Los Angeles Sol Media Guide)