April 14, 2010

WPS Midweek Notes - April 14

Head over Heals

It takes a lot of different skills to play soccer. Speed, agility, endurance, concentration, and sometimes, a little gymnastical skill. Kiki Bosio of FC Gold Pride demonstrated her cartwheeling ability using the flip throw several times in Sunday’s match against Saint Louis Athletica. While it is somewhat of a novelty to fans who don’t see it very often, it can also be an effective offensive weapon. Bosio was able to throw the ball deep into Athletica’s penalty area every time and although Gold Pride was unable to convert any of the throws into goals, it did present some dangerous opportunities.

Player of the Week

Eniola Aluko of Saint Louis Athletica was named WPS Player of the Week for the weekend of April 10-11. Aluko scored two goals to lead Athletica to a 2-0 win over FC Gold Pride. Aluko had won Player of the Week honors once previously in 2009. Aluko scored a goal in each half of Sunday’s match. It was the first two goal game in her WPS career.


Out of the 65 players taken in the January draft, 22 are now full-roster players in the WPS and another 16 made WPS teams as developmental players. Out of those, 17 players made their debut in the opening weekend of WPS. Ten of those players started and there was at least one of the rookies in the starting lineup for each team. FC Gold Pride had three starters from their draft selections back in January.

The 10 starters were Lauren Cheney (Boston), Nikki Marshall (Washington), Carolyn Blank (Saint Louis), Tobin Heath (Atlanta), Whitney Engen (Chicago), Estelle Johnson (Philadelphia), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC), and Kelley O’Hara, Kaley Fountain, and Ali Riley (all FC Gold Pride). Not only did Gold Pride start three of their rookies, 5 of their draft selections saw action in Sunday’s match.

Lauren Cheney was the only 2010 draft choice to score a goal last weekend, but she will have the distinction of being the first player to score a 2010 regular season goal.

Long Waits

Ashley Phillips spent the entire 2009 season on the Boston Breakers roster as a developmental player. She did not play a minute for the entire season. Such is the life of a developmental keeper in WPS. After a year of waiting, Phillips finally got her chance on Saturday and earned the victory in goal for the Breakers in their 2-1 win over the Washington Freedom. Phillips was credited with 7 saves for the match.

Sarah Wagenfuhr started last year as a developmental player for Chicago, but was released after their second game, having not played. On Sunday, she started at outside back for Athletica and played 23 minutes before coming off with an injury.

Lauren Sesselman got into one game for one minute in 2009 for Sky Blue FC. She started and played the full 90 in Atlanta’s opener on Sunday. On the other side of the field Philadelphia’s Lyndsey Patterson had appeared in only one game for 12 minutes for the Los Angeles Sol in 2009. She started and played 57 minutes for the Independence.

Midweek Notes:

Atlanta - Ramona Bachmann did not make the trip to Philadelphia because of illness after scoring a goal and an assist in Atlanta’s final exhibition game in Tulsa…..Allison Whitworth picked up her 2nd career shutout in WPS. Her previous shutout against the Los Angeles Sol in 2009 also ended in a scoreless tie…..The number one overall pick in the 2010 draft, Tobin Heath, played 89 minutes in Sunday’s game.

Boston – Last season, Kelly Smith scored a goal in each of the first 4 games in which she appeared for the Breakers and she started 2010 out in the same fashion with a goal against the Freedom…..The Breakers became only the 2nd team in WPS history to start a developmental keeper in goal with Ashley Phillips on Saturday. Washington had started Kati Jo Spisak three times in 2009…..Lauren Cheney scored her first career WPS goal just 6 minutes into Saturday’s contest.

ChicagoCristiane was credited with taking 9 shots in the Red Stars loss to Sky Blue, a total which easily leads the league…..In the continuation of a disturbing trend, Chicago has now been shut out 12 times in 21 matches over two seasons…..Kate Markgraf played the full 90 minutes after missing the 2009 season on maternity leave.

FC Gold Pride – Five of Gold Pride’s draft selections saw action on Sunday. Kelley O’Hara, Kaley Fountain, and Ali Riley started, while Becky Edwards and Kiki Bosio subbed in…..Kandace Wilson came off the bench, seeing her first regular season action since she was injured in a May 24th match against Los Angeles in 2009…..Four of Gold Pride’s 5 international players were not with the team in 2009. Camille Abily and Marta were with Los Angeles, Candace Chapman was with Boston, and Solveig Gulbrandsen did not play in WPS last season.

PhiladelphiaKarina LeBlanc earned her 13th career shutout on Sunday against Atlanta…..Philadelphia had the largest attendance of the WPS opening weekend with 6,028…..Amy Rodriguez was credited with 6 shots for the Independence against Atlanta, more than in any of her appearances for the Breakers last season.

Saint Louis Eniola Aluko became the 3rd Athletica player to score two goals in one game. The other two were Daniela and Christie Welsh…..Shannon Boxx became the first Athletica player to record two assists in one game…..Carolyn Blank was the lowest draft choice to start for a WPS team last weekend. Blank was Athletica’s 5th round selection, the 46th overall pick in the draft.

Sky Blue FC
Heather O’Reilly, who tied for SBFC’s lead in assists last season with 3, picked up her first assist on Sunday…..Karen Bardsley picked up the 2nd shutout of her career. Her first came against FC Gold Pride on August 5, 2009, when she was a last second replacement for an injured Jen Branam…..Sky Blue has now shutout the Chicago Red Stars all 5 times they have played them. They have a 4-0-1 record against the Red Stars with a 5-0 goal differential.
Washington FreedomAllie Long was the only non-national team player to score a goal this past weekend…..While Abby Wambach is primarily known for her goal scoring ability, she now has 6 career WPS assists, which ties her for 1st place in that category…..The Freedom have now given up multiple goals in 11 of their 22 matches in 2009-10 including the playoff game.
Opening Week Trivia: Of the 6 returning WPS teams, only two started the same goalkeeper as they did in last year's opener. Name the goalkeepers and the teams. (Answer in the weekend preview later this week).


A1 said...

Athletica- Hope Solo
Gold Pride- Nicole Barnhart