April 21, 2010

WPS Midweek Notes - April 21

Wambach Named Player of the Week

Abby Wambach was named WPS Player of the Week on the strength of a one goal and two assist outing against the Atlanta Beat. It marks the 4th time that Wambach has been so honored. She scored her first goal of the 2010 season against the Beat, knocking home a rebound. Wambach’s 9 career WPS goals trails only Marta, who has 11. Her two assists on Sunday now places her atop the all-time list with 8. Abby now has 6 goals and 4 assists over her last 6 regular season matches going back to 2009.

Déjà vu….All Over Again
A free kick from the right wing gets lofted into the penalty area, Allison Falk makes her run to the net, rises and heads it into the goal for her franchise’s first goal ever. It happened on March 29, 2009 for the Los Angeles Sol at the Home Depot Center, and in that case it was the first goal in WPS history. It happened again this past Sunday at Harvard Stadium for the Philadelphia Independence. The similarities of the plays are a bit eerie. Both free kicks were taken by talented midfielders, last year Aya Miyama and this year, Lori Lindsey. And Allison Falk scores a historically significant goal for two different franchises.

While last year’s goal involved a bit of collision with opposing goalkeeper, Briana Scurry, this year’s header was cleanly struck into the net. Last year’s goal came in the opening match of the year, but Falk had to wait until Philly's 2nd match, since she was not available in the home opener due to her red card dating back to last year’s championship game. For Falk, better known as Kirby to her teammates, it is the only two goals of her career, but they are very memorable goals.

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
That would be an apt description of the 1st half play vs. 2nd half play for Saint Louis Athletica. Once again on Saturday, Saint Louis scored early to lead Chicago 1-0, only to give up a 2nd half goal and settle for a tie. Over 22 regular season matches, Athletica has outscored their opponents by a margin of 15-3 in the 1st half. However, they have been outscored by 13-7 in the 2nd half of those matches. Their record when scoring in the 1st half of a match is 9-0-4. When they don’t score in the 1st half, their record is 2-6-1. Not only has Athletica never come from behind to win a match, they have never come from behind to tie a match. They have lost all 7 matches in which their opponent has scored first.

Around the League
Atlanta BeatRamona Bachmann scored the first goal in Atlanta Beat (WPS) history. She also became the youngest player to ever score a goal in WPS…..After league review of Bachmann’s goal, Mami Yamaguchi was correctly awarded an assist on the goal…..The 3 goals given up by Allison Whitworth were the most she has surrendered in her 6 WPS starts. Whitworth made 8 saves in the contest.

Boston BreakersKelly Smith ran her consecutive games scoring streak to 3 games dating back to last year’s final match against LA…..Boston’s attendance of 5286 for Sunday’s match eclipsed last year’s home opener attendance of 4804…..Liz Bogus got her first start since May 24, 2009 when she started for Los Angeles against FC Goal Pride.

Chicago Red StarsCasey Nogueira’s 2nd half goal marked the first time Chicago has scored against Athletica since last year’s season opener when Lindsay Tarpley scored for the Red Stars…..Internationals Karen Carney and Formiga both saw their first action of the season as 2nd half substitutions…..Saturday’s draw was the first for Chicago since they played to a scoreless tie against Washington on June 13, 2009.
FC Gold PrideChristine Sinclair’s brace was the first in Gold Pride history…..Kelley O’Hara assisted on the final two goals on Saturday which marks the first time an FCGP player has earned two assists in a game…..Gold Pride has now scored three goals in a game 3 times in club history, all at home.

Philadelphia Independence – The Independence are one of three unbeaten teams remaining…..Both of Allison Falk’s career goals have been via headers…..Jen Buczkowski received two yellow cards in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game and the resulting red will result in a mandatory one game suspension.

Saint Louis AthleticaAya Miyama was subbed out in the 2nd half of Saturday’s match against Chicago, marking the first WPS action she has missed…..Elaine became the 2nd right back in as many games to come out with an injury in the 1st half. Sarah Wagenfuhr left Athletica’s first match with an injury…..Shannon Boxx has been cautioned in each of the first two matches.

Sky Blue FC – Finnish International Laura Kalmari scored her first WPS goal on Saturday…..Sky Blue finished Saturday’s match with 3 rookies on the field in Brittany Taylor, Danielle Johnson, and Kiersten Dallstream…..The three goals surrendered by Sky Blue marks only the 3rd time they have allowed that many. The previous two occasions were against the Washington Freedom.

Washington FreedomChristie Welsh has scored 4 goals over her last 4 regular season matches dating back to 2009…..The Freedom have now played 8 consecutive matches (9 if you count the playoffs) without being shut out…..Abby Wambach has earned assists in each of her last 3 regular season matches, which I believe is a record.

Trivia Question-Ramona Bachmann became the youngest player ever to score a goal in a WPS game at 19 years, 114 days when she scored in last Sunday’s match in Washington. Before Bachmann, who held the record?