May 14, 2010

WPS Weekend Previews - May 15 & 16

Philadelphia Independence at Chicago Red Stars – May 15 (7 pm ET, 6 pm CT)
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL.

Philadelphia: GK-K. LeBlanc, V. Henderson; D-S. Larsson, N. Krzysik, A. Falk, H. Magnusdottir, H. Mitts, S. Senty; MF-L. Lindsey, C. Seger, J. Lohman, J. Buczkowski; F-A. Rodriguez, L. Sanderson, L. Patterson, D. Adams.
Not Active: G. DiMartino, K. Maruyama, E. Johnson, K. Reynolds, C. Patterson, R. Jones.

Chicago: GK-J. Loyden, K. Davis; D-K. Markgraf, W. Engen, M. Dalmy, N. Spilger, L. Vandenbergh; MF-B. Klein, K. Chapman, K. Carney, Formiga, M. Rapinoe, J. Santacaterina; F-Cristiane, C. Nogueira, K. Asllani, E. Masar, J. McDonald.
Not Active: I. Dieke (suspended), M. Weissenhofer, J. Sitch.

Previous Meetings:
This will be the first meeting between the two teams.

What to Look For: This should be a very interesting matchup. Philadelphia suffered their first loss last weekend in St. Louis and it will be interesting to see how they respond on the road in Chicago. The Red Stars have probably been better than their record, but have managed only 3 goals so far and sit in 7th place. Dieke will miss the match on red card suspension, meaning that Spilger will most likely line up in back with Dalmy, Markgraf, and Engen. Nogueira has given the Red Stars some spark on offense, but otherwise, goals have been hard to come by. Rapinoe and Carney need to get untracked. Philadelphia relies heavily on veteran midfielder Lindsey, and with Seger out with injury last week, Saint Louis was able to hold her in check most of the match. Seger's return will help considerably. It will also be interesting to see who Paul Riley starts in goal between Henderson and LeBlanc, as he seemed less than pleased with LeBlanc’s performance last week. The Independence have good speed which could cause Chicago’s defense some problems. Philadelphia can be deadly on set pieces and Falk is the leading scoring defender in WPS.
Storylines: This is Chicago’s first match against an expansion team. Nikki Krzysik and Danesha Adams return to Chicago for the first time. Chicago’s Cristiane and Philadelphia’s Rodriguez rank 1-2 in shots attempted this season. Chapman (Red Stars) and Magnusdottir (Independence) are tied for the lead in most fouls committed.

Sky Blue FC at Saint Louis Athletica – May 16 (4 pm ET, 3 pm CT)
Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park, Fenton, MO.

Sky Blue FC: GK-K. Bardsley, S. Myers; D-D. Koster, B. Taylor, K. Dowling, K. Dallstream, D. Johnson; MF-Y. Averbuch, H. O’Reilly, Rosana, K. White; F-L. Kalmari, J. Landström, K. Schoepfer, I. Trotter, M. Snell.
Not Active: N. Kai (hamstring), C. Lloyd (ankle), M. Schnur (knee), C. Rampone (maternity), J. Branam (knee), A. Salem.

Saint Louis: GK-H. Solo, A. Harris; D-T. Ellertson, K. Fletcher, Elaine, E. Weber, A. Asante, N. Cross, S. Wagenfuhr, S. Teegarden; MF-L. Chalupny, S. Boxx, C. Blank, T. DiMartino; F-E. Aluko, L. Tarpley, M. Edlund, V. Perez.
Not Active: K. Larsen (foot), A. Miyama (national team), E. Walter, K. Spisak.

Previous Meetings (2009):
Sky Blue FC 0 @ Saint Louis 1
Saint Louis 2 @ Sky Blue FC 1
Sky Blue FC 0 @ Saint Louis 1
Sky Blue FC 1
@ Saint Louis 0 (WPS Semifinal)

What To Look For: Last season, Saint Louis swept the 3 regular season meetings, only to fall to Sky Blue at home in the playoff semifinals. Both teams will only have 5 players active that started in that match. The goalkeeper matchup has to be the headliner in this game. USWNT starter Solo goes against the hottest goalkeeper in WPS in Bardsley. Sky Blue’s injury list is long and they will be without several key players. Athletica will be missing Miyama who is away on national team duty, but Asante has been activated which could help the defense. Aluko may have finally found a complementary front line mate in Tarpley. Sky Blue needs to find some offense, but the scorer of only one goal (Kalmari) will be active for Sunday’s match. Perhaps the best way to describe Sky Blue’s 2010 performance so far is gritty, winning three matches by 1-0 margins, while being outshot by wide margins. Dutch import Koster and rookie Taylor have been solid on SBFC’s back line. Jersey’s midfield needs to start contributing more on the offensive end.
Storylines: Saint Louis looks to continue their regular season dominance at home where they are 5-0-2 in their last 7 matches. Sky Blue’s last 5 wins dating back to last year’s playoffs have been by a 1-0 margin. Asante is active for the 1st time since her serious knee injury, however it is doubtful that she would start. Boxx is dangerously close to suspension, having already accumulated 3 yellows this season. 2nd place in the table is on the line for these two teams.

Washington Freedom at Atlanta Beat – May 16 (6 pm ET) – FSC Game of the Week
KSU Soccer Stadium, Kennesaw, GA.

Washington: GK-E. McLeod, M. McCray; D-C. Whitehill, N. Marshall, S. Bompastor, B. Bock (questionable-foot), A. Singer, K. Eveland, M. Abegg; MF-B. Sauerbrunn, A. Long, S. Huffman, R. Moros , J. Gilbeau, B. Goebel; F-Abby Wambach (probable-nose), L. Mykjåland, C. Welsh.
Not Active: L. De Vanna (national team), H. Sawa (national team), B. Scurry (head), C. Miskel, M. Casey.

Atlanta: GK-A. Whitworth, B. Maron; D-K. McNeill, S. Bishop, L. Robinson, L. Sesselmann, S. Mundy, T. Hamm, B. Mattern; MF-M. Yamaguchi, M. Zerboni, A. Kerr, K. Larkin, R. Nolin; F-R. Bachmann, J. Rasmussen, S. Thompson, M. Ocampo, A. Cinalli.
Not Active: T. Heath (ankle), M. Yamaguchi (national team), M. Schumacher-Hodge, M. Lofton-Malachi.

Previous Meetings (2010):
Atlanta 1 @ Washington 3

What to Look For: Both teams will be missing key players due to national team duty, De Vanna and Sawa for the Freedom and Yamaguchi for the Beat. Wambach is listed as probable after having her nose broken late in last week’s match against Boston. She had a huge game against the Beat the first time around with a goal and two assists. The Beat defense has to find a way to stop Washington. Last time, Washington scored 3 goals and McNeill landed a suspension, in spite of not being carded on the play in question. Atlanta needs to get their offense unleashed. After 5 matches, I would have expected a lot more goals from this group. Bachmann had several chances last week, but was unable to finish. McLeod is coming off of her 1st shutout this season and looks to double up in this match. This is only the Freedom’s 2nd road match, the first of which ended with a disappointing 3-1 loss in Philadelphia.
Storylines: Will this be the game where Atlanta gets its first win? While Abby Wambach is listed as probable, it will be interesting to see how much she plays, which will likely depend on how much problem she has breathing with the injury. She was a major force in the 1st meeting between these two teams and likely will be again, if she can play. Becky Sauerbrunn continues her iron woman streak.

Trivia Question – Behind Becky Sauerbrunn, which current WPS player has the 2nd longest active streak for consecutive minutes played in the regular season? Answer – Marta, who has played 1980 consecutive minutes after tonight’s match against Boston. She hasn’t missed a minute of a match since April 25, 2009 when she was away on national duty and missed the Sol’s match against Saint Louis.