May 10, 2010

WPS Weekend Wrap

It was a unusual weekend in WPS, which included one red card, two own goals, 4 shutouts, a goal by the 2nd oldest player in the league, and another veteran player ending a streak of 2240 consecutive minutes on the field.

Boston 0, Washington 0
Battling wind gusts, the Breakers and Freedom played to a scoreless tie before 4198 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday. The Breakers outshot the Freedom by a 9-6 margin. Erin McLeod and Ashley Phillips both earned shutouts. It was only the 2nd scoreless tie in Freedom history, the last being at RFK Stadium to the Chicago Red Stars on June 13, 2009.

The game matched up the league's two remaining ironwomen, Kristine Lilly and Becky Sauerbrunn. Neither had missed a minute of action since league play started last March. Lilly, who is also the oldest player in WPS, came off at the 80 minute mark in favor of Laura Del Rio, ending her consecutive minutes streak at 2240 minutes, while Sauerbrunn's streak continues at 2250 (2340 if you count playoff matches).

FC Gold Pride 2, Chicago 0
Donning red jerseys, FC Gold Pride increased their 1st place margin to 3 points by defeating the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 at home on Saturday night. Nicole Barnhart earned her 2nd consecutive shutout. Ifeoma Dieke of the Red Stars was redcarded about midway through the 1st half for contact against Kelley O'Hara in the penalty area. Jill Loyden was able to stop Tiffeny Milbrett's ensuing penalty kick to keep the score tied at 0-0 into the break.

It was Milbrett who finally broke through in the opening minute of the 2nd half, recovering her own rebound after nailing the crossbar and knocking a sidewinding shot past Loyden. Kelley O'Hara added an insurance goal later in the half. Gold Pride outshot the shorthanded Red Stars by a 19-4 margin for the match.

Sky Blue FC 1, Atlanta 0
The women from Jersey spoiled Atlanta's stadium opening with a 1-0 victory on Sunday night before 7248 fans. It was the 3rd time this season that Sky Blue had won by that margin. It was a game in which Atlanta's Ramona Bachmann did everything but score and Sky Blue's Karen Bardsley stopped everything that came her way.

After a scoreless 1st half, Sky Blue scored in the 51st minute. Heather O'Reilly sent a dangerous cross into the penalty area. With Laura Kalmari on her heals, Leigh Ann Robinson attempted to head the ball out of trouble, but instead headed just past goalkeeper Brett Maron for an own goal.

Bachmann created chance after chance, but she either shot just wide or was thwarted by Bardsley who had a spectacular match. Bardsley had previously robbed McCall Zerboni of a goal in the 1st half of the match. Sky Blue was outshot by a 25-9 margin, which has been a fairly consistent theme in their matches this season.

Saint Louis Athletica 2, Philadelphia Independence 1
Saint Louis gets an own goal and Lindsey Tarpley scores in her first start of the season to give Athletica a 2-1 victory. Lyndsey Patterson brought the Independence to within one with a goal in the 75th minute, but Philadelphia was unable to equalize. It was game that saw Tarpley and Eniola Aluko create dangerous chances throughout the match.

Correction: In the original game story, I had reported that Aluko had sent a pass across to Tarpley when Falk connected with the ball for the own goal. In fact, it occured on the return pass from Tarpley and not vice versa. My apologies for the error.

Standings: (1) FC Gold Pride 4-1-0, 12 pts; (2) Sky Blue FC 3-2-0, 9 pts; (3) Philadelphia 2-1-2, 8 pts; (4) Saint Louis 2-1-2, 8 pts; (5) Washington 2-2-1, 7 pts; (6) Boston 1-1-3, 6 pts; (7) Chicago 1-3-1, 4 pts; (8) Atlanta 0-4-1, 1 pt.