June 11, 2010

WPS Weekend Preview - June 12 & 13

Chicago Red Stars at Washington Freedom– June 12 (7 pm ET, 6 pm CT)
Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD.

Chicago Red Stars:
GK-J. Loyden, M. Burke; D-K. Markgraf, M. Dalmy, W. Engen, A. Asante, E. Weber, N. Spilger; MF-K. Carney, K. Chapman, Formiga, M. Rapinoe; F-Cristiane, K. Asllani, C. Nogueira, E. Masar.
Not Active: K. Davis (season-ending knee), N. Washington (knee), J. Sitch, J. McDonald, J. Santacaterina, L. Vandenbergh.

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

Previous Meetings (2009):
Chicago 1 @ Washington 1
Chicago 0 @ Washington 0
Washington 1 @ Chicago 2
Washington 3 @ Chicago 2

What to Look For: This was a very even and very spirited rivalry last season. In two of the four meetings, a Red Star player was sent off. Washington is known for their offense and Wambach is having arguably the best offensive season in WPS with 3 goals and 7 assists. She scored three of the Freedom’s 5 goals in this series a year ago, not to mention drawing one of the red cards. But surprisingly, it is Washington’s defense that has made the Freedom a contender for 1st place. Outside of one soft goal on a mixup between McLeod and her back line, the defense has led the way lately, giving up just three goals in the last 5 matches. Chicago has edged its way back into shouting distance of a playoff spot. With a win and a tie over the last two weeks they have moved to within three points of 4th place. However, the problem for the Red Stars is the same as it has been, lack of scoring. Chicago continues to put an alarmingly low percentage of their shots on frame, especially Cristiane. Rapinoe had good opportunities in last week’s game, but could not finish. On defense, the Red Stars have given up the fewest goals of any team, led by Loyden in goal and strong back line play by Markgraf, Engen, and Dalmy. The midfield battle could be interesting with Carney for Chicago and Bompastor for Washington being the players to watch.
Storylines: Washington looks to extend their all-time best unbeaten run of 5 matches. A Washington win combined with either a Philly win or tie against Gold Pride will put the Freedom in a 1st place tie. The game will feature the league’s top ranked Freedom offense against the league’s top ranked Red Star defense.

Sky Blue FC at Boston Breakers – June 12 (4 pm ET)
Harvard Stadium, Cambridge, MA.

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

Boston Breakers: GK-A. Phillips, A. Naeher; D-A. Scott, A. LePeilbet, S. Cox, K. Moore, J. Angeli; MF-K. Smith, K. Lilly, C. Igwe, L. Tarpley; F-L. Cheney, L. Del Rio, T. Weimer, Fabiana, T. Hemmings, A. Marquez.
Not Active: L. Osborne (shin), S. Walsh (knee), M. Enyeart, A. Lipsher.

Previous Meetings (2010):
Boston 0 @ Sky Blue 0.
Sky Blue leads the all-time series 3-0-2.

What to Look For: Although this series has been marked by close, low scoring matches, Sky Blue has dominated the results. Just when Sky Blue was beginning to get healthy, league leading scorer Kalmari will reportedly miss this match with an injured calf. Outside of Kalmari, SBFC has scored only 3 goals, two by Kai and an own goal. Sky Blue has just added Fletcher to an already strong defensive team. However, Sky Blue’s defense has been slipping a bit lately and appear to be beginning to show the effects of facing so many shots. Bardsley has been the top keeper in WPS with 4 shutouts, but has also given up multiple goals in three matches. Boston is once again having problems scoring and hopefully, the bye week gave them a chance to regroup. Smith has scored three of their five goals this season, but there hasn’t been much else. Coach DiCicco is hoping that the addition of Tarpley will jumpstart their offense. She had teamed well with Aluko in Saint Louis earlier in the season. On defense, Boston has one of the best units in the league with LePeilbet, Cox, Scott, and a much improved Moore. Phillips has been generally solid in goal. The Breakers will be missing Osborne in the midfield due to injury. Given two strong defenses and the lack of scoring between these two teams, another scoreless tie would not be out of the question, but the Breakers certainly should have a chip on their shoulders for this match.
Storylines: The Breakers are looking for their first victory against Sky Blue in six tries. They will be trying to stop their six game winless streak, the longest in their history. Fletcher joins several of her former UNC teammates at Sky Blue.

FC Gold Pride at Philadelphia Independence – June 13 (6 pm ET, 3 pm PT) – Fox Soccer Channel
John A. Ferrell Stadium, West Chester, PA.

FC Gold Pride: GK-N. Barnhart, B. Cameron; D-C. Chapman, R. Buehler, K. Graczyk, K. Wilson, K. Fountain; MF-S. Boxx, C. Dew, B. Edwards, C. Abily, S. Gulbrandsen, K. Yokers ; F-Marta, C. Sinclair, T. Milbrett.
Not Active: K. Bosio (graduation), K. O’Hara (graduation), A. Riley (graduation) E. Guthrie, R. Tantillo.

Philadelphia Independence: GK-K. LeBlanc, V. Henderson; D-A. Falk, H. Mitts, S. Larsson, N. Krzysik, S. Senty, E. Johnson (questionable-ankle); MF-J. Buczkowski, L. Lindsey, J. Lohman, T. DiMartino, G. DiMartino, L. Patterson; F-A. Rodriguez, H. Magnusdottir, L. Sanderson, K. Maruyama.
Not Active: C. Seger (ankle), H. Mitts (knee), D. Adams (graduation), K. Reynolds (U-23 national team), R. Jones.

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

What To Look For: For the second week in a row, 1st place Gold Pride will meet the team directly below them in the standings. FCGP has actually been outscored on the road this season, while Philadelphia is unbeaten at home so far. Gold Pride is led by a resurgent Marta, who has scored their last three goals. Boxx teamed with Gulbrandsen and Abily in the midfield gives Bay Area one of the strongest midfield units in WPS. With Seger out, Gold Pride should have a heavy advantage there. Barnhart has been steady in goal. But Gold Pride will be missing three key players due to graduation ceremonies, Riley, O’Hara, and Bosio. Philadelphia boasts a strong goalkeeping tandem in LeBlanc and Henderson and a very good defense. Mitts and Larsson give the Independence a veteran presence on their back line. The signing of Tina DiMartino came at an opportune moment, given Seger’s injury. Lindsey is one of the best midfielders in the league and Magnusdottir can be a force at both ends of the field. Rodriguez is coming off Player of the Week honors and Sanderson seems to be settling in quite well at the other forward position. Philadelphia will have to neutralize Marta, as well as the Gold Pride midfield, to have a chance at victory. The home field advantage should give them a lift.
Storylines: Marta makes her first trip to Philadelphia and is now tied for WPS lead in goals with four. Tina DiMartino joins her sister in Philadelphia. It could be the first time sisters have competed together for the same team. The two were briefly on the field together for opposing teams in St. Louis earlier in the season. This is another battle for 1st place and it will be televised nationally on FSC.