June 18, 2010

WPS Weekend Preview - June 19

We head into the 10th week of WPS games with some interesting matches and many players missing for a variety of reasons. All matches are on Saturday for this weekend and there is no FSC match of the week. Comcast will broadcast the Chicago-Atlanta match.

Philadelphia Independence (4-3-2, 14 pts) at Sky Blue FC (4-3-2, 14 pts)
Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ – June 19 (7 pm ET)

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

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

Previous Meetings (2010):
Sky Blue FC 1 @ Philadelphia 2

What to Look For: This is a rematch of a game two weeks ago, won by Philadelphia 2-1. And like in that match, both teams head into this one tied for 3rd place. Perhaps more than any other match this weekend, national team duty will affect this game. The question is, will it affect both sides evenly? Both teams will be missing scorers, midfielders, and defenders. But the key absence for the week could be Bardsley. Luckenbill has been unofficially named the starter for this match, but also note Branam did not appear on the roster report as injured. Sky Blue has played only three home matches, scoring only one goal and surrendering only one. Both O’Reilly and Rosana got into the scoring column last weekend, indicating that the midfield is showing some signs of life. Who will join Kai upfront? It could be one of two rookies, Schoepfer or Dallstream, or even possibly Trotter. Tina DiMartino scored her first goal last week and fit very well into Philly’s midfield. Will Maruyama, who has played just 78 minutes this year, team with Rodriguez at forward? Or will it be Patterson, who has provided a big spark off the bench for the Independence? A low scoring match would appear to be in order, but there is still a lot of speed on both teams.
Storylines: Philadelphia has now scored in 8 consecutive matches after being shut out in the opener. Luckenbill hasn’t started a WPS match since June 14, 2009. How much will the two former Athletica players influence the match, DiMartino, the more offensive player for Philadelphia, or Fletcher, the more defensive player for Sky Blue?

Chicago Red Stars (2-4-3, 9 pts) at Atlanta Beat (0-5-2, 2 pts)
June 19 (7 pm ET, 6 pm CT) KSU Stadium, Kennesaw, GA.

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

Atlanta Beat: GK-B. Maron, M.Lofton-Malachi; D-T. Ellertson, L. Robinson, S. Bishop, K. Larkin; MF-M. Yamaguchi, A. Miyama, A. Kerr, L. Chalupny, M. Zerboni, R. Nolin, C. Blank (unlikely-knee); F-M. Ocampo, A. Cinalli.
Not Active: H. Solo (sponsor obligation), K. McNeill (sponsor obligation), R. Bachmann (national team), E. Aluko (national team), J. Rasmussen (national team), S. Mundy (season-ending injury).

Previous Meetings (2010):
Atlanta 0 @ Chicago 0.

What to Look For: In a matchup between the two lowest scoring teams in WPS, Atlanta and Chicago fittingly played to a scoreless draw two weeks ago. In the interim, the Red Stars came out of their offensive slump with two Cristiane goals in a come-from-behind tie against Washington. Meanwhile, the Beat have had a bye week to acquaint themselves with one another. This is another match that will see many key European players missing due to national team duty. Atlanta may have been hit the worst, given they have scored only two goals this season and both Aluko and Bachmann will be absent. They will get a boost in the midfield, with the addition of Miyama and the return of Yamaguchi. One has to wonder if they will switch one of their midfielders forward to team with Ocampo. And with Solo and McNeill gone on a sponsor trip to the World Cup, the defense will be hit hard, too. Chicago and Cristiane finally came to life last week after falling two goals down to the Freedom. While, the Red Stars’ two English midfielders, Carney and Chapman, will be away, we might finally see Nikki Washington on the pitch. The Red Stars will also be missing Spilger due to red card suspension, but the addition of Asante and Weber should ease that pain. Loyden has been fine in goal for the Red Stars. If Chicago’s weakened midfield can link up with their forwards, they should have the advantage in this one.
Storylines: Chicago is looking to increase their unbeaten streak to four games, which would tie a franchise best. Atlanta is still looking for their first WPS goal in their new stadium. Will we finally see Washington in WPS play? Will the combination of the two talented Japanese midfielders, Yamaguchi and Miyama, spring the Beat’s offense to life? Can Atlanta keep Cristiane and company in check without McNeill and Solo?

Boston Breakers (1-3-4, 7 pts) at FC Gold Pride (6-2-1, 19 pts)
June 19 (10 pm ET, 7 pm PT) Pioneer Stadium, Haywood, CA.

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

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

Previous Meetings (2010):
Gold Pride 2
@ Boston 1
Gold Pride leads the all-time series with a 2-1-1 record.

What To Look For: Strangely enough, the Breakers are unbeaten on the road this season with a win and three ties. Gold Pride debuts in their new home, Pioneer Stadium, with a 7-game home unbeaten streak. Barring a tie, something will have to give Saturday night. The Breakers are coming off of a tough loss to Sky Blue on a penalty in stoppage. Boston has played Gold Pride four times in their history, scoring exactly one goal in each of the four meetings. The Breakers will miss Alex Scott’s speed on defense, trying to combat Gold Pride’s fast frontline group. Both teams will be hurting in the midfield, with Osborne and Smith out for Boston and Abily and Gulbrandsen out for Gold Pride. The Breakers obviously need to start scoring more. Cheney has not scored a goal since a few minutes into the season opener. For FCGP, Sinclair is slowed by injury, but they will have O’Hara back. Marta has been spectacular as of late, with two goals and an assist last weekend. Gold Pride’s speedy outside backs, Riley and Wilson, could cause the Breakers a lot of problems up the flanks. With key midfielders out, Boxx may have to take on a more offensive role in this match. Barnhart has been steady in goal. With Smith out and Boston’s scoring woes, it’s hard to see them winning this match. They will have to play sound defensively and hope to get offense from unexpected sources.
Storylines: Gold Pride, unbeaten at home, takes on the Breakers, unbeaten on the road. Marta has five goals and an assist in her last four matches. The last time Lindsey Tarpley met Shannon Boxx on the same field as foes, Tarpley scored a goal, leading the Red Stars to an upset win over the LA Sol last August. Gold Pride will remain in 1st place, regardless of the result in this match.

Trivia Question- Who scored the 200th regular season goal in WPS history?Answer-Eniola Aluko scored the 200th regular season goal in Athletica’s 2-2 tie with Sky Blue FC on May 16, 2010. Coincidentally, it was the final goal in Athletica history.