July 25, 2010

WPS Weekend Wrap - Offense Rules the Day

It was a goal scorers weekend in WPS as four different players scored two goals apiece led by some familiar names, Marta and Amy Rodriguez. Gold Pride moved even closer to clinching the regular season title, the Independence solidified their hold on 2nd place, and Boston regained their momentum to seize 3rd place.

FC Gold Pride 4, Washington Freedom 1

Gold Pride broke open a close game late for their fifth consecutive win, a 4-1 triumph over the Freedom at Boyds, Maryland. The victory tied Gold Pride’s own record of five straight and it was also the fifth straight game they have scored two or more goals, also a record. Marta and Tiffeny Milbrett each scored two, while Christine Sinclair was credited with three assists in the match.

The match was still in doubt until the 84th minute with Gold Pride clinging to a slim 2-1 lead when Marta got in alone on Freedom keeper Erin McLeod. Marta scored to make it 3-1 and McLeod was injured on the play. This left Cat Whitehill to take over in goal, since the Freedom were out of substitutions, and Milbrett was able to add a late tally for the 4-1 final.

Marta now leads WPS with 13 goals this season. Abby Wambach scored the lone goal for the Freedom who are now winless in their last eight matches.

Philadelphia Independence 4, Sky Blue FC 1

The Independence continued their dominance over nearby rival Sky Blue, winning their third straight in the border war series by a 4-1 margin. Amy Rodriguez scored twice, increasing her season’s total to 9. Joanna Lohman and Holmfridur Magnusdottir added one goal each. Caroline Seger assisted on three of the four goals. Rookie Brittany Taylor scored the only Sky Blue goal, her first ever in WPS.

Philadelphia was able to get two goals in the first 10 minutes and led 3-0 at the break. They have now defeated Sky Blue all three times they have met by an aggregate 10-3 goal margin.

Val Henderson got the victory in goal for the Independence. The win stretches Philly’s hold on 2nd place giving them a five point lead on 3rd place Boston.

Boston Breakers 3, Chicago Red Stars 1

The Breakers scored three goals in lightning quick fashion in the first half and coasted to a 3-1 victory over the Red Stars. Kelly Smith got a brace, with ex-Red Star Ifeoma Dieke adding the third Boston goal. It was good day for former Chicago players as Lindsay Tarpley earned an assist on the second goal by Smith. The Breakers scored in the 9th, 12th, and 14th minute to put the game away early.

Chicago got their only goal late from Kosovare Asllani. Every Red Star goal this season, save for an own goal, has been scored by a forward.

On the bright side, Nikki Washington saw her first WPS action for the Red Stars in the 2nd half. The former UNC star was injured last fall and has been out of action ever since. After being drafted first by Los Angeles, then by Sky Blue in the LA dispersal draft, she was traded to Saint Louis only to see them fold as well. Chicago then signed her, making it her fourth team without ever playing a minute until Sunday.

Boston moves into sole possession of 3rd place with the victory. They have won four of their last five matches. Chicago finds themselves out of a playoff spot for the moment, just a single point behind 4th place Sky Blue.

1) FC Gold Pride (12-3-1, 37 pts); 2) Philadelphia (7-5-3, 24 pts); 3) Boston (5-6-4, 19 pts); 4) Sky Blue FC (5-7-3, 18 pts); 5) Washington (4-6-5, 17 pts); 5) Chicago (4-7-5, 17 pts); 7) Atlanta (3-7-4, 13 pts)