August 8, 2010

Weekend Wrap - Gold Pride in Playoffs

FC Gold Pride 0, Chicago Red Stars 0

FC Gold Pride made it definite, capturing a playoff berth with a 0-0 tie against the visiting Chicago Red Stars on Saturday evening. It is the first playoff berth for Gold Pride who missed out on the opportunity to clinch a home playoff game with a victory.

In a game with very few good scoring chances, Jill Loyden did come up with a big save late in the 1st half on a Kelley O'Hara header. A 2nd half goal by Gold Pride was negated because of a foul. Loyden picked up her fifth shutout of the season. Nicole Barnhart earned her sixth shutout for Gold Pride, a total that leads WPS. Chicago outshot Gold Pride by an 8-7 margin.

Chicago stays in a 4th place tie, now with Sky Blue. The Red Stars will host 2nd place Philadelphia on Wednesday. Gold Pride maintains their 11 point lead and will host Washington next Saturday.

Sky Blue FC 2, Atlanta Beat 1

For the second time this season, Sky Blue slipped past Atlanta on an own goal to defeat the Beat 2-1. With some apparent confusion on the part of the Atlanta defense, Tina Ellertson deflected a ball past Hope Solo. Sky Blue had won in their first trip to Atlanta by 1-0, also on an own goal.

The goal and the victory came against the run of play. Atlanta outshot Sky Blue by a huge 22-6 margin. Eniola Aluko had tied the game in the 62nd minute and it appeared that Atlanta had the momentum.

Sky Blue opened the scoring late in the first half on a goal by Laura Kalmari, assisted by Heather O'Reilly. It was Kalmari's fifth goal of the season. She leads Sky Blue in scoring.

Jen Branam got the victory for Sky Blue in net. The win boosted them into a 4th place tie with Chicago and they have two games in hand against the Red Stars. Sky Blue hosts Washington on Wednesday night. Atlanta remains in last place, but are still only four points out of 4th place. They will travel to Philadelphia next weekend.

Philadelphia Independence 2, Boston Breakers 2

In a very exciting match, Philadelphia and Boston played to a 2-2 tie. In a tough battle for 2nd place, things stayed status quo with the Independence maintaining their two point cushion over the Breakers.

Lauren Cheney opened the scoring for the Breakers in the 25th minute. She received the ball just outside the 18 and turned to get off a shot off her right foot that went upper right, just out of reach of the outstretched arms of Karina LeBlanc.

Philadelphia answered quickly in the 28th minute. The Independence received a free kick from 30 yards and Frida Magnusdottir beat Alyssa Naeher lower right to tie the score.

It was Magnusdottir again in the 30th minute. She launched a curling shot from the left wing that bent around Naeher, hitting the post and then ricocheting off Naeher into the net. They were Magnusdottir's 2nd and 3rd goals of the season.

Boston drew even as Kelly Smith squeezed a shot between defenders and past LeBlanc in the 52nd minute. Both teams had chances, but neither was able to get a game winner in the remaining time.

Philadelphia remains in 2nd place, 11 points behind Gold Pride. They travel to Chicago on Wednesday and then return home to play Atlanta next Sunday. Boston, who are 6-1-1 over their last eight matches, host Sky Blue next Sunday.

1) FC Gold Pride (12-3-3, 39 pts); 2) Philadelphia (8-6-4, 28 pts); 3) Boston (7-6-5, 26 pts); 4) Sky Blue FC (6-8-3, 21 pts); 4) Chicago (5-8-6, 21 pts); 6) Washington (5-8-5, 20 pts); 7) Atlanta (4-9-5, 17 pts).