August 25, 2010

WPS Midweek Notes - August 25

Aluko Wins Player of the Week

Atlanta forward Eniola Aluko has won the WPS Player of the Week for the second time this year and the third time in her career. Aluko scored the third goal in Atlanta’s 3-2 victory over the Boston Breakers. Aluko’s goal was her eighth of the season. She had earlier been credited with the second goal of the game, but after review it was awarded to Aya Miyama.

Aluko became the second player of the Atlanta Beat to win the honor. Hope Solo was Player of the Week in Week 16. Aluko also became the third player to win the honor more than once in 2010. Both Amy Rodriguez and Marta have won three times each during the season.

Playoff Update

Now that FC Gold Pride has secured the first seed in the approaching WPS playoffs, the battle continues for the other three berths.

Philadelphia has the inside track for the second seed. They are presently five points clear of the 3rd place Boston Breakers, who they will host on Sunday. A victory over the Breakers would come close to locking up second place, but a loss means they will no longer control their own destiny as far as that position goes. The Independence are still lacking a point of clinching a playoff berth.

Boston’s margin over Washington and Sky Blue shrunk to four points last weekend. A loss this weekend to Philly and they will likely have one of those two teams breathing down their necks as the Freedom and SBFC face one another this week as well.

The Sky Blue/Washington match in Maryland will probably go a long way in deciding the fourth and final playoff berth. Sky Blue has a game in hand, so a victory would put them in a very strong position.

Chicago would need a near miracle to make the playoffs. Only a Washington/Sky Blue tie would keep them alive. Atlanta, with four games remaining still clings to some hope. They have matches left against both Washington and Sky Blue, two matches that they must win to have a chance. The Beat’s remaining schedule is challenging, so gaining a playoff position will not be easy.

Around the League

Atlanta BeatEniola Aluko and Johanna Rasmussen are now tied for the team lead in goals with four apiece…..Playing in her 38th career match, Aya Miyama scored her first career WPS goal on Saturday against Boston…..Former Athletica players have now scored exactly half of the Beat’s goals for 2010.

Boston BreakersKelly Smith is one of only four players to have scored ten goals in a WPS season…..Lindsay Tarpley has scored goals with three different franchises…..Boston has now scored in 11 consecutive games, just one shy of the record set earlier this season by Philadelphia. The Breakers will attempt to tie the record against the Independence on Sunday.

Chicago Red Stars – With her two goals on Sunday, Ella Masar broke the Red Stars’ single season scoring mark with eight goals. Cristiane scored seven in the 2009 season…..With just two matches remaining, Chicago defender Marian Dalmy has played every minute of the 2010 season. Caroline J├Ânsson played every minute of the 2009 season for the Red Stars…..Sunday marked only the second time in team history that Chicago had scored two or more goals and lost. The other time was last August against Washington.

FC Gold PrideMarta now has 25 career goals in WPS, seven more than the Abby Wambach who has the next highest total…..Nicole Barnhart’s seven shutouts lead WPS in that category…..With a 13-3-4 record and 43 points, Gold Pride eclipsed the Los Angeles Sol’s 20-game total of 41 points in the 2009 season.

Philadelphia IndependenceJoanna Lohman is the only Independence player to have appeared in all 21 matches for the Independence…..Philadelphia has three players with five or more assists, Lori Lindsey, Amy Rodriguez, and Caroline Seger…..Three of the six players to have received red cards this season are Independence players.

Sky Blue FCYael Averbuch’s blistering volley, certainly one of the best strikes of the season, proved to be her first WPS goal on Sunday…..Jen Branam’s shutout against Philadelphia was her first since the 2009 WPS Championship Game…..Sky Blue became only the second team to defeat both Gold Pride and Philadelphia this season. The now defunct Saint Louis Athletica accomplished that feat in early May.

Washington Freedom – With just three games left in the 2010 regular season, Abby Wambach is just two assists shy of becoming the first player to record double digit goals and assists in the same WPS season…..In her past four matches, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has surrendered just one goal, that being an own goal…..After a five game losing streak and a 10-game winless streak, Washington is now unbeaten in their last four matches.