August 1, 2010

WPS Weekend Wrap - August 1

Atlanta Plays Gold Pride to 0-0 Tie at Home

In what may have been one of the more entertaining scoreless ties you'll ever see, the Atlanta Beat stopped FC Gold Pride's five game winning streak. Both teams are probably thinking that the game should have been theirs. Atlanta wasted several great opportunities while at the other end, Hope Solo made some sparkling saves and may have been saved by the crossbar on one occasion.

The Beat came out with a lot of energy and took it to Gold Pride early on. Eniola Aluko had two golden opportunities in the first half, with Nicole Barnhart saving one and the other being shot wide. The best chance was a two player break with Aluko in control of the ball on the right side. With Lori Chalupny open in the middle, Aluko elected to try to beat Barnhart near post, but the Bay Area goalkeeper was up to the task.

Atlanta had two more great chances in the 2nd half, one that Monica Ocampo sent over the net and another that Ramona Bachmann was unable to get on target from the six yard box, with the ball rolling just inches wide.

Gold Pride had opportunities as well. Kelley O'Hara cut back on Aya Miyama and was able to get a blistering right-footed shot off from 18 yards, but Solo made a diving save to her left to keep the match level.

In the 89th minute, Christine Sinclair nearly got the winner as she redirected a cross about eight yards directly in front of the goal. The ball was past a leaping Hope Solo, but hit the top of the crossbar.

It was only Gold Pride's second tie of the season, leaving them at 12-3-2, good for 38 points. The tie leaves them needing just a single point to clinch a playoff spot. Atlanta, unbeaten in their last four, moved into a tie for 6th place with Washington. They now find themselves just three points out of 4th place.

Chicago Moves into 4th Place with 2-1 Victory

Goals by Ella Masar and Karen Carney lifted the Red Stars to a 2-1 victory over Sky Blue in New Jersey. It was Masar's 5th goal this season, but the first of the year for Carney. Chicago moves into 4th place by virtue of the victory, two points ahead of Sky Blue and three points ahead of Atlanta and Washington.

Sky Blue's goal was scored by Brittany Taylor. She has scored in the last two games and is the only Sky Blue player to have scored since June.

Chicago moves to 5-8-5, with 20 points. Their hold on fourth is precarious as every other team has at least one or two games in hand with respect to the Red Stars. They will travel to the opposite coast to face league leading Gold Pride next weekend. Sky Blue dropped their fourth straight match and are at 5-8-3. They will travel to Atlanta for their next match.

1) FC Gold Pride (12-3-2, 37 pts); 2) Philadelphia (8-5-3, 27 pts); 3) Boston (6-6-4, 22 pts); 4) Chicago (5-8-5, 20 pts); 5) Sky Blue FC (5-8-3, 18 pts); 6) Atlanta (4-7-5, 17 pts); 6) Washington (4-8-5, 17 pts).