September 1, 2010

Breakers, Independence Clinch Playoff Berths

Boston Breakers 3, Atlanta Beat 1

The Breakers continued their hot streak by easily defeating Atlanta 3-1. Goals by Lindsay Tarpley, Jordan Angeli, and Kristine Lilly enabled Boston to build a 3-0 lead by early in the second half. Eniola Aluko got one back in the 64th minute, but it wasn't enough. Alyssa Naeher got the victory in goal for the Breakers.

The Breakers broke a record by scoring in their 13th consecutive game, which was previously held by Philadelphia. Boston is 9-2-1 over their last 12 games, after finishing June with just seven points total.

The victory clinched a playoff berth and at least one home game for the Breakers who now have 35 points. It also moved them into 2nd place, one point ahead of Philadelphia. They will travel to the west coast to face Gold Pride on Sunday. Atlanta will host Sky Blue in their final home game on Sunday.

Chicago Red Stars 2, Philadelphia Independence 0

Veronica Boquete made an instant impact in her first start for the Red Stars, scoring in the 4th minute to help lead Chicago to a 2-0 shutout over the Independence. Boquete had signed with the Red Stars after helping the Buffalo Flash to a W-League championship, but visa issues had kept her from playing for the Red Stars until tonight.

Marian Dalmy added a second half goal on a laser from over 25 yards out to cement the victory. Jill Loyden earned the shutout for Chicago.

Philadelphia still managed to clinch a playoff berth by virtue of Sky Blue's tie against Gold Pride, but they fell out of 2nd place. Philly still needs one point to clinch a home playoff match. This marks the first time that the expansion Independence have lost three in a row. They take the weekend off before finishing their season on the road against Gold Pride on September 11.

Sky Blue FC 1, FC Gold Pride 1

Sky Blue was just minutes away from taking this game, but a late goal by Becky Edwards scored for Gold Pride in the 90th minute forced a 1-1 draw. The goal was set up by a Camille Abily free kick.

Edwards' goal countered an absolutely beautiful effort and goal by Tasha Kai in the 72nd minute. Kai received a long ball from Heather O'Reilly into the penalty area and deftly touched the ball past a defender to give her space for a shot, which she buried from 10 yards out.

With Jen Branam out with an injury, Meghann Burke got her first start in goal for Sky Blue. Burke played a strong game and looked to be headed for the shutout before it was spoiled in the closing moments.

It was devastating blow to Sky Blue's playoff chances. They now stand two points behind the Freedom for the fourth and final playoff spot. Both teams have two games left, but Washington holds the tiebreaker. Sky Blue travels to Atlanta on Sunday, while Washington plays at Chicago.

1) FC Gold Pride (14-3-5, 47 pts); 2) Boston (10-7-5, 35 pts); 3) Philadelphia (10-9-4, 34 pts); 4) Washington (7-8-7, 28 pts); 5) Sky Blue FC (7-10-5, 26 pts); 6) Chicago (6-11-6, 24 pts); 7) Atlanta (5-12-5, 20 pts).

FC Gold Pride has clinched the top seed.
Boston and Philadelphia have clinched playoff berths.
Atlanta and Chicago have been eliminated from playoff contention.