September 19, 2010

Philly Advances on Overtime Goal by Rodriguez

It took all of 120 minutes and then some, but the Philadelphia Independence defeated the Washington Freedom 1-0 to advance to the WPS Super-Semifinal. Amy Rodriguez scored in stoppage time of the second overtime period, with the match being within seconds of heading to penalty kicks.

The Independence will travel to Boston to meet the Breakers on Thursday evening at Harvard's Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. The winner of that match will face FC Gold Pride in the final next Sunday.

The first half of the match was fairly evenly played, with Philadelphia having a slight edge in chances. However, the Independence created chance after chance in the 2nd half and came close to scoring several times.

The best opportunity came very late in regulation as Rodriguez hit the post with her shot and the rebound by Lori Lindsey was cleared. Freedom goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was able to stop all other threats, as she did an excellent job of keeping the game scoreless through regulation. Meanwhile, in spite of a few Washington opportunities, Val Henderson was rarely tested at the other end. The Freedom were credited with no shots on goal for the match.

After a scoreless first overtime and with just seconds left in the second overtime, Tina DiMartino sent a pass to Rodriguez at the 18. She was able to get clear for a shot and put it in the left side of the net, just past Harris, for the winner.

Philadelphia outshot Washington by a 24-6 margin and held the edge in shots on goal by 9-0. In this, the fifth meeting between the two teams, the home team has won every match. For the second year in a row, Washington lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Freedom are the only team to have made the playoffs in both WPS seasons.

Philadelphia will now take on a red hot Boston Breakers club that has held the advantage over the Independence in 2010. Boston won two of the four meetings with the remaining two matches ending in ties.