September 11, 2010

WPS Weekend Preview - September 11

Boston Breakers (10-8-5, 35 pts) at Sky Blue FC (7-10-6, 27 pts)
Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ – September 11 (7 pm ET)

Boston: GK-A. Naeher, A. Phillips; D-A. LePeilbet, I. Dieke, S. Cox, K. Moore, C. Igwe; MF-L. Tarpley, K. Lilly, J. Angeli, Fabiana, L. Bogus, A. Marquez; F-L. Cheney, L. Del Rio, T. Hemmings.
Not Active: A. Scott (national team), K. Smith (national team), S. Walsh (knee), A. Lipsher.

Sky Blue: GK-J. Branam, M. Burke, S. Myers; D-C. Rampone, D. Koster, M. Schnur, K. Dowling, J. Grubb, K. Fletcher, D. Johnson; MF-H. O’Reilly, L. Kalmari, Y. Averbuch, B. Taylor, K. White, I. Trotter; F-Rosana, T. Kai.
Not Active: C. Lloyd (yellow card accumulation); P. Panico (national team), K.Parker (national team), A. Salem.

Previous Meetings (2010):
Boston 0 @ Sky Blue 0
Sky Blue 2 @ Boston 1
Sky Blue 0 @ Boston 4
Sky Blue leads the all-time series at 4-1-2.

Playoff Outlook:
Boston will clinch 2nd place with a victory or a Philadelphia loss or tie.
Sky Blue can clinch a playoff berth with a victory and a Washington loss or tie.

What To Look For: Both teams will have something to play for in this match. In a series that had been dominated by Sky Blue, Boston destroyed SBFC by a 4-0 margin the last time the two teams met. Although they will be playing at Yurcak Field, Sky Blue would not appear to have much of a home field advantage given that they are 2-4-4 at home, while the Breakers are 5-2-4 on the road.

There will be a lot of key players missing in this one. Boston’s leading scorer Kelly Smith and defender Alex Scott will be away on national team duty. Sky Blue will be missing Patrizia Panico and Kelly Parker for the same reason. Carli Lloyd is suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation. She has received yellow cards in three consecutive matches, the first of which was back in April before her injury.

This is a must win for Sky Blue. Jen Branam is not listed on the roster report as being injured, so it will be interesting to see who Sky Blue will start in goal. Lack of scoring has been a problem all season for Sky Blue and they may very well have to shut out the Breakers to defeat them. Tasha Kai has been the bright spot on offense as of late, with two goals in her last three games.

The Breakers would like to wrap up second place without the help of Gold Pride later in the evening. They will miss Smith, but they have a lot of scoring alternatives this year and that could make the difference in this match.

There will be no backing into the playoffs this year for Sky Blue. They either win this match or there's no chance that they will be playing next week. The Breakers will definitely be hosting a playoff match, but a win here would make their route to the championship a shorter one.

Atlanta Beat (5-12-6, 21 pts) at Washington Freedom (7-9-7, 28 pts)
Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD – September 11 (7 pm ET)

Atlanta: GK-H. Solo, B. Maron, M. Lofton-Malachi; D-T. Ellertson, K. McNeill, L. Robinson, S. Bishop, K. Fountain, L. Sesselmann; MF-A. Miyama, M. Yamaguchi, L. Chalupny, C. Blank, M. Zerboni, R. Nolin; F-M. Ocampo.
Not Active: E. Aluko (national team), R. Bachmann (national team), J. Rasmussen (national team), A. Kerr, A. Cinalli.

Washington: GK-A. Harris, M. McCray; D-C. Whitehill, B. Sauerbrunn, N. Marshall, R. Moros, K. Eveland, B. Bock, A. Asante, M. Abegg; MF-H. Sawa, A. Long, B. Goebel, J. Gilbeau, B. Klein, C. Miskel; F-A. Wambach, C. Welsh.
Not Active: S. Huffman (red card suspension), L. Mykjåland (national team), S. Bompastor (national team).

Previous Meetings (2010):
Atlanta 1 @ Washington 3
Washington 2 @ Atlanta 0
Washington 2 @ Atlanta 3

Playoff Outlook:
Washington will clinch 4th place with a victory or a Sky Blue loss or tie.

What To Look For: The Freedom probably couldn’t ask for a much better set of circumstances in a big game situation. They face a depleted, last-place Atlanta Beat squad that has nothing to play for and they play them at home where they have posted a 6-2-3 record this season (with one of those games being at RFK). Atlanta will be without their two leading scorers in Eniola Aluko and Johanna Rasmussen.

A victory clinches a playoff berth for Washington. They could accomplish the same with a Sky Blue loss or tie, but would rather it not come to that with the teams playing simultaneously on Saturday. The Freedom will also be without several key players including Sonia Bompastor, Sarah Huffman, and Lene Mykjåland.

Abby Wambach has scored 12 goals this season, with two of those coming against the Beat. She has also scored 9 goals at the SoccerPlex. The Freedom defense has been much stronger lately, led by rookie goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and rookie defender Nikki Marshall.

Without Aluko and Rasmussen, Monica Ocampo is Atlanta’s top scorer with just three goals this season. The Beat have been quite inconsistent defensively, but will need to be in top form here.

Basically, Washington just needs to take care of business. They have won their last three home games, giving up just one goal in those matches. With another win here, the Freedom will be traveling north for a first round playoff match.

Philadelphia Independence (10-9-4, 34 pts) at FC Gold Pride (15-3-5, 50 pts)
Pioneer Stadium, Hayward, CA – September 11 (8:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm PT)

GK-V. Henderson, R. Jones; D-A. Falk, H. Mitts, N. Krzysik, E. Johnson, K. Henderson, S. Senty; MF-L. Lindsey, T. DiMartino, J. Lohman, J.Buczkowski; F-A. Rodriguez, L. Sanderson, D. Adams, L. Patterson.
Not Active: C. Seger (national team), S. Larsson (national team), H. Magnusdottir (hip/groin), K. LeBlanc (national team), K. Reynolds, G. DiMartino.

Gold Pride: GK-N. Barnhart, B. Cameron; D-R. Buehler, C. Chapman, A. Riley, K. Wilson, C. Dew, N. Cross; MF-S. Boxx, B. Edwards, K. Graczyk, K. Yokers; F-Marta, C. Sinclair, T. Milbrett, K. O’Hara, K. Bosio.
Not Active: C. Abily (national team), E. Guthrie, R. Tantillo.

Previous Meetings (2010):
Gold Pride 3
@ Philadelphia 1
Philadelphia 0 @ Gold Pride 2

Playoff Outlook:
Gold Pride has clinched first place and home field advantage in the final.
Philadelphia can clinch 2nd place with a victory and a Boston loss or tie.

What To Look For: Philadelphia is assured of a home playoff game, but a victory could vault them into 2nd place. By halftime, the Independence will know if there is still a chance for that to happen. Gold Pride would like to continue their long unbeaten streak.

Gold Pride has given up just eight goals in their current twelve match unbeaten streak. Bay Area has been tough all season, but is especially strong at home where their record is 7-1-3. They have twice defeated the Independence this season. The damage has been done by Christine Sinclair with three goals against Philly and Marta with two.

Philadelphia is in a scoring drought and their current three game losing streak is their longest of the season. The Independence will be missing several key players including Caroline Seger, Frida Magnusdottir, Sara Larsson, and Karina LeBlanc. Tina DiMartino has scored the lone goal for the Independence against Gold Pride.

The Independence would hate to go into the playoffs on a four match losing streak, whether they finish second or third. This game may mean more for their confidence than it does for their placing.