June 4, 2011

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Atlanta Beat at Philadelphia Independence (7 pm eastern, Saturday)
Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Independence (2-2-2)
Coach: Paul Riley
Goalkeepers: V. Henderson, R. Jones.
Defenders: K. McNeill, N. Krzysik, L. Robinson, H. Magnusdottir, E. Johnson, L. Barnes.
Midfielders: S. Farrelly, C. DiMartino, J. Buczkowski, J. Lohman.
Forwards: T. Kai, L. Sanderson, L. del Rio, V. Boquete, D. Adams, G. DiMartino.
Not active: N. Barnhart, L. Lindsey, A. Rodriguez, M. Rapinoe, A. Falk, L. Fowlkes.

Atlanta Beat (1-6-1)
Coach: James Galanis
Goalkeepers: A. Lipsher, A. Whitworth.
Defenders: C. Whitehill, K. Dowling, K. Reynolds, J. Sitch, A. Marquez.
Midfielders: L. Chalupny, M. Jesolva, K. Wright, B. D'Agostino, A. Salem.
Forwards: M. Lenczyk, K. Parker, L. Patterson, L. Sesselmann.
Not active: C. Lloyd, H. Mitts, I. Trotter, K. Bethke, K. Fraine, C. Flanagan.

This is a match between two teams seemingly going in opposite directions. Atlanta has dropped five matches in a row. In spite of their narrow loss to Western New York a week ago, the Independence have been coming on and look to challenge for second place.

Both teams will be hit by national team absences, Philadelphia the worst of the two. Nicole Barnhart, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez, and Lori Lindsey will be away for this match. For Atlanta, they will be missing Heather Mitts and Carli Lloyd. Mitts has been out of the lineup for several weeks because of injury.

While the Independence will be missing several players, they will also be welcoming the arrival of another player, Veronica Boquete, who has finally joined the team. She will join Tasha Kai, Laura del Rio, and Lianne Sanderson in the Independence attack.

In spite of losing Lindsey and Rapinoe for this match, Philly is still in good hands in the midfield with Joanna Lohman, a WPS veteran, stepping in. Val Henderson will be in goal in place of Barnhart.

Atlanta is still looking for ways to score. Last week, the official stat sheet showed them with zero shots on goal. The Beat have been outscored 14-1 over their five game losing streak. With one of their leading scorers, Carli Lloyd, gone for this match, it will not be easy for the Beat to turn things around. With two goals, Lori Chalupny has been one of the few offensive bright spots for Atlanta this season.

One ray of hope is that Kelly Parker and Julianne Sitch have had another week of practice to acclimate to their new teammates and that should help the chemistry a bit. The Beat will be looking for contributions from several of their rookies for this match, including forward Meghan Lenczyk and midfielder Megan Jesolva.

Alli Lipsher has been the Beat starter in goal for most of the season and she has veterans Cat Whitehill and Keeley Dowling in front of her.

The last time these teams met, Atlanta was able to take a 1-0 lead into halftime and had a player advantage, only to see the lead slip away in the second half. With this match marking the halfway point in the season for Atlanta, they will be looking to this match for a turnaround in their fortunes. Philadelphia wants to get a win at home to improve their positioning for the playoffs.