June 11, 2011

Preview: magicJack at Atlanta

magicJack at Atlanta Beat (7 pm eastern, Saturday)
KSU Soccer Stadium, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Atlanta Beat (1-6-2)
Coach: James Galanis
Goalkeepers: A. Whitworth, A. Lipsher.
Defenders: C. Whitehill, K. Dowling, K. Reynolds, J. Sitch, A. Marquez.
Midfielders: L. Chalupny, M. Jesolva, I. Trotter, K. White, K. Wright, B. D'Agostino, A. Salem.
Forwards: M. Lenczyk, L. Patterson, K. Bethke, L. Sesselmann.
Not active: H. Mitts, C. Lloyd, K. Parker, K. Fraine, C. Flanagan.

magicJack (4-2-0)
Goalkeepers: B. Maron, S. Myers.
Defenders: T. Ellertson, M. Schnur, N. Marshall, L. Vandenbergh.
Midfielders: S. Huffman, M. Dalmy, N. Washington, O. Davis, A. DaCosta
Forwards: E. Masar, C. Press, R. Moros, J. Rasmussen.
Not active: J. Loyden, H. Solo, C. Rampone, B. Sauerbrunn, S. Boxx, S. Schmidt, L. DeVanna, A. Wambach, L. Tarpley (injury).

Atlanta hopes to build on the momentum of their tie with Philadelphia last weekend. MagicJack has lost two of their last three and is looking to get back on track.

MagicJack won the last meeting between these two teams by a 4-0 margin in Boca Raton. However, they will be missing no fewer than eight players to national team duty this weekend. Their three back formation worked well for them on the narrow field at FAU, but it has been less effective on the road, where they have lost both matches.

As happened a week ago, magicJack completed a trade with the team they will be playing. They sent Kacey White to Atlanta for a 2012 draft selection. Last week, they got burned by their trade as Meghan Klingenberg won WPS Player of the Week honors leading Boston to victory over her ex-team.

Clearly, losing eight players is going to hurt magicJack for this contest. But they still have scoring potential in Ella Masar and Christen Press. Defensively, magicJack has had no trouble handling Atlanta's attack, shutting them out twice already this season. Tina Ellertson leads magicJack's back line.

Brett Maron will likely get her second consecutive start in goal. Last weekend, she gave up two quick goals to Boston, but then shut them out over the final 70 minutes of the match.

Atlanta has to get their offense untracked. They have now been shut out over their last three and a half matches. They are averaging just 0.56 goals per match, well under the all-time lowest scoring pace of 0.83 that they and Sky Blue set last season. And one of their five goals was a penalty kick. With Kelly Parker and Carli Lloyd not active for this match, it's not going to be easy.

Lori Chalupny leads this team, both as captain and presently as their leading scorer. The addition of her former UNC teammate Kacey White should help the offense. White was getting very little playing time with magicJack, but will be a welcome addition to the Beat.

Allison Whitworth got the start over Alli Lipsher against Philadelphia and had a very good game. She will be looking for her second straight shutout against magicJack.

MagicJack dominated the first two matches these teams played. It might be a bit different this time, given how many players they are missing. Atlanta desperately needs a win or they will risk losing touch with the other teams in the standings, not good considering they are now halfway through their schedule.