July 31, 2011

Independence Regain 1st Place with Victory over Beat

Veronica Boquete scored her fifth goal of the season and it proved to be the game winner as the Philadelphia Independence defeated the Atlanta Beat 1-0 in Chester on Sunday. A crowd of 4162 saw the Independence regain sole possession of first place with a three point lead on Western New York.

In the first half of action, Atlanta appeared to be the more dangerous club. In the 25th minute, Lori Chalupny got around Kia McNeill to go in one-on-one against Nicole Barnhart from the left side of the box. Barnhart did a great job of cutting down the angle and then deflected Chalupny's shot wide.

But if the Beat held their own in the first half, the second half was all Philadelphia. Just a couple of minutes into the half, Nikki Krzysik sent Tina DiMartino in alone on a breakaway, but with Atlanta keeper Allison Whitworth coming out, she place her shot just wide of the left post. In the 56th minute, an Amy Rodriguez cross found the head of Tasha Kai, but Whitworth made a diving save on the shot headed just inside the left post.

Boquete finally put Philly up 1-0 on a great individual effort. Rodriguez nodded a header forward to Boquete, who cut toward the right side of the penalty area with Kat Reynolds on her shoulder. Whitworth made a very good save on Boquete's first effort, but the Spanish striker was able to outfight Reynolds for the rebound and put it in the back of the net.

Whitworth was able to keep the game close in spite of the Independence having several 1 v. 1 opportunities against her in the second half. She stopped Boquete with a big save in the 74th minute.

Atlanta had few chances in the second half, but Lori Chalupny's one-timer from 18 yards forced Barnhart to dive near post to block the ball away in the 76th minute.

Philadelphia followed with several more chances in the last 10 minutes. Whitworth stopped one-on-one chances from Kai, Lianne Sanderson, and Boquete in the closing minutes of the match.

Veronica Boquete once again proved to be the difference maker for Philadelphia. The Independence raised their league-leading record to 10-3-3, now three points ahead of Western New York. However, they have just two games remaining, while the Flash have four. Philly hosts Sky Blue next Sunday.

In spite of strong games from Allison Whitworth and Lori Chalupny, the Beat suffered their sixth straight shutout and are now winless in their last 14 matches. Their record stands at 1-11-4 and their two remaining matches are against Western New York.

WPS Standings
(1) Philadelphia 10-3-3, 33 pts; (2) Western New York 9-2-3, 30 pts; (3) Sky Blue FC 5-6-4, 19 pts; (4) magicJack 6-6-2, 19 pts; (5) Boston 4-7-4, 16 pts; (6) Atlanta 1-11-4, 7 pts.