July 27, 2011

Philadelphia Takes Over First; Sky Blue Moves into Third

Philadelphia Independence 1, Boston Breakers 0

Veronica Boquete's goal in the 83rd minute broke a scoreless tie and sent Philadelphia to a 1-0 victory over the Boston Breakers in Cambridge. The win moves the Independence into first place in WPS.

The goal was Boquete's fourth of the season. Laura del Rio, who had just come in as a late substitution, assisted on Boquete's goal.

Several national team players were getting their first start since returning from Germany. Amy LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler, and Stephanie Cox all saw their first action since the 2011 World Cup concluded. Aya Sameshima of the World Cup champion Japanese team made her first ever start for Boston as a midfielder.

For Philadelphia, Nicole Barnhart and Amy Rodriguez were in the starting lineup. Paul Riley decided to start Barnhart over Val Henderson and it paid off with a shutout for his team.

Philadelphia raises their record to 9-3-3, good for 30 points and a three point cushion over second place Western New York. However, the Independence have just three games remaining, while the Flash have five. Philadelphia will return to action on Sunday, at home against the Atlanta Beat.

Boston falls to 4-6-4 and are now tied for fourth place with magicJack. The Breakers presently have the edge in goal differential if it comes down to a tiebreaker. Next up for the Breakers is a Saturday clash against magicJack in Boca Raton.

Sky Blue FC 2, magicJack 0

Sky Blue took over sole possession of third place with a 2-0 victory over magicJack on Wednesday night. Midfielder Allie Long scored a first half goal to put Sky Blue in the lead and the New Jersey eleven used an own goal by Abby Wambach to seal the victory. It was the first road victory for Sky Blue this season and the first home loss for magicJack.

The first goal was set up by Therese Sjogran corner kick, with Long finishing in the 15th minute. It was Long's third goal of the season, with the first two came via penalty kick.

Sky Blue's second goal was also from a corner kick, this time in the second half. It was Casey Nogueira sending the ball into the penalty area, with Wambach's attempted clearance going into her own net.

MagicJack outshot Sky Blue by an overwhelming 27-6 margin, but the New Jersey team was able to secure the victory. Jen Branam recorded 13 saves in the shutout, her fifth of the season.

As in the night's other contest, a few national team players were seeing their first action since the World Cup. Shannon Boxx made her first start for magicJack since returning from Germany, while Megan Rapinoe was a second half substitution.

Sky Blue improves to 5-5-4 overall. They now have 19 points and are three points clear of both magicJack and the Boston Breakers for third place. They return home to play their last regular season home match on Saturday evening against the Western New York Flash.

MagicJack drops to 5-6-2. They are now winless in their last six outings. With the one point penalty assessed earlier in the season, they have just 16 points and are now tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Boston Breakers, a team they will face in a Saturday showdown at Florida Atlantic University.