August 7, 2011

magicJack Clinches Playoff Berth

magicJack 2, Boston Breakers 0

For the third straight season, magicJack has clinched a playoff berth. They defeated the Boston Breakers 2-0 on Saturday evening on the strength of two goals by player/coach Abby Wambach. The franchise made the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 when known as the Washington Freedom.

The match was played before 7188 fans in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the second largest home crowd in Boston history.

The two teams battled without a goal for almost the entire first half. Not surprisingly, both of Wambach's goals came via the header, one in the 44th minute on a cross from Megan Rapinoe and the other in the 55th minute off a Sarah Huffman corner kick. The goals were the 8th and 9th of the season for Wambach, putting her in second in WPS behind Christine Sinclair.

Boston had a chance to cut the lead to one in the final ten minutes, but Lauren Cheney's penalty kick was stopped by Jill Loyden and magicJack was able to preserve the shutout.

The win moves magicJack's record to 8-6-2 for the season, good for 25 points (after the one point penalty deduction). They host the league's two top teams this week, Western New York on Wednesday and Philadelphia next Sunday.

Right now, they have a six point advantage on Sky Blue with both teams having two matches left. Sky Blue plays Philadelphia today. Either a magicjack tie or win, or a Sky Blue tie or loss, means that magicJack would clinch third place and host the first round playoff match. Sky Blue holds the tiebreaker edge based on head-to-head goals this season.

Boston drops to 4-9-4. The Breakers' playoff hopes are still alive, but just barely. They need Philadelphia to defeat Sky Blue today and then need to beat Sky Blue themselves when the two meet next Sunday.

Western New York Flash 2, Atlanta Beat 0

The Flash took over sole possession of first place as they defeated the Atlanta Beat 2-0 in Kennesaw, Georgia. Both Flash goals were scored by Marta. The match was played before 7,112 fans at KSU Soccer Stadium.

It didn't take long for the visitors to jump on top. The Flash scored in just the 9th minute of the match as Yael Averbuch sent a low cross to the feet of Marta who finished into the right side netting.

Western New York doubled their lead in the 41st minute. This time it was Christine Sinclair setting up Marta to make it 2-0. It was Marta's 7th goal of the season.

The Flash defense managed to hold Atlanta without a shot on goal for the entire match. Ashlyn Harris earned the shutout for WNY. The Beat suffered their seventh straight shutout and have now gone scoreless for 667 consecutive minutes. Their record falls to 1-12-4.

The Flash improved their record to 11-2-3. Western New York is now three points ahead of Philadelphia, pending the outcome of Philly's match with Sky Blue this afternoon. They travel to Florida to play magicJack on Wedensday and then finish the season at home against Atlanta.