Sunday, 25 April 2010
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
Boston Breakers v Philadelphia Independence Sun April 18th
The Philadelphia Independence held the Boston Breakers to a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Harvard Stadium.
The game came alive in the 2nd half and was end to end and also very physical which resulted in the Independence midfielder Jen Buczowski sent off for incurring 2 yellows.
It was Boston who started the 1st half on the front foot. They had an early chance when Kristine Lilly was put through at the side of the box and drove inside. She looked to be brought down by Heather Mitts. The referee pointed to the spot to award a PK however he went to his assistant ref who said Lilly was offside. Freekick to Philadelphia. The Breakers had a few more dangerous opportunities in the first half, but Karina LeBlanc came up with three major saves to keep the game scoreless entering halftime.Lianne Sanderson towards the end of the 1st half was through on goal but was denied by Ashley Phillips.
The Independence came out energized in the second half, substituting Joanna Lohman for Mitts and switching to a 4-4-2 formation. However The Breakers got the 1st goal in the 49th minute. A Kelly Smith free kick that was deflected of the wall. Le Blanc had no chance she was going the other way and had to correct herself. Smith's 2nd goal of the season.
The Independence bounced back immediately, equalizing just six minutes later off a headed finish from central defender Allison Falk. Lori Lindsey sent a perfect bending free kick to the back post that Falk buried beyond Breakers keeper Phillips. Falk scored the first-ever WPS goal last season in the inaugural 2009 WPS match, and tonight scored the first-ever WPS goal for the Independence franchise.
Both teams continued to create offensive chances for the remainder of the half until Philadelphia went down to 10 with the red card for Buczowski in the 88th minute. Boston took the game to Philadelphia for the final minutes but the Independence held on for the point.
LineupsBoston Breakers: Ashley Phillips; Alex Scott, Amy LePeilbet, Stephanie Cox, Kasey Moore; Chioma Igwe, Leslie Osborne, Kristine Lilly(C), Kelly Smith (Tiffany Weimer,89'), Liz Bogus (Laura del Rio, 74'); Lauren Cheney
Philadelphia Independence: Karina LeBlanc(C); Nikki Krzysik, Allison Falk, Sara Larsson, Heather Mitts (Joanna Lohman, 46'); Jen Buczkowski (R-88), Caroline Seger, Lori Lindsay (Estelle Johnson, 90'); Holmfridur Magnsdottir, Lianne Sanderson (Denesha Adams, 69'), Amy Rodriguez
Midfielder Kelly Smith, Boston Breakers
On what the Breakers can improve on
Finishing when we have our opportunities. You know I had one where I should’ve scored early on. [Kristine] Lilly had one that she probably deserved and was disappointed that she didn’t put away. [Lauren] Cheney at the end there with the header. Opportunities that you need to put away in games like this.
On her knee
Fine. Good, healthy.
Defender Allison Falk, Philadelphia Independence
On her goal
It was the perfect ball that came in. I was wide open went up for it, put a head on it and it went in. It was very exciting that first goal [for us] that tied the game and brought momentum back in our favor.
FC Gold Pride v NJ Sky Blue FC Sat April 17th
In their home opener, FC Gold Pride defeated defending WPS champion Sky Blue FC 3-1, with a pair of goals by Christine Sinclair and a goal by Marta. Sky Blue FC leveled the game with an early goal in the 2nd half from Laura Kalmari in the 49th minute but it was not enough to avoid their 1st defeat in 4 matches.
The Pride started the first half strong creating multiple chances to score with shots from Camille Abily, Marta, and Sinclair. In the 10th minute, Sinclair scored her first goal of the season, putting away a deflected save off a shot from Abily. Sky Blue came back and created a couple of chances.In the 28th minute, Kalmari struck a well hit ball towards the FC Gold Pride net, and the next two Sky Blue FC possessions ended with shot attempts by midfielder Heather O’Reilly and forward Tasha Kai.
Sky Blue FC came out of half time starting a new front line with Rosana and Jessica Landstrom who entered the game for Kai and Carli Lloyd. With the new attacking duo adding more pressure to the Pride's back line.Sky Blue got back into the game to tie it up on 49 minutes. Rosana crossed a ball to the center of the field, where Landstrom put a touch on the feed. With the ball trickling towards the end line, Kalmari stepped onto the scene to strike the ball off the far post and into the net.
The Pride answered back in the 75th minute with Sinclair's second goal. Kelley O'Hara-who had a good game- played a ball into space for a running on Sinclair who chipped Sky Blue FC goalkeeper, Karen Bardsley, to put the Pride ahead.In the 82nd minute, Marta finished it off with scoreing her first goal as a member of FC Gold Pride after receiving a pass from O'Hara-her 2nd assist of the game- and struck a shot into the upper corner of the goal past a diving Bardsley.
FC Gold Pride: Nicole Barnhart;Ali Riley, Rachel Buehler (C); Candace Chapman; Kristen Graczyk(Kandace Wilson 79); Becky Edwards; Carrie Dew; Camille Abily (Kiki Bosio 72);Marta, Kelley O'Hara; Christine Sinclair (Tiffany Milbrett 85)
NJ Sky Blue FC: Karen Bardsley; Keeley Dowling(Kiersten Dallstream 82); Daphne Koster; Brittany Taylor; Danielle Johnson; Heather O'Reilly; Carli Loyd (Jessica Landstrom 45);Yael Averbuch; Kacey White(C); Laura Kilmari; Tasha Kai (Rosana 46)
Albertin Montoya -FC Gold Pride Head Coach
Chicago Red Stars v Saint Louis Athletica Sat April 17th
The Chicago Red Stars in front of over 5000 fans held league leaders Saint Louis Athletica to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park, Chicago. Rookie Casey Noguiera with a fantastic strike leveled the game after Lori Chalupny put Athletica in front.
St. Louis Athletica dominated the first half with captain Chalupny scoring in the 3rd minute of the game,pouncing onto a loose ball giving the visitors an edge they used through the rest of the first half.
The Red Stars went on the attack in the second half. In the 58th minute, a Red Star player put a shot over Solo that hit the crossbar and bounced straight down. The Red Stars stayed on the attack and then Red Stars midfielder Katie Chapman sent the ball from right to left to Nogueira, who took one dribble toward the middle to free space then fired the ball into the upper right corner.
Much of the rest of the second half was played in the midfield, but the Red Stars went on the attack again in the final five minutes and Nogueira had a nearly identical shot opportunity in the final couple of minutes but sent it high.
For the game, Hope Solo had six saves for Athletica and Jillian Loyden made a pair of saves and batted away several other potential Saint Louis scoring opportunities
Chicago Red Stars: Jillian Loyden (GK), Marian Dalmy, Kate Markgraf(C), Ifeoma Dieke, Whitney Engen, Kosovare Asllani, Kate Chapman, Brittany Klein (Formiga, 70), Julliane Sitch (Karen Carney, 65), Ella Masar (Casey Nogueira, 46), Cristiane.
Saint Louis Athletica: Hope Solo (GK), Elaine (Nikki Cross 30), Kendall Fletcher, Tina Ellertson, Elise Weber, Carolyn Blank, Lori Chalupny(C), Shannon Boxx, Aya Miyama (Madelaine Edlund 67), Tina DiMartino, Eniola Aluko (Lindsey Tarpley 77).
Red Stars midfielder Casey Nogueira:
On her second potential scoring chance: "That was a sitter. I should have just placed it, and I blasted it; it went right over."
Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo:
"They came at us with numbers. They threw everything at us. At times it looked like they had a far aggressive back line. And it was hard to control. I think our best defense against them was moving the ball on the attack."
Washington Freedom v Atlanta Beat Sun April 18th
Washington Freedom posted their first victory of the 2010 season, defeating expansion team Atlanta Beat 3-1 in the first meeting between the two teams. Freedom forward Abby Wambach, posted one goal and two assists to help Freedom clinch the win Sunday night.Ramona Bachmann goal was 1st for Atlanta in WPS.
Play went back and forth in the first half with Atlanta maintaining good possession and chances by Beat midfielder Lauren Sesslemann in the fourth minute, Johanna Rasmussen in the eighth, and Tobin Heath in the 11th.
The Freedom took the lead late in the first half with a goal in the 41st minute scored by Wambach with an assist by Sonia Bompastor. Bompastor took a free kick for Freedom, sending a dangerous ball in front of the Atlanta goal, where Wambach was waiting to tap the opening goal past the Beat goalkeeper Allison Whitworth.
At the start of second half, Atlanta’s Mami Yamaguchi played a through ball into Bachmann in the 47th minute. Bachmann ran in behind the Freedom defense to score the Beat’s first goal in WPS history.
Nearly three minutes after Bachmann’s finish, a Washington Freedom serve came in from right midfield. Wambach laid it off to Homare Sawa who shot from the top of the box and put the Freedom up 2-1 in the 50th minute. Christie Welsh scored the game’s final goal in the 89th contributing to the 3-1 result.
Washington Freedom: Erin McLeod; Rebecca Moros; Cat Whitehill(C); Nikki Marshall; Sonia Bompastor;Allie Long (Sarah Huffman 59);Homare Sawa; Lene Mykjaland (Jill Gillbeau 81);Becky Sauerbrunn;Lisa DeVanna (Chrstie Welsh 64);Abby Wambach.
Atlanta Beat:Alison Whitworth, Lauren Sesselmann(Sophia Mundy 88), Kia McNeill, Leigh-Ann Robinson, Stacey Bishop, McCall Zerboni(Monica Ocampo 67), Angie Kerr(C)(Amanda Cinalli 67), Mami Yamaguchi, Johanna Rasmussen, Tobin Heath, Ramona Bachmann
Freedom striker Abby Wambach
Beat midfielder Tobin Heath
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Sky Blue FC opened up the 2010 WPS season with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars last Sunday, and look to continue the defense of their title with back-to-back wins.Natasha Kai will be dangerous in attack and the defence is looking like being one of the best in the league. They will be without LB Meghan Schnur who is out with a knee knock. Christie Rampone and Anita Asante still not available.
Saturday's Home Opener will mark the Pride's first time playing in front of Bay Area fans at Castro Valley High School Athletic Stadium, after moving their home stadium and front offices during the 2010 offseason.The fans want a win. Against Saint Louis, Coach Montoya played Marta in midfield with Tiffany Millbrett, Kelly O'Hara and Christine Sinclair up front. This left the Pride's midfield exposed. Marta needs to be closer to the goal to take any chances that fall to the Pride. And Camille Abilly and Solveig Gulbrandsen need more help in midfield especially against the well oiled midfield of Sky Blue with has Yael Averbuch and Carli Lloyd patrolling the middle and Heather O'Reilly and Kacey White coming in from the flanks.
Prediction - This is tough. It will come down to who scores first. 1-0 away win Sky Blue. Confidence is an extra man. Sky Blue have bags of it.
The Philadelphia Independence is looking to capture its first win of the season at Harvard Stadium on Sunday night's televised game, taking on the Boston Breakers in their second game of the season.Boston look to maintain their form by getting another win. Tonight's game will be a sort of reunion for Heather Mitts and Amy Rodriguez who previously played for Boston last season. Mitts will be playing her first game of the season after missing last weekend through injury and the Independence also welcome back defender Alison Falk from suspension. Boston are missing the Brazilian Fabiana through injury. Kelly Smith and Lauren Cheney both should start up front continuing their blossoming partnership.
Expect a tight game.
Prediction - Home win Boston. 1-0
Sun April 18th 2010 7pm ET
Week two of WPS is underway as Washington Freedom hosts Atlanta Beat, tonight, at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the first meeting between the two teams. 2010 is the inaugural WPS season for the Beat. Both teams are looking to post their first wins of the 2010 season, after Atlanta opened the season with a scoreless tie against fellow 2010 WPS expansion team, Philadelphia Independence and Freedom fell 2-1 against Boston Breakers in the home opener. Freedom will look to improve the defensive line, as well as continue working on the fundamentals of attacking and possessions in hopes of converting more chances in the box to goals. Both teams’ rosters are heavy with international players as well as plenty national talent, setting the stage for an exciting first meeting between Washington Freedom and Atlanta Beat.
The visitors should welcome back swiss striker Ramona Bachmann who missed the first game due to illness.
A tough match for both teams. It will be a battle especially between Abby Wambach and Kia McNeil.
Prediction - Home Win Washington 2-1
The week that was!
WPS got started last weekend with all 8 teams taking to the field. Saint Louis Athletica find themselves at the top of the table with a 2-0 win against FC Gold Pride on Sunday at The Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park,Missouri. Eniola Aluko scoring on 40 mins and 62 mins ,both assists from Shannon Boxx.
The win was a surprising result to some as FC Gold Pride had new signings Marta and Camille Abily in the lineup. But the Athletica’s dominant midfield play set them up for a win.
Boston Breakers roll into 2nd place in the league with a 2-1 win away to Washington Freedom. Rookie Lauren Cheney scoring in the 7th minute from a corner by Kristine Lilly and Kelly Smith continuing her open day scoring streak with a goal on 20 mins from a pass by Stephanie Cox. The Freedom managed to pull one back in the dying minutes at The Maryland SoccerPlex with a great shot from Allie Long in the 87th minute. Washington could not find a way to get the equalizer and Boston held on for the win.
The televised Sunday game from Fox Soccer Channel was for the defending champions NJ Sky Blue FC
Sky Blue FC v Chicago Red Stars
Saint Louis Athletica v FC Gold Pride
Philadelphia Independence v Atlanta Beat
Washington Freedom v Boston Breakers
Eniola Aluko - Player of the Week.
Congratulations to Saint Louis Athletica forward Eniola Aluko who has been named the first WPS Player of the Week in 2010 after scoring both goals in Athletica’s 2-0 win on Sunday over FC Gold Pride. This is the second time Aluko has won the honor. She was Player of the Week in Week 12 of WPS’s inaugural season. No surprises to see her already leading the goal scoring charts.
"I am delighted to get the first player of the week accolade of 2010,” said Aluko upon being informed of the award. “I am so pleased that I was able to contribute to what was a great team performance against FC Gold Pride at the weekend. I aim to score more goals than last season, so this will give me confidence to keep scoring."
Ex-Chelsea player Lianne Sanderson was in from the start for Philadelphia Independence partnering US star Amy Rodriguez. Sanderson was tidy and showed of her close ball control linking up well with Rodriguez, especially at the end when her control of the ball and through ball found Rodriguez in on goal.
Anita Asante is still rehabbing her knee. Training with the team and looks to a June comeback.
Kelly Smith on Boston's win against Washington.
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Sun April 11th 2010 4 pm ET
This match looks on paper to be the most exciting player wise. Marta, Camille Abily, Shannon Boxx and Aya Miyama are all from the disbanded Los Angeles Sol and who all were so dominant for them now play on opposite sides of the pitch.
Saint Louis Athletica come back with 9 players from last year but they have added experience during the off season. As well as Boxx and Miyama they also added Lindsey Tarpley from the Chicago Red Stars, former Gold Pride midfielder Tina DiMartino and Brazilian Elaine and Swedish striker Madelaine Edlund from Umea IK.
Elaine could slip into defence and Edlund should provide a scoring partnership with Athletica top striker Eniola Aluko. Captain Lori Chalupny has been plagued by symptoms from concussions and may be a question mark. Daniela who recently resigned is still out injured. GK Hope Solo will have to contend with a new defence in front of her.
FC Gold Pride look for another win again to start their season. Coach Montoya likes to play like Barcelona. He may get that wish with Marta and Abily in the ranks. Offensively the Pride have many options with Christine Sinclair for height and power and college #3 pick Kelly O’Hara with her 1 v 1 abilities joining Marta, but it will be in midfield and defence where they need to improve the most. Both area were very soft last season. To contend for the championship the likes of new team captain Rachel Buehler and Norwegian midfielder Sloveig Gulbrandsen need to have a massive impact on the team.
The game will be a battle of the midfield. What midfield will come out on top and dominate the game? The one that does, their team will win the game.
Prediction - Home win for Saint Louis, just!
The two new expansion teams face off for their first match. Who made up this schedule? Both cities have a deep history in women’s soccer and both will have incredible support from the fans of the cities.
Philadelphia have gone with experience for their first season. Most of their roster consists of players that have already played last year on other WPS teams or experienced internationals. In defense they have no1 GK Karina LeBlanc and top defenders Alison Falk and Heather Mitts. They have a WPS champion in Jennifer Buczkowski in the ranks, she having played a major part for Sky Blue in the playoffs. Midfield consist of Swedish captain Caroline Seger and Lori Lindsay who had a good first season with the Freedom. Up top England’s Lianne Sanderson is out to prove she is England’s no1 and Amy Rodriguez is looking to make a better impact than she did in Boston.
If Philly get to gel early they could be a very workmanlike team that will be difficult to beat and no team would like to play them.
Atlanta by contrast have gone for a very youthful team. Full of impact players that like to run with the ball and attack. The key to the Beat will be in midfield. They picked up good professional steady players in the offseason such as Angie Kerr and Amanda Cinalli from Saint Louis. No1 draft pick Tobin Heath will bring the fans in with her skills and 1v1 tricks and the likes of McCall Zerboni and Mami Yamaguchi can offer width and another attacking presence. If the midfield can get the ball to the forwards Atlanta may just be our favorite team to watch.
In the forward positions a clutch of internationals hold the key. Among them, young upstart Ramona Bachmann, who comes to Atlanta with a big reputation and an abundance of talent . If given the chances and the service she will score goals. A natural goalscorer she is.
Expect Atlanta to come out fast with many attacking opportunities. Philly may stem the flow of the attacks and sneak one in. It will be interesting however with the contrast in styles.
Prediction - Home win. Philadelphia to overpower, eventually.
The first televised game opens with the defending WPS champions at home. A thrilling match should occur as both teams have a point to prove. Sky Blue will be looking to show people that their win was not a undeserved or a fluke and the Red Stars need to show they can live up to the talent on the paper. Games are not played on paper.
Sky Blue come into the new season with yet another coach in Pauliina Miettinen from Finland. That’s how many now? What hasn’t changed is that many of the core players from last season are back. They have also added quality players in the offseason to push again for the playoffs. The Dutch captain Daphne Koster will slot into the back and star strikers Jessica Landstrom and Laura Kalmari will add more attacking presence that was missing for many games last season. They will join a fit again Natasha Kai in the hunt for goals. In midfield the core of the team remains with Carli Lloyd coming in from Chicago replacing Collete McCallum to provide the service.
Chicago come in to the new season with a new mentality. Although they return with 9 players from last season, from the looks of it, it is an entirely new team. The team will still have the flair players of Cristiane, Megan Rapinoe and Karen Carney but they have added players with experience and steel to keep the squad ticking over. Kate Markgraf returns to organise the defence and probably the team. England’s midfielder Katie Chapman should provide a strong presence in midfield. Something that was not there last season. Up top Cristiane is fit and settled right from the start and Swedish starlet Kosovare Asllani and UNC star Casey Noguiera should provide a cutting edge.
Going from games from last season between these two teams, the games will be hard fought.
Prediction - Home win. The crowd behind them Sky Blue will be to strong for an improved Red Stars team.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Sat April 10th 2010 7pm ET
Once again the Washington Freedom play in the opening game of the WPS Championship. This time versus the Boston Breakers. The Breakers again will be opening on the road.
Both teams however will be looking for a different opening result. A win. Both teams lost their opening matches to Los Angeles Sol and FC Gold Pride respectively.
Who wants it more?
Washington return with the core of their squad -13 in all - with a few players added to shore up the defence and run the midfield. Look to a better defensive display from the Freedom as it’s looking likely that Cat Whitehill, Sonia Bompastor and college rookie Nikki Marshall are in the back. GK Erin McLeod starts from the start which is a big difference to last season. In midfield Sarah Huffman should return to give them a more attacking midfield push. Norwegian striker Lene Mykjaland may also start in midfield or off the main striker Abby Wambach. Wambach is also fully fit and is in form. What formation they play we will see but expect it to be fluid from 5 in midfield to 2 up front.
Boston come into the match looking for goals. They have overloaded on attack minded players. College draft #2 pick Lauren Cheney, Spanish international Laura Del Rio, Australian Sarah Walsh, Tiffany Weimer add to returnees Kelly Smith and Kristine Lilly. Not hard to see where Coach DiCicco felt his team lacked last season. However with so many attacking players the system they play in and who fits where becomes important. In midfield Leslie Osborne should start and in defence they get a boost with Stephanie Cox from Los Angeles Sol slotting into the left back position vacated by Heather Mitts. Smith is back fit and looks to start up top.
Will the game turn into Washington’s defence v Boston‘s attack? Hardly, but we will get the first glimpse of how each team sorts out their biggest problem from last year.
Prediction - Both teams could cancel each other out. A score draw.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
WPS have launched their own fantasy football/soccer game this season.It is open to everyone although to win the prizes on offer you have to be a US resident but that shouldn't stop the participation of the game for us foreigners.
Check it out and sign up to support WPS and women's soccer and if anything else it's fun fun and more fun. You can even create your own leagues. Brit league anyone?
How would you like to run your own WPS team? Here’s your opportunity.
The WPS Fantasy Challenge has just launched and allows fans to test their knowledge of WPS players while competing in leagues against friends, family and fans for bragging rights. It is the first-ever Fantasy Game for women’s soccer. Great prizes – including PUMA gear and player-autographed items – are on the line for season-long winners, while weekly prizes will also be awarded. Fans must manage their roster to stay under the $10 million team budget, while seeking to maximize the points they accumulate each week based upon how their selected players perform in actual WPS games.
Learn more about the WPS Fantasy Challenge HERE
Play the WPS Fantasy Challenge HERE
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
During 2009 there were a number internationals that increased their stature in the game and impressed fans. Boston Breakers English star Alex Scott and the French midfield pair of Camille Abily ,Los Angeles Sol and Sonia Bompastor of Washington Freedom. To name just three who were relatively unknown outside of their country but had an excellent season making their way onto the WPS All Star team which was voted for by fellow players, fans and the media.
College players that made their mark and were vital to their teams and deservedly earned starting positions included the Los Angeles Sol rookie defence of Stanford’s Allison Falk and Notre Dame’s Brittany Bock and Santa Clara’s midfielder Brittany Klein all of them outgunning more experienced players in defence and midfield to shine brightly .
So who will make their mark this season? Over the next few days till kick-off we will profile a few of the players new to WPS and the public, whom we hope will make a name for themselves, entertain fans and push women’s soccer that bit further forward.
Katie Chapman - Chicago Red Stars and England
Chapman a strong , committed and tough tackling midfielder, makes her way to Chicago Red Stars via Millwall, Fulham, Charlton and Arsenal. A member of Arsenal’s 2007 quadruple winning squad , Chapman was the engine in midfield that propelled the team to a historic season which ended with them claiming the European Cup against a Umea side which included someone called Marta.
A senior member of the England team with 76 caps and 8 goals having competed in the 2001,2005 and 2009 European Championships and 2007 Women’s World Cup. England’s best player at Euro 2009. So say all of us here at womans soccer insider.
Chapman should bring heart , experience and a bit of steel to Chicago’s midfield.
Ali Riley - FC Gold Pride
All the way to the Bay by way of LA, Stanford and New Zealand.
LA born Riley is a pacey full-back, winger. The former striker offers speed and directness to any team. She was captain of a Stanford team that went 25-1 and reached the final of the 2009 NCAA Championship. The rookie from Stanford is a rookie in WPS name only. She is a mainstay on the New Zealand national team with 34 caps, represented NZ in the 2007 Women’s World Cup and 2008 Beijing Olympics Games. At 22 years old Riley has already captained her national team and help take NZ to the finals of the 2010 Cyprus Cup where they went down narrowly 1-0 to Canada.
Riley will bring speed, commitment and experience to the FC Gold Pride back line with the green light to join in attack by overlapping up the wing and providing crosses and through balls. Strength lies in taking on and beating defenders at pace.