Heading into the final week of its regular season, already eliminated from playoff contention, the Chicago Red Stars had virtually nothing to play for.
But with two wins -- Philadelphia Independence on Wednesday; Washington Freedom on Sunday -- the Red Stars, without leading scorer Ella Masar, showed their grit, determination and pride, spoiling the chances of two teams fighting for playoff positioning.
Without Masar, someone needed to step up. That role was gladly taken by recent pickup Veronica Boquete.
Boquete joined the Red Stars on Aug. 7 after leading her former club Buffalo Flash to the 2010 W-League Title with a brace to drop the Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1.
"What I saw in her was her ability to hold the ball up top, under pressure, and be able to bring other players into play," said Namazi of Boquete's play while in the W-League. "Additionally, I felt she is both clever on the dribble and also clever with her final pass -- something that we were in desperate need of.
"Her unselfish running off the ball also creates opportunities for her and others on the team," Namazi concluded.
And when she was rewarded with minutes last week, she showed that Namazi was right with his assessment.
In two starts the Spanish national striker netted the game-winning goal in the 2-0 win over Philadelphia, and had a pair of helpers in a 2-1 win over Washington on Sunday.
"She has come in and fit in right away with the rest of the group," said Namazi. "She has worked hard in both games, and it's shown both in the team results, as well as her own statistical output."
For Boquete's accomplishments, she has been awarded the Week 21 WPS top player. Also receiving consideration for top dog last week was Meghann Burke, who helped shut down Gold Pride (1-1 on Wednesday) and Atlanta (0-0 on Sunday) combining for 11 saves while keeping her Sky Blue FC club in the playoff hunt going into the final week of regular season play.
For more on Women's Professional Soccer, visit Goal.com's WPS page and join Goal.com USA's Facebook fan page!