It was a day for the history books as the WPS held its inaugural game, which LA Sol took 2-0 over the Washington Freedom in the Home Depot Center.
As the bookkeeper slaved away deep in some labyrinthine cave where things like that happen, people were pretty busy at the Home Depot Center as well. Officials, players, media, organizers, volunteers, and fans all contributed to the inaugural game of WPS.
“Today is an historic day for soccer and women's sports in the U.S. and the world,” said WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “We have kicked off a new league that can stake its claim as the world's premier soccer league for women based on the talent our teams have assembled. We have laid a foundation that can – and will – support a successful, entertaining and sustainable league. There is still a lot of work to be done, but today is about celebrating the return and the birth of Women's Professional Soccer and about watching world class soccer at the highest level in America.”
The game kicked off to a recorded video of FIFA president Sepp Blatter welcoming WPS to existence in a heart-warming address.
The game opened to high pitched cheering, and it didn't take long for Marta, largely regarded as the most talented female player on the planet, to assert herself. In the first minute, she stripped Alex Singer on the left, and cut in towards goal, only to be muscled off the ball. The squeals or delight from the fans were piercing.
Five minutes later and the game had a goal. Midfielder Aya Miyama sent in a free kick from deep on the right hand side, and Freedom 'keeper Briana Scurry hesitated as she came out, letting Sol defender Allison Falk nod home from between her hands.
From there the game settled into a scrappy, disjointed encounter, and it became clear that both teams were playing their first competitive matches. Washington's Abby Wambach wasted the best of her team's chances, including one in the 29th that bounced off her hand when she was free in the box. Sol's Shannon Boxx controlled most of the midfield.
Washington changed things up before half, bringing on Lisa De Vanna for the ineffective Claire Zimmeck up front, but it did little to help. In the second half, the team sent a brace of long efforts wide, and Lori Lindsey powered a shot off the post from a corner.
LA would make them pay. In the waning minutes of the game, as Washington pushed forward, Marta led a counterattack. Finding the left congested, she switched the field of play and found Camille Abily wide open on the right. Abily chipped the on-rushing and stranded Scurry from 25 yards to seal the game.
2-0 and game over.
It's all there in the record books.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com