Goal.com's WPS Player Of The Week: Amy Rodriguez, Philadelphia Independence

Amy Rodriguez broke out of her offensive slump, tallying a goal and assist while leading her Philadelphia Independence club to a 2-1 win over WPS defending champion Sky Blue FC.
Welcome to Philadelphia Amy Rodriguez.

Mired in a season-long goal-scoring drought since coming to the Philadelphia Independence in the off season from the Boston Breakers, A-Rod netted the game-winning goal, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 28th minute to give her club a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish Sunday at home against Sky Blue FC.

"She is in terrific form and if two of her goals had not been disallowed (both were shown to be onside) she would be leading the league in scoring," said Independence coach Paul Riley in an e-mail. "She has doubled her 2009 tally at Boston and I think will go on and reach double figures and prove to be a very valuable addition to our expansion franchise."

Rodriguez helped get the scoring started just two minutes into the contest, setting up Lori Lindsey for the game’s first goal. After receiving a pass from Lianne Sanderson, Rodriguez found Lindsey who notched her second goal of the season.

After the game, Rodriguez, caught up in the glory of victory forgot she had the assist on the early goal, but remembered “her shot was amazing.”

Laura Kalmari tied things up for Sky Blue FC in the 10th minute, but Rodriguez broke the deadlock with her second goal of the season 18 minutes later, courtesy of a Sanderson through ball set up.

Philly held on for the 2-1 win, all thanks to Rodriguez.

"It was not one of our better performances against Sky Blue FC," said Riley. "But due to A-Rod's sharpness we were able to get three valuable points which keeps up in touch with the playoff pack."

Rodriguez scored her first goal since Week 3 when Philadelphia beat the Washington Freedom (4-2-2, 14 points) 3-1. Coupled with Washington’s tie against FC Gold Pride, the Independence now join the Freedom in a tie for second, two points behind the Gold Pride, in the WPS table.

Rodriguez’s goal and assist is the reason she beat out Sanderson for this week’s Goal.com WPS Player of the Week.

Not to mention Rodriguez’s performance was against the WPS Player of the Month Karen Bardsley, who leads the WPS with four shutouts this season. A-Rod knows it’s huge “to score a goal like that against Bardsley who has been such a strong keeper in this league.”

And it’s equally huge for the Independence (4-2-2, 14 points) to get the win over Sky Blue FC (3-3-2, 11 points) who they were tied with going into the day because, “we are at a point in the season where every game is so important,” according to Rodriguez.

"A-Rod has the potential to be one of the top strikers in the world," said Riley. "Our goal is to provide her with an environment where she can reach her dreams."

Also receiving strong consideration for this week’s honors were Sanderson of the Independence for her strong play, and Marta, who netted the Pride’s only goal in the 1-1 tie with Washington. Marta took seven shots, 13 corners and created several opportunities for teammates throughout the night in her best match of the season.

For more from Goal.com contributor Giovanni Albanese Jr., follow him on Twitter @GAlbaneseJr

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