WPS Previews: Week Ten

Week 10 of Women's Professional Soccer features three matches. Twelve points separate the first team from the last team. It's still anyone's game.
In week 10 of Women’s Professional Soccer, six teams take the pitch. Three teams are looking to climb out of the bottom of the standings. Los Angeles looks to continue its domination. And Sky Blue FC returns home with an interim coach. Chicago is sitting out this week with a much-needed break after dropping three straight losses.

The Sol sits a top the league with  17 points. Twelve points separate the first from the last… but there’s plenty of time left for any team to take control.

Los Angeles Sol vs. Saint Louis Athletica, Home Depot Center, Carson, CA, Saturday, May 30 2009 at 7:00 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Sol  (5-1-2) is still dominating WPS opponents, sitting at the top of the WPS table with 17 points. Saint Louis (2-2-2) is slowly but surely improving with every game. While they are still sitting toward the bottom of the table, Saint Louis has won its last two games, shutting out opponents 3-0. The first time these two clubs met, the game ended in a scoreless draw.

The Sol is fresh off a convincing 2-0 win over FC Gold Pride. Aya Miyama and Camile Abily led the Sol to the win. Marta leads the club and the league with four overall goals. Los Angeles has outscored opponents 9-2. The offense is strong, but the defense is stronger. Goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc has collected six shutouts on the season, while making 28 saves and allowing just two goals.

Athletica surprised the Red Stars last weekend, posting a 2-0 win and handing Chicago its third straight loss. An own goal and an Eniola Aluko goal led the club to a 2-0 win. Saint Louis did it all without starting goalkeeper Hope Solo. They’re a solid club who is quietly sneaking up the WPS standings.

The first time they met, the clubs played evenly. Saturday’s match should bring a goal or two. But expect it to be a hard-played match and a fun one to watch.

Washington Freedom vs. FC Gold Pride, Maryland SoccerPlex, Germantown, MD, Sunday May 31, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. ET

FC Gold Pride (3-4-1) will go on the road this weekend to play the Washington Freedom (2-2-3). Gold Pride sit in third place on the league table, while the Freedom are in fourth place with one game in hand. The last time these two met up, they engaged in a fierce seven goal battle, with the Freedom emerging victorious after a late Abby Wambach goal.

Washington is unbeaten in its last four games, with the most recent match resulting in a 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC on May 23rd. It was their first home win of the season. Though the Freedom pulled off a victory without her, they will be happy to welcome Wambach back to the lineup after missing her for two matches. She served a one game suspension, and then played in the USA/Canada friendly this past Monday.

FC Gold Pride is just coming off a 0-2 loss to first-place L.A. Sol, but did win the last away game, beating the Chicago Red Stars 1-0 on May 16th. They will be very happy to have some important players back from national team duty, including starting goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, as well as Rachel Buehler and Christine Sinclair. Unfortunately, one of their most consistent performers, right back Kandace Wilson, suffered an injury in the Sol game and will miss the rest of the season.

Only one point separates these two teams on the league table, so a win for Washington will see them leap frog Gold Pride into third place, and potentially even second if Boston loses on Sunday. Should the Gold Pride come away with all three points, they could snag the second place spot.  

Regardless of the outcome, if history is any indication, both teams will come out firing on all cylinders and putting on a great performance for the fans.

Sky Blue FC vs. Boston Breakers, Yurcak Field (Rutgers), Piscataway, NJ, Sunday May 31, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Sky Blue FC (1-4-2) returns home for the first time in a month. This time they’re moving into a new stadium with a new coach. Ian Sawyers was released of his duties, leaving interim Kelly Lindsey to lead the club. Sky Blue FC dropped a 2-1 decision to Washington last weekend, but not without putting up a good fight.

The Boston Breakers (3-2-2) sat out last week, but the club is eager to get back into the swing of things. The last time out, Boston forced a 1-1 draw with the Washington Freedom. Kelly Smith leads the Breakers attack with four goals. She’s tied with the Sol’s Marta for the most goals in the league. Boston can be just as lethal as any team out there given their attack.

Sky Blue FC is still sitting at the bottom of the league standings with only five points. Their one win is getting old quickly for all in charge. Although a new leader could help turn things around. Sky Blue FC has only found the net four times this season, while allowing seven goals. Boston has allowed nine goals, but has also scored nine goals. They’re pretty solid from front to back.

Sunday’s nightcap will feature a first meeting for both teams. While they haven’t played each other… they’ve undoubtedly seen a lot of tape. It will be a good match. Boston should pick up where they left off. Sky Blue will continue to search for its second win. It will be a close call.


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