WPS Power Rankings: Week Four
In this week's power rankings, a new team takes over the top spot in spite of the team below still undefeated with three clean sheets.
The rankings are all about performance, and big results. You get the job done impressively, you'll move up. If you get the job done PERIOD, there is no guarantee that you won't get bumped.
So, on to this week's rankings.
1. BOSTON BREAKERS
While the Celtics got their hearts broken against Chicago, the Breakers put Washington's home field advantage in a proverbial blender.
And the person dishing out the smoothies was none other that Boston's Kelly Smith.
She converted a penalty in the 56th minute after Angeles Hucles was fouled by Freedom goalkeeper Briana Scurry.
Later in the match, a header by the Breakers' Christine Latham was followed by a shot inside the box by Hucles, doing justice to what was a sensational 2nd half for Tony DiCicco's team.
"There was some good and some bad,” DiCicco said after the match. “I thought our back line and our goalkeeper Luckenbill defended very well. Offensively we finished very well in the second half.
"I didn’t think we passed the ball as well as we normally have, and we gave a lot of balls away, but give credit to Washington for that. I’m proud of this team though. The best teams find a way to get results even when not playing their best, and I thought we did that tonight."
Boston looks to continue their goal party next week against the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park on April 25 at 8:30PM ET.
2. LOS ANGELES SOL
Los Angeles, fresh off the Easter weekend, were rusty in their passing and finishing, but still did enough to notch a 1-0 victory against FC Gold Pride.
The win keeps the Sol at the top of the WPS standings, with nine points out a possible nine.
Marta's 47th minute strike came off a feed from Aly Wagner.
Abner Rogers' Sol will look to keep their winning streak going against bottom-dwellers St. Louis Athletica on April 25 at 4:00PM ET.
3. CHICAGO RED STARS
The home opener for Chicago was met by a rainstorm...and 5,824 supporters braving the elements to descend upon Bridgeview's Toyota Park.
Emma Hayes' Red Stars and Sky Blue FC battled to a 0-0 draw, with keeper Caroline Jonsson putting on a saving clinic under threatening skies and threatening chances from the visitors.
The Red Stars will be hosting a crunch match with the high-flying Breakers on April 25 at 8:30PM ET.
4. SKY BLUE FC
Ian Sawyers' Sky Blue FC created some chances to steal three points away from Chicago, but were denied.
Sarah Walsh, Collette McCallum, Heather O'Reilly, and Kacey White hounded Jonsson throughout the match.
Despite the draw, Sawyers was put his team's effort in stride.
"It was great to be a part of history here in Chicago - it was a good crowd and the fans in Chicago are hardcore just like the fans in New Jersey," said Sawyers after the match. "Coming away with the point on the road is not the perfect outcome. We played much better in the second half and created more chances."
Sky Blue will take the week off, before facing a reeling FC Gold Pride team at Buck Shaw Stadium on May 3 at 8:00PM ET.
5. FC GOLD PRIDE
The Pride, and head coach Albertin Montoya, were left to rue the wasted opportunities that laid in from of them in their 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Sol.
The best player on the pitch for the women of the Silicon Valley was Rachel Buehler, who was able to prevent the shutout from becoming a full-on rout.
FC Gold Pride will look to regain their winning momentum against the Washington Freedom in the friendly confines of Buck Shaw Stadium on April 26 at 6:00PM ET.
6. WASHINGTON FREEDOM
The slide for Jim Gabarra's Freedom continues.
The Boston Breakers routed Abby Wambach and company in a 3-1 smash-and-grab at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.
Goalkeeper Briana Scurry would pay for her harsh challenge on Angela Hucles with a spot kick conversion by Kelly Smith.
In the losing effort, Washington's Lori Lindsey scored an early equalizer in the 60th minute before Christine Latham and Hucles put the match out of reach.
Gabarra put a positive spin on the match for his side. “The first half was really substandard for both teams. I think it was tentative, we didn’t have good pressure on the ball.
“The second half was better—a bounce here or there, you go ahead 2-1, I think the game’s probably over.”
Scurry, too, tried to put on a courageous face after the full-time whistle. “You’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to be tight. You’ve got to have everybody in position at every moment with [Boston] because they have such great attacking weapons.
"They’re going to punish you if you’re not careful.”
It's the type of warning that will put Chicago on alert against the Breakers.
As for the Freedom, the quest for first victory continues against FC Gold Pride at the SoccerPlex at 6:00PM ET. The match will be covered by Fox Soccer Channel.
7. ST. LOUIS ATHLETICA
Athletica, under manager Jorge Barcellos, have yet to notch their first goal of the season.
"It is a hard time that we are facing, we are creating the opportunities and have been working a lot on finishing," said Barcellos in an exclusive interview by the club. "When things don’t work you have to change.
"The forwards know that their main responsibility is to score goals and they feel the responsibility upon them. But when they get in front of goal that weight sometimes gets on them."
Barcellos was satisfied with his club taking the week off.
"What our team needs is games but it doesn’t mean we are going to stop working. We will prepare hard these next couple of weeks.
"I have a lot of trust in my group."
That trust will need to pay off as Athletica, led by Lori Chalupny and Hope Solo, host league leaders Los Angeles Sol on April 25 at 4:00PM ET.
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