T-120 minutes to kickoff: And history will be made today. This is the beginning of a new league, and a new chapter in the women's game, with the debut of Women's Professional Soccer.
Geez, I am just getting the goosebumps hearing about it-hold on, my cell phone just went off...hold on.
Bleacher Report, this is JR. What? You mean to tell me that this is NOT the WPS Inaugural Game?
What!? And that the Inaugural Game was two months ago? And that this is the second match between these two sides? Well! That's news to me. Thank you for letting me know. By the way, you're fired.
Sorry about that. Apparently, this is the second match of between the Los Angeles Sol and the Washington Freedom.
All right, if you guys were following my columns on b/r or on my blog at womensprosoccer.com, you knew that I knew that we were in the middle of the season. I just posted that to ensure that you were paying attention.
Anyhoo, this is the last of three straight home games for the Sol, managed by Abner Rogers. They are head and shoulders above everyone in the WPS right now. Los Angeles is nine points ahead of Jim Gabarra's Freedom, sitting in second place.
T-55: Congrats to Roger Federer for winning the French Open, to Japan, Australia, South Korea and the Dutch for punching their 2010 tickets, and to the USA and Galaxy for their victories. (And yes, to Chivas, too...it has been a good day for the local and national sides.) Sol keepers begin preliminaries...
T-50: ...followed by the rest of the team, and Washington.
T-49: It's a battle of the Canadian keepers. Erin McLeod vs. Karina LeBlanc. The question: is McLeod a more competent net-minder than Brianna Scurry was in their first meeting?
T-47: I am hopeful that the Lakers will not make this series a best-of-five.
T-40: The Freedom return to the pitch for their preliminaries.
T-39: The lineups. Brought to you by Women's Professional Soccer. Visit WPS online at womensprosoccer.com. WPS. "See Extraordinary."
LOS ANGELES SOL
Colors: Dark blue tops, shorts and socks
Manager: Abner Rogers
2 Sanchez ---- 3 Falk ---- 19 Franko ---- 14 Cox
8 Miyama ---- 7 Boxx (C) ---- 20 Abily ---- 4 Wagner
11 Bock ---- 10 Marta
9 Han Duan
Han Duan (lower back) is on the bench today, but is listed as probable. Rogers has chosen to start Brittany Bock (heel contusion) and Aly Wagner (hip) in spite of their injuries, which don't look too bad. Keri Sanchez gets her first start for the Sol.
Colors: Red tops, shorts and socks
Manager: Jim Gabarra
3 Gilbeau ---- 4 Whitehill ---- 21 Singer ---- 22 Sauerbrunn
5 Lohman ---- 8 Bompastor ---- 10 Sawa
9 Long ---- 17 De Vanna --- 20 Wambach (C)
Look for Sonia Bompastor, WPS Player of the Month for May, to be the catalyst against the Sol.
T-29: I smell something good, as I watch the Criterium de Dauphine Libere. I'm getting hungry.
T-28: This match will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel. Enjoy some of the action from Mark Rogandino.
T-26: Today is also Heroes' Day. So a certain group of Solpporters will be recognized for what they have done/contributed to their community.
T-22: Ted Unkel is our match official. Our linesmen are Adam Brugman and Colin Arblaster. The fourth official is Ryan Van Duyne. All guys. Hmmm...let's see what happens.
T-21: How about El Salvador shocking Mexico 2-1, huh? Heh...
T-19: Back to the change room for final instructions.
T-13: Now here's something fun...kid ninjas demonstrating. Don't hurt yourselves, grasshoppers. And now the tunnel team gets a fields-eye view of the action, while I give you a words-eye view of the pre-match pageantry.
T-10: Now the veterans take to the stage-er-pitch...which is it? Kami-sama, I forgot.
T-7: They're putting on a good show, this team, aren't they? Red Dragon Grande of Chino Hills, ladies and gentlemen.
T-5: We got ourselves a large Tunnel Team today. Ah, the power of alliteration compels you.
T-4: Curse these Detroit Tigers...they are ruining my day. Have mercy Miss Percy, I hope the Orlando Magic don't do the same thing against the Lake Show.
T-1: National Anthem by LAPD officer Rosalind Perry. Brilliant, officer!
KICKOFF: 3:08 PM
1' - Here we go. Can the Sol make it two-for-two against the Freedom, or will Washington even the score in perfect June football weather? 71 degrees Fahrenheit, fair, with some clouds.
Sol brgin the game with a good possession, but Washington go on the counter. I checked some commentary from BigSoccer on Hope Solo's criticism of the Sol not playing as a team.
Most agree that LA isn't there yet, but they also agree that they are progressing better that St. Louis Athletica and the rest of the league for that matter.
Bias? Or counter-argument? You make the call.
2' - Here comes the Freedom. Not a good first shot. LA back on the attack.
3' - Rough challenge, says Unkel. (I'm gonna have fun with this pun. Hey, that rhymes!) Washington ball, but not a good possession.
4' - The BigSoccer scrutenizers also say that defensively they are close to the gelling stage, as testified on that series by the Freedom.
5' - Marta on a early break, but well marked. good save by McLeod. She is going to be tested early and often today.
6' - Washington resets.
7' - Abby Wambach is going to be marked. On that series by the Reds, they triple-marked her. Handball. Los Angeles is bailed out.
8' - Set piece time. Joanna Lohman gets the first yellow of the match for the Freedom. Free kick parried away for a corner.
9' - Another danger averted. I think the more you win, the more you tend to gel as a team because you have a chemistry that will get you places. The Sol drumline and Thunderstix resonate across the Toolbox.
10' - No foul, clean tackle. Ohh, it was gonna be deja blue all over again...sigh of relief.
11' - Great save by McLeod. Brittany Bock paying tribute to mother Kelly on the Jumbotron.
12' - McLeod is going to have fun scooping the ball up.
13' - Yikes. Lisa De Vanna just ran a Sol player over, and nearly took advantage.
14' - GOAL!!! #20 Camille Abily Assist: # 8 Aya Miyama, # 7 Shannon Boxx
She's done it again, she's done it again! Miyama, Abily, and Captain Shannon team up on the counter. Freedom on the heels once more. Number five for Camille.
Bad save by McLeod. And Abily flashes the X.
15' - Offsides LA. Ooooh, those ladies in dark blue were on the verge of shutting them down early. But Washington has come from behind before, so we got a lot of football to be played.
17' - Sunny T. Shark rallies up the Solpporters, nodding his head in approval.
18' - LeBlanc didn't get a good hand on that, but the back line is there. Corner for the Freedom. I told you this defense was gelling.
19' - Here comes Washington, but the Sol are on a breakaway.
20' - That looked to be a foul on Washington, but instead of a penalty, it's a corner. Punched away by McLeod.
21' - Player down on the field for Washington, and Wagner is bleeding. Head-on-head collision. She collided with Alex Singer. She's gonna have to be checked on, but I reckon she is done for the day.
23' - Now anybody who says that WPS is not a physical league...has just been stood up. Big time. They will have to play with 10 for the time being, the Sol...but Washington will relish the empty space.
24' - Wagner got a gash on her left eyebrow. A big one. Larkin may need to be brought in early, or Zerboni or Sari.
26' - An attempt by Wambach to head in the equalizer failed. Goal kick for LeBlanc.
27' - Substitution Los Angeles Sol
IN 4 McCall Zerboni
OUT 6 Aly Wagner
Man, you gotta feel for Aly. First a hip injury, then a gash? I have more respect for her than when I first started. But now McCall's gonna have to answer the call of filling in for Wagner.
29' - That was a rough challenge on Miyama, who is growing her own lion's head.
30' - Washington is going to switch to some roughhouse marking to get back on track.
31' - The Freedom reset.
32' - Here comes the Freedom, but they are offsides. Singer should be thankful that she didn't even get a caution, let alone a red. REALLY thankful.
33' - Here come the Sol. Marta tells Miyama, "You should have done better on that." Okay, maybe Hope does have a point. Maybe.
35' - Good clearance by Becky Sauerbrunn.
36' - Corner for LA. Side netting. Just missed going inside the post.
37' - Bompastor's gonna have to be careful not to dissent.
38' - And Wambach is shaken up. Again. She's all right, though.
38' - Karina LeBlanc with a great save off the set piece.
39' - Here come the Freedom. Great marking by Allison Falk on De Vanna. And another offsides.
40' - I hope that in future versions of the EA SPORTS FIFA series, we can play the top women's leagues. Corner for Washington.
41' - LeBlanc and Marta team up to clear that Washington cross.
42' - The long passing, again, needs work. Here comes Washington. A corner for the Freedom. What can they make of this?
43' - Another corner, says the officials. Marta on the counterattack. That backheel pass by Abily could use some work; there was no one open. No one. With a capital NO. Wait a minute, that's a letter? Holy (bleep)!
44' - Two minutes stoppage, says Ryan VanDuyne. I don't think the Solpporters will get McFlurries today.
45' - In the words of Johnny Warren, "I told you so."
45' + 1' - Washington resets. Good save by LeBlanc. No card on Wambach. That could have been a red at the worst.
45' + 2' - Here's another corner for Washington. Good clearance by the Sol. Defensively, they are on their game.
Los Angeles Sol 1
Washington Freedom 0
Had a little ditty here:
She's a hero,
Gonna take the Freedom down one-zero,
She's Los Angeles magnified
And she's playing on Abner Rogers' side.
She's a hero,
Gonna take the Freedom down one-zero,
Gonna help her put asunder
Opponents that play our brand of soccer.
We're LA Sol fans,
And you can be one too,
'Cause cheering for the LA Sol's the thing to do.
Cheering for the [other team] is not the way.
Hear what Captain Shannon has to say!
"This Victory is Yours!"
I was inspired by Boxxy's interview during half-time. Honest.
By the way, I like Philadelphia's team names: Union (MLS) and Independence (WPS). Snakes and Indies...and the Sol Patrol are back at it.
SECOND HALF START: 4:13 PM
46' - All right. Let's see if the Freedom can equalize. I just realized...I am sitting below Jenn Hildreth and Mark Rogandino. We start with a corner. Cleared by Washington.
47' - Rogers in a suit and tie. We call that "Stylin' and Profilin'."
48' - Live on FSC and live on the pitch.
49' - Good save by Erin McLeod on that Sol attack. Mexican wave going around. Slackers below me. For shame.
51' - Great marking by Cat Whitehill on Marta. Here comes Washington, but the defense holds.
52' - Turn off the music, please!
53' - Thank you. Uh oh, it looked like LA was going to pay for the counter by the Freedom, but they were offsides. I am reckoning that Wagner is being examined at a clinic nearby.
54' - Here comes a set piece chance off a corner for Washington. Cleared by Captain Shannon.
55' - Play on, says Ted Unkel.
56' - High shot for Aya Miyama. Too much wasabi on that roll.
57' - Bad challenge by Boxx. Set piece time for Washington. Much better Mexican wave.
57' - GOAL! #8 Sonia Bompastor
She gets this one off the rebound. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a game.
59' - Header from Bock went wide of the nylon. But it's a penalty for a handball by Whitehill.
60' - GOAL! #20 Camille Abily (penalty)
Number Six of the year. It's 2-1 Sol on a Abily brace. The pressure is on the Freedom again.
61' - Let's see what the Freedom do on this corner. Sol clears, and McLeod had to go off her line.
63' - Substitution Washington Freedom.
IN 2 Sarah Sentry
OUT 21 Alex Singer
64' - I think the folks are going to need to make a Camille Abily bobblehead now.
65' - What a save by McLeod. That was going to be one for the franchise, the No. 10, Marta. Or is it ONE of the franchise players? Ahhh, every one of them is a franchise player. Who am I kidding
65' - Washington is on the defensive again. The Sol are moving in.
66' - GOAL! #11 Brittany Bock Assist #10 Marta
It's a rout. The Sol are pouring it on now. I just wrote a special on Bock, and it looks like she's in for the kill.
67' - The Freedom now are on the ropes. They need a rally, or else LA is going to show no mercy today.
68' - Wait a minute, they already aren't!
69' - Two wins and a draw...not bad. Still more football to be played. Corner for the Sol.
70' - Washington on the offense, but the Sol are there.
71' - Good tackle by Boxx, but it's a yellow. Sympathy for the Freedom, Unkel Ted? Thought so. Set piece time.
71' - A leaping save from LeBlanc. And another one. It's like a replay. She saved that from exactly the same area. Or close to it.
And that was a high shot for camille. She wants a hat trick, the #20 from Rennes.
72' - Substitution Washington Freedom
IN 19 Rebecca Moros
OUT 3 Jill Gilbeau
74' - Header too high for LA.
75' - The home side is just having fun out there.
76' - And another handball. Boy, Washington is just lapping up these fouls, aren't they? Sol set piece. Let's see if Miyama's got the trajectory this
77' - Off the crossbar. And a collective gasp of disappointment from the crowd.
A Miyama shot off a Marta feed into the waiting hands of McLeod.
78' - Ooooh, and Wambach was right there to make it 3-2. And it just missed her.
79' - The Washington captain is trying to get her team back into it, but Los Angeles is winning the possession war. Offsides LA.
Announcer mispronounced the club as "Gold Pride FC." A few cramps. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" playing. The hell? I think they want to make this a movie scene. Well it is LA...
80' - Substitution Washington Freedom.
IN 7 Parrissa Eyorokon
OUT 9 Allie Long
83' - Nice pass from Abily to set up the next wave for the Sol.
84' - Marta should have done better on that one.
85' - She is getting marked with success. And Abner Rogers, in his Stars-and-Stripes tie and Phil Spector shades, is simply enjoying the show.
86' - Well, this is going to be successful feast for home cooking. Two wins and a draw.
Good defense on that Miyama volley by Washington. Then again, the Freedom HAVE been on the defensive this entire match...
88' - Subsitution Los Angeles Sol
IN 18 Katie Larkin
OUT 6 McCall Zerboni
A stellar performance by McCall. Here comes Katie. Another good save by LeBlanc. The triple marking on Marta is no match for the scoring reliABILitY of Abily.
89' - Two minutes of stoppage from VanDuyne. Good defense by Moros.
90' - And Los Angeles continues to swarm around Washington. Looks like it's more of the same from the Sol today. The Solpporters agree with that argument.
90' + 2' That's a wrap!
Los Angeles Sol 3
Abily 14', 60' penalty
Washington Freedom 1
And the Sol continue to roll.