WPS: Henderson Replaces Leblanc in Goal as Independence Host Freedom

Phil AndrewsCorrespondent IApril 22, 2010


Week three of the WPS (Women’s Pro Soccer) action is fast approaching, as the Philadelphia Independence (0-0-2) continue to prep for their Sunday, Aug. 25 match against Abby Wambach and the visiting Washington Freedom (1-1-0).

The first order of business for Independence coach Paul Riley was to insert former L.A. Sol and UCLA net minder, Val Henderson, as his starter for this game. 

Keep in mind Henderson will be replacing Karina LeBlanc, one of the top keepers in the world. Now don’t get your shoe laces in a knot, as this switch has nothing to do with LeBlanc’s performance through the first two games of the season.

LeBlanc has posted one shut out and given up one goal, a goal by the way, that came from a deflection off of one of her own players during a free kick last week in Boston.

Leblanc has simply taken a leave of absence to join Canada’s National team in advance of an international friendly April 24th against China.

In her last National Team call up, Karina posted a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over the New Zealand in the 2010 Cyprus Cup Final.

So with LeBlanc away and Henderson in net, that leaves Robyn Jones as the back-up for the game against Washington.

Now don’t get me wrong, every draw in the WPS is a tough draw, since after all, this is the best women’s league in the World. However, Henderson faces a tough task against the Freedom, who are led by U.S. national team striker Abby Wambach.

Wambach was recently named the Week two WPS Player of the Week, after scoring one goal and setting up two more in Washington’s 3-1 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Beat.

Philadelphia’s back four has looked solid so far this season and will offer Henderson plenty of support. A key match-up in this game will be the 5’10” Wambach against 6’0” Independence defender Allison Falk.

Falk, by the way, is now in the Philadelphia record book for having scored the first goal in franchise history, a one-all equalizer in last week’s tie with Boston.

A league leading 6,028 fans shimmied through the turnstiles for Philadelphia’s season home opener against Atlanta, a number the team will be looking to exceed Sunday when they celebrate “Go Green” night.

For ticket information, check out https://independencetix.ticketleap.com.