The WPS has announced its latest Player of the Week. Not surprisingly, Sonia Bompastor, whose beautiful goal and corner kick assist helped the Washington Freedom end St. Louis Athletica's unbeaten run, was awarded the title.
It is the seventh title won by a Freedom player since the league's inaugural season—the most out of any team—and Bompastor's second.
Freedom's Frenchwoman took a few minutes to talk about last Saturday's game against St. Louis and her role in the team.
Kat Galsim: First of all, congratulations on being named WPS Player of the Week.
Sonia Bompastor: Thank you so much.
KG: Looks like your move from the backline to the midfield paid off.
SB: Yeah, I was speaking with [head coach] Jim [Gabarra] at the beginning of the season and he told me, "You know, probably, this year, at the beginning of the season, I need you to play left back because of a player injured and we need you in defense." And I was okay with that because in France I play left back with my national team. And I know it's the best for my team so I'm okay with that.
But I think I did well last year playing in the midfield. I enjoy it more when I play midfield because I think I have qualities to be more effective in the midfield than in defense. And it's good for me because I like to work hard and show my teammates the way to win when I play in midfield. For me it's more fun.
KG: And it looks like, last Saturday, you and Becky Sauerbrunn switched positions. What was the reason behind that?
SB: Because I was speaking with Jim and I told him, "You know Jim, if you want me to play left back, I can do that. But I'm not very comfortable because I don't think I'm using my strength and my drills on the field. And I don't think I'm effective enough for the team."
And I know Becky, and she's a defender who likes to play in defense. And I told him, "Probably you can switch between Becky and me. Just two players."
Becky was fine with that, and we tried, and it worked. It's good (laughs).
KG: With a goal and an assist, you were instrumental last Saturday in Freedom's win. Could you describe your goal, which got Freedom a 1-0 advantage?
SB: When I'm playing midfield, I like to play with Abby [Wambach] because she's strong and she can hold the ball. And last year we were playing well together and it's good for me because I know when she has the ball and what she's going to do.
And I knew, with my goal, when the ball went to her, I knew she was trying to deflect the ball for me. I made the run and the ball came exactly where I was expecting the ball to come and it was perfect because she gave me a great ball and I took one touch and I just hit the ball and it was a good goal.
KG: The game before that, in Philly [against Philadelphia Independence], was a tough loss. Abby called it a "character tester." Aside from some roles being switched, was there also a change in mentality going into the game against St. Louis?
SB: We know we have to work very hard on the field each game. And I think against Philly we forgot about that. We did well the first half, but after, in the second half, we didn't fight enough and we didn't work hard enough to win this game. I think we were in the last 20 minutes when [Independence] scored the second goal. We were just standing on the field and trying to play but we didn't have enough confidence.
After this game, we spoke to each other and said "Okay, we need to work hard. Even when we take a goal we have to keep our heads up." This league is very hard and when we play against the other teams it's hard to win because every team has great players. And we just have to work hard and do the best for the team each game.
And I think we changed, from the Philly game to the St. Louis game. We were playing very hard in the midfield. Everyone played hard.
KG: Yeah if you look back at the team's performance in the last 20 minutes against Philly, and the team's performance against St. Louis, it was like night and day.
SB: Yeah (laughs). I think we have to react because even when you are losing on the field, you have to keep going because you never know when you can score one, two goals. Even when you are 3-1 down, you can win the game. You can't just put your head down. You have to keep your head up and try hard to score goals.
KG: This Saturday you will be facing the Boston Breakers again. They spoiled the home opener a little bit by defeating the Freedom 2-1. Any plans of retaliation?
SB: We just want to win this game because it's a home game and we know we didn't do well in the first game at home. We were all disappointed about this loss because I don't think we did everything on the field to win this game. We just want to play like Saturday's game—we had a lot of hurt and a lot of energy.
Still, we will see. If we win, it's okay. If we do everything on the field and we can't win or we tie the game, it's okay. Because when you have no regrets about the game, sometimes you can't win everything or every game. So it's okay. But I think we have to work hard and to keep the same mentality we did against St. Louis.
Watch Sonia and the rest of the Washington Freedom as they host the Boston Breakers for the second time on Saturday, May 8, at the Maryland Soccerplex. Special Mother's Day tickets can be purchased here .