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2010 WPS Power Rankings: Week 9

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2010 WPS Power Rankings: Week 9

While many of you soccer faithful will be tuning in to the FIFA World Cup this June, I must remind you...the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer season is still going on! I first want to congratulate the Matildas for breaking their Asian Cup duck and defeated North Korea on penalties 5-4 down in Chengdu. Well done.

With that said, let's move right along to the rankings for this week.


1. FC GOLD PRIDE


The Lionesses of the East Bay rule the roost once again.

Albertin Montoya's FC Gold Pride defeated the Philadelphia Independence 3-1 at the John A. Farrell Stadium in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Christine Sinclair chalked up her fourth goal of the season thanks to a delivery by Marta in the 42nd minute, making it 1-0 Pride at the half.

Marta would get a second-half brace to put the game out of reach for Philly. In the 55th minute, Shannon Boxx found the Brazillian international for her fifth of the season.

“I’ve been saying all along that it was only a matter of time before Marta would become more of a menace to defenders,” said Montoya. “She had an excellent performance today and put away two; she probably could have had more. She’s been playing very well and we’re excited about it.”

Marta's sixth of the season came in the 89th minute, when her volley deflected off Indies goalkeeper Karina Leblanc.

“I thought our team was spectacular today,” added Montoya when asked on the performance of the Pride. “The Independence is an excellent team, and was undefeated at home so we expected a tough match.

"We had to persevere through some adversity this trip; we have not yet played in this type of hot, humid weather. We knew it would be difficult for us late in the game. We came in, stuck to our game plan and it worked out well for us.”

FC Gold Pride had six of their eight shots on goal, and the defense was successful in preventing Philadelphia from capitalizing on their corners.

The Lionesses of the East Bay will return to the East Bay for their first-ever home game at Cal State East Bay in Hayward, Califprnia.

The Pride take on the Boston Breakers on Saturday, June 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT.

2. WASHINGTON FREEDOM


Jim Gabarra's Washington Freedom will need to ask themselves just why did they let the Chicago Red Stars' Cristiane get red hot at Germantown's Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday.

A late goal surrendered by the Freedom consigned Washington to a 2-2 draw before 3,249.

Abby Wambach helped Washington get on the board first in the 12th minute with a header off Freedom captain Cat Whitehill. Seven minutes later, Japanese international Homare Sawa—fresh off helping Japan qualify for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany—took advantage of a set piece by France's Sonia Bompastor for her third of the campaign.

Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod made four saves in Saturday night's proceedings, but will be rueing the late goal surrendered in the second half.

Washington will take the week off before taking on the Philadelphia Independence. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 26 at John A. Farrell Stadium in West Chester.

3. SKY BLUE FC


Pauliina Miettinen's Sky Blue FC are third in this week's WPS Power Rankings.

The defending WPS champions stole three points from the Boston Breakers in their 2-1 victory to gain on the Philadelphia Independence and Washington Freedom in the standings.

After a dominating first half of play by the Breakers, Sky Blue FC took control in the 53rd minute. Heather O'Reilly opened her scoring account on the follow-through from Natasha Kai to bring the match on level terms.

"It’s been really exciting to get all our pieces together," O'Reilly said after the contest. "It seems like one is healthy each week at a time. Now we’re waiting for Carli Lloyd to be that last final piece of our puzzle. It’s really exciting to be a complete team again but as I said it takes all 22 players and that’s what’s cool about our team. Everybody stepped up at different times of the season."

In the 91st minute, Rosana broke the hearts of the 4,687 in attendance at Cambridge's Harvard Stadium with her decisive spot kick, opening her scoring account.

Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Karen Bardsley made seven saves to lead the Ladies of the Raritan.

"This team is never content with a tie," O'Reilly added. "Our last couple of results have been two ties and a loss so we were hungry for a win tonight. I’m proud of us, I’m proud that we weren’t content and that’s risky. It’s risky to send numbers forward.

"I think maybe if we didn’t get that penalty kick it would have been a transition down our throats down the other end but that’s just a chance you take if you want to be champions in this league.

"I think we fought until the end for each other and that’s something we haven’t necessarily seen this season. And we’re going to take these 3 points and move on and hopefully get a win next week as well."

Sky Blue FC's next match is at home to the Philadelphia Independence. The action Joe Yurcak Field gets underway on Saturday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET.


4. PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENCE


Paul Riley's Philadelphia Independence had to eat some humble pie on Sunday, as they suffered their first home loss of the season against FC Gold Pride, 3-1.

The Indies manager acknowledged that Marta the deciding factor for Philly in a match hindered by heat, humidity...and overwhelming Brazilliance.

"I thought we played well in the second half and held about 65% of the possession," Riley said after the match, "but I think Marta can change a game for her team, giving them the edge in a 50-50 match."

Tina DiMartino scored a consolation goal for the Independence in the 80th minute, but it would not be enough.

It was nothing more than a night of frustration and futility for Lori Lindsey, whose eight corners—with half of them in quick succession—were all denied by the Pride.

The Independence committed 11 fouls, compared to FC Gold Pride's four.

Philadelphia will look to bounce back as they take on Sky Blue FC in Piscataway, N.J. Kickoff at Joe Yurcak Field is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 19.

5. CHICAGO RED STARS


Cristiane star rose on Saturday night against the Washington Freedom. A brace by the Brazilian international helped salvage a 2-2 draw for Omid Namazi's Chicago Red Stars.

In the 31st minute, Karen Carney saw Cristiane use her speed to streak towards the far post and receive the through ball. The goal was her second of the campaign.

Cristiane would have made it 2-2 in the 40th minute, but the chaleira (back-heel pass) to Sweden's Kosovare Asllani missed wide.

In the 61st minute, a Karen Carney volley from 25 yards out nearly put the match on level terms. The 74th minute saw substitute Casey Nogueira force the issue from Erin McLeod, who made another great save.

But it was not until the 82nd minute that Nogueira would find Cristiane for her third of the season, a shot that found the top left corner.

The Red Stars' rough play would not go unpunished, as Natalie Spilger was sent off in the 90th minute of action. Chicago committed 12 fouls compared to Washington's four.

Chicago also outshot the Freedom 16 to eight, with seven of those shots on goal.

Regardless, the Women of the Windy City will look to capitalize on their scoring momentum on Saturday, June 19 against the Atlanta Beat. Kickoff at Atlanta Beat/KSU Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

6. BOSTON BREAKERS


While uplifted Bostonian spirits wear the green of the NBA's Boston Celtics, broken hearts wear the blue of Tony DiCicco's Boston Breakers.

The Breakers surrendered a second-half stoppage time penalty kick to fall to Sky Blue FC, 2-1.

"We obviously left some goals on the table in the first half, game should have put away then and then we had a broken play that turned into a goal," DiCicco siad after the game. "I’m proud of the players, they’re devastated. They really they went after it this game and all I can say is if we play with this mentality we’ll get the wins. We’re making some mistakes we have to correct and finishing chances that we have to finish. That’s the whole story of this game.

"Between the 18’s you can be really good and we did, but you have to do it at both ends of the field and we haven’t. We’re missing passes in the penalty area – it’s the same thing you hear with the Celtics – make the extra pass.

"But as far as the effort and the intensity and how much they cared about this game I am very, very pleased. We have to figure out ways to win instead of ways to lose."

The Breakers outshot Sky Blue FC, 20 to nine, and had twice as many shots on goal (eight to four).

Jordan Angeli scored the only goal for Boston in the 15th minute, taking advantage of a scramble inside Sky Blue's defending third to open her account.

The goal was also the only one the Breakers could capitalize from their six corner kicks, as Sky Blue FC's defense parked the bus at will.

Sunday's game marked the debut of Lindsay Tarpley in the strip of the Breakers. "I’m really excited to be here," Tarpley said after the contest. "I’ve always admired the way that Boston plays soccer so I’m excited to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to helping the team in whatever way I can.

"Regarding the game today, I thought there were moments we did excellent things. I think it’s important to take those moments and continue to build from them."

"I think this is probably the best we’ve played since the start of the season," said Boston midfielder Kelly Smith after the match. "It just didn’t happen for us tonight in front of the goal and something that obviously we’ve addressed.

"We had a lot of chances whether they were inside the box or outside but we were definitely frustrated with the result tonight."

Next week, Boston will travel to Hayward's Pioneer Stadium, where league leaders FC Gold Pride await. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET.

7. ATLANTA BEAT


The Atlanta Beat were off this week to get the chemistry worked out. One of the next additions to Gareth O'Sullivan's crew is Aya Miyama, who will be reunited with fellow Nadeshiko Japan member Mami Yamaguchi.

The 25-year-old Japanese midfielder comes to the Beat with plenty of experience after playing for Japan’s World Cup team in both 2003 and 2007. She was a sub in 2003 and appeared in four games in 2007, scoring twice in the opener against England.

Miyama was also a part of Japan’s bronze-winning Olympic team in 2008, charting minutes in all six games and netting one goal.

The Beat will be hosting the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, June 19. Can they finally get their rhythm together this time?

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

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