With the summer heat bearing down on the country like never before, the 2010 Women's Professional season continues to soldier on. FC Gold Pride are at the top of the rankings once again, while the Boston Breakers are on a power surge.
As a side note, the USA defeated Sweden in an international friendly 3-0. Let's take a look at this week's rankings.
Albertin Montoya's career losing record at FC Gold Pride has turned into a winning record thanks to a massive turnaround of the highest order.
His FC Gold Pride, those Lionesses of the East Bay, romped all over the Philadelphia Independence 2-0 to maintain their hold on the WPS standings while staying top of the mountain for another week.
Captaining the scoring attack was Christine Sinclair, who led the Pride attack with a brace. In first half stoppage time, she received the delivery from outgoing Norwegian veteran Solveig Gulbrandsen to earn her sixth goal of the campaign. Sinclair struck again in the 80th minute thanks to the feed from Camille Abily.
"I think we are finally starting to click,” Sinclair said after the match. "Earlier in the year we were playing a 4-3-3, and we were a little isolated, but now playing with two up top, we are able to combine a lot more. Marta has been tremendous for us, and Camille is finally healthy too.”
Philadelphia was ambushed relentlessly, getting out shot by the Lionesses of the East Bay 15 to four, with eight of those shots in the vicinity of Indies keeper Val Henderson. The Pride also earned six corners on Saturday at Cal State East Bay's Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, California.
Next up for the Pride are a couple of road contests. On July 21, they clash with the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge Massachusetts. Kickoff at Soldiers' Field is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
FC Gold Pride (10-3-1, 31 points) will then travel to the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland for a July 24 match with the Washington Freedom. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Paul Riley's Philadelphia Independence were ambushed hard by FC Gold Pride on Saturday to the tune of 1-0.
"In the midfield we did well, but up top we never penetrated or got beyond them,” Independence Head Coach Paul Riley said. "We did a decent job stopping Marta, obviously the game plan was to stop her, but I think we forgot about Sinclair while trying to focus on Marta.”
Indies goalkeeper Val Henderson made five saves in the defeat.
The Independence (6-5-3, 21 points) will return to John A. Farrell Stadium in West Chester, Pennsylvania to take on Sky Blue FC on Saturday, July 24. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
Warning, warning! Tony DiCicco's Boston Breakers are in high voltage mode, with the Washington Freedom the next hapless victims to be fried to a crisp.
The Breakers earned their third straight victory with their 2-1 victory over the Freedom to improve to 4-5-4 on the season, and are within striking distance of the others above them in the league standings with 16 points.
DiCicco was pleased with the progress of the Breakers' youth. "It is nice to see the young players maturing," DiCicco said after the match. "After giving up the first goal, Alyssa Naeher made a big save on the breakaway from (Nikki) Marshall and then Jordan Angeli for the second straight game scoring a goal. When you’re scoring goals, it really makes a difference, especially when you’re going behind.
"We’ve been behind the last four games and we have won three of them. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, but there’s no panic on the team and it was a great luxury it is to bring in Kristine Lilly and Lauren Cheney at the end of the game."
Down 1-0 early in the first half, Liz Bogus earned her second of the season with a shot that eluded Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
In the second half, Jordan Angeli got Boston out in front with a chance from Lindsay Tarpley in the 74th minute. The goal was Angeli's third of the season.
“I think we’re on a good path,” said Jordan Angeli. “We’re headed in the right direction at this point in the season and hope to just keep on going.”
Defensively, the Breakers were led by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who made seven saves in the victory.
"We were really sharp in practice this week and we continued to just progress our game as individuals and as a team together," Naeher said after the win. "So I think we’re on a good path, we’re headed in the right direction at this point in the season and hope to just keep on going."
Still, DiCicco kept his feet on the ground regarding the current state of affairs.
"It has been a good run," DiCicco added, "but we’ve dug ourselves in a pretty big hole. We’re just starting to see a little bit of light at the end of this thing.
"We need to keep playing well and we have a good test for ourselves this week with Gold Pride and Chicago. This is a really big week for us if we can get results, we’ll really be in the thick of it."
Boston will next take on the Lionesses of the East Bay at Harvard Stadium on July 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET. The Breakers will then travel to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois to face the Chicago Red Stars on July 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
Omid Namazi's Chicago Red Stars (4-5-5, 17 points) were off last week. The Red Stars' Megan Rapinoe was in action for the US Women's National Team against Sweden on Sunday, scoring in the 33rd minute in the 3-0 victory over Sweden at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Chicago will have two games on hand this week. On July 21, they travel to Kennesaw, Georgia and the Atlanta Beat/KSU Stadium to take on the Beat. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Women of the Windy City will return to Toyota Park in Bridgeview to face the Boston Breakers. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
Gareth O'Sullivan's Atlanta Beat got only the second win of the season with a 1-0 victory over the defending champions Sky Blue FC at Joe Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Eniola Aluko earned her fifth goal of the season with a delivery from Angie Kerr in the seventh minute. The Beat's physical play led to 13 fouls called against Atlanta.
It could have been 2-0 to the beat, but the Atlanta (2-7-4, 10 points) had 16 shots on Sunday, with six on target. Hope Solo made four saves in the shutout victory, and the Beat defense played perhaps their best game of the season so far.
"As I said prior to the game, we had a pretty happy camp this week despite the result from Boston," O'Sullivan said after the match. " We thought we would turn the corner some time soon, and we did.
"We played a very offensive style tonight and tried to play the ball to feet as much as possible. We tried to get forward and get in behind their back four. We definitely had success in first half to get in behind. Certainly, we had a chance to get that second goal, but I am pleased with the way we held on in the final minutes when they were throwing everything at us.
"This is only baby steps. The big stuff will come against Chicago this week who were resting over the weekend. That will be a difficult game. We will recover and get back to be ready for them. We’ve played them three times already, so it should be a good match", he stated.
The win over the defending champions will be a huge morale booster for the struggling Beat, who will return to Beat/KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia to face the Chicago Red Stars. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Pauliina Miettinen's Sky Blue FC suffered its worst loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat to cellar dwellers Atlanta Beat at Joe Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway.
Natasha Kai, who was doing all she could stir up the spirits of her team, admitted that it was all in vain on Sunday.
“I always try to play with a lot of energy, and I know that rubs off on my teammates,” Kai said after the match. “Unfortunately, we came up short tonight. We had our chances, but we have to do a better job of putting them away.”
Sky Blue FC had a chance to equalize in the 62nd minute with a strike from Italian international Patrizia Panico, but it hit the crossbar in unlucky fashion. Again, the home side had a chance to salvage a point, but Meghan Schnur's opportunity was swept away by the Beat back line.
Sky Blue FC outshot Atlanta 17 to 16, and goalkeeper Kristin Luckingbill made five saves in the loss.
The loss drops Sky Blue FC to 5-6-3 (18 points, fourth overall). They will look to get back on the winning track with a July 24 trip to John A. Farrell Stadium in West Chester to face the Philadelphia Independence. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
After the Washington Freedom's Abby Wambach scored a brace in ther USA's 3-0 victory over the Swedes at Rentschler Field down in East Hartford, she chose to make the drive down to Harvard Stadium to watch her club take on the Boston Breakers.
It was perhaps the last thing she wanted to do. Jim Gabarra's Freedom have been struggling as of late, and their woes continued with a 2-1 defeat to the Breakers at Soldiers' Field.
"This is for sure a learning experience," said Freedom forward Nikki Marshall after the match "We have to turn it around right now, were going downhill. I think it’s really important that we start winning and no more tying or losing. We need to win."
Marshall scored the only goal for Washington in the second minute off the delivery by Sarah Huffman. The goal was Marshall's second of the season.
The Freedom out-shot the Breakers 13 to 11 and had eight shots on goal, but Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the Breakers back line frustrated the Washington attack with every save and stop.
Can Washington turn the tide for once? They get another crack at the team sitting at the top of the standings and Power Rankings, FC Gold Pride, on July 24. Kickoff at Germantown's Maryland SoccerPlex is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.