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2010 WPS Power Rankings: Week 20

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2010 WPS Power Rankings: Week 20

With the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer regular season championship wrapped up, FC Gold Pride took out any hopes for the Atlanta Beat to squeeze into the postseason.

Meanwhile, across the league the playoff picture became clearer as the road to Pioneer Stadium begins to take form.

Let's go ahead and take a look at this week's WPS Power Rankings.

1. FC GOLD PRIDE


Albertin Montoya's FC Gold Pride set a new mark for the most lopsided performance, exhibiting their postseason form in a 6-1 destruction of the Atlanta Beat at Beat/KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.

Not only that, but the Lionesses of the East Bay roared to the most goals in one half of play (five) and total goals in a game (six).

"We put so much hard work into being the best in this league. Winning the league's regular season, we had a chance to win the championship and it obviously felt very good," Montoya said after the match.

"The players have really played their heart out. Tonight, we were playing without a lot of pressure and that really allowed us to get into a great rhythm."

Ironically, FC Gold Pride didn't begin their scoring onslaught until late in the first half, when Shannon Boxx's delivery in the 43rd minute found Tiffeny Milbrett to make it 1-0 Pride.

In the second half, the Pride took command. The 51st minute saw Camille Abily score off the feed from Marta in the 51st minute.

Marta herself got on the score sheet in the 66th minute and earned her brace in the 70th, thanks to Kelley O'Hara.

Two minutes later, it was O'Hara who buried one to make it 5-1 Pride, and by this point the home fans headed for the exits.

Just for good measure, Christine Sinclair blasted one past Hope Solo in the 87th minute.

The Lionesses of the East Bay were roaring on Saturday, outshooting Atlanta 16-10 with 11 shots on goal.

FC Gold Pride continue their season with the first of a three-part preview of potential opponents for the WPS Championship, scheduled for Sept. 26.

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the Pride take on Sky Blue FC in their road finale at Joe Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET. They will then host the Boston Breakers on Sunday, Sept. 5 at Pioneer Stadium on the Campus of California State University East Bay in Hayward, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

 

2. BOSTON BREAKERS


Tony DiCicco's Boston Breakers came to John A. Farrell Stadium on the campus of West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., with a mission: to steal three points.

Mission Accomplished.

The Breakers defeated the Philadelphia Independence 2-1 to cut the Indies' lead to just two points.

Down 1-0, Stephanie Cox opened her scoring account thanks to Kristine Lilly in the 35th minute. Then in the 60th minute, Kelly Smith converted a penalty kick for her 11th of the season.

While Boston was outshot nine to seven on Sunday, five of their shots where on target.

The Breakers will look to inch closer towards locking up a berth in the postseason when they travel to Beat/KSU Stadium in Kennesaw to take on the Atlanta Beat. Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Breakers will then travel to Pioneer Stadium in Hayward to face FC Gold Pride in a possible WPS Championship preview. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 5 at 3:00 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

 

3. WASHINGTON FREEDOM


Jim Gabarra's Washington Freedom scored a critical 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md., to stay in cruise control for the fourth and final playoff spot.

"We have to keep the train rolling. We have to get points all the way through," Gabarra said after the match. "We are looking up and trying to catch the people ahead of us.”

It seemed like the Freedom were about to lose their momentum and fall 1-0 to the defending WPS Champions. But a late second-half rally proved all the difference.

In the 79th minute, Abby Wambach scored her 11th of the season off of a penalty conversion.

Five minutes later, Allie Long's delivery to Wambach to complete her brace made it 2-1. Wambach's 12th goal of the season was all the Freedom needed after that.

"The past few games we have been coming out kind of slow, and I feel like the second half we were a different team," Long said after the match.

The Freedom outshot Sky Blue FC 11-3, with 10 of those shots on target.

Washington will continue their season on September 5 against the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

 

4. PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENCE


Paul Riley's Philadelphia Independence were one victory away from becoming the second team to lock up a postseason berth. Unfortunately, they fell short, losing to the Boston Breakers 2-1 at John A. Farell Stadium in West Chester.

The Indies' only goal came in the 17th minute, when Joanna Lohman scored her fifth of the season off the initial attempt by Amy Rodriguez, the club's leading scorer.

Philly outshot Boston 9-7 but were plagued by chippy play as they committed 10 fouls on Sunday.

The Independence will look to rectify their setback on Wednesday, Sept. 1 when they travel to Toyota Park in Bridgeview to face the Chicago Red Stars. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

 

5. SKY BLUE FC


Rick Stainton's Sky Blue FC are walking a thin line after their 1-0 defeat to the Washington Freedom at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown.

Jenni Branam started in goal but had to be replaced by Meghan Burke in the 31st minute due to injury. Both keepers made a combined eight saves in the loss.

“Needless to say, it is very unfortunate that this game ended the way that it did,” Stainton said following the match. “Collectively, we played a good game the majority of the way and kept the ball in possession rather well. As we all know, the game is 90 minutes long, and we found ourselves in two very unfortunate situations there at the end.”

Natasha Kai earned her fourth of the season in the 29th minute to give Sky Blue FC an early 1-0 lead. They would hold on to the lead until late in the second half, when Washington's relentless attack finally broke through.

Up next for the defending WPS Champions is a match with league leaders Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at Joe Yurcak Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

They will then travel to Kennesaw's Beat/KSU Stadium to take on the Atlanta Beat on Sunday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET.

 

6. CHICAGO RED STARS


Omid Namazi's Chicago Red Stars move up one spot to sixth in this week's rankings in spite of not playing a match over the week.

Two matches will be on the cards to close out the season, and both will be at home. On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the Red Stars take on the Philadelphia Independence. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago will then close out its 2010 campaign on Sunday, Sept. 5, when they play host to the Washington Freedom. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

 

7. ATLANTA BEAT


James Galanis's Atlanta Beat saw their postseason dreams die at the hands of FC Gold Pride in a 6-1 rout.

"Our philosophy hasn't changed, we just got to tighten everything up," Galanis said after match. "They're the ones that are playing and they just got to continue to communicate as a unit.

"They stopped communicating which meant that the players weren't on the same page. If you're a great team, but there's no communication, you're going to lose."

The only goal for the Atlanta Beat came in the 65th minute, when Enila Aluko garnered her ninth of the season. The Beat were offsides seven times on Sunday.

Next up for the Atlanta beat is a home tie against the Boston Breakers on Sept. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. They will then host Sky Blue FC in their home finale on Sept. 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET.

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