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Fantasy Shots: Week 2

Lauren SalterContributor IApril 19, 2010

The second week of play for Women's Professional Soccer proved that this season will be quite interesting.

Teams that struggled offensively in the first week suddenly hit their marks this go—round, most noticeably FC Gold Pride and the Washington Freedom.

In their match against defending WPS Champions Sky Blue FC, the Gold Pride fared very well, as Christine Sinclair scored two goals in their 3-1 win to bring home 29 Fantasy points. Brazilian midfielder Marta also added to the goal tally.

In Washington's 3-1 win over the Atlanta Beat , Abby Wambach scored one and assisted twice, garnering her 23 points.

Boston's Kelly Smith once again proved a solid choice on the Boston front line, and on a fantasy team, by providing Boston's only goal in their 1-1 tie with Philadelphia .

St. Louis Athletica captain Lori Chalupny scored the first goal of her 2010 season, but the Athletica earned a 1-1 tie as rookie Casey Nogueira notched the first goal of her WPS career.

The following are the top four point—achievers for each position.

For scoring and how each player gains points, visit the WPS Fantasy Scoring Rules .

Goalkeepers: Hope Solo (St. Louis, 54 points), Allison Whitworth (Atlanta, 48 points), Karina LeBlanc (Philadelphia, 47 points), Karen Bardsley (Sky Blue, 33 points).

Defenders: Allison Falk (Philadelphia, 19 points), Stephanie Cox (Boston, 13 points), Meghan Schnur (Sky Blue, 10 points), Kendall Fletcher (St. Louis, 9 points).

Midfielder: Homare Sawa (Washington, 29 points), Allie Long (Washington, 23 points), Kristine Lilly (Boston, 18 points), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, 17 points).

Forwards: Abby Wambach (Washington, 30 points), Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride, 29 points), Kelly Smith (Boston, 28 points), Eniola Aluko (St. Louis, 27 points).

Week two shows several players returning to the leading points list. All four goalkeepers return, though their rank is slightly different. St. Louis defender Fletcher also returns to the defensive fantasy watch list while Washington midfielder Long brings in 23 points. Up top, Aluko and Smith make the return to the list, still a formidable threat.

Another note on captains: As we saw this week, while Solo brought in 24 points as captain, the choice of Abby Wambach would have resulted in a higher tally. It is exceedingly difficult to designate a player as captain. We saw this with week one captain Shannon Boxx, who had two assists in St. Louis's week one win over FC Gold Pride. Her week two was uneventful and she did not bring in any points.

Game Results from week two

FC Gold Pride 3-1 Sky Blue FC

Washington 3-1 Atlanta

Boston 1-1 Philadelphia

St. Louis 1-1 Chicago

Lauren's Week Two Team (*denotes captain)

Formation: 3-5-2

Goalkeeper: H. Solo* (St. Louis, 24 points)

Defenders: C. Whitehill (Washington, -1 points), A. LePeilbet (Boston, -1 point), B. Taylor (Sky Blue FC, -3 points)

Midfielders: S. Bompastor (Washington, 0 points), *S. Boxx (St. Louis, 0 points), H. O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC, 2 points), K. Lilly (FC Gold Pride, 4 points)

Forwards: A. Wambach (Washington, 23 points), L. Cheney (Boston, 0 points)

It was a disappointing week two, but I'm sure I learned something. These, unlike week one, were my gut instincts. As you can see, it didn't work out this time. Hope Solo had a good game, and was a good choice for goalkeeper, though not necessarily captain.

Putting Lilly in the midfield was another change I made. She has a tendency to have good games, but against the speedy Philadelphia forwards, she might have been just a step behind. Instead of going with my gut of Washington's Homare Sawa, I went instead with Heather O'Reilly as a returning midfielder. Sawa had a better game, seeing a couple shots on goal.

My instinct to keep Wambach up front was a good one. She performed up to her standards. While I believe Lauren Cheney has extreme potential, she functions best when her midfield backs her up, something that seemed to be missing on the field Sunday.

Week Three schedule

Saturday, April 24:

FC Gold Pride versus Atlanta Beat (10pm ET)

Sunday, April 25:

Philadelphia Independence versus Washington Freedom (6pm ET)

Chicago Red Stars versus Sky Blue FC (6pm ET)

St. Louis Athletica versus Boston Breakers (6pm ET, FSC)

The following are my suggestions for the third week of WPS Fantasy. While these are educated picks, feel free to choose who you wish. Keep in mind that anything can happen in a soccer match, and it is still very early to be basing all your picks on previous statistics. Remember, only six transfers are allowed per week.

Picks for Week Three (*denotes captain)

Formation: 3-4-3. (Note: Since the 3-5-2 didn't work out so well for me this week, I'm going back to the 3-4-3 to see what happens this week. It gives the roster more depth in the front line, thus giving more stellar forwards the chance to bring your roster points.)

Goalkeeper: H. Solo (STL)

Solo has helped St. Louis begin their season unbeaten. She will have a tough game against Boston's front line of Kelly Smith and Lauren Cheney. If her defenders hold up in front of her, Solo should have a stellar game with plenty of saves, and hopefully another win.

WATCH LIST: K. LeBlanc (PHI), A. Whitworth (ATL)

LeBlanc is one of the top goalkeepers in the world, and she will certainly have her hands full with the Washington offense, which seems to be beginning to pick up some steam. If she can withstand Abby Wambach's power, she'll also have to focus on free kicks normally taken by power-hitter Catherine Whitehill.

Whitworth has a big game ahead of her when Atlanta takes on FC Gold Pride on Saturday. Should Atlanta's defense hold, Whitworth will have a busy day, fending off shots from Canada's leading scorer, Christine Sinclair, and Brazil's talented Marta. Atlanta has been struggling to find a goal, however.

Defenders: K. Fletcher (STL), A. Falk (PHI), B. Taylor (SBFC)

Fletcher has been steady in the St. Louis backline. She will certainly have her hands full with the Boston attacking line. Her world—class defending is going to be crucial if St. Louis hopes to remain unbeaten.

Falk has only played one game but already tops the points for the defenders. Her attacking presence will be vital against the Freedom, but even more important will be her strength in the back.

Taylor has continued to provide a strong point in the Sky Blue backline. She'll have her hands full against Chicago, but her instincts have proved themselves during the past two games.

WATCH LIST: C. Whitehill (WAS), M. Schnur (NJ), McNeill (ATL), S. Cox (BOS)

Whitehill can never be counted out, in my opinion. While her backline is still being organized, she has the capacity to wreak havoc on the Philadelphia backline with her free kicks and powerful foot.

No one knows the extent of Megan Schnur's injury (knee) but should she be healthy, she'll be an asset to the Jersey backline, particularly against Chicago.

Kia McNeill will likely have an impressive game against FC Gold Pride. Should they be able to keep the Gold Pride's attackers quiet, McNeill could rake in some big points.

Cox has been steady and consistent in the backline for Boston. She should hold up well against her national team fellows Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny.

Midfield: H. Sawa (WAS), K. Lilly (BOS), L. Chalupny (STL), K. Chapman (CHI)/C. Abily (FCGP)

Homare Sawa is one of the most talented playmakers in the league. If you listen to game audio, most of the Freedom's offensive chances will include the shout of Sawa's name. She also takes shots, which add to her points.

Kristine Lilly continues to slowly but steadily put up points, mostly for shots on goal, with an assist thrown here and there. She will continue to put the forward pressure on. Watch for her corner kicks against a solid St. Louis defense.

Chicago's Katie Chapman hasn't been particularly broadcast yet but she is one of the midfielders consistently scoring points. She quietly takes shots on goal and has an assist to her name. She teams up well with Casey Nogueira.

Abily will be facing an Atlanta backline that is strong, but perhaps too new to withstand a cohesive Gold Pride attack. Should they mesh better, her distributions to Christine Sinclair and Marta will likely result in a goal or two.

WATCH LIST: S. Boxx (STL), A. Long (WAS), H. O'Reilly (SBFC), C. Abily (FCGP)

The decision to switch out Boxx this week was tough. Her eye for a goal is equal to her eye for an assist but she has been given two yellow cards in as many games which cancel out any points given for those assists. Still, she may be the game—changing factor against Boston.

Allie Long has proved again that she has the nose for the goal, as she continues to take multiple shots and puts them on goal. Though she didn't score this week, she will likely continue to be an attacking presence on the field.

Same with O'Reilly. Her nose for the goal is bound to prevail soon. She continues to search for the net as well as continuing to serve her forwards in front of her.

Abily could go either on the roster or here on the watch list. As the Gold Pride picks up steam she will have more and more chances to serve the ball up to her cohorts. It's only a matter of time before she connects!

Forwards: A. Wambach* (WAS), C. Sinclair (FCGP), K. Smith (BOS)

It would be foolish to leave Wambach off a roster. One of the strongest attackers in the world, she has a goal, three assists, and five shots on goal already. Against a new defensive line like Philadelphia, Wambach is a ticking bomb.

Cristine Sinclair has also shown that she has a steady nose for the goal. Against the Atlanta Beat, who has yet to pull off a win, Sinclair teamed with Marta and Abily, will likely pick up another goal.

Kelly Smith is on fire, so don't take her off your roster if you're on the fence because with my luck, I'd suggest switching her out and boom, she goes and scores another goal.

WATCH LIST: E. Aluko (STL), Marta (FCGP), L. Cheney (BOS), C. Nogueira (CHI)

Let's not count out Aluko either. Their upcoming match against Boston will be a tough one, but if Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny can feed enough balls into the box, Aluko has the potential to finish.

Marta has been hitting the shots on goal. It's only a matter of time before they start going in, and this weekend might be her chance against a new Atlanta side. With Christine Sinclair at her side, Marta might also have a couple assists.

Rookies Cheney and Nogueira have both shown that their new status in the league isn't affecting their nerves. They both are searching for the goal, taking shots, and putting them away.

The hardest part about this week is keeping your transfers below the six player limit!

Let us know what your week two results were and your week three picks in the comment boxes below!

Week One overview here!

UPDATE: APRIL 22, 4:40pm PT

Christine Sinclair (FCGP), Karina LeBlanc (PHI), Erin McLeod (WAS), Candace Chapman (FCGP) are unavaliable this weekend as they are with the Canadian National Team in China.

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