Photo by ISIphotos.com
By CHRISTA MANN
Week 14 in Women’s Pro Soccer featured two Wednesday match-ups and will continue with one game on Saturday and another on Sunday.
In the first mid-week contest, the L.A. Sol and St. Louis Athletica maintained their respective positions at number one and number four after L.A. took a 2-1 victory on Wednesday. The two teams battled to a scoreless first half, but the Sol’s Han Duan hit a tie breaking goal in the 50th minute. Then Marta ripped another Sol finish in the 73rd to give L.A. a two goal advantage and enough to hold on for win.
The Athletica’s number one draft pick, Kerri Hanks, finally scored her first goal of the season in the 77th minute, but time ran out with St. Louis still trailing by one. The goal didn't stop Hanks from being traded just two days later, along with Francielle, to Sky Blue FC, for Sarah Walsh.
In Wednesday’s second game, the Boston Breakers took a 1-0 victory over the Washington Freedom. Christine Latham headed-in a Heather Mitts free kick in the 32 to net the game’s only finish.Boston came out with the result in this one; however Washington led 6-4 in overall shots during the second half.
As both the Freedom and the Breakers take this weekend off, L.A. faces the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday and New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC meets St. Louis on Sunday.
When L.A. and Chicago meet on June 3, Chicago’s Cristiane and the Sol’s Camile Abily accounted for the 1-1 tie with goals in the 88th and 90th minutes respectively. This time around, the Red Stars are once again in a must win situation, but the Sol seems to never skip a beat.
Chicago needs to gain some confidence and to, above all else, accomplish these few goals: play perfect, stand-up defense, make no mistakes in the back, contain in the mid-field, send balls over the Sol back-line into timed diagonal runs.
Chicago’s Megan Rapinoe has the speed to get in behind and should be able to get lucky on a one v. one. On the other hand, Los Angeles seems to overcome all challenges other teams throw into the mix. If the Red Stars do not establish themselves with possession or a goal early, the Sol may find it easy to run away with this game.
The final game of the weekend pits two emerging teams against each other. When the two met back on June 7, St. Louis was number six and New Jersey was number seven in WPS Standings. In that game, it was the Athletica's Amanda Cinalli who scored an early goal to seal the 1-0 St. Louis win.
SInce that game, both teams have hit somewhat of a stride and are both looking to come back with a big result over the weekend. The Athletica fell to L.A. on Wednesday and SBFC recently tied the W-League's Chicago Force.
St. Louis should earn the win by a one goal margin, and it's likely that English international Eniola Aluko will be the one to score.
The two mid-week games finished with very close scorelines, and it's likely that the weekend should expect those same type of results.
How do you think the two weekend games will finish? Will Chicago score against L.A.? Can SBFC earn another win against St. Louis? Share your thoughts