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WPS Week 9: A Look Back

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Play continued in Week Nine of Women's Pro Soccer despite the glaring absences of both Canadian and U.S. national team players who spent the weekend preparing for Monday's match-up between the two countries.

This national team call-ups left the Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC New Jersey)a bit shorthand but had little effect on the St. Louis Athletica, Washington Freedom, or L.A Sol.

Not only did the Red Stars suffer a 2-0 loss to St. Louis, but they also dropped from fourth down to sixth place in the standings. SBFC had a tough week falling 2-1 to the Freedom without Heather O'Reilly, Christie Rampone, or Kelly Parker in addition to a sudden indefinite suspension of Head Coach/General Manager Ian Sawyers the day before the game.

Of the positives to take away from Week Nine, Marta was televised in the L.A. Sol's 2-0 win against FC Gold Pride (Bay Area), the Athletica earned a second straight win, and the Freedom moved out of the bottom three.

In game one, Washington hosted SBFC in the Freedom's second game without Abby Wambach.  Up top, the Freedom started Lisa DeVanna and Rebecca Moros and earned both goals of the 2-1 win in the final 10 minutes of the first half. 

Cat Whitehill put away the the first ofone in the 35th before Lisa DeVanna finished the next in the 39th.  SBFC's netted the final goal of the match off of a  Natasha Kai assist to Rosana in the 65th.

New Jersey has struggled to get out of the bottom, so this week's result was of no help.  Plus, now that St. Louis is finding some wins, SBFC's closest company is three points clear of another tie for last.

Posting its second win in consecutive games, the St. Louis Athletica defeated the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 on Saturday with both goals attributed to Enoila Aluko's efforts. The shutout speaks volumes of backup goalkeeper Jill Loyden who stepped in for the U.S. Womens National Team star, Hope Solo. 

The Athletica lost midfielder Lori Chalpuny and Solo to the national team as well as defender Kia McNeill was also serving her single game suspension in this one. But even with three key players out for the Athletica, Chicago by far drew the worst hand. 

The Red Stars noticeably competed without their best players in every third of the field. Christiane and Karen Carney did their best to hold the team together and to create some dangerous opportunities. However, without Marian Dalmy in the back and the Lindsay Tarpley/Megan Rapinoe tandem up top, Chicago really had a struggle to move as a unit.

The Athletica can thank Loyden for a great performance in goal and for preserving the win since St. Louis has been known to let leads slip away under pressure.

In the final game of the weekend, FC Gold Pride controlled much of the first half but was unable to score against the L.A. Sol. 

The Bay Area club maintained the majority of possession in the first half until Carrie Dew took down Aya Miyama in the box. The play led to a penalty kick and an L.A. goal in the 27th minute that shifted momentum to L.A.

At that point, FCGP really lost its rhythm. The Bay Area could not find feet and sent multiple flank services either directly to the near post or close enough in the six yard box for an easy scoop by L.A. keeper Val Henderson. When the Bay Area was able to send two crosses away from the backup GK, FCGP almost scored both times.

As luck would have it, the Sol's Han Duan finished in the 86th minute to net her first goal of the season and finally put the game out of reach.

Overall, play was pretty back and fourth in the second half but was rough around Marta during the entire match. The Brazilian drew fouls from three different players and was only cleanly contained by FCGP defender Kandace Wilson.

WIlson has done well in her defending all season and has also come out of the back on several occasions to create some dangerous Bay Area chances on goal.  Unfortunately, she planted her right leg awkwardly trying to maintain her balance and sustained a hip injury in the final minutes of the game.

Life was tough without some U.S. and Canadian national team players in the WPS, but a few teams were able to break through the adversity so much as to even come out with a win.

The results from Week Nine still place  L.A. with a considerable edge as the best team in the league.  The Red Stars have fallen from contending for the top spot to a new home among the bottom three. Boston was lucky to have the week off and St. Louis is finally gaining some ground in the win column.

For Week Nine in Women's Pro Soccer, this is how teams stack up.


1. LOS ANGELES SOL (5-1-2)

Last Week: Defeated FCGP 2-0

Outlook: The Los Angeles Sol have more wins than any other team in the league.  The Sol consistently finishes games and is the lone club to suffer only one loss.  L.A. may not always control possession or the pace of a game, but somehow the team always seems to find a way to win.


Last Week: Drew the bye but scheduled friendlies with Boston Aztecs and Connecticut Reds.

Outlook: The Breakers are still in a positive light.  They came from behind to prevent a home loss against the Freedom and were lucky to have a bye on a week where they were missing a significant number of impact players. The Breakers are in a good position right now.


Last Week: Defeated SBFC 2-1

Outlook:The Freedom has one less win than the Bay Area but it also has picked up as many losses as FCGP.  As usual, Washington is scoring goals and becoming acclimated with a new keeper.  If McCleod can continue to make some great saves and eventually earn a shutout with this team, wins will continue to come.

4. FC GOLD PRIDE (3-4-1)

Last Week: Lost 2-0 to L.A.

Outlook: The Bay Area has the personnel to put games away and the patience to maintain possession for an entire game.  No other team in the league connects passes and finds feet as well as the Bay Area.  The problem with this team is that it either has an on finishing day or an off one.  When the finishing is off, it's pretty much a guaranteed loss.


Last Week: Defeated Chicago 2-0

Outlook:St. Louis is gaining a bit of confidence as Eniola Aluko begins to find her stride in finishing.  The Athletica has done well defensively in almost every first half this season.  The problem for the most part has been finishing for the this team. If goals continue to come and the defense remains solid, the Athletica may have a chance to advance even higher.


Last Week: Fell 2-0 to St. Louis

Outlook: Chicago is on a but of a skid right now going three weeks without a goal or a win.  The Red Stars suffered an unlucky situation with the national team call-ups this week, but a loss is a loss.  Chicago needs to back on track and revisit some of the things it has done well in the past.  The Red Stars also need to work on finishing the few chances that they do get.  Carney missed a sitter that could have kept the Red Stars in it this week.

7. SKY BLUE FC (1-4-2)

Last Week: Lost 2-1 to the Washington Freedom

Outlook: When it rains it pours on this poor New Jersey club.  Losing some important players to national team call-ups is one thing, but the indefinite suspension of the head coach just one day before the game is quite another.  SBFC is working through some scoring woes and got back on the board with one goal this week.  The problem is this:  How can a team build confidence and consistency if things continue to change in all other areas?


What are your thoughts from Week Nine in the WPS?  How much help would a few national players have contributed? What's going on in New Jersey?  Agree or disagree with the Power Rankings?  Share your thoughts below.


  1. Are you in the NJ area like Ives? If so, can you please use your journalistic wiles to find out more about the Sawyers suspension/possible firing? Thanks.

    The Pride-Sol game was not that physical. But if you’re going to make the comment that it was “rough around Marta” then I think you should note that Marta committed her share of fouls. She committed 4 to the 2 she suffered. A claim can be made that her contact (I lean toward no-call there but some say foul) on Wilson was the reason for Wilson’s awkward landing (and hip dislocation).

  2. Yeah, our Freedom are starting to show something. Took longer than I thought.

    LA is clearly the class of the league.

    Good for Aluko. She is a quality striker. She has the skills to really distinguish herslef in this league. Playing without Daniela means a bigger load for her to carry (because St Louis losta huge offensive threat when the Brazilian was injured) but ironically, it will also provide her with some more opportunities to both run at and past defenders.


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