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WPS Week 10: A Look Back

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Women's Pro Soccer confirmed a few things in Week 10 of its inaugural season.  The L.A. Sol is still the best team in the league, Natasha Kai is still capable of playing like her old self, FC Gold Pride will continue to struggle without a consistent starting line-up and the Washington Freedom is a good team that had a rough stretch.

In the first game of the weekend, St. Louis fell 2-0 to L.A. The Washington Freedom defeated the Bay Area's FC Gold Pride 3-1, and Sky Blue FC found its second win of the season. The Chicago Red Stars took a break with the bye but scheduled a friendly against their local W-League team, the Chicago Red Eleven.

When play began in Week 10, the Sol's Camille Abily and Shannon Boxx put away finishes in Saturday's 2-0 shutout over St. Louis to further assert the L.A. Sol as the class of the league.

Boxx, who also stars for the U.S. Women's National Team, finished the match with basically an assist and a goal in L.A. victory.  In the 35th minute, she sent in a cross that eventually found the French international, Abily, for the game's first goal before finishing one of her own just five minutes after the half.

Offensively, the Sol tallied twice as many overall shots (16-8) and shots on goal (8-4) as the Athletica, but the L.A. team only forced St. Louis keeper, Hope Solo, to make a couple more saves (6)than the opposing Karina LeBlanc (4).  The win earns LeBlanc her seventh shutout of the season and statistically marks her as the league's best with her eight starts, 32 saves, a .25 goals against average and only two total goals conceded overall.

Both LeBlanc and  Solo returned as starters this week despite breakout the performances from Val Henderson (L.A.) and Jill Loyden (STL) who both posted shutouts in Week Nine.

The Sol's 2-0 result further establishes the L.A. club as the top team to beat in WPS. Yet, for St. Louis, it reveals that the talented Athletica is able to compete with the best but that it still lacks an ability to capitalize in do or die situations.

It's a shame that a restored roster, three straight games without a loss and two recent shutout victories were not enough to keep the Athletica's streak alive. Finishing and game management in the opening and closing minutes of a half are the crucial moments ultimately led to this loss.

As teams begin to rise and fall with every coming week, the second match-up between the Washington Freedom and FC Gold Pride was a bit less exciting this time around.

The Freedom's 3-1 finish saw goals in the 15th (own goal by FCGP's Kristen Graczyk credited to Washington's Cat Whitehill), in the 22nd by Lisa DeVanna, and again in the 32nd by Whitehill.  Christine Sinclair netted the only FCGP goal of the game by connecting on a Tiffeny Milbrett cross in the 57th minute.

DeVanna had another great performance for Washington and continues to solidify her role in the Freedom's top 11. The Australian led the team with four shots and played all but the final 20 minutes of the game.

Surprisingly enough, neither Tiffany Weimer nor Eriko Arakawa have made the Bay Area's recent starting line-ups. Both players usually find some way to create or to finish chances for the FCGP but they need more run on the field to do those things.   In the 77th minute, the two attackers replaced Milbrett and Adriane but still had a huge task in front of them. For FCGP, the substitutions should have come at the half or midway through the second at the very latest.  Milbrett and Sinclair are good front runners and strong finishers, but it seems that the Bay Area has taken a bit of a set back since making changes to its starting lineup.

The Gold Pride was also without its best defender on the left flank and best attacker out of the back since defender Kandace Wilson took an awkward stride last week's game which led to a season ending hip injury.  Wilson contributed a great deal to the Gold Pride offensive with her speed to get forward and the consistency of her serves into the box.  The extra steam she provided late in games almost always led to a Bay Area goal.  With Adriane taking over that role, the Brazilian needs to find away to regenerate some of those Kandace Wilson runs that made FCGP so successful in the past.

Carrie Dew's ejection after two yellows also hurt the Bay Area which was forced to play a man down for the final seven minutes. Dew earned the first caution for a reckless tackle in the 65th and the second for unsporting behavior in the 83rd.

As dark clouds continue to follow the Bay Area, at least New Jersey can finally seen the light of day.

Sky Blue FC defeated the Boston Breakers 2-1 at home earning the club's second win of the season.  Natasha Kai's first goal in the fourth minute created some early confidence for the struggling team.  Play was relatively even for most of the first half, but a goalkeeper mistake resulted in a second Meghan Schnur assist that was this time finished Sky Blue's Kacey White.

A scoreless second half preserved the 2-1 win for SBFC as the club began a new journey with interim Head Coach Kelly Lindsey. The team is largely optimistic and really earned more of a moral victory than anything else on Sunday.

Natash Kai put up her best performance of the year and really took a beating for her team.  In one play, it looks as though she popped her shoulder out place and then had teammate Keeley Dowling pull her arm to fix it. Kai played well and U.S. WNT player Heather O'Reilly even tracked back into the defensive third a few times to prevent any Boston serves across the box.

This is the second time the New Jersey club has defeated a team coming off its bye week. The first came against the Chicago Red Stars in early May to earn SBFC its first win of the season.

Chicago took its second bye this week and defeated its W-League squad, the Red Eleven 1-0.  Cristiane scored the team's lone goal and at least she finally broke the troublesome scoring drought facing the Red Stars.

At the end of Week 10 in the WPS, L.A. allowed no surprises while Sky Blue FC shocked the world.  The Washington Freedom continued its steady climb, and the Breakers,FC Gold Pride, and the St. Louis Athletica all took a step back. 

There's no question that the Sol remain the league's best; but after the Red Stars took a bye week, they're down to the bottom three. Check out this week's power rankings to see how recent results have shifted the table.


1. Los Angeles Sol (6-1-2)

Outlook: The Sol is eight points clear and three wins ahead of the closest competition.  LeBlanc earned her seventh shutout of the season as L.A. maintains a nine point advantage in goal differential. Teams are able to stop Marta, but personalities such as Aya Miyama, Han Duan and Shannon Boxx make up the difference when teams mark the Brazilian star out of games.

2. Washington Freedom (3-2-3)

Outlook: The Freedom has three wins and one less loss than the Boston Breakers.  Washington scored first against Boston last week but also fell 3-1 to the Breakers earlier in the season.  A win over the Bay Area this weeks gives the Freedom marks the fifth straight game without a loss for this team.  The Freedom have also finished the first goal in three consecutive contests.

3. Boston Breakers (3-3-2)

Outlook:The Breakers have had two down weeks with a tie against Washington and a loss to Sky Blue despite scoring a goal after falling behind.  The back line is a bit out of sync with outside backs Heather Mitts and Alex Scott changing sides.  When the line steps everyone has to step but must also be aware of how deep the last defender is standing.  A loss is not what the Breakers needed coming out of the bye week as Tony DiCicco's squad can be sure that it doesn't want a Red Stars type of struggle after its week away from the WPS.

4. FC Gold Pride – Bay Area (3-5-1)

Outlook:  Has changed around the starting 11 multiple weeks in a row and has yet to get back to its winning combination.  The only savng grace for his team is the number of goal scored; especially since the Bay Area has more losses than any other team in the league.

5. St. Louis Athletica

Outlook: The Athletica took a 2-0 loss to L.A. this week but had two prior shutout wins with three straight games before this week ending in either a tie or win for St. Louis.  Chicago is dead even statistically with the Athletica but has given up two less goals.  The Athletica take the advantage because the Red Stars have been down while St. Louis has been up over the past few weeks of competition. Sky Blue FC and St. Louis have yet to meet head to head but that should be an interesting match-up. 

6. Sky Blue FC (2-4-2)

Outlook:  A huge win this weekend gained some major momentum for this club as the front office change may be exactly what it needed to earn some new confidence.   It seems that the team is in good spirits as it turns over this new leaf with interim Head Coach Kelly Lindsey and it appears that the New Jersey club has ended its scoring woes with two goals this week.  This is only the second win for SBFC, however, because it does an additional loss when compared to the other two teams in the bottom three. The morale boost and the win move this team out of dead last.

7. Chicago Red Stars (2-3-2)

Outlook:The Red Stars were out of competition this week but defeated its W-League team, the Chicago Red Eleven, 1-0.  The win here got Chicago back in the scoring mode after three straight weeks in WPS without a goal or a win.  The Red Stars return to action next week against the L.A. Sol and will try to overcome their three game skid.

What were some of your favorite moments from the weekend? Agree or Disagree with the Power Rankings?  Share your thoughts below.


  1. “This is the second time the New Jersey club has defeated a team coming off its bye week.”

    Sky Blue FC’s bye week was AFTER the Chicago match which they won and SBFC has not had a bye week since.


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