Photo by ISIphotos.com
By CHRISTA MANN
Women's Pro Soccer began Week 13 with two midweek match-ups but will continue over the weekend with one Saturday and two Sunday rematches.
In the Wednesday games this week, the Boston Breakers and FC Gold Pride (Bay Area) tied 1-1 with goals by the Bay Area's Christine Sinclair in the 15th minute and Boston's Jennifer Nobis in the 76th.
In the second midweek game, Rosana finished a goal in the 23rd minute to give SKy Blue FC its (New Jersey) third win of the season and to finally move the club out of last place. SBFC now sits comfortably in a three-way tie for fourth place and will take the weekend off.
The remaining Week 13 contests begin on Saturday when St. Louis and Washington have a rematch of their late April battle which resulted in Daniela's tragic injury and also created the controversy of suspensions back in Week 6.
Sunday follows with two games as the Chicago Red Stars look to get back on tack against a team they beat by the greatest margin (Boston Breakers 4-0). In the last game of the weekend, the L.A. Sol battles the Bay Area for the third and final time this season at 6:00 P.M. on FSC.
Week 13 should be exciting; especially since it opens with one of the most anticipated rematches of the season.
The St. Louis Athletica and Washington Freedom fought in one of the league's most memorable games all season. In that game, physical play escalated a bit too far and caused a sea of controversy the following week. As both teams look to leave the negatives from that game in the past, perhaps there are a few things that each should remember.
The Athletica's Eniola Aluko finished her first goal of the season in the first game against the Freedom, and lately, she has been unstoppable. The English international holds the current WPS Player of the Week title and should be the main concern for the Washington Freedom.
Washington approaches the game trailing St. Louis by only a single point for second place in the league. As the Freedom looks to exploit the Athletica on Saturday, Washington needs to utilize its aerial attack to get on the end of set pieces. That is exactly how the Freedom tied in the first meetings of these two teams and it will be the way they can win.
St. Louis has calmed down on the fouls, so hopefully this will be a cleaner game than it was in Week 6 and will showcase some great soccer. Both teams should present a good game and have an equal shot at the win.
Sunday begins with a rematch from Week Five when the Chicago Red Stars return home to once again host the Boston Breakers. As usual, the Red Stars will webcast the match on chicagoredstars.com, but this week, the club will give fans the option of commentary in either English or Spanish.
Both teams approach the game with sights set on redemption, but Boston could be looking for the bigger comeback. In the last contest between these teams, Chicago held a ridiculous shot advantage (20-8), won 4-0, and set the league record for the largest goal differential in a single game.
After that momentous finish, Chicago picked up three straight losses and has yet to earn another win. Boston bounced back from the four goal defeat with a big win over the Sol, but then found itself in a very similar situation with Chicago.
Comparatively, the Red Stars have four losses and three ties after the club's biggest win this season and the Breakers have two losses and three ties according to that very same scenario. Neither team has come out with another win since its most successful WPS weekend, but maybe all of that will change in the head to head battle Sunday.
The weekend comes to a close after the third and final match between the L.A. Sol and FC Gold Pride.
FCGP approaches the game having lost the 1-0 and 2-0 in the previous two contest against the Sol. The Bay Area needs to rally its attack and finish the few opportunities presented this week.
Defensively, the club must keep the ball in front and win the midfield battle. Through balls, close range shots, and set pieces are the three weapons that L.A utilizes well in addition to its amazing slew of attacking players.
The Sol continues to surprise teams as it still comfortably holds the highest ranking in WPS w 11 points ahead of the second place team. Every week for the Sol, a new player rises to the occasion when opposing teams mark its superstar, Marta, out of the game. Give credit to goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc as well for coming up big to preserve the team's success.
Week 13 has the potential to once again drastically change the positions of the second through seventh placed teams. Only a single point separates every position, so a win by any team will be huge.
It should be an exciting Week 13 in WPS and memorable one for women's soccer. In addition to a few great match-ups, the L.A. Sol and St. Louis Athletica are scheduled to host a 10th Anniversary Tribute Day to honor the U.S. victory in the 1999 Women's World Cup.
Will St. Louis continue on its current streak or will the Freedom handle business? Will Chicago or Boston have the upper hand this time around? What are you looking forward to the most in Week 13
Share your thoughts below.