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Beat Set Record Attendance, Fall in Home Heartbreaker

May 16, 2011 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Atlanta Beat News Release


KENNESAW, GA. (May 15, 2011) - The Atlanta Beat (1-4-1) of Women's Professional Soccer set this season's league attendance record as they suffered a tough 2-1 loss on Sunday night after taking the first half advantage on a Lori Chalupny goal before Independence scorers Laura del Rio and Estelle Johnson netted Philly's come from behind win.

After two road losses, the Beat came home to battle Philadelphia Independence in front of an announced crowd of 6, 125.

The first half began with high pressure from the Beat. In the 13th minute, Atlanta sent a through ball into forward Meghan Lenczyk's run. Lenczyk took a touch as she tried to get inside Independence defender Kia McNeill. McNeill made contact with the forward, and Lenczyk went to the ground just outside the penalty area. Since McNeill was the last defensive field player and because she prevented a goal-scoring opportunity, she was issued a red card and escorted off the pitch. The Independence finished the remainder of the match with 10 players.

Beat captain Lori Chalupny created the opening goal three minutes into stoppage time of the first half. The goal came off a driven cross from Megan Jesolva to the feet of Lenczyk near the penalty spot. Lenczyk found Chalupny making a run in the middle of the box to give the Beat a first half lead.

At the break, the Beat led shots, striking 10 to Philadelphia's three. The foul count was nearly even with the Beat committing two of the three.

The Independence came out strong in the second half and began to take control of the game. In the 50th minute, the Independence earned a free kick outside the box. The ensuing kick was taken by Lianne Sanderson, but Beat goalkeeper Alli Lipsher was there to make a diving save to block the lower corner. Johnson, who was came into the match in the 46th minute, was there for the to put away the rebound and the equalizer.

The pace of the match quickly increased as the two teams fought for a game-winner In the end, it was Philadelphia's del Rio who scored in the 73rd minute. The goal came off a Tasha Kai cross.

For the remainder of the match, the Beat looked to even the score, but they were unable to capitalize on some close opportunities. With a cross sent across an open goal and a shot that hit the crossbar, the final whistle blew and the Beat fell 2-1 in a home heartbreaker.

The Beat are back in action on the road against Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

QUOTES

Atlanta Beat Head Coach James Galanis

On the final outcome

It was tough. I think we deserved to lose to be honest with you. We knew we were playing with one more player. We took it to them in the first half; we played good soccer; we stretched them out; we created a lot of chances and finished the (first half) off great. I got up five minutes before halftime and said to them, "let's get one (goal) in the next five minutes,' and four minutes later we did.

Then we went inside, and I told them to stay on it, keep moving the ball around, keep working hard, and take advantage of the one extra man we've got. Then, we came out and did the opposite. We took our foot off the pedal so to speak, and we let them back in it. Then the last 10 minutes, we stepped it up again, but it was too late. We should have been playing like that the whole time. But, as we all know, we're young and there are a lot of things we can take out of this game; a lot of positives and a lot of negatives. I saw the girls, and they got it.

On the pressure Lenczyk provided in the first half and the decision to take her out

She creates opportunities because she's always moving. Her touches weren't working for her, and that's why we took her off. But she was creating a lot of havoc for the opponent. Larsen has looked good at training all week. She came on, but she couldn't get it done at the end.

On Lipsher

Yea that's the disappointing part- that in the last three games we've conceded six goals that have been from our own errors, so that's definitely disappointing. So again, just things we've got to learn from.

Atlanta Beat midfielder and captain Lori Chalupny

On the game

Yea, it's really disappointing result for us. It kind of stings right now. We came out so well in the first half, and I think this may be our best half of the whole season. We had a lot of confidence and we were playing with a lot of creativity, and showing our true selves but I don't know what happened. The second half, we just weren't back in the game and it was tough once they got the first goal and got some momentum going. But, we have to learn from this experience and never take a second for granted and just keep pushing to the end.

Do you think it's a matter of this team learning how to play ahead'

I mean, yes and no. There are definitely some younger players on the team, but everybody has played in this situation. Everybody knows how to play up a goal. I think it was just truly that we let them back in the game by not pushing for that second goal, and to their credit, they never gave up. Even down a man they pushed the game.

On the pressure Philly demonstrated

Well, they've got some really talented players and some speed up top which is always a threat. They played to their strengths I think, and we just took our foot off the pedal and let them back in. it's something you just can't do in this league.

Philadelphia Independence Head Coach

Paul Riley

Resilience of team after being down a player and down a goal

Well, I think last year we came back a couple times being two goals down and that doesn't happen very often in WPS. I think you try to find out what your team is made of. We've got a new team with nine new players, and you get that defining moment of the season. It usually doesn't come this early in the season, but I thought of this as a defining moment for us to come back. They dominated the first half, and we looked in serious trouble at halftime. But, we went to three at the back the second half. We just said, "You know what' Let's just get out there, put someone up front, and go for the game."

On the early foul that resulted in a red card

I haven't seen the replay, but there is no question that it was a foul. It was the first foul and it was early in the game. A red card has got to be clear. He made the decision, and I didn't argue the decision. I think sometimes, if a coach starts ranting and raving on the sidelines with the referee, it affects the players. I think we just get on with it. Away from home, you don't scream at it. You can't scream here because there is a great crowd.

On playing in front of a great crowd

It looked like they were giving pies away with all the cheering that was going on. Fish and chips and meat and potato pies. It was a great crowd and a great night tonight for female soccer really, especially to be on TV and the big crowd for Atlanta. It's a great place to be. This is what the league is all about.

Philadelphia Independence forward Tasha Kai

On coming out strong in the second half

Coach just tells me to play, and when I go hard at the defenders, they tend to freak out a little and cough up the ball. There were ten people on the field for almost 90 minutes and it was really hard. It is (unfortunate) today because it was Kia's birthday and she got the red card within the first five or ten minutes. I mean, we played for her, and you can tell our team fights until the last minute no matter how many players are on the field.

On serving the cross for the second goal

We've been practicing our early runs, getting the final ball through. Coach talks about marriages a lot on the field- finding that player you connect with well. I seem to be connecting well with a lot of our midfield to our forwards. I play for my team. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here. They're my sisters away from home.

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