Chicago Red Stars Host Washington in Regular-Season Finale
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Red Stars (6-11-6, 24 points) host the Washington Freedom (7-8-7, 28 points) at 5 p.m. Sunday in Women's Professional Soccer action at Toyota Park. The match is televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
Washington has posted a 1-0-2 record against the Red Stars this season as the team is vying for the fourth and final playoff spot.
For Chicago, which is out of the postseason picture, the team is hosting its final regular-season match and is attempting to earn back-to-back victories for the first time in franchise history. The Red Stars are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Independence on Wednesday, while the Freedom is coming off a 2-1 win over Sky Blue FC on Aug. 28.
"We want to finish strong," Red Stars Head Coach Omid Namazi said. "We want to give the people who come here game in and game out and cheer us on a good feeling about what we're going to do next year. We want to close out strong. We want to showcase Vero [Boquete], showcase a healthy team finally."
The Freedom can clinch the fourth playoff position with a win on Sunday combined with a Sky Blue loss or draw against the Atlanta Beat. Washington also can clinch if the team plays to a draw against Chicago combined with a Sky Blue defeat.
OFFENSE FINDS LIFE
For the first time this season, the Red Stars have scored a pair of goals in back-to-back matches - a 3-2 loss to FC Gold Pride, followed by a 2-0 victory against Philadelphia. The last time they had such a feat was a 3-2 loss to Washington on July 26, 2009, followed by a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Sol on Aug. 2, 2009. This season the Red Stars have scored 18 goals in 23 matches and also benefited from an own goal. In 2009, the Red Stars had 18 goals in 20 matches.
The Red Stars could run into a pair of former teammates from earlier this season - midfielder Brittany Klein and defender Anita Asante. Klein was added to Washington's developmental roster, following her 23-game tenure and 2009 WPS All-Star selection with Chicago. Asante is playing for her third team this year. She started the season with now-defunct Saint Louis Athletica, then joined the Red Stars for six games (three starts) before Chicago traded Asante to Washington for the rights to defender Faith Ikidi. ... Former Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes was added to the Washington organization as a soccer consultant. Hayes coached the Red Stars to a 5-10-5 season in 2009 and opened the 2010 campaign with a 1-4-1 record before she was relieved of her coaching duties in May. ... Freedom defender Brittany Bock is a Naperville, Ill., native and University of Notre Dame alumna. Bock helped Neuqua Valley High School win a state title during her senior season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Washington forward Abby Wambach is tied for first in WPS with eight assists and tied for second in the league with 12 goals. ... Red Stars forward Ella Masar is seventh in WPS with eight goals. ... Chicago's Marian Dalmy and Casey Nogueira lead the squad with four assists apiece. ... Red Stars goalkeeper Jillian Loyden carries the second-lowest goals allowed average at 1.18, and she is second in WPS with six shutouts. ... Chicago's defense ranks second in the league with a goals allowed average of only 1.13. ... The Red Stars are 6-0-0 when scoring the first goal this season and 0-11-3 when their opponent scores first. Three Red Stars matches have resulted in scoreless draws.
LAST TIME OUT
The Red Stars are coming off a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Independence on Wednesday at Toyota Park. Veronica Boquete netted her first Red Stars goal and Marian Dalmy added her first WPS goal, as well. Jillian Loyden made four saves for her sixth shutout. Chicago earned its first victory against Philadelphia and ended a three-game losing streak. Despite the loss, Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot by virtue of a Sky Blue FC draw against FC Gold Pride.
LOYDEN, SPILGER UP FOR 2010 WPS YEAR-END AWARDS
Red Stars goalkeeper Jillian Loyden is one of four players nominated for Coast Guard Goalkeeper of the Year, while defender Natalie Spilger is one of seven candidates for Citi Sportswoman of the Year. Loyden, FC Gold Pride's Nicole Barnhart, the Atlanta Beat's Hope Solo and Sky Blue FC's Karen Bardsley were nominated for the goalkeeping honor. Spilger's honor is determined entirely by WPS players and coaches. The 2010 WPS Awards voting is based on a vote of fans (33 percent), media (33 percent) and WPS players and coaches (33 percent). Voting for the awards run through 7 p.m. CT Monday, Sept. 6. Visit www.WomensProSoccer.com and click on the WPS Fan Corner page to cast your vote.
"Washington is a funny, funny team because I feel we've outplayed them every single time we've played them. Yet Abby Wambach scores on a set piece or a redirection, an own goal of some sort. So I'd like nothing more than to be a spoiler."
- Omid Namazi, Red Stars Head Coach
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Women's Professional Soccer Stories from September 4, 2010
- Last 2010 Atlanta Beat Home Game Sunday, Sept. 5 - Atlanta Beat
- Chicago Red Stars Host Washington in Regular-Season Finale - Chicago Red Stars
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