Freedom Move Into Fourth and Final WPS Playoff Posit
Boyds, MD...Washington Freedom currently sit in the fourth and final position in the 2010 WPS Playoffs tonight after a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Sky Blue FC. Both teams played with ferocity as they battled for the opportunity to extend their season into the playoffs.
Freedom took to the field in pink jerseys provided by WPS league sponsor PUMA® in support of Project Pink. Many of the 3,143 fans in attendance wore pink to show their support as well. Project Pink, which is in conjunction with PUMA's partnership with the WPS, strives to raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer.
First half action picked up in the 23rd minute when Freedom's Sonia Bompastor sent a defense-splitting kick to Abby Wambach, who chested the ball down in front of the goal, but was not able to score before Sky Blue FC's defense made a stop. Play switched sides of the field, and in the 30th minute, Sky Blue FC forward Tasha Kai took advantage of a turnover and chipped a shot over Freedom goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, making the game 1-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC.
Freedom had several scoring attempts toward the end of the second half with tough saves made by Sky Blue FC substitute goalkeeper Meghann Burke, who was brought in following a 32nd minute injury to starting goalkeeper Jenni Branam.
In the 34th minute Wambach sent a shot from the left corner high and wide. In the 40th minute, Freedom defender Becca Moros beat Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Burke with a header that went just wide. Freedom were able to maintain some possession in the Sky Blue FC half, but were limited to just two shots on goal in the first half.
Freedom started the second half off strong with a cross by Sarah Huffman to Wambach, whose header was pushed over the crossbar by Burke in the 48th minute of play, followed by a short Freedom corner kick that went out for a second corner, which was cleared by a Sky Blue FC header.
In the 50th minute, Freedom earned another corner kick after a long free kick was knocked out by Burke. Both teams continued the half with fervor with collisions and intense play on both ends of the field.
In the 75th minute, Wambach had a strong shot on goal which was impressively saved by Burke followed by a corner kick that was battled around in the box resulting in a penalty kick for Freedom when Burke took down Wambach. Wambach took her time, mentally setting up for the penalty kick, which paid off as she shot the ball into the upper left hand corner of the goal for an even score.
Sky Blue FC answered with a long free kick by Yael Averbuch, which bounced dangerously past the far post and out for a goal kick. Wambach gave the Freedom the lead for good in the 84th minute, receiving a through ball from Allie Long and banking the shot off the post and into the goal.
In stoppage time, Huffman had a chance to finish the game off, but Burke made a great one-on-one save. With the win, Freedom move three points ahead of Sky Blue FC for the fourth and final playoff spot. Sky Blue FC has three matches left, however, while Freedom have two.
Sky Blue FC (7-10-4) host FC Gold Pride on Wednesday, September 1 at 7 p.m while Freedom (7-8-7) travel to play the Chicago Red Stars next Sunday, September 5 at 6 p.m ET. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.
Freedom will conclude the regular season when they host the Atlanta Beat on Saturday, September 11 at 7 p.m.
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Women's Professional Soccer Stories from August 28, 2010
- Beat Score In Fourth Straight Match - Atlanta Beat
- Freedom Move Into Fourth and Final WPS Playoff Posit - magicJack
- Washington Freedom Deal a Blow - Sky Blue FC
- Saturday's Washington victory over Sky Blue officially puts Chicago out of playoff picture - Chicago Red Stars
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