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Washington Freedom's 2010 WPS Playoff Run Ends with Overtime Goal

September 19, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - magicJack News Release

The 2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune kicked off today in West Chester, PA as Washington Freedom faced off against Philadelphia Independence. Amy Rodriguez put an end to Freedom's 2010 Playoff run with a goal in the 120th minute.

The match began with Freedom controlling much of the possession and creating opportunities in front of the goal. The match quickly switched gears when Magnussdottir got behind the Freedom defense on the left flank and served a hard shot at the goal, saved by Freedom goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Independence would continue to create opportunities.

On an Independence free kick, Sonia Bompastor was able to deflect the initial kick, but Independence recovered and Lianne Sanderson shot out of the pack creating a one-on-one attack against Harris. Harris, who with her split second reactions, was able to come up with the save. Soon after, Independence fed Amy Rodriquez the ball. She sped behind the defense, but her shot went high.

Freedom began to control the ball again just before the half after Nikki Marshall battled the ball all the way up the field to create a Freedom opportunity, but the cross went wide.

The very physical second half opened with Independence quickly dominating. Jen Buczkowski threatened Freedom's goal sending a long ball just wide.

In the 65th minute, Wambach beat the Independence defense, fed the ball to Lene Mykjaland, who sent it right back to Wambach with one touch. Wambach was able to slide to the ball, but the shot went wide right of the goal.

Freedom saw another chance in the 77th minute. A Freedom corner kick was cleared from the box then recovered by Wambach who fed the ball back into the box, but the lobbed shot by Lene Mykjaland went just over the goal.

Independence quickly came back for a counter attack two minutes later as Lori Lindsey sent a rocket toward the upper corner of the goal, but Freedom's Harris was able to make an incredible reaching save. The deflection fell to the feet of Rodriquez who sent the ball back at the goal. Harris, who had just hit the ground from the previous save, was able to make a quick kick save allowing Freedom's defense to clear the ball.

"Harris made at least five big saves, when most games you expect only one or two," said Freedom Head Coach Jim Gabarra. "She certainly played an incredible game."

Play would continue to go back-and-forth the remainder of the second half before the whistle blew to signal the end of regulation.

After a short break, the WPS First Round match continued into two 15-minute halves of extra time marking the first time a WPS game has needed extra time to be decided. Both teams would continue to battle through tired legs until the 120th minute.

In the final minute of extra time, Rodriguez was sent a ball at the top of the box from Christina DiMartino. Rodriguez broke free of Freedom's defense and shot the ball past Harris into the back of the net ending Freedom's 2010 WPS Playoff run.

"We played our hearts out. From day one we have become a better team and in the long run I am proud of my players," said Abby Wambach. "I'm proud of us for lasting throughout an entire game, overtime and for trying to win at the end."

The WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune continue on Thursday, Sept. 23 as the Boston Breakers host the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Super Semifinal (8pm ET / 5pm PT on FSC). The winner of that match will advance to face FC Gold Pride in the WPS Championship presented by Citi on Sunday, Sept. 26 (2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT on FSN).

Additional Quotes:

Jim Gabarra

"Harris made at least five big saves, when most games you expect only one or two...she certainly played an incredible game.

"Both teams were pretty legless at the end...A-Rod is very dangerous.

"I would have felt confident with a hot goalkeeper (going into PKs), but she just couldn't get to that one (Amy Rodriguez goal)."

Abby Wambach

"It could have been a 3-0 game easily. A-Rod had plenty of chances and for that reason I had a belief we were going to win and thought the soccer Gods were on our side but soccer is a long game.

"It's an exciting time and has been a long season. I am proud of this team for fighting our way into the playoffs.

"It's better the game is determined on the field than in PKs.

"Our final pass was the thing that way missing. We controlled a lot of the middle. We just couldn't get that final ball in.

"We played our hearts out. From day one we have become a better team and in the long run I am proud of my players. Proud of us to last throughout an entire game overtime and trying to win at the end.

"I think Ashlyn was the MVP of the whole game...For a goalkeeper you ask her to make 1 or 2 saves a game to keep you into it, but Ashlyn did far more than that. I am very proud of her because she came off the bench and really helped us out this season...made key saves to get us into the playoffs and I think its fitting she kept us in this playoff game."

Ashlyn Harris

"We lost a mark in the last couple of seconds of the game and the last person you want to lose is ARod, because when she gets a chance and its 5 to 6 yards outside the goal she's going to put it away. And that's what she did.

"A credit to our team, this hasn't been an easy road at all, its been an incredible journey. And I'm just so thrilled that I get to see these girls everyday and its unfortunate that our season comes to an end here...I've had a great run as a rookie.

"I'm leaving here with my head up, I'm confident knowing I did everything I could every game to help this team.

"This is the game of soccer. Balls bounce funny ways. People come up and make big saves, great finishes. At the end of the day that's why the game's so exciting...we had a blast today, unfortunately we didn't come out on top. It happens."

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