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Whitehill, De Vanna score in Freedom's 2-1 win

May 23, 2009 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - magicJack News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Returning to its home during its stint in the WUSA, the Washington Freedom found the confines of RFK Stadium to still be friendly as the team won its second match of the 2009 season, a 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC on Saturday.

Normally the one on the serving end of the long ball, defender Cat Whitehill buried a Sonia Bompastor corner kick with her head - her first WPS goal - to put the Freedom up 1-0 in the 35th minute. Four minutes later, Lisa De Vanna intercepted the ball in Sky Blue's defensive half and beat the goalie on a breakaway to give the Freedom a 2-0 lead.

While getting on the score sheet was nice for Whitehill, she said the outcome was even more rewarding.

"It's just good to get a win right now," Whitehill said. "It's encouraging. The first half we came out and we really had possession of the ball. The second half we were a little sloppy and they came after us a little bit so I was glad to get the win."

Sky Blue (1-4-2, 5 points) cut the lead in half in the second half as Rosana was finally able to put the ball past Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod in the 65th minute, but Sky Blue was unable to score an equalizer.

"I think in the second half maybe the heat got to us like it did them in the first half," Freedom Head Coach Jim Gabarra said. "We kind of stopped playing and weren't really making the right decisions with the ball. We gave away possession easily and we were getting pulled apart and stretched there. It was pretty dangerous."

After giving up nine goals in a three game span, the Freedom finally seems to have found its steadying force in McLeod, who has nine saves in two matches. And while McLeod admits there are still some adjustments to be made between her and the rest of the defense, she knows things are turning around.

"I'm a little rusty," McLeod said. "We're still learning to work with one another and the more comfortable we get with one another, the easier it will be."

Added Whitehill: "[McLeod's] been huge for us. We've only been together two weeks and I already feel she's been behind me for two months."

The win was Washington's second of the season and its first WPS win as the home team. Washington now sits at 2-2-3 (9 points) and sits in fourth place in the WPS standings pending the outcome of the Chicago Red Stars-Saint Louis Athletica match, also played Saturday.

Washington returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex next week, playing host to FC Gold Pride on May 31 at 4 p.m.

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