WPS All-Stars defeat Umea IK, 4-2

August 31, 2009 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Chicago Red Stars News Release

FENTON, Mo.- The WPS All-Stars downed Swedish national champion Umeå, 4-2, in the WPS All-Star Game presented by the Coast Guard on Sunday, Aug. 30 at The Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo. After falling behind 2-0 after 15 minutes, the WPS All-Stars responded with four unanswered goals to win the inaugural WPS All-Star Game.

Chicago Red Stars forward Cristiane and midfielder Megan Rapinoe started for the WPS stars. Cristiane assisted Marta's goal in the 40th minute. Chicago midfielder Brittany Klein went into the match for Kristine Lilly to start the second half. Though Klein was not officially awarded an assist, she set up Christine Sinclair's second goal in the 49th minute.

Red Stars midfielder and Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native Frida Ostberg flew in to play for Umea IK. In Sunday's game, Ostberg blocked a Shannon Boxx shot in the 24th minute.

In just the second minute, Umeå IK served notice that they would be a formidable foe as Mami Yamaguchi, who won the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy as the NCAA's best player while at Florida State, sent a through ball to Madelaine Edlund on the right side of the box. With only the Los Angeles Sol's Karina LeBlanc to beat, Edlund fired her shot past the WPS All-Star goalkeeper to give Umeå an early 1-0 lead.

Umeå kept on the attack as two minutes later Yamaguchi unleashed a dipping shot from 30 yards out, which LeBlanc had to tip out of bounds to keep from going into the upper right corner.

In the 15th minute, Umeå made it 2-0 when Edlund again found space on the right flank and cranked a shot which LeBlanc got a paw to, but the rebound went straight to Sofia Jakobsson. The Swedish forward banged a shot off the left post to increase Umeå's lead.

"We know each other so well, so of course we had the advantage," said Umeå head coach Mika Sankala. "We pressed them higher at the beginning and tried to win the ball early. And I think we did very well. We created great chances and scored goals."

Down by two goals, the WPS All-Stars began to settle into the game and find their rhythm. In the 24th minute, Marta zoomed down the left flank and attempted to serve a cross into the box, but it deflected off teammate Cristiane right back to Marta. The Los Angeles Sol forward's next serve found its mark as Lilly streaked to the top of the box to fire a shot that bounced off the left post before finally settling into the goal to trim Umeå's lead to 2-1.

Gaining momentum after their goal, the WPS All-Stars had a few prime opportunities to knot the score. In the 28th minute, Marta went on a breakaway down the left flank, but Soberg rushed out to stuff Marta's shot. The rebound fell to Megan Rapinoe at the top of the box, but the Chicago Red Stars' midfielder mishit the ball, which looped harmlessly out of bounds.

A minute later, the Sol's Shannon Boxx sent a cross into the penalty area, which Saint Louis Athletica's Tina Ellertson headed off the left goalpost.

In the 40th, Marta tied the score as she received the ball at the top of the 18-yard box from Chicago's Cristiane and threw a few fakes to set up a left-footed shot into the far corner.

"It was nice that we went into halftime tied," said Saint Louis Athletica's Lori Chalupny. "It would have been a bit of a struggle to go in down a goal and feel like you have to come out and get one back right away in the second half."

Urgency, however, marked the WPS All-Stars play when they came out of the locker room as they immediately took control of the game.

Just two minutes after halftime, the WPS All-Stars grabbed the lead as Marta, who moved to left midfield after the break, passed the ball to FC Gold Pride forward Christine Sinclair in front of the box. Sinclair knocked it into the goal to give the WPS All-Stars a 3-2 advantage.

"We got a goal immediately and I think we had momentum," said WPS All-Star head coach Abner Rogers, who also serves as the Los Angeles Sol's head coach. "We started to really move the ball around well. The movement was really good in the second half."

Two minutes later Sinclair pushed the WPS All-Stars lead to 4-2 as she dribbled down the right flank, drew Soberg off her line and fired it past the Umeå goalkeeper.

In the 52nd minute, Sinclair had a chance to notch a hat trick on a breakaway, but shot directly into Soberg's feet. Umeå then counterattacked as Jakobsson broke down the left flank, but Washington Freedom defender Cat Whitehill tracked her down to force a corner kick before she could get a shot off.

Then Marta began to work her magic in earnest. In the 69th minute, the 2009 Michelle Akers Player of the Year sent a cross into the box from the left flank which landed at Sinclair's feet. Still trying for the hat trick, Sinclair blasted a rocket off the crossbar that left the woodwork shaking.

In the 75th minute, Marta wormed her way into the left side of the penalty box and past a Umeå defender before sending a cross to Abby Wambach. The Freedom forward's shot glanced off Soberg with the rebound caroming to Sky Blue FC's Heather O'Reilly whose shot was cleared out of danger.

"I was taking it easy," said Marta. "I was feeling good in my legs. I was playing around with it a bit, just passing the ball. It was fun."

Edlund again caused trouble for the WPS All-Star defense in the 77th minute as she got free on the left and unleashed a shot that Saint Louis Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo had to dive to her right to snag.

In the late-going, the WPS All-Stars continued to create scoring opportunities with Marta directing the attack. In the 82nd minute, Marta backheeled the ball to spring Sinclair into the penalty box on the left. Sinclair's cross found a wide open O'Reilly, but the Sky Blue FC midfielder's shot was kick saved by Soberg.

Umeå played the match without their leading scorer, Ramona Bachmann (14 goals), as the 18-year-old Swiss forward was under the weather.

The 2009 WPS All-Star Game presented by the Coast Guard concludes the inaugural WPS season. Next year two expansion teams in the Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence will join WPS as the league's eighth and ninth franchises. The Beat and the Independence will begin stocking their rosters with the WPS Expansion Draft on Sept. 15 and the WPS International Draft on Sept. 22. Find full coverage of the upcoming drafts at womensprosoccer.com.

The Chicago Red Stars recently completed their inaugural Women's Professional Soccer season. Season tickets for the 2010 season are currently on sale. For more information, log on to www.chicagoredstars.com or call 866-WPS-2009.

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