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WPS Weekly - Week 19

August 24, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) News Release


The WPS Championship presented by Citi will be hosted by FC Gold Pride at Pioneer Stadium after their 3-2 victory over the Chicago Red Stars clinched the regular season crown on Sunday. After being held scoreless for 279 minutes over three plus games, FC Gold Pride finally got back on the board, when Marta scored in the 14th minute to open the scoring at Toyota Park. The back and forth match was tied 1-1, and then again 2-2, after Chicago's Ella Masar and FC Gold Pride's Rachel Buehler exchanged goals. The decisive goal would come after Chicago defender Natalie Spilger was called for a hand ball in the box. The league's leading scorer, Marta, took full advantage on the ensuing penalty kick and clinched the WPS regular season title for FC Gold Pride, earning them the right to host the WPS Championship on Sunday, September 26.

FC Gold Pride's clinching win was made possible by two results earlier on the weekend. Atlanta Beat interim head coach James Galanis picked up his first victory on Saturday, as the Beat held on to upend third-place Boston in New Britain, Connecticut. Lori Chalupny, Aya Miyama, and Eniola Aluko put the game at 3-0 before Boston got on the board late with a Lindsay Tarpley strike. The Breakers picked up another goal when Kristine Lilly scored in stoppage time, but Atlanta held on to preserve the victory with a clutch save by Hope Solo. The win kept the Beat within striking distance of the final playoff spot, five points behind Washington and Sky Blue FC.

In the weekend's other match, Sky Blue FC shut out second-place Philadelphia Independence in a game delayed two hours by lightning. Yael Averbuch got her first goal of the season in the 61st minute for the deciding goal of the match to prevent Philadelphia from clinching a home playoff game for at least another week. It was the first time after three losses that Sky Blue FC defeated their rivals to the south, and it also opened the door for FC Gold Pride to clinch the title with a win later in the day against Chicago.

In the midweek game, Washington's Abby Wambach and Cat Whitehill both scored in a 2-0 Freedom victory over Chicago that put distance between the two sides in the race for the final playoff position. After losing both games in Week 19, the Chicago Red Stars now find themselves four points back of both Washington and Sky Blue FC with just two matches left for Chicago this season. Chicago could be mathematically eliminated this weekend if the Washington vs. Sky Blue FC game ends in a victory for one of the teams.

Thursday

Washington 2, Chicago 0

Saturday

Atlanta 3, Boston 2

Sunday

Sky Blue FC 1, Philadelphia 0

FC Gold Pride 3, Chicago 2

League Leaders

Goals

Marta (FC Gold Pride) 15

Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia) 12

Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers) 10

Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom) 10

Eniola Aluko (Atlanta Beat) 8

Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars) 8

Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride) 8

Assists

Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom) 8

Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence) 7

Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride) 7

Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence) 6

Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom) 5

Caroline Seger (Philadelphia Independence) 5

Saves

Hope Solo (Atlanta Beat) 86

Erin McLeod (Washington Freedom) 68

Jillian Loyden (Chicago Red Stars) 66

Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride) 62

Karen Bardsley (Sky Blue FC) 56

Atlanta's Aluko is WPS's Week 19 Player of the Week

English forward Eniola Aluko is Women's Professional Soccer's Player of the Week for Week 18 after scoring what would prove to be the decisive goal to lead the expansion Atlanta Beat to a vital 3-2 victory over the Boston Breakers.

Aluko's goal in the 73rd-minute Saturday in New Britain, Conn., gave Atlanta (5-10-5) a three-goal advantage on Boston, which scored two late goals in a rally that fell short. The victory moved the Beat within a point of escaping the WPS cellar and within five of a playoff berth with four games remaining on its schedule.

The goal was Aluko's eighth of the season and her fourth since joining the Beat as a free agent after Saint Louis Athletica folded in May. She has 14 WPS career goals.

This is the third time Aluko has been honored as Player of the Week -- she won in Week 12 last season and in Week 1 this year, both while with Saint Louis -- and the second time an Atlanta player has won the award. Hope Solo, who also came to the Beat from Saint Louis, won in Week 16.

The WPS Player of Week is selected by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters.

Week 1: Eniola Aluko (Saint Louis Athletica)

Week 2: Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

Week 3: Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 4: Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom)

Week 5: Karen Bardsley (Sky Blue FC)

Week 6: Marta (FC Gold Pride)

Week 7: Kosovare Asllani (Chicago Red Stars)

Week 8: Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 9: Marta (FC Gold Pride)

Week 10: Danesha Adams (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 11: Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 12: Marta (FC Gold Pride)

Week 13: Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars)

Week 14: Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride)

Week 15: Caroline Seger (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 16: Hope Solo (Atlanta Beat)

Week 17: Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers)

Week 18: Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence)

Week 19: Eniola Aluko (Atlanta Beat)

WPS Playoff Scenarios - Week 20

With three weekends left in the 2010 WPS Regular Season, the playoff situation is still very much up for grabs outside of the top spot. At the top of the table, FC Gold Pride already clinched the regular season title and the right to host the WPS Championship presented by Citi on September 26.

In second-place, Philadelphia is on the cusp of a playoff berth. A tie between Washington and Sky Blue FC, as well as a victory by Sky Blue FC, assures Philadelphia of a playoff berth on Saturday night already before they even take to the field this weekend. Otherwise, if the Freedom win, the Independence can take care of business on Sunday. A tie for Philadelphia against Boston on Sunday assures them of a playoff berth and a home playoff game provided Sky Blue FC doesn't win on Saturday. A win by Philadelphia against Boston assures them of home playoff game regardless of Saturday's outcome. There's only one scenario in which Philadelphia will not guarantee itself a playoff berth this weekend. The FC Gold Pride vs. Atlanta Beat game on Saturday has no bearing on Philadelphia's playoff position.

Scenarios for the Independence:

SBFC vs. Washington Philadelphia vs. Boston Independence Clinch...

SBFC Win PHI Win Home Playoff Game

SBFC Win PHI Loss Playoff Berth

SBFC Win Tie Playoff Berth

WSH Win PHI Win Home Playoff Game

WSH Win PHI Loss Nothing Clinched

WSH Win Tie Home Playoff Game

Tie PHI Win Home Playoff Game

Tie PHI Loss Playoff Berth

Tie Tie Home Playoff Game

Boston can also clinch under a few complex scenarios. A loss or tie by Washington and a loss or tie by Atlanta combined with a win on Sunday by the Breakers would guarantee them a spot in the 2010 WPS Playoffs. Boston cannot clinch a home playoff game this weekend.

A win by either Washington or Sky Blue FC eliminates Chicago from playoff contention. A tie is the only outcome that keeps Chicago mathematically alive.

2010 WPS Championship presented by Citi - Ticket Information

Post-season tickets including the WPS Championship are already on sale for the first WPS team to clinch a playoff berth. Fans can take advantage of FC Gold Pride's Postseason Presale Two-Pack; Package includes a ticket to the WPS Championship and September Pride home game of choice (Sept. 5 or 11).

Individual tickets for the 2010 WPS Championship game will go on sale Monday, August 30 at 9 am PT. For more information visit FCGoldPride.com.

WPS Week 20 Preview

Saturday, August 28

Washington Freedom vs. Sky Blue FC (7pm ET)

Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

- A massive game in the race for the final playoff berth between two rivals that finished third and fourth in the standings in 2009.

- Washington and Sky Blue FC are currently tied for the fourth and final playoff position with 25 points apiece with both clubs coming off victories in Week 19. Sky Blue FC has a game in hand, while the Freedom currently has a better goal differential.

- This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the two sides. The season is deadlocked at 0-0-2 so a victory by either team would give them the crucial head-to-head tiebreak advantage, as well.

- Abby Wambach's 10th goal of the season moved her in to a third-place tie with Boston's Kelly Smith in the scoring category, and she is continues to be the current league leader in assists with eight on the year.

- The Freedom are currently unbeaten in the month of August (2-0-2) following a 10-game winless streak while Sky Blue FC are .500 for the month (2-2-1).

- Washington brings in a 1.38 goals per game average while Sky Blue brings in a 0.90 goals per game average on the year. The two clubs are nearly identical on the defensive side of the ball with Sky Blue holding a slight advantage at 1.40 goals against average giving up 28 goals on the year and Washington with a 1.43 average having given up 30 goals, tied for worst in the league with Atlanta.

Saturday, August 28

Atlanta Beat vs. FC Gold Pride (7pm ET)

Atlanta Beat Stadium, Kennesaw, GA

- Both clubs are coming off victories the past week. The Atlanta Beat knocked off third-place Boston and FC Gold Pride clinched the WPS regular season crown with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Red Stars.

- This will be the second game for the Atlanta Beat under interim head coach James Galanis. Coach Galanis led the Beat to a win over the Boston Breakers in his first match at the helm.

- FC Gold Pride have not suffered a defeat since June 27th against Sky Blue FC. Since that loss they have been a remarkable 6-0-3 on a nine-game undefeated streak. The all-time record unbeaten streak is 11 held by the Los Angeles Sol in 2009.

- Marta extended her lead in the quest to be the WPS top scorer with a brace against the Red Stars. Marta (15) currently holds a three goal advantage over Philadelphia's Amy Rodriguez (12).

- Atlanta has yet to defeat FC Gold Pride going 0-2-1 in their three previous meetings being outscored 6-1. Their last meeting was a 0-0 draw in Kennesaw, GA on August 1.

Sunday, August 29

Philadelphia Independence vs. Boston Breakers (6pm ET - Fox Soccer Channel)

John A. Farrell Stadium, West Chester, PA

- This is a match-up between the league's second and third place squads. Boston currently sits behind Philadelphia by five points for the second position in the race to host the WPS Super Semifinal but would really narrow the game with a win against Philadelphia considering Boston has one game in hand.

- A win by Philadelphia guarantees the Independence of a home playoff game. A tie by Philadelphia also guarantees them of a home playoff game if Sky Blue FC loses or ties on Saturday. Even with a loss, Philadelphia could already be in the playoffs if Washington loses or ties on Saturday against Sky Blue FC.

- The match will feature two of the league's best offenses. The Independence are atop the league, scoring 1.67 goals per game with the Breakers scoring 1.55 goals per game this season. The match also features two of the top scorers, Philadelphia's Amy Rodriguez (12) and Boston's Kelly Smith (10).

- Boston holds the series advantage at 1-0-2 on the season. Their last meeting was on August 8th and ended in a 2-2 draw.

- Philadelphia's Lori Lindsey is currently second in the WPS in assists with 7, one behind Washington's Abby Wambach, and teammate Amy Rodriguez also has 6 on the year.

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Women's Professional Soccer Stories from August 24, 2010


The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.


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