WPS: St. Louis clinches second place
Week 19 of Women's Professional Soccer wrapped up without too many changes in the standings. St. Louis Athletica (9-6-3, 20 points) managed to clinch second place and will host the WPS Super Semifinal on August 19th.
The Los Angeles Sol (11-3-5, 38 points) dropped a match, but still sit convincingly in first place. Three teams are still fighting for the final two playoff spots. The Washington Freedom (7-7-5, 26 points) are currently in third place. The Boston Breakers (7-8-4, 25 points) sit in fourth, while Sky Blue FC (6-7-5, 23 points) is in fifth.
The Chicago Red Stars (5-9-5, 20 points) handed the Sol their third loss of the season and regained sixth place on Sunday. FC Gold Pride (4-9-5, 17 points) remains in seventh place.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Abby Wambach scored a 73rd-minute goal to lead Washington.
Lisa De Vanna found Wambach open in the 73rd minute. Wambach beat her defender and struck the pall past Breakers' goalkeeper Ali Lipsher. Wambach took six shots, and tallied her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Kelly Smith entered the match for Boston in the 56th minute, looking to give the Breakers an offensive push. It nearly paid dividends in second-half stoppage time when she stole the ball from a Washington defender, and challenged Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who tipped the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
The loss snapped Boston's three-game unbeaten streak, which included three shutouts. The Breakers hadn't allowed a goal in 396 minutes.
"I'm really proud of the players, they played their hearts out," Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco said. "The game changed unfortunately in the fifth minute and Washington did what they needed to do. I just feel very bad for my players to have to have played a very difficult game.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Washington Freedom midfielder Houmare Sawa tallied two goals 20 minutes apart, but FC Gold Pride tallied three of its own to earn the win.
In just the ninth minute of play, FC Gold Pride midfielder Kim Yonkers netted her first goal of the season to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.
But the Freedom responded nine minutes later. Sawa tallied two goals 20 minutes apart to give Washington a 2-1 lead. In the 17th minute, Sawa sent a Jill Gilbeau pass past Gold Pride goalkeeper Allison Whitoworth tying the game at 1-1.
Twenty minutes later, Sonia Bompastor rocketed a shot toward goal. Whitworth punched it out of danger. Sawa took the rebound and sent in a 20-yard shot to take the 2-1 lead.
"Aside from the two goals, they didn't create much, we were being dangerous, I liked the way we were playing and I told them we were going to go out and win this game," Pride head coach Albertin Montoya said.
One minute into the second half, FC Gold Pride turned things around. Tiffeny Milbrett blasted a shot past Washington goalkeeper Erin McLeod and into the left side of the net, tying the match at 2-2.
FC Gold Pride midfielder Adriane put the game out of reach in the 83rd minute, rocketing an unassisted shot into the net for the 3-2 win.
Washington was unable to bounce back, dropping its first match since July 5th, a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Sol. FC Gold Pride won its first match since May 16, a 1-0 win over Chicago. The win against Washington broke the Pride's 10-game winless streak.
FENTON, Mo. -- Eniola Aluko tallied her seventh goal of the campaign to power St. Louis.
In the 36th minute, Amanda Cinalli passed the ball to Eniola Aluko, who was in the box. Aluko struck the ball past Boston goalkeeper Allison Lipsher and into the net for the game's only score.
"A good striker has to expect that ball," Aluko said. "It came through a lot of players and I was able to put it through the keeper's legs. This is a very tough league and strikers need to score, I bear that responsibility."
Boston's best chance of the match took place in the 65th minute. Heather Mitts passed the ball to Smith, who was in the penalty area. Smith sent a long shot toward the upper right corner. Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo dove to make the save.
Solo collected her seventh shutout of the season, the ninth total for Athletica. St. Louis has won five of its last seven, posting a 5-1-1 record.
"I said it all along it is not how you play at the start it is how you finish and where you finish. None of us were worried through those early games because we were playing good soccer," Solo said. "We never lost sight of that."
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Red Stars captain Lindsay Tarpley tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Red Stars over the regular-season champions.
In the 24th minute the Chicago Red Stars took the lead when Tarpley passed the ball to Carli Lloyd in the box. Lloyd slipped it between Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and the post for the 1-0 advantage.
Megan Rapinoe launched a long ball into the box in the 47th minute. Brittany Klein redirected the ball to Tarpley on the left side of goal. Tarpley jumped up and headed it over LeBlanc's head for a 2-0 Red Stars lead.
In the 90th minute Los Angeles Sol midfielder Shannon Boxx headed an attempt toward goal. Han Duan snuck into the right side of the box and redirected the ball into the net, cutting the Red Stars lead in half.
Cristiane answered that goal in injury time, streaking up the field and blasting the ball past LeBlanc and into the net for a 3-1 Chicago win. The three goals mark the most goals the Sol has allowed all season.
"I felt in the first half we had a few good moments and we scored at a good time," Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes said. "We talked about building on our 1-0 lead in the second half and defending. Our team did well the weather a difficult period in the second half. After they scored, we had enough character to go down the field and score a goal."