In the final weekend of full WPS play before the Women's World Cup starts, WPS showcased a poor game in Atlanta and an absolute blowout in Philadelphia. After beating magicJack 6-0 on Saturday, Philadelphia will once again host magicJack this coming Saturday, less than a full day before the Women's World Cup kicks off. Here are five things learned in WPS Week 11:
With the win, Philadelphia tied a league record with six goals scored and set a WPS record for margin of victory. Without the team's seven U.S. internationals, magicJack cannot afford to play its daring 3-4-3 formation. The effort showed on Saturday was uninspiring, and the body language of players was dejected.
The emergence of Danesha Adams (three goals in the past two games) and Veronica Boquete (a goal and two assists on Saturday) has been instrumental to the team's success. Riley believes that Boquete can be one of the best players in this league, and although her experience last year with Chicago and this year with Philadelphia is minimal, she has shown brilliance as a playmaker and a quick, crafty attacker.
Even the few chances that were available to either team went begging. Boston midfielder Liz Bogus hit the crossbar in the second half, but the biggest gaffe of the night came in the 36th minute. Atlanta midfielder Lori Chalupny nicely dribbled through two Boston defenders and played a square ball to Angela Salem, who put the ball wide of a practically empty net. The frustrating miss summarized a very frustrating day of soccer in Georgia.
Now, the Beat face Sky Blue FC on Wednesday. Sky Blue FC is unbeaten in its last four games and should be set to make it five straight. The Beat will be without center back Cat Whitehill, who is calling Women's World Cup matches for ESPN, and likely without Keeley Dowling, who left Sunday's match in the first half with an injury.
We see it on the men's side, too. The masses watch the World Cup because it is soccer's best talent fighting for the most heralded trophy on the planet. But that doesn't mean that all of those people will suddenly be waking up early to watch EPL action or heading to their local MLS stadium. Americans live for the big one-off sporting events where champions are crowned. If the U.S. can pull off a Women's World Cup title, it should at least bring some attention to WPS, but the large focus would still be on the U.S. as a team. Where WPS needs to focus is locally within each market.