Week 17 of Women's Professional Soccer again saw a few jumps in the standings. Teams were a bit shorthanded with international friendlies taking place.
Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom combined to score the most goals in a WPS match in their 4-4 draw.
Five games later, the Los Angeles Sol (11-2-4, 37 points), who still was on hiatus, remained in first place. The Boston Breakers (7-6-3, 24) took over second place after topping Chicago on Sunday. Saint Louis Athletica (7-6-2, 23 points) dropped to third place. Sky Blue (6-6-4, 22) jumped into fourth. The Washington (5-6-5, 20) dropped to fifth. The Chicago Red Stars (4-8-5, 17) remained in sixth while FC Gold Pride (3-9-3, 12) remained in last.
PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Sky Blue FC Natasha Kai and Kacey White each had two goals, while Washington's Lisa De Vanna tallied two of her own.
In the 4th minute, Washington's Ali Kreager dribbled up the right side and crossed the ball into the middle of the box. Sonia Bompastor headed the ball inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Kai got the home team back into the match. Heather O'Reilly found Kai in the box. Kai easily tapped the ball into the net, tying the match at 1-1.
Sky Blue took control in the 27th minute. A scramble in the box found Keeley Dowling taking control, sending the ball toward goal. White lifted her leg high and sent the ball off the outside of her foot and into the net for a 2-1 lead. Just one minute into the second half, White struck again, crossing the ball into the box. The ball soared over Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod's head, hit the post and bounced into the net for a 3-1 advantage.
Less than a minute later, Washington's Bompastor found an open Lisa De Vanna in the box. De Vanna headed a 5-yard shot into the net, cutting the New Jersey club's lead to 3-2.
In the 54th minute. Washington's Abby Wambach forwarded the ball to De Vanna, who settled the ball and forced Branam off her line. De Vanna beat Branam and shot the ball into an open net, tying the game at 3-3.
Rosana sent the ball to Kai in the box in the 86th minute. Kai forced McLeod to come at her and then drilled the ball past the keeper for a 4-3 advantage.
Two minutes into stoppage time, a Sky Blue player deflected a ball toward goal. Branam cleared it as best as she could. But Whitehill flew into the box and rocketed the shot home, forcing the 4-4 draw.
"It was a really bizarre game - it went back and forth," White said. "We showed a lot of character coming back after giving up an early goal, but of course we wanted to come up with three points, especially after having the lead that late in the game."
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Angela Hucles tallied the lone goal to lead Boston.
In the 35th minute, Kristine Lilly fed a ball through the Red Stars back line. Angela Hucles caught up with it, settled the ball and shot it past Caroline Jonsson for the 1-0 lead.
The Red Stars threw all they had at Boston in the second half, outshooting the home side 13-2. Marian Dalmy sent the ball to Lindsay Tarpley in just the first minute of the half. Tarpley's shot deflected wide of goal.
In the 64th minute, Chicago had a strong opportunity. Defender Jill Oakes sent a shot toward goal. The Breakers' Mary-Frances Monroe deflected the ball out. Boston held strong, keeping its net clean for the rest of the match.
Breakers goalkeeper Alli Lipsher registered three saves. The loss snapped Chicago's two-game winning streak.
"I thought we were very good in the first half, and we knew that they would push out a lot more," Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco said.
"We chose to stay with the 4-5-1 and looked for counterattack opportunities. I don't think we got enough of those. I think we were a little bit too eager, and gave up the ball too much. They had chances to score. We bent, but we didn't break."
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A second half goal by Homare Sawa,her first of the season, boosted Washington.
"I think for any team, besides L.A., who are already in the finals, that's all that matters: points matter, goals matter, shutouts matter," Freedom forward Lisa De Vanna said. "All those things come down to the end. This is a very important game. This could decide whether we get into the playoffs, whether we get a home game."
Saint Louis forward Niki Cross, who normally plays defender, almost put the visitors on the board in the 20th minute. She headed a ball toward goal. Katie Jo Spisak tipped it over the bar. Athletica had 10 shots in the first half but could not capitalize.
In the second half, Washington turned up the heat. In the 64th minute, Spisak tweaked her quad and left the match. Freedom goalkeeper coach Nicci Wright, who was signed to a two-day contract prior to the match due to Erin McLeod being gone and Brianna Scurry injured, stepped in to replace her.
The Freedom's attack continued and paid dividends in the 74th minute. Sawa ran into the box and sent a low-ball toward goal. It deflected past Athletica goalkeeper Jillian Loyden and into the net for a 1-0 lead. In the 75th minute, Athletica looked to tie things up. Eniola Aluko sent the ball toward goal, but Wright easily grabbed it.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Kerri Hanks scored a 90th-minute goal to lead Sky Blue FC Sunday.
"It's very exciting," Hanks said. "It's not only great for me, but great for the team coming out with a win. We go into every game looking for three points and I'm glad I could provide help for the team. Keeley (Dowling) played a great ball and I took a touch and just hit it."
The first half ended with limited chances for both clubs. But in the second half, both teams turned up the heat. Chicago's Chioma Igwe's header just missed the post.
Hanks entered the match as a substitute in the 62nd minute and helped bring some life to the offense. But it didn't pay off until late in the match. Chicago's best opportunity happened in the 89th minute when Cristiane crossed a long ball to EllaMasar, whoheaded the ball toward goal. Sky Blue goalkeeper Jenni Branam made the save.
Moments later Sky Blue took control. Hanks drilled a Dowling pass into the net for the 1-0 win. Hanks tallied her first goal of the season for Sky Blue FC, but second overall. She tallied her first goal as a member of Saint Louis Athletica.
With the win, Sky Blue FC reached the .500 mark for the first time all season. Chicago dropped its second match of the season. But with three games left, they're not completely out of the playoff scene.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Boston's KellySchmedes tallied her first goal of the season to lead the Breakers.
Mary Frances Monroe forwarded the ball to Schmedes, who held back to avoid the offside call. Schmedes then shot the ball it into the net in the 13th minute.
FC Gold Pride struggled to get any offense going in the first half, creating just two shots. Boston had eight shots in the first half, including six on goal. In the second half, the home side picked up the offense, with nine shots to Boston's one.
The Bay Area squad almost forced the equalizer in the 57th minute. Tina Martino bounced the ball off the cross bar. Formiga then drilled the follow-up attempt off the post.