August 09, 2009

The inaugural Women's Professional Soccer regular season has come to a close. Four teams head into post-season action, which begins Aug. 15, when the Washington Freedom hosts Sky Blue FC at 4 p.m. ET. On Aug. 19, Saint Louis Athletica will host that winner in the Super Semifinal. On Aug. 22, the Los Angeles Sol will host the semifinal winner in the WPS Championship.

The Sol continued to improve earning a 2-1 win Sunday night. Los Angeles ends the season with a 12-3-5 record (41 points). Saint Louis Athletica secured second place last week, but added to its success with a win and a draw. Athletica ends the campaign with a 10-6-4 record (34).

The Washington Freedom (8-7-5, 29) secured third place in the standings on Saturday night, topping Sky Blue FC 3-1.

Sky Blue FC (7-9-5, 26) earned the fourth and final playoff spot. Sky Blue suffered a loss Saturday, but with the Boston Breakers' loss on Sunday, they secured fourth place. Boston (7-9-4, 25) ends the season in fifth place.

The Chicago Red Stars (5-10-5, 20) end the season in sixth place. FC Gold Pride (4-10-6, 18) earned a draw in its last match, but still ended the season at the bottom of the standings.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rosana and Natasha Kai tallied goals to lead Sky Blue in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,455 on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first half, Sky Blue turned up the heat as soon as the second half began. In the 46th minute, Heather O'Reilly crossed the ball to Rosana, who easily finished giving the New Jersey squad a 1-0 lead.

Kai doubled the lead for Sky Blue 15 minutes later. Collette McCallum passed the ball to Kai, who finished it for a 2-0 lead.

"The win was big for us," Kai said. "We knew we had to win this game. We knew we controlled our own fate. We know we had to win these next two games. We took care of it tonight and we came up with the three points."

Sky Blue outshot FC Gold Pride 22-6. Karen Bardsley started just her third match of the campaign and made two saves to earn her first shutout, and Sky Blue's eighth overall.

FENTON, Mo. -- Christie Welsh tallied her first two goals of the season to give Saint Louis the win on Wednesday.

Welsh gave Saint Louis a 1-0 lead, knocking in a 33rd minute goal. SarahWalsh crossed the ball to Welsh, who sent it past Red Stars goalkeeper CarolineJonsson for the 1-0 advantage. Both Walsh and Welsh started up top together for the first time this season.

Welsh again found the net in the 64th minute to double the home team's lead. Melissa Tancredi passed the ball to Welsh, who knocked it into the net to account for the final score.

"It was a happy moment for me to see Welsh score because she has been training and fighting hard. We are going to need a player like her in place of [Eniola] Aluko," Saint Louis coach Jorge Barcellos. "Tonight is going to give her a lot of confidence. The combination of Walsh and Welsh was good. One is fast and the other has a presence in the penalty area."

BOYDS, Md. - Abby Wambach and Lisa De Vanna proved once again to be a winning combination for Washington. Wambach tallied two goals and an assist, while De Vanna collected one goal and one assist.

In the 19th minute, Rebecca Moros crossed the ball into the box, where Wambach easily finished it for a 1-0 lead.

Despite a number of Sky Blue chances in the first half, Wambach found the net first. De Vanna made a run in the 49th minute, crossing the ball to Wambach. The Freedom striker made it look easy once again, burying her second goal of the night and eighth of the season.

But four minutes later, Sky Blue got a much-needed goal. Rosana beat a Freedom defender before bending a long shot into the upper right corner, cutting the Freedom's lead in half.

However in the 57th minute, the De Vanna - Wambach connection struck again. This time it was Wambach who crossed a low ball to De Vanna. De Vanna sent it into the net for a 3-1 lead.

Kai looked for a goal in the 64th minute, but Freedom defender Becky Sauerbrunn denied her opportunity, heading the ball out of harms way. Rosana bent a freekick into the box in the 85th minute, only to have the ball bounce off the bar.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Marta and Shannon Boxx tallied second-half goals to lead Los Angeles Sunday evening. With the loss, Boston falls short of making the post-season.

Boston's Kristine Lilly kicked off the scoring, netting a 17th minute goal. Boston held on to its lead for the rest of the first half.

But in the second half, the Sol turned up the heat. Aly Wagner forwarded a long ball over the Breakers' defense. Marta took control of the ball, sending it over Boston goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill and into the net in the 59th minute for her 10th goal of the campaign.

In the 90th minute, a foul on Marta in the box proved lethal for Boston. Boxx stepped up to the line to take the penalty kick. She buried it into the upper right corner for the Sol win.

"I'm very proud of our team, but we just came short," said Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco. "It was a very frustrating season. During the last home game we dominated Sky Blue FC, who's in the playoffs ahead of us. This game here I thought that we had some pretty good looks to get the second goal, but we didn't connect. When you keep a team like L.A. in the game, they did what they needed to do in the second half."

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Christie Welsh tallied an early goal for Saint Louis, but Rachel Buehler countered seven minutes later.

Saint Louis goalkeeper Hope Solo rocketed a goal kick down the field in the 17th minute. The ball bounced into the box. Welsh caught up with it and fired it past Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart for a 1-0 lead. The goal marked Welsh's third goal of the week and the season.

Defender Buehler equalized for the home side when she broke through Athletica's defense and blasted a 20-yard shot past Solo and into the net for her first goal of the season.

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