Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WPS Weekly Review (Week 6)

Another 4 games, and another week down for WPS. This weekend marked some interesting match-ups, some great goals, some great soccer, and of course, some points for the teams that won, further advancing them in the title race. Let's take a look at our first fixture-FC Gold Pride vs. Boston Breakers. What a tight game this was expected to be, a real tough one to call. FC Gold Pride have been on the top of the league table for at least 3 weeks now, and had the edge going into this game, but Boston was not to be underestimated. The game ended 2-1. FCGP got their goals thanks to Marta. The Brazilian scored both goals for FCGP on the occasion, putting her on the board with a total of 3 so far for the 2010 season. Boston didn't go down without a fight however, and would score a goal that came from English player Kelly Smith. In the past few weeks, FCGP have shown they are a team to reckon with this season, unlike their lackluster, last place counterpart from 2009. As a team, I think FCGP has undergone the biggest transformation from 2009. They've gone from last place lackeys, to dangerous contenders, in the span of one off-season.

What we can take from this game:
Its still too early to determine FCGP as a "sure" anything, but I think it would be safe to say we will be seeing quite a lot of FCGP this season, and not in the basement of WPS. If FCGP keeps it up, they could be looking at a good place in the league as the season progresses. They have already proven themselves against some of the tougher teams in WPS, one being Boston Breakers, who have a decent defense, and a talented offense....one that actually has a little bit of a tough time finding the back of the net. The Boston defense needs to tidy up as well, they are still conceding more than necessary I think. Also, Cheney needs to get back into the game and re-establish herself as a threat in the offense. As for FCGP, if they stay on their form, they'll go far this season. Boston, on the other hand, has to dust themselves off and keep going, but must keep in mind their place in the league. Too many losses, and they may start to fall behind.

Next order of business. Chicago Red Stars vs. Philadelphia Independence. To be quite honest, I was not surprised with the result in this one. Philly won 1-0, with a goal from Joanna Lohmann. I would think this would have been a hard fought game, since neither team really won by much. A 1-0 result, doesn't show complete dominance by any team. However, I missed both the matchtracker and the Webcast, if there was one, so it could have been a hard fought game by both teams, or it could have been a complete domination by one team, with either the failure to find the back of the net, or just luck in doing so. I'm not exactly sure, but as I said, with the way I have seen Chicago play this season, its not so much about the quality of play, or problems with possession. Its the finding the back of the net. Philly, on the other hand, has no problems scoring for the most part. They've won the majority of their games, and are continuing to do so.

What we can take from this game:
Chicago does play well for the most part, but they can't score. They just can't do it. Philly on the other hand, has really surprised me. They have an excellent record this season, and continue to win. If they keep up their form, they will have a great chance of going far. Philly is on quite a roll, and its going to take a lot to stop them. As for Chicago, its a repeat of last year. Playing hard, but although they can't find the back of the net, not necessarily playing poorly. This team has always had problems scoring, and they need to fix it. Cristiane is a talented striker, without a doubt, but has had serious trouble finding rhythm this year. Her form is better than last year...but in the scoring department....not so much. Chicago is relying a lot on Cristiane to score, and she's going to need to break out of the slump and start putting them away. Nogueira has notched 2 on the board for Chicago. There are high expectations surrounding Nogueira, and she's doing well for a rookie, but the veterans are the ones who need to step up. As for Rapinoe, she came into her first game with a bang, giving Cristiane the assist....but now what? You can't put the pressure all on one player, but I truly believe Rapinoe is a pivotal midfielder. She brings speed and offensive spark, and it needs to start showing. Scoring and getting that last touch in the final third is virtually Chicago's only problem. If they can start scoring goals, they can be contenders. Only 4 points in the league....they have some catching up to do. They aren't setting themselves up well. Score the goals, and the wins will follow. If they don't fix the problem now, they will fall way far behind, and their chances of winning much this season will be very slim.

Onto the next fixture, which featured Sky Blue FC vs. St. Louis Athletica. I honestly believed St. Louis would walk away with the win on this one, taking into consideration St. Louis' decent form and record, and also Sky Blue's difficulty in possessing, dominating play, and scoring as of late. I also missed the matchtracker for this one, but I did stop in briefly when I tried to make some last minute changes to my fantasy team. I saw that Boxx had converted a penalty from the spot, and had gotten the goal early in the first half. I figured St. Louis was sure to win, especially with Sky Blue's subpar form as of late. But, they proved me wrong. Sky Blue ended up tying 1-1 into the second half, and then leading 2-1 just minutes later. This was thanks to Kalmari, who scored 2 goals in a quick 5 minutes. Just as it looked like Sky Blue would triumph over this tough contender, St.Louis salvaged the game and settled for a 2-2 tie. I missed the matchtracker the day of, but after reading up on the game, it seemed very back and fourth, and it also seems like its the best Sky Blue has looked all season.

What we can take from this game:
Sky Blue may be down right now, but they are certainly not out. They have a situation similar to Chicago in a way, having trouble winning convincingly, and sometimes scoring goals. But also, as of late, they've had trouble with possession and dominating play. However, this game has shed some new light on Sky Blue. The team has managed to win games, even if it has been by the skin of their teeth, but that still counts. They're keeping up, but just barely. If they play like they did against St.Louis from now on, they might just be able to turn their game around. Is this going to be the turning point in Sky Blue's improvement? We'll see in the weeks to come if maybe this serves as a wake up call for the WPS Champions to start playing like champions. They're certainly capable. After Kai comes back, the goal-scoring (generally that is) at least should improve. As for St. Louis, a team who looks absolutely fantastic on paper, has once again proven that they can be beat. They can't let their guard down, because when they least expect it, a team will come right up from behind and steal the win...as was almost the case against Sky Blue. St. Louis has a good team, and are doing fairly well, but they can be beat.

Time to analyze and review our last fixture, which I had the pleasure of watching right on FSC. Washington Freedom vs. Atlanta Beat. This game was a real treat to watch. Opportunities on goal were plentiful for both teams, and the plays and chances were exciting to watch. I had predicted a win for Washington, seeing as they have the strongest offense right now, and also taking into consideration that ATL hasn't won a game yet, and has serious problems scoring. I figured Washington had this one in the bag. It was an exciting game, and once again, the Freedom's offense reigned supreme. The first goal for Washington came from a brilliant play. The ball was played into Wambach, who moved the ball into the 18, and took on defenders. She maneuvered smartly around them, although they hindered her advance toward goal, and was able to get a back-heel pass off to Mykjaland, who finished easily, sending the ball to the back of the left side of the net. This would mark Mykjaland's 2nd goal in WPS, and Wambach's 7th assist in 6 games. ATL tried to answer, and came close a few times, with Bachmann posing serious threats, charging head on at defenders in the direction of goal. Luckily for Washington, and unluckily for my fantasy team, she never scored. Washington would score again, and what a spectacular goal it was. It was one of Wambach's trademarked diving headers. Bompastor crossed the ball in, and Wambach dove to meet it with her head and put the goal away. ATL did have chances, but never answered, due to their continued troubles with the last touch, and with finishing.

What we can take from this game:
Washington is a true presence in the league, highly due to their offensive players, and their offensive power and efforts in general. The defense of course needs a little tidying up if we're speaking generally, but the defense did well in this particular game. McLeod was on form, and made some excellent decisions and saves to gain the clean sheet, and rightfully so. As for the midfield, the plays made were good for the most part. They supported the offense well. The only thing they could improve on is not losing as many balls, and not turning over as much. Other than that, the midfield is a great support system. As for the offense, Wambach continues to shine. 7 assists in 6 games, that's outstanding. Not only can she put the goals away, but she can supply the offense as well, and does it more often than not. She's on form this season, and is the main offensive force driving Washington. She's a dangerous presence on the team, and can play both supplier and goalscorer roles. If Washington continues to score goals, which they have no problems in doing, contrary to some of the other teams in this league, the points will continue to come in, and Washington will have nowhere to go but up. Washington are true contenders in the league this year....one with a highly dangerous offense. If they keep doing what they're doing, and just tweak the defense, Washington could be looking at possibly winning something this year. As for Atlanta Beat, it was business as usual. Another game where the final touch never came, and neither did the goals. The chances were there, but like some other teams in this league, scoring has been a problem. With only 1 point in the standings, the pressure is on ATL now. Even though it is only Week 6, every game is important. ATL is 14 points behind league leaders FCGP, in other words, almost 5 wins behind them. The closest team to ATL is Chicago, with 4 points, who is 1 win ahead of them. The point is, Atlanta, although they play well overall in games, needs to start putting goals away, or it will be too late for them to have a fighting chance.

That's all for the WPS Week 6 Review and Analysis! This weekend coming up is going to be a bye weekend, meaning there will be no WPS action......don't get too upset yet though! There will be a special treat this Saturday-an international friendly! The USWNT will be hosting the Germany WNT for a "Rematch" of the 2010 Algarve Cup Final! Its on ESPN2 at 6pm eastern time. Won't want to miss that one!



  1. Is there any email for the blog?:)

  2. I don't have it listed anywhere, but the email for my blog is dclobelle@gmail.com. Thanks for stopping by!