Expansion Rivals Philadelphia Independence and Atlanta Beat fight to a 2-2 deadlock. The game was well-fought from both sides.
A little WPS action occurred this Wednesday to break up a rather long stretch from weekend to weekend that most of us fans have to patiently endure. Yes folks, summer is back, and that means Wednesday night matches are too! One of our first looks at this summer's Wednesday fixtures, is what I like to call (not sure if its an official term) the "Expansion Derby." The on-form Philadelphia Independence played their fellow rookie WPS team the Atlanta Beat on Wednesday, and the result, to me anyway, was just a tad surprising.
The result was 2-2, with Philly's goals coming from A-Rod and Stacy Bishop (ATL own goal), Atlanta's goals were courtesy of Yamaguchi, and also Ellertson, who's last-gasp header salvaged the game at the death.
To be honest, I'm quite surprised. Atlanta had gotten their first win, and that was a huge confidence boost, but it also indicated that the team was starting to build chemistry, meaning the newly signed St.Louis Athletica stars were beginning to work efficiently with its already existing members. However, even though this win would do wonders for ATL in a number of ways, I didn't think they'd be strong enough yet to hold Philly, a tough team who are consistently on-form. But alas, ATL proved me wrong, and ended up tying against one of the league's current best.
This game is more of a win for ATL, and more of a loss for Philadelphia. The result from this match is going to give ATL a strong confidence boost. All respect to Chicago Red Stars, but this week was a huge upgrade as far as opponents go, a real challenge to see if ATL's progress and first win was for real, or if it was just the result of a lucky day. Turns out that this ATL team might have hit the right note. The St.Louis Athletica players have already made a very positive impact, with Ellertson, who is a newly-signed player from the Athletica, scoring both a game-winner last week, and an equalizer this Wednesday. Of course, these goals were also due to already existing players giving her the service. Last week it was Ocampo who gave her the cross. This week it was teammate Miyama, who also came from St.Louis. Apparently, the St.Louis players are partly to thank, as they probably filled the spots where the puzzle pieces were missing. It seems that the already existing players, and the new players from St.Louis, have already built chemistry and are working excellently together. These past 2 results, along with the fact that they have been making plays and have finished off chances, proves that. Seems to me like ATL have finally found their rhythm, or "Beat". Philly, on the other hand, has gotten themselves 1 point. Its not a bad result, and it does keep them in 2nd. They just might want to keep in mind that, even though they have been doing well and are in 2nd place, they shouldn't take anyone lightly. If ATL could turn things around in a heartbeat, so can anyone. ATL is going to face a huge test of their progress on July 3rd (after the All-Star match), in one of their biggest challenges so far this season, as they go up against 1st place powerhouse FC Gold Pride.
Now, let's look at the upcoming fixtures:
Tomorrow will be a pretty interesting match, as Boston will play Chicago. Both teams have had plenty of struggles this season, and both have failed to rack up some goals. It'll be interesting to see who will be the better side in this one, and if anyone will actually score a goal.
Saturday and Sunday bring some rather interesting matches as well (really, when is there NOT an interesting match-up?), with the Washington Freedom playing against the Philadelphia Independence, in somewhat of a rivalry that has been established between the 2. Both have played each other twice, and each has a win a piece. Who will be the better side this time around? Hard to call, Washington is coming off a bye week, and Philly, who has seen much more action in the past few days, is coming off a big 4-1 win against rivals Sky Blue last week, but also a tie against reborn ATL yesterday. Still, that doesn't necessarily guarantee a loss or win in any situation. I personally think Washington Freedom will take the game. That's partly because I'm a biased Freedom fan, but mostly because I think Washington is a very strong team, and I feel they can pull out the win against Philly once again. The 2 teams have established somewhat of a rivalry, so I'm very excited for this match. Both teams are running on great form right now, and both have prolific offenses. Should be an intense one!
Last but certainly not least, is 1st place FCGP vs. the struggling Sky Blue FC. Going to be dead honest here and say that I think FCGP is going to take the win without a doubt. FCGP has dominated some of the strongest opponents, such as Philly in recent matches, and they're currently on a great run. FCGP is absolutely on-form right now, and their offense is excellent to boot. FCGP is an all-around powerhouse, so this game should be quite the challenge for Sky Blue FC, who in recent matches, have still been struggling, and also, haven't scored any goals really, except by way of penalty. Sky Blue FC really has their work cut out for them. I doubt highly that FCGP will pass up this chance for 3 points. They're too strong for Sky Blue FC. I'm not counting out miracles, but realistically, Sky Blue should be toast in this one. At least we'll get to witness this one on FSC!
Enjoy the matches this weekend, I know I will. I'll see you then when I write the Weekly Breakdown. Who knows, maybe some teams will make me eat my words. Maybe not.
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