July 11, 2012
WPSL ELITE ROUNDUP
Week in review: Mutiny pull off upset of the year
Week nine of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League saw the biggest upset of the season as the New England Mutiny earned a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Boston Breakers, netting two stoppage-time goals to take a 2-1 victory.
Elsewhere around the league New York Fury and Western New York Flash battled over the number three and four spots, the Chicago Red Stars returned to the top of the table and Philadelphia Fever picked up their first win of the year.
TUESDAY, JULY 3:
NEW YORK FURY 4, NEW ENGLAND MUTINY 0
The week opened early with an important match between the New York Fury and New England Mutiny. The Fury came into the match in fourth place in the league and with an eight-point lead over Mutiny for the final playoff slot. By the end of the game that had increased to an eleven-point lead and they had moved up one spot to third, one point ahead of Western New York Flash.
Meghan Lenczyk scored two goals and Fury goalkeeper Michelle Betos made two saves to preserve her seventh clean sheet of the year. Allie Long, who recently returned to the Fury lineup after struggling with injuries, staked New York to the lead just five minutes into the game.
Merritt Mathias set up Lenczyk's first goal in the 26th minute to make it 2-0. Mathias sent a cross in from the right side that Lenczyk connected on with a header. Then Jasmyne Spencer scored her third goal of the season in the 40th minute, running in to collect an errant back pass by a Mutiny defender.
The New York Fury continue their push for the postseason on Sunday, July 15, when they visit the Philadelphia Fever, before concluding the regular season with two home games, first against FC Indiana on July 19 and then against the Chicago Red Stars on July 22.
THURSDAY, JULY 5
PHILADELPHIA FEVER 2, FC INDIANA 0: On Friday, June 29, FC Indiana defeated Philadelphia Fever 1-0 for their first win of the season. Less than a week later Fever returned the favor, beating FC Indiana 2-0 for their first WPSL Elite victory. Laura DiClemente scored twice for Philadelphia, including a clever free kick from 20 yards out. Both first-time wins came on the road for each team.
Philadelphia Fever visit the Boston Breakers on Saturday, July 14, before hosting New York Fury on Sunday. They close the season on the road against ASA Chesapeake Charge on July 22.
FC Indiana host Western New York Flash on Thursday, July 12, in their final home game of the season. They finish up on the road against Fury on July 19 and New England Mutiny on Saturday, July 21.
FRIDAY, JULY 6
BOSTON BREAKERS 3, ASA CHESAPEAKE CHARGE 1
The Boston Breakers won their fifth straight game, taking a 3-1 victory over ASA Chesapeake Charge. It was a special night as the Breakers honored midfielder Heather O’Reilly with an Olympic sendoff celebration as she prepares to join the U.S. Women’s National Team in London. As if scripted, O’Reilly assisted on Boston’s opening and eventual winning goals.
The Breakers opened the scoring in the 16th minute when O’Reilly breezed down the left side and past a pair of Charge defenders before taking it into the corner and crossing it to Kyah Simon. The Australian striker then buried O’Reilly’s cross past Charge keeper Erin Quinn to make it a 1-0 game.
Charge leveled the score two minutes into the second half when Cheyenne Skidmore took a pass from Ashley Spivey and went one-on-one with Breakers goalkeeper Alejandra Velasco. Velasco, in her first start of the season, came out to challenge, but Skidmore lined a shot to make it a 1-1 game.
Six minutes later Courtney Jones and O’Reilly completed a give-and-go, with the rookie Jones finding room to drill a shot from distance past Charge goalkeeper Lyndse Hokansen for her first goal of the year. Melissa Henderson finished the scoring off an assist from Katherine Donnelly in the 71st minute. It was Henderson’s first of the season as well.
SATURDAY, JULY 7
CHICAGO RED STARS 1, PHILADELPHIA FEVER 0: Lauren Fowlkes scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season on an assist from Ella Masar in the 66th minute to break a stalemate between the Chicago Red Stars and Philadelphia Fever. The win, along with New England’s shocking defeat of Boston, moved Chicago back to the top of the WPSL Elite
Fever went into the match using a heavy defensive stance against the dangerous Red Stars, and for the first hour of the game it looked as if the strategy would work. Masar came close with a dipping shot just before halftime, but the ball passed just over the crossbar.
The Red Stars broke the deadlock in the 66th minute with a sequence of passes culminating in Fowlkes’ goal from close range. The ball was initially played out to team captain Lori Chalupny on the left side of the goal near the end line and she played a low ball in that Masar flicked toward Fowlkes. Fowlkes played the ball low into the right corner, past the outstretched arms of Fever goalkeeper Michelle Dalton.
NEW ENGLAND MUTINY 2, BOSTON BREAKERS 1: In perhaps the biggest upset of the WPSL Elite season, the New England Mutiny shocked the Boston Breakers with two stoppage-time goals at the end of the match to turn a potential 1-0 loss into a 2-1 victory. The win kept New England’s hope of a playoff berth alive, while the loss dropped Boston out of the top spot when Chicago Red Stars defeated Philadelphia Fever.
Both sides came out battling from the first whistle. New England made several runs against the visitors, challenging Breakers goalkeeper Alice Binns with shots by Kate Howarth and Morgan Andrews. Boston defender Courtney Jones was called on to help clear Howarth’s shot before it crossed the goal line. At the other end shots by Bianca D’Agostino, Melissa Henderson and Kyah Simon challenged Mutiny’s Vikki Alonzo.
Two minutes into the second half the Breakers finally struck pay dirt when Amanda DaCosta crossed midfield and made a run out wide. She then played the ball in to Simon who slipped through defenders and slotted in her league-leading twelfth goal. It was DaCosta’s first assist on the season. For the next 40+ minutes it appeared Boston would come away with the 1-0 win.
Then, as the scoreboard clock stopped and the game moved into stoppage time, New England finally broke through. Tiffany Weimer corralled the ball and went in one-on-one against Binns. A right-footed shot beat the Boston net minder to tie the match at 1-1. It looked as if the game would end that way, but moments later Weimer brought the ball up to Mays. Mays then sent a crossing pass to Taleen Dimirdjian who converted for the 2-1 lead.
Just like that, New England had pulled off the ultimate cliché, literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. A shell-shocked Boston could only wonder what happened as Mutiny celebrated their thrilling win.
SUNDAY, JULY 8
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH 4, ASA CHESAPEAKE CHARGE 0: The Western New York Flash clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 4-0 victory over ASA Chesapeake Charge. The win moved them back into third place, ahead of New York Fury, in the battle for playoff position.
The Flash controlled the pace of the game, creating chances early on. In the seventh minute, Tori Huster sent a ball to Captain McCall Zerboni, who headed it in to put the Flash in the lead. In the 21st minute Spanish international Adriana put away a loose ball in the box unassisted for her 10th goal of the season. The first half ended with the host Flash up 2-0.
The Flash continued to create chances into the second half. After a foul just to the right of the 18 yard box, Zerboni crossed the ball right in front of the goal off a free kick. Defender Toni Pressley, a member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, gained possession away from Charge’s keeper to score her first goal of the season. Zerboni closed out the scoring at the 80-minute mark, burying a penalty kick following a foul in the box.