5 Things That Happened In WPS Week 3

magicJack made full use of the narrow field.

magicJack supposedly took advantage of the narrowness of the Florida Atlantic University Soccer Field. According to reports, head coach Mike Lyons tailored his formation to employ three defenders. The three-back system squeezed the Boston Breakers out of the game for much of the first half. Boston failed to find an equalizer to match Ella Masar’s 26th minute goal. Breakers manager Tony DiCicco said the slender field and warm weather were partially to blame for the team’s loss. Was it a display of tactical astuteness or were the Breakers genuinely hard done by the puny pitch? It might be impossible to know, as FSC won’t be televising any matches from mJ HQ. Maybe they can finish in the top three and earn the right to host a playoff game. Then we can see for ourselves.

P.S. Other than the diminutive looking field, what else do you notice about this photo? Or, perhaps more accurately, what do you not notice? Signboards belonging to WPS sponsors, maybe?

Image courtesy of John Dorton/ISI photos

 

 

The Boston Breakers’ attack continues to lack a cutting edge.

Boston failed to break through with a game-changing goal for the second week running. The team got off to a flying start two weeks ago against the Atlanta Beat, but have seemed anemic since. It doesn’t seem to be for a lack of trying either. The Breakers put forth 13 shots on Saturday, all of which were on target. Jill Loyden was forced to make 12 saves, including warding off a gilded chance courtesy of Keelin Winters in the 78th minute. Entering the season, it was curious to see who would provide the goals once Boston’s first rate strike force was absent for the World Cup. Perhaps more topical question is where the goals will come from when those players are present.

 

 The Western New York Flash don’t deserve the “new FC Gold Pride” tag…yet.

The Flash appeared bizarrely disoriented in the first half of their tilt against Atlanta. Ali Riley and Kandace Wilson tore up the flanks and provided crosses but few – if any – found their intended targets, Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan failed to mesh with one another, ditto for Gemma Davison, and Caroline Seger’s distribution of passes didn’t flow as freely. Granted, much of the Flash’s lack of cohesion in the final third was down to Atlanta’s oppressive tactics (and Cat Whitehill’s stout defending). The Beat packed the box with numbers and prevented the Flash from finding any seams. Atlanta relented slightly in the second half, as Carli Lloyd and Lori Chalupny occupied more permanent attacking roles. Still though, the Flash never quite lived up to their billing, even after Marta’s header. The team is still coalescing, and kinks are undoubtedly still being ironed out. Consistency will be key this season, and that’s the one thing this squad won’t have.

 

The Atlanta Beat defeated the Western New York Flash 2-2.

If ever there ever was a victorious draw, this would be it. The Beat’s pair of goals was produced similarly to the Flash’s two goals, and that was from several instances of individualistic excellence. Lori Chalupny and Carli Lloyd each netted solo efforts that were also game-drawing goals. Beyond the two world class strikes, James Galanis’ team took the field in the second half with a renewed self-confidence. Second half substitutes Analise Marquez and India Trotter also added fluidity to a reinvigorated Atlanta front line. The team may not have a fox in the box who will guarantee a dozen goals this season, but if the Beat’s veterans continue making such a significant impact, Atlanta will be just fine. Who would have thought?

 

Very few people watched WPS games in person.

magicJack attracted 1,224 people to the team’s season opener in Boca Raton. That’s the lowest recorded attendance in league history and is thus a worrying number in the grand scheme of things. However, given the downsized capacity of the stadium soccer field and the lack of promotional push in the area, Dan Borislow and company could hardly have asked for more. A more disconcerting sight was the swath of empty yellow seats at Kennesaw State University Stadium on Sunday. Granted, it was a holiday but last season’s Easter attendance averaged out at 3,114 across three games. It’s (frighteningly) reasonable to think that number could be halved this year.

 

 AWK’s Weekend XI:

*Disclaimer: Several magicJack and/or Breakers players are likely getting shafted this week, given the lack of match coverage. That explains the small bench.

 

                 Lipsher

Mitts – Whitehill – Engen – Riley

Chalupny – Lloyd – Bock

Sinclair – Masar – Marta

 

Reserves:

GK – Loyden

D – Wilson

D – Reynolds

M – Winters

10 thoughts on “5 Things That Happened In WPS Week 3

  1. Angie

    At this time last year FCGP had already lost a match due to a lackluster and uninspired performance. Similarly, in mid-season last summer they pulled out a boring and uninspired 0-0 draw at Kennessaw. I wouldn’t be too rash as to discount the Flash because of a undesirable result considering that FCGP had their fair share of disappointing matches as well.

    Reply
    1. Jenna Pel Post author

      It was only the Flash’s second game of the season, so much should be made of the lack of preparation time. The squad’s talent alone should keep them in the top half of the table. Still though, WNY will be without most of their grade A players this seasojn. That’s something FCGP never had to contend with.

      Reply
  2. Ron

    Can anyone explain how Magic Jack field is smaller ? Isn’t that somewhat sneaky. Something smells a little fishy. Can they change the field size at random?

    Reply
  3. Anna

    what do you make of the twitter postings from initially Hope Solo about Carli Lloyd not getting goal of the game, and the fact that apparently it was political. then Carli Lloyd herself following the same line of thinking.

    Reply
  4. StarCityFan

    I read somewhere the Flash players commenting that this was their first match on grass after practicing and playing on artificial turf up until now. That could have an effect, too.

    Reply
  5. Quick as a Flash

    Disgraceful performance

    There were some spectacular goals and some disappointments.

    Maybe Carli’s goal was the most stunning but her vicious play on the field perhaps affected the voters. I hope so. It was embarrassing the way she played. With 4 early fouls she should have been sitting in the wood-shed with her red card by half-time. I will continue to dream about the day we get a USWNT coach who recruits players who aspire to play the beautiful game.

    Caroline Seger was WO-Man handled by the Beaters (and not just Carli) throughout.

    If players are going to take what they can get away with it will have to be the referees that do the enforcing. Up till now the refs have let the game run, presumably in the belief that players do have both skill and a respect for the game.

    The Flash made two defensive blunders and paid a high price. All credit to Atlanta. Both were wonderful goals. However the two defenders that did not get it right will not make those mistakes very often. They are both very good defenders.

    Two of the Flash forwards need to spend a lot of time in the “Film Room” watching FC Gold Pride tapes. Neither of them were making effective runs off the ball and Sinclair and Seger’s skills were wasted. Ali M. will have to work effectively with a big central forward to get time playing in Germany so we all need her to continue to develop at a rapid pace.

    I still think that the Flash will be the WO-MAN-U of the league, even if they did not live up to expectations on Sunday.

    Reply
  6. random

    Not to mention that Lloyd’s flop and call for a foul instead of getting up and playing defense in the first couple of minutes is what led to the Flash’s first goal…

    Reply
  7. DumbGuy

    Why is no one blaming Harris for Atlanta’s second goal? Politics? 😉
    Lloyd shoots in the middle of the goal. Horrible positioning by Harris.
    Goal of the match? Haha, @hopesolo.

    Reply
    1. cambridge_footie

      Ha!! Totally agree. In fact you can blame the GKs for 3 of the 4 goals… but Harris gets a pass for some (politcal?!) reason. Solo is the best GK ever to play the womens game IMO, but such a freakin paranoid diva. Puma should do a ‘Shut up and Play’ campaign with her as the face of it.

      Reply

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