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?
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.
Mitts – Whitehill – Engen – Riley
Chalupny – Lloyd – Bock
Sinclair – Masar – Marta
GK – Loyden
D – Wilson
D – Reynolds
M – Winters