Independence defeat Breakers, advance to WPS Championship

by WPS – Staff Report

Second-half substitute Danesha Adams scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute (Howard C. Smith |

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Sept. 23, 2010) – The Philadelphia Independence advanced to the WPS Championship presented by Citi with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Breakers in the WPS Super Semifinal Thursday evening at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. Danesha Adams scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute to lift the Independence into the WPS Championship where they will face FC Gold Pride on Sunday, Sept. 26.

After winning the WPS First Round on Amy Rodriguez’s 120th minute goal versus the Washington Freedom on Sunday, the Independence traveled to Boston and needed another 120 minutes to defeat the Breakers.

Playing at home, the Boston Breakers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute as rookie forward Lauren Cheney brought down a long flighted pass from Kristine Lilly. With Val Henderson caught in a moment of indecision, Cheney chipped her shot over the Independence goalkeeper and into the right side of the goal.

Boston’s lead was short lived as Philadelphia responded in the 29th minute. Rodriguez found Caroline Seger open on the right side of the penalty area and the Swedish midfielder buried a low shot into the far corner past Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Rodriguez had three solid chances to give the Independence the lead in the second half but couldn’t finish. Her best opportunity came in the 64th minute when Naeher came out to challenge her for the ball at the top of the penalty area. Rodriguez took a touch around the Boston ‘keeper but her shot on a wide open goal drifted past the near post.

Philadelphia scored the gamewinner in the 103rd minute as midfielder Tina DiMartino reached the right endline and fired a cross to the back post where second-half substitute Danesha Adams leapt and headed the ball into the goal. The Breakers protested that Adams handled the ball, but the goal stood.

The Breakers pushed every forward in the last minutes of overtime in a desperate search for the equalizer. They almost got it in the 112th minute as Kasey Moore won the ball from Adams in midfield and hit a long-range shot off the crossbar. The rebound fell to Alex Scott but she muffed her shot and Philadelphia was able to recover.

The Independence will travel to the Bay Area on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s WPS Championship where they will meet top-seeded FC Gold Pride. Television coverage of the WPS Championship begins at 2pm ET/11am PT on FSN.


Breakers, Independence meet in WPS Super Semifinal

story courtesy of

Heather Mitts' Philadelphia Independence and Kristine Lilly's Boston Breakers meet in the WPS Super Semifinal on Thursday to determine who will advance to Sunday's WPS Championship presented by Citi (Andrew Katsampes |

(Sept. 22, 2010) – In advance of Thursday’s WPS Super Semifinal (8pm ET / 5pm PT on Fox Soccer Channel), we break down the matchup between the second-seeded Boston Breakers and the third-seeded Philadelphia Independence:

–          Philadelphia became the first WPS team ever to win a home playoff game Sunday when they won 1-0 against the Washington Freedom in the WPS First Round courtesy of a 120th minute overtime goal from forward Amy Rodriguez.

–          Boston’s last game was a 0-0 tie against Sky Blue FC on the final day of the regular season on September 11.

–          After going 1-5-4, including a nine-game winless streak, during the first half of the season before the WPS All-Star break, Boston went 9-2-3 in July, August and September to finish second in the WPS Regular Season standings

–          Philadelphia finished third in the regular season with 34 points, one point behind Boston, and defeated No. 4 Washington to earn a place into the WPS Super Semifinal.

–          Philadelphia was 10-6-4 through August 15th before a four-game losing streak to finish the regular season left them at .500 for the regular season

–          Boston finished the season by being shut-out in two consecutive games by FC Gold Pride and Sky Blue FC after having a streak of eight consecutive games prior to that with at least two goals.

–          Scoring is key for Boston, they did not win any games by 1-0 scores this year: Boston is 10-1-1 when they score 2 goals or more and 0-7-5 when they score one goal or less.

–          A tight game could benefit the visiting team as Philadelphia is 7-4 in games decided by one goal including Sunday’s playoff victory. By contrast, Boston is 4-6 in games decided by one goal and won six of their 10 victories by two goals or more.

–          Boston was 2-0-2 against Philadelphia this year. The teams played three times in Philadelphia with Boston winning 2-0, 2-1 and tying 2-2. The only game played in Boston this season was at Harvard Stadium, a 1-1 tie in the second week of the season.

–          This playoff game is being played at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium at Harvard University. It will be the smallest-capacity venue to ever host a WPS game.

–          Philadelphia’s Amy Rodriguez finished third in the league in scoring with 12 goals and notched her 13th goal of the season in the WPS First Round. Her teammate Lori Lindsey was second in the league with eight assists.

–          Boston’s Kelly Smith was fourth in the league in scoring with 11 goals while also leading her team with five assists in 2010.

–          Philadelphia features four 2010 WPS All-Stars including Rodriguez, Lindsey, defender Allison Falk and midfielder Caroline Seger.

–          Boston features five 2010 WPS All-Stars including Smith, defenders Alex Scott and Amy LePeilbet, forward Lauren Cheney and midfielder Kristine Lilly.

–          Both Philadelphia and Boston have WPS Year-End Award winners. Boston’s Amy LePeilbet won MedImmune Defender of the Year while Paul Riley was selected as WPS Coach of the Year in a vote by media, fans and players.

–          During the regular season, the league had a 75% conversion rate for Penalty Kicks in which nine of 12 PK attemps were scored.

–          Boston had just one PK in 2010 in which Kelly Smith converted against Philadelphia’s Karina LeBlanc on August 29.

–          Philadelphia had no PK attempts in 2010 but led the league in the number of penalty kicks they faced with five. Four of five PKs against the Independence were goals.

–          Philadelphia had three two-game winning streaks this season following up a victory with another victory but did not have any three-game winning streaks – something they would have to do in order to capture the 2010 WPS Championship.

–          Boston’s winning streaks included two three-game winning streaks and one two-game winning streak.

–          Boston and Philadelphia are a combined 0-7 against FC Gold Pride, who awaits the winner of the WPS Super Semifinal in the 2010 WPS Championship presented by Citi on September 26 at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, CA.

–          Last year, Sky Blue FC was 0-2-1 vs. the regular season champion Los Angeles Sol before defeating them 1-0 in the WPS Championship.

–          Last year’s WPS Super Semifinal saw Sky Blue FC defeat Saint Louis Athletica, 1-0, in front of a near sell-out crowd in St. Louis.



Washington/Philadelphia Post-match Interviews

Rodriguez’s 120th minute goal shoots Independence past Freedom (Game highlights)

story courtesy of

Amy Rodriguez celebrates her game-winning goal with Lianne Sanderson (Howard C. Smith)

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (Sept. 19, 2010) – With the match on the verge of being settled in penalty kicks, Amy Rodriguez scored in the 120th minute to send the Philadelphia Independence past the Washington Freedom, 1-0, in the WPS First Round Sunday afternoon at John A. Farrell Stadium.  The Independence advance to the WPS Super Semifinal to face the Boston Breakers on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on the campus of Harvard University (8pm ET / 5pm PT on FSC).

The Independence dominated the match, outshooting the Freedom, 24-6, and putting nine shots on goal to the Freedom’s zero.  But Washington hung in the game on the strength of a heroic performance by rookie goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

“Harris made at least five big saves, when most games you expect only one or two,” said Freedom Head Coach Jim Gabarra. “She certainly played an incredible game.”

Philadelphia’s best chance of the first half came in the 7th minute when Frida Magnusdottir broke free on the left flank and unleashed a blast that Harris parried out of bounds for a corner kick.

The Independence attack really got rolling in the second half.  In the 56th minute, Amy Rodriguez had an open look directly in front of goal but shot right at Harris.  Six minutes later, the Independence played a quick counterattack as Tina DiMartino found Rodriguez over the top of the Freedom backline.  Rodriguez brought DiMartino’s pass down, but sent her open shot well over the goal.

Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to go ahead in the 79th minute as Lori Lindsey took a left-footed outswinger from the top of the 18-yard box that deflected off a Freedom defender but Harris leapt to punch it away.  The rebound fell to Rodriguez at the near post but with Harris on the ground, Rodriguez could only get a weak shot off that Harris was able to kick save.

Two minutes later, second-half substitute Danesha Adams outran the Freedom defense to a ball played over the top but shot wide left of the goal.

In the 88th minute, Philadelphia had another excellent look as DiMartino dribbled at the defense, played the ball wide to Lindsey and then received a pass back from Lindsey in the center of the box.  DiMartino tried to get a shot off but a Freedom defender deflected it to Rodriguez whose shot knocked off the left post.  Lindsey tried to clean up that rebound, but the Freedom defense was able to send it out of bounds for a corner kick.

The Freedom’s best opportunity of the game came in the 65th minute as Abby Wambach picked Philadelphia defender Allison Falk’s pocket.  Wambach played a quick pass to second-half substitute Lene Mykjaland who took an off-balance shot towards the right side of the goal.  Wambach reached out and toe-poked Mykjaland’s off-target shot but it still squirted wide of the post.

Still scoreless after 90 minutes, the match went into overtime marking the first time a WPS game has needed extra time to be decided.  The two 15-minute overtime periods were largely uneventful as both sides tired – that is until the 120th minute.

In the last minute of overtime, DiMarinto, from the left flank, sent a pass to Rodriguez at the top of the 18-yard box.  Rodriguez brought it down with Washington’s Anita Asante defending, took two quick dribbles to her left to free herself and then shot past Harris into the left side of the goal setting off an ecstatic celebration.

“I was SO happy when I finally scored” said forward Amy Rodriguez. “We had so many chances that didn’t go our way…I felt like I was cursed!  But, Paul (Riley) told us to keep shooting, keep putting the ball on goal and we’d get one, and it finally happened. Just in time!”

The Freedom saw their season end after going 8-9-7 during the regular season.

“We played our hearts out. From day one we have become a better team and in the long run I am proud of my players,” said Wambach. “I’m proud of us for lasting throughout an entire game, overtime and for trying to win at the end.”

The WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune continue on Thursday, Sept. 23 as the Boston Breakers host the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Super Semifinal (8pm ET / 5pm PT on FSC).  The winner of that match will advance to face FC Gold Pride in the WPS Championship presented by Citi on Sunday, Sept. 26 (2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT on FSN).

View Boxscore


Independence, Freedom kick off 2010 Playoffs on Sunday

by WPS – Communications

(Sept. 16, 2010) – The 2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune kick off on Sunday with third-seeded Philadelphia Independence hosting the fourth-seeded Washington Freedom in the WPS First Round at 2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT on FSN (See additional TV coverage details; the match will also be tape-delayed on FSC at 6pm ET/3pm PT).

The Independence, who posted a 10-10-4 regular season record, enter the playoffs trying to re-gain their form.  Once a favorite to finish second in the league standings, Philadelphia lost its last four games of the regular season and slid into third place.  During that four-game stretch, the Independence gave up nine goals while only scoring twice.

For Philadelphia to come out victorious in front of its home fans on Sunday, Amy Rodriguez will need to regain her scoring touch.  The team’s leader with 12 goals, Rodriguez hasn’t found the back of the net since Aug. 11.  One good bit of news for the Independence is that defender / midfielder Frida Magnusdottir who has been hampered with a groin / leg injury, is reported as fully healthy for the match.  Philadelphia’s pair of Swedish players, midfielder Caroline Seger and defender Sara Larsson, will also both be available after helping their country qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Freedom, meanwhile, have momentum on their side.  Posting a 4-1-2 record since Aug. 1, the Freedom clinched the last post-season berth on the regular season’s final day.  Undone by a porous defense early in the year, the Freedom have jelled of late allowing only four goals during their last seven games.

Abby Wambach leads the Freedom with 13 goals and struck the 88th minute goal that sealed her team’s playoff ticket last weekend.  Like the Independence, the Freedom will also have both of their European players – France’s Sonia Bompastor and Norway’s Lene Mykjaland – available after helping their respective national teams qualify for next year’s World Cup.

The Freedom and Independence equally divided their 2010 regular season series which each team posting a pair of victories.  Two interesting notes in their meetings are that Philadelphia’s Lianne Sanderson scored a goal in three of the matches and that Wambach scored four goals in total against the Independence, two of them coming on penalty kicks.

Will Philadelphia regain its form?  Will the Freedom’s momentum continue?  Tune in to FSN on Sunday at 2:30pm ET / 11:30am PT to watch the WPS First Round unfold.

above photo: Holmfridur Magnusdottir’s Philadelphia Independence and Becky Sauerbrunn’s Washington Freedom split their 2010 regular season series with each team recording a pair of victories over the other. Robyn McNeil |

WPS Playoffs

by WPS – Communications

WPS playoff seedings come down to regular season’s last day

Lindsay Tarpley and the Boston Breakers earned the second seed in the WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune and will host the WPS Super Semifinal on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Howard C. Smith |

HAYWARD, CA (September 11, 2010) – The final day of the 2010 WPS Regular Season saw all three games have playoff significance for the first time in the league’s history as the seedings were finalized for the 2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune which begin Sunday, September 19.

In the two East Coast games played simultaneously, Sky Blue FC tied the Boston Breakers 0-0 in a must-win game for New Jersey, eliminating the defending champions from a chance to defend their title as they finished fifth in the final regular season standings behind Washington and out of playoff position. Just 200 miles to the south, the Washington Freedom pulled out a 1-0 victory at home against Atlanta Beat minutes later to finish their season with three wins in the final four games and earn the right to travel to Philadelphia to play in the WPS First Round on Sunday, September 19 at 2:30pm ET/11:30pm PT with live television coverage on Fox Sports Net, Comcast SportsNet and select regionals (check local listings).

With Boston tying Sky Blue FC, the Philadelphia Independence had an opportunity to sneak into the second spot with a win at FC Gold Pride in the late game Saturday on the West Coast, but the Pride extended their WPS record unbeaten streak to 13 with a 4-1 defeat of the Independence. The loss meant that the Boston Breakers finished second in the season standings and gives the Breakers a first round bye in the playoffs and the right to host the WPS Super Semifinal against the first round winners in Boston on Thursday, September 23 at 8pm ET in a game broadcast by Fox Soccer Channel. The game will be played at Harvard’s Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.

FC Gold Pride, which received their 2010 WPS Regular Season Championship Trophy on Saturday evening from WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci just before the game, had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the WPS Playoffs last month and will host the WPS Championship presented by Citi at 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT on September 26.

2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune (home team listed first)

Sunday, September 19, 2010
WPS First Round
Philadelphia Independence vs. Washington Freedom 2:30pm ET (FSN)

Thursday, September 23, 2010
WPS Super Semifinal
Boston Breakers vs. Winner of WPS First Round 8pm ET (FSC)

Sunday, September 26, 2010
WPS Championship presented by Citi
FC Gold Pride vs. Winner of WPS Super Semifinal 2:30pm ET (FSN)

by WPS – Communications–


Sky Blue FC is hoping to secure a post-season berth on Saturday but will need some help from the Washington Freedom (photo by Robyn McNeil )

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 9, 2010) — With just three games left in the WPS Regular Season, the race for the WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune has reached its crescendo. While FC Gold Pride, Boston and Philadelphia have secured post-season berths, positions two through three and the final playoff position are still up in the air with all four teams jousting for positions playing on Saturday. Here’s a breakdown of the playoff picture:

Saturday’s Games
Sky Blue FC vs. Boston Breakers, 7pm ET
Washington Freedom vs. Atlanta Beat, 7pm ET
FC Gold Pride vs. Philadelphia Independence, 8:30pm ET on FSC

1. FC Gold Pride (15-3-5, 50 points) – Has clinched the WPS Regular Season Championship and the right to host the WPS Championship presented by Citi on September 26 at 2:30pm ET/11:30pm PT as the number one seed in the WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune.

2. Boston Breakers (10-8-5, 35 points) – Has clinched a home playoff game and will clinch a place in the WPS Super Semifinal with a victory or a loss or tie by Philadelphia. Finishing level on points gives Boston the edge as a result of the head-to-head tiebreaker. Any other combination would give Philadelphia the second seed and the right to host the WPS Super Semifinal.

3. Philadelphia Independence (10-9-4, 34 points) – Has clinched a home playoff game. Could clinch the second seed and the right to host the WPS Super Semifinal with a win combined with a Boston loss or tie.

4. Washington Freedom (7-9-7, 28 points) – Control their own destiny and will clinch the fourth seed with a win or with a Sky Blue FC loss or tie. Holds tiebreaker over Sky Blue FC if they finish level on points.

5. Chicago Red Stars (7-11-6, 27 points) – Eliminated from playoff contention.

6. Sky Blue FC (7-10-6, 27 points) – Must win and have Washington lose or tie in order to qualify for the playoffs in fourth place. Washington holds tiebreaker if they finish level on points.

7. Atlanta Beat (5-12-6, 21 points) – Eliminated from playoff contention.

WPS Playoff picture update

by WPS Communications

David Silverman |

With a win on Wednesday, Jordan Angeli, Lindsay Tarpley and the Boston Breakers will be celebrating a post-season berth and a home playoff game.
SAN FRANCSICO (Aug. 30, 2010) – With just three game dates left in the WPS regular season, the race for the WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune continues to crystallize. While only FC Gold Pride has secured a post-season berth, several teams have opportunities to either clinch or enhance their positioning on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Here’s a breakdown of the playoff picture:

Wednesday’s Games – Sept. 1
Sky Blue FC vs FC Gold Pride at 7pm ET
Atlanta Beat vs Boston Breakers at 7:30pm ET
Chicago Red Stars vs Philadelphia Independence at 8pm ET

FC Gold Pride (14-3-4, 46 points)
The Bay Area side has clinched the top seed in the WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune and will host the WPS Championship presented by Citi on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT.

Philadelphia Independence (10-8-4, 34 points)
All the Independence needed in their last two outings was a single point to clinch a post-season berth. Philadelphia lost both games. They’ll try again when they visit Chicago on Wednesday. With a win or a tie against the Red Stars, the Independence will clinch a spot in the playoffs plus a home playoff game. Should the Independence lose and Sky Blue FC lose or tie, Philadelphia will clinch just a spot in the post-season. If Philadelphia loses to Chicago and Sky Blue FC beats FC Gold Pride, the Independence will let another opportunity to clinch a playoff berth slip through their hands.

Boston Breakers (9-7-5, 32 points)
The Breakers now control their own destiny. If they win against Atlanta on Wednesday, they are in the playoffs and will host a playoff game. Alternatively, if Sky Blue FC loses on Wednesday, Boston can back into the playoffs with a loss or a tie. If both Boston and Sky Blue FC tie on Wednesday, the Breakers will also secure their ticket to the post-season. But if Sky Blue FC wins or ties on Wednesday and Boston falls to Atlanta, the Breakers won’t clinch a playoff berth.

Washington Freedom (7-8-7, 28 points)
The Freedom are idle on Wednesday and can neither clinch a playoff spot or be eliminated from contention.

Sky Blue FC (7-10-4, 25 points)
Likewise, Sky Blue FC can neither clinch a playoff spot or be eliminated from contention on Wednesday, but a win over FC Gold Pride would be huge as it would push the New Jersey side back into a tie with the Freedom for the fourth and final playoff berth. After Wednesday’s games, both the Freedom and Sky Blue FC have two games remaining on their regular season schedules.

Chicago Red Stars (5-11-6, 21 points)
The Chicago Red Stars have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Atlanta Beat (5-11-5, 20 points)
The Beat must defeat the Breakers on Wednesday to keep their playoff hopes alive. A loss or tie to Boston will eliminate Atlanta from the post-season chase.

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