Independence / Indy match reports

Independence loses, US Wins

When the Philadelphia Independence traveled to the West Coast to face FC Gold Pride on Saturday, they did so without the services of Amy Rodriguez, Lori Lindsey and Heather Mitts. Sara Larsson and Caroline Seger, both of whom play for Sweden, who faced the US on Sunday, had been released back to the Independence.

Those missing players were surely a factor in Philadelphia’s 2–0 loss. But considering that the Gold Pride’s Nicole Barnhart, Rachel Buehler, Kelley O’Hara and Shannon Boxx were also away with the US team, it would be wrong to put too much into the Philly trio’s absence. The first place Gold Pride simply demonstrated they are the better team with a deeper squad and fully deserve to be in first place, having beaten the second place Independence 3–1 on June 13 at John A Farrell Stadium in West Chester.

Nevertheless, one must question the wisdom of the league in scheduling league play during international breaks when so many important players are called away for national team duty.

The Brazilian phenom Marta was clearly the focus of the Independence and Allison Falk marked her well. But FC Gold Pride forward Christine Sinclair proved to be a problem herself and celebrated Canada Day—the Independence and Gold Pride have three of the four Canadian players in the WPS on their rosters—by scoring both of the home team’s goals.

Said Sinclair after the match, “It was just a huge win for us. Since they were the second-place team, it really separates us from the rest of the pack.”

Independence coach Paul Riley said, “In the midfield we did well, but up top we never penetrated or got beyond them. We did a decent job stopping Marta, obviously the game plan was to stop her, but I think we forgot about Sinclair while trying to focus on Marta.”

The Independence next face Sky Blue FC at home on Saturday, July 24. The Independence will get a chance to gain some revenge over FC Gold Pride when they travel to play them in the final game of the season on Saturday, September 11.

The US ends two-game series with Sweden with a win

After drawing with Sweden last week, the US earned a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday with two goals from Abby Wambach after Megan Rapinoe got the first US goal in the 33rd minute. Hope Solo recorded her 50th shutout as the US goalkeeper.

Independence forward Amy Rodriguez played for the first half and nearly scored in the 15th minute after receiving a fine 60 yard pass from Independence teammate Lori Lindsey, but Sweden keeper– came up with a good save.

Lindsey recorded an assist just before the end of the first half when her corner kick found an unmarked Wambach who then converted her first goal of the match.

The US team is in the process of preparing for the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. The qualifiers will be held in October and November on dates that have yet to be announced. Along with the US in the CONCACAF qualifiers will be Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago. The teams will be dived into two groups of four with the two best teams in each group advancing to the semifinals. The first and second place teams from CONCACAF automatically qualify for the World Cup. The third place team will face the fifth place team from UEFA for a spot at the World Cup.

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