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Match Report: Independence 2-0 magicJack

Photo: Michael Long

The Independence defeated magicJack 2-0 in the WPS Super Semi Final at PPL Park on Saturday afternoon. Goals from Tasha Kai and Amy Rodriguez were enough to see the Independence through as magicJack will feel a bit unlucky after hitting the wood work three times over the course of the match. Philadelphia will now travel to Rochester to take on Western New York Flash in the WPS Final next Saturday.

After spending weeks saying that he didn’t think Amy Rodriguez and Tasha Kai could play together, Paul Riley put out a 4-4-2 with the two strikers partnered together up top. League MVP Veronica Boquete slotted in just behind them in the no. 10 role with Sinead Farrelly healthy enough to play on the right and Christina DiMartino on the left.

An exciting first half saw the teams trade chances for the full 45 minutes. Veronica Boquete started the Independence off on the right foot early, pushing an 18 yard drive just wide on five minutes. Christen Press forced Nicole Barnhart into a smart save when she hit a 25 yard knuckler that the Philly goalkeeper was lucky enough to punch over the bar.

Tasha Kai was next up for a chance on 34 minutes. A chip over the top saw the striker in on goal on the right side with magicJack goalkeeper Jillian Loyden caught in no man’s land trying to choose to come for the ball or stay home. Kai tried to flick the ball over her, but her shot was just a little heavy and landed on top of the net. Just two minutes later, magicJack probably had the best chance of the half. Press was able to find room in the box for a shot from eight yards that beat Barnhart, but hit the far post. The ball fell straight to Abby Wambach, who somehow pushed a shot wide from inside the six yard box.

The Independence probably felt unlucky not to grab the lead just before the half with three great chances. First, Christina DiMartino found herself in on goal on the left side after a great ball from Boquete but was only to hit a weak shot straight at Loyden. Kai and Amy Rodriguez also went close just before the whistle.

The breakthrough for Philadelphia finally came just after the start of the second half. Some great play by Sinead Farrelly saw the rookie swing in a good cross that the magicJack defense was able to clear. Tasha Kai beat former Independence player Megan Rapinoe to the clearance, put a great fake on world class defender Christine Rampone and curled a beautiful left footed shot into the far post. A terrific individual effort from the striker.

MagicJack pushed players forward to look for an equalizer and almost found one straight away. Barnhart was forced into a great save to deny Wambach, who found room to shoot from about 10 yards. The team from Florida continued to push and again hit the woodwork on 66 minutes through Wambach. A great cross from Rapinoe found the big striker on the back post, but she couldn’t keep her header down and it hit the bar square on.

MagicJack threw on Ella Masar and Lisa DeVanna to search for a goal, going to a three defender set. Philadelphia looked to exploit the shortage of defenders on the counterattack and a nice move featuring Farrelly, Danesha Adams and Boquete saw Rodriguez just miss out to the left of Loyden’s goal on 75 minutes.

Rodriguez secured the win with a classy finish on 81 minutes. The speedy striker latched onto a ball over the top, saw Loyden again off her line and dropped in a magnificent chip from at least 25 yards out. Any questions about whether the striker’s confidence has returned after a rocky World Cup can be put to bed with that terrific goal.

Even with magicJack having chances to get on the board, the Independence were good value for their win and few will have an argument that they aren’t deserving finalists. They’ll travel to WNY with confidence after taking the season series from the Flash 2-1.

Player ratings, analysis, and photo essay coming tomorrow.


  1. great game. can’t wait for next week. wish that one was gonna be played here too.

  2. Christopher harper says:

    Great game and good luck had a great time at PPL Park today.

  3. How many spectators showed up? Just watching 2nd half on FSC and the girls look great. Congrats getting to another final!

    • Mike Servedio says:

      The announced attendance was about 5400, though it looked even a bit more than that. It’s shame it wasn’t full because it was a hugely entertaining game.

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