For the eighth weekend in a row, the Los Angeles Sol maintained their stranglehold on first place in the WPS standings, taking a 1-0 decision over Sky Blue FC on Friday night on a fantastic breakaway goal by forward Marta late in the game. The Chicago Red Stars dropped their second straight game at home with a poor offensive performance in a 1-0 defeat to surging FC Gold Pride. Elsewhere, the Boston Breakers drew 1-1 with the Washington Freedom, who played without Abby Wambach as she served a one-game suspension handed down for a reckless tackle in Week 6.
Los Angeles Sol 1, Sky Blue FC 0
The Los Angeles Sol defeated Sky Blue FC by a 1-0 margin Friday night at the Home Depot Center. A strike from Brazilian forward Marta was the difference as Los Angeles won its second straight match against its cross-country rivals and maintained its position atop the WPS standings for the eighth week in a row.
The Sol (4-1-2) nearly opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Aya Miyama's low shot slipped through Sky Blue (1-3-2) goalkeeper Jenni Branam's hands and squirted to Aly Wagner on the end line, but her rebound went untouched across the goal mouth and Sky Blue cleared it out of danger.
The next close call for the Sol came in the 21st minute, as forward Han Duan played a low ball perfectly to Wagner's right foot just inside the penalty area, but Wagner's shot flew wide and high of the goal. Neither team threatened again in the first half and the game was scoreless after 45 minutes.
The Sol finally got on the board 10 minutes from time on a spectacular individual effort from Marta. After collecting a long ball from Camille Abily at the top of the penalty area, she split two defenders and put her shot past a sprawling Branham to seal the victory. Los Angeles travels to Northern California for a Memorial Day weekend match with rival FC Gold Pride. Sky Blue FC plays at Washington.
FC Gold Pride 1, Chicago Red Stars 0
Christine Sinclair scored the lone goal as FC Gold Pride defeated the Chicago Red Stars, 1-0, Saturday night in front of 4,884 at Toyota Park. It was the second consecutive loss for the Red Stars after starting the season undefeated through four games.
Sinclair's goal came unassisted in the 30th minute. Adriane drove into the box along the right side of the end line and crossed to Tiffeny Milbrett, whose shot bounced off Chicago goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson. The deflection went right to Sinclair, who was able to walk the ball across the goal mouth for her second tally of the season.
For the second consecutive game Chicago managed just three shots on goal, but the Red Stars still had several outstanding opportunities. In the 27th minute Megan Rapinoe's cross from the left side of the box just missed a diving Cristiane, who would have had a clear header to the net. Seven minutes later Karen Carney put a shot off FC Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart; the rebound came to Lindsay Tarpley who just missed the net to the left.
FC Gold Pride outshot Chicago 12-7, including five shots on goal for the visitors. A game-high six shots were credited to Sinclair. Carney and Cristiane, who played a full match for the first time this season, each led the Red Stars with two shots.
With the win, FC Gold Pride improves to 3-3-1 and passes the Red Stars (2-2-2) in the WPS standings for third place.
Boston Breakers 1, Washington Freedom 1
Boston defender Alex Scott scored the equalizer in the second half to ensure the Breakers kept their undefeated home record in a 1-1 draw versus the Washington Freedom in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) action on Sunday evening at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass.
Scott's goal came in the 49th minute when Christine Latham played a ball forward toward Scott, who then blasted a shot over Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod into the top center of the goal. It was the first goal of the season for the England international, and Latham's first assist.
Washington got on the board first with a goal in the 33rd minute. Australian forward Lisa De Vanna set up Rebecca Moros with a through ball to the right side of the penalty area, and Moros put the ball in the bottom right corner for the 1-0 lead.
With the draw, the Breakers (3-2-2) remain in second place, three points behind the first-place Los Angeles Sol. Washington (1-2-3) moves into sole possession of fifth place.
"This was probably the highest-level game we have played this year," said Breakers coach Tony DiCicco. "It was very fast and quick.
"I was proud of the way we played in the second half. We went for three points tonight, but give Washington credit for their exceptional first half. After their goal, we finally started to play our game and put together some good chances."
The Breakers outshot the Freedom 14-9, and dominated much of the second half, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities to come away with the three points.