Women's Professional Soccer concluded the rivalry week of Week 9 competition with California teams clashing and Midwestern clubs playing in Chicago. Los Angeles extended its stranglehold on first place with a 2-0 victory over FC Gold Pride to move six points ahead of Boston in the standings, while Saint Louis and Washington both won to extend their unbeaten streaks to four games and five games, respectively.
Washington Freedom 2, Sky Blue FC 1
Returning to what was their home during their WUSA stint, the Washington Freedom learned that the RFK Stadium confines remain friendly. The team beat Sky Blue FC 2-1 on Saturday for its second win this season.
Normally on the serving end of the long ball, defender Cat Whitehill buried a Sonia Bompastor corner kick with her head for her first WPS goal to put the Freedom up 1-0 in the 35th minute. Four minutes later, Lisa De Vanna intercepted the ball on Sky Blue's defensive half and finished on a breakaway to give the Freedom a 2-0 lead.
Although getting on the score sheet was nice for Whitehill, she said the outcome was even more rewarding.
"It's just good to get a win right now," Whitehill said in a news release. "It's encouraging. The first half, we came out and we really had possession of the ball. The second half, we were a little sloppy, and they came after us a little bit, so I was glad to get the win."
After giving up nine goals in a three-game span, the Freedom finally seem to have found their steadying force in goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who has nine saves in her past two matches.
Said Whitehill, "[McLeod has] been huge for us. We've only been together two weeks, and I already feel she's been behind me for two months."
Saint Louis Athletica 2, Chicago Red Stars 0
The Chicago Red Stars were shut out for the third consecutive game Saturday, as they fell 2-0 to Saint Louis in front of 4,461 at Toyota Park.
Athletica's first score came off a Chicago own goal in the 25th minute. Eniola Aluko fired a shot that hit Red Stars defender Ifeoma Dieke and deflected over goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson into the net. Aluko found the net herself in the 41st off an assist from Kendall Fletcher.
Despite outshooting Athletica 12-5, including a 6-1 margin in shots on goal, the Red Stars (2-3-2) suffered their third consecutive loss. Chicago has not scored in 308 minutes since Brittany Klein's second-half goal against Boston on April 25.
Los Angeles Sol 2, FC Gold Pride 0
A sellout crowd of 6,280 packed Buck Shaw Stadium on Sunday afternoon to see FC Gold Pride take on the Los Angeles Sol. The Sol emerged victorious, putting away two goals and blanking the Pride for the second time this season in the California derby.
The Sol scored the lone goal of the first half on a 27th-minute penalty kick awarded to Los Angeles after captain Aya Miyama was taken down in the 18-yard box. Midfielder Camille Abily slotted home for her second goal of the season to give the Sol a 1-0 advantage.
The match was closely watched by the officials, who handed out two cautions for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first half, one to the Pride's Brazilian defender Erika and one to Sol striker Marta.
In a quick turn of events that saw the Pride's Brandi Chastain almost score a goal in the 85th minute, the Sol extended their lead on a counterattack. Han Duan broke free behind the Pride's defense and slipped one in past goalkeeper Allison Whitworth in the 86th minute to put the Sol up 2-0.
"We had one mental lapse, but we will learn from it," FC Gold Pride coach Albertin Montoya said. "We went from Brandi almost scoring to a missed ball off a goal kick. We lost our concentration for one second. When you have players like Marta and Duan, they'll make you pay."