Athletica move into second
The Saint Louis Athletica were the biggest movers in Week 12 of WPS. Saint Louis catapulted into second in the WPS standings for the first time this season, with a solid 1-0 road victory Sunday over the Boston Breakers. The win cut into the first-place lead of the Los Angeles Sol, who are still 11 points clear of Saint Louis. Boston, Chicago and FC Gold Pride are in a three-way logjam for fourth place -- the final playoff spot -- with the Breakers having played one game less.
Washington Freedom 0 -0 Chicago Red Stars
The Chicago Red Stars (2-3-5) played the second-place Washington Freedom (3-3-4) to a scoreless tie at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Saturday evening, the second consecutive draw between these two teams this season.
The Red Stars were forced to play one player down for the final 30 minutes of the match, following the ejection of English forward Karen Carney in the 60th minute for a tackle against Abby Wambach. It was the first straight red card in WPS league history and the second time in as many games against the Freedom that the Red Stars had to play with only 10 players. In that previous meeting with Washington on April 11, the Red Stars secured a 1-1 draw.
Chicago's Swedish goalkeeper Caroline Jonsson had another impressive performance, recording eight saves, seven of which came in the second half. Jonsson has four clean sheets on the season and leads the WPS in saves with 46. Washington outshot Chicago 8-1. The tie featured the debut of Washington defender Ali Krieger, who played her first game with the Freedom after arriving on loan from 1. FFC Frankfurt in Germany's top league.
Sky Blue FC 0 -0 Los Angeles Sol
In a matchup of two teams at the opposite ends of the standings, the Los Angeles Sol -- the top team in the WPS standings -- were outplayed and outhustled by seventh-placed Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue put together a possession-minded and attacking game, but couldn't finish in the final third and had to settle for a 0-0 tie on a rainy night at Yurcak Field.
Sky Blue FC held a 14-5 advantage in shots and controlled the pace for much of the game. Both goalkeepers -- Jenni Branam of Sky Blue FC and Karina LeBlanc of the Sol -- finished the game with three saves.
"We played New Jersey soccer today, getting down and dirty in the mud," said Sky Blue FC interim Head Coach Kelly Lindsey. "Our team was prepared for the conditions tonight.
"I thought they did very well with the weather. I give our team a lot of credit, there was a ton of passion and energy today and I think that they deserved the result. We would have liked a victory, but today was a moral victory for us."
With the draw, Los Angeles now stands at 7-1-4 (W-L-T) and has a seven-match unbeaten streak, while Sky Blue FC is 2-5-3. Following the scoreless draw earlier in Saturday, the result was the fifth scoreless draw in WPS this season.
Boston Breakers 0-1 Saint Louis Athletica
Eniola Aluko scored the game's only goal in the 44th minute as the Saint Louis Athletica defeated the Boston Breakers, 1-0, in action Sunday evening at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Mass.
The game winner was scored against the run of play, when Saint Louis midfielder Kendall Fletcher sent a long through ball to Aluko, who burst in behind the Breakers defense, and hit the ball low past goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill. Aluko's goal marked her team-high third for the season.
"I was proud of the way we responded," said Boston head coach Tony DiCicco about the team's effort after giving up the goal. "We defended well, but today we had a breakdown and it cost us. Give Saint Louis credit; they got the goal and defended it well"
The Breakers owned a commanding 17-7 advantage in shots on goal, and an 8-1 edge in corners. Boston also enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the game, but were unable to score.
"We are creating the chances, we just need to score," said DiCicco.