The fifth week of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League season kicked off on Friday, June 8, with an important match between the second place New York Fury and the third place and undefeated Chicago Red Stars at Illinois’ Concordia University. The Fury came into the match looking for a win following a 0-0 draw with Western New York Flash, while the Red Stars were riding high after defeating league leading Boston Breakers 1-0. When it was over, the two teams had switched spots in the standings on the strength of Chicago’s 2-1 victory.
As Chicago began their move to challenge Boston for the lead, WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli remarked, “At this stage of the game the competition in the WPSL Elite is really interesting. It is way too early to make any predications who will be the champion for this inaugural season.”
Following early back-and-forth action, Chicago made the first strike of the match when Michele Weissenhofer made a run to the end line in the 26th minute and fired a crossing pass into the box. Lauren Fowlkes managed to get her head on the ball and put it in the path of a lunging Alyssa Mautz who sent it past Fury goalkeeper Michelle Betos for a 1-0 lead.
In the second half an errant goal kick landed in the path of Weissenhofer who took advantage of the gift to put the Red Stars up 2-0. That goal would become more important in the 83rd minute when Chicago’s Elise Addis sent a pass back to goalie Jamie Forbes. Pressure from the Fury caused Forbes to send the ball into the lane of Fury forward Claire Zimmeck who took advantage of the open look to pull New York within one.
Chicago managed to hold out for the final minutes to secure their fourth straight victory and move into second place in the standings, while New York dropped to third.
“The first half we created a lot of chances, but our commitment in the box still isn’t good enough,” said Chicago head coach Rory Dames later. “We’ve gotten better at everything we’ve been training on, but our game fitness is still only around 60 minutes so there are still improvements we have to make.
FC Indiana 1, ASA Chesapeake Charge 1
Friday, June 8: Soline Bellevue scored in the 30th minute to give FC Indiana their first goal since a 4-1 loss to Boston in May and the team’s first lead in a game. The lead would not last, as ASA Chesapeake Charge picked up the equalizer in the 75th minute on a goal by Erica Suter to deny Indiana their first win of the season.
The result ended a string of five successive losses by FC Indiana and gave the team their first point in the standings. “This was two points dropped by us and, in that sense, certainly a blow,” said head coach Shek Borkowski. “However, it might well have been worse and, by gaining out first point, hopefully it will give us upward momentum.”
Western New York Flash 3, New England Mutiny 1
Saturday, June 9: The Western New York Flash got back in the win column on the strength of goals by Katy Frierson, team captain McCall Zerboni and Australian international Emily Van Egmond as they beat New England Mutiny 3-1. The win moved the Flash ahead of Mutiny in the standings and set the tone for a stretch of three games in less than a week.
Frierson opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when she fought off defenders and floated a shot over Mutiny goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo. Zerboni picked up her goal at the 31-minute mark after Jamaican international Omolyn Davis crossed a pass from the right flank. Spanish international Adriana collected the ball and sent it to Zerboni for the goal. Van Egmond picked up her goal with a header in the 75th minute, with an assist from Stephanie Ochs.
Mutiny scored their lone goal in the 81st minute after Becca Mays lofted a pass over the defense from the right flank. Kate Howarth took advantage of a defensive miscommunication, beat Flash’s Tori Pressley, and slipped the ball past Allison Lipsher for the goal.
Chicago Red Stars 5, ASA Chesapeake Charge 0
Sunday, June 10: The Red Stars completed a sweep of their weekend matches with a convincing 5-0 win over the visiting Chesapeake Charge. Lauren Fowlkes picked up her first hat trick as a Red Star and the first for Chicago this season. Team Captain Lori Chalupny and newcomer Zoey Goralski added one each.
Fowlkes netted her first goal on a header off a pass from Weissenhofer in the 36th minute of play. Four minutes later Chalupny scored her single for a 2-0 lead going into the half. In the 78th minute Fowlkes picked up her second goal, with an assist from Amanda Cinalli, and five minutes later she completed her hat trick on a blast from the 18. Goralski closed out the scoring at the 86-minute mark.
New York Fury 1, FC Indiana 0
Sunday, June 10: Merritt Mathias scored her team-leading fifth goal as the New York Fury took a 1-0 win over FC Indiana. New York took advantage of the host team’s inexperience in the 21st minute as Tina DiMartino began a breakaway that Mathias finished out for the score. Indiana’s Manouchka Pierre-Louis and Sophia Batard threatened counterattacks, but Fury was able to hold them off for the win.
“We dominated possession, but still could not put the game away,” said Fury head coach Paul Riley of the win that earned New York a split on their Midwest road trip. “It was a good three points on the road, and important to get another shutout.”
“The Fury have experienced players and deserved the result, but I was pleased with our commitment to get something from this contest under difficult circumstances,” said FC Indiana Head Coach Shek Borkowski, who had to juggle the lineup with two defenders out with injuries. “We are improving and I’m happy with our progress.”
Boston Breakers 1, Philadelphia Fever 0
Sunday, June 10: In a hard fought contest, the Boston Breakers managed to pull out a 1-0 road win over the Philadelphia Fever on the strength of Australian international Kyah Simon’s 25-yard rocket at the end of the first half. The victory kept Boston one win ahead of Chicago in the standings.
Both teams opened the match on the attack, putting pressure on Breakers goalkeeper Alice Binns and Fury net minder Michelle Dalton. Cat Whitehill, Bianca D’Agostino and Australian Tameka Butt all put in dangerous attacks for Boston, while Laura DiClemente and Madison Clemens challenged for Philadelphia. It was Simon who finally broke through just before the half ended for her fourth goal of the season and the 1-0 lead.
Boston and Philadelphia returned to the pitch in the second half with renewed effort, the Breakers looking to widen the gap and Fever trying for the equalizer. In spite of determined back-and-fort action, neither team could find the key to score and the game ended with Boston on top by the 1-0 margin.
Even though Fever came out with a loss, Philadelphia’s Ulises Terrones saw a great advantage from playing against Boston. “I believe our players can benefit from playing teams of this high caliber,” he said. “Sharing the field with high-level players teaches our players elements of the game you cannot teach in a training session.”
WPSL Elite League Standings
|Chicago Red Stars||15||5||5||0||0||12||1||11|
|New York Fury||13||7||4||2||1||12||5||7|
|Western New York Flash||7||5||2||2||1||9||6||3|
|New England Mutiny||7||5||2||2||1||10||13||-3|
|ASA Chesapeake Charge||4||5||1||3||1||6||15||-9|
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Chicago Red Stars at Western New York Flash
Thursday, June 14, 2012
New England Mutiny at FC Indiana
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Western New York Flash at ASA Chesapeake Charge
New England Mutiny at Chicago Red Stars
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Western New York Flash at Philadelphia Fever
New York Fury at ASA Chesapeake Charge