WPS Final: Sky Blue FC 1, LA Sol 0 (A Look Back)

WPSFinal (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                                    Photo by ISIphotos.com

By CHRISTA MANN

The highs and lows of the Women's Pro Soccer season were ever so present in the first WPS Championship. Underdog against favorite, good call or questionable, a red card and early goal made the difference in this game.

 Sky Blue FC (NJ) -1, L.A. Sol – 0, but did the better team really win? Many people are still saying no.

The  L.A. Sol was the best team of the year with the better players and the better record.  They earned a place in the final based on an strong regular season performance, and hosted a the championship game which they should have walked away with. Two weeks off may have been the problem, but Sol captain Shannon Boxx mentioned (in the press conference) that the team was playing well over those two weeks off and had scrimmaged a couple of teams including a skilled boys squad.    

Sky Blue FC was the most underrated opponent of the season, yet time after time it pulled off results.  Whether resilience, talent, luck or perseverance got them through, SBFC pulled off some big wins against the best teams in the league. The final was no different as their improbable run continued.

 Here are the highlights:

The game changing decision was a questionable red card against L.A. defender Allison Falk. The referee's decision was that Falk denied Natasha Kai an obvious goal scoring opportunity and that intent was not a deciding factor. From her perspective, Kai had a chance to shoot on the next touch or so but was prevented when Falk made contact.

From the initial view of the foul, a recovering Shannon Cox appears to be the last L.A. defender; however maybe she was too far to contribute. At any rate, the sequence shows Falk with the contact,  Cox coming over to help, and Kai exaggerating fall. 

Even with the change in dynamics, L.A. had chance after chance in the second half with some the fresh legs from its subs.  The  best one of the day was replacing Chinese international Han Duan with Lyndsey Patterson.  Patterson read Marta's play well and chased down balls that Duan was previously watching go out of bounds. The L.A. Sol's second half was rally seemed sure to bring a goal, but SBFC coach/captain strategically packed it in.   

SBFC was the Cinderella story of WPS, and what better way to end than with the first ever WPS Championship.  There is no doubt that SBFC fought a much tougher road to the final, but its players' persevered and their merit was truly rewarded.  

The L.A. Sol were Regular Season Champs and the most highly-regarded team of the year.  They played a very direct second half but did not prevail in the ultimate David vs. Goliath WPS match-up.  The Sol played direct for most of the second half but may have been more successful if they played straight to Marta's feet. 

In the end, Sky Blue FC scored one and the L.A. had zero.  The Jersey club played with every bit of heart and proved why they have come so far this season. It's great to say that they won from believing but it's disappointing to say that people believed in the team's will more than it believed in the team's talent. 

What did you think about the final?  Was it a red card?  Share your thoughts below

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10 Responses to WPS Final: Sky Blue FC 1, LA Sol 0 (A Look Back)

  1. 49ers says:

    good chance kai would have scored so i think the red had to be shown.

  2. KCB says:

    I hope ESPN or someone really picks up on Sky Blue’s season story. 3 coaches, last to first, 3 games in 8 days to win the championship. And those are just the numbers. Congrats Sky Blue and WPS.

  3. Matt D. says:

    I’m not sure about the red card, I don’t know if Falk was the last defender or if Kai would have had a clear scoring opportunity. Having said that, the Sol’s defense needed to be better on the goal. If any team at any level gets a chance like that they need to put it away, and O’Reilly did just that. I agree, KCB, ESPN should pick up on the evolution of Sky Blue FC from also-rans to champions. An inspiration for all athletes! Great job ladies! Great to see Jersey get a championship this year! Now about those Red Bulls…

  4. chan says:

    I bet that the Sol are thinking of a single table system…

  5. Leonardo says:

    i caught the FSE replay just this morning.

    regardless of the should-have-been-yellow-card, LA should have scored at least 2 goals. i was bummed that a californian team didnt win it.

    Marta looks awesome on the ball and what acceleration! but she’s alone.

    the star of the game w/o a doubt was the Sky Blue back line! talk about cutting out the angles on goal, they closed so fast on Marta and anyone else that got in the box, and with the exception of 2 chances that Sol should have converted (1 header and one shot went wide), Sol had no clear chances on goal.

    Defense wins championships, and SBFC is proof of that!

  6. Sandro says:

    Maybe the Sky Blue FC should play in Red Bull park instead of the Red Bulls!

  7. nathan3e says:

    Kai was through on goal. No one was going to catch her. It is a completely defensible decision.

    Sky Blue is definitely more entertaining than the Red Bulls.

  8. SAY says:

    This is really bad news for the LA Sol…where rumors from the AEG camp that AEG doesnt want any part of WPS anymore.

    Sol truly missed Camille Abily, the midfield was so crazy with Boxx being the beast she normally is. Abily brought a calm state of mind to that midfield

    Regardlesss of the Falk call…The referees SUCK in the WPS….the side line ref on the first play of the game was OUT OF POSITION and should have called an offsides on O’Reilly and it lead to a corner kick!!!!

    LA Sol get to keep their very CHEAP CHEAP looking REgular Season Trophy….its sooo ugly seriously…the US Youth Soccer Trophies are way better…this one trophy looks like an AYSO participation trophy its so cheap lookign

  9. Dead on with your analysis here, Duan played terribly. She was subbed far too late, for she wasted many a golden chance.

    I was at the game on Saturday. Perfect day, great crowd, just wish the stands were a little more full. The problem is the prices. Sure, it’s a championship game, but it’s the first championship game of an unproven league, 20 bucks was far too high to be the cheapest ticket.

  10. Marmaduke says:

    Definitely a red, last player back.

    LA had a much better season than anyone, but they faded late. A few teams, Sky Blue and St. Louis, surged at the end, and that’s what counts for the playoffs. Did anyone else notice how Boxx was killing herself at the end of the game to get the equalizer. She was all over the field and challenging every ball. The announcers were talking about the apparent lack of desire shown by Duan while Boxx was busy demonstrating what desire looks like.

    I don’t think you can say enough about Rampone. She anchored a defense that shut Marta down while coaching her team to the win.