WPS Week 1: A Look Back

WPSAction1 (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By DAN LAULETTA

Chicago Red Stars head coach believes poor officiating by referee Ted Unkel cost her side a chance to equalize against champion Sky Blue FC in a 1-0 loss at Yurcak Field in Sunday night’s season opener.  She hinted at several questionable calls, but was most perturbed about a would-be penalty kick drawn by Karen Carney right on the nose of the 82-minute mark.
 
“I thought we were the better team to be fair, I think we were robbed by poor officiating,” Hayes said afterward.
 
Carney went down in the box on a challenge from Sky Blue keeper Karen Carney that appeared to be a foul based on Fox Soccer Channel replays.  Unkel swallowed his whistle and the teams played on with the Red Stars failing to find the equalizer.
 
Sky Blue went ahead thanks to some strong play through the midfield that concluded with Heather O’Reilly finding Tasha Kai, who slipped a shot underneath goalkeeper Jillian Loyden.  Loyden later made some key saves to keep her team within striking distance.  By game’s end the Red Stars were clearly the better side, especially coming through midfield, but were undone by some poor play in the final third.
 
“Good performance, disappointing result, shocking officiating,” Hayes concluded.

Here is how the weekend's other matches went:

Philadelphia Independence 0, Atlanta Beat 0

The expansion teams kept each other off the scoreboard in the debut match for both teams.  Amanda Cinalli came closest for Atlanta with a header off the post in the first half.  At the other end, Amy Rodriguez got in for a one-v.one chance against Atlanta goalkeeper Allison Whitworth who came up with a save on what was the game’s final meaningful touch.  A crowd in excess of 6,000 was on hand at John A Farrell Stadium.
 
Saint Louis Athletica 2, FC Gold Pride 0

Eniola Aluko scored twice on passes from Shannon Boxx to lead Athletica over new-look FC Gold Pride.  Hope Solo was credited with six saves on her way to the shutout.  The result brought a welcome change to the start of the season for Athletica who opened 2009 0-2-2 and did not score in their first three matches.  FC Gold Pride debuted Marta and Camille Abily but were unable to find the back of the net—a problem all too familiar from last season.
 
Boston Breakers 2, Washington Freedom 1

The Breakers essentially traded Amy Rodriguez for Lauren Cheney over the winter and Cheney paid immediate dividends by winding up in the right place at the right time to tap in a low, driven ball that managed to pass untouched through the box and to the back post.  That goal for Cheney matched Rodriguez’s total from 2009 and had the Breakers on their way. 

Less than a quarter hour later Kelly Smith converted on another Freedom miscue in the box by showing what makes her among the world’s most dangerous finishers.  Allie Long pulled one back late for the Freedom.  Ashley Phillips earned the win as Boston’s surprise starter in goal.

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8 Responses to WPS Week 1: A Look Back

  1. Al17 says:

    I’m a Red Stars fan (always good to disclose before siding with the home team). I agree with Emma, a Red Card and a penalty should have been called and nothing. It was a good game from the Red Stars and they should have gotten a better result but the officiating for this match was horrific. One sided is the nicest way for me to describe it.

    The Red Stars could have finished better but the bad calls missed are inexcusable at this level and especially when the last woman is blatantly fouled.

  2. LukeDQ says:

    Come on Breakers! Hoping to hit a few games this year.

  3. Mike says:

    The refereeing in WPS was sloppy at best last year….too bad they’re starting off the same this year…

    Ted Unkel is probably the worst of the bunch! And I couldn’t care less about the Red Stars…

    WPS deserves better!

  4. yankiboy says:

    The Freedom lost their home opener.

    I would like to say that I am shocked but I am not.

    Are we going to have to suffer through a sorry start this season like with DC United. I really hope not.

  5. Matt says:

    well look at that, marta still cant score on hope solo, how is it she manages to get player of the year EVERY year especially when the only keeper in the world she has NEVER scored on is in the running. doesn’t make ANY sense.

  6. angela says:

    go women soccer players yeah! this is the future of the game!

  7. AP says:

    It wasn’t crazy call. It was just a call that didn’t go the Red Stars way. They are their own worst enemies, and by that I mean the reason they didn’t score was Ella Masar. They need to send the Illinois native packing. She was pointless.

  8. Csdek@yahoo.com says:

    Was at that Sky Blue game and live I turned to the coach of mydaughters team and said hmmm could have called a foul on that play. Guess I was right