Monday, August 22, 2011

WPS Championship Preview

The Western New York Flash will take on the Philadelphia Independence in the 3rd Women's Professional Soccer Championship on Saturday. It's a showdown between the league's top two teams as Western New York finished with the best record during the regular season (13-2-3) with Philadelphia right behind them (11-4-3). The two sides met three times during the regular season with Philadelphia dealing New York both of their regular season losses.
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New York won the first game in Philadelphia by a score of 2-1, but Philadelphia stole a 1-0 win on a 90th minute goal in the second game and won the third at home by a 2-1 score. Both sides are heavy on talent featuring a number of players from the Women's World Cup. Philadelphia has Amy Rodriguez, Lori Lindsey, and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart from the U.S. National Team while New York has Canada's all-time leading scorer Christine Sinclair, 5-time player of the year Marta of Brazil, her Brazilian teammate Maurine, and the U.S.'s Alex Morgan. The two teams feature 3 of the league's top 4 scorers with Sinclair and Marta netting 10 goals apiece for New York and ex-U.S. National teamer Tasha Kai scoring 9 to lead Philadelphia.
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New York has the advantage of being rested as they got a bye until the championship by winning the regular season title. Philadelphia earned their way to the Championship with a 2-0 over Abby Wambach and magicJack on Saturday. Tasha Kai gave the Independence an early 1-0 lead and Amy Rodriguez sealed the win with a goal in the second half.

Despite Philadelphia winning the season series between the two teams I have to think the edge in this one goes to the Flash. With everyone back from the World Cup, the combination of Sinclair and Marta will be a difficult one to stop and I see them just being too much for the Independence to handle giving them their second straight  loss in the WPS Championship. Prediction: New York 2 Philadelphia 0. Kickoff is Saturday afternoon at 4 pm at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester.

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