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Sol Defeats Freedom in WPS Opener

In front of nearly 15,000 at Home Depot Center, the Los Angeles Sol defeated the Washington Freedom, 2-0, in the WPS inaugural match. Allison Falk scored early and Camille Abily scored late. A full report will appear on late tonight. The Freedom, which saw Lori Lindsey hit the left post in the second half while trailing by a goal, will play its home opener April 11 at Maryland SoccerPlex against the Chicago Red Stars.

L.A.'s Aly Wagner and Washington's Kati Jo Spisak did the Twitter thing during the match: Wagner's comments, Spisak's comments.

By Steve Goff  |  March 29, 2009; 8:43 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: USA-El Salvador
Next: MLS Observations


Wow...what the hell happened in that game. How do we lose to a team that just formed like 3 weeks ago.

Posted by: vthokies1 | March 29, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm reposting this because I've had a lot of interest and inquiry about the subject. Also, I want to make sure Goff sees it.

I along many fans are having some concerns about D.C.'s goalie situation. WHERE IS CRAYTON? Something fischy is going on.

Some factors to indicate this:

1.) Crayton indicated and was quoted earlier in the week as saying he was ready for Saturday's home opener.

2.) It was reported that after the LA game and Steve was inquiring on Crayton's status, Soehn went off at Goff. We don't know very much, but we do know that Crayton was one of the hot topics of discussion.

3.) Ben Olsen on DC 101. When Elliot asked Benny, if there is a "goalie controversy", Ben hesitated and mumbled for a few moments before ultimately saying 'no'. However, the response was definitely a shaky one.

So, people have been asking on this blog about the situation and I think it's only fair that we receive some answers.

No, no one has missed anything on Crayton's situation, just Goff has yet to really report anything definitive. Why?

Thanks Goff.

Posted by: redskinsux | March 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Anyone watch it? Quality?

15k is quite good, though!

Posted by: Reignking | March 29, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it was a great opener. Seeing the different women from around the globe is thrilling -- I can't wait until I can get to a game in person!

Posted by: ABHFGTY | March 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone has forgotten, Mr. Goff is not at anyone's beck and call except for the Post. Who are you to question why hasn't reported on an issue? It is a privilege to the faithful that he has made his wealth of sources and information available to us on a daily basis, but it sure as hell isn't a right. Step away from the computer and take a few deep breaths. When he has something to report to the fans, I'm sure he will.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | March 29, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Were Wagner and Spisak not in their respective 18s? I can't imagine that the coaches would allow potential subs to twitter (tweet?) while on the bench.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Definitely much higher quality soccer than the WUSA opener in 2001, but still rough around the edges, lots of turnovers due to poor communication or bad anticipation.

Freedom played like their W-League team, waiting around on the attack for the other team to show a weakness, but that didn't work very well at this level. Not enough energy from the Washington players except for Sonia Bompastor, who was fantastic.

Posted by: kevinwparker | March 29, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Pizza Hut park today
Attendance: 6,524

Posted by: Reignking | March 29, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I-270 - Spisak was in the 18. Wagner is nursing an injury but I don't know if that affected her to the point that she was not in the LA 18. I did see her in a warmup on the field after the match ended.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | March 29, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Quality was IMHO not great. Lots of errant passes and not a lot of flow. Some quality chances for both sides, but large field weared players out quickly.

Selective WF Player rankings:

Bompastor - 9 - (by far the best player for the WF; numerous forays down the wing along with superb crosses and high work rate)

Wambach - 7 (worked hard but not enough service and support to her; two good chances escaped her, one from close range she needed to finish with a deft touch and not a blast)

DeVanna - 7 - (sub) brought needed energy and speed into otherwise slow motion attack; only player taking on Sol defenders with urgency)

Whitehill - 6 - generally played well but several wasted free kicks.

Sawa - 5 - kind of disappeared in second half and not the solid playmaker an MF general that she needs to be)

Lindsey - 5 slow turns and general inability to break down Sol MF)

Janns/Long/Singer - 5 - overall solid defending but contributed little to the attack; this could be said of almost entire team.

Sauerbrunn - 5 - some good work on Marta but looked jittery on many occasions; you would too with Marta running at you at full pace.

Zimmick - 4 - raw and ineffective.

Scurry - 3 - lost first goal between hands, then chipped on the second; tentative & indecisive on both goals.

Gabarra - 3 - why only use two subs when several players were physically spent and team is down 1-2 goals? Moros a good off the bench option for several players.

MR Caretaker (immitating chest rockwell w/o full paragraphs)

OWNTF - where r u?

Posted by: postgolb | March 29, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

WUSA opener: 34,148 (in DC)
MLS opener: 31,683 (sellout in San Jose)
with LA getting 69,255 for their 1st game

15k is pretty good considering the minimalist budgets and rough economy, but I think attendance in weeks 2 and 3 are the more important numbers to look at.

Posted by: undrafted | March 29, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Why question Goff about Crayton? They are only two games in and he had an injury. Maybe Soehn just isn't confident in what he is seeing Crayton do in practice. Give it a little more time.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 29, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Postgolb - can't disagree too much with your ratings except for Bompastor. She was completely ineffective in the first half. touches were not good. Lost many balls out of bounds; poor passing - some may have to do with Zimmick up front not being much of a target. She did much better in the 2nd half but would not rate her above Wambach who was a real force out there.

The thing that I took away from this game was the overall weakness of the Freedom squad in comparison to the Sol. For example at attacking mid, the only time I saw Sawa touch the ball all night was to take 2 shots from far out. The Sol had a very good attacking Japanese national with Aly Wagner on the bench (with injury). We were generally outclassed at every position.

Posted by: Beckster1 | March 30, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

For anyone watching the game on FSC, was it just me or were the announcers awful? Jenn Hilbrach gave some good analysis, but the play-by-play game, at times, didn't say anything while a play was developing. I may have to mute the TV the next time I watch a WPS game on FSC.

Posted by: stwasm | March 30, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I fast forwarded and didn't listen much, but you can get a lot worse than Rogondino. He's fairly new at PBP and was a quick learner on the sidelines so if really that bad, I expect he'll improve. He didn't say anything so you have to mute him? I don't quite follow your complaint. Have you ever suffered through Christian Miles?

Posted by: undrafted | March 30, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

stwasm, yes, I found the announcers to be painful to listen to. There was no depth to their analysis. Also, they didn't seem to know any of the players with the exception of the WNT, a couple of the internationals and Marta. It took them at least 60 minutes before they mentioned Sauerbraun although she touched the ball constantly. I agree, mute the TV next time!

Posted by: Beckster1 | March 30, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Well it's not like they've had much opportunity to see anyone but the national team players for the last few years. I wish a pox of Christian Miles on both your houses!

Posted by: undrafted | March 30, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Bompastor has that certain je ne sais quoi for sure! And Abily for the Sol. Big surprise to me that the French seemed the class of the match. I watched France play at RFK in WWC 03, and they were horrible. They didn’t qualify for 07. So that was a revelation. As that great American Lyle Lovett might say, “Oh my Gawd!”

As I appreciate the Freedom theory, they selected players in the draft who were familiar with the system and passed over more highly visible (and faster?) players. And yet, especially in the 1st half, the Freedom seemed even more disjointed than the Sol, although neither team was on the same page.

Is this the Freedom system, or just a bad day? Kinda boring, too many negative balls, especially when playing from behind. Nice flashes of attacking soccer in the 2d half, mostly through Bompastor, somewhat through Long on the other side; but also a bad flash-back for about 15 minutes – Scurry in goal, Whitehill crushing one futile long ball after another over the top trying to land it on Abby’s head or spring De Vanna behind the line. No Ryan-Ball PLEASE! We need to run through cetner mids too not just up the side, and more movement off the ball. Hope that was just fatigue, and not system.

Scurry was awful. To cap it off, she was whining in the paper this morning about a no call on the first goal. Hey no joke -- Hope Solo (or Spisak or our Canadian GK, probably) would have ripped both the ball and the Sol player’s head out of the air in one fell swoop. That was a BAD play not a bad call. And the second goal, if you’re gonna come, come hard. What good to stand on the 6 ("Wicks-land")? Her goal kicks are like a U-14 girl. How embarrassing would it be for a pro keeper if Whitehill took the goal kicks?

The Freedom back line did a great job containing Marta. Lucky for them that in the one chance she got 1v1 in the box, she decided to show off a triple step-over, allowing the center back time to cover and limiting Marta to a shot so wide it didn’t even get side net. And the announcers were still gushing. Yeck.

Johanna Frisk didn’t play for the Sol; I’m shocked.

Hey Janss, teach Burch how to use both feet! Nice crosses; 2 years ago Abby would have buried one of those.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 30, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Player ratings -- Marissa Coleman -- 12!

Posted by: OWNTF | March 30, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Might be a little harsh on Scurry. It appeared on the TV replay that she was fouled on the first goal. She had the ball in her hands until Falk crashed into her.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | March 30, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The play was indeed sloppy, but does anyone remember the truly amateurish DC-San Jose affair that kicked off MLS back in '96? In particular, after that game, would anyone have predicted that Marco Etcherverry would develop into a superstar?

Actually, Whitehill and others have performed goal kick duty for the USWNT when Scurry was in there. I guess the Sol won the match at the bureaucratic level, insofar as they had their CWNT (backup) keeper, whereas the Freedom did not have the top CWNT keeper, reportedly because of visa issues.

Finally, I want to thank the person or persons who, in a previous thread, gave the tip about the matchday gathering at Capital Lounge on Capitol Hill. The basement was packed. If there was a downside, it was that the bartender was overwhelmed. I hope they do this in the future when the Freedom is on FSC. Did anyone watch the game at other local watering holes?

Posted by: universityandpark | March 30, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Overall I enjoyed the game and I think it was a good showing for teams that have only been playing together for three weeks. I honestly wasn't expecting to see too much firepower coming from Freedom because the midfield and forwards are still getting used to playing with each other. I know one of the big discussions points about the Freedom is that they picked players familiar with the system instead of players with specific talents, so people expected them to play with cohesion yesterday. At the same time there were only four players out of the starting eleven on the field who had played for the Freedom in the last three years. Three of those players (Janss, Sauerbraunn and Singer) were in defense and I think they did a very good job of containing Marta and company for the majority of game - the familarity with each other helped. The rest of the team still has to get used to each other and the system - plus De Vanna and Wambach haven't gotten to practice with each other a lot since Lisa has been injured.

@universityandpark - I was also at the Cap Lounge and would have to agree with your assessment. Bar tender said he was surprised at the number of people that showed and that they were going to make it a regular thing for away games on FSC.

Posted by: soccerfan80 | March 30, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I had meant to add that the Capital Lounge has a pretty good selection of beers.

Posted by: universityandpark | March 30, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Scurry was absolutely abominable in goal. She should be benched or better yet cut. Those two goals were inexcusable HOWLERS. Just awful.

Posted by: Ron16 | March 30, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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