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WPS Matchday: Breakers at Freedom

Greetings from Maryland SoccerPlex, where I just finished up my own game and made a 30 second drive from Field 23 to Discovery Sports Center for the Freedom's second home game of the season.

It's a perfect day for soccer, 75 degrees and sunny with a nice cool breeze.

A tough day for Washington sports fans so far, with the Caps falling in an 0-2 hole. Maybe the Freedom can come through with their first win of the season.

Breakers midfielder Kelly Smith, who was named player of the week after scoring her second goal of the season and adding an assist last week, is writing a column for the Daily Mail in her native England. Check out this week's entry.

UPDATE: Freedom reserve goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak has been twittering during games...follow her here.

Freedom Lineup: Scurry; Whitehill, Janss, Singer, Sauerbrunn; Lindsey, Bompastor, Long, Sawa; De Vanna, Wambach. Subs: Spisak, Gilbeau, Lohman, DeDycker, Moros, Zimmeck, Cargnoni.

Breakers Lineup: Luckenbill; Mitts, Schmedes, LePeilbet, Rodriguez; Smith, Lilly, Hucles, Moore; Weber, Scott.

As usual, you've come to the right place for pregame, in-game and postgame discussion.

By Paul Tenorio  |  April 18, 2009; 5:42 PM ET
Categories:  England , Freedom , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: United Rewind
Next: American Goals


A 30 second drive? Not very green of you.

Posted by: Section117 | April 18, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse


You're supposed to let us know in advance of when you play. Don't worry, we've got your player rating...

Posted by: cray | April 18, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Not only did the Caps lose, but United could only draw a team they thoroughly outplayed and the Nationals can't even spell their names correctly. Freedom, avenge us!!!

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 18, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Don't you mean Field 24? 23 had what looked like U13 girls playing on it. What was the score of your game?

Posted by: owendylan | April 18, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes it was field 24. We played horribly and lost 3-2. Poor, poor showing...

Posted by: P-Ten | April 18, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Freedom's not avenging anyone.

Lost 3 - 1 to a team that has what Freedom doesn' effective attack in the final third.

Posted by: seahawkdad | April 18, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

OOH, I think my team played yours. Do you were bright orange jerseys?

Posted by: owendylan | April 18, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks "Breakers" is an ill-thought of name for a woman's team?

Too many bad connotations come to mind.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 18, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Goff -- please report on your games, in the future. it is only fair.

Posted by: fischy | April 18, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

@UnitedDemon -- last "Boston Breakers" I remember was a mid-Eighties USFL pointythrowball team.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 19, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

For those keeping track of my misfortunes, I went down to SW VA this morning and then on over to the Triangle area in NC and was making good time on 95 until some backups from Richmond to Springfield made sure I didn't make the match. I'm sure the front office is glad I paid for my tickets in advance.

Posted by: sitruc | April 19, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Goff is Paul Tenorio...

Posted by: sitruc | April 19, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Abby fails to finish (again). Two Dogfish ales in the tank and long view away from the biergarten obscured my view of questionable PK call on Scurry in the second half, which is converted for the Breakers lead at 1-0. Lindsey is then allowed space to tee up a blast from the top of the 18. Freedom equalize (1-1).

Freedom are then gifted back a PK (handball on a dangerous cross) but Abby takes an awful PK that is easily saved by Luckenbill (sp.?). The momentum then shifts and the Breakers take the 2-1 lead on a nice cross-header combination. The Breakers then put the game away with a Hucles screamer from distance.

More to follow in the morning.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 19, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, little time for a detailed report and player rankings this morning with a play and two to officiate.

In a nutshell, the Freedom defense played well in the first half but the possession and the connecting passes in the final third was again lacking. Abby failing to convert the PK early in the second half was emotionally a huge momentum shifter. Gabarra went to Moros (for Long) and Gilbeau (of Janns) at halftime, and this yield more offensive chances. Bompastor continues to fight hard but her frustration was starting to show in the final third. Several times she broke in looking up to find a teammate to pass to with no help. DaVanna also has a great work rate but just makes one move too many and eventually is sealed off. Abby again tries to take on the world from the outside when she is better served letting a MF play that role and being on the end of a pass in the area rather than beating players wide and serving it in. She had a criminal inability to finish (or even get a shot off) on a breakaway in the first half.

Lindsey had a nice goal, but frequent midfield loss of possession continues to plague her and others.

Lilly and Smith were both a step above the rest and in general the Breakers MF players exuded much more confidence and tenacity on the ball, especially in the second half.

Scurry made some excellent saves and clearances in traffic and under pressure. No howlers this match although I did not have a good angle of the PK called against her.

OWNTF - please fill the void.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 19, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the updates. getting to the boyds without a car is hard. and a barwood taxi ride by myself is a bit expensive.

soooo, thanks to those who kindly tell us what we're missing... the good, the bad and the ugly.

i just wish there was some kind of real-time coverage for these games besides one game of the week on fsc.

small steps!

Posted by: kinseyjames | April 19, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: universityandpark | April 19, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

After spending the (uneventful) first half in a pretty good seat high in the stands near midfield, I spent the second half in the beer garden behind the south goal. Thus, I didn't have a very good view of the action, especially Boston's three goals, so I'll leave the commentary to others.

Someone else mentioned the Dogfish for sale at the beer garden. That was one of two craft breweries that were represented. I forget what the other one was, but it is a moot point, because it was already sold out when I arrived at the start of the second half. In fact, I grabbed one of the last Dogfish ales. They definitely need to adjust their inventory. Also, in a post after last week's game, I stated that they only sold a maximum of two to a customer. In fact, it is a maximum of two at a time. If I had known that the Dogfish would be gone by the time I went back for a second, I would have bought two on my first go-round.

With regard to the so-called postgame party, as others noted in a previous post, the food at the Glory Days Grill was so-so. Otherwise, perhaps it could have been better organized. I was one of the first arrivals. Inside the front door, I was greeted by Glory Days staffers who seemed a bit unclear as to what was going on. It would have been nice to have a Freedom representative there from the start. It was billed as a chance to meet the players, but it wasn't really structured that way. The players seemed mainly interested in sitting by themselves in one section. (Actually, this applies to the few players I recognized. I am sure there were others whom I did not recognize. The low-tech device known as the name tag might have helped.) A few fans went up and talked to the players, but not everyone (myself included) is comfortable doing that. I hope the Freedom does this again, as a nicely done postgame affair could be part of a total experience that would get people out to the Germantown/Boyds area, but they need to work on the details.

Posted by: universityandpark | April 19, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@ all who have gone to the stadium:

do the powers that be require you to sit in the seat you purchased? at rfk stadium, for example, i have my seat w/my friends but usually have to kick some random person out to get to it if i arrive late.

@ universityandpark: i went to the mystics meet and greet when marissa coleman signed for the team last week and it was very well organized. the coaching staff and account reps were there to greet us (once we got past the bouncer) and it was packed but with a very well behaved crowd there.

maybe the freedom folks can contact the mystics folks to see how to do something like that?

Posted by: kinseyjames | April 19, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"do the powers that be require you to sit in the seat you purchased?"

At the Soccerplex? I don't see how they possibly could expect that in the upper east stands, because the rows aren't clearly marked (at least not where we sat last week). We found our section and picked two empty seats.

It seems like the Dogfish ales are the highlights of the games. I hope Hendricks' people are paying attention to the blog. I couldn't make this match, but hope to make the next one. Hope U&P doesn't drink them all before I get there.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

i arrived at the post-game party a little before 10 and all the food was gone, hee. i also noticed that the players really just wanted to eat and drink among themselves, then again if i was one of them i'd probably do that too. it was their time to unwind, especially after a disappointing loss. so i didn't feel comfortable either walking up to them. to those that were confident though, the players happily obliged giving them autographs or having a pic taken w/ them or just having a quick chat.

wouldn't have minded having the opponents at the post-game party too, though i don't really know how the freedom fans would take that? i'm a fan of all wps teams so it's fine w/ me, more pro soccer players to see off the field. and i know some of the players from both teams are good friends w/ each other (especially those that are in the national team) so it would've been cool to see that after the game, all is well.

Posted by: KG118 | April 20, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

There were signs (at least on the east side) that said that you could sit where you want within the section identified on your ticket. In fact, I found empty space closer to midfield than the section on my ticket.

Posted by: universityandpark | April 20, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I wouldn't mind an occasion for fans to get together after the match, even without the players. But again, Saturday night wasn't that, either, as fans were pretty much told to fend for themselves in terms of seating throughout the restaurant.

Posted by: universityandpark | April 20, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

My .02 on Freedom --

The foul on Scurry was not debatable, it was blatant. That's one goal (PK) on Scurry. Freedom gets it back on a great lashing strike from Lindsey.

Wambach takes a horrible PK that would have made it 2-1 Freedom. Next time let someone else hit it.

Boston goal 2, Scurry feebly punches a cross she should catch, fails to clear, Boston keeps possession, puts it back in, header in, Boston 2-1. Third goal a 25-yard laser by unmarked Hucles -- that one's not on Scurry, but I was left wondering whether a taller keeper might have been able to punch it over. Scurry was also soundly beaten by Lilly in the 1st half but was saved when Sauerbrunn headed off the line. They signed McLeod, now Scurry has to go.

Wambach looks awful, and on top of that, when she got pissed off in the 2d half she dropped any pretense of soccer and just started steam-rolling defenders. She put one of the Boston players out of the game late in the 2d half. Lack of quality compounded by lack of class. This is professional sports, not a showcase tournament. If Freedom wants to play to win, they need a target who is a threat to score. Perhaps Wambach should play some W-league games until she recovers her form. We know that's not going to happen for marketing reasons, but the player on the field is not the player with 99 international goals. Does anyone who has seen both home games think that's too harsh? As a fan I'd really like to be wrong about that.

S cubed -- Sonia, Sauerbrunn and Sawa -- there's your quality in the Freedom side. Sonia and DeVanna were both trying to do too much on the ball, esp in 2d half, but they have no effective target to combine with, so what are you gonna do?? Seemed to me the Boston defense was more pre-occupied with Bompastor than Wambach.

DeCicco had them (it seemed to me) playing a 4-3-3 that became a 4-5-1 out of possession. Washington's lack of speed in transition made this pretty easy to do, Lilly works hard, and this allowed more pressure on Sonia than other systems of play. Look for more of that this season, as well as physical play -- Sonia and Sawa are smallish, and the ref was letting them get beat up a little Saturday night. I hope the league can contain that a bit.

The vaunted "system" of the Freedom has them 6th of 7 after 3 games, and they've allowed twice as many goals as any other team. I was incredulous to read Gabarra's coments in Tenorio's piece about dominating the game -- maybe if you put cones across the 18s and counted passes in a possession game -- but there's a reason why they have goals on either end of the field and keep score. So far this team is completely ineffectual in the finishing third.

I thought Lilly looked very good, so did Mitts (soccer form I mean).

Posted by: OWNTF | April 20, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Well maybe that was a nickel, not two cents. Frustrating game.

The FSC game of the week (NJ v Chicago) was a highly entertaining 0-0 draw though.

Posted by: OWNTF | April 20, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

that bicycle kick by megan rapinoe was insane. too bad it didn't go in.

Posted by: KG118 | April 20, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Yeah she's a personality player.

I was focused a bit on Chicago defender Nikki Krzysik (from UVA). I still can't understand why Freedom passed her over in the draft.

And Carli Lloyd was dominant, unlike last week. And O'Reilly is awesome too. Dalmy played great. Good game to watch.

Posted by: OWNTF | April 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

i just noticed that the freedom's next 3 games will be on fsc - @ fc gold pride, vs stl atheltica, @ boston breakers. i'm really hoping that they improve their game and that abby will find her groove back. bompastor's crosses to her at the red stars game were awesome. these 2 have the potential to be a great goal-scoring duo. if abby can just gain some confidence and start finishing. there's a lot of pressure on her w/ all of the hype surrounding her coming back from injury and being the one of the most popular players in the league, not to mention captaining a team.

may 3rd should be interesting w/ mia hamm being present.

Posted by: KG118 | April 20, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

yeah i was surprised that carli, in their first 2 games, didn't do much. she wasn't aggressive at all last week. there were times that i forgot she was in the game. and this is the 2008 us soccer female athlete of the year who scored the game-winning goal at the olympic final. looks like emma hayes really worked on her this time. happy to see more of cristiane too.

at the first sky blue game, when rampone got injured, that's when o'reilly really stepped up her game. i guess she realized that it's up to her now to get this team working. i wonder why bardsley got replaced at the 2nd half since she was doing a good job at the 1st. but hey, still worked.

Posted by: KG118 | April 20, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 20, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

The vaunted "system" of the Freedom...

Posted by: OWNTF | April 20, 2009 9:30 AM

Is this a reference to the decision to use last winter's draft to protect as many of their incumbent players from their pre-WPS incarnation as possible? At the time I was struck by one notable exception; namely, Christie Welsh, who was allowed to escape to the Sol. (It is always possible that she wanted this for personal reasons.) I wondered then whether the thinking was that if they had Wambach, an additional tall striker like Welsh was expendable. Now you have to wonder whether it would be nice to have someone pushing Wambach.

What are the odds we see McLeod in goal next Sunday?

Posted by: universityandpark | April 21, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

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