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WPS Matchnight: Freedom-Gold Pride

One month into the Women's Professional Soccer season, the Washington Freedom (0-2-1) is still seeking its first victory. With just 20 games on the schedule, Washington will need to gets its act together soon. Today's journey takes the club to Northern California for a meeting with Gold Pride at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Freedom midfielder Sonia Bompastor is not available because of French national team duty. At last check, Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod was still awaiting a visa to live and work in the States.

For those watching the match on Fox Soccer Channel (6 p.m.), we welcome your comments!

Update: Freedom 4, FC Gold Pride 3
Abby Wambach scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in added time, and Washington recovered after yielding two late goals. Wambach also had an assist in Washington's first victory of the season. The Freedom will host St. Louis next Sunday at Maryland SoccerPlex. Video from today's match here.

By Steve Goff  |  April 26, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom , Women  
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Comments

Again, any feeds?

Posted by: DadRyan | April 26, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

There should be one one Veetle.

Posted by: revsfanindc | April 26, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: revsfanindc | April 26, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

its on Fox soccer even though the channel says the dream team is playing.

Posted by: mmsq | April 26, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Amazing end to this one! What a day for DC pro sports.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 26, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

its on Fox soccer even though the channel says the dream team is playing
--------------
The Fox Soccer Channel guide has been screwed up all weekend

Posted by: jmingus | April 26, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

DAYUM. A header by Wambach in stoppage time to break the 3-3 tie. What a way to get a first win. Great assist by Cat Whitehill as well.

Wambach is back.

Posted by: KG118 | April 27, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

It's bad enough that MLS plays during national team dates. What's WPS's excuse? They only have 7 teams in the league. They can't play around the FIFA schedule?

Anyway, congrats to the Freedom on their first win.

Posted by: dm100 | April 27, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Whitehill and Wambach connected TWICE on those set plays. Yet, the Post only had a small blurb about what was a VERY exciting game. The Freedom scored more goals today than they had all season and it only gets an easily-missed mention on Page 2? Disappointing!

Posted by: stwasm | April 27, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

FSC's program guide was screwy all weekend. I don't remember the last time I've had to manually program something on my DVR. That was frustrating. It was almost like using a VCR.

Posted by: sitruc | April 27, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Good stuff, really good show. By both teams. Thought 7 total goals were indicative of quality attacks, not shoddy defenses. What did others think?

4-3-3 better than the 4-4-2 for Washington? Four goals suggests it is.

Forget about Post coverage, it will never happen for away games -- we need to take up a (large) collection to send joedoc to cover the away games.

Posted by: OWNTF | April 27, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

In looking at the field level replay of the last goal, it's obvious that the FCGP defender is never going to body Abby out of any position.

I didn't catch much of the game but (1) during the halftime interview, the commentator questioned Abby's play on the flanks rather than the center. "At the end of the day," her assist on goal 2 was much better than her verbal answer. (2) You had to figure that Weimer was going to score at some point. She's fun to watch.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the most interesting development was seeing Spisak in goal. One of these days McLeod will finally be available. The FSC commentators quoted Gabarra as saying that it is not automatic that McLeod will start as soon as she is available, that she will have to battle Spisak to win the job. What did people think of KJ's performance? On the first goal she was caught in no-man's land, although Milbrett got a lucky bounce that enabled her to get under the ball and lob Spisak. On one of the other goals KJ came off her line in an attempt to grab a cross off an opponent's foot and missed badly, leaving the net open. Will McLeod play if she is available? If not, does Scurry have a chance to get back between the pipes?

With regard to latest Freedom supporters party, Kitty O'Shea's was definitely a step down from the Cap Lounge, between the cigarette smoke and the very limited selection of beers. (The location is also inconvenient for some, although not for me.) Other Freedom fans seemed to agree, insofar as the crowd was much smaller this time around. In an earlier thread people had warned that Kitty O'Shea's wasn't a very large space, but it was plenty big enough for the small group. In fact, if it weren't for the Freedom game, the place would have been nearly empty. I guess Sunday evening must be a slow time for them. I hope they return to the Cap Lounge or someplace similar in the future.

Finally, it was interesting to see Christine Sinclair and Tiffany Weimer playing together for the Gold Pride, insofar as they had an interesting rivalry in NCAA play four years ago, as they chased and then broke Brandi Chastain's record for scoring in consecutive games. (BTW, didn't Weimer play for the pre-WPS Freedom for a spell?)

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1108896/index.htm

Posted by: universityandpark | April 27, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The Milbrett goal was no lucky bounce -- Sauerbrunn just missed by an inch from getting a foot on Weimer's pass, but the pass was a perfectly weighted first time chip over two defenders, and Milbrett made a great run and her finish was also a perfectly weighted first time chip over KJ. It was a really cool touch and quickness goal.

Weimer, Milbrett and DiMartino are each like 5'2" but incredible on the ball and in combination. DiMartino also picked Sawa and others clean like 10 times on the other side of the ball. She's quick as a cat.

Scurry is done, over.

Posted by: OWNTF | April 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I will try and post later tonight. I caught the game on DVD late last night after a weary day of multiple matches in 90 degree heat on turf. What an ending though. Abby made amends for weary defending on third FCG goal sprung down the wing. Why she was not double (or triple) teamed on last serve I leave up to the FCG to explain. Eveyone knew she was going to be on the end of that one.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I watched a good chunk of the game and, while I turned it on with a bit of skepticism given how dull most of the old women's league games were, I was really impressed with the quality of play. Especially individual skill. I think having fewer teams keeps the quality of players on the field higher.

Regardless, it was a good show, and great left-footed service from Abby.

Posted by: hacksaw | April 27, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It has just occurred to me that Spisak neglected to tweet from between the pipes yesterday.

Posted by: universityandpark | April 27, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I was also wondering why only one defender went after Abby right before the last goal. And it was Rachel Buehler. These 2 have played together at the national team a ton of times so I'm pretty sure Buehler (though one of the bravest defenders in the league) knew she had no contest against Abby's size.

"Buehler made a good effort but we were in the box and I’m taller than her so the only way she’s going to prevent that ball from getting flicked on is if she fouls me or bodies me up."
http://www.womensprosoccer.com/Home/news/general/090425-bay-wsh.aspx

Worthy of note is another national team member - Cat Whitehill. I'm so stoked she and Abby have finally connected (just like ol' times) and came up with 2 goals. If it weren't for Cat's assists, Freedom wouldn't have won.

Lindsey can rack up another goal in her resume. And maybe Allie Long should move up to forward.

As Bompastor gets back and once McLeod starts (not to mention the team seems to have gained their confidence back), Freedom will be a force to reckon with. They now move up from 6th to 4th place in the standings.

Posted by: KG118 | April 27, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The Capitol Lounge was sponsored by the team - we supporters went to Kitty O'Shea's for the inaugural match because the Cap Lounge's policy didn't allow anyone under 21 (which, given the Freedom fan base, didn't make a lot of sense). They relented on that in the end but too late to try to merge the events.

We might give the Cap Lounge a try next time - it's a lot more convenient for me, at least, and not having cigarette smoke would be a definite improvement.

Meanwhile, great match - probably the best WPS match so far. As for the Freedom, they have issues but nothing that can't be remedied by a dangerous Abby Wambach and a good goalkeeper. As KG118 notes, they'll be a force once they have both.

Posted by: kevinwparker | April 27, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, KWP. I hadn't appreciated the fact that one event was hatched by Freedom management, and the other by the supporters group. There didn't seem to be many underage people at Kitty O'Shea's on Sunday, so I wonder how important that factor is anyway, for a gathering of this nature. But that is for others to decide. I'll just continue to say what I've said on previous occasions: The Freedom has a real potential young adult audience. Reaching them involves a two-part strategy. The first is to make watching away games on FSC at a place like the Cap Lounge a fun experience. The second, and harder part is to get them out to the 'Plex, and to conviince them that there is more to the experience than being surrounded by a bunch of shrieking pigtailed hooligans.

Posted by: universityandpark | April 28, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

We had one college freshman at the first viewing party. No U-21's this past Sunday, though. I am leaning toward the Cap Lounge for next time based on a couple of recommendations, including yours.

The Freedom office has indicated they're not planning any more regular-season viewing parties, so it's up to us the rest of the way. If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me via the supporters website ( http://www.freedomfighters-sc.com/ ). My email's on the "No Fan Left Behind" page.

Posted by: kevinwparker | April 28, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Player rankings (1 of 3):

KJ Spisak (7): Some nervous moments and a whiff on FCG No. 2, but seemed to handle pressure of first match. She saved what she had a chance to save.

Sauerbraunn (7): 7. Her and Cat still need to keep track of opponents better. Still a favorite player for this author.

Cat (7): Momentarily lost track of Milbrett on FCG goal no. 1 leaving Becky scrambling to cover (I thought first goal was an own goal). Non-clearance on FCG goal no. 2. But with two assists the rank must be high.

Gilbeau (6): Seemed as if she was more effective/pumped to play coming off the bench last match.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 28, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Singer (6): Still looks a tad tentative and afraid to receive the ball out of the back, forcing Becky to dribble more and look for a longer pass forward.

DyDyk_r (7): This move seemed to be designed to bring a physical presence to MF with Allie up top and size lacking in Sawa and Lyndsey. Aside from jumping up for same header with Lyndsey, with second ball win leading to FCG goal no. 1, no complaints here.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Lindsey (6): Great run for the 2nd goal and super touch/chip on assist to Allie. I just wish she showed the same speed and urgency as she did on that run for goal the rest of the game.

Long (6): Good finish on goal 2 but really, she had lots of time to put that away. Still too sluggish looking for this author.

Moros (6): Kept possession and worked hard all around. I'd like to see her get wide more and serve in like she did in the charity match.

Sawa (7): Looks like she is starting to be more comfortable and settle in as the primary holding MF along with Lindsey, with touch also improving. Still had a few no-pressure giveaways.

Abby (8): Finally does what she is paid to do. Hooray. I thought the goals would come in bunches after the ice was broken. Gave up defending on FCS goal 2 (probably tired). This cost her a point.

Subs:

DeVanna (6): Still all pace. I think she may need a vegamite sandwich with confidence as a condiment.

Janns (NR): Late sub for Moros to hold the lead. Move did not work.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 28, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Bompastor (10): Her absence allowed the coach to shake up the lineup in MF and up top.

Gabarra (6): The jury is still out on the 4-3-3. For Pete's sake, please use that third sub for tired midfielders or converted forward (Sawa, Lindsey or Long). MF is where most battles are won. Lohman has been warming up at least twice now. Let's see what she can do.

FSC Announcers (5): The mute button is getting worn out on my remote.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | April 28, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

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