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Matchday: Freedom-Sol

UPDATE: Read my match report with quotes. Watch the highlights:

Marta, the best female soccer player in the world, is at Maryland SoccerPlex tonight for her only visit to the Washington area this WPS season. Can the Freedom's UVA-oriented backline (Becky Sauerbrunn, Sarah Senty and Alex Singer) handle the Brazilian genius and slow down the Los Angeles Sol, which is unbeaten in 10 straight and closing in on the top seed in the playoffs?

Records: Freedom 4-5-4, Sol 10-1-4.
TV: Fox Soccer Channel.
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Tickets: About 4,100 sold in advance, and with a good walk-up, a sellout of around 5,200 is possible.

Freedom Lineup: McLeod; Senty, Whitehill, Sauerbrunn, Singer; Krieger, Lindsey, Sawa, Bompastor; De Vanna, Wambach.

Join us for pregame, in-game and postgame discussion.

By Steve Goff  |  July 5, 2009; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Video: USA Victory
Next: Summer Break


while waiting for the Freedom game to start, just caught a wonderful Golazo by Guadeloupe for a 2-0 lead over Panama. weren't they the surprise team of the '07 Gold Cup as well?

now, let's go Freedom and vamos Nicaragua!

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

what channel is the game on?

Posted by: BBFunnyMan | July 5, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Fox Soccer Channel. Gold Cup on Galavision.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

looks pretty close to a sellout. and a good start by the Freedom with a couple quality chances already.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

thanks dimes i was asking about the Gold Cup.

Apparently Galavision is not on Fios, bummer

Posted by: BBFunnyMan | July 5, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Galavision is not on Fios, bummer

Posted by: BBFunnyMan | July 5, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Check 274.

Posted by: Section117 | July 5, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

That's the best the Freedom have played all season. Still need to move the ball quicker and be more clinical in front of net.

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ | July 5, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Guadeloupe stealing France's old players again?

Posted by: Reignking | July 5, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Freedom were robbed on a questionable offside call and now Marta with the dagger. will be lots of stoppage time due to the long injury delay earlier.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

and then Mexico scores (missed how it happened) to really start to make this a downer of an evening.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

2-0 mex

Posted by: dug2008 | July 5, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

How can a team be "robbed" on a "questionable" offside call? Questionable does not necessarily equal "clearly and eggregiously wrong".

Posted by: Ron16 | July 5, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

How is the girl from the Sol doing?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | July 5, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The TV commentators agreed she was offside, FWIW.

Posted by: b18bolo | July 5, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, Gabarra got what he deserved for playing "bunkerball" against the Sol. Just one slip up when two defenders drop off of Marta at the edge of the 18 and it's over.

At one point I counted six Freedom players behind midfield when the team had possession and was "attacking." The offense consisted of Route 1 balls, DeVanna 1 on 5 and other such nonsense. I'm not sure a Freedom defender, other than Whitehill, passed the ball forward all day. Dropping $36 for a ticket to watch bunkerball is a losing proposition for the league. Play more aggressively Jim or get better players than the ones you selected this year.

Problems in the lockerroom? I heard and saw Bompastor yelling at several of her teammates today, the gist of which seemed to be "get off your keester and hustle a bit." That didn't look good.

Much will be made of the Wambach-Shaner incident. 50-50 ball, Wambach should use her size, shame for Shaner, but collisions occur and injuries happen, just ask Wambach.

Posted by: griffin1108 | July 5, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

A great "tweet" from Goff:

"The best golfer in world (Tiger) and best female soccer player in world (Marta) both in Montomery County today -- center of sports universe."

Posted by: joedoc1 | July 5, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse


Good point. I thought it was a bad call and thus a robbery. The announcers agreed with the call at first, but seemed to back off a bit when the replay was unclear.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 5, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

that was a nasty leg break. Season or maybe career over for that Sol player. You can see her leg flapping around in the replay, ugh

Posted by: Pete803 | July 5, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

"How is the girl from the Sol doing?"

Yikes, that reminded me of Joe Theisman's break against the Giants.

I'd say she's going to or has already had surgery. Ouch.

Posted by: delantero | July 6, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Agree with uknowmeas-GQ that this was the best the Freedom have played, but also with griffin1108 that they need to be more aggressive with the ball - too much passing across the back line, even when they were behind.

They did put together a few good scoring chances by pinging the ball across and forward, at least in the first half, but, yeah, too many times it was either DeVanna against the entire back line or a lame shot from 30 yards out.

Posted by: kevinwparker | July 6, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Here is my question:
How many people will Abby injure in her playing career due to the titanium rod in her leg. How many careers could she potentially end going in for 50/50 balls? In all seriousness, should Abby be allowed to play if she is so aggressive and has this added metallic advantage?

Posted by: ajsthind | July 6, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

I can't help but ask...
How many people will Abby injure in her playing career due to the titanium rod in her leg?
How many careers could she potentially end going in for 50/50 balls?
In all seriousness, should Abby be allowed to play if she is so aggressive and has this added metallic advantage?

Posted by: ajsthind | July 6, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

ajsthind: Soccer is a contact sport, and Abby plays hard. She also gets her ass kicked all game long every game, from opponents who show no mercy. If she's gonna go in hard for 50-50 balls, so be it. It's not like the girls she plays against don't know that going in.

P.S. I'll hedge my bet and assume the whole metallic advantage thing is a joke.

Posted by: loosek | July 6, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

It appeared to me that two possibly three Freedom players were offside on that play. The apparent scorer was clearly offside. The Sol defenders at the posts pushed up in a classic offside trap, exposing the attckers well before the ball was played in. Freedom should have been paying more attention.

Posted by: Ron16 | July 6, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

You can criticise the Freedom's tactics all you want, but they had their scoring chances; they just did not put them in. That's soccer.

Posted by: Ron16 | July 6, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

* @griffin -- the Freedom generated 20 shots, 6 on goal (versus 22 S/8 SOG for LA), each team had 10 crosses in, and LA had 8 corners to our 7. 42 shots, evenly divided, is not bunker ball. The Freedom completely dominated the first half.

* At Whitehill's goal I was sitting on that 6, and thought "no way" -- the AR there was kind of lame; repeatedly overruled by Seitz. But at home watching in slo mo, several players, including Whitehill were definitely off.

* DeVanna works her as& off on defense up top in a 4-4-2, but her effort is really undermined because Wambach does not.

* The Freedom get better results without Wambach than they do with her. And fewer opponents leave with the field with mangled legs. Freedom needs to get two forwards on the field at the same time who are dangerous with the ball at their feet and can combine with Sawa, Lindsey and Bompastor.

*Best move of the game -- Abily in the 1st half with a 360 spin move out of pressure. She works hard off the ball too, like Bompastor. One reason that Freedom was forced to play over the top so often was that Abily and Boxx were so effective in the middle. I hope US TV will show France in the Euros.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

i don't believe it should be offside because the ball comes off the head of a Sol player. also, try to follow Boxx during the sequence - it looks like she is right in the middle of all the Freedom players (and between Abby and the goal at least) and not "trapping" like the rest of the defense. i think it's a bad call.

it was not a wholly aggressive gameplan, but i don't think "bunkering" was the right word for it, and i don't think the fans were at all shortchanged by the performances they saw.

not sure what to think about Wambach's play leading to injuries. in real time, it didn't look to be her fault, but in slo-mo it definitely looked worse (and not just because of the gruesome wiggling leg. but OWNTF makes the interesting point that the team has performed better without her to some degree. not sure what to make of that either, as she is obviously one of the team's best players.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 6, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Abby with another late and reckless challenge resulting in injury...

Rico Clark got a deserved red card for a similar challenge in the Gold Cup. Playing hard and playing out of control are two different things.

Offside call was absolutely correct...when the ball was played back in, 4 (FOUR!) Freedom players were in an offside position and those players forced the defender into a hurried and botched clearance attempt (and challenged her clearance) 1) thus becoming involved in the play...and the shot was taken by a player who 2) gained an advantage by being in an offside position on the ball that was played by the defender. Take your pick, 1 or 2, both mean the flag should have been raised.

Posted by: teo_68 | July 6, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

FIFA says . . .

"“gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball
that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an
offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent
having been in an offside position"

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I was watching on FSC at a watering hole, but sans audio (I was treated to the audio of a Spanish-language broadcast from an adjacent screen). Did I miss much by not hearing the FSC commentary, or should I consider myself lucky?

This was the first time I'd seen the 'Plex on TV. The pitch looked really good. I noticed a device on the ground near at least one of the corners, with a cable attached. Was that a microphone, or something else?

Posted by: universityandpark | July 6, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

FIFA says "him," therefore not offside, right?

FSC placed its cameras on the building side this time. I suspect they did it to keep the afternoon sun behind the camera rather than to show the crowd size. I noticed the mics at the corners too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 6, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I call it a "bunker" when none of the defenders ever joins the attack. Gabarra had all of them sit behind midfield all game. I don't think Singer or Senty ever did anything more than a backpass or lateral pass to another defender.

This criticism of Wambach reminds me of the "Moreno sucks" nonsense that shows up on BigSoccer from time to time. As to reckless play, Abby got her leg broken in a 50-50 challenge. She's big and strong, should she play like a shrinking violet? Come on, bad injury, but not a dirty or reckless play.

As to the Freedom being "better" without Wambach, give me a break. No one on the team can hold the ball or distribute it better than her. Which means she either should be in midfield, or Gabarra shouldn't have stocked up on D-mids to the expense of having anyone who could run the midfield. (Yeah I know, Huffman was supposed to be the one but she got injured. Also clear if she was the "one", Gabarra had no "other one" as a backup.) Given that there is no other real threat on the Freedom, it is easy to sag onto Wambach and double or triple her. DeVanna really doesn't have a shot and the rest of the midfielders haven't shown much offensive spirit, save Bompastor who originally was brought in as a defender.

Posted by: griffin1108 | July 6, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Wambach has more shots than any player in the league, and only 3 goals. 2 of which were headers in the same game against the last place team, and the 3d was a sitter that was entirely created by DeVanna off the dribble, and Wambach tapped it in (Double teamed? She was unmarked).

The team is putting her in position to get more shots than any player in the league, and she's not converting. That's not Gabarra's fault.

I'm not seeing her double teamed anywhere but places in the box where she can get her head to the ball. Bompastor draws more attention with the ball at her feet, and deservedly so.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Overall, it was a pretty good game. The Freedom needs to find ways to score out of the chances they created.

Marta's play reminded me of Romario: low key for most of the match, just to show up and score the winning goal at the 90th minute off a half a chance... A trademark of great players...

Posted by: JP-10 | July 6, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

She's big and strong, should she play like a shrinking violet?

Is there any middle ground between shrinking violet and leading the league in leg-breaking? Or do you think that both plays were just "unlucky"?

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It was a great goal, but I honestly thought that was a full chance most forwards should finish, JP-10. Two defenders backed off of her and gave her plenty of room for an open shot. The Freedom had done a decent job of not allowing her to face the goal up until then.

Posted by: sitruc | July 6, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

CARSON, CA - Monday, July 6, 2009 - Los Angeles Sol defender Christie Shaner is undergoing surgery today in the Washington D.C. area to repair a mid-shaft tibia/fibula fracture (right let) that she suffered in a collision with the Washington Freedom's Abby Wambach in the Sol's 1-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Shaner and Wambach collided as both made an effort to control a loose ball in the penalty area nearly five minutes into the second half. The match was Shaner's first in a Sol uniform after being acquired early last week in a trade with Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY).

The 24-year-old native of Ambler, Pennsylvania is scheduled for surgery at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Steven Tuck of Shady Grove Orthopaedic Associates will perform the procedure. The timetable for recovery is unknown at this time.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Christie," said Los Angeles Sol General Manager Charlie Naimo. "She is a great person and was set to make a big contribution to the Sol this season."

After the surgery, Shaner will be driven home to Ambler before recovering enough to rejoin her Sol teammates in Los Angeles.

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

great move by becky sauerbrunn. the ball almost got in. that was awesome.

Posted by: KG118 | July 6, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

To answer the question about Abby having a bionic (titanium shafted leg) as an advantage, it is in her left leg. The collision with the Sol player was with her all natural right leg.

Posted by: windynol | July 11, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

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