WPS Names All-Star Team

The Sol’s Brazilian star Marta was the top vote-getter overall, being named on all coaches ballots, 94 percent of media ballots (hello, media types), but finishing second to Boston Breakers defender Amy LePeilbet on players ballots (hmm, guess Marta is not exactly popular among her peers?). And the top three players fans voted for? Hope Solo, Lori Chalupny and Shannon Boxx. Guess we won’t be seeing Marta doing many product endorsements then.

Full disclosure: I didn’t vote, although more than 25,000 ballots were cast.

Three Sol players were named to the first XI, including Torrance native Shannon Boxx:

Karina LeBlanc GK Los Angeles Sol Canada
Tina Ellertson D Saint Louis Athletica United States
Amy LePeilbet D Boston Breakers United States
Alex Scott D Boston Breakers England
Camille Abily M Los Angeles Sol France
Sonia Bompastor M Washington Freedom France
Shannon Boxx M Los Angeles Sol United States
Lori Chalupny M Saint Louis Athletica United States
Kelly Smith M Boston Breakers England
Eniola Aluko F Saint Louis Athletica England
Marta F Los Angeles Sol Brazil

Sol Coach Abner Rogers will lead the team in the Aug. 30 game against Swedish league champions Ume IK in St. Louis.

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Sol Sunday Gameday

It’s a completely meaningless game – the Sol have captured the regular season WPS title, while the Chicago Red Stars are already eliminated from playoff contention – but you can watch the game beginning at 3 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

Some unspecified Sol players will do just that this afternoon (while signing autographs, too) at the Fox & Hounds pub in Studio City.

A brief game preview is here.

The game is a match-up between Brazilian stars Marta and Christiane.

Notable: Sol striker Camile Abily (who has eight goals this season, one fewer than top scorer Marta) will miss the WPS title game Aug. 22 at Home Depot Center because she will represent France in the European Championships. The Sol is looking to sign a replacement for just that game.

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WPS Update

It’s exactly half way through the inaugural season with 35 of the scheduled 70 games completed.

Player of the Week
It stands to reason that if you score the only goal in three WPS games last weekend that you’d win the Player of the Week award.

Saint Louis forward Eniola Aluko duly took the honor after scoring her third goal of the season to lead Athletica to a 1-0 road triumph over the Boston Breakers. The other two games – Washington Freedom-Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC-Sol – ended in scoreless ties.

Here’s the goal and game highlights:

Five different Sol players have won the award, BTW. Here’s the full list:

Week 1: Aya Miyama (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 2: Marta (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 3: Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers)
Week 4: Aly Wagner (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 5: Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
Week 6: Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom)
Week 7: Lori Chalupny (Saint Louis Athletica)
Week 8: Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride)
Week 9: Jillian Loyden (Saint Louis Athletica)
Week 10: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 11: Camille Abily (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 12: Eniola Aluko (Saint Louis Athletica)

Yanks Shooting Blanks
Where are the American strikers anyway? Last weekend’s goal by the English international means foreign players have now scored seven more goals in WPS than U.S. players. And no American has more than two.

Top scorers:
6 Camille Abily (Sol and France)
5 Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers and England)
4 Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride and Canada), Marta (Sol and Brazil)
3 Eniola Aluko (St. Louis Athletica and England), Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom and France), Lisa De Vanna (Washington Freedom and Australia)

BTW, WPS has seen 73 goals scored since the inaugural game, an average of 2.09 goals per game.

Attendance Update
WPS officials claim the league is averaging 5,008 fans per game, not including a pair of doubleheaders with MLS teams. That’s about what the league anticipated it would draw.

All dads get in free Sunday at Home Depot Center when the Sol play FC Gold Pride at 3 p.m. in a game that will also be televised on Fox Soccer Channel. … Mia Hamm and Joy Fawcett will be honored at half time as part of the WPS’ 10th anniversary recognition of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s iconic 1999 World Cup win at the Rose Bowl. Two other members of that team who play for FC Gold Pride – Brandi Chastain and Tiffeny Milbrett – will join Fawcett (but not the shy Hamm) in signing autographs after the game. … Expansion team Atlanta will make a “major announcement” Thursday, presumably unveiling the team name and colors.

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Soccer Saturday Gameday Previews – & John Carver Resigns

The Galaxy, Chivas USA and Sol are all in action today, but the big news of the morning just landed in my e-mail: Toronto FC Coach John Carver has resigned, the club announced this morning.

Slightly curious timing.

Toronto became the first MLS team to beat Chivas USA in midweek and faces Kansas City Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s games in Mexico City involving Club America and CD Guadalajara have fallen victim to a potential swine flu pandemic.

And there is a Galaxy-Chivas USA derby this weekend locally: the SuperClasiquito.

Onward to the local (brief) previews:

Chivas USA Preview
First-place Chivas USA (4-1-1) hosts FC Dallas (1-3-1) at 7:30 p.m. at Home Depot Center today where kids get in free with an adult ticket purchase.

No doubt it will be the club’s sixth straight game with the sixth different lineup.

Defender Ante Jazic, 33, unable to shake off the effects of a March 11 concussion, has been placed on the disabled list, meaning he’ll miss the next six games.

The key for Dallas: Dave van den Bergh.

TV: KAZA (live), delayed 9 p.m. Prime.

Galaxy Preview

The omens aren’t good for the Galaxy (0-1-3) today in Colorado where they haven’t scored a goal against the Rapids (2-2-1) in more than five years, are 0-8-3 in 11 games there and haven’t beaten their opponents in two games this season.

(Updated: 9:55 a.m. – The Galaxy’s official blog is reporting this morning that striker Edson Buddle made the trip and could make his first appearance of the season tonight. More here.)

BTW, the Galaxy have put spots on the grass berm for the July 19 game against AC Milan in Carson on sale. Cost: $50.

TV: Delayed 10 p.m. FSN.

Sol Preview
The (3-0) Sol, who haven’t conceded a goal yet this season play (0-2) St. Louis Athletica, the only WPS team yet to score one.

TV: None.

The Sol are without strikers Marta, Camille Abily and Han Duan who have obligations overseas with their respective homelands this weekend.

Game preview.

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Sol-FC Gold Pride Post-Game Quotes

It was hot in Carson today and that was reflected in the play on the lush, leg-sapping turf in the 1-0 Sol victory before 6,119 at Home Depot Center.

Here’s Sol playmaker Aly Wagner on the way the game went:

“It was hot and we were lethargic in the first half. We had bad movement, bad everything. In the second half we changed our formation and got a little wind under our sails. We came out sharper and crisper. I think that helped open the game up.”

On the long balls she kept pumping into the opposing half:

“That was my wise, wise decision. That was just reading the game and seeing what they were giving us. There was plenty of opportunities in the second half to do that.”

Here’s Sol Coach Abner Rogers on Wagner’s play:

“Aly’s great providing us possession, keeping the ball, she’s very comfortable, composed. Her passes are really what makes Aly. We were happy to have her back. … She has great vision. She sees things earlier than most players. She has the technical ability to hit that type of ball.”

Rogers on the game:

“They definitely could have scored a number of goals. It could have been 3-3, 4-3. It was far too open, too many mistakes. I don’t know why we lost our shape. We need to review why we lost our shape so early.”

Here’s Tiffeny Milbrett on comparing the WUSA with WPS:

“The level is at least two to three levels higher. Instantly, we have five internationals (per team). The first league only had three internationals. … The level of play is much better.”

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Final Result: FC Gold Pride at Sol

Sol 1 FC Gold Pride 0

The Sol remains undefeated on the season after beating FC Gold Pride 1-0 at Home Depot Center to retain the lead in the WPS standings.

Despite Aly Wagner threatening to take over the game in the second half with enough long balls to make David Beckham jealous, the Sol were unable to add to Marta’s goal just after the break.

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Half Time: FC Gold Pride at Sol

Sol 0 FC Gold Pride 0

Whether it’s the heat, lack of atmosphere compared to the opening game or something else, but today’s game is being played a couple of gears down from what we’ve seen from the Sol so far.

The Sol had the ball in the net twice, but both were called back for offside; that’s actually more than they’ve had shots on target (one).

The best Sol chance came in first half stoppage time when a bad mistake by Gold Pride defender Rachel Buehler allowed Aya Miyama to latch onto the ball, but she poked it wide of the far post.

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FC Gold Pride-Sol at Home Depot Center

It’s a sweltering afternoon in Carson and to call this crowd “sparse” – or even a crowd, frankly – would be charitable.

The Sol XI (4-4-2): goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc; defenders Brittney Bock, Stephanie Cox, Allison Faulk, Manya Makoski; midfielders Ali Wagner, Shannon Boxx, Aya Miyama, Camille Abily; forwards Christie Welsh, Marta.

FC Gold pride has Nicole Barnhart in goal, U.S. internationals Rachel Buehler and Tina DiMartino among its defensive corps, Leslie Osborne and Brazilian star Formiga in midfield and a strike force of Christine Sinclair and Erika Arakawa.

Tiffeny Milbrett is on the bench.

And did I mention it’s hot? (I feel for the person in the fuzzy Sol shark mascot outfit).

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