2010 Expansion Team
Coach: Paul Riley
Key Players: Karina LeBlanc, Heather Mitts, Caroline Seger, Amy Rodriguez, Lori Lindsey
Star Watch: Amy Rodriguez – The 23-year-old Californian had well-documented rough 2009 season with the Boston Breakers after being selected No. 1-overall out of USC. There should be less pressure on her in Philadelphia with a new coach, a new system and a fresh start. This may be A-Rod’s opportunity to flourish and show the capability that she has shown with the U.S. Women’s National Team. She may not be Philadelphia’s star player, but she will be the most interesting player to monitor throughout 2010.
X-Factor: Caroline Seger – All signs point to Lindsey being ready to have a breakout year in WPS (even though 2009 very much was that for her already. However, the success of her midfield partner, Seger, will determine whether or not Philly’s midfield is a one woman show or a rock solid central midfield tandem. Seger was brought over for a reason and now she needs to prove that she belongs at the WPS level.
Philadelphia is considered by many to be one of the weaker teams in WPS on paper, but Head Coach Paul Riley has a vision for this team and a track record of winning at all levels. Swedish midfielder Caroline Seger is a major talking point of the Independence, as her attacking style of play and energetic personality make her somebody that the team can rally around. U.S. international Lori Lindsey will join her in anchoring the midfield. Lindsey continues to build off of a great 2009 WPS season and make strides at the international level, showcased by her great play at the 2010 Algarve Cup. Icelandic forward Holmfridur Magnusdottir has a lot of expectations on her
With Karina LeBlanc in goal and Heather Mitts, Allison Falk and Sara Larsson helping anchor the defense, Philadelphia should be pretty sound in the back. The main question mark seems to be up top. Amy Rodriguez is the team’s most notable forward, but her struggles in WPS thus far have been well-documented. Icelandic forward Holmfridur Magnusdottir has a lot of expectations on her and Lianne Sanderson is another option up top, but both have a lot to prove in WPS. Riley wants to play possessing, attacking soccer where even outside backs (mainly Mitts) are critical to the attack, but this line-up looks like one that is going to need to find a way to grind out 1-0 results as well.
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