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The Opening Whistle: Sky Blue FC, Boston showcase Sunday action

Dan Lauletta

With four teams out of six scheduled to qualify for the playoffs it will be a long time before any one of them falls out of contention.  None of that means Sunday’s FSC match between the Breakers and Sky Blue FC won’t go a long way towards determining the type of season each team has.  Between them the clubs have played five matches in 2011 with only one win and one draw between them.

In Boston, the pre-season favorites flew out the gate with a victory over Atlanta before dropping decisions to the Western New York Flash and magicJack.  They are also working out a solution to replace Jordan Angeli, who tore her ACL in the season opener and is down for the season.

The Sky Blue situation is slightly more daunting.  They raced off to a 2-0 lead on opening night against the Independence, but surrendered it when Tina DiMartino scored in stoppage time.  A week later they went to Atlanta and by all accounts dominated the play only to come up 1-0 losers.

Sky Blue and the Breakers have historically played contentious, if not sometimes dull, matches.  Sky Blue will be without Kendall Fletcher, who is out with an ankle injury, and so changes along the backline are in order.  Kiersten Dallstream, acquired during the week by the Breakers with a second round pick going to Sky Blue, could be available for Boston

Here’s how Week 4 is shaking out:

Sunday:  Atlanta Beat (1-1-1, 4 points) at Western New York Flash (1-0-1, 4 points)

The Flash is set to open Sahlen’s Stadium in style with their second match in as many weeks against the Beat.  If this one is nearly as exciting as the second half of last Sunday’s 2-2 draw, the fans in Rochester are in for a treat.  This is the Beat’s first game outside Atlanta following three straight at KSU Stadium to open the season.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: The Beat employed a rope-a-dope tactic to frustrate the Flash last weekend.  A more patient attack—and 90 minutes of Marta—should tip the scales in favor of the home side.  Beat goalkeeper Alli Lipsher has won Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks—a first in WPS—and may need another sterling performance.

Sunday:  Philadelphia Independence (0-0-1, 1 point) at magicJack (1-0-0, 3 points)

magicJack overcame two weeks of inactivity to beat the Breakers last weekend, and now will host the Independence who have not played since April 10.  Last week proved that magicJack can play and at least 1,224 people know about them.  Hope Solo’s suspension is over making her eligible to make her magicJack debut.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: These are the two most aggressive teams in WPS so a shootout would not be a surprise.  When Amy Rodriguez and Tasha Kai are on the pitch together the Independence speed becomes a tough thing to overcome.

Sunday:  Sky Blue FC (0-1-1, 1 point) at Boston Breakers (1-2-0, 3 points)

See above.  Fox Soccer Channel has all the action.

KEYS TO THE MATCH: The Breakers all-world back line has been a step off thus far and Sky Blue will need to replace Kendall Fletcher.  After an opening day goal explosion the Breakers have again had some trouble finishing.  An isolated issue or a troubling sign for the season?

Three points of interest:

1)     FC Dallas recently became the second MLS team (after D.C. United) to announce a relationship with a women’s team as they will fund the WPSL entry to play at Pizza Hut Park and kick off the season next month.  But it has to be troubling for WPS that theses squads are landing in WPSL and not the first flight.

2)     Not talked about much has been Yael Averbuch’s decision to forego playing in WPS until after the World Cup.  Averbuch is smack on the bubble in terms of making the World Cup roster.

3)     Here is an update on traded draft picks for 2012.  The Beat own three additional picks, magicJack’s first rounder and the Chicago Red Stars’ first and fourth rounders (they will be supplemental picks at the end of each round.)  The Independence own the Flash’s second round pick and the Beat’s third round pick.  And Sky Blue FC just acquired the Breakers second rounder.

The Weekend Roster Report:

Philadelphia Independence @ magicJack (May 1, 2011)

Philadelphia Independence
Injured: Allison Falk
Unavailable: Veronica Boquete
Not rostered: Danesha Adams, Lauren Barnes, Laura del Rio, Gina DiMartino, Robyn Jones

magicJack
Unavailable: Sophie Schmidt
Not rostered: Omolyn Davis, Brett Maron, Johanna Rasmussen, Sophie Schmidt, Lydia Vandenbergh

Atlanta Beat @ Western New York Flash (May 1, 2011)

Atlanta Beat
Not rostered: Katie Bethke, Bianca D’Agostino, Katie Fraine, Lyndsey Patterson, Vendula Strnadova, India Trotter

Western New York Flash
Unavailable: Yael Averbuch,
Injured: Gina Lewandowski, Alex Sahlen
Not rostered: Kim Brandao

Sky Blue FC @ Boston Breakers (May 1, 2011)

Sky Blue FC
Unavailable: Adriana Santamaria
Injured: Lindsey Johnson, Kendall Fletcher
Not rostered: Kristin Arnold, Michelle Wenino, Erin Guthrie, Alyssa Mautz

Boston Breakers
Injured: Jordan Angeli
Not rostered: Leah Blayney, Kiersten Dallstream, Ashley Phillips, Elli Reed, Claire Zimmeck

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